I'm curious as to specifically what preferences any of you milliners have for types and strengths of thread for various tasks during the construction of your hats.

I've tried general purpose thread, upholstery thread and button thread. The general purpose tends to break too easily for me, and the upholstery thread tends to get knotted up in the wire and buckram too easily even when I coat it with wax.

I'd like to hear what successes or problems the rest of you have with various threads for construction and/or embellishment.

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Whether you use cling wrap or alfoil is up to you as long as you get a good end result is all that matters. Always use cling wrap for buckram as it peels off completely whereas with alfoil it adheres to buckram in bits!!

If using heat from an iron to press out felt on block or pari or sinamay cling wrap can melt and permasnently attach to the surface.

I find folds in alfoil easier to flatten onto block as it does not have spring of plastic.

Yesteryear they used a cheesecloth to cover the blocks

Have never done that but need to use fabric that has natural elasticity= silk.Some milliners block a shape in sinamay to line but not at same time.  Will post some pics of how I line hats Wanting to do an open to all video clip on this. Cocktails & headpieces have a lining challenge also.

Hi Renee,

I read your notions question and pulled a complete blank with what thread I use; I can picture it, can almost feel it but have lost it's name. Took an internet search to find it, guterman thread. It's the 'pricier' of what you can get in general sewing shops out here, I use just dress/ general sewing weight thread. I use a length about as long as my forearm, as it doesn't get as tangled up as using longer pieces. I dangle my needle a bit during sewing too, this allows the thread to untwist. As always, these tips often fail. ;)

I use plastic wrap, it's a personal choice I believe. If the shape I am blocking allows, I'll use a disposable shower cap (I'm lazy and I hate sticky tape). 

Nice to meet you.


i use cling wrap, it shapes its self around the blocks nicely for me :)

it doesn't actually stick to the block, rather when the heat comes through the sinamay or fabric, binds together creating a snug fit around the block. and when it gets a bit tatty after using the block a few times, it comes straight off.

A recent tutor suggested that plastic bags - the fine, thin type you get vegetables in - works better than plastic wrap as it 'gives' more when releasing the blocked fabric.  

Oh, and I use guterman thread. I find that the better quality really does make a difference.  Even if you just get the basic colours to start with to keep costs down.  

The type of thread depends on what your doing but Gutermann is the best quality brand. Sew-all for tasks like invisible stitching and attaching petersham, topstitch thread for when you need stronger. If you can get your hands on vintage button thread there is nothing like it for strength.

Obviously it depends on how it was stored, but they don't make thread to last like they used to so if you can find some in good condition it is much better than the thread being produced now. Again it depens on the type of thread but vintage button thread is hard to beat.

Hi Aoife

Button thread, I have not heard of this before.  What sort of weight is it? if general sewing thread is a 120, and a jeans stitching thread is around a 30, where does button thread come in?  

One of the first things I learnt in the rag trade, was 'never use cheap thread' - So true!

Hi Roz,

It's about the same guage as topstitch thread but much stronger. Here's a pic. Guttermann topstitch on left, vintage button thread on right.

Thanks for putting up the pic. ahhhh, makes sense now, logic even.  I've got memories of a tin box full of various tangled threads of my Mum's, that had many wooden reels from Linen thread, upholstery thread, catgut, and a metallic thread in black with gold on a beautiful wooden reel...hmm... wonder where that is.....

Check out this blog site all about Vintage Haberdashery based in Melbourne Australia http://luccello.blogspot.com.au/


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