Has it really been two weeks? We’re still in the throes of moving… boxes and boxes everywhere in both places. In the midst we’ve both managed to preserve tiny corners of creative spaces for our own sanity, so I packed up everything but my sewing machine and a few lingerie projects. I’ve been tweaking another new pattern lately which gave me an excuse to play with my latest fabric love, sheer stretch mesh. The mesh I’ve been using is so delicate and soft, and of course I had to spend an evening dyeing it, too! First minty green and then a pale gold-yellow…
But it is a little picky about needles and stitch lengths. And even thread. So today I wanted to share a couple of my new favorite threads for lingerie and especially for these more delicate fabrics. Both are delicate but don’t snap under tension. I love how tailors are unequivocal about their buttonhole threads, and it was inevitable that I’d be that way about lingerie thread, too!
Gutermann A192 (or Mara 150) Fine Thread
Funny enough, it was the Cutter & Tailor forum where I first read about this as a good thread for fine shirtmaking. It is also recommended for silks and lingerie. It’s impossible to capture in photos the difference between these and their all-purpose brother above, but this is a remarkably fine but strong thread. It just sinks into fabrics and makes the topstitching on bra cup seams less bulky.
I’ve only found A192 in tailoring supply shops but it’s well worth the hunt! Mine came from from Oshman Brothers in NYC and according to their gracious owner, Gutermann is phasing out their A192 threads to a new thread called Mara 150, so you might find this thread under either name. I got one of each, since Oshman’s stock is still mostly the older type, but both are very fine, strong threads. I placed such a tiny order from them, but Mr. Oshman sent me a long email explaining the transition and the technology difference behind the new threads (core-spun polyester with microfiber core, etc.) If you want to understand thread, you have a willing teacher!
Wooly Nylon or Wooly Polyester
These are much easier to find in your local store, but I was missing out on a good secret! In knits and especially in underwear, wooly threads make the softest, airiest seams against the skin.
Until about a year ago I was in the dark about wooly nylon. And the first time I shopped for some I accidentally confused it with blindstitch thread. Oops, big difference! I ended up with a bunch of cones of plasticky thread I doubt I’ll ever use.
Wooly threads are kind of springy and spongy, and as you can see look like little cloud-strings. The most common type is wooly nylon but there is also wooly polyester.
I don’t have tons of room for serger threads, so I have a bit of a color strategy. There are a few neutrals that seem to blend with everything. Ivory, dark grey, red, nude and a light grey have been great basics for most of my lingerie. The ivory blends into most pale warm colors. The light grey blends into most pale cool colors. The dark grey is good for blacks and very dark colors.
When serging, it’s easiest to use wooly thread in the loopers and regular serger thread in the needle. And the best way to get those spongy threads through the loopers is by tying the them onto the tails of your previous looper threads, then pulling them through. I learned that one the hard way…
Do you have any favorite threads?
Happy weekend! Now back to those boxes…
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Great info on the thread choices, but how do you dye your fabric? Thanks!
I use acid dyes and the stovetop method. Every fabric dyes at a different pace but the mesh is very quick!
Great timing on this since I’m going to buy a bunch of mesh tomorrow… will head down to my local tailoring place and see if they have any of these threads. Also, those panties look AMAZING.
I’ve been using Mara 150 (A192) in my industrial straight stitch for several years and love it. And yes, I used it during the bra sew-a-long. And I purchased the large cones from who else… Oshman Brothers. 🙂
I use the 150 weight for anything fine like linings. I didn’t know the line was changing, though. Thanks for that info.
Oh, I’m definitely going to use this in silk linings now! The new stuff is not much different at least to my naked eye. A little bit less linty maybe?
Match the weight of the thread to the weight of the fabric. Linings, lingerie fabrics, and fine shirtings are so lightweight that they need a lighter thread. Everyday fabrics will do just fine with Mara 120. Only heavyweight fabrics like coatings need Mara 100, which is the same as the Gutermann polyester thread sold in retail stores. And don’t forget to match needle size to thread size.
Hi – great information on thread choices. I’m trying my hand at lingerie sewing and wonder who the best suppliers of fabric are – the fine mesh looks fab. Thanks in advance.
Where do you buy the stretch mesh? I’d love to know how you dye it. Gorgeous!!
Hi CC, this is from fabricdepotco.com. Stretch mesh is fairly easy to find–often where any stretch or dancewear fabrics are sold. It comes in different weights and might be even labeled powermesh or powernet. The really lightweight varieties are so nice for panties. I was even surprised to find some soft mesh at Joann’s. I dye these with acid dyes.
You are such a wealth of knowledge! I just love reading your posts – I learn so much. Thank you! And your new makes look simply dreamy – the colors, the soft, floaty mesh… Can lingerie be ethereal…? And good luck moving!
Thank you Sallie. It really is ethereal!
I accidentally bought some wooly thread about ten years ago, I’ve always wondered what it was for and how to use it. I’ve just had a Ooooh I get it moment.
And that’s what happened when I bought the blindstitch thread! You’ll love the wooly nylon–it’s so soft and stretchy. Great for knits.
Every time I catch up around here I learn something new…LOVE that. Thanks Amy and your new knickers? G O R G E O U S !
Amy thanks for the great info on threads – I will be looking for them on my next trip to the fabric store. I’m with Kazz – I always learn great new stuff when I call in on Cloth Habit – thanks you!
I use Metrosene by Mettler. Wooly nylon is excellent for serging seams in lingerie and knits. I like to hem my knit nightgowns with wooly nylon by using my rolled hem foot to create a lettuce edge. Tighten up the stitch width & give the fabric a gentle stretch as you run the edge through the serger. To finish off tie the threads & run the ends back through the hem or simply use a dot of fray check. This creates a pretty, professional edge to the garment. I’ve been told you can use wooly nylon in the bobbin of your regular machine, (you must hand wind bobbin) but have yet to give it a try.
Do you use the serger anywhere other than finishing seams? On some of my RTW it appears to have been used to apply elastics. I often wonder if there’s ever an opportunity to use my narrow coverstitch in sewing bra’s or lingerie? Always something new to learn & share.Thanks for another great post!
Hi Naomi – hope you’ve been well! And thanks for the great tips on serging. I have yet to do a lettuce edge but it sounds like a great way to hem.
I haven’t used my serger to finish elastic but have been playing with using a coverstitch to attach trims in my underwear. It seems a lot more flexible and less apt to snap when pulling on. And I love how soft the wooly thread is! But I haven’t used them in bras–at least in rtw I haven’t seen too much of coverstitch or serging. Occasionally the top of foam cups are finished with an overlock.
Oh, wow, this is great information! Thanks for blazing the lingerie trail– I’ll definitely be referring back to your blog all the time when I finally work up the nerve to try sewing my own lingerie!
Oh this is really useful. Thank you for posting. I knew about the woolly thread for loopers (didn’t know there was blind stitching thread either !) but haven’t actually used it yet. And now I know to use the fine thread for when I get to work on my chiffon and light raw silk. When I pluck up the courage etc. Sigh 🙂
Lots of good info! Thanks so much. So, I’m browsing the Oshman site now. Any idea what the minimum order is? I put one spool of thread in my cart just to see what the shipping would be and there was a notice that said I hadn’t reached the minimum. But, no mention of what the minimum is. Also, looks like the cheapest shipping option is USP ground.
Answering my own question – $25 minimum. Note to self, scroll down next time;-)
Hi Amanda, I don’t remember there being a minimum, but I also ordered a color chart at the same time so that may have added to the order. It seems like a small business so I’d write/call and ask. They replied very quickly to me.
Why is it that your post came just in time? That seems to always be the case. I was just researching what thread/needle I should use for the tricot that I bought in New York. All my previous bras had been made with bias cut chiffon. To think of it, I probably should have used Mara 150 for that too! Oops.
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Thank you so much for this info! im starting a lingerie line and this is helpful 🙂
Hi Karen. Did you ever get your lingerie line started ?
If anyone’s interested, Bay Tailor Supply also sells Mara 150.
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