Embroidery on a budget

Embroidery on a Budget: MORE WAYS TO SAVE MONEY

Last week, we talked about some things you can do to save money in embroidery and today we are going to be talking about thread.  After all, you can’t do embroidery without embroidery thread, and thread can be one of your biggest expenses.

SO MUCH THREAD:  This can be a tricky subject to save money.  While obviously purchasing less expensive thread you are going to save money, but maybe the thread is probably inexpensive for a reason!  If you are using cheap thread, it will show in your embroidery work – cheap thread tends to split and shred and cause many other issues.  Years ago I tried going this route, and I ended up with many issues when I was trying to stitch a simple design, and I realized that it was because of the cheap thread (it was really really cheap on Ebay) – I tried a few different spools and a few different designs and I realized that the thread was the issue, nothing else.  I switched back to my regular thread, and the design stitched out just fine.   At the same time, people have used this thread and love it, so it really depends on your likes and dislikes and also your machine.  We have one Machine here in the workshop that will not use any other thread other than Madeira.  Barry Barudan (the machine) will not stitch using any other thread, and that is the end of that – I have tried everything, every adjustment and tons of different threads, and he likes nothing else other than Madeira.  So that is all that he uses!  We don’t argue with Barry anymore.

SMALLER IS SOMETIMES BETTER:  Ok, stay with me on this one and let’s think it through.  Small spools of thread are generally more expensive than the larger spools of the same thread.  So for example, you can purchase a mini cone (1000M) of Pink thread and it costs $6, or you can buy a king cone of the exact same thread (5000M) for $11.  The price difference is quite a bit – you are paying less than twice the price of the small cone and getting 5x more thread.  Seems like a great investment, right?  You will save money!  BUT there is a catch – you will only save money IF YOU ACTUALLY USE THE THREAD.  No one thinks of this when they are purchasing thread because the amount of money you are saving is huge – and you are getting so much more with the bigger spools of embroidery thread. BUT if you don’t use that thread all the time and empty the spool, you are not saving anything – you just have a whole bunch of less expensive thread hanging about.    THE SOLUTION? Consider only purchasing the large spools of thread in colors that you think you will use most often.  Of course BLACK and WHITE are basic staple threads, so I would always buy those colors in the larger spools of thread.    I would also think that purchasing large spools of the basic thread colors will save you tons:  so pure red, green, yellow, blue, purple, pink, orange, gold, etc.  will be a great way to start.  You know you will be using those basic colors- especially orange for Halloween and red/green/gold for Christmas.   You can expand on the basic colors depending on what you are creating:  for example, if you are stitching out portraits of people and regularly use skin toned colors for embroidery thread, those will be great to get in the big spools and save you money in the long run.   If you are not sure if the thread color will work for you – then audition the small spool – if it works and you use a lot of it, you can make a note that that specific color can be moved into the basic thread category and you need the larger spool to keep up with your work.

bigger can fit into your budget

Now you have a set of basics in large spools of thread that are made up of the colors that you use most often, and you know you will be using those colors, let’s move on to the smaller thread spools that we know are more expensive, but will get used less.  Let’s not forget to mention that the smaller spools are easier to store, too.  I would then audition lighter and darker colors of the basic colors you have – so you will have a large spool of basic orange, then you can have a smaller spool of a lighter orange and then a smaller spool of a darker orange.  You can keep building your thread collection in this way, and you will have the most value for your money – the threads that you use often will save you money, and the lesser used shades will also save you money in the long run.

LOOK FOR SALES AND PACKAGE DEALS: along with all of your calculations above on saving money on your most used thread colors, make sure you scope out and keep up with any sales.  A great sale can often save you a ton of money, and enable you to increase your thread stash quickly!   Watch for flyers, emails and online store sales – it can be worth the effort!

Personally, I have tons and tons of thread, and I love having so many shades of each shade and color, it makes it so much fun picking out the perfect thread color for a new project and it took me a long time to get so many different colors of thread over the years.

My thread collection in drawers

This is part of my thread collection of small spools, each drawer’s color is filled with that color thread.  If I am looking for shades of yellow, i go directly for the yellow drawer.  It’s a great system!!

Another way of saving money is looking for package deals – so a special grouping of thread in a package – oh I love these!  Usually, in a package deal, the price per spool is less because you are purchasing more spools of thread.  For example, I have seen packages of 10 small spools of thread with a Christmas theme – so different shades of red, gold, green, etc.  Or how about a specialty package of threads for skin tones?  or Halloween colors?

Embroidery on a thread budget just means that you have to think about your usage and save money that way.

Until next time

Sue Brown

OML Embroidery

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