29 November 2008

Ode to Thread

I love thread. There, I said it. I know that claiming to have a passion for thread is neither perverse nor earth shattering, but I do acknowledge that is is a little weird. I can't help it, though.

I love seeing all my spools of thread lined up in their storage drawer, like tiny soldiers, ready to be called into service at a moment's notice. The neat wrapping of the thread on the spool, creating a distinct crosshatch pattern is soothing to my eye. The colours entice me and cause me to dream of what could be.

I use 100% polyester Gutermann thread almost exclusively in my sewing machines. I know other sewists swear by Mettler or Coats & Clark, and I have tried both of those brands, but something about the Gutermann colours and the packaging spoke to me. I have never had any problems with Gutermann thread shredding or creating excess fuzz to gum up my machines, so I stick with this brand.

I used to buy my thread at my local chain fabric store, for an exorbitant price (100 m for $1.84 and 250 m for $3.75; or on sale, $1.00 and $2.00 respectively). Then, one day I discovered a better source.

Cleaner's Supply is an online store, specializing in all the products necessary to run a laundry and/or dry cleaning business. Although much of the inventory is of no interest to me (hangers, tags, packaging, etc), the Pressing and Tailoring sections are wonderful.

The Pressing section was where I found my sleeve board, which my husband has put through its paces with his dress shirt ironing. They also carry pressing mitts and vacuum boards (which is extremely drool worthy).

The Tailoring section, however, is where I spend most of my time. Here is the place for metal tailor's rulers, zippers, buttons, machine needles and exceptionally good seam rippers, among other things. My favourite notion in this section is (not surprisingly, based on the title of this post) the Gutermann thread. The price cannot be beat. See below for a comparison:

Local chain fabric store: $2.00 for 250 m or 0.800 cents per metre, if bought on sale
Cleaner's Supply: $3.63 for 1000 m or 0.363 cents per metre, no sale necessary

Based on the rate with which I go through thread, the savings are substantial. Not to mention, the larger spools are so much more convenient - I never run out of thread part way through a project anymore.

Unlike many online thread sources, this company sells to Canada (just be sure to click on the Canadian flag to get Canadian prices), not just the U.S. Additionally, they offer free shipping on any order over $100 and only charge $2.83 on any order under $100. The shipping times are reasonable - I have never waited more than three or four business days for any order. The customer service is great too, letting you know when the order has processed and is being shipped.

Cleaner's Supply carries 360 different colours of thread, in every shade of the rainbow. To facilitate my thread buying, I have purchased the Gutermann Real Thread Chart (which is a sturdy fold out booklet with actual samples of every thread available). This chart allows me to match thread to my fabric exactly.

At this point, I am the proud owner of 67 large spools of thread (see photo to the right). Ultimately, I would love to have almost every single colour they offer.


Carolyn (cmarie12) said...

Okay we are sooooo like separated at birth! *LOL* Ummm, I too have quite a large supply of thread - Gutterman thread - which I prefer just like you! I buy mine from Atlanta Thread and Supply and get a slightly cheaper price than you do per spool (same amount of yardage) but pay a higher shipping charge.

I too have the Thread Chart and my goal is to someday own every last thread color on the chart! Gurl, you made my day with this post!

Nancy K said...

Okay you and Caroline have convinced me to buy thread in bulk. I do hate JoAnns. But what I really want to know is where you got that great storage rack that is inside your drawer?

Nancy (nanflan) said...

Thanks for the "heads up" on this resource. I'm saving the link to my Favorites!

Sigrid said...

A spool of 1000 mtr (=1094 yards) Guterman thread costs here 7,50 euro = 9,55 USD and not available in all colors. Most colors are available in 250 mtr spools only and a few more current colors in 500 mtr. Only the very basic colors come in 1000 mtr spools.
Wonder why that difference between US and Europe. Not the price (US prices are definitely a lot less than what we are used to in all things), but the availability of all colors in all lengths. Wish we had a resource like that here.

maryww said...

Thanks so much for this source of thread. I am placing an order! I too am Canadian and finding something like this is truly a blessing. Thanks Shannon.

Claire S. said...

Thanks Shannan ! I've wanted to buy bulk but hadn't yet found either a Canadian source or one that would ship to us with a competitive price. Of course, now we have to pay attention to the exchange rate again. I checked this site out before commenting - Definitely making an order.

maryww said...

I want that thread box! It's lovely. Can you share where you bought it?

a little sewing on the side said...

I love your thread collection, too!
I also love Gutermann best and buy from Atlanta Thread and Supply, and I have one of those real thread charts. So, although I also feel weird about loving thread, reading your post makes me feel normal, too. :)
I like your thread storage box, too!

margi said...

Hi Shannon-I really like your thread storage. Is that a case you purchased? Thanks!

Emily said...

Wow, your thread looks so beautiful organized like that. I admit that I buy whatever thread I can find and that it's all tossed in a plastic bin. Not nearly as neat and orderly!

Nancy W. said...

Thanks for the link to Cleaners supply. I have found similar items at Atlanta Thread and Supply. I will have to compare the prices.

French_Seam said...

You are so lucky! The cheapest Gutermann supplier I can find in UK charges £5 for 500m (about $7.65)

CarlaF said...


Are your spools of thread in test tube racks?

CarlaF-in Atlanta where it's 29 degrees. Y'all that cold for the sunny south.

Joyce said...

Thanks for the info. My order is being delivered on today. I ordered the Gutermann 25 variety thread pack. I also ordered some other items at a lower price. I can hardly wait to get my package. It should be waiting for me on my porch this evening when I arrive home.

AmeliaSews said...

I also placed an order with Cleaner's Supply. I love the big spools of Gutterman thread! I have ordered from Atlanta Thread in the past, but CS had some other items (like needles for my serger) that AT doesn't carry. Thanks so much for the resource!
My package arrived today! What fun to see all that thread!

Denise said...

Thanks ever so for sharing this resource. Thread is gorgeous, isn't it?