Thread is often an overlooked item in a products manufacture, but when you think about it, it is the sewn product equivalent of a quality welded seam in metal fabrication. Dodgy seam = dodgy product.
Considering this is the case, it is vitally important that thread be correctly chosen for the task at hand. It is mind boggling to consider that in a product manufacture thread could contribute around $1, yet individual buckles up to $25 (thinking Cobra buckles for instance). For such a cheap yet vitally important component, why is it overlooked? If you don’t know what thread is in your product, chances are it may just be the cheapest option available, or not properly matched to the task at hand.
Truth be told, when we work on a product, we try to match the thread to the end use scenario. We don’t skim over it, instead fully understanding that although “small”, it plays a vital role. When we were approached to design the MAXTRAX Carry Bag, there were a few things we looked at first.
First we try to match the thread material to the overall product material type. In other words, we try to match Nylon to Nylon; or Polyester to Polyester. Why? Simply put, it has the same wear and stretch characteristics, giving expected wear rates across an entire product. There are instances where we make exceptions to this rule, but for the most part we instinctively reach for the matching thread to fabric combination.
In the case of MAXTRAX, the Carry Bag is a Cordura Nylon, and so thread is a Nylon to match.
Thread size is also vitally important. Generally stronger thread is thicker, so some people would reach for the thickest available. Technically this is correct, but in practice it is wrong. In this instance, a larger needle would be required, punching bigger holes into fabric. If the fabric being used is thinner, it results in a weaker seam. So although the thread is stronger on paper, in practice the resulting seam is drastically weaker.
Because of this you have to carefully match thread size to fabric choice. With the MAXTRAX Carry Bag, the fabric is a 1000D Cordura, so technically is quite burly already. We reached for a M40 thread (also known as V69), finding it interacts with the fabric nicely, almost “nesting” in the seam constructed. Technically we could have run something thicker, such as M30 (V138), however this is a bit more “rope like” and doesn’t sit as well in a seam. What this means is the thread is more exposed, giving increased opportunity for snagging, snapping and abrasion. It really is a fine balance; the stronger thread is more likely to be exposed to harm, yet for a technically weaker thread, it is less likely to be exposed to harm.
In the above image you can see the thread “nesting” into the fabric beside the Cordura label.
All in all, we feel the M40 is the perfect balance; considerable strength and less likely to be exposed to harm. After years of real world testing and end-customer feedback, we can comfortably say that the M40 was definitely the perfect choice. The fabric lasts a long time, the thread lasts a long time, and the seam lasts a long time. All in all, a perfect balanced match.
For all you technical detail geeks out there, the thread we used in the MAXTRAX Carry Bags is an M40 (V69, Tex70), 210D/3 ply, Bonded Nylon, Coats Brand, also known as Nylbond.
If you would like to learn more about the MAXTRAX sewn product range and how we helped, check out the full case study. Or if you would like to discuss how we can help you get your idea to market, reach out to us for a no obligation discussion.