My Blanken World

My world of boys, textiles and moving.

Up in knots April 14, 2012

Filed under: Sewing lessons — blankenmom @ 10:13 pm
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Last item in our kit!



Threads – they’re pretty little things!  So many different ones it’s hard to choose….. and to know what type, size, material, company?  There’s big spools, little spools – something called serger thread?  Can you use that for your sewing machine?  Quilting?  What’s that you say – embroidery thread? 

I give up!

Ok – I promise, it’s really not this hard.  But I do get how frustrating it can be trying to choose threads sometimes when you see them in the store. 

I’m not going to be able to give you every piece of information on thread – I’m not a manufacturer, but as before – I can get you out of the store without you pulling all of your hair out!


The threads your most likely to see in your local store (in the U.S.) are:


Coats & Clark

They have my favorite “Jeans thread”.




This is what I use for majority of my sewing.



(These two have actually partnered together recently)


I mainly use their specialty threads. 



Madeira (Embroidery)

It’s made to work best in embroidery under extreme speed.  You could use this to sew blankets or quilts for the top stitching though – it’s shiny.




I actually only own this in embroidery (I bought a giant special package)  But it could very easily be used for regular sewing.




If you don't own sergers, you won't want these threads. 
They're only strong when used with a serger.

Toldi-lock (Serger)



Maxilock (Serger)




(There are more, but these are the ones I’ve personally worked with.)




Each of these types usually carries several different types of thread:



Strong, non stretchy, usually smooth.  Many uses in quilting, sewing and embroidery.



Strong, durable, fade resistant.  Great for embroidery or outdoor uses.



Strong, versatile and stretchy.  Special projects, hand sewing or where you need extra strength without the bulk.



Made from wood pulp so if you like natural, this is a great choice.  Smooth, shiny and  soft.  Good price.  Works for basic sewing and great for embroidery.



Strong – I basically only use this for outdoor stuff where I need strength more than anything else.  (It will fade over time)



Obviously shiny – this is a decorative thread.  It does tend to break easily, but is well worth the work for what it does in a project.  (Buy 4 ply as opposed to 2 ply)



Very stretchy (almost to a fault), can’t be ironed over.  Usually used in embroidery – still a LOT of fun to use.



These are pretty cool – you can have glow-in-the-dark, color changing, variegated, clear, elastic and some I probably don’t even know about yet!  The first few are usually used for embroidery and the last few in the construction of clothes.


All Purpose

Exactly what it says.  Sort of like using a butter knife as a household tool, it’s not perfect, but it will get the job done!


In all of these there are different weights.  From skinny little silks, very thick jeans thread, to fat polyesters.  Your fabric will determine the weight and for the most part, what kind.  Try to match the weights and materials, unless you’re needing a specialty thread. 


This is also when you’ll start to need to look at different needles.  *Breath*



So if you were to go to the you local sewing store and you wanted the easiest advice to start with, what would I suggest? 

Coats & Clark is always a great, inexpensive place to start.  They carry “All purpose” thread.  After you’ve picked out your fabric and you’ve gotten it cut – take the fabric over to the threads and hold it up the spools.  Pick the one that’s closest.  If there isn’t an exact match, go with the darker shade, it hides better in the stitches.  And get the smaller spool for now since you don’t know if you like sewing.  (Unless you’re making something HUGE?!)

Don’t be afraid to try out all the different companies though.  You’ll find the brands you like and which work better for you.  Sometimes you’ll have to use different ones for various reason’s though, so it’s best to know their qualities.

Make sure to get creative and try out various kinds of thread.  While I usually use all purpose, rayon is very nice for a little something extra (it’s like the cheaper version of silk) and if I’m feeling like a little luxury or have a lot of hand sewing to do – nothing beats silk thread!

When your standing in front of the thread display (which can be a bit much if you don’t know what you’re looking for) the prices are most likely up in the corner or above the display.  They usually use a chart for pricing, going by the amount on the spool and type of thread it is.

As a last note, because I wasn’t sure where else to add this on and it deals loosely with thread.  Your machine will take a bobbin.  It’s a little-tiny spool that goes in your machine (I’ll explain more on that later).  When buying extra’s at the store, be sure that you are getting the ones that go with your machine.  Either bring the one that came with your machine to compare, look at the back of the packaging to see if your machine company is listed, look through your manual or their website.  This is important – it WILL mess up your sewing and make your life miserable if you don’t.  And we wouldn’t want something so small make you want to stop sewing! 








(Regular bobbins don’t come pre-wound.  The ones you’re seeing pre-wound at the store are for embroidery – you don’t want those for regular sewing.)



Phew – that was a long one!





2 Responses to “Up in knots”

  1. sewfordough Says:

    This was great. Thank you for spelling it all out so well. It’s awesome that you use so many kinds of thread. I think it’s because you’re an artist and sew many different types of garments. I’m a repairer and just use the basic ones.

    Where do you find Maxi Lock these days? They stopped selling it at JoAnn’s here and said they don’t make it anymore. Is that right?

    • blankenmom Says:

      I’ve only found Maxi Lock on the net and actual sewing machine stores. They’re a bit more expensive, so I don’t try to look for them specifically.

      If you’re going to try any new “fun” thread – go for the glow-in-the-dark. Best thread EVER! (For fun at least)

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