This post is in no way to influence you to one brand or another. I was not paid by any thread company for this post.
After purchasing my first sewing machine, it sparked a desire to learn more about sewing thread quality since I suffered from a lot of issues with my last machine. There are hundreds of sewing threads to choose from, and I find it to be a bit overwhelming. Though my BERNINA came with Mettler thread, I have heard great things about Aurifil, and I couldn't wait to try it out on my machine. But it got me thinking about why the Mettler brand came with my machine. Does it meet BERNINA standards? Or is there a contract between Mettler and BERNINA? Or does my BERNINA dealer favor Mettler above all other brands? And what is the fuss about Aurifil? Is it really that great? How do these brands compare to those available at JoAnn Fabrics?
I must preface by saying I am in no way a thread expert. I just wanted to know a little more about the threads I was using and reading about on other blogs. I decided the only way I could really tell the quality of a thread was to visually examine it, feel it between my fingers, and handle it in my machine. Today, I will share with you what your thread looks like under a microscope. Unfortunately, I cannot help you with the feel of the thread nor how it handles in a particular machine since we all use a variety of sewing machines.
I gathered up 28 different sewing threads from JoAnn Fabrics, a longarm quilting specialist, and a few from my own sewing box. There are hundreds of threads out there, and it is not in my financial favor to buy every thread possible. But I am hoping you will find this post helpful in the least.
WHY IS LINT AN ISSUE?
Lint or dust can cause issues down the road for almost any machine. When you dry clothes, lint comes off in the dryer. The same thing happens when your thread runs through a needle. Usually, you will see lint collect around the feed dogs, the bobbin case, and above the needle. Lint is an inevitable enemy in sewing, but choosing the right, high quality thread for your machine can help reduce it. If your machine is not cleaned regularly, your machine will perform less effectively. Lint can absorb oils, which can wear out your machine. Lint will become impacted over time too if not taken care of causing further issues with your machine.
Loosely twisted threads and thread breaks contribute to lint. If you have tried several brands of sewing thread on your machine, you are sure to notice some brands produce more lint than others. I notice this when my BERNINA dealership uses Mettler thread. There's always a bit more lint and dust than I am use to. That doesn't necessarily mean Mettler is a bad brand, but with my machine, it produces more lint than I care for.
I didn't want to write a post about the technical side of thread selection, but if you are new to sewing or do not understand the different types of sewing/quilting threads available, here is a good reference link for you.
For thread terminology click here.
SO WHAT DOES YOUR THREAD LOOK LIKE UNDER A MICROSCOPE?
All photos were taken by my husband with a microscope. (Thank you!) When you are looking at these photos, check for loose fibers, how many twists it has, and how smooth the thread is.
Some specialty threads were used just for the fun of it. I thought you might enjoy seeing synthetics as well.
Threads are listed alphabetically by brand.
WHAT THREAD DO I USE?
after reading this post, you may be wondering what thread I sew with. I use Aurifil, but it looks like Gutermann and Superior Threads will be included in my next thread purchases. I will continue to sew with Aurifil. I get little lint from Aurifil, and it doesn't break on me when I am sewing at higher speeds, but I can't wait to see what the other brands do in my machine. There were lots of brands I was not able to get my hands on for this post, and I am sorry if yours was not included.
HELPFUL RESOURCES FOR FURTHER READING
WHAT THREAD SHOULD I USE FOR A CERTAIN PROJECT? This link will bring up a PDF from Superior Threads.
Video from Superior Threads "How thread is twisted" (The quality in threads)
Still not sure about the twist? Here I have collaged Mettler, Aurifil, and Superior Threads next to one another, so you can visually see what a tighter twist looks like. All are 100% cotton.
How to test a thread's shelf life. (Did you even know that existed?)
Superior Thread Guarantee
Okay, so it may seem like I am pushing Superior Threads on you guys, and I want you to know that I am not. I do want you to know that I like Superior Threads. I like them because they are so matter-of-fact. No bull crap. No beating around the bush. They tell you how it is, and they offer a wide array of information that is easy to find on their website. They do a lot to educate the consumer whether it's on their website or YouTube. You can apply this knowledge to other brands to help you make the best decision for you and your machine.
Here's their guarantee, which also explains what you should look for in high quality thread.
In the thread world, the highest quality thread should be guaranteed to work--even metallic thread. We absolutely guarantee all Superior products. If one does not work as intended, we'll buy it back. Quality thread should be smooth, free of bumps or slubs, without excess fuzz, and have a tight, smooth, consistent twist. It will keep your machine much cleaner which means fewer problems for you. If you could view a variety of threads though a magnifying glass, you would be amazed at the difference. The real test is in using it. You and your machine can tell the difference
So what are your thoughts? What thread are you using now? Do you like it? Will you change your thread choice after reading this post?
My quilting book released Sept. 24, 2015 and is on Amazon. Check it out!