sewing small talk: serger thread

Hello friends!

Happy Friday. Here’s a question I’ve been pondering lately. Do you match your serger thread to your fabric?

serger thread in basket

I purchased large spools of thread for my serger in white, grey, navy, and black, and I can use them for many of my sewing projects. But there are occasions when I think it would look nicer to match the thread to my fabric color, especially when I’m sewing something in a solid color that isn’t any of my serger thread colors. (Pink red, green, etc.) Do you ever use regular sewing machine thread to match your projects? Tell me your solution to this dilemma!




  1. Colleen P.

    I have occasionally used regular machine thread in my serger. Most of the time I try to “blend” serger threads to at least come close. I recently had to go through and discard a great deal of very old serger thread and I’m reluctant to overstock on it now because that was a significant original investment. I didn’t fully utilize all of it and the experience emphasized that I don’t need all those colors. Regular thread spools don’t have the quantity to get through that a cone does so if you’re working with a really “out of your wheelhouse” color, it’s probably best to purchase as little as you can get that still does the job.

    1. Susan Richardson

      Yes I do have a range of smaller spools of threads and so match as close as possible sewing threads to fabric colours ,it enables me to achieve a more proffessional end result .

  2. For a dress that I really wanted a matching color, i bought one cone and wound 3 bobbins. i was surprised how little thread actually was used. I used leftover thread colors when sewing muslins.

  3. I have occasionally used sewing machine thread in my serger. But usually I just pick the closest color. I don’t really care if my serger thread matches the fabric; a contrast can be fun!

  4. Diana

    I almost always match the tread to the fabric, but it’s annoying having to thread the serger almost every time. I should try using neutral colours, especially grey.

  5. Rebecca

    If it’s a knit, I usually try to match a regular spool of thread for my needles, the rest I just use grey, white or black. I am in agreement with some, that I don’t like to rethread, so I just use the neutrals most of the time. I LOVE what Carol S does, with buying one cone and dividing it up. One of those moments of why didn’t I think of that. 🙂

  6. JEB O'Barr

    When I took up sewing, family members gave me thread they weren’t using anymore, and I did use it in my first serger to better color match. I switched to neutral colors when that ran out. Most of the time that works fine, but I have started using matching colors again on some special projects. If it is a color I think I will want to use again I go with serger thread otherwise I get sewing machine thread.

  7. Nicole Baugh

    Huh! I didn’t realize you COULD use regular machine thread on a serger! I have white, black, gray, and natural/off-white, and that’s been fine, but I’ve definitely wished I had matching thread for a project or two. I have very limited storage space, though, so I’ve never done it. I too love the idea of buying one cone and winding bobbins – Carol, did you have to rewind the bobbins to get through your project?

  8. Theresa in Tucson

    I use my leftovers in the needles of my serger to coordinate with the fabric. I keep ecru, gray, dark green, blue, black and a dark red in the cones and mix the colors. As changing thread is a pain in the patoot, I veer towards neutrals and have the serger threaded in either light or dark based on what is on the machine.. Sometimes you just can’t get away from matching to color so I use bobbins.

  9. Lyndalee

    I use machine bobbins rewound with serger thread. I have purchased many colors of one spool of serger thread. Regular thread is not soft in serger seam. Also it’s cheaper to use serger thread. You can use serger thread for basting on a regular home sewing machine.

  10. Erica

    I, too, only have white, black/navy and light grey serger thread. That is already quite an investment of shelf space! Sometimes sewing projects get jumped up in my queue because then I won’t have to re-thread the serger! I use Gutermann thread for my clothes sewing in my regular machine, but isn’t that thread quite different than serger cones of thread? (I feel ignorant about this!) The rare times I have ventured to use particular colored thread (red, green, etc.) in my serger, I have only used it for the left needle, where the stitches might show in knit fabrics. Yes, I love the tip of winding bobbins and only purchasing 1 cone of special colors!

  11. Alison Woogara

    Don’t re thread just cut existing threads just below bobbins and reattach new colours. Pull needle threads through to just above eye of needles cut and re thread needles. Works most times

  12. Mary Coonts

    If you are sewing seams the only thread that will show is the left needle thread. I match that as best I can even if it a small spool of regular sewing thread. For the other 3 threads I will match as best I can or try to get them to blend or be neutral.

  13. Maria Delgado

    I always use matching threats for all my sewing .thanks .note……..: how about sewing with your bobbin thread through the eye of the needle look at the tutorial

  14. Annette Fly

    Only the needle thread of the serger actually shows on occasion on the right side of your garment seam line, so I pull from my regular sewing threads to thread the needle if it’s going to be too much contrast. I also use the trick of winding bobbins of sewing thread to match if I’m doing cover stitch and really need same color in the needles. Otherwise just blend serger thread to fabric.

  15. Carole Baldam

    I found that winding bobbins didn’t really work as they ran out or stuck. For special projects I buy four reels of thread the same colour as my fabric but I don’t buy the best as I would for my sewing. I otherwise I ‘blend’ colours.

  16. Yvonne Maisonette

    I bought an attachment for my serger years ago that fits right over the spindles and allows me to use up to 5 sewing bobbins of thread. If I get a chance later I will dig it up so that I can get the name of it. Maybe you can find one on Ebay!

  17. Deon

    I use 2 different methods:
    1. I have 4 spools of the basics (black, white, grey, tan), and then a single spools of a variety of colors. I try to at least match the thread for the needle at the seam edge to the fabric. Then I blend various colors for the other 3. In some sewing book (sorry, can’t remember), they had a photo of blended colors on a wide number of colors, and it was amazing how pink & grey and a few other colors actually blended really well – it was almost hard to see the colors that were used.

    2. I pick a serger color that matches (single cone), then wind off three bobbins with the same thread. Then I use the Bob-n-serge gadget to hold the three bobbins. I think I read that a bobbin holds enough thread for a typical t-shirt if used on a serger.

  18. Renita Walsh

    There is a difference in ply (# of strands) of ‘sewing’ thread vs. serger thread. Serger thread is 2 ply while sewing thread is 3 ply.
    The 2ply is stretchy so good for knit construction; 3 ply does not stretch so good for wovens. A 2ply (serger) wouldn’t usually be strong enough foe woven fabrics. I remember Sandra Betzina saying a way to cover all colors is to have lt., med., and dk. spools of gray and beige, and black and white. What I use is determined by the project. And I never use serger thread to construct a woven fabric project.

  19. I have white serger thread for light fabrics and charcoal grey for dark fabrics. I have occasionally used regular sewing thread in the needle to match the fabric color while keeping the neutral color for the loopers, but I usually don’t bother.

    I also have red thread, because that’s what the serger was threaded with when I got it as a hand-me-down from a friend of my grandmother’s – I should probably just throw out the red cones, because I have no idea how old they are and I never use them anyway.

  20. Fabric Tragic

    Yes I try too especially for something like a cardigan that might flip open. Recently found an Australian supplier (M. Recht) with an extraordinary range of overlocker thread colours at a very reasonable price ($4-6 each). I get two to use on the loopers and fill empty small Gutermann thread spools to use in the needles. Works great and not too expensive. Only downside is storage as they take up a bit of room!

  21. Rocely

    I used 100 % polyester thread -2 ply. Its fine thread & strong 3 ply if the material is thicker. It’s cheap $ 3- 4 for 2000 yards (coloured thread). A lots of colour available. White & black are $3. It’s last long. If you want to buy bulk, its more cheaper. I bought box each colour & re-sell to my friends. Used thread colour almost the same colour as the fabric.

  22. I long ago gave up bothering about my bra matching my knickers but I ALWAYS match my overlocker thread to what I’m sewing.

    Near my house is a little shop that sells overlocker thread and ping pong tables 🙂 I buy 4 little spools of whatever colour I need and I’m sure they’re only about $1 each. I have big cones of white, grey and black.

    It irritates me somewhat that I don’t have woolly nylon in every shade cause my twin needle hems is where I have to pick the best colour compromise.

  23. Heather Dawson

    Recently, I have been using Marathon rayon thread on my loopers. It’s so pretty, and there are so many color options available and the spools are larger than typical domestic thread. That said, I haven’t been matching to my fabric, I’ve been coordinating with my fabric so that be serged edges are actually a colorful celebration instead of blending in. When I’m serging to prepare for a French seam I do color match to my fabric.

    I always color match my left needle to my fabric.

  24. it’s a dilemma for sure! for sewing for myself I don’t really care — most of the time a medium gray works well. The only other “complete sets” I have are of white, red, royal/indigo and black — I used up my khaki with school uniforms! My daughter enjoys having a little “secret” color so sometimes I use a rainbow thread — one spool, wound onto 3 other bobbins. I also have “hand-me-down” sewing threads from various people that I can use to color-match if it matters, like if the item would flip open or be turned inside out a lot (like a bag or jacket).

  25. cheryl hansen

    I have used regular thread several times when I didnt have the correct color serger thread. I usually have 2 spools of the color I need and wind two bobbins. I have had good luck doing so. BTW ladies I finally bought a self threading serger and it was so worth it! Some days I change colors 4 or 5 times.

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