Something I haven't thought about often is my thread. I typically use 'all purpose' Gutermann thread because that is the most commonly available and I've been told that it is a quality brand. As I understand it, 'all-purpose' is polyester thread wrapped in cotton. Pure cotton thread has no stretch at all, and the polyester content allows for more give, all the better for sewing with a wide variety of fabrics, particularly knit.
Now I live in a semi-rural area and my source for notions has been a small department store rather than a large fabric outlet. Since they did not carry my usual brand, I picked up Coats' all purpose. Initially, I was a little weary of putting it in my machine; I have received dire warnings in the past about using cheap thread, everything from the fluff from the thread will clog the machine in places I will never get at to having continuously snapping thread that will create a headache so painful I'll be tempted to slit my jugular with my rotary blade. So, the new thread scared me a bit. Is Coats a quality thread company? I have no idea. It just looks like thread to me.
But sewing those first few seams with the new thread changed my life. Well, my sewing life anyway. Those seams, they were beautiful.
Before that moment, I was thinking that it was time to take my machine in for maintenance again, since my stitches were getting pretty wonky. In fact, I've never really been satisfied with my machine's stitching, particularly in comparsion with the industrial machines I briefly have had the chance to play with. My machine has sewn okay, but the evenness and and tension just isn't as pretty as it could be, even straight out of the repair shop.
My stitching, using Coats' thread, was perfect. It was pretty. There was no indication that my machine needed a service. It's a joy to use. I never thought that I would get passionate about thread in this way, being as I think of it as the most boring part of the process of sewing, but it appears to be much more than had assumed.
Have I been using the wrong kind of thread for years? Should I be matching thread to my machine in the same way as I consider the right thread for the fabric? Is Coats just a way better brand and I should be irritated that the major outlets only supply Gutermann?
I'm really interested to hear other people's experiences with the interplay between thread and machine. Perhaps there are some bonafide experts out there who could enlighten us all?