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?


37 Responses

  1. The thread is one that is important, yes. However, I have never been told not to use Coats and Clark. It is a staple of my notions pile. Mettler is very good; I use it for my sergers and also blind stitcher and have been very happy with the results over all. The cheaper brands of threads, like a store brand, are quite NOT to my liking—-ex: walmart’s brand—although I do use that for handbasting and such.

    • Just realized that I meant to say I use Maxilock for the serger not Mettler. Use Mettler for sewing. I just had a 747 moment when I first commented. Reread it today and OOPS! sorry
      my apologies to all .

  2. When I bought my Bernina 19 years ago, the Bernina agent told me to only use Gutterman and then 6 years ago when I added a Baby Lock, they told me to use only Mettler. So I use only the Coats and Clark for basting and hand sewing. If you look at the threads, you can really see the difference.

  3. I always thought they said that because they were trying to make money. I have only had my Bernina for about 2 years and use a combo of Coats & Clark and Gutterman. I try to stock up on the expensive stuff when it is on sale.

  4. Hmmmm. I never really thought about the thread that much. Guess I’d better do an inventory and throw out any of the cheap ones. I’ve never heard of Mettler either and have no idea where I might find it other than the internet. Thanks for the tips.

  5. I really prefer Gutterman. I know not to use C&C, but on occasion, they have a color that matches better. A big part of this question should also be about what’s available. At my last house those were my only two choices; where I’m at now, I hav no choices. There is no fabric store to even buy thread. Since I’m going to have to web order them, this would be a good time to experiment w/Gutterman vs. Metler to see if I really do prefer it or if I was just using the best of what was available to me?

  6. Hi everyone, I am a new sewer and was told by a very experienced sewer, Marcia, from the Close to Home store in CT that Mettler is THE best thread. Close to Home is a family run store and they really carry the best stuff for sewing and are willing to spend time explaining why. I am pleased with Mettler and find it is very smooth. I don’t think I could NOT use Mettler thread. So far, the folks at Close to Home have always guided me in the right direction.

  7. Actually, a few years ago there was a problem with some of the ‘G’ thread. And I’ve had problems with some of the C&C threads shredding when I used a smaller needle; it’s hard to find the finer thread in some stores. I personally have used Mettler threads on my Berninas (sewing machine and serger) and am really happy with it, but occasionally I’ve used other threads to get a good color match.

    I live quite far from any store that stocks Mettler Metrosene, so I stock up on larger size spools of basic colors by mail order when they go on sale in February or so each year. Each year I add a few spools of newer colors. I’ve been doing this for enough years that I rarely have to buy thread for a particular project.

    So is your machine technician saying you wouldn’t need a yearly cleaning if you used Mettler????

  8. I’ve never heard of Mettler. I’m more of an amateur hobbyist when it comes to sewing and my beautiful 1940’s Singer only sees the light of day 5 or 6 times a year and I don’t use much besides C&C. Should I really worry about fuzz buildup and using a different thread?

  9. For a full line of Mettler Metrosene threads check out Atlanta Thread and Supply Co in Strockbridge GA. They carry everything a professional sewer needs.

  10. This is a funny debate for me..I used Guttermann threads in Europe for about 15+ years and when I came to Canada the local area stores had Mettler..for me as an experienced Tailor and dressmaker/designer I find both interchangeable and the difference minimal between these two German brands. I use a variety of machine makes and they all play well with both these brands..I don’t notice any difference to the machines or my sewing/garments. I’ve never really been partial to C&C, mainly because I can feel the difference in both hand and by looking at them..they just “look” wrong to me..(sorry can’t explain that one any better than that!lol) In tailoring mode, my hand sewing is extremely important and I wont use sub standard thread for that either, so I will often use the best quality for that aswell. Basically I believe you should sew with the best quality of thread, don’t use “old” or cheap stuff because its breaking, slubbing and poor dye will ruin your fabulous sewing and the enjoyment of it too!! I am also quite partial to Madeira and Sulky threads as well I might add!

    • Thanks, Dani. That was very helpful for our readers. I appreciate your expertise on the subject!

    • Thanks for the two extra suggestions! I have been dying to learn how to use a sewing machine for eons (we only did hand-sewing in home-ec when I had it, so I’ve never even touched one!) and I just got one for Christmas, simple for beginners. I want to learn to do right from the get go and this article and your comment have saved me from making a BIG mistake with thread! I am a cheapskate to begin with, but for this, I’m definitely going quality! Thank you both!!

  11. I rarely sew but when I do, I use Gutterman. Over the past couple of years I have had problems with the thread breaking, and this is the reason I found this website. I am using Gutterman all-purpose thread purchased yesterday for my current project, and it is breaking constantly. Thanks for the info on Mettler as I am not familiar with it and will try to locate a store that sells it.

    • Gen, you really shouldn’t be having this much trouble with your thread breaking, especially with Gutterman. Here are some additional pointers: First, change your needle. You might have a spur in the current needle. Once in awhile, I end up with a dud package of needles. Second, make sure your needle is out in correctly. Check your manual, but most needles need to be put in with the flat side of the needle pointing to the back of the machine. Third, check your tension. It may be too tight. If you’re still having trouble, write me back and we’ll explore further.

      • Hi. Just read an article that explained why some sewists are having trouble with Gutermann thread.

        Guterman has several manufacturing plants world wide. One plant is in Mexico. The current theory is that the longer thread (not the correct terminology) are processed in Germany. Shorter threads are processed in Mexico. The longer German threads are stronger. The shorter threads are weaker by nature.

        Think of braiding hair that is of different lengths. The shorter pieces stick out. In those places where the shorter pieces stick out, the thread is weak and breaks more easily.

        Gutermann is very popular in England. If Gutermann was a bad thread, it would not be highly regarded in England.

        If the US (and other countries) is getting a weaker thread from Mexico, then sewists in the US will have more breakage and lint problems. If problems with Gutermann continued and you have done all the other checks as advised by sewfordough, then you may have a low quality Gutermann thread.

        I have sewn for decades. I can clean my own sewing machine and replace parts on it. I have vintage to top of the line machines. True – there are several reasons threads will break — but — something is wrong with the Gutermann thread being sold in the US and maybe other countries.

        Check the country of orgin of Gutermann thread before you buy it. The thread manufactured in Germany is supposed to be good thread.

        Gutermann merged with another company. Right now, its all about profit. If you don’t buy poor quality, they will quit making it — after they sell it to unsuspecting buyers — or dump it in the ocean.

        From the Gutermann website:
        Data and facts

        Foundation: 1864
        Headquarters: Gutach-Breisgau, Germany
        Production sites: Gutach-Breisgau, Germany; Barcelona, Spain; Cuernavaca, Mexico; Delhi, India
        International presence: subsidiaries and representatives in over 80 countries

      • Sewing machune dealers blame your choice of thread when their machines don’t work or if you use a brand they dont sell.
        I now have a machine the works and no matter what thread I use it stays threaded.

  12. Hi All, Sorry a bit late to the party, but tonight I started a pattern drafting class, and the tutor was talking about thread, she said that Gutterman was taken over by another firm(??) and since then she has found that the thread is more likely to break. They might be making it out of cheaper materials who knows? She is a professional dressmaker (wedding dresses and such like), of about 40 odd years so has seen the difference, I suppose, over the years. She couldn’t remember the name of the thread she now recommends, that’s why I went searching online. I always use Gutterman, but will look for some Mettler here in Australia now.

    Thanks great post!

    • Thank you Turina, for the update on thread. I haven’t had any trouble with Gutterman, so I often wonder if it’s the machine or needles that sometimes make the difference???

      • I was wondering the same thing because I’ve never really had problems. Mind you I’ve only just in the last couple of years begun to use it so maybe I can’t tell the difference hehe! I was guilty of using the cheaper threads until I found out otherwise.

  13. You can find Mettler on Amazon. More expensive but you tend to get what you pay for. Below are a couple of websites that compare the quality with close up pictures of the threads.



  14. I have sewn for years and had a commercial embroidery 12 needle machine also. For the last year I have been having a lot of trouble with Coats and Clark thread when I am hand sewing. I wrote to the company twice about the same problem. After I have stitched through the material several inches and pull it taunt it breaks. Today I just pulled the thread from the spool and noticed weak spots in the thread about an inch long. They told me to try the Dual Duty thread, however, it tends to do the same thing after sewing for a while. I have also noticed it is now very thin… I think it’s time to leave Coats and Clark in the dust and try using another thread. Has anyone else had the problem?

  15. I have been looking for the right information about the correct thread to use. This I am meaning cotton or polyester. Then I came across Rasant. I am quite confused. Do I use cotton thread on cotton fabric. And polyester on synthetic fabric. Not sure about Rasant but people seem to rave about it.

    • Hi all. (First time I have ever commented anywhere). I have been a prolific patchwork we/quilter for years, and here in Australia I almost exclusively use Rasant thread on my Janome machines. I have two of my own, and 8 for my business. This thread is a polyester core with long staple cotton over it. It is strong, fantastic range of colours (around 140), and reasonably priced. It rarely breaks or splits, and I use it for hand sewing too. I have absolutely no business connections to the company, I just really like their thread! Mary

      • I haven’t heard of Rasant thread before, but after doing just a bit of research, it looks like they are connected to Mettler thread, which is outstanding. Looks like it’s a bit more difficult to find, so perhaps an online source would be our best bet. Thanks for letting us know!

  16. This question has come up for me now . Im a professional. Ive never had any problems using Dual Duty thread (DD), but when my 35 year old Viking started giving me problems the dealer said the thread was the problem and to buy only what they sold: Gutterman. 35 years of daily sewing. No problem til then. Got a new Bernina and the dealer said use only what they sell: Mettler or it will cause machine to malfunction. Now the thread cutter wont work, makes birdnest underneath, digs fabric into feed dog, needle coming unthreaded, needles breaking.

    Question then is will thread cause those machine problems? Ive never had problems before using DD. I also use metler and gutterman. Seems to make no difference.

    • I have read other people’s comments that the thread makes all the difference. Some say that the Dual Duty is a much poorer quality than it used to be. I sew on a 32 year old Bernina and I haven’t had any of those issues no matter what type of thread I use. Perhaps the new machines are very sensitive to the thread brand, I’m not sure. The only trick I use to stop the birds nest under the feed dog is to be sure and hold the threads tight before I start sewing and then let them go after a few stitches. Maybe have them double check the alignment on everything. Perhaps it wasn’t right when it left the factory. Otherwise, I’m not sure why you are having so much trouble. Perhaps someone else can weigh in here and give you an answer.

      • Yes. I used to sew on a viking and it did not matter what thread I used. All kinds.

        My Bernina is now back at the factory for multiple problems. My guess it is NOT the thread. So now relooking at machines. A whole nuther topic.

  17. Thank you all for your comments! I am looking to buy an inexpensive sewing machine for my 8 year old grand daughter. She may love the gift & absolutely wear it out or she may sew 3 times and walk away. However; I do not want the thread I purchase to be an issue. Instead of purchasing 25 spools of all different colors, I will purchase whatever I can afford of the Mettler brand. Thank you again for your comments!

  18. Yes! I got the same reprimand from my machibe tech. Coats and Clark moved their production to Mexico and in the last few years, their product has been increasingly inferior. My sewing instructor recommended Mettlers, Aurofil, and if you have no other choice – Guttermans. The sewing machine tech taught me the thread snap test – which is when you try to break the thread in one snap. If it is done easily – don’t use it.

  19. One tech told me that using anything but Gutterman will run my machine and make it mal function. Another tech told me that anything other than Metler will ruin it. I use Gutterman, Mettler and Dual Duty depending on what is available when I get thread and what color matches my product. I have not noticed any difference in my sewing results. Have the threads gotten worse or have the machine gotten more sensitive?

  20. Look at a strand of the thread with back light. If you see a “halo” of fuzz around it, stay away from it. I’m also picky about colors, so I keep on hand actual thread cards of all colors from the manufacturers I like, and order online exactly what I need. I have always liked Mettler threads, and have recently added Superior Threads Sergin’ General to my preferences.

  21. Just trying to see ordinary cotton curtains and thread is looping underneath am using gutterman. Changed to Coates and problem stopped Why!

  22. Just came from having my machine serviced. First questioned I was asked was “What brand of thread you using?”. I proudly answered “Gutterman”. The kind man begged me to stop abusing my sewing machine with anything Gutterman or Coates and Clark. He directed me to a few websites that carry Mettler brand. After my initial surprise wore off, he explained that Coates and Clark leaves a lot of lint behind. Gutterman leaves CHUNKS! I was told my machine would/should last 20 years using good thread and continued yearly service. Dually noted!

    • I definitely think you should take his recommendation. I will say that I have been using Guterman and Coats and Clark all the years I’ve owned my machine (34 years!) and my technician has never said I had any trouble with thread! I think it depends on the brand of machine you have.

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