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Conversational Threads

Cost of thread

AAC | Posted in General Sewing Info on

You’ll think I just crawled out from a cave but when did thread get so expensive?

 I only need enough to match the top stitching for a fly zipper.  I’ve been using my

 extensive “stash” and was shocked at the new prices, almost $3.00 for a spool

 of Dual Duty Coats and Clark.  Even a Wal-mart is 1.84 +7%

 tax here.  Where do you guys buy your thread?  Any place for good discounts?

I hate to pay that much for six inches of sewing, the fabric was only a buck

more bought at WalMart too.  (Yes, ours still carries some nice, cheap fabrics)

Cave Girl  🙁


Edited 11/15/2008 5:40 pm ET by AAC


  1. moira | | #1

    For topstitching where I only need a little, I wind enough thread onto a second bobbin and then put that on the spare spool holder, thread the two top threads together and sew with a largish stitch. It's good to use a larger needle too in order to eliminate abrasion to the thread. This is satisfactory for topstitching where close examination won't be made and saves buying a heavier spool just for that purpose.

    1. AAC | | #6

      I think I mislead you, it's the purchase of thread just to use on such a small, limited area.  I could really use any color for the rest of the pants because it will be sewn in a seam which I don't think shows.  However, when sewing on the outside of the fly front....it will show but only for those 6/7"s.  I have enough material for several pairs of trousers/pant which means I'd have to buy thread for just the flys.

      I guess I'm just shocked at the new prices, it's been awhile since I've had to actually go out and buy thread.  Welcome to my new world, she said. lol

      1. moira | | #13

        I see what you mean. I was assuming you had the sewing thread in the right colour to start with, but of course if you're using neutral or other thread, you are a bit stuck for topstitching. No answers there! Except of course if the trousers are 'jeans' types in which case a double strand of another colour (as in my first reply) would just look normal.

        1. AAC | | #18

          You can't put a neutral thread on the stitching of a fly front, it has to match the color of the pants.  Maybe I was misunderstood, I'm not top stitching but stitching on the right side of the fly where the color will show.  Last night I went to Joann's and bought a small spool of nylon/polyester (can't remember which).  I'll see how I like it and if it doesn't poke like it used to.  I have several pants to make and I can't see buying each color when the fly is only six inches long.

          1. Kess | | #19

            I work at a fabric store in Seattle and I know that we are having to spend a lot of time explaining to people that thread has continued to climb up in price because of increasing oil prices. The more expensive oil is, the more expensive it is to send thread out to stores - the price increase 'helps' pays for gas. Some of the spools of Mettler Metrosene thread at my store cost $9!

            Pretty lame, if you ask me!

          2. AAC | | #20

            9 bucks?????  Holy cow!!!!!!!   Wouldn't be much point in wasting time sewing say a blouse if the supplies are that expensive.  And I thought $2.00 was a lot. WOW, that's just unbelievable!  That must be the metallics or varigated stuff.


          3. Kess | | #21

            Yep. Granted, it is a spool of over 600 yds of thread, but that's still really ridiculous. Even the serger spools that we sell don't cost that much.

          4. KharminJ | | #22

            Totally agreed, Kess - the prices for product in the stores right now was fixed several months ago, when fuel for the trucks cost nearly $5 a gallon, and the oil that all those petrochemical-based polyesters are made from cost $130+ a barrel. Of course, that doesn't justify, in my mind anyway, increasing the prices on fabric and notions *already in the store*, but that's another rant entirely. It'll be interesting to see which companies reduce what prices (not just have a sale, but really change the sticker price) after the raw material and shipping cost reductions trickle down ...


            who-is-skeptical-about-that - can-ya-tell?

          5. damascusannie | | #23

            I'm not holding my breath waiting for oil-driven prices to come back down. Now that we have been "trained" to accept the new higher prices, there will be no need to drop them back down. Can you tell I'm a skeptic, too?

          6. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #24

            Price Gouging for the almighty dollar.  I know that some stores are in trouble, but are they really going to benefit from nickle and dimeing us to death.  Sorry, I guess I am just tired of hearing that gas prices are the reason for the cost increases.  A local retailer here has prices set a fair bit lower than most.  He says he will never get rich selling at his prices, but he makes a fair profit on his merchandise, and his customers keep coming back, because his Prices are Fair!  He has the nicest little wool/quilting shop.  Cathy

          7. MaryinColorado | | #28

            Kudos to him!  Too many of the big chain stores are putting the squeeze on small business owners.  I prefer to shop at privately owned businesses locally when I can, especially when they deserve it like he does! 

          8. jjgg | | #29

            I don't pay $9.00 for a spool, I will use a coupon or something, but I am very picky about the thread I use. I try to only use Metrosene thread, I find it much better quality than Guterman (except the new Guterman Mara thread is much improved). If I must use something other than Metrosene so I can match a color I will. A $9.00 spool of Metrosene will last a very very long time. You will get quite a few blouses, jackets and slacks out of one large $9.00 spool of thread. I won't go near Coats & Clark thread, (although their new polyester thread is better than the cotton wrapped stuff)For all cotton thread for quilting I use either the Metler silk finish or the Maderia Tanne thread. I also love the Metler fine machine embroidery thread (100% cotton) for hand basting or sewing fine sheer silks.

          9. MaryinColorado | | #27

            Too many places are adding on the price of fuel as an excuse to raise their prices even on things already in stock or at their warehouses or even when the price of fuel goes back down.  Glad I have a large stock of thread, I think I would quit sewing if I had to pay $9.00 for a spool.  They will put the sewing machine companies and many others out of business with their price gouging!!!

    2. MaryinColorado | | #26

      I get the newsletters emaled from places like Hobby Lobby and Joannes, they have sale coupons.  Also don't like Coats and Clark thread, I use Guitterman or Metrosene.  If you use the clear or clear smoke thread, get the Polyester not nylon as it melts and is stiff! 

  2. sewelegant | | #2

    Maybe you should consider buying a couple spools of "invisible" thread then you could sew short projects without buying a large spool of the needed color.  I have a spool of the clear as well as another one of the smoke color that is better for dark colors.  This thread used to be irritating and scratchy, but it has been improved to a softer hand.  I do not like it all the time, but it does come in handy if I don't have the right color.

    1. AAC | | #4

      Thank you sewelegant for that information.  I looked at the thread you mention and remembered how it was so "pokey".  That would be a good solution but does it stay in place or have a tendency to slide out of a seam at the bottom even if I back stitch a few stitches.  I think I have some of the older stuff but guess I'll need to upgrade to the new stuff.  Thanks for answering what was on my mind.

      1. sewelegant | | #11

        My problem with the invisible thread is the stretchiness of it.  It seems to get wound too tight on the bobbin, but I don't use it enough to really worry about that.  I have used it in making small craft items like quilting blocks for a tote or my latest fad... beverage coasters.  I use my scraps for these and I like not being able to see the stitching as the colors change so much.

        1. starzoe | | #12

          Speaking of thread --- on another sewing site there was mention of wooden thread spools being collectible. Does anyone know anything about this? I have a bonanza in wooden spools.

          1. miatamomma | | #15

            Someone had an ad in the newspaper wanting empty thread spools.  I offered him mine but he never got back with me.  I suspect that he collected the wooden ones and most of mine were plastic.  So there are people out there who do collect them.


          2. starzoe | | #16

            Thanks, I'll check out some of the classified collector sites.

          3. Palady | | #17

            Perhaps the following URL will offer you an option for your wooden spools.


            I've seen clear glass jars filled with wooden thread spools in anitque stores.  With a mix of empty & with thread.  Price varied by the number of spools/jar, as well as the shape of the spools.  Some of those from the early 20th century were varied.

            My memory has a site with a table made from wooden sewing spools.  I've tried unsuccessfully to find it.  If I luck and do so, will get the URL up in a post.

            :-) 's


  3. Ralphetta | | #3

    I think you may have hit on one of the reasons fewer people sew as a hobby. Since I buy things in quantities when they are on sale and off season, I've often thought about how expensive it would be to go buy the essentials for making just one garment if you didn't have an existing stash of supplies. It costs a lot when a novice goes to a fabric store and pays full price for a few inches of thread, a little bit of interfacing, one button (on a card of 5), a zipper, a little bit of cording or trim or seam tape or hook and eye or chalk or needles or....see what I mean? Sewing is pretty expensive if you don't do it on a regular basis.

    1. AAC | | #5

      You've got that right!  You point is well taken.T here have been times when I regretted making something that wasn't that important, especially when you could get it at Wal-Mart even if it's only for one season.  At my age I don't care that much about expensive clothes or fancy duds, those days are long gone.  I recently went to a huge discount center outside of town where they have Ralph Lauren stores etc.  This stuff isn't the same quality of what I would make but in the Eddie Bauer store they had things so cheap I'd just as soon buy it as make it.   So glad you didn't get the impression that I'm just a cheapskate but who wants to spend that much for six inches?  Joanne has a 50% online coupon for tomorrow but every time I've gone there with one the thing is already on sale and they won't take the coupon.  I got pretty sick of that place for that reason.  They think if they can get you into the store with a lame coupon you'll spend your $ on something else.  That turns me off and that just may be why they're having a tough time.  No wonder, as you said, young people don't want to learn to sew.  Plus, time on a project is worth something too. 

  4. User avater
    ThreadKoe | | #7

    I buy good thread on sale.  I always stock up on the basic colours, and buy the big spools.  Since I tend to sew in a similar range of colours, it makes it easy to keep stock of what I need.  For areas that show, I do not mind spending the few dollars for the spool I need.  It costs about the same as a couple cups of coffee, which I would purchase during the week when I am out and about, and I would wear the pants or garment longer anyhow.  These spools get used up on other projects eventually.  Even inexpensive material needs good thread to hold the project together.  Cathy

  5. Josefly | | #8

    I had that same reaction recently when I bought thread. I'd never paid much attention to the price of thread before, but recently I just needed thread to match a project. The thread display in the store had changed - Coats and Clark was now a much larger display, and I realized for the first time that it's no longer cotton-wrapped polyester, it's mostly ALL polyester, which I didn't want. And the prices had gone up. Of course.

  6. Ckbklady | | #9

    No, it's not just you. Thread HAS gone up a lot in the last few years!

    I solve it by sewing only with white, black, tan and pale pink threads (with the occasional spoon purchased for topstitching). The "basic" colors are available in jumbo better-value spools at JoAnn Fabrics. When they have a 50% off notions sale, I stock up on the big spools. It's so freeing not to bother matching thread to fabric if the thread will never be seen.

    :) Mary


  7. damascusannie | | #10

    I buy Coats and Clark Star brand on the big 1200 yd spool. It's 100% cotton (important for this quilter) and much cheaper than the small spools.

  8. sewchris703 | | #14

    I have always bought the largest spool of thread that I can, even if it's way more than I need for that project. So now I rarely buy thread when I buy fabric. If I run out of thread before the project is finished and I only need a small amount, I'll wind some of the bobbin thread onto another bobbin and use that in the needle. Or use a color that blended in the bobbin and use the bobbin in the needle.Chris

  9. Pattiann42 | | #25

    As the old saying goes - "everything is going up except my salary!"

    The C&C thread at Walmart that is still in the old style display case is the better buy. 

    The new spools with the "lift" caps have less thread on them.

    You may find good prices on the Internet, but the S&H may wipe out any savings.



  10. guereediele | | #30






  11. guereediele | | #31






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