I don’t think I can emphasize enough the importance of thread quality. It’s not that you must always use top-of-the-line thread for every project; it’s that you want to use the right quality for the right project. For instance, I’m not going to use my expensive thread to sew basting stitches. It’ll just making ripping them out even harder. But I will use my top notch polyester thread for items that endure serious wear and tear (baby quilts, clothing, cloth diapers, etc).
That being said, I do believe quality thread makes for a better sewing experience overall, because it’s less likely to break, snag, tangle, or produce excessive lint. If you sew for long hours or frequently, these factors are concerning.
Also, just because a type of thread has a hefty price tag, doesn’t mean it’s THAT much better than a less expensive brand. It’s not like these things are regulated; a company can charge you whatever it wants. It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a better product until it’s inspected properly.
I’d like to show you a little trick to determine thread quality. I’m going to show you 4 types of polyester thread with different levels of quality so you can compare and contrast.
Here’s the trick: Hold a strand of thread up to a light and inspect how much lint/fraying comes deviates from the strand. Good quality thread should be tightly wound together so that few fibers deviate from the strand. It’s not like a string of steel; you’ll always see SOME loose fibers (kind of like rope). However, with low quality thread, you’ll see a hot mess of frizzy mayhem.
Let me show you.
See all those fuzzy fibers? I tried to take the picture so the light illuminates the way you’ll see the thread in person. Now, let’s compare with some Coats and Clark thread.
Huge difference, huh? There are still some long, loose threads (look at the arrows), but overall, the fibers are much tighter.
The next photo is straight from the bargain bin. Yikes!
Very loose and just…wow. This thread is going to make my machine hate me. Over time, that little cone of evil will cover every nook in lint and clog my tension disks.
Now, compare the bargain bin thread to a standard spool of Gutermann Thread. Much better! Personally, I’m a Gutermann Girl all the way. I love their polyester thread – hasn’t failed me yet. I’ve had the spool photographed below for at least 3 years!
I hope this little tip helps you sort through your thread. Remember, if your thread breaks often or knots frequently; hold it up to the light and investigate!