Frequently Asked Questions
- Where is The Thread Exchange located?
- Where does The Thread Exchange ship from?
- How do I get the right thread?
- What are thread sizes and weights?
- How do I get the right color?
- How do I find the right sewing machine needle?
- How do I get the right bobbin?
- What if I need to return a purchase?
- How much does shipping cost?
- Does The Thread Exchange have a newsletter?
- What payment options does The Thread Exchange accept?
- Can we visit The Thread Exchange?
- Can I send you pictures of my sewing project?
- Do you sell thread for sterile applications?
- Do you charge sales tax?
Q. Where is The Thread Exchange Located?
Q. Where does The Thread Exchange ship from?
A. All stock orders ship from our warehouse in Weaverville, NC 28787. Drop ship items ship from various locations around the United States.
Q. How do I get the right thread?
A. it depends on what you want to accomplish. Start with your end product and work backwards to the thread you need. We have product information pages for most of our products designed to help you decide. Use them to learn about each thread's uses, limitations, properties, and specifications. Here are some other ways to find the right thread:
- Call Us - We are available Monday through Friday 9 AM to 5 PM Eastern at 800-915-2320.
- Keep thread labels - Even if the information is confusing or appears irrelevant, they can be a big help to our customer service people.
- Machine Owner's Manual - Your manual often provides valuable information about capabilities and limitations of the thread sizes your machine uses.
Q. What are thread sizes and weights?
A. Thread Size - Thread size refers to the thread's thickness - not how much thread is on a spool. Our product information pages explain that selecting the right thread size depends on the material sewn, sewing machine capabilities, and the desired "look".
Thread is spongy and its diameter cannot be measured with calipers. Also, the tightness of a thread's twist and the type of bonding can affect its perceived thickness. Because of this manufacturers sizes refer to the weight of a fixed length of thread. For example, 1,000 meters of Tex 70 thread weighs 70 grams. That said, we show U.S. military specifications for thread diameters on our information pages. Treat these diameters as approximations.
Weights - Most of our thread is sold by weight-not yardage. Because thread weight varies slightly (up or down) from spool to spool we cannot commit to delivering an exact weight. Instead, we set a nominal range for each size and do not increase or decrease the amount charged as long as spool is within these tolerances. For example, a "16 Ounce Spool" can weigh 15.6 ounces to 19.9 ounces.
Q. How do I get the right color?
A. We use color chips to show thread color on our site. Experience has taught us that this approach gets the best results because it avoids lighting and spool curvature distortions. We double check each chip to make sure that it accurately shows the thread's color. Here are some things you need to know:
- Identical color names - Different manufacturers use the same color name even though the actual colors are not the same. We use separate color chips to show each manufacturer's color accurately.
- Environment -Sometimes there are slight differences between the color chips you see on our site and the thread you receive. This happens because you lighting, monitor and color settings vary from ours. Also, there are normal, slight run-to-run color variations.
- Color Cards - Manufacturers' color cards show thread before it has had a bonding coating applied. The thread you receive looks darker than the color card because of the bonding. Machine sewing removes the bonding and the finished work matches the color card.
- Precise match - If you need a more precise color match, we are glad to send a reasonable number of samples so you can judge. Or, you can send us a swatch of material so we can do the matching and give you the results.
- Mistakes can happen - If we make a mistake and show colors incorrectly, we refund both your shipping cost and the cost of returning the thread.
Q. How do I find the right sewing machine needle?
A. Needles can be tricky. The key is to know which needle system is designed for your machine. Look first in your owner's manual. Here are some other ways to find the right needle:
- Home sewing machines - Just about every home machines use universal, flat shank needles. We call them Groz-Beckert and Schmetz 130/705 needles; other manufacturers call them HAx1 or 15x1 needles.
- No owner's manual? - If you know your machine's make and model our Sewing Machine Needle Use Guide shows needle systems for for about 10,000 makes and models of sewing machines.
- Keep needle labels - Even if the information seems confusing or irrelevant, it can be a big help to our customer service team when you call.
- Needle and thread size - We have a Needle and Thread Size Chart that tells you the range of needle sizes that work with a given thread size or weight.
- Needle points - The right point depends on the material you are sewing and the way you want stitches to look. See our Needle Buying Guide.for help
- Call us - We will need to know your machine make and model. In some cases, we may need to do further research to find the right needle. When this happens we ask for your phone number and call back with the answer.
Q. How do I get the right bobbin?
A. The key is to know which bobbin style fits your machine. Your owner manual is the best place to look
No owners manual? - Machine / Bobbin Style Reference lists bobbin styles for over 1600 sewing machines and models. We also have a Bobbin Style Guide (PDF) that shows the exact size and height of our most popular bobbins for visual matching.
Q. What if I need to return a purchase?
A. We have a 30-day return policy. Please see our Returns and Refunds Policy for details.
Q. How much does shipping cost?
A. We ship by USPS, UPS, and FedEx. We charge actual rates. Rates are calculated by weight, distance and package size. There are no hidden handling charges. See our Shipping Policies for details
Ship collect - You are welcome to ship UPS or FedEx collect. Just put your account in the order message box and provide a physical address. We will refund shipping charges.
Warehouse Pick Up - If you are located in our area you can pick up your order at our warehouse Monday through Friday between 9:30 and 4:30. Please type "Customer pick up" in the order comments or call us. We will refund shipping charges.
Q. Does The Thread Exchange have a newsletter?
A. Yes. We have a mailing list and prompt customers to subscribe. You can opt out when you place your order or unsubscribe with a click.
Q. What payment options does The Thread Exchange accept?
A. Currently, we accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, and PayPal.
Net 30 terms - At our discretion, we give Net 30 terms to customers whose typical order is $100 or more. Customers must have verifiable ship-to and bill-to addresses. Contact our customer service for help. Once are set up you will automatically get Net 30 terms when you login. We also extend Net 30 terms to schools, fire departments, and other government agencies regardless of order amount. In this case we only ship to governmental addresses - not third parties.
No Credit Card? - If you do not have a credit card or PayPal, you can still buy from us:
- Enter your order and go through checkout.
- When you come to the Payment page, print the page.
- Mail us the printout and a check for the order amount including shipping and tax.
- Money order payments ship the same day; personal checks ship in five business days.
Declined Orders - We use software that checks orders for fraud and blocks "high risk" orders. Unfortunately it sometimes blocks legitimate orders. If this happens please call us and we enter your order from our location.
We understand that honest people use VPN networks to protect their privacy. Unfortunately crooks use them to hide their fraud, and our software is likely to decline orders from VPN's. When this happens you can either temporially disable your VPN or call us for help
Declined Credit Cards - There are many reasons why banks decline legitimate cards. The main reasons are:
- The order billing address differs from the credit card address (Error 15005).
- The bank has put a hold on your card (Error 15006).
Q. Can we visit The Thread Exchange?
A. We have an ambience-free warehouse that you can visit from 9:30 to 4:30 on Monday through Friday by appointment only. Please call or email in advance.
A hand sanitizer dispenser is available at the entrance. Please use it.
Our operation is designed to fill internet orders efficiently and is not set up for in-warehouse sales. Please be patient.
Q. Can I send you pictures of my sewing project?
A. We welcome your submissions. When sending, please include details about which items you purchased from us that were used in your project.
Q. Do you sell thread for sterile applications?
A. No! Our thread is clean in the ordinary sense - not sterile. Using our thread for any application that requires sterile thread puts lives at risk. We will not knowingly sell thread for sterile applications.
Q. Do you charge sales tax?
A. We are currently required to charge sales tax on orders shipped to these states: Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indian, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
If you are a business, or a governmental agency that is exempt from sales tax, send us the exemption paperwork and we will refund the tax. To prevent sales tax charges on future orders, you need to create an account and login and log in each time