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Simple title, simple question.

How do you buy thread?  That’s the question on my mind today.  Do you buy it for each project as you go?  Do you stock up on common colors when a sale comes your way?  Or do you buy a bunch of them in a whole range of colors just in case?

As I mentioned recently when working on my wadder, the problem with having a stash of patterns, fabric, notions, etc., you just assume you have all the makings to make a dress or a skirt at a moment’s notice without needing to run to the fabric store for a zipper or matching thread.  I did. 

As I gather all the stuff I need for my super secret surprise (haha, still can’t resist to torment you guys), I am considering just buying a whole rainbow of thread just so I have it on hand. 

What do you think?  What is the best method for having a thread stash for life’s little spur of the moment sewing needs?


30 responses to “Thread

  1. Although the rainbow collections of thread are incredibly appealing (hello, Gutermann!), I can never bring myself to buy them. When I need a crucial matching color, it’s very unlikely to be one that’s already in a collection — and, anyway, if I need two spools (almost always!), the particular color I need may no longer be a shade that’s available. So I’ve found that I’m always
    better off buying thread for each project.

    That said, for the less critical shades, I just pull from the partially empty spools that automatically fill up a thread stash. I have a whole small cupboard on my wall that’s full of half-used spools from past projects, and I grab from it all the time for basting, or where the exact shade isn’t so important.

    Of course, I do keep a ton of black, white and my known favorite basic colors on hand. And I try not to start new projects at, say, 9 PM!

  2. I do love the idea of a rainbow of thread; however, it’s not practical for me. I buy my most commonly used colours (black, white, red, pink, purple) when thread is on sale. I buy the biggest spool I can find, too, so it lasts longer.

    When I’m working on a project that needs thread that I don’t have, I tend to buy smaller spools as needed. I prefer Guetermann or Coats & Clark thread.

    I also buy notions in bulk when they are on sale. Zippers and buttons I buy in almost every colour since I know I’ll use them.

    Sarah 🙂

  3. I tend to buy as I go, but buying a rainbow of them would be handy and pretty!

  4. Buy as I go, though I have been known to stock up on black whenever there’s a sale, since I use a LOT of black thread. It’s OK to stock up on colors you use frequently, such as black/white/beige/grey, but don’t go crazy buying sets with lots of colors you aren’t sure you’ll use. 🙂

  5. Oh Elizabeth, there’s nothing better than pretty threads! But you’ve seen my stash, well parts of it anyway, right? It is an accumulation of 8 years of commercial and personal sewing., huge, and a pain to store. I’ve never bought a whole set of colors except for the embroidery machine and some of those colors have not been used. So maybe the answer is: it will depend on your storage space?

  6. I buy as projects come up. I buy basic/commonly used thread whenever there is a sale (white/off white/ brown & camel). Sometimes when there is a sale and I have several projects in mind I will buy for those projects as well. Buying a rainbow of colors would be pretty and useful only if you can use all of them.

  7. I always buy as I go, mainly because I don’t have a big space nor money jejeje! I don’t recomend buying the whole raimbow unless you have a covered space for them, away from dust and sunlight. Tha rainbow can fade quickly!!! My favorite thread is Gutermann, because the polyester core is not as springy as the coats.

  8. I’ve been thinking about thread, too. I buy as I go, even if it means shopping my stash. I buy for 2 or 3 projects in my queue so I’ll have them when I need them. I’m going to begin ordering 1100 spools to use in my serger. I like it when all the various threads match each other and the fabric.

  9. Oddly, though I think its very important to have matching thread, I try not to buy it. Only because if I don’t keep myself within some sort of budget I tend to spend way too much money on one project. I have a bin of thread from old projects and such and I try to look through to see if I have a somewhat matching thread for my next sewing project. Now, if there is going to be topstitching, I’ll buy matching thread, but if not and you’re not going to see the threads, per se, I’ll use what I have. Kind of, sort of a make do and mend philosophy, but I like using things to the bitter end.
    xoxo, Sunni

  10. For a few years, I would buy a really big spool from Steinlauf and Stoller for each new project. After a while, I had a good collection of leftover thread. Now I have pretty much every color I need, and when I run out of a color, I make a note of it and replace it.

  11. If by buying a “whole rainbow,” you mean one that you pick out based on the colors you gravitate towards, then I say Do It. I stock up on”my” colors and every once in a while, look at my thread stash and make a note about what colors I think are missing or running low and then restock during a sale. I have enough colors at this point that even if I don’t have a perfect match, I have close enough.

  12. I bought a Gutermann rainbow box on Craigslist, so while it’s completely impractical I love looking at it and it was cheap! But apart from that I buy for immediate needs.

  13. Isn’t it funny that everyones “stock” colors are different! Aside from white and black, of course. I stock up on those two, plus pink (in two shades, as I sew for a 2 year old girl), red, blue and beige. Other shades I buy as I go, if I don’t already have one that is close enough on hand from a previous project. I’ve been bitten by that as well though! I sew in they early morning hours and no one is open (besides my kids are sleeping), so I often have to wait to start a project until I can make a thread run.

  14. Thread is the last thing I think of, quite often I forget to buy it when I buy fabric. That said, I’ve sewn for a long time so I do have lots of reels and can usually ‘get by’ with what I have. Colours do blend, so you don’t have to have exactly the same colour as your fabric unless you are going to top-stitch and want the thread to match perfectly.
    However, the few times I haven’t had thread that I’ve been able to use – it’s been the proverbial ‘pain in the behind’.
    I think it’s better to be prepared than not!!

  15. Don’t buy a stash! I did and have yet to use any from it. It is never the right kind or the right color. Mariluz warned me but I didn’t listen! Buy as you go.

    Love, Mom

  16. I only stock up on black, white, and off-white thread. Everything else I buy as I need it. I wouldn’t know where to start to buy any other colors unless I have a specific project in mind. Since I buy more than I think I’ll need for whatever project I happen to be working on, over time I have accumulated a pretty large variety of thread colors. Even so, sometimes I can find a color in my stash that will work and sometimes not.

  17. Thread deteriorates (quickly!) so I don’t stash much thread beyond off-white (never white – not good for me), gray , burgundy (always a favorite) and black. The only serger cones I have are in ecru and black. I’m considering gray as a midway between ecru and black.

    I usually buy thread when I buy fabric and base the amounts to buy on the amounts of fabric I bought, matching the thread to the fabric.

    I do have some underutilized spools… do I ditch them or not?

  18. My most excellent mother bought me a Gutermann thread cabinet that holds roughly 80 colors and it can be hung on the wall. Hooray for Mom and Joann’s 40% off coupons!

  19. I buy thread for specific projects, and only stock up on basics like black/white/cream when it’s on sale. I use my hardly-any-left spools for basting, it’s a great way to use up the leftovers. Even with this fairly stingy way of buying thread, I still end up with lots in my bin! (Probably from all the projects I dream of and never start :))

  20. Sewista Fashionista

    I am a quilter too. About three years ago I went and spent a ton on thread buying a lot of colors, two spools each of a dark, medium and light of every color I frequently use. (This will run you a lot of money and raise eyebrows at the cashier.) That has been a good base collection. I supplement with project buys too, but I often use what I have on hand though it is beginning to thin a bit by now.

  21. With the exception of black, white and cream (which I use for muslins), I buy matching thread when I buy the fabric. I usually get two spools. I wish I had an extended zipper collection.

  22. Other than black, white and beige – I buy as I go. I can’t afford to have money sitting on the wall (in a drawer) and not used. I use the leftovers for basting and muslins and such.

  23. I *try* to buy thread whenever I buy fabric… but that doesn’t always work. I often forget, or I convince myself that I already have the right color in my stash. Worse still, when I do have to buy thread for a specific project, I usually forget to bring a fabric swatch to the store and end up getting an array of a specific color. Last week– shades of dark red.

  24. Like many others have said, I stock up on white, black and natural on sale. There are also a handful of colors I find to be good blenders for what I typically sew that I keep in stock – a med grey, grey-blue, dark-medium brown, taupe, coral, dark purple. Anything else I buy project specific. I try to pull fabrics from my stash at the beginning of the season that I hope to use and I check then for thread, zippers, buttons, etc. that I might need. I staple snips of the fabrics to a notecard and write next to each fabric what I need to buy. I keep it in my bag and buy when I run across sales or have an opportunity. Not everything gets sewn, and some of these supplies end up in the stash for some future project, but it helps me have on hand what I need when I need it, without having too much invested in notions I might not end up using.

    Lois K

  25. I’m the same as many of the previous commenters. I keep a stock of the basic colours then buy matching thread, as I sew, for fabrics that need other colours. However, I am fortunate in that I have a store very near my home that stocks a wide range of thread so I can usually get what I need at a moments’s notice. I would probably be less picky about getting an exact match if I had to travel to buy thread.

  26. Like a lot of others, I buy BIG spools of the basics (black and white, for me, although I should probably stock up on some good-quality off-white, too). I should probably add red to that list, but there are such a lot of shades of red (I have at least three distinctly-coloured red spools right now). I try to keep at least two spools of my favourite colours on hand for double-needle stitching, although you can, of course, wind an extra bobbin for your second spool. I have a modest selection of other colours and I’m not the most anal about matching, so I usually can find something that can work. I’m rubbish about remembering to buy them when I buy the fabric, though (I think my brain secretly wants to justify more visits to the fabric store).

    I think you’d probably be justified in buying a “purple tones” assortment 😉

  27. I am definitely a thread stasher! I cannot stand to run out of thread. Now I always have something that matches pretty closely. I started by stocking up at Joann’s during half off sales (a few spools at each sale). I looked at the colors that I had in my fabric stash and stocked up on colors that would match. Then I also purchased a Gutterman cabinet for a really great price during a sale. Now, when I run out of a color I write the number down to replace it at the next sale. It works for me!

  28. I purchase the Gutermann 26 Spool Thread Box at Joanns. They have a box set of primary colors, dark colors and basic colors.

  29. I buy thread as I go. Always ALWAYS Gutterman b/c it doesn’t tangle! I’ve been lusting after their thread sampler, but haven’t actually bought it yet. Luckily, I have two neighbours that sew, so if I don’t have the colour, I poach. I did it TWICE this weekend. Thank goodness for good neighbours!

  30. I have collected thread over time. I used to buy matching thread when I bought a fabric. Now I assume I have something in stash unless it’s a new color for me (I bought mustard, for instance). Sometimes this bites me in the booty when I realize I don’t have the right color, but not too often. I have a lot of thread, though (that photo is two years old; I’ve added more since then). I recommend the thread rack if you can find space (it’s wall mountable). It’s a lot easier to see if you have the right color when it’s out.

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