I would suggest cotton poly. It'll last longer than cotton alone. If you really want to get into hand quilting you can get quilting thread. Generally thicker, smoother and less tangles. I however just go with cotton/poly for everything unless it's for topstitching or heirloom quality items.
Thanks for your input! I agree that plain cotton thread isn't strong enough for most sewing.
If you want to keep everybody happy, have everything at hand. You can order a small amount of specialty threads in a limited variety of colours to complement your range.
And be informed! Learn about your trade, because customers expect you to be able to give advice - and in doing so correctly, you'll be getting positive feedback and the very important word to mouth publicity so they'll be back and will bring friends!
Yes, I want to be informed and offer advice, but my shop specializes in knitting and sewing - not quilting which is why I had questions. There's a quilting shop near me, and so I specifically avoid any quilting specific things in my shop so that I'm not creeping in on their business! I am learning more and more though, and am glad there's people on craftster to help me in a pinch like today!
How can I make everyone happy? Thanks so much for your input!
First off - you will never be able to "make everyone happy" - it isn't practical for one shop to have everything. I do admire you for trying though.
My thoughts on threads:
For the piecing part of quiltmaking I use cotton/poly or cotton in a nuetral color - previously beige but now a taupy/grey/green that sort of blends with everything. Since the thread doesn't show matching fabric & thread isn't necessary and since most of my quilts have many fabrics it would be difficult anyway. Many quilters will do the same except a lot will only use 100% cotton.
For the quilting I generally insist on 100% cotton unless I just can't find the color I want. Lately I've been loving varigated threads. I don't hand quilt but feel I should mention you can hand quilt with regular thread (cotton or blend) but you should not use "hand quilting"
thread in the machine. Hand quilting
thread is coated with a wax or a glaze and neither of those are good for the machine.
For machine embroidery I usually use rayon or a shiny trilobal polyester such as Isacord. Occasionally I will use a cotton. In the boobin I use a thin polyester 'bobbin fill".
Ditto what soorawn said about "learning the trade" but also you will need to learn your customers. Find out what sort of things they are doing and needing then meet that need. Try to learn about other things but by all means don't be afraid to say, "I've never done that or I'm not sure - but I can find out for you". Then make sure you do. Also if you aren't carring something don't be afraid to say something like "there isn't really enough demand for me to stock that but I would be happy to special order it for you" or refer them to someplace that does carry that item. Of course you really have to make sure you order it right away (I worked part time at a shop for awhile and I got so frustrated because the boss would always say, "I can order it" but then she never did and I was left trying to explain when the customer came back week after week looking for it. She lost many a good customer that way.
Wow, lots of useful info! I do talk with lots of my customers, and learn what they like and I agree that that's the way to go. Most of my customers have questions which are easy to address, otherwise I do make sure to let them know that I need to look further into it, and then DO follow through!
I think that maybe my question wasn't clear enough in my mind, or here, and so may I ask you why you and/or quilters prefer cotton thread? Since it's not as strong, I'm confused as to why it would be prefered. My customers are NOT quilters, so I can't really ask them, but since "tourist season" is coming, I may run into more quilters now and will be able to ask them.
Thanks everyone for so much input! I hope you're all enjoying some lovely sewing time!