Using clear thread to sew badges on your uniform is fast, easy, permanent, and mess-free. Sewing badges on is FAST and EASY when you’ve got the right tools! Faster and easier than any other method, and cheaper too! But – clear thread can be tricky, so here’s a few tips to help.
using Clear thread to sew badges is great! … but,
You gotta have clear thread! This means the top thread blends right into the surface of the badge. It’s invisible, so you can just keep on sewing however many badges and patches you’ve got piled up (who, me!?) without changing the thread. BUT, using clear thread to sew badges is not always so easy, unless you know a trick or two…
This is the exact product I order and use all the time:
Sometimes things can get a little sticky
If you’ve ever tried to use the clear thread and have failed, you are not alone! It’s not uncommon for it to get twisted around the spool peg and break. I’ve heard people say, “that stuff makes my machine go all exorcist!” and “my machine just can’t handle it.” And they are often given the very bad advice that altering the tension on the machine will fix everything, which of course it doesn’t because this is not a tension problem. That’s enough to make even the best sewists crazy.
step away from the tension knob!
BUT – it’s not you, or your machine, or the thread, or the tension, or the thickness of the badges, or anything else. It’s 100% about the direction of the thread coming off the spool. The tangling and breaking happen on both vertical and horizontal spools, and it happens because the thread itself is slippery and plasticky. This is great for invisibility, but not so great for tangleupedness. Because it’s slippery, it slides down off the spool before it is supposed to, and ends up at the base of the spool pin. Then, when your machine tries to use the thread for sewing, the thread is already stuck around the pin, and then the machine breaks and that’s when you get Linda Blair, angry-mom-face and you resort to using (not)magic products and when *that* happens, you open up the tenth circle of hell.
four tips for using clear thread to sew badges:
So, to prevent all this disaster, all you need to do is change the way thread enters your machine from its spool. Making this one little change will make it all work the way it’s supposed to. Repeat after me: It’s Not About the Tension. In ALL of the methods using clear thread, you should always load your bobbin with regular thread that matches your uniform. Trying to use clear thread on top and bottom will surely set your machine afire. Here are three successful ways to unstick this sticky problem:
1. The thumbtack method
My personal favorite trick is one of those ten-cent solutions and all the credit goes to Mr. Badge Fairy for this one. A simple thumbtack just barely wedged into the gap between the front and top casings on my machine forces the thread to come straight forward off the spool, before winding through the machine to the left. This completely eliminates the possibility of it getting tangled up around the pin. Look closely – it’s invisible!
2. The thread net
One other method I’ve seen used is a thread net. One actually came with my machine. It’s a little mesh sleeve that’s easy to miss in the machine packaging – at first I even threw it away because I thought it was part of the packaging!! Here’s a great demonstration video from Gail at Gail Patrice Design. Thanks Gail!
3. The cup method
I haven’t tried this way yet, but I know many people have. Try this and let me know if it works for you! Don’t use the spool holder on your machine at all, but instead put the whole spool of thread into a cup or bowl and set it behind or to the side of the machine on the table, then thread your machine regularly. This would certainly prevent it from tangling around the pin!
4. the sweet spot
This is the method I use now on all my projects and uniform services. Your machine may vary, which means you’ll need to figure out what works for you. But this is the easiest and fastest way I’ve found. If I just set my thread spool in this little spot and pull my thread from under the spool, and then thread as normal to the left. It works great.
But no matter which method you choose – remember, it’s all about getting the spool off the pin! And don’t touch that tension dial!