Monday, April 18, 2011

Thread Matters

Hey, do you have a favorite thread? It's always seemed kind of silly to me to nitpick over which thread to use, but then I fell in love: with Mettler. I really adore their Metrosene variety, and more importantly, my machine adores it as well. This stuff glides effortlessly through my Bernina 1008 and makes beautiful stitches every time. (New Yorkers: you can buy Mettler at SIL Thread on 38th Street and City Quilter on 25th.)

Another thing to love: I've found that Mettler is smooth enough that it works well for basting and other hand stitches. Plus, it's a bit thinner than Gutermann silk thread, which makes it easier to thread through a small sharp needle.

So, how about you? Are you discerning about your thread? Or are you happy as long as it sews a stitch? If you're not really sure yet, it's always a great idea to try out a new variety on each project to see if one is match made in heaven . . . or just a short-term affair.

51 comments:

  1. I like Mettler Metrosene, but for different reasons. I seem to find better color matches with Mettler Metrosene. I haven't really noticed a difference in the way it performs in my machine. I like milliner's needles for hand sewing and the eyes are painfully small. I wonder if Metrosene would be easier to thread. I like Metrosene, but I USE Guttermann because it's more readily available.

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  2. I guttermann because of the color selection and it's fine. At our shop we sell Metrosene and Aurifil which I also like a lot. The Aurifil is cotton, so it's very curly and makes me crazy!

    I use guttermann silk for hand stuff and a japanese filament silk buttonhole twist - it comes on a old-style short, squat spool. I have a TERRIBLE time threading the needle, though, as I really like using the tiniest quilters betweens I can find - I'm better at hand sewing with super short needles, but the eyes are so teeny!

    I've been buying coats and clark for the heavy thread lately. It seems to work just fine!

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  3. Metrosene has been my favorite for many years! I don't like Gutermann as well but will use it if I can't find the right color in Mettler.

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  4. My local sewing shops only stock Gütermann and Coats. When I bought my sewing machine, it came with a huge bagful of polyester thread in a multitude of colours. Although I don't like it much, I find myself using it for the simple reason that it's there and often in the right shade. And for all my sniffiness (snobbiness?) about it being a man-made fiber, it does the job perfectly.

    That said, I inherited an elderly aunt's sewing notions recently, with beautiful cotton thread on wooden bobbins and it is such a joy to use in comparison. I've been wondering what I'm going to do when I run out!

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  5. I've always been a Coats & Clark girl, but recently used Mettler Metrosene while sewing at Sewtropolis, and I'm pretty smitten. There's something about the long thin spools that makes for a happy tension I think. I'm really cheap though, and I've had terrific luck with C & C through the years. I will say that buying cheaper cone thread than Maxi-Lock always ends up with me angry. I love using cones on a thread stand, but I am much more careful about what my cheap ass might pick up at Minnesota's fabric warehouses..

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  6. Meh... I buy either Mettler or Guttermann. Which ever one has the closest color match. I also buy Coats & Clark Heavy Duty for top stitching. But I will not rule out C&C if they have the best color match. I've found that as long as I use the correct size Schmetz needles in my Bernina, any brand of thread works fine.

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  7. I'm cheap and have no standards, so it's Coats & Clark for me. Actually, I'm trying to use up the huge box of old thread that we got when we cleaned out my grandmother's house, so I'm happy with anything that doesn't pill up and snap when I use it. We "pull test" each spool to see how rotted the thread is so we can decide if it's good enough for sewing, basting, or instant disposal.

    I do have opinions on needles, though. Gotta be John James for handwork.

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  8. I am mostly a guttermann girl but my local shop sells mettler and I use it for heirloom work and if I happen to need to buy thread there. I like both but stock up on guttermann when it is on sale.

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  9. I have been a Gutermann fan for years but you've inspired me to give Metrosene a try. I love that runs so well in the machine...
    Thanks for sharing!
    xoxo Beth

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  10. I use Gutermann (because I can wait till it's 50% off at Joann's, usually polyester) unless I can't find a color match, in which case I go to Mettler. (I suspect I am WAY too picky about matching thread colors, after buying three very close shades of green in a recent trip.) I haven't noticed a difference in how they sew. Somewhere I picked up a prejudice against C&C and don't even look at it.

    Glad to hear John James needles are good, Little Black Car! I just bought some, after realizing that maybe handwork would be easier if I wasn't using a 20-yr old dollar store sewing kit.

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  11. I have gradually come to favor Mettler, too. But, I own a lot of Gutterman. I have a color chart and I use it to buy thread in the 1100 meter rolls when Atlanta Thread is running a sale. I like the price. I stay away from Coats and Clark after suffering with a spool that tangled up in my machine.

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  12. i discovered mettler-- very late to the game-- at a hancock's sale a few months ago. i love it, and i REALLY love that it doesn't have that jagged tooth section on the spool like gutterman does. my vintage machine always gets snagged on gutterman, so it's mettler/ coats & clark for me.

    can anyone tell me wha tthe heck that jagged end is for???

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  13. I tend to use a lot of Guterman because that's what's in my local quilting stores. If I buy my thread when I pick the fabric, then it's whichever gives me the better color match. I really need to go to the "fancy" store and pick up some silk thread.

    On the other hand, I've gotten addicted to the huge spools of cotton thread from Connecting Threads. It's WAYYY cheaper than most brands I've found, a nice thick , but not too thick twist and the colors, oh, the colors!

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  14. I use Gutermann because I can get it so cheaply (40-50% from JoAnn), and it works much better in my machine than C&C.

    Occasionally I'll pick up Mettler for color matching. But, I’ve also learned over the years that unless I’m doing some topstitching or hemming in a way that the thread shows, having 100% color match doesn’t matter, so more often than not, Gutermann works fine.

    And, I try to use like fibers. So, if I'm using manmade fabric, I'll do poly thread, otherwise I try to stick to silk or cotton. (Doesn’t always work for topstitching though)

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  15. I don't usually comment, but I had to join in on this one. I mostly use "vintage" thread. I inherited my mother's and my grandmother's threads and notions a few years ago. I usually go through those and find a match. Most is cotton on wooden spools. I also have snaps and hooks. I was putting a snap on a pair of pants the other day and the card said 10 cents! The old thread is good for many things, but when I need something else I use Gutterman. I haven't found Mettler to compare.

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  16. I got a free sample of some Aurifil threads... and I have to say I'm absolutely in love with them. I haven't been able to find a place to buy them locally just yet, which would be helpful for color matching purposes. But the thread just seemed to glide as I was sewing, and I was really impressed. I had mostly been using Gutterman thread, and I have to say, I MUCH prefer the Aurifil thread!

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  17. i love gütermann! they have the best color matches & i always feel so fancy using those long spools :)

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  18. I use Mettler Metrosene. I keep a current color chart on hand and order from a few different sources. I purchased my Bernina from a Bernina shop while living in Switzerland and was told that the Bernina factory calibrates the Bernina's to/with Mettler thread. It does just glide through my machine!

    I'll use Gutterman, but it's not as sleek as the Mettler threads.

    I also like Superior Thread. I've had very nice results using their fine thread to sew voiles and batistes on the Bernina.

    Coats and Clark isn't allowed near my Bernina but I do use it on my heavy duty Singer and sometimes in my Pfaff. It creates more fuzz/lint than any other thread I've used so I have to clean my machine much more frequently if I'm using it.

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  19. Choice?! I should be so lucky! Unfortunately all the local shops have either Gutermann or maybe Coates, a couple have some super-cheap budget threads, which I avoid. I'd love to have a large fabric shop/haberdashery nearby where I'd have a choice rather than just having to go with what's available. That is one thing I envy you Americans for!

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  20. I'm a Coates and Clark girl. For a long time, I used Gutterman's or Metrosene, out of habit more than anything else, but then when they didn't have the colour I needed, bought a spool of C&C. I loved it. It's even, stitches out really nicely, they've got a better colour selection and the spools are bigger, so they last longer.

    I use silk and heirloom threads for my french sewing, and machine quilting cotton for quilting but for everything else, I pretty much stick to Coates and Clark.

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  21. Pretty much Coats & Clark - the stores near me carry the biggest color selection in C&C, so that's what I go for. My machine doesn't seem to care either. I've occasionally tried Gutterman & a silk thread, but they didn't work any better in my old & very basic machine, so why pay more? Esp. when there are fewer colors? I've used silk thread & linen thread for hand-sewing; silk was nice but linen was a royal pain.

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  22. If I have the choice, I usually go with Metrosene. But often times C&C has better color match, so I use that with no ill results. In my industrials I use poly cone thread. It works great.

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  23. I only use Guttermann or Mettler. I heard those are the two best machines to use with Bernina sewing machines. For my serger, I will not use Coats & Clark, the Babylock distributor warned that is speeds up the need for servicing.

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  24. I love Mettler Metrosene. I have yet to find a shop that carries it where we currently live, but I'm hopeful. I prefer Guttermann, but will use C&C if I have to. I have found some heavier Guttermann threads that worked well for denim.

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  25. I also use C&C or Gutterman because that is what is available. My old mechanical Singer doesn't seem to care very much. I even have some uneven looking cheapo thread that I use for muslins and my machine likes it fine as well. I'd like to try the Mettler, though, as I've heard so much about it.

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  26. I love Mettler! That's the thread I learned to sew with. I can't find it anymore though I could get them online (it's just hard with color selection). It's really good quality thread!

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  27. I've been using Gutterman more exclusively the past year, but am now finding that it mysteriously causes my Kenmore machine to jam up more often than if I use C&C. Very odd... I think I've tried Mettler a long, long time ago, but can't remember what I thought of it! Shall have to put it on my sewing supplies wishlist! ;)

    ♥ Casey

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  28. Mettler is OK but I prefer Guttermann. I choose based on color match, usually, and there's more in the Guttermann line. Coats & Clark FINE thread is quite nice for silk chiffon or other fine thread needs, but the color choices are pretty slim.

    I am now using Tire silk thread (100 weight in the bottom and 50 weight in the top) in my machine on my fancy, couture methods, Linton tweed jacket. I am really loving this thread. The 50 wt is perfect for hand-basting the silk crepe de chine lining to the underlined tweed before machine-quilting.

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  29. Hi Gertie,
    I have LOTS of different threads depending on what I want to do. I will use Gutterman, Mettler, C&C for just about any sewing. There are absolutely TONS of different threads out there that will go through a needle, if you get the eye big enough.
    If you want a heavy thread for topstitching try a 30wt machine quilting thread like YLI makes.
    If you want a beatuiful sheen for topstitching I like to use a Sulky Rayon.
    YLI also makes a wonderful silk thread in lovely colors.
    Metallic threads are great but quite a chore for my machine.
    There are some threads that are too thick for my sewing machine needle, but I just wrap them in the bobbin and sew on the wrong side.

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  30. I use C&C because a) it's cheap; b) it has the best color matching.

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  31. I use Guttermann in my modern machine, mostly due to availability and color matching. My Bernina doesn't like Coats and Clark. On the other hand, my vintage machine (Singer 500a) doesn't like anything that comes in one of the skinny spools, so it's C&C all the way!

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  32. i use mettler and gutermann, both 100% cotton only. i'm not sure why i do other than that's what the quilt shop where i bought my bernina told me to use. i'm not sure what the differences are.

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  33. Gutermann cotton and silk thread.

    I once bought some basting thread from the Atlanta Thread company, but it's really thick and coarse. Maybe I'm not using it the right way.

    I would like to try basting thread from Sajou some time. It's pricey.

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  34. Gutermann! I love their thread because it is so strong and seems to work for everything :)

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  35. Mettler is my go-to with Gutterman as runner up. I recently started using John James needles, too.

    I feel like needles and thread are similar to other notions - once you use the good stuff, there's no going back.

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  36. Mettler or Guterman for me. I have found that C&C causes endless problems with my machine - it breaks! Sometimes, cheap is great. Sometimes, it's just cheap ...

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  37. I like Metrosene best, but I am unable to purchase it where I live, so I use Guttermann. I'd buy online, but I like to see the color before I buy it!!

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  38. I have come to like Guttermann (just got a lot on sale at Atlanta Thread), but also use a lot of Coats and Clark and polyesters. I purchased some mercerized cotton a few months ago and my Babylock hates it; the thread pulls through the machine quite reluctantly no matter how loose the tension. Maybe my needle is not big enough, or the embroidery machines are more fussy. I have given up on that thread.

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  39. Melissa from AustraliaApril 18, 2011 at 6:04 PM

    Guttermann all the way. I sew on both a vintage pfaff and a modern husqvarna viking and the mettler deposits lint all over my machine. Mettler is cheaper here in Australia but Guttermann is more readily available.

    Melissa

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  40. I have a Bernina too, and I pretty much stick to Mettler. It seems to leave less lint than some of the other threads.

    How does one tell if thread is too old to use?

    --C.B.

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  41. Madeira Aerofil is the best ever. I like Mettler too.

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  42. I like Coats and Clark, but only because I can't find Mettler in my part of the country. On a side note, Mettler is my maiden name so I would TOTALLY prefer it if I could find it. Go Mettler! =)

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  43. I love Mettler Metrosene because I found a "buy the palette" option in one of my catalogs....it was pricy but it is such a luxury to just open my boxes and have everything at my disposal. I think it was around 300 spools. (This is especially true as most of my projects are miniature so I rarely run a whole spool at one time.) :) k.

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  44. Old thread can be determined by how easily it breaks when you pull it (yank it quickly) in your hands.

    The other problem with old and cheep thread (and coats) is that it actually isn't so good for your machine, as it puts much more lint into the body of the machine than higher quality long staple threads like Mettler and Aurifil. Guttermann was made in Germany, now Mexico mostly, and has gone down in quality some too. I like to get the good stuff when I can to protect the investment of my BERNINA. But really any machine is happier out of the shop than in it.

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  45. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  46. Yep, Gutterman or Metrosene for me (which I pronounce "metrow-seenah" because it's German). Coats and Clark Dual Duty leaves too much fuzz in my Pfaff. This is one of the hardest things to get across to my beginning sewing students, not to scrimp on thread or needles.

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  47. Alterfil (AS 120)! http://alterfil.com/
    I do not even know, if you can shop this or if they are only in germany, but ist perfect! it glides like nothing and it does not "spliss" when you try to thread it in the needle. (And imho its even cheaper then Gütermann and Mettler...)

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  48. I do mostly heirloom sewing, so the thread I use is the very fine cotona 80 weight or even the zwicky 100 wt. They are almost invisible.
    For plain old sewing it is always Mettler, 100% cotton only. i have TOL machine and will only use the best quality.

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  49. I sew with a Bernina and use either Metrosene or Rasant corespun polyester cotton thread. I prefer Rasant as I mostly sew with cotton fabrics but really, when the cards are down I will go with the better colour match. Metrosene is also much easier for me to source.

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  50. When I bought my Husqvarna Designer I was told to use Gutermann thread and to stay away from Coats and Clark. I stocked up on Gutermann thread when it was 50% off. I also have some Maderia Aerofil and a few spools of Mettler. I don't use my Designer but opt for my Pfaff 130, Singer 15-91, Pfaff 1472 and Singer Model 27 treadle. What thread I use depends on what I am sewing and size of needle. Gutermann is usually for the large eye needles and Mettler and Maderia for the small eye needles. Overall I prefer the Mettler and Maderia threads.

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Thanks for your comments; I read each and every one! xo Gertie

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