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The Difference Between Braided & Twisted Threads

Leather workers can choose between braided and twisted waxed polyester thread. What's the difference and which is better for sewing leather?

The Difference Between Braided & Twisted Threads

Waxed polyester thread from Maine Thread, now available in a braided version.

Picking the right thread for your leather work is an important decision and can be difficult. From Twisted to Braided threads, your options are numerous. In this article, we discuss Braided and Twisted threads, their differences, uses, and other helpful information.


Polyester threads are threads that look, feel, and sew like nylon thread, but have superior sunlight (UV) and mildew resistance. These qualities make polyester threads durable, better at handling the tension of the high speed of sewing machines and wear and stretch of hand-stitching. They are commonly used for general sewing, embroidery, and leatherwork.

Braided threads are constructed from a braided core and surrounded by a braided cover. This type of thread is flexible, strong, and has a smooth feel to the touch. Twisted threads are created by taking fibers and twisting them into strands. Twisted threads are easy to splice and stretch and have a more natural look.

Most twisted threads for hand sewing like Maine Thread are "S" twist, while most machine threads are "Z" twist. Braided threads like Ritza consist of as many as 18 tiny intervowen strands, with or without a core.


Braided and twisted polyester threads are both great choices for leather workers. In comparison, braided threads are generally considered stronger and more flexible than twisted threads. Ultimately though, both types of threads are strong and durable for sewing leather, and it comes down to the look you want with your stitches.


Maine Thread is well known for its waxed cord and is used primarily for hand stitching leather products. Based in Lewiston, ME, and has been manufacturing since 1965, Maine Thread Company boasts the endless uses of its thread, including for saddles, basket making, stringing beads, and many more.

Maine Thread Waxed Cord is an original polyester thread for leather crafters, cobblers, shoemakers, and others. Maine Thread Waxed Cord comes in both Twisted and Braided versions available in many different colors.

Maine Thread Waxed Cord comes in twisted (pictured left) and braided versions (pictured top of page). Ritza 25 Tiger Thread (pictured right) is a braided polyester thread.


The Danish company Julius Koch manufactures Ritza Thread. Imported from Germany and founded in 1895, Tiger thread is considered the ultimate thread among many leatherworkers for its durability and strength. It is 100 percent polyester, and is lightly waxed, making it UV resistant and dependable.

Ritza 25 Tiger Thread is a braided thread. When hand sewing with Ritza 25 Tiger Thread, the thread lies flat against the leather and will hold its shape and place while in use. Ritza 25 Tiger Thread is available in various colors for making bags, belts, wallets, shoes, and more.

If you have not used Ritza Thread before, a great way to try it out is with a "Do It Yourself" Leather Kit, which come with your choice if Ritza 25 Tiger Thread.