A week or two ago, I read a fascinating blog post on thread and wanted to share. Nancy, who blogs over at Owen's Olivia, did an awesome write up about visually understanding thread quality. She did a comparison of pictures taken under a microscope of various brands of thread and I was totally intrigued. Seeing the lint (or lack of) and twist close up was so helpful. I borrowed one of her photos below. I highly recommend checking out Nancy's blog, btw. She sews like a pro and writes about her fabulous home decor projects and other various craftiness. I love a bit of home sewing myself. Anyway, I was really interested in this particular post on thread because I never really took thread choice seriously before. I mean, I know the good quality stuff is better, of course. But I kind of scoffed when a coworker who also sews told me she'd never use anything but Gutermann thread on her projects. I didn't think it made that much of a difference.
I've always used Coats and Clark polyester all-purpose thread. Partly because it's cheap and readily available where I shop. But mainly because someone gave me a gigantic bag of it when I started sewing three years ago. I mean gigantic. The bag must have had about two hundred spools of thread in it. I've yet to make my way through it and I rarely buy new thread- only when I don't have a particular color. I started thinking back on some things I've made in the past and how well they've held up. I even examined a few of my older items closely. A couple of tops I've made with super cheap knits have holes at every spot the thread hits around the neck binding. I've always chalked that up to the cheap-o knit, which still could be the case. Or too big of a needle. But another top I made out of a woven shirting has started coming apart at the collar and cuffs. Is that because I clipped my seam allowances too small, or is it because I used cheap poly thread that has worked it's way through the fabric?
So I'm curious, sewing friends-- what sort of thread do you use? And do you really think that thread quality can affect the short term longevity of something you've sewn? I say short term because most of the time when I sew, I'm not making something I want to last forever and ever. I want it to last, but not as an heirloom item or anything. And does thread quality matter when you are using cheap fabric? The more I sew, the more expensive the fabric I buy. But I still sew with cheap stuff now and again. I'll be honest, I'll probably keep on using my Coats and Clark thread for most things because I have so much already. Unless y'all tell me otherwise. But I think I'm going to splurge on some nice thread for the winter coat I'm planning on making here soon. Maybe I should not take thread choice so lightly. Also, cotton thread versus poly thread? Is it necessary to use cotton thread with cotton fabrics and vice versa? I want to know your thoughts on thread. Do tell!