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Edition 8 – Threads In Focus | Woolly Nylon / 80s Bulk

Sewing Thread Category Image 8Woolly Nylon Thread was developed purely for industry. Overlockers were at one time only available in the ‘rag trade’ and this thread took away the problem of both raw edges and contrast edges in one go. It is not a needle thread. It throws a loop around the edge of the fabric – a Looper Thread.

Dispel The Myth 80s Bulk Thread

We have heard & read them all (well most): 80s Bulk Thread is not Woolly Nylon; Woolly Nylon is not 80s Bulk; 80s Bulk is polyester/rayon/monofilament; Woolly Nylon is softer; 80s Bulk is better at covering seams; Woolly Nylon has more stretch; 80s Bulk is stronger; the list goes on. However the simple truth is 80s Bulk & Woolly Nylon are one and the same—they are absolutely identical in all but name. 80s Bulk Nylon is the technical term Woolly Nylon is the colloquial and popular version.

Is one right and one wrong? Of course not! – Both names are used interchangeably here at The Centre and throughout sewing communities.

Thread Construction

You may have read other articles in the series. Most have mentioned the twist applied to thread. The twisting of strands to create a smooth, sewable thread is essential (see Threads In Focus Edition 1 for full details).

80s Bulk has an entirely different twist yet logically the same principles apply. This is called a FALSE TWIST. Essentially the whole twisting process is ‘speeded up’.

The yarn filaments are passed under tension and at speed through a rotating set of discs. This is called a Friction Unit – for obvious reasons – the action of tension and speed creates friction! The yarn becomes twisted and untwisted by the process and is fluffed out/bulked as it runs through.

This is called False Twist. It is after all not being twisted together conventionally. This False Twist does not remain but a ‘memory’ of it does and gives the yarn stretch and elasticity which causes bulkiness – hence the term Bulk Thread.

The state the yarn is now in needs to be kept exactly. The only thing which will do this is heat. Heat applied evenly throughout the yarn will stabilise and set it at this point enabling it to be wound and used as a thread. It is now a useable thread. However the memory of the friction is consolidated in to the finished product.

Wound on to a bobbin or cone it looks like a normal, matt sewing thread. When it is run through the tensions on an overlocker it relaxes and ’remembers’ its relaxed, fluffly state. At the point of sewing it runs smoothly but as it passes through the guides & tensions on the overlocker it remembers the friction processes and relaxes back in to the frictional state of bulkiness.

Although this sounds relatively ‘convoluted’ it is not. To actually see the thread is the best way to understand—however in such fine detail it simply will not photograph effectively (trust me I’ve tried!) but if you are interested then Contact Us and we will pop a sample in the post.

The Finished Product

A soft, almost elastic covering thread. We are all touching it right now. Bras, knickers, boxers, babywear, nightwear, furnishings, upholstery ….it cushions an inner raw edge & stops fraying. Plus it can also create a contrast edge on the outside of a garment e.g. a duvet cover, dancewear – a pale fabric can be overlocked with a darker thread to give a decorative finish and vice versa. With regard to another of it’s core industrial purposes bulk is perfect for providing complete seam coverage on knitted fabrics such as lycras – essential to stop any fraying.

Domestic Overlockers

Wonderful inventions but not if you are only able to find huge cones of industrial bulk. They very often don’t even fit on to the machine. We can wind this thread for you on to suitable sized bobbins to fit your machine without losing any of the essential properties.

The ‘Quirks’

Keep an open mind. Never think of a thread as being totally practical or totally creative. A Young Embroiderer once used 80s Bulk Thread to create a wall hanging of a Punk Rockers hair – she applied the tension by hand, the thread ‘fluffed’, she couched it down, the effect was stunning

We often get chaps wearing peculiar hats adorned in bright colours wandering in to the Centre and they all say the same thing – ‘you won’t guess what we are here for’. Yes we do. Fly fishing. When 80s Bulk, which looks matt on the bobbin, is wrapped very tightly then the brightness of the yarn appears. It is resilient, stretchy and takes dyes so well that the colours are magnificent. The fish rise!

Empress & Bulk

One of our best sellers internationally – we are very proud of our 80s Bulk / Woolly Nylon range and are one of the leading suppliers of Bulk in the UK & Europe. Our range of around 90 shades is the largest in the country and unlike the vast majority of textile shops we are able to guarantee our thread is industrial quality for the very simple fact we sell it into industry!

Useful Links & Further Reading

More about Twist – Edition One

The 80s Bulk Thread / Woolly Nylon Thread Range

Request A Swatch

If you would like more information or have any questions then please don’t hesitate to Contact Us.

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