Just before Christmas Elizabeth and I had a ‘crafty’ day out during which we visited Empress Mills in Colne. We were given a warm welcome from everyone we met there, including Christine and Charles Driver, mother and son members of the family who own the business. Christine offered me two bobbins of thread to review on here, and Charles who instructed me to take some fabric to use them on! Aren’t they yummy?
It has taken a while for me to complete this review due to some health issues but now, at last, here it is. My apologies to Christine and Charles for the delay.
Let me begin by saying that I have never reviewed a sewing product in print before. Also, I do not have any formal in-depth sewing knowledge. SO, what made me think I could produce a sensible article? Quite simply, I can talk about how the thread worked for me, in terms that any stitcher (particularly any inexperienced stitcher) should be able to understand.
My first impression of the two bobbins was how beautifully smooth and soft they both looked and felt. Sometimes cotton thread can have a hard, string-y feel to it, but not these. Charles informed me that the thread I had been given was known as ’50s’ which relates to the thickness of the thread. The numbering of thread is like the numbering of IQ – the lower the number, the thicker [and stronger] it is!
The 50s thread is a general purpose thread, with a matte finish, which can also be used for quilting. I first used it for hand sewing and it stitched like a dream. It was very easy to thread my needle – sorry but I have no idea of the size of the needle – no catching of fibres or splitting of the thread. When I began to stitch with it I found that the thread ran through my fingers very easily, but did not slide away or become unthreaded. It also didn’t become dreadfully twisted and loopy in the way that many hand-stitching threads do. There was a very small amount of twisting, but certainly not enough to interrupt the flow of my sewing. It was a pleasure to sew with and I was very happy with its appearance. (Sorry, I forget to photograph the lavender bags before I gave them away. Oops!
I then sewed with each of the threads on my Brother Super Ace II sewing machine, which is 14 or 15 years old. It is a computerised machine with a good selection of utility and decorative stitches.
I made a straightforward sewing machine mat with some free-motion quilting. You will shortly be able to read more about my adventures whilst making it!
Now was the time to open the fat quarters I had selected. I could not believe my eyes! They were HUGE – much larger than standard fat quarters. I am not saying that all the FQs sold by Empress Mills are oversize, but these two randomly chosen FQs certainly were.
Filling the bobbin and threading the machine went like a dream. I began sewing and the thread went through my machine very smoothly. I had a short play to ensure the thread was stitching well – which it definitely was – then started on the mat. This lovely, soft thread glided through the machine with no breakages even when I was working the free motion quilting. It was an absolute joy to use and I was very pleased with the results shown in the photographs below.
When I checked and cleaned the bobbin case at the end there was barely a trace of fluff to be seen either in that area or on my brush. A definite gold star!
I would have no hesitation in using the Empress Mills 50s thread again and I would certainly recommend it to anyone else. I would also recommend Empress Mills itself for everyone from absolute beginner stitchers to the very experienced. The people there are so friendly and helpful and not at all scary. You know that feeling? When there’s something that you don’t know or understand and you are terrified of asking because you just know you’re going to look like a prize idiot? Well, that doesn’t apply at Empress Mills – they want you to ask and they have a wealth of knowledge that they really enjoy sharing with you. Their website is bursting with information and all sorts of products.
The thread I used is shown on page 5 of the Empress Mills catalogue.
General Purpose Thread – 50s 100% cotton, available on 1,000m bobbins and 4,000 cones in a range of more than seventy colours.
Empress Mills sell online or you may visit them at Glyde Works, Byron Road, Colne, Lancashire, BB8 0BQ. Their telephone number is 01282 863181.
NOTE: As mentioned above, I was given two 1,000 bobbins of thread and two fat quarters for the purposes of this review for which I thank Christine and Charles Driver. I have received no other payment or sponsorship from Empress Mills. All views expressed are my own.