Anytime you make a change there are questions, and one that we’ve been getting recently through the website, phone, and letters–plus we’ve even seen it pop up on a few blogs– is “Why did Coats & Clark change it’s color numbers?” Followed by, “Is there a conversion chart?”

Yes, there is a color conversion guide and it is available on our website.  Color Conversion Guide. If you are on www.makeitcoats.com, you can find it in the Product Explorer section on the Dual Duty XP page. Please use the color conversion chart as a guide. New Dual Duty XP is 100% polyester and Dual Duty Plus was cotton wrapped over a polyester core. While the colors are very, very close; an exact match in different fibers is not always possible. Different fibers dye and reflect colors differently. If you are trying to match a spool that you have had for awhile, factors such as exposure to light and other conditions in the way it was stored may have affected the color. Always check the colors visually to assure you have the best match.

If you find yourself running out of thread in the middle of buttonholes or topstitching with a color that was retired, or that isn’t an exact match—contact us through the website and we will try to help.

For an explanation of how the new color range and color numbering system was developed, I’m turning the question over to our thread “guy”, Ken Nelson.

“The development of Coats & Clark Dual Duty XP gave us a chance to start with a clean sheet of paper. One of the things we wanted to do was to bring some logic back to our color numbering system. Our existing color numbering system was developed over 100 years ago when no one could have imagined having over 300 colors of thread! When colors were added, it wasn’t possible to do so in a sequential manner. In a range that had less than 900 numbers, Color 31, 320A and 495 were all in the pink family. We actually had four colors with the number 4 and a letter – 4A Medium Blue, 4B Pilot Blue, 4D Firmament Blue, and 4E Miracle Blue.

The new system is sequential and logical. Here’s the breakdown for the color families:
0001 to 999 White / Black / Greys (Neutrals)
1000 to 1999 Pinks
2000 to 2999 Reds
3000 to 3999 Purples
4000 to 4999 Blues
5000 to 5999 Aqua / Jades
6000 to 6999 Greens
7000 to 7999 Yellows / Golds / Oranges
8000 to 8999 Browns (Including Natural, Cream and beige)
9000 to 9999 Special Effects (Multi-colors, Twists, Metallics, Fluorescents, Tints, etc.)

We used 4 digits so that there was plenty of room to add colors between the shades without disrupting the logic. The first digit signifies a color family, the second digit signifies light, medium, or dark and the last two digits reference the unique color. Within the color family, colors are further grouped by shade so a low number like 4010 is a very light Crystal Blue, 4470 is a mid-range Yale Blue, and 4900 is Navy which is a dark color.

The color range was also freshened with the latest colors in fashion and home decorating. We kept about 75% of the colors. Colors that were carried over into the Dual Duty XP color range, kept the same color name—only the number changed. Then the fun started—adding new colors and naming them. Things got pretty intense when we all disagreed on what color a rubber duck (new color 7270) was until I brought in one to prove I was right!

At the end of the day, what we wanted to do is to make it easier for you to find the exact color that you need for any sewing project.” -Ken Nelson.

About the Author


Lynn is Director of Consumer Services with Coats & Clark.

29 Responses to New Thread Colors & Numbers
  1. Thanks for explaining. I simply thought I was losing my mind the last time I was in a store buying thread!

    The new displays are fabulous!

  2. is there a new chart by the new numbers, i am a seamstreess and findit hard keep track of my threads with the conversion charts, now that i have all the new numbers

  3. Sandi,
    There is a master color range pdf on the Dual Duty XP product page on Coatsandclark.com. Use the ‘contact us’ link on the website to request a complete catalog.

  4. Appreciate the info it was what I wanted to know. I did a lot of searching on the Coats & Clark web site and when I could not find the answers there I search on Google and after much effort came across the Sewing Secrets (Blog). I which it was on the home page of the Coats & Clark web site that would have saved me a lot of time. Thanks, Rita

  5. I need help. My mid-arm quilting machine really quilts well using Star Mercerized Cotton thread. It’s all I use now. But I’m having trouble finding a color card for this thread. My local sewing stores don’t carry a large line of this thread so I have to order my thread online. I never get the true color from online photos of the thread and am in need of a true-color thread chart. How can I get one? Thanks!

  6. I can not find the conversion chart listed in this article. The link goes to the website, but I can’t find the conversion chart. Granted this was posted in 2009, but I still have old thread that I wish to convert and order on line to match! Can you help please?

  7. I am not a professional, but sew daily and have the disadvantage of being color blind. I love your new numbering system which helps me with shades my eyes have trouble picking up. I would like to know if there is a chart or PDF with the old color names and numbers so I can get them into the right color families correctly. Thanks Karen

  8. I’ve been looking for an explanation of the “letter/number” code between the article number and the color number. A customer ask for a spool of B3. And I knew that wasn’t a color number. He picked out the color from the rack, but he said it wasn’t the right one since it was labeled H8. I tried to tell him that wasn’t the color number, but I couldn’t give him an explanation as to what that code stood for.

  9. I have some thread that says ART 210 and also says 320A. Where is a color chart for this type of thread?

  10. Where can I buy Coates and Clark thread. I live in Connecticut near new haven. Walmart is nearby. Thank you.

  11. I’ve checked all of the resources and can’t find a cross reference for 281A (a medium/dark gray). Is there something close? I’m in the middle of a quilting project where the thread shows. Thanks!

  12. I am trying to load all my threads into the thread catalog of my software. To do this, I need the rgb codes for the colors. I cannot get this information from a pdf color chart. Do you have an HTML version of the color chart?

  13. Please send me a copy of your catalog.

  14. I have been unable to figure out if it is possible to set up a wholesale account. If so, will you please post contact information? Thank you.

  15. I need an explanation on the one letter three (S960) and the one letter one number (D4).

    • Sure Gale. The S960 is the article or sku number. That a number or code that helps us and retailers identify specific products. S960 is hand quilting thread. The letter and number that follows this is a production code. It indicates when the thread came through our manufacturing system. You didn’t ask but the 4 digit number that follows these numbers are the color number.

  16. This is extremely helpful information for those of us who find ourselves using thread everyday for our work.
    I work in alterations bridal , bridesmaids, mother -of the bride and groom and am always wishing for a color swatch folder of dual duty XP to order thread by catalog. Please tell me the company has made such an item available for purchase.

  17. Purchased a J&P Coats thread display cabinet. Trying to find colors, at least one spool for each spot. Have lots of empty wooden spools.
    Can’t find the actual color of; Pongee 15A dogwood 155, marine 12, Copenhagen 5, and iffy on pirate green52A.
    Could I get the new color numbers?

    • We are happy to help. 15A=7410 Pongee, 155=8530 Dogwood, 12=3980 Marine, 5=Copenhagen. We do not have a 52A Pirate Green, perhaps it is 58A = 6050 Powder Green. Here is a link to the product catalog which had a conversion chart. Product Catalog

  18. I have just bought some J&P embroidery floss and the numbers are a five digit like 00315 and they don’t say what color they are can anyone help me with these numbers


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