When I was a kid and my mom or dad was getting ready to start up a new project, we used to walk through the thread section at Hobby Lobby with the fabric in hand trying to find the piece of thread that matched it the best.
If you do this, you will spend about $5-$10 on thread per project. You will also develop a massive collection of thread.
When I started working with the Renaissance re-enactors, I met a woman who made a really important observation. If you do it right, there are only four to five places on any given garment where anyone will ever see the thread you use, so what’s the point of matching it? She made the point that in the Middle Ages, a person couldn’t afford to dye a whole spool of thread, so it wasn’t an option to have matching thread. No one cared about whether their thread matched their fabric. She used one colour of thread on every garment – grey.
I thought about it for a while and I determined that she was right. There’s not a person in the world that cares about the colour of the thread I use. I did decide to use more colours than grey though. I bought 3 large spools of black, white, and grey. That will cover 99% of what I need. As for the rest, I still have the massive collection of thread that I’ve collected over the years. I don’t think I’ll need to buy thread for a while.
As for the brand of thread, I suggest that you go for a brand name. Sure you can buy the 50¢ spools, but you’re going to be disappointed. Invariably, you’ll find that, with many things in sewing, if the items are cheap without being on sale, you’re going to get what you pay for. Cheap thread is made with substandard fibres and will break and/or fray often. I generally recommend Coats and Clark or Gütterman brand threads. Will they cost you more up front? Yes. However, whatever the extra cost, they will certainly make up for in ease of use.
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