Many blog posts ago I mentioned this needle sharpening pad. I kept an eye out for it at the fabric stores, but it never turned up. So I finally ordered it online and it came the other day!
After I've had the chance to check it out thoroughly I'll let you know how it works.
When it arrived it got me thinking about needles and thread. So let's start at the very beginning and discuss the types of thread available and the various brands.
Gather round sewing friends, we've much to discuss...
Types of Threads for General Sewing on the Machine
The type of thread you need for a sewing project depends mostly on the type of fabric you are using. The type of project might also influence your choice.
The most basic way to determine the type of thread to use is to match thread to fabric origin:
Animal/Insect - wool or silk = silk thread
Plant - cotton, hemp, bamboo, etc. = cotton thread
Man-Made - synthetic fabric, or blend = synthetic thread
Then you can consider the following about the types of threads available:
Cotton: Cotton thread is used to sew medium weight cotton fabrics, rayon & linen. Because it doesn't have much give, it can be prone to breaking. So it shouldn't be used with any fabrics that stretch. Cotton thread is typically mercerized to give it a smooth finish.
Polyester: Polyester thread can be used to sew most fabrics, and is the recommended thread for any project using woven synthetics, knits, or other stretchy fabrics. Polyester thread is generally finished with wax or silicone to help it stitch through the fabric with little friction.
Cotton-Wrapped Polyester: This type of thread can also be used to sew most fabrics. It is good for both natural and synthetic fibers, or blends. The polyester makes the thread strong and pliable, while the exterior cotton wrap gives it a nice sheen and the ability to resist heat from ironing/drying.
Silk: Silk thread is used for sewing silk, wool, knits, and also in fine tailoring. It is very fine and doesn't leave thread holes, making it a great option for basting pieces together.
Nylon: Nylon thread is used to sew synthetic fabrics.
Brands of Sewing Thread
Sew Mama Sew took a poll about thread buying habits and favorite brands. It was interesting reading the comments. I didn't realize there were so many brands of thread!
I'm going to pay more attention to the thread racks at the fabric stores. Usually I head straight to the sections I always visit, and there are many other racks in there to explore.
According to the poll, the most popular brands were:
Coats & Clark Dual Duty
Gutermann 100% Cotton
Gutermann 100% Polyester
Coats & Clark 100% Cotton
Other (see comments)
Mettler 100% Cotton
Here is my personal thread philosophy on the various brands:
For accessories, or things that would not be washed a lot, or expected to last for years upon years, I use the reasonably priced Coats & Clark Dual Duty.
If I'm making something that would be washed repeatedly, or a quilt that is meant to last a life-time, then I spring for the more expensive thread. My preference for quilting is Mettler, and then Gutermann if a suitable Mettler color is not available.
What is your favorite brand of thread?