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5 tips on sewing with Coats Outdoor Thread

5 tips on sewing with Coats Outdoor Thread

by Annette Millard

It’s spring and the Great Outdoors is beginning to call my name. This is the time of year when I start looking around the garden, inspecting the patio furniture and plotting how my sewing machine and I can make my outdoor space look more like summer and a whole lot less like leftover winter. How about you? We’ve got some lovely outdoor projects for you this week, but first let’s go over the basic 5 tips on sewing with Coats Outdoor D71 Thread that will make the task successful!

Specifications of Coats Outdoor Thread and spools in a number of colors

Specifications of Coats Outdoor Thread in numerous colors

Sewing for the outdoors is a ton of fun and the possibilities are endless, but there are fabrics made for the patio and fabrics that should just be left inside. Let’s talk about what you’ll need for cushions, table coverings and other furnishing accents that need to be able to resist the weather.

Fabrics specifically made for the outdoors have a stain and water resistant finish and can withstand direct sunlight for many hours. In most cases they’ve been manufactured with UV resistant properties and have a durable finish that makes surface cleaning easy. Colors are vibrant and fade resistant making them the perfect complement to your summer garden. Look for fabrics such as: Waverly’s Sun n Shade, Premier Prints Outdoor Fabrics and Sunbrella.

But, wait! Before you start, it’s super important that you also use the right thread! Normal sewing threads are terrific for your indoor projects, but they’re not made to hold up in the Great Outdoors. Coats Outdoor Thread is constructed to perfectly perform in all kinds of weather and you’ll love it for everything outdoor from home to boat to camping gear. Who wants to be enjoying the sun, showing off their new self-decorated patio, but secretly worrying about whether or not the seams on the cushions are going to fall apart?

Coats Outdoor Thread is a bonded polyester, the same construction as the thread used in awnings you may have purchased. It’s UV resistant and comes in 200yd [183m] mini king cones in plenty of colors. This means you can create stunning outdoor accents with a no worries, weather-resistant, polyester thread that won’t fade or rot from direct sunlight. And, if it happens to rain on your party, this almost-magic thread won’t mold or mildew from the effects of a downpour either.

200yd spool of Coats Outdoor Thread in Yellow

200yd spool of Coats Outdoor Thread in Yellow

To create weather resistant magic on your sewing machine with Coats Outdoor Thread, you’ll want to make a few, easy adjustments.

  • Outdoor Thread is heavier than normal sewing thread, so you’ll need a larger needle. This will somewhat depend on the weight of your fabric, but in general, you’ll want a topstitching needle from a 90 to a 110. Topstitching needles have a longer eye than Universal needles so you’ll have less abrasion on the thread as you’re sewing.
  • Lengthen your stitch anywhere between 3mm – 5mm as a thicker thread needs more space in the seam.
  • A heavier thread is less flexible, so slow down a bit while you’re sewing for best results.
  • You may want to make a slight tension adjustment when using Outdoor Thread in both the needle and bobbin.
  • Make a few stitching samples from two layers of outdoor fabric scraps before you actually begin and make a note of the settings you used. You’ll thank yourself later!
Join me the rest of this week, to see the different ways to make a cushion. Choose the one you like best or explore the ones you haven’t made yet using these easy to follow instructions. Below is a picture of the first three of the five cushions to get your patio ready for the Great Outdoors.

3 cushions on an outdoor bench for patio decor using Coats Outdoor Thread

Three of the five cushions made using Coats Outdoor Thread perfect for your patio decor

This is part 1 of 5 in this series.

Go to part 2: Making patio cushions require Coats Outdoor Thread for longevity

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Sara November 28, 2022 - 12:31 pm

My Coats thread is loose on the bobbin side as I sew on a Husqvarna Emerald 116 through 110 denier poly rip-stop nylon. The top tension is maxed out. Suggestions?

Vicky Bonavito January 30, 2022 - 6:17 pm

Can this thread be used on a home sewing machine or is it an industrial sewing machine? Could I use it for a Bernina 770 ?

Carla A. Canonico February 1, 2022 - 10:09 am

Hi Vicky, Coats Outdoor thread can be used on domestic sewing machines.

Thea Payne November 6, 2020 - 5:20 pm

Can this outdoor thread be used in a serger sewing machine?

Arlene McBride June 10, 2020 - 4:32 pm

Can i use the outdoor thread in my bobbin? I had trouble with my machine last year and was told not to use in bobbin

Carla A. Canonico June 15, 2020 - 9:21 am

Hi Arlene, here are some essential tips that Coats & Clark are offering about using Coats & Clark Outdoor thread in your bobbin:
Coats & Clark Outdoor thread can be used in the bobbin. A key to using this thread is to increase the stitch length. If this isn’t done, it may seem like it is jamming in the bobbin because there simply isn’t enough space to form the stitch properly. To get a balanced stitch, it may be necessary to increase the top tension. It takes more tension to pull up the heavier thread from the bobbin. Lastly, it the thread is not pulling freely from the bobbin case, loosen the bobbin case tension.
Thanks for asking – Carla

One other tip- be sure to use a large needle–Size 16 or 18. A topstitching needle also can make a difference because it has a larger eye.

Dana March 24, 2021 - 12:12 am

This is SUPER HELPFUL! I have a heavy duty singer that should not have a problem with this heavier thread. Outdoor living is less of a problem than the other outdoor threads that have non wicking coating but the solutions you suggest fix or greatly improve the stitching with those threads too. Thanks for posting this 🙂

Carla A. Canonico March 25, 2021 - 8:57 am

Thank you Dana for sharing this! So happy to hear it’s helpful!

Susan May 14, 2019 - 9:55 am

Can you use this thread in a serger? I need to serge the edges of awning fabric.

Becky March 6, 2017 - 10:52 pm

I guess it only makes sense to use outdoor thread for patio pillows. I need to make a lumbar pillow for my patio chair. I’ll have to check out the Coats Outdoor Thread. Thanks!

Janet T March 5, 2017 - 3:37 pm

Great tips for sewing on outdoor fabrics! Off to find some fabric for my patio chairs.

Pam March 5, 2017 - 3:28 pm

What an interesting post! I had never heard of outdoor thread. Thanks for sharing this!

Quilting Jeannie March 5, 2017 - 2:49 pm

I had never thought about outdoor thread. Thanks for the info.


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