Sewing threads are put up on different types of thread packages called reel, cops or tubes, cones, king tubes or cones, containers, cocoons, and pre-wound bobbins to suit different types of threads, machines, and sewing needs. Sewing machines require specific types of thread packages for the thread to be presented correctly to the machine. Thread packages may be color-coded by size and type of thread to assist operators in the correct thread section. Thread is sold by length instead of weight.
Spools – Spools contain relatively short-yardage and have thread wound in a parallel position. Spools have a flange either end that interferes with off winding on industrial machines. Spools are designed for home sewing use.
Cops – Cops are used primarily on lockstitch machines where a variety of colors are used and productions run in any one color are short. Thread is cross-wound on cops or small tubes to rise in the off winding.
Cones – Cones are symmetric, tapered forms made of paper or plastic that hold over 5,000 meters of cross-wound thread. Cones provide good off-winding performance for high-speed machines. Cones are the most economical packages for sewing threads in situations when thread consumption is high and production runs are long with limited shade changes.
Vicunas or king tubes – Vicunas or king tubes may be parallel tubes or low-angle cones with a flange at the bottom, which is designed to contain spillage of smooth or continuous filament threads during winding.
Containers – Containers are designed to handle lively monofilament threads that may be difficult to control with traditional packages. Very large spools of the thread may have lubricant applied as the thread is off-wound.
Cocoons – Cocoons are centerless thread packages designed for insertion in shuttleless of multi-needle quilting machines and some types of embroidery machines.
Rewound bobbins – These are precision-wound packages designed to replace metal bobbins in lockstitch machines. Generally, more thread is available and the length is more consistent on pre-wound bobbins than on operator wound bobbins. Downtime is minimized by eliminating time for winding bobbins. Off winding is also improved because of precision winding. Rewound bobbins are available in different thread types and sizes for different models of machines.