Friday, 12 August 2011

Crescent Skirt Progress & A Rant About Cheap Thread!

Well believe it or not, I've actually been sewing! As I mentioned in this post I have been planning on making up a Crescent Skirt in a cute pink and red polka dot cotton from Ikea.

So now that I'm firmly back to reality after my lovely holiday I managed to fit in some sewing:

Slash pocket and gathered skirt

I'm also following Tasia's very detailed sew-along to the letter - she really does cover everything and, although the instructions with the pattern are fine, you get so much more with the sew-along....including how to finish off the pockets with french seams (looks fab!).

So far I have attached my slash pockets (with the french seams as I just mentioned) and put in two rows of basting stitches to gather the skirt. Now you may have noticed my slightly long-winded post comes said rant!

When I first joined the wonderful world of sewing, I had nothing - as is normally the case. My mum kindly gave me little bits and pieces, but I still felt that I was very 'under stocked' and had very little resources at my fingertips. Being an impatient, and frugal girl I wanted a good selection of threads at my disposal without having to go out to the fabric shop to buy new thread specific for every project I start. So I did a search and discovered lots of sellers on EBay selling 'job lots' of threads - in all the colours you could dream of - and for a reasonable could any budding seamstress refuse! £30-odd later (I can't remember how much I actually spent) and I was the proud owner of a lovely array of colourful threads, all at my immediate disposal. And it is great having all these different coloured threads waiting to be used for whatever project I choose....but it comes at a price. This is not quality Guetermann or Coats, this is a no-name brand...and unfortunately you can tell the difference. My thread breaks a lot more easily. If you are hand stitching, it knots constantly. I even find that it plays with the tension of my machine and doesn't run as smoothly as it should, and I think it creates far more lint and fluff than branded thread.

So far I have put up with it because it hasn't been too bad and branded thread is so expensive. But last night might have been the "thread that broke the sewist's patience"! Trying to sew in loose basting stitches for gathering was so frustrating...I couldn't get the tension right and when I tried to gather, the thread just broke! Not amused.

I think I might have to just man-up and buy the branded thread. Anyone else have views on threads and any tips or suggestions?


  1. I use Mettler, and I can definitely tell the difference between it and cheap no brand thread. I agree, its less fluffy and flows easier through my machine. It's £1.20 a spool (!) but it's worth it for a much more relaxing frustration free sewing time :) Aren't the pockets lovely? So roomy :)
    Ashley x

  2. Hi Ashley - thanks for the thread tip. You are so right, quality thread really does make for a more relaxing sewing experience!

  3. I use Gutermann. It is incredibly expensive but there are slight economies of scale if you buy the ENORMOUS spools (800m or something). After all, you're always going to need plenty of white thread...

  4. Totally agree about the cheap thread, it's not worth it in the long run. As a birthday present I was given a Cath Kidston sewing tin which included some thread (non branded, apart from a Cath Kidston label) that I had to stop using for projects as it did all the things you listed. I now buy Gutermann thread (I just look on it as part of the price of the project) and keep the other thread for hand basting or muslins
    I'm also a fan of the Cresecent skirt, particularly the french seamed pockets. The sewalong was so helpful too.

  5. I am constantly cursing like a sailor because of the thread i own. My machine came with 30 "free" spools. I love have various color choices but the quality sucks. I might even say that they are old.

    I think investing in quality thread in a few of the common colors might not be a bad idea.

  6. It could be cotton. Someone gave me a huge bag of thread. It's all coats and clark, but some is polyester and some is cotton. The cotton thread snaps and breaks all the time.

  7. Lol - Melizza, I love the idea of someone 'curing like a sailor'!!
    Liza jane, I think you are right - my thread probably is cotton. I always wondered about the difference between cotton and poly thread.
    Kestrel, I think I will probably have to look on thread in the same way as you and think of it as just part of the overall cost for the project. ho hum.

  8. I bought some unnamed thread off ebay as well, as I wanted cheapish cotton to do muslin and experiments. But it did exactly all the same as you describe and I lost my patient and threw them all in a charity shop bag. For me it's not worth it and prefer to use Gutermann.

  9. I buy one new (good) spool of thread for each project. I rarely go through an entire spool for one project, so I'm slowly building up my stock. But by just buying one spool at a time, it doesn't hit the pocketbook as hard, and you always have the perfect color for the project you're buying for.

  10. For my 2 cents, I recently found Aurifil thread. Its more pricey, but SO worth it so that you don't work hard on something only to be put behind by breaking thread. There is a post on my blog about it & you can find it on sale at

  11. I use Guttermans because it's what the 2 fabric shops in Glasgow stock (and Hobbycraft come to think of it) and I actually have to be standing there with the material and the thread together, squinting at it to check and see if it matches (yep, I am that person surreptitiously sneaking a ziploc bag of scraps out of her pocket and lurking next to the thread display)

    I have taken to writing down the colours as I buy them in a wee notepad though, after finding I had bought several of the same colours twice!

  12. I bet it was cotton and I bet it was old. My mom got me a vintage sewing box for one birthday and the old thread snaps at the slightest tug. Similarly, I just tore apart a vintage dress that needs rehabbing by hand with no seam ripper- the thread would practically turn into dust!


Thank you so much for your comments - they really do make my day!

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