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Technical Bulletin
Average Thread Consumption Totals by Garment | Estimating Thread Consumption | Estimating Thread Cost | Introduction | Measuring Actual Thread Consumed | Thread Consumption Formulas

 Introduction It is important to know the amount of thread consumed in a sewn product so you can: 1) Estimate the number of cones needed; and 2) Calculate the cost of the thread needed to manufacture the finished product.

Thread consumption can be determined in several ways.  To calculate the amount of thread in a seam, you can:
• Measure the actual amount of thread consumed in a specific length of seam.
• Calculate the thread consumption by using mathematical stitch formulas based on the thickness of the seam and the number of stitches per inch.
• Calculate the thread consumption using thread consumption estimates.

Measuring Actual Thread Consumed

A specified length of the seam, for example 3 inches, is measured on the seam and then the thread is removed by carefully unraveling the stitch. You can then calculate the amount of thread consumed in one inch and multiply this factor times the total length of the seam measured in inches. (Obviously, you must do this for each seam to determine the total amount of thread consumed in the finished product.)

Union Special Machine Company published a "Thread Consumption Booklet" that consists of a number of thread consumption formulas for various stitch types based on the stitch length and thickness of the seam. These mathematically derived consumption factors can be multiplied times the length of the seam to estimate the combined amount of top and bottom thread. On some overedge and coverstitch types it is necessary to also know the seam width or needle spacing to properly calculate the amount of thread consumed.

 Union Special 401 Chainstitch Chart Seam Thickness 8 SPI .055 .060 .065 .070 .075 4.88 4.96 5.04 5.12 5.20

 Example: Stitch and seam: 401 SSa-1 Stitches per inch: 8 Thickness of the seam: .075 inches (measured with a micrometer) Length of the seam: 42 inches or 1.17 yds. Calculation (Consumption based on the mathematical equation): C = 4 + 2ts C = 4 + 2(.075 X 8) = 5.20 t = thickness of the seam s = stitches per inch 1.17 yds X 5.20 = 6.08 yds / seam. 6.08 yds/seam X 1.15 = 7.00 yds per seam including a 15% waste factor.

As you can see from the Union Special chart, the more stitches per inch and the thickness of the seam impacts the amount of thread consumed. However, most heavy fabrics are sewn with fewer stitches per inch and most light fabrics are sewn with more stitches per inch. Therefore we have come up with the following estimates based on typical seam thickness and stitch length.

 Example: Stitch & seam: 401 SSa-1 Length of seam: 42 inches or 1.17 yards Fabric weight: Light weight Estimated Thread Consumption:  1.17 yds. X 5.0 (Ratio) = 5.85 yds. / seam 5.85 yds/seam X 1.15 = 6.73 yds/seam, including a 15% waste factor Estimated needle thread: 6.73 X 40% = 2.69 yds Estimated looper thread: 6.73 X 60% = 4.04 yds

 Stitch Type Est. Total Consumption Ratio Needle thread Bottom thread 301 Lockstitch 3.0 to 4.0 (1) 50% 50% 401 Chainstitch 5.0 to 7.0 Lt. Wt. 40% (2) 60% M. Wt. 50% 50% H. Wt. 60% 40% 503 Overedge (2 thread) 7.0 to 10.0 60% 40% 504 Overedge (3 thread) 12.0 to 16.0 25% 75% 515 Safetystitch (4 thread) 12.0 to 17.0 55% 45% 516 Safetystitch (5 thread) 17.0 to 23.0 37% 63% Use lower estimated thread consumption numbers for light-weight fabrics or long stitch lengths. On the chainstitch construction, the amount of looper thread does not change unless the stitches per inch changes. On the other hand, the needle thread will change based on the thickness of the seam. Therefore, the percentage of needle thread goes up when the fabric gets heavier. Lt. Wt. (light weight) is generally like shirts and blouses; M. Wt. (medium weight) is generally like slacks or chinos; and H. Wt. (heavy weight) is generally like denim applications.

## Average Thread Consumption Totals by Garment

The following is a list of sewn products and thread consumption totals based on thread consumption reports conducted by our Technical Service Department. These thread consumption figures include a 25% waste factor and are based on a typical garment construction.

## Estimating Thread Cost The thread cost can be estimated by multiplying the thread consumed times the cost of thread in the same units. For example:

 Men’s Dress Shirt thread consumption: 25% waste factor = 131 yds. Average Cost of T-24 Poly Wrapped Core Thread: \$4.50 / 6000 yard cone Cost per yard \$4,500: 6000 yard cone = \$.00075/yard Calculation:   131 yds./shirt X \$.00075/yard = \$.09825/shirt

 Product Sewn Total Yds/ Garment Product Sewn Total Yds/ Garment Men’s Boy’s Slack 225 Jeans 168 Jean 200 Pants 183 Jean Short 160 Jacket 175 Work Pants 238 Dress Shirt 101 Suit Coat 175 Knit Shirt 83 Dress Shirt– long sleeve 131 Baseball Cap 44 Work Shirt 115 Knit Polo Shirt 130 Fleece Sweat Shirt 280 Tee Shirt 63 Tank Top 58 Knit Brief 68 Women’s Girl’s Lined Coat 246 Blouse 73 Blazer 153 Dress 118 Dress 141 Swim Suit 65 Skirt 192 Blouse 122 Pants 162 Jeans 250 Shorts 151 Robe 300 Night Gown 135 Panties 62 Bra 63

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