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Topic: Thread Help Please!  (Read 662 times)
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blithe314
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« on: May 06, 2009 09:43:46 AM »

Hi All!

I'm working on ordering thread for my little sew and knit shop, and am wondering if I should order polyester, or cotton covered poly?  I personally use just cotton poly since I sew basic clothing.  My question though is if someone wants to purchase thread for quilting, for machine embroidery, etc is there a thread that will cover my bases?  Can you tell that I don't quilt or embroider?  I'm a little confused since my distributors have things like "quilting thread" what's the difference?  How can I make everyone happy?  Thanks so much for your input!  Smiley
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Imblebee
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2009 11:55:51 AM »

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.

HTH

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soorawn
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2009 01:17:38 PM »

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!
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elijor
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2009 01:48:05 PM »

How can I make everyone happy?  Thanks so much for your input!  Smiley

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.
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craftnutz
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2009 03:45:27 PM »

Having quilted and sewn clothing for a lot of years, I can safely say that no one thread will cover all your bases.  I use Mettler 100% cotton thread in neutral colors for quilt piecing and quilting.  I use Mettler Silk Finish thread for hand work.  Cotton/poly blends seem to work best for me for clothing construction.  Gutermann makes good quality threads as well.  And sometimes if I am out of what I like, I use what I have.  I think that if you had a good assortment of any manufacturer, you would do fine.
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Visit my blog for tutorials and lots of fun stuff.  http://frommycarolinahome.wordpress.com
blithe314
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« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2009 08:07:04 PM »

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.

HTH



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!  Smiley 

How can I make everyone happy?  Thanks so much for your input!  Smiley

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!  Smiley 

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!

Allison
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elijor
« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2009 06:37:08 AM »

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.

The first part of the answer would be that because there isn't really any "stress" on the seams in a quilt the thread doesn't have to be particularly strong. In clothing the seams have to be able to hold the two (or more) pices of fabric together through all sorts of "stress" when we move, bend, flex, try to fit into those just a tad bit too tight pants  Wink so the thread has to hold. In a quilt we sew the pieces of fabric together, press them, then lay them down flat and there is no tugging on the seams (other than a bit when you are trying to match the corners  Cheesy). Thuse the thread doesn't have to be strong. An typically the fabric used is 100% cotton so we just match the thread to the fabric.

In reality when making clothing we really shouldn't be as concerned with thread strength either. I mean it needs to be good quality thread that will hold but if the thread is much stronger than the fabric and there is too much "stress" on it what happens is the fabric rips instead of the thread breaking. If the thread breaks you can repair the problem easily by resewing the seam but if the fabric tears it is not as easy as just resewing you would have to use a stabilizer or something to first hold the ripped fabric together then sew it.

I think you have the right idea about not competing with the quilt shop down the road but instead trying to make sure you have what your customers need. Also market what you do have well so customers will spread the word.

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blithe314
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« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2009 08:39:28 AM »


The first part of the answer would be that because there isn't really any "stress" on the seams in a quilt the thread doesn't have to be particularly strong. In clothing the seams have to be able to hold the two (or more) pices of fabric together through all sorts of "stress" when we move, bend, flex, try to fit into those just a tad bit too tight pants  Wink so the thread has to hold. In a quilt we sew the pieces of fabric together, press them, then lay them down flat and there is no tugging on the seams (other than a bit when you are trying to match the corners  Cheesy). Thuse the thread doesn't have to be strong. An typically the fabric used is 100% cotton so we just match the thread to the fabric.

In reality when making clothing we really shouldn't be as concerned with thread strength either. I mean it needs to be good quality thread that will hold but if the thread is much stronger than the fabric and there is too much "stress" on it what happens is the fabric rips instead of the thread breaking. If the thread breaks you can repair the problem easily by resewing the seam but if the fabric tears it is not as easy as just resewing you would have to use a stabilizer or something to first hold the ripped fabric together then sew it.

I think you have the right idea about not competing with the quilt shop down the road but instead trying to make sure you have what your customers need. Also market what you do have well so customers will spread the word.



Thanks for making that clearer for me!  I do understand what you mean about thread being stronger than the fabric.  When I was 15, I patched together a bunch of scraps on my jeans where the holes were, and I used dental floss.  This only made the holes massive.  It became a disaster almost overnight!  And what a waste of all those hours of stitching!  I suppose if I didn't have sleep deprived running after a toddler all day brain, I could have reasoned the thread thing out.  Thanks for being helpful!  Smiley
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Cookn
« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2009 05:27:52 AM »

The strength issue is important, cheaply made thread breaks much easier. You have problems with your machine, tension issues, thread breakage, don't discount that you need good thread. Most quilters will use 100% percent cotton, because that's what we've been taught over the years. There is little difference in poly vs. cotton strength wise and because poly is an extrusion, run through a die, it is one continuous filament, where as cotton is woven from separate strands of cotton, hence the term long staple cotton. Long staple cotton means that the filaments used to make the thread are long and interweave better and make a stronger thread. Cheaply made thread is made with short staple and remnants and remains of other thread making and is a much weaker thread. As a quilter I use mostly cotton thread, but because we use a longarm machine for quilting I usually use King Tut in the long arm and Mettler in the DSM for piecing.

When I embroider I use both rayon and poly. I use rayon if it's something that isn't going to washed much. They don't make dies that really have any longevity with rayon and it will fade with washing. I use Maderia rayon. I use Isacord when I use poly for clothing and or towels. It machine washes well and does not fade to the extent that rayon does.
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