By Dr.Trevor Little, Professor Emeritus NC State University
This is Part 3 in a series of articles on Sewing with Threads.
Part 1 appeared inThe NEEDLE’S EYE April 2023 issue and covered the basics of thread construction and what is involved in selecting a thread. Also, it explored the consumption of thread from a practical perspective which depends on the type of stitch used.
The example in Part 2 appeared in The NEEDLE'S EYE May 2023 issue and assumed that you read the Union Special Machine Company’s book,Thread Consumption (the standard on seams and stitches was published in 1963 and revised in 1974). Another reference is American & Efird’s Estimating Thread Consumptionby product. Remember, you can estimate the amount of thread by unraveling a length of a seam (usually about 3 inches).
In Part 3 I talk about another area that uses thread – the non-apparel markets. This includes all the technical areas like Furniture, Transportation, Sails, Footwear, etc. where due to the stitch type used, one of the threads lies on the surface and is subject to abrasion forces. These abrasion forces could be from an abradant such as fabric, ropes, roads, or other surfaces.
One of the areas that use thread is the non-apparel markets. This includes all the technical areas like Furniture, Transportation, Sails, Footwear, etc. where due to the stitch type used, one of the threads lies on the surface and is subject to abrasion forces. These abrasion forces could be from an abradant such as fabric, ropes, roads, or other surfaces.
Despite the many years of threads used in these areas, there is not a single definitive way to test thread abrasion. I know of two attempts to quantify abrasion but if there are more, The NEEDLE’S EYE would like to hear about them.
First MethodA well-known thread manufacturer advocates the use of the Martindale Tester. You can see a short test approach at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T4Iwi5np4T0 by the Amann Group. The headquarters of the AMANN Group is located in Bönnigheim, Germany. The YouTube video shows an example of a jeans pocket. Amann recommends Nylon thread rather than Polyester thread because of the enhanced thread abrasion resistance.
For fabric abrasion, both the Martindale and the Wyzenbeek have test methods for fabrics but no standard exists yet for threads.
Second MethodA second method is described in the Threads USA Apparel Guidelines Manual. Threads USA was purchased by American & Efird which has since been purchased by Elevate Textiles.
Threads USA had an ‘in-house’ method to rate threads according to their abrasion resistance. They included a small table to compare the Abrasion Resistance of threads but let the consumers know that many other factors are known to affect abrasion resistance such as fabric type, stitch type, thread type and size, seam type, and stitch balance. The table below shows their results.
Thread abrasion can become an issue if you deploy the following stitch types: 301, 304, and 401, where one of the threads lies on the surface of the fabric. Because it lies on the surface of the fabric, it encounters other abradants.
SummaryThread Abrasion for outdoor products must retain UV resistance and color fastness as well as abrasion resistance. These markets are very different from the apparel markets where most seams are on the inside of the garments. Top stitching, of course, is an area where Thread Abrasion in apparel will be important.
Dr. Trevor Little
BST above refers to Bonded, Stretched, and Twisted ThreadBSM above refers to Nylon monochords.