When I first learned to sew, my Mom used 50 weight thread for everything. It was only after sewing for many years that I learned that isn't the rule now. I learned to sew on an old Singer and I suspect that was her reasoning. I have a Singer Stylist sewing machine now and when I was sewing the seams of the Ann T Top yesterday, my stitches went back and forth between straight stitch and zig-zag. I suspect needle size and thread is the problem. At least I'm hoping so - I can't buy a new machine at the moment.
I have a stash of thread that I've been saving for years. Some of it even looks fuzzy while sitting on the spool! Could you imagine what it would do to the tension on my machine? Most of it is Coats and Clark which is going in the trash, by the way. I've read on the boards that they've changed their thread now - I might buy one spool to try it out.
Last summer I bought a Mettler Metrosene Plus multi-pack thinking I would have my basic needs met. Not so! It took one full spool of 109 yards to wind a bobbin on my 15-91. Now I find out a cotton thread might be better for that machine. Do I really need two kinds of thread for my two machines?
I also have chosen needle and thread based solely on the weight of fabric I'm sewing without regard for the two together. If the fabric is lightweight, I would use regular thread and a size 9 or 11 needle. Now I read on the SCHMETZ website that I also have to consider the weight of thread and size of the needle together. The thread should be only 40% of the size of the needle opening. It's a new thought for me to consider the two together instead of just considering the weight of the fabric. Did I explain that right?
About.com had a good comparison of threads under a microscope at 60% magnification. Maxi-lock is also there - just follow the link. I thought at first that the better spun, the better the thread then I read that some of those fibers sticking out might help to grab the fabric and prevent skipped stitches.
Then there is the issue of machine needles. I've always thought stretch needles were used for knits as recommended in almost every book you read. I have a variety of them but on the Schmetz website, it recommends a universal needle. Stretch needles are used for microfiber fabrics according to them. I've also read on boards that Microtex needles might be better to sew knits. Then there is the idea that a size 14 needle isn't the go to size any longer. Perhaps it's because the weight of thread isn't the same as recommended years ago?
Wow! No wonder I'm confused. Are you? Am I making this more complicated than it has to be?
Basically this is what I'm going to do: I'm considering what I sew frequently and have a variety of thread and needles on hand for that purpose. Anything else I'll buy as I need rather than have every possibility in my sewing stash. Can't afford that anyway!
I will be sewing knits, medium weight stretch and regular wovens and hemming jeans. All my jeans need to be hemmed - even the petite length. I swear I think manufacturers have lengthened their petite size in the last few years!
Gutermann thread - I'm going to purchase black, white and jeans top stitch for basic mending and general purpose use. Here is a pdf of their thread with recommended uses.
Mettler Metrosene Plus - I'm going to purchase this thread for apparel projects in colors to match.
Needles: I've used Singer needles for as long as I can remember but it's time for a change! Schmetz are the best I hear and it's time I purchased a variety. I'm going to buy a variety of universal, jersey, topstitching, jeans and stretch needles.
I should have my bases covered, don't you think?