The sign of the unicorn. A fabric shop for 18th century reenactors and historians.

Silk Thread | Linen Thread | Metallic Thread

100% Silk and 100% Linen Thread

Linen and silk thread were the most widely used threads by the pre 19th century sempstress until cotton thread became the sewing thread of choice later in the 19th century.

Silk thread was used for sewing silk garments and marking and embroidering linens whereas silk twist was used for sewing button holes. All the silk thread require waxing before hand sewing to prevent unraveling and may be used in sewing machines. The only exception is silk buttonhole twist which is intended for hand sewing and therefore does not need to be waxed before hand sewing and is not intended for sewing machines.

Our linen thread is of beautifully spun yarn made from 100% European flax and are wetspun to resist shredding during sewing, add strength, and add consistency. We recommend that you always wax linen thread before hand sewing. To understand linen thread it is important to know the larger the first number the finer the linen thread. The second number indicates that all our linen threads are two or three ply.

Before widespread use of sewing machines linen and silk thread was bought by the skein and wound onto thread winders. Embroidery scissors and many other items on our Needlework Tools page will complete your authentic hand sewing kit.

Silk Thread | Linen Thread | Metallic Thread

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Silk Thread

Fine Silk Sewing Thread This is available in about 218 yd. (200 m.) spools $6.50 in white and black. this thread is our finest silk sewing thread and will make an almost invisible seam because either color seems to disappear into the fabric. But to hand sew with this silk thread you must be sure to wax it first otherwise it will unravel. Using smaller lengths may also help. Fine silk thread will slide effortlessly through the machine as well. The twist is designed to prevent slipping and skipping of stitches forming a strong seam.

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Medium Weight Silk Sewing Thread Spools with approx. 44 yd. (40 m.) are available for $5.50 in several colors. This silk thread is a good weight thread for making death head buttons as well as other passementerie buttons. But to hand sew with this silk thread you must be sure to wax it first otherwise it will unravel. Using smaller lengths will also help.

Add Medium Weight Blue, Red or White Silk Thread to Cart

White, and black 220 yd. spools of fine silk sewing thread Silk thread used for hand sewing historic garments in black and white.
Blue, scarlet red, and white medium weight silk thread Silk medium weight sewing thread used for hand sewing historic garments.
Black, brown and ivory medium weight silk thread Silk medium weight sewing thread used for hand sewing historic garments.
Orange yellow medium weight silk thread
Silk thread used for hand sewing historic garments.
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Silk Button Hole Twist This is available in about 22 yd. (20 m.) card $6.00 in many colors. Although the modern term for this is button hole twist many feel that quilter's thread is closer to the weight mostly seen on extant 18th century garments. This thread has the tightest twist and is specifically designed for hand sewing buttonholes so there is no need to wax buttonhole twist before using. Although silk buttonhole twist is made for buttonholes the thread is more coarse than that found on most original 18th century garments.

Add Scarlet, White, Off White, and Ivory Silk Button Hole Twist to Cart

Add Brown Shades of Silk Button Hole Twist to Cart

Add Blues, Green, Gray and Madder Red Silk Button Hole Twist to Cart

Silk Quilter's Thread Spools of 9 weight silk thread with approx. 22 yd. (20 m.) are available for $6.50 in many colors. It is believed that silk quilting weight thread is the closest today to 18th century buttonhole twist. But to hand sew with this silk thread you must wax it first otherwise it will unravel. Using smaller lengths will also help. This silk thread will also work for making death head buttons or other passementerie buttons. Since this thread is specifically made for machine sewing the "z" twist will prevent slipping and skipping of stitches forming a strong seam with a machine.

When using quilter's thread for buttonholes allow approximately 20 buttonholes per spool. When using this thread to cover wood button molds for making death head or basket buttons one spool will make about 4 1/2, 1" or 10, 5/8" death head buttons. You may read about and learn to make death head buttons in "Death Head" buttons their use and construction.

Add Scarlet, Claret and Gray Silk Quilter's Thread to Cart

Add Crimson, Blue and Buff Silk Quilter's Thread to Cart

Add Green Silk Quilter's Thread to Cart

Add Orange and Violet Silk Quilter's Thread to Cart

Add White and Drab Silk Quilter's Thread to Cart

Add Brown, Black and Navy Blue Silk Quilter's Thread to Cart

Scarlet, white, off white, ivory, and black 22 yd. cards of silk button hole twist Silk thread used for hand sewing historic garments in black and white.
Dark brown, brown, cinnamon brown, drab and natural 22 yd. cards of button hole twist Silk medium weight sewing thread used for hand sewing historic garments.
Navy blue, blue, green, gray, and madder red 22 yd. cards of button hole twist Silk thread used for hand sewing historic garments in black and white.
Scarlet, claret and gray medium weight silk quilter's thread Silk medium weight sewing thread used for hand sewing historic garments.
Crimson, blue and buff medium weight silk quilter's thread Silk medium weight sewing thread used for hand sewing historic garments.
Light green and green medium weight silk quilter's thread Silk thread used for hand sewing historic garments.
Pink and yellow medium weight silk quilter's thread Silk thread used for hand sewing historic garments.
White and drab medium weight silk quilter's thread Silk thread used for hand sewing historic garments.
Brown, black and navy blue medium weight silk quilter's thread Silk thread used for hand sewing historic garments.
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Silk Thread | Linen Thread | Metallic Thread

Linen Thread

16/2: Linen thread is available in 100 yd. (91 m.) skeins $3.50 in white, off white, and unbleached and now in golden bleached. Before the 19th century linen thread was sold by the skein and similar skeins are illustrated in Denis Diderot's Encyclopedia. Because of this these skeins may be used as they are for museum displays or wound onto a thread winder. Linen thread of this weight is great for sewing coarse linens, top stitching, thread (Dorset) shirt buttons, and making lucet cord. Crewl needles work well with this linen thread for sewing in fabric or for making thread buttons try tapestry needles.

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Add Golden Bleached 16/2 in 100 yd. Skein to Cart

16/2: Spools of linen thread in white with approx. 711 yd. (650 m.) are available for $15.00. We also have off white and unbleached 16/2 linen thread in approx. 1345 yd. (1230 m.) spools for $30.00. Linen thread of this weight is great for sewing coarse linens, top stitching, thread (Dorset) shirt buttons, hand weaving linen tapes, and making lucet cord. Crewl needles work well with this linen thread for sewing in fabric or for making thread buttons try tapestry needles.

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35/2: White, off white, golden bleached and unbleached linen thread of this weight is good for most general sewing such as button holes, eyelets, top stitching, thread buttons and hand sewing medium to coarser linens and wools and comes in 25 gram (approx. 290 yd. 265 m.) spools for $10.00/spool.

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35/2: Colored linen thread (illustrated at right) comes in 12 1/2 gram or approx. 145 yd. (133 m.) spools in golden bleached, cinnamon brown, scarlet, green, dark green, black, claret, light green, light brown, gray, blue and light blue. All colors are $6.50/spool.

Add Buff Colored Linen Thread 35/2 to Cart

Add Colored Linen Thread 35/2 to Cart

Add Black Linen Thread 35/2 to Cart

White, off white, and unbleached 100 yd. skeins of 16/2 Linen thread 16/2 used for hand sewing historic garments.
Navy blue, cinnamon brown, and scarlet 35/2 Linen thread 35/2 used for hand sewing historic garments.
Claret, light green and green 35/2 Linen thread 35/2 for hand sewing historic garments.
Blue and light blue 35/2 Linen thread 35/2 used for hand sewing historic garments.
Gray, light brown and buff colored 35/2 Linen thread 35/2 used for hand sewing historic garments.
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50/3: Linen thread of this weight is just slightly coarser than the 35/2 above and being three ply it is a bit stronger. Linen thread of this weight works well when sewing medium to coarser linens and wools. Hand sewing, button holes, eyelets, and top stitching all are suitable for this 100% linen thread and comes on 30 m. spools which is just over 32 yd. We will do our best to match the thread to a fabric swatch you send us or match the thread to our fabric. Each are $3.00/spool.

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80/3: Linen thread of this weight is good for hand sewing most fine to medium weight linen and fine wools and comes in about 54 yd. (50 m.) spools. We will do our best to match the thread to a fabric swatch you send us or match the thread to our fabric. Currently 80/3 is available in the same diverse range of colors as 50/3. Each are $3.00/spool.

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Green, claret red, brown, and madder red 50/3 Green, claret red, brown, madder red 50/3
White, beige, medium blue, and royal blue 50/3 White, beige, medium blue, royal blue 50/3
Scarlet red and pale blue 50/3 Linen thread in scarlet red and pale blue 50/3
Pink, dark pink and orange 50/3 Pink, dark pink and orange 50/3
Canary yellow, orange yellow,
light green and medium green 50/3 Canary yellow, orange yellow, light green and medium green 50/3
Light brown, ivory, gray and black 50/3 Light brown, ivory, gray and black 50/3

60/2: Fine hand sewing linen thread is good for sewing most shirt or shift weight linen. It is available in 498 yd. or 455 m. spools for $11.00 a spool. For example in New Jersey in 1781 "a quantity of fine thread" was stolen.

Add Off White Linen Thread 60/2 to Cart

Off white 60/2 White, off white, and unbleached 60/2

60/2: Fine hand sewing linen thread is good for sewing most shirt or shift weight linen. It is available in 12 1/2 gram or approx. 145 yd. (133 m.) for $8.00 a spool. For example in New Jersey in 1781 "a quantity of fine thread" was stolen.

Add Navy Blue Linen Thread 60/2 to Cart

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White 90/2: Very fine linen thread comes in 372 yd. or 340 m. spools in white and is good for hand sewing handkerchief weight linen for caps and neck cloths. This is a good weight for knotting or tatting, and to use when learning bobbin lace. Bleached 90/2 is $8.50 a spool.

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Black 100/3: Very fine linen thread comes in black and is good for hand sewing handkerchief weight linen and for making bobbin lace. A 54 yd. (about 50 m.) spool is $3.00 each.

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Off White 90/2 White 90/2

Silk Thread | Linen Thread | Metallic Thread

Vintage Gold Metallic Thread

We have no metallic thread in stock at this time. Please check with us again.

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Silk Thread | Linen Thread | Metallic Thread

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