THREADS 101 – Part 1

THREADS 

101- Part 1

GENERAL RULES

By Jenn Long

Rainbow of thread

Threads, threads, and more threads!  Why are there so many different kinds and types of thread?! Not all thread is created equal.  There are more factors into selecting thread then just matching the thread color.  Trying to sort out what is what can be overwhelming for anyone.  Picking the right thread can make or break your project as well as your sanity.

So let us start with the basics.   When it comes to thread there are a few rules to help guide you.  However, as with all rules, they seem to be made just to be then broken!   These rules are very general and there is always someone out there that does it differently.

Metallic Thread by Sulky

 MATCH YOUR THREAD TO YOUR FABRIC SHADE

 In an act of breaking the first rule…I actually go one to two shades darker.  It tends to blend in much more once it is sewn up.  Something to remember is that colors will vary between brands.  “Canary” color in one brand will not be the same in another brand or even a different dye lot of the same brand.  When buying thread, buy enough to complete your project.  Taking the chance of running out of thread and getting a different dye lot may ruin your project.  This is especially true with machine embroidery.  Not to mention that if you are like me and sew at 1:00 am while the kids are in bed is not convenient to run out of the thread at that time!

MATCH YOUR THREAD TO YOUR MATERIAL

Next is to match your thread with your material and use.  For example, silk thread for silk fabric and cotton for quilting cotton woven, etc. This is where it can get murky.   It is hard to know what your material consists of in this day of up-cycling.

If you are unsure, sticking with all-purpose polyester such as Mettler Metrosene Plus is probably your best bet.  Generally, garment sewers like to also use all-purpose polyester like Metrosene Plus.

DO NOT USE CHEAP OR OLD THREAD

This next rule I never break.  Don’t use cheap or old thread.   As cute as it is to have grandmothers wooden spool of thread on your machine, it will break repeatedly, leave a ton of lint inside your machine which leads to more repairs.  The money you save buying cheap thread will be sucked up in your purchase of Advil in order to be able to deal with all the thread dilemmas you have granted yourself.  This I have learned from experience!

THREAD STORAGE AND ORGANIZATION MATTERS

SULKY STREAMLINE THREAD AND STORAGE

I love the online images of highly organized sewing and craft rooms.  In reality, sewing rooms rarely look like that.  We try to but it just doesn’t happen!  It reminds me of when you see pictures of a beautiful newborn baby and there is mom…hair done, make-up flawless, no bags under the eyes, fully dressed and not in P.J.s. Yeah right! In real life, our sewing rooms are a mess and we invest just as much time trying to keep it organized (or at least entertaining the thought) then we do actually using the room.  It is very pretty to see an entire wall decorated with a rainbow of threads.  Pinterest is absolutely covered with awesome craft rooms like that.

DUST FREE THREAD AND FABRIC ARE A MUST

However pretty and convenient, sewing rooms are hard to keep clean and nothing will age your thread faster than dust!  Dust on threads will be carried into your tension disks of your machine and lead to repairs.  Although it is easy to see all your threads on the wall, keeping them in some kind of container dust free is best.  Sulky as well as other thread manufactures make boxes to keep the threads organized, labeled, and dust free such as Sulky Slimline box.

Stay tuned for Thread 101 (Part 2) by Jenn Long

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