Survey: What Thread Do You Use?

I’ve written about thread before, including my obsession with this microscopic analysis of thread fibers.  I love the idea that at the tiniest scale, thread ISN’T the same, and that the threads we use when we sew can make a difference in the quality of our results.  The longer I make clothing (and the more full my closet becomes), the more I want to focus my sewing on investment items, and I want them to be the very best they can be–the best construction, the best workmanship, and good materials.

Guterman thread spools

So that makes me curious about the range of threads on the market today.  There is a wide range of brands, and all of them have their devotees who swear that THEIR thread is THE BEST thread on the market.  Coas & Clark, of course, is the American classic.  Mettler and Guterman are solid German brands with long histories.  And Aurifil is an Italian brand with a fanatical following.

aurifil thread spools

Each major brand of thread comes in various formulations and thicknesses.  There are all-cotton threads, poly-cotton threads, and silk threads.  There are super-fine threads, mid-weight threads, and denim & upholstery weights.  All these variations have specific applications where they are most useful: cotton mid-weight thread for heirloom quilting, poly-cotton thread for garment sewing to give it forgiveness and stretch, upholstery thread for heavy-weight fabrics that need to stand up to wear.  But beyond that, is there something special about a particular brand of thread that makes you come back again and again??

coats and clark thread spools

In the comments, I’d love to know if you have a particular brand of sewing thread that you purchase time after time, and why.  Do you always buy Coats & Clark because it’s available everywhere and it’s just easy?  Do you swear by Aurifil because you love the variety of weights and the way it quilts?  Is Guterman your favorite because of the quality of the fibers?  Does one brand have a better spool shape, or a better range of colors?  Do you use one thread for garments and another for quilting?

mettler thread spools

Or do you never even pay attention, and you just pick the thread on the shelf that matches your fabric or that’s on sale and you’ve literally never given it a thought?  Let me know that, too!

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  • Marina
    October 2, 2015 at 12:09 pm

    Currently a Guterman gal; they are cotton and I can get them for half off at Jo-Anne Fabrics when they are running a sale. I tend to use only natural fibers for my projects so their cotton and silk lines make me content.

  • Martha
    October 2, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    Interesting questions!

    I strive to always use 100% cotton from Mettler because I mostly sew garments. I do not use poly-cotton, particularly in the bobbin. Because of the give you mention, it tightens during the process of winding the bobbin. Then when it relaxes again (and it will), you will see it in puckers down the vertical seam in pants, for example. It can be steam-pressed away only to return once the garment cools.

    I do use poly to put buttons on though. It is very strong.

    Gutterman 100% cotton seems to create more dust in my machine than the Mettler cotton, but maybe that is my imagination. And I cannot find Aurafil in 3 ply. I only find it in 2 ply and that’s too weak for garments, I think. It is great for piecing and applique though.

    I have very little experience with silk thread as I’ve only found it in very thick or very thin weights. When I have used it, I have enjoyed it though

  • Samina
    October 2, 2015 at 1:15 pm

    I tend to use Gutterman & Coats & Clark. I’ve got some really old thread from when I sewed in college (20+) years ago. I should probably get rid of that, no?

  • Donel
    October 2, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    I go back and forth on thread brands depending on the project. I was taught to match the thread to the fiber content, but I am a bit more slack about that these days. If I had the money I would use Metrosene thread exclusively. It creates the least amount of lint of any brand I have tried.

  • christine
    October 2, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    I always try to get Mettler 100% cotton thread, but if I cannot get it or if they don’t have a good color match, I get the Gutterman 100% polyester thread. Though I must say, I recently bought some of the 100% polyester Coats & Clark thread and it was okay. I loathe their cotton/poly blend “dual duty” thread though! My machine hates Aurifil and I am not a quilter, so I can’t speak about it from that angle. xoxo

  • Belinda
    October 2, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    I use Aurifil 50wt cotton almost exclusively for all of my quilts & quilty projects. For other projects, like garments, I use Mettler’s Metrosene Plus 100% poly. Both of these are very thin, which I love & are less linty than other brands I’ve used. I do like Sulky’s embroidery threads for decorative stitching, especially satin stitch applique. Sadly, the Aurifil & Mettler threads aren’t available in wide color ranges locally so I have to rely on color cards & on-line retailers for those.

  • Kristine
    October 2, 2015 at 4:20 pm

    I ide Gutermann 100%poly or the cheap local poly brand if I am buying new fabric and they have the perfect match to their own fabrics. I like poly thread, it does not easily break, it is thin and seems like an all round alternative. I sew mostly childrens everyday clothes, some home items, small cotton projects etc, so when the time to sew a silk dress or something really fancy, I might need to research thread as well!

  • Christine
    October 2, 2015 at 6:40 pm

    I use Mettler all cotton 60 weight thread for all garment sewing.
    Gutterman is way too linty to even think of using.
    I use silk thread on silk.
    The only poly thread I use is for gathering.

    I came by these choices through years of lab study – I hold degrees (undergrad, grad, and post grad ) in textiles and sewing.

  • Jean C.
    October 7, 2015 at 12:37 pm

    Interesting post. I’ve sewn just about everything from wedding dresses to quilts to dog beds. Years ago my mother in law used to sew for people and when I helped prepare them to move into a smaller home I basically inherited here thread stash. She had quite a variety of threads. Coats/Clarks, Gutterman, Mettler, and some of the local store brands. I used what I had for years… and then started to work at a fabric store and as I replaced thread as it was for thread that would fit the purpose.
    I have a habit of going for the thread that is on sale now, besides looking for the type of thread I need for the fabric I use. Like the others have said, there are good and bad thread. I do try to stay away from threads that are weak and spindly as most do, but I still try to use up what I have too. Waste not want not!

  • Rachelle Crosbie
    October 15, 2015 at 4:13 am

    I mostly use Guterman or Mettler, both are easy to come by here in NZ and I find they are both good quality as well. I usually use polyester for garment sewing and silk for hand sewing. Cotton is for quilting in my machines. I haven’t often seen Coats over here, but do have some on cones for my overlocker that I found years ago.

  • Cheryl Arkison
    October 15, 2015 at 1:19 pm

    I never knew that about garment sewing and thread! That might explain a few things.

    I love Aurifil or Wonderfil for my quilting. I piece with an Aurifil 50W, and quilt with either that or a Wonderfil. I used to love Presencia with my old machine, but both the old machine and my new one got very temperamental about it.

  • Sarah Mauldin
    October 20, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    Guterman or Mettler. I think of them as somewhat interchangeable. I only touch Coats for button thread and the like and would never offend my machine’s sensibilities by threading it up with cheap stuff. Coats does make great crochet cotton and other good things but just not for my garment construction.

  • April Forshee
    October 20, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    Gutermann, but I haven’t tried many others except C&C.