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INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF CLOTHING SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Investigation of the Performance of Sewing Thread


Miyuki Mori and Masako Niwa Department of Clothing Science, Nara Womens University, Japan Introduction
The mechanical properties of sewing thread play an important role in sewing. There have been some studies of seam strength from the point of view of the strength of sewing thread[1-4]. The mechanical modification of the seam has been tried[5,6] and the fatigue of sewing thread has been studied[7], but there have been few studies to date about thread from the point of view of making seams of good appearance[8]. Limited by the types of machines used by sewing factories, thread is chosen by empirical intuition. It is the purpose of this article to identify the suitable sewing thread for making seams of good appearance, and to investigate the interrelation between thread property and seam-line quality by using a collection of 53 commercial threads. is stretched by the take-up lever and the bobbin thread is stretched by the rolling of the bobbin mechanism and the needle thread. The needle thread is bent at the needle hole or the thread eyelet and rubs against the needle or the thread eyelet placed at several points in the machine. To characterize the sewing thread, tensile, bending and frictional properties were measured. Tensile Property The thread needs intensity to some extent in order not to be cut off because of tension or friction by the machine. As an index to express the strength of the thread, the tensile property until breaking-point was measured, and breaking load, breaking strain, yielding load and yielding strain were chosen and defined as Fb, eb, Fy and ey respectively, as shown in Figure 1. The tension of the needle thread is as high as 200 gf when being sewn. This region is shown in Figure 1 by diagonal lines. The tensile property within this region, up to 200 gf, was measured. The stitch length is a few millimetres, while the stroke of the needle is a few centimetres, so the

Samples
From sewing factories, 43 kinds of thread for mens suiting and ten kinds of thread for ladies dresses, in all 53 kinds of commercial thread, were chosen, as shown in Table I. Among these commercial samples of threads, several were recommended as good thread for sewing by apparel manufacturers.

1,000

Sample: No.01(Silk 100 per cent, 22tex)

Fb

Measurement Conditions of Machine Threads


The threads are deformed in various ways at several points in the machine. The needle thread
International Journal of Clothing Science and Technology, Vol. 6 No. 2/3, 1994, pp. 20-27, MCB University Press, 0955-6222

F(gf)
500 200

Fy

ey

0 0

10

15 e (per cent)

20

25

eb

Figure 1. Breaking Tensile Curve

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VOLUME 6 NUMBER 2/3 1994

Main use Mens suit

Number of samples 43

Thread Filament (19)

Fibre Polyester (15) Silk (2) Nylon (2) Polyester (13) Cotton (4) PET/Cotton (1) Polyester (5) PET/Cotton (1) Polyester (1) Polyester (9)

Thread count tex 15-27 22-25 17-27 24-44 29-38 33 20-31 38 24 21-34

Spun (18)

Core spun (6) Ladys thin dress 10 Filament (1) Spun (9)

Note: Number of samples shown in parentheses Table I. Machine Threads Samples for Lock-stitch

thread was stretched five to eight times at the same place. Taking this into account, tensile property up to 200 gf was measured seven times repeatedly. Figure 2 shows this curve and it is evident from this figure that the difference between the first and second cycles is clear, but less distinct between the sixth and seventh cycles. For the increase of the tensile time, the residual strain is higher. On the first cycle, tensile strain, linearity of tensile, tensile energy and tensile resilience were defined as EM, LT,

Properties Tensile Break Repeated tension (maximum load Fmax = 200 gf) Bending

Conditions

Sample length: 10 cm Strain rate: 0.04%/sec. Maximum load (Fmax): 200 gf Repetitive time: 7 cycles Sample length: 10 cm Strain rate: 0.02%/sec. Sample length: 1 cm Maximum curvature:2.5 cm1 Rate of bending curvature: 0.5 cm1/sec. Thread tension: 150 gf Moving rate of the needle: 1 cm/sec Moving stroke of the needle: 1 cm

Friction
200 Sample: No.01(Silk 100%, 22tex)

First cycle

100

LT linearity WT energy RT resilience

Table II. Measurement Conditions of Machine Threads

F(gf)

0 0 200 1

EM e (per cent)
2

WT and RT[9] respectively. On the seventh cycle, the residual strain was defined as R7. These five parameters were chosen. Bending Property Figure 3 shows the bending moment-curvature curve. Bending stiffness and hysteresis per thread were chosen and defined as B and 2HB[9] respectively. Frictional Property The frictional property between the needle and the thread was measured by the device as shown by Figure 4. On the handy compression tester[10], the needle and the thread eyelet were

F(gf)

100

Seventh cycle

R7
0 0 1

e (per cent)

Figure 2. Repeated Tensile Curve

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INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF CLOTHING SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Sample: No.01(Silk 100 per cent, 22tex)

PF1
M(g cm/thread)
0.0050 -

400 300 200 100

F= PF1-PF2 PF2
Sample: No.1(PE 22tex)

0.0025 -

1 2HB 0

K(cm1)
0.0025 -

PF (gf)

Figure 3. Bending Curve

Thread eyelet Yarn W

Figure 4. The Device for Measurement of Friction

Mechanical parameter Tensile (break) log Fy log ey log Fb log eb

Tensile (Maximum load, Fmax=200 gf) log EM tensile strain at Fmax LT linearity log WT tensile energy RT tensile resilience log R7 residual strain at 7th cycle Bending log B log 2HB Friction PF1 bending stiffness bending hysteresis

friction force between thread and needle FF difference of descending and ascending friction forces Number of samples: n = 53

Table III. Mechanical Parameters of Machine Threads

yielding load yielding strain breaking load breaking strain

0.0050 -

Stroke: 10 mm Speed: 10 mm/sec

Mean

2.293 0.388 3.035 1.252 0.507 0.923 0.464 62.05 -0.0244

-2.811 -2.838 426.9 162.5

0 2 4 6 Deformation (cm) 8 10

Figure 5. Frictional Curve

set, and a weight of 150 grams was hung on it so as to produce tension equal to the tension given to machine thread. The stroke and speed of the needle were established at 1 cm and 1 cm/sec respectively. Figure 5 shows the frictional curve. For example, in the case of thread sample No. 1, by attaching the weight, the force points out about 300 gf. The needle motion starts, and at the point of penetration, maximum value, designated as PF1, is reached. At the point of withdrawal, minimum value, designated as PF2, is reached. The difference between PF1 and PF2 was designated as FF. One cycle consisted of five repetitions of penetration and withdrawal, as this is the friction given to actual sewing thread. The
SD Maximum Minimum UNIT

0.1405 0.1097 0.09186 0.1443 0.1820 0.1748 0.2276 16.925 0.3186

361 4.07 1542 35.1 5.25 1.44 8.28 88.2 6.90

58 1.59 706 6.6 1.65 0.626 0.74 25.5 0.30

gf % gf % % gf cm % %

0.1909 0.1931 16.06 22.24

0.00925 0.00903 466 216

0.00066 0.00058 391 113

gf cm2 gf cm gf gf

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VOLUME 6 NUMBER 2/3 1994

G2-1 tex Tensile Break Fy ey Fb eb Fmax = 200 gf EM LT WT RT R7 Bending B BS 2HB Friction PF1 FF 23 138 3.10 872 17.10 6.8 0.978 6.70 41.6 3.00 0.80 1.20 0.80 413 140

P1 24 180 2.50 1090 19.00 3.6 0.939 3.45 67.6 0.75 1.81 2.80 1.97 435 172

No. 39 No. 07 No. 33 30 171 3.01 1035 20.68 5.5 1.077 5.86 43.3 1.83 1.19 1.97 1.56 415 145 30 260 1.83 1263 14.07 2.0 0.782 1.55 85.3 0.53 1.60 2.29 1.38 430 168 28

200

Sample: G2-1(PET 100 per cent spun 23tex)

First cycle

252 2.43 1439 17.77 2.4 0.722 1.72 77.7 0.64 1.97 3.02 2.09 436 174

F (gf)

100

Seventh cycle

0 0

e (per cent)

200

Sample: P1(PET 100 per cent spun 24tex)

First cycle

F (gf)

100

Seventh cycle

Table IV. Mechanical and Frictional Properties of Thread Samples

0 0

e (per cent)

measurement conditions of these parameters are shown in Table II.

Figure 7. Repeated Tensile Curve

Mechanical and Frictional Properties of the Commercial Threads


The value of the parameters mentioned above of 53 kinds of the commercial thread has a wide range, summarized in Table III. With mean and standard deviation of each parameter, the nomalized data chart was made. The sample threads from a maker in Japan were placed in two groups. One is suitable for sewing judged by an apparel engineer, and

continued to be used. The other is not suitable for sewing, and its use was stopped. The tensile curves of the two are shown in Figure 6. Sample G2-1 is the former thread and sample P1 is the latter. Breaking load and strain of sample P1 are larger than sample G2-1 as shown in Figure 6. The curve of repeated tensile properties for both threads is considerably different, as shown in Figure 7.

1,500

The breaking strain of the suitable thread is smaller


Sample: P1 (PET 100 per cent spun, 24tex)

1,000

n
The value of tensile, bending and frictional properties of the two are shown in Table IV and plotted on the data chart as shown in Figure 8. The breaking load, yielding load and breaking strain of the suitable thread is smaller by one sigma than the mean, but yielding strain is greater by one sigma than the mean. EM, LT, WT and R7 are different for both and the suitable thread is considered softer than the unsuitable

F (gf)
500

Sample: G2-1 (PET 100 per cent spun, 23tex) 0 0 5 10 e (per cent) 15 20

Figure 6. Breaking Tensile Curve

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INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF CLOTHING SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Sample G2-1 P1 No. 39 No. 07 No. 33

Yarn count (text) 23 24 30 30 38

EM (%) 6.8 3.6 5.5 2.0 2.4

Tension of needle thread (g) MJ MB MS MP* 145 130 140 140 200 80 90 90 90 110 60 63 100 60 80 85 95 83 95 95

Tension of bobbin thread (g) MJ MB MS MP 17 16 20 18 25 10 10 15 15 15 18 20 14 16 22 10 15 15 9 10

* Presumed value

Table V. The Tension of the Different Kinds of Thread

thread. The bending properties of these are not very different. The frictional force of the suitable thread is smaller than that of the unsuitable thread. In another example, the mechanical and frictional properties of three commercial threads which are suitable for sewing (sample No. 39 thread was judged by a thread maker in England, the others were judged by Japanese apparel makers) are shown in Table VI and plotted on the data chart as shown in Figure 9. Tensile property of No. 39 thread is similar to the suitable thread sample G2-1 as shown in Figure 8. Bending stiffness of this thread is higher than that of sample G2-1 because of its thickness. Frictional properties are similar to sample G2-1 as shown above. This thread is considered a soft thread. In contrast with this, the other sample, No. 33 thread made in Japan, was hard to stretch and
Ladys dress SHINGOSENa New silky A log EL log BS log SS EP log BP log SP T W AIR
a b c

Tensile 4 (Break) Fy*


Fy*

3
60 1 70

(Xm)/S 0
200

1
250 3 1,500 300

2
350 400 4

3
500 5 2,000 40 50 60

4
600

80 90 100 1.5 600 700 8 9 10

150 2 800 900 1,000

ey* Fb* eb*

500 5 6

(Fmax = 200gf)

20

30

EM* LT WT* RT
R7* Bending
0.4 0.5 0 0.05 10 0.1

1 0.5 1 20 0.2

1.5

4 1

10 1.5

2 40 50 60

4 70

5 80 2 90 3

10 100 4 5 110

20 120 10

30

0.3 0.4 0.5

B*
2HB* Friction

0.0003 0.0004 0.0005 0.0003 0.0004 0.0005

0.001 0.001

0.002 0.002

0.003 0.004 0.005 0.003 0.004 0.005

PF1 FF

370

380 100

390

400

410

420 150

430

440 450 460 200

470

480

490 250

Thread sample: * log scale

G2-1,

P1

Figure 8. The Data Chart Plotting Mechanical and Frictional Parameter of the Thread for Ladys Dress

Mens summer suiting SIRO spunb C 3.56 0.0481 0.822 0.338 0.1244 13.795 0.369 14.3 0.184 Wool/polyester blendc D 2.37 0.1163 2.745 0.189 0.2395 14.965 0.449 6.7 0.508

New worsted B 5.569 0.1135 0.615 0.484 0.2634 5.376 0.732 7.8 0.069

8.147 0.0185 0.332 0.526 0.0467 5.093 0.697 4.2 0.314

Polyester 100% Wool 100% Wool 50%, polyester 50%

Table VI. Fabric Samples

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VOLUME 6 NUMBER 2/3 1994

(Xm)/S

Fy*

70 1

80 90 100 1.5 600 700 8 9 10

150 2 800 900 1,000

200

250 300 3

350 400 4

500 5 2,000

600

Puckering value

Tensile 4 (Break) Fy* 60

3
1 2 3 4

Sample A (Shingosen new silky)

ey* Fb* eb*

500 5 6

1,500 20 30 40

(Fmax = 200gf)

50

60

EM* LT WT* RT
R7* Bending
0.4 0.5 0 0.05 10 0.1

1 0.5 1 20 0.2

1.5

4 1

10 1.5

2 40 50 60

4 70

5 80 2 90 3

10 100 4 5 110

2.0 120 10

MJ

30

MB MS Machine type

MP

0.3 0.4 0.5

B*
2HB* Friction

Sample B (Shingosen new worsted)


0.0003 0.0004 0.0005 0.0003 0.0004 0.0005 0.001 0.001 0.002 0.002 0.003 0.004 0.005

3 Puckering value

0.003 0.004 0.005

PF1 FF

370

380 100

390

400

410

420 150

430

440 450 460 200

470

480

490 250

Thread sample: *log scale

No.39,

No.07,

No.33

Figure 9. The Data Chart Plotting Mechanical and Frictional Parameter of the Thread for Mens Suiting

MJ

MB MS Machine type
G2-1 P1

MP

Thread sample:

had smaller strain than the thread made in England. Both of them were hard to bend and their frictional force was larger than the thread made in England. These threads are considered hard threads. Here, the definition of a soft thread is a thread which has low elastic modulus and large residual strain, low bending rigidity, low frictional force, and the definition of hard thread is thread which has high elastic modulus and small residual strain, high bending rigidity, high frictional force.

Figure 10. Effect of Machine and Thread on Puckering Value Which Shows Mean Puckering Value and Standard Deviation

The tread tension was measured by two measurement tools


n
To clarify the effect of the mechanical and frictional properties of threads on the seam appearance, sewing experiments were carried out on each of the threads shown in Figures 8 and 9.

Sewing Experiments
Because the best condition of thread tension varies with the machine type, in this article four types of machine, MJ, MB, MP and MS, were used. In Table V, the interrelation between thread

tension used in this experiment and machine types is shown. The thread tension was measured by two measurement tools, named Somfy Tec, made in France. The maximum measurement loads of the two are 100 gf and 500 gf, and accuracy of measurement are 2 gf and 10 gf respectively. The thread tension for the MJ type of machine was highest. Four fabric samples, SHINGOSEN New Silky type, New Worsted type, Wool/PET blend and SIRO spun, were chosen and their mechanical properties are shown in Table VI. Fabric length (warp direction) is 30 cm and width (weft direction) is 10 cm. The fabric sample is folded in two and sewn at a distance of 1 cm from its end along the warp direction. The distance between the two marks on the fabric is 20 cm. The sewing speed is 1,000-1,500 rpm. An Organ needle, size 11, was used. These four fabric samples were sewn by the threads mentioned above using four types of machine. After that the seam shrinkage was measured by auto measure tester[11] and the seam pucker was evaluated using a standard model which rates seam puckering as grade 0 (no pucker), grade 1

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INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF CLOTHING SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Sample B (Shingosen new worsted) 3 Puckering value

threads were expressed by closed symbols. Seam pucker was strongly influenced by the type of machine, and the effect of thread property on the seam pucker is different for each machine.

Conclusions
MJ MB MS Machine type MP

(1) Commercial sewing threads have a wide range of mechanical properties. (2) Every apparel factory has a different opinion about the best sewing thread. But there are mainly two types of opinion about good threads, a soft type of thread and a hard type thread. (3) Experiments were carried out by using different types of machines for lock-stitch. Seam pucker was strongly influenced by the type of sewing machine, and the effect of thread property on pucker is different for each machine. There may be an optimum thread for each type of machine. (4) Needle-thread tension of the sewingmachine must be adjusted to obtain the optimum seam. It has been found that serious seam pucker occurred with the sewing-machine where the optimum needlethread tension was high. For such sewingmachines, hard thread is more suitable than soft thread for reducing pucker. In the case of machines for which the lower thread tension is the best condition, soft thread is more suitable than hard thread.

Sample C (W/E blend) 3 Puckering value

MJ

MB MS Machine type

MP

Sample D (SIRO spun) 3 Puckering value

MJ

MB MS Machine type
No.39 No.07

MP

Thread sample:

No.33

Figure 11. Effect of the Machine and Thread on Puckering Value Which Shows Mean Puckering Value and Standard Deviation

References
1. Shimazaki, K., Studies on Seam Strength Tensile Strength of Seam Sewed by Hand, Japanese Resource Association of Textile End-Uses, Vol. 20, 1979, p. 317. 2. Matsuo. M. and Aoki, I., Study on the Seam Strength Prediction of the Tensile Strength of a Curved Seam, Japanese Resource Association of Textile End-Uses, Vol. 22, 1981, p. 191. 3. Utiyama, S., Mori, Y., Yamamoto, T. and Noshi, H., An Experimental Study of Seam Strength, Japanese Resource Association of Textile End-Uses, Vol. 20, 1979, p. 153. 4. Kawakami, K. and Masuda, Y., Studies on Mens Homewear (Part 6) The Tensile Strength of Seat Seams, Annual Reports of

(modest pucker), grade 2 (normal pucker), grade 3 (serious pucker), and grade 4 (very serious pucker)[12]. This experiment was carried out to achieve as good a seam as possible for each machine and thread.

Results
Seam shrinkage has a close relation to the evaluated Puckering Value. So the results of this experiment were expressed by using Puckering Value as shown in Figures 10 and 11, which show the interrelation between machine type and Puckering Value for each thread; the soft threads were expressed by open symbols, the hard

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VOLUME 6 NUMBER 2/3 1994

5.

6.

7.

8.

9.

Studies, Osaka Joshigakuen Junior College, No. 24, 1980. Amirbayat, J., Profile of Lock-stitch Seams: A Theoretical Study, Textile Resource Journal, Vol. 61, 1991, p. 119. Ajiki, I., Analysis of Seam Structure by Mechanical Model On the Good Stitch, Japanese Resource Association of Textile End-Uses, Vol. 27, 1986, p. 208. Iwasaki, K. and Tanaka, M., The Fatigue of Sewing Thread by Tensile and Bending Stress, Annual Report of the Science of Living, Osaka City University, Osaka. Jojima, E., Kusakabe, A. and Mashima, T., Effect of High-speed Sewing on the Thread, Proceedings of the Jissen Womens University Department of Home Economics , Vol. 23, 1986, p. 33. Kawabata, S., Niwa, M. and Matsudaira, M., Characterization of Mechanical Properties of the Yarns Produced by New Spinning and the Effect of the Yarn Properties on Fabric

Handle, Proceedings of the 13th Textile Research Symposium at Mt Fuji, Vol. 36, 1984. 10. Kawabata, S., Analysis of Fabric Hand of High-quality Apparel Fabrics on the Basis of Objective Evaluation Technique and the Design and Development of the Highperformance Fabrics, Research Project, Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Co-operation Research, The Textile Machinery Society of Japan, Vol. 156, 1987. 11. Shiomi, S., Niwa, M. and Kawabata, S., Prediction of the Shrinkage Recovery of Fabrics after Steam Pressing Part 2: Practical Use of the Prediction Theory, Seni-Gakkaishi, Vol. 32, 1979, p. T1. 12. Yamada, Y. and Niwa, M., A Study on Seam Puckering Part 1: The Effect of the Basic Mechanical Properties on Seam Puckering in Fabrics for Mens Suits, Japanese Resource Association of Textile End-Uses, Vol. 34, 1992, p. 142.

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