The rule of thumb is, if using cotton fabric you should use cotton thread, but I find it much easier and more cost effective to use a multipurpose polyester thread for most fabric types. It is strong and has a little stretch so works well for both machine and hand stitching.
So here is a little guide for you:
- Cotton Thread: ideal for machine and hand stitching on fabrics like cottons, rayons and linens
- Polyester Thread: Use this on most fabrics as it is strong yet elastic. Synthetic and natural fabrics
- Basting Thread: A weak thread that is easily pulled and broken off. Use this only for temporary (not permanent) stitching.
- Silk Thread: This is a very fine thread and is best used with silk and lightweight fine wools and fabric.
- Buttonhole Twist: A thick strong silk thread used for buttonholes and attaching buttons.
- Large Spooled Thread: This comes in all popular thread colour. It will fit over the spool pin on a machine but is mostly used with a Serger machine as this type of machine uses a large amount of thread.