silk threadLooking at the Whole Picture

I recently received an e-mail from a customer who had been debating with another person the quality of threads.  The issue was that thread A was better than thread B because it was stronger and Thread B happened to be our thread.  She was convinced our thread was still a better product but she didn’t know how to respond.  I love it when people defend us.  Here is my  response:

There is more to thread than simply the strength.  If strength were the only determining factor of thread quality, I think we would all be using nylon all the time because nylon is the strongest fiber in the thread industry.  However, other factors are also important.  Consider this example:  My 1990 VolksWagen gets better gas mileage than a new Rolls Royce.  Therefore, my car must be better. As long as we only compare one aspect of the cars, my car wins.  But what about the comfort, the smooth ride, the look, the long lasting value, the quality of workmanship, the satisfaction of knowing the Rolls Royce is built to last, the warranty, the service?  Likewise with thread, quality is determined by more than one aspect.  In terms of importance, here is what makes a quality thread:

1. Raw materials.  As far as cotton is concerned, the best cotton is Egyptian-GROWN, extra-long staple cotton.  90% of so called Egyptian cotton does not come from Egypt.  It is deceptive labeling because it comes from other countries including Turkey, Romania, Pakistan, India, Brazil, China, and the U.S.  In fact, Egypt only produces about 2% of all the cotton grown.  As a consumer, it is impossible to tell by looking at it if the cotton is really from Egypt. Our cotton is grown and certified in Egypt.  We guarantee that.  It is also extra-long staple cotton.  What makes a good polyester?  The number of micro strands that make up each individual ply or strand of polyester.  For example, a #50/3 polyester is made up of three strands.  Each of those three strands are made of numerous micro strands.  An inexpensive polyester may have three or six micro strands per ply.  A high quality polyester may have as many as 48 micro strands.  It is impossible for consumers to know how many, but this is the reason why some polyester threads are so much better than others. 

2. Processing.  A company may start with a good quality raw material but cut corners in the processing, resulting is a poor quality product.  Some of the processes involved in making cotton thread include twisting (some threads are loosely and inconsistently twisted), the smoothness of the thread (no slubs or clumps of lint wound into the thread), the finishing (nice smooth finish without excessive lint), and the winding.

3. Ease of use.  Does the thread come off the spool or cone easily?  Does it have an even, consistent wind on the spool or cone?

4. Strength.  Is the thread strong enough for the application?  Thread for piecing does not need to be as strong as thread for quilting.  Embroidery thread does not require as much strength as quilting thread. 

Will you and your machine be able to tell the difference?  I think so.  Back to car example, we all know that buying a high grade gasoline, changing the oil on schedule, and frequently rotating the tires will keep the car in better condition and it will last longer.  It does not make sense to buy an expensive car and not take care of it.  So it is with our sewing machines.  Quality thread really will make a difference.  You will have better results, a cleaner machine, and fewer frustrations. It is worth it.  Poor quality = poor results.  Mediocre quality = mediocre results. Superior quality = superior results.

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By: Bob Purcell