How can you tell if you have enough thread to stitch out an embroidery design?

By on July 16th, 2013
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Last night I had the most frustrating experience that a machine embroidery enthusiast can possibly have; running out of thread in the middle of stitching out a design. I knew that I was taking a risk trying to use this particular green thread because it was a bit low on the spool, but I went for it anyway. Big mistake.

I was just about done stitching out a flower on one of my new Walmart tunic dresses and I ran out of green thread. UGH!  So I texted my sister (who also does machine embroidery).  After bitching at me for getting her out of bed – she offered her green thread that she thought might be close in color.  Well, thanks. But no thanks.

In this particular situation only a perfect match will look correct. The thread that I ran out of was a Mettler cotton green embroidery thread – #952 to be precise. My sister’s thread was a Singer polyester thread.  I learned a while ago that cotton embroidery thread is a bit thicker then it’s polyester counterpart. So not only would it have a different book, it would also have a different thickness. The reality is I needed the exact same Mettler cotton embroidery thread in this particular color.

After I ran out of the thread, I thought to myself… WHAT A DUMB ROOKIE MISTAKE. So I asked my Facebook peeps if there was a surefire way to know whether you had enough thread on the spool to complete stitching on the design. So far no one has a surefire method – just some tips to help try to avoid having this situation occur – which is not all that helpful at this point… but good tips nonetheless.

 “Just watch my thread sew and get used to seeing how the thread is wound. I have only ran out of thread while sewing at home a handful of times. If it is a color that I frequently use, I always make sure that I nave extra.”

“Very difficult to gauge what’s left on a spindle so keep two of your popular colours in stock.”

“I honestly just look at the spools. If I have a small spool I’ll use it for tack down but replace it before the ss.”

Fortunately thread colors are numbered so by specifying the thread number and type I thought I could find the exact same one, and fortunately this was the case.  I called my local sewing store (Make it Sew in St. Louis) and (HOOORAYYY!!!) they had the exact Mettler cotton thread that I needed.  I ran out there this afternoon and picked up another spool of #952 Mettler Cotton 60 weight cotton embroidery thread and was able to complete my project.

So… lesson learned.  I will always make sure I have plenty of thread before relying on a thread to complete a design. But if anyone has a good method for determining if there is enough thread on the spool to complete the design, I’d love to hear it.

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