What Brand of Thread Should You Use?

The topic of thread has been on my mind lately.

I just got the annual tune up on my sewing machine and the technician scolded me.

Wow, I wasn’t expecting that!

She asked what brand of thread I use.

When I told her “Sometimes Coats and Clark and sometimes Gutterman”, I got a sharp reprimand.

She told me that the only kind to use is Mettler.

Mettler? I don’t know about you, but I think I’ve only been in about 2 stores in my life that carry that brand.

I didn’t think it mattered that much.

I already knew not to buy the stuff that is ten spools for a dollar.

I learned that when I worked at Hancock Fabrics in high school, before dinosaurs roamed the earth.

The cheap stuff is fuzzy, gums up the tension discs, and breaks real easily.

She’s saying that that’s what my brands are doing too.

It’s weird. I used to only take my machine in every four or five years because I kept it clean and well oiled right here at home.

But over the last two years, my machine has been hesitating when I step on the foot pedal.

She said that’s directly related to my cheap thread.

But Gutterman is pretty high quality, isn’t it?

Coats and Clark is what America uses, doesn’t it?

And, I only use my really old stuff to hand baste with.

Is it because my Bernina is 27 years old?


She said thread has changed in the last few years.


Have you heard this from your technician too?

What brand do you use?

How To Sew a Button on By Machine

Do you know how to sew a button on with your sewing machine?

For those of you who don’t know how, or feel a little intimidated in trying, here’s my technique.

Find a button for the garment and push the button through the hole to make sure it fits.

Place the button over the original holes.

I use a long strip of Scotch tape to hold it in place:

I used to just hold it in place with my fingers, but I found that I inevitably had to answer the phone at this point (or something else) and it took time to reposition it when I got back to it.

This just saves me from fumbling around.

Next, I carefully drop the needle so that it enters one of the holes in the button.

Once that needle is down, I slide in a toothpick between the holes on the button and then drop the presser foot:

Ok , you’re probably wondering why in the world I am using a toothpick!

I am going to put in a thread shank.

What is a thread shank?

It helps the button sit up higher on the garment.

This is important so that when you button the garment, it has plenty of room to be buttoned. Without a thread shank, a garment may be really difficult to button.

(Note: if you have a thin garment, you probably don’t need a thread shank. But, if you have a thick garment like these shorts, you’ll need one.)

I decided I’d show you one in case you needed to make one on your garment.

If you’re still confused, keep reading and I think you’ll understand as we go along.

Next, I set my sewing machine for the widest zig zag stitch I have.

Then, I tighten up the stitch length to zero.

I don’t want the machine to advance while stitching this button on. I want it to stay right where it is.

Next, I hand turn the fly wheel on the machine to test and make sure the needle will go into the holes without hitting the sides of the holes.

I will only sew two holes at a time….in a horozontal fashion.

I’ll sew back and forth between those two holes maybe ten times or so making sure I keep a good grip on the toothpick so it doesn’t slide out of there.

Once those are sewn, I’ll lift the presser foot to the two unsewn holes and repeat the process.

At the end, do not cut off the threads.

Leave long tails.

When you are finished, it should look like this:

Next, peel off that Scotch tape:

Take the long tail of thread and thread it onto a needle.

Wind the thread (clockwise or counter clockwise) around the underside of the button until you get a thick “shank” underneath:

It should look like this from the side:

See? That extra height will help the two layers lay flat when the garment is buttoned.

Next, take the needle and push it through to the back side:

Tie a strong knot and clip your threads.

There you go.

At first, it may seem like it takes longer to do this than to hand sew a button on, but after you’ve done it a few times, I think you’ll see how fast it goes.

You may never want to hand sew a button on again!

Now, I’d love to hear your techniques on getting the same result…..

Ethics in Business

A college student sat in our kitchen last week and told me of his experience at a local alteration shop.

He needed three repairs done on two items.

First, there was a tear in these shorts:

and a rip in this pocket:

and a button missing here:

And guess what they were going to charge him?



Can you believe it?

How much would you charge?

How much would you pay to have someone else fix them?

I know, some people would say, “Hey, if someone is willing to pay that much, you should charge whatever you can get from them and make a huge profit.”

Well, I don’t agree.

First, wouldn’t you just feel terrible in your heart of hearts knowing that you ripped someone off?

One of the verses in the Bible in the book of Proverbs says that “Honest scales and balances are from the Lord.”

So, I want to be fair and honest in my pricing; not gouging someone just because I can.

Plus, there is the admonition to love your neighbor as yourself. I’m to treat others like I want to be treated.

And,  don’t you find that people who are “all about the money” are tough and mean and greedy?

I don’t want to be tough and mean and greedy.

The thing that’s sad about this particular shop is that they consistently don’t do a good job.

I’ve been hired to redo several items that they “altered” over the years and I feel bad for the customer.

Lots of people go there because they are located right next to the city mall.

When they walk in the shop, they don’t know what poor service they’ll get until after they pick the item up.

So, I told this boy I would fix his clothes for a fraction of what it was going to cost him there.

He called the shop, ran over and got the items, and brought them back to me.

And we were both happy about it.

It took me 20 minutes to do all the mending and reattach the button.

That means the other shop, who I’m sure would take the same amount of time to fix these items, was charging $126.00 an hour!


Isn’t that what we pay a doctor per hour? Or a dentist?

Granted, our skill is a skill and it takes time to develop, but $126.00 per hour?

Leave me a comment. I’d love to hear what you think…..!

(If you want to know how to fix these kind of tears in your garment, check out this post.)