What do you use to thread your sewing machine or to sew on a button?  There are lots of choices available now from basics to organic threads, embroidery to wooly nylon.  As a child I remember my mother using Sylko threads

sylko thread.jog

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although I am sure there were many others, the Sylko iconic reels are what stay in my memory.  For many years, my go to thread was been Gutermann multi purpose.  It’s strong and comes in a huge range of colours and so easily available.  With the popularity of Aurifil threads amongst the quilters I know, thread weights started to be a conversation point, what weight to use piecing and quilting.  Something that when buying just basic multi purpose reels, I had not considered.  I have tried Aurifil and to be perfectly honest have no idea why it is so popular.  The thread snapped and frayed, it was so bad to hand sew with I binned the reel I had been given at a sewing retreat in utter desperation.

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My go to thread now is Epic 120, its super fine and strong and designed for industrial sewing machines (I buy my thread at Macculloch & Wallis purely because it’s so convenient to get to).  The reels are larger than regular thread, with 1000 metres or 5000 cones.  If your machine can not accommodate such a large reel and does not have an additional spool holder that slots to the top of your machine,


one can find reel holders.  I also really like Mara120, although my closest stockest is over an hour to get to and I’m not a click and buy when it comes to fabrics and threads.  Cost wise these threads are also a great option as they are good value for money and a great product to work with.

tre cerchi

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I have just finished a commission where I need to chain stitch shapes into long lengths for shop backdrops and used Tre Cerchi – a 40 weight thread is ‘Sylko’ pure cotton thread.  It sewed beautifully and gave a good top stitch and formed a strong chain in between.

moon overlocking threads

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For my ovelocker I use Moon polyester thread or Wimsew’s over locking thread – the moon is much better, Wimsew is cheaper.  I have in the past used Gutermman regular threads to sew a rolled hem and this worked well.

polyester plastics to plate

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But learning more about plastics leaching into the sea not just from the bottles and disposable plastics, but fibres from our polyester clothes, I am going to try to switch all my threads to cotton or silk.  Have you tried the cotton overlocking threads, what are your experiences with it?  What are your favorite threads?  Are there any downsides to using cotton rather than polyester on an overlocker?


The WI have a campaign to end ‘plastic soup‘ and this is well worth reading.


Slow fashion October

roald dahl

October is #slowfashionoctober

Slow fashion is the deliberate choice to buy better-quality items less often. When purchases are made, they’re environmentally and ethically conscious rather than trend-driven. The garments are durable and lend themselves to repairs, not disposal. Slow fashion is also transparent: Buyers know where their clothes are coming from, and items are often handmade by artisans.

Consider it the “farm to table” of the fashion world.


I have been concerned for a long time about the ethics of fast fashion, firstly my concern over the sprays used on crops and pollutants pumped into the water, secondly the people who make them, especially after the Rana Plaza disaster brought the horrific working conditions to light.  During the summer after being made redundant I took a course called ‘who made my clothes‘, this helped teach me how to discover exactly who had made my clothes and also where the fabrics came from.  It brought up some interesting issues and also challenged those of us who took the course to do research and share what we found.  Some of the companies I wrote to were brilliant, Community Clothing for instance could tell me where the denim fabric came from and the factory who made it.  Me and Em were able to tell me what country the item was made in and the country of origin of the yarns used, Uniqlo didn’t respond to any emails, facebook or twitter questions.

image top left from Ray Stitch and bottom Celia Pym

I have been passionate about buying British quality products for may years and this has now started to become easier, making my own clothes as well helped – slowing consumption.  Although when buying fabrics, it is the fabric content that lead me, be that wool, cotton, linen or mixed fibres.  Thinking cotton was better than viscose or another man-made fibre, not thinking of who grew the fibres, processed them etc.


My goal for this month is to repair and darn a few things, replace a zip in a pair of jeans for my daughter – maybe even teach her how to!  Having said that I’ve never replaced a zip in a pair of jeans.  Go though my wardrobe and if I’ve not worn something, see if it can be altered so I will wear it or donate to charity.  I also have an idea to make a few things, work load dependant.

Are you going to take part in #slowfashionoctober ?  If you’d like to read more about it, pop over to Fringe Association and not just a label.  If you’d like to learn more about slow fashion and more about the impact of fast fashion on people and out planet there are some good resources, this film by Thread is worth watching, as is The true cost.