Matching Thread to Fabric

When sewing, matching thread is important. Usually.

Honestly, for Many seams, if your machine is set correctly, the thread used won’t be seen. However, it’s always a good idea to get close enough to matching your thread, just in case.

And then there’s the times when the thread is actually visible, like in top stitching or edge stitching. And then, you may want to match your thread so your stitch lines aren’t as visible.

How to Match Thread to Fabric

Regardless of what your fabric looks like, solid, print, batik etc, it’s best to use a single strand of thread to pick the color. This is, obviously, harder to do in the store when you’re buying the thread there

But, when you can, use the single strand, it’ll better replicate what the thread will actually look like against the fabric. Even topstitching or edge stitching is usually just a single line of stitching.

Solid Fabric

If you have a solid fabric, ideally, you’ll find an exact match.

Realistically, you’ll find something close.

And usually what happens is that you are forced to pick between two shades of similar or the same color.

When this happens, pick the darker of the two colors.

The light will always catch the lighter color and make it stand out more. So, when in doubt, pick the darker one.

Multicolored Fabric

What happens when you have a fabric that has a bunch of colors in it?

If it’s simply a fabric with a print, you can go with the dominant background color.

And, use the “solid” color rule of picking the darker one to blend better.

However, if it’s a multi-colored “mess” then you have a few options.

The first thing to do, is stand back and see what the color “reads” as. This batik tends to look either brown or greenish to me, even though it has blue in it.

Then you can actually pick out specific colors that occur in the fabric.

I’ll often pull many thread colors and then eliminate them one by one to pick the one I want to go with.

Another thing to consider: Are you going to match this fabric with any other fabric? If so, maybe that will help determine the color of your thread. So, if I’m going to sew this with a blue fabric, I’d more likely pick a blue thread.

If I’m going to sew it with green, I can pick green thread. And if I want to sew it with brown fabric, I can totally pick brown thread.

And, of course, there is absolutely NO rule that says you can’t pick a contrasting color. Especially if you want to use it for top or edge stitching. Just remember, this will really stand out so any wobbly stitch lines will be more visible with the contrasting color.


There’s no real Wrong answer to matching thread, but there are some guidelines to choosing thread to blend.

Pick a color that matches the main color of your fabric.

Pick a color that your fabric reads as, if it’s a multi-colored fabric.

Choose the darker of two threads if they are similar in color, it’ll blend better.

And you can always choose to not blend your colors and contrast instead.

Would you rather watch and listen to me talk about this on YouTube?

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