Thursday, July 3, 2008

Thread and Stitch

For years I have kept an oversized index card with the all of the Coats & Clark thread colors I own written on it. I tuck it in my purse and whip it out after I’ve chosen fabric and I’m ready to pick out thread. But because I tend to buy close shades, I usually have a good supply, in a wide range of colors. Recently, I needed to replace a spool of beige thread, # 116. So I simply grabbed the empty spool and went to the fabric store. I was dismayed to find two changes:
One: The “Dual Duty Plus All Purpose” is no longer mercerized cotton covered polyester. It’s now “Dual Duty XP All Purpose” polyester covered polyester.
Two: The color numbers have all changed!
Fortunately, one of the employees at Joanne’s Fabric rustled up a conversion chart. Soon, I was able to locate the new version of # 116, the # 8020 “Cream”.

If you’d like a copy of the Coats and Clark Conversion Chart, you can find a PDF of the chart here. I downloaded it to my computer for easy reference.

While I’m on the topic of sewing, I have to recommend the Alabama Stitch Book by Natalie Chanin. I had read enthusiastic reviews on other blogs, including Rice at Voodoo Cafe. But I was hesitant, because despite a half century (gulp) of sewing, crewel embroidery, needlepoint, mending, repairing, quilting and hemming --- hand sewing had always been at best, a stick-my-tongue-out-of-the-side-of-my-mouth-for-concentration activity. At its worst, hand sewing was an onerous necessity. And Alabama Stitch is all about hand sewing cotton jersey (generally repurposed cotton T shirts) into beautiful, functional pieces of clothing and other useful items.

When I saw the great price over on Amazon, I decided to go for it and I’m very glad I did. It was worth full price just for the information Ms. Chanin provided about “Loving Your Thread” (page 21). I immediately put her advice to good use on a few mending tasks and it was a revelation. The few moments of smoothing and attending to the thread before I began sewing made a huge difference. I wish I had been taught that step years ago. But I’m so glad I know it now.

To see what Alabama Stitch is all about you can look at the Alabama Chanin website. You can also look at the Flickr Photo Pool Slideshow where folks have uploaded pictures of their completed projects.



dancingmorganmouse said...

hand stitching makes my eyes ache and my fingers hurt and my mood - grumpy ;)

Pink Granite said...

Hi DMM -
That's worse than what I've experienced, but the whole "Love Your Thread" thing made an enormous difference. Even for the next time you have to sew on a button, it made everything go more smoothly.
- Lee