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Identical thread but the shades don’t match…what’s up with that, Mettler?

Last week some ladies at work asked if I would be willing to monogram a set of towels for another coworker (Linda) who is getting married in the next few weeks. I was more than happy to contribute to this gift because I’m very happy for her.  You see – a few years ago Linda lost her first husband to cancer, so it is wonderful to see her in love again.

Barbara, another coworker, picked up a set of towels and gave them to me at work. We then conferred on thread color for the monogram, clarified the lettering and finally I took them home with me. Naturally, I left the project until the last minute so I had to get up super early the morning I needed to have them at the office.  It was all going well – I cranked out three out of the four towels. But when the fourth towel was being stitched, I heard by embroidery machine stop. It took a second for me to notice what the problem was: I ran out of embroidery thread.

OMG. How many times am I going to make a stupid mistake? I had a full spool of thread when I started the project, so I thought I would have enough to do all four towels.  Clearly I was wrong. I had to give Linda the gift with only three of the towels complete with a promise to deliver the fourth one once I was able to buy some thread that matched.

On Saturday I headed over to Make it Sew in St. Louis with the empty school of Mettler cotton embroidery thread with the mission to match to buy another spool of the exact same thread. The good news was that they had the same color thread, but the bad news was that the thread looked very different from what I recalled stitching. When I got it home my suspicions proved correct. This thread, although it was the same brand and number, it was a totally different shade. What’s up with that???? Thread companies just arbitrarily change the color of a thread even while keeping the number the same?  Has this happened to anyone else?

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Exact same thread – totally different shade.

I ended up bringing my hooped towel back to the fabric store to match the thread with a different brand.  I was concerned about mismatch within the monogram so I ended up ripping out the incomplete monogram on the fourth towel and restitching it with the new thread, and you really couldn’t notice a difference with thread color among all four towels.

Linda loved the towels and was touched that we had all gone through all the effort.  And she certainly didn’t notice the difference in thread.  But after this ordeal – I have a new policy.  No monogramming a set of towels unless I have two spools of the same color thread on hand.

Completed monogrammed towel
Completed monogrammed towel
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Three reasons why you shouldn’t sew with embroidery thread


The other day I was trying to finish a skirt for my daughter (the skirt that I made from the reject dress with the funky flowers appliquéd on the front).  There was very little sewing involved in this project.  All I had to do was fold over an inch of fabric for the waistband casing and feed some elastic through.  The problem?  i didn’t have any regular red thread to match the skirt.  Ugh! So I just decided to use some red embroidery thread instead.

This got me thinking – why don’t I ever use embroidery thread for sewing. There has to be some good reasons as to why this is not a good idea and I came up with three reasons.

1) Embroidery thread and regular sewing thread are wound differently. I think there must be a reason for this.  I believe that the different types of winding effect how the thread makes its way through the machine.  If a spool of thread is wound for embroidery it probably unwinds in a way that is suitable for embroidery and not regular sewing.

2) Embroidery thread is more expensive than regular sewing thread.  Um… why waste the more costly embroidery thread for regular stitching?

3) It’s probably more noticeable.  Most of the time you want your stitching to blend into the garment you are sewing.  With the extra sheen on the embroidery thread, it’s going to be more apparent. So, again, not the best choice.

Anyway – I am curious to hear your insight.  Do you ever use embroidery thread for sewing?  If so – when and why?