The information given below is for guidance purposes only. UK Sewing Services recommend that the relevant governing bodies are consulted for the latest information.

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General information

Care labeling systems and symbols
Metric / Imperial conversion
Singer/metric needle sizes

Industry accepted general metric equivalents for elastic
Industry accepted general metric/imperial equivalents for zips
Thread consumption

"Techie stuff"
Stitch class & ratios
Thread ticket numbering systems
Cotton system ( Ne, English)
Metric system (Nm)
Tex system
Denier
Ticket numbering, Cotton numbers
Metric numbers

Metric / Imperial conversion / Metric

mm to inches multiply by .0394
cm to inches multiply by .394
Metres to feet multiply by 3.2808
Metres to yards multiply by 1.0936
Km to miles multiply by .6214
Inch to mm multiply by 25.4
Inch to cm multiply by 2.54
Foot to metre multiply by .3048
Yard to metre multiply by .9144
Mile to Km multiply by 1.6093
1 inch = 25.4mm
1 foot = 30.48cm
1 yard = 91.44cm
1 mile = 1609m (1.6 Kilometers)

Singer/metric needle sizes

Singer 6 7 8 9 10 11 13 14 16 18 19 20 21 22 23 25 26 27 28 29 30
Metric 50 55 60 65 70 75 80 90 100 110 120 125 130 140 160 200 230 250 280 300 330

Industry accepted general metric equivalents for elastic

mm 6/7mm 12/13mm 19/20mm 25/26mm 32mm 37/38mm 43/44mm 50mm
inches 1/4" 1/2" 3/4" 1" 1-1/4" 1-1/2" 1-3/4" 2"

Industry accepted general metric/imperial equivalents for zips.

cm 10 13 15 18 20 23 25 28 30 33 36 38 41 43 46 51 53 56 61 66 69 71 76
inches 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 20 21 22 24 26 27 28 30


Stitch class & ratios

Stitch class Description No of needles Ratio Total thread (cm) per cm of seam
301 lockstitch 1 1 to 1 2.5
101 chainstitch 1 1 to 0 4
401 2 thread chain stitch 1 1 to 3 5.5
304 zig zag 1 1 to 1 7
503 2 thread overlock 1 1.2 to 1 12
504 3 thread overlock 1 1 to 5 14
516 4 thread safety 2 1 to 1.4 17.5
512 4 thread mock safety 2 1 to 3.3 18
516 5 thread safety 2 1 to 3.4 20
516 6 thread safety 3 1 to 2 21
602 4 thread cover 2 1 to 3.5 25
606 9 thread flatlock 4 1 to 3.5 32
607 6 thread flatseam 4 1 to 3.5 32

Thread consumption
The information given below is for guidance purposes only. It is approximate and does not consider wastage. Thread consumption is governed by stitch density, thread type, fabric thickness number of plies & style. The number of packages required to obtain optimum machine cover must also be considered.

  Metres   Metres   Metres   Metres   Metres
Item per item Item per item Item per item Item per item Item per item
Anorak 210 Corset 95 Jacket(C) 160 Panti Girdle 35 Shoes(M) 27
Apron 25 Coverall 530 Jacket(L) 175 Pillowcase 50 Slacks(C) 130
Blanket 30 Dress(C) 90 Jeans(C) 145 Pyjamas(C) 100 Slacks(L) 160
Boilersuit 420 Dress(L) 190 Jeans(L) 175 Pyjamas(L) 140 Slacks(M) 185
Boots(M) 35 Dres'g gown 165 Jeans(M) 210 Pyjamas(M) 190 Sleeping bag 225
Boots(L) 30 Duvet(single) 50 Knitwear(C) 60 Quilt 320 Tent 455
Bra 45 Duvet(double) 65 Knitwear(L) 70 Raincoat 285 Trousers(C) 170
Briefs(C) 40 Fur coat 7300 Knitwear(M) 80 Safety belt 15 Trousers(M) 270
Briefs(L) 65 Gloves 25 Mattress 200 Sheet 48 Umbrella 50
Briefs(M) 50 Golf bag 135 Nightie(C) 55 Shirt(B) 75 Underslip(full) 75
Cap(C) 75 Handbag 15 Nightie(L) 100 Shirt(M) 120 Unders'p(waist) 40
Cap(M) 90 Hanky 5 Overalls(B&B) 220 Shopping bag 55 Vest/T-shirt(C) 25
Carseat cover 575 Hat(C) 25 Overcoat(C) 135 Shorts(C) 35 Vest/T-shirt(M) 40
Coat(overall) 180 Hat(M) 50 Overcoat(L) 315 Shorts(sport) 70 Waistcoat 50
Continental Quilt 100 Housecoat 185 Overcoat(M) 610 Shorts(L) 20 ukss  

General Information

Thread ticket numbering systems.

There are a number of yarn counting systems in use. They are in two distinct classes. 

a). (indirect) Fixed weight systems or  b). (direct) Fixed length systems.

In the first (a), the count is expressed in a fixed weight so that course or thick yarns have low count numbers and the thinner or finer yarns have a high count number (i.e. as in cotton). 

It is the opposite case in the second (b) system. The size is indicated by the weight of a fixed length of yarn. In this system fine yarns would therefore have a low number and course a higher number.

The following are the systems which are usually used for sewing thread.

Cotton system ( Ne, English)
The cotton count system (Ne) of a yarn is the number of hanks of 840 yards in a pound(16 ounces, imperial). As an example a 20's Ne cotton count would contain 20 x 840(16,800) yards per pound.

Metric system (Nm).
The Nm metric count of a yarn is the number of 1000m hanks in a Kilogramme(1000g). i.e. A yarn of Nm metric 90's would contain 90 x 1000 =90,000m metre per kilo.

Tex system.
The size of yarn in this system is expressed as the weight in grammes of 1 kilometer of yarn. Sewing threads are generally quoted in decitex (dtex)  For example a yarn of 20 tex weighs 20 grammes per kilometer. 20 tex = 200 dtex

Denier
Denier is based on the weight, in grammes of 9000m of yarn. If a given length weighs 100 grammes  per 9000m it is 100 denier.

Ticket numbering, Cotton numbers.
Numbers for 3 cord threads are based on the cotton count system. The cotton ticket number of a thread is equal to the cotton count of a three ply equivalent. As an example, if the construction is 60s/3 Ne, the ticket number would be 60. Similarly if the construction were 40/2 Ne the ticket number would still be 60. The numbers used for cotton threads intended for footwear however are related to the numbers used for 9 - 12 cord threads, which are in turn derived from linen counts.

Metric numbers.
These are based on the metric count system and are now used for most synthetic sewing threads. The metric ticket number of a thread is equal the metric count of a three ply equivalent. For example if the construction is 60/3 Nm the ticket number will be 60. Similarly if the construction was 40/2 Nm the ticket number would be 60.

All rights reserved. Copyright 1998-2002  UK-SEWING-SERVICES.

Care labeling systems and symbols.
Some symbols & directions may not be used in your country or may have different general interpretation. 
Please confirm with any governing body prior to using any symbol/interpretation below.

Process Symbol General interpretation
Machine wash

 You may wash the item under normal machine settings.
Machine wash 30oC Maximum water temperature
Machine wash 40oC Maximum water temperature
Machine wash 50oC Maximum water temperature
Machine wash 60oC Maximum water temperature
Machine wash 70oC Maximum water temperature
Machine wash 95oC Maximum water temperature
Machine wash Machine washed on "Permanent press" settings only.
Machine wash The item should be machine washed on "Delicates" settings only.
Hand wash The item should be hand washed only.
Do not wash The item should not be washed.
Bleach  Bleach may be used during washing.
Non-Chlorine bleach Colour-safe non-chlorine bleach may be used during washing.
Do not bleach No bleach should ever be used.
Tumble dry

Normal tumble drying allowed.
Tumble dry Normal tumble drying on low heat
Tumble dry Normal tumble drying on medium heat
Tumble dry Normal tumble drying on high heat
Tumble dry Normal tumble drying no heat
Tumble dry Normal tumble drying allowed with "Permanent Press" settings
Tumble dry Normal tumble drying allowed on "Gentle" setting.
Do not tumble dry Do not tumble dry.
Do not dry Drying is not recommended
Line dry Dry on a line.
Drip dry Drip dry only.
Dry flat Lay the item flat to dry
Dry in shade Do not dry in direct sunlight.
Do not wring Wringing is not recommended.
Ironing Iron at any temperature with or without steam.
Iron Iron low, below 110o
Iron Iron medium, below 150oC
Iron Iron high, below 200oC
Do not steam Do not apply steam during ironing
Do not iron Ironing is not recommended.
Dry Clean Normal Dry cleaning recommended
Dry clean Dry cleaning recommended with any solvent.
Dry clean Dry cleaning with petroleum solvent recommended
Dry clean Dry cleaning recommended with any solvent except trichloroethylene
Dry clean Dry clean on a short cycle only
Dry clean Dry clean with a reduced moisture setting
Dry clean Dry clean with low heat setting
Dry clean Dry clean with no steam
Do not dry clean Do not dry clean
Hang dry Hang dry only
Hang dry Hang dry in shade
Lay flat Lay flat to dry
Lay flat Lay flat to dry in shade

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