I’d guess everyone who works with thread in any fashion has their likes and dislikes when it comes to thread brands. When you’re just starting out, it’s hard to know which brand will serve you well and meet your needs the best. Some people buy thread based on what came with their machine. Other embroiderers work more with colors they need to match rather than thread brands they like. Certainly there are those who buy based on price, and the cheaper price always seems to win. One thing that isn’t often considered, but should be, is how consistent the thread is.
A consistent thread is one that retains the same properties over time. The hues of the dyes used to color the thread don’t change. The tensile strength of the thread remains constant. The cost of the thread stays reasonably steady. The quality of the thread doesn’t vary from lot to lot. What you got when you used the thread for the first time should, if the thread is consistent, be the same as what you get when you use the thread for the thirty-first time. Being consistent is important for thread for several reasons.
Reason 1: Colors don’t change – Anyone who’s matched a color for a customer knows the importance of color consistency. Once you find the perfect color to match their logo or graphic, you need that color to match every time you do an order. Customers, as we all know, can be very picky about color matching. The last thing you need is a thread color that changes a bit with every dye lot. A consistent thread will maintain color integrity across dye lots. The dye recipe will be precise and will be precisely followed.
Reason 2: Strength and durability – An inconsistent thread will have weak spots, areas where the fibers are uneven or aren’t as thick. It won’t hold tension as well and may be more prone to thread breaks. A consistent thread, on the other hand, will be even, without weak spots. It will sew smoothly and thread breaks will be limited, and more likely due to design issues than the quality of the thread. Consistent thread also generally causes far fewer thread breaks, which results in much less downtime for production.
Reason 3: Price – Consistent thread is unlikely to be the least expensive thread on the block, but the quality will be worth paying a slightly higher price. It’s also unlikely that the prices for a consistent thread will fluctuate much, since the manufacturer will have sourced quality supplies and ensured their supply chain is secure. While the price may be adjusted to reflect inflation or changes in the economy, overall the price should stay pretty steady.
Reason 4: Sew-out – A consistent thread will sew out the same every time you sew a design. It won’t sew perfectly one time and become a knotted mess the next. A thread you can rely on is one that can be predicted, one that you know will create embroidery that will satisfy your customers. If you constantly have to adjust tensions or mess with the machine to get the same results as a prior sew-out, you’re losing time and certainly adding to your stress level.
In the end, a consistent thread is one that performs the job for you best over the long term. Yes, a thread that stays consistent probably won’t be the cheapest option, but a higher price will be more than justified by the faster production, stable color and pain free sew-outs.