Understanding Thread Thickness

Denier was the first methodology for measuring threads, then along came the decitex system. Moving on, the current Metric system was introduced. Any or all systems may be used in the trade.

Confusion arises because although the rationale makes sense, logic is different and for some, very confusing when the exact opposite formula applies to the denier/decitex and metric systems.

As an example - a pair of tights (pantyhose to our American cousins) is measured in Denier and the higher the number the thicker the material. So a pair of 10 denier tights are fine, 40 denier is much heavier.

With metric numbering systems for thread, the opposite applies - the thicker the thread, the lower the metric number. So a number 12 thread is thicker than a number 40 weight.

Using the metric system, all you really need to remember for embroidery and sewing thread is:  

'the higher the number the finer the thread, the lower the number the thicker the thread'

or that it is the opposite to a pair of tights! 

The explanations and calculations are for the more technically minded...

 Metric measuring Systems

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 International Metric Count   =  Nm or No 
 Nm  =  number of 1000 metre hanks per kilo 
 Denier to metric   =  9000 ÷ denier 
 Metric to Denier   =  9000 ÷ metric 
 Dtex to metric   =  10,000 ÷ dtex 
 Metric to Dtex  =  1000 ÷ metric 


Denier & Decitex measuring Systems

In the Metric system, the finer the thread, the higher the number and the number itself is usually rounded to the nearest 5 or 0. Example Conversions are not always 100% accurate, but a general guide.

Using an example from the Madeira CLASSIC shadecard, Madeira CLASSIC No 40

Dtex 135x2 Den 120x2 Nm 74/2No 40 (which is actually Nm74/2 = 74÷2 = 37)

Dtex 135 x 2 converted to Denier  = 135 x 2 = 270 x 0.9 = 243 ÷ 2 = Denier

121x2Den 120 x 2 converted to Decitex = 120 x 2 = 240 ÷ 0.9 = 267 ÷ 2 = Dtex
133x2Nm 74/2 = No 37No 37 converted to Decitex   = 10000 ÷ 37 = 270 ÷ 2 = 135 x 2 DtexNo 37 converted to Denier     =   9000 ÷ 37 = 243 ÷ 2 = 121x 2 Denier

(No 40 converted to Decitex  = 10000 ÷ 40 = 250 ÷ 2 = 125x2 Dtex)
(No 40 converted to Denier  =  9000 ÷ 40 = 225 ÷ 2 = 112x2 Denier)

 Tex  =  weight in grams of 1000 metres of yarn
 dtex = decitex   =  weight in grams of 10,000 metres of yarn
 dtex x 2  =  two plys of yarn 
 Td = den count = denier  =  weight in grams of 9000 metres of yarn 
 den x 2   =  two plys of yarn 
 1 denier   =  1.111 decitex
 Dtex to Denier   =  dtex count x 0.9
 Denier to Dtex   =  denier ÷ 0.9


In these systems, the thicker the thread, the higher the number

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 International Metric Count   =  Nm or No 
 Nm  =  number of 1000 metre hanks per kilo 
 Denier to metric   =  9000 ÷ denier 
 Metric to Denier   =  9000 ÷ metric 
 Dtex to metric   =  10,000 ÷ dtex 
 Metric to Dtex  =  1000 ÷ metric 


In the Metric system, the finer the thread, the higher the number and the number itself is usually rounded to the nearest 5 or 0. Example Conversions are not always 100% accurate, but a general guide.

Using an example from the Madeira CLASSIC shadecard, Madeira CLASSIC No 40

 

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Dtex 135 x 2 converted to Denier  =135 x 2 = 270 x 0.9 = 243 ÷ 2 = Denier 121 x 2 
Den 120 x 2 converted to Decitex =120 x 2 = 240 ÷ 0.9 = 267 ÷ 2 = Dtex 133 x 2
Nm 74/2  =No 37 
No 37 converted to Decitex =10000 ÷ 37 = 270 ÷ 2 = 135 x 2 Dtex  
No 37 converted to Denier   =9000 ÷ 37 = 243 ÷ 2 = 121 x 2 Denier 


(No 40 converted to Decitex  = 10000 ÷ 40 = 250 ÷ 2 = 125x2 Dtex)
(No 40 converted to Denier  =  9000 ÷ 40 = 225 ÷ 2 = 112x2 Denier)