Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Silk Buttonhole Twist


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Among a few of the new treasures I picked out when purchasing (or binging on, if you want to call it that!) embroidery supplies a couple weeks ago were these little packets of silk buttonhole twist.

Silk buttonhole twist looks like a perfect thread for “fun” embroidery. It’s the kind of stuff that I know I will like using on projects like my felt needlebook. I purchased these particular packets for an upcoming venture in crazy quilting, and, in general, just to add to my stash and to use when the mood strikes.

Silk Buttonhole Twist

This particular brand comes on cards, in 20 meter lengths. The colors are nice, aren’t they? They look a bit better and brighter in person, and when you see the threads up close – when you can see the twist – you might even tend to say “oooooo” and “aaaaaah,” like a kid in a candy shop window!

Silk Buttonhole Twist

I haven’t tried stitching with these yet. Size-wise, they look like they might be equivalent to a #8 pearl cotton, or somewhere between a #8 and a #12.

Silk Buttonhole Twist

I think these four colors may work pretty nicely together on a Christmas project that I have in mind, too.

The thread reminds me of a smaller, tighter Trebizond (twisted in the other direction), or a little bit thicker Soie Perlee. It looks like the kind of thread that I’d like to have every single color of!! (But then, come to think of it – well. Is there any thread I wouldn’t like to have every single color of?)

Have you stitched with silk buttonhole twist? If so, what techniques do you use it for? Do you like it? I’d love to hear what others have to say about this particular thread – and I’m eager to try it myself! I’ll let you know what I think of it when I do!


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(11) Comments

  1. In my younger days, when I was still making some of my own clothing, I always put my zippers in wth silk button-hole twist. It gave a real touch of elegance (I thought) to what I was making, and with the machine set-up and everything usually didn’t take too much longer. This thread is Very strong.


  2. Hi Mary, I use silk buttonhole twist pretty exclusively for crazy quilting. My absolute fave is vintage corticelli silk buttonhole twist — it comes on small wooden spools and has a very tight twist. When stitched, it doesn’t twist and curl as much as some others. My second fave is YLI silk twist in the 30 size though the 100 size is very fine but gives a beautiful effect. I am not a fan of a looser twist because the twist deteriorates rather quickly when stitching through heavy silks, velvets and brocades. I do like stitching with the silk that you purchased…The silk you have purchased is Kanagawa silk buttonhole twist. This is a very nice thread but a little thicker than what I normally use…I use it often because it comes in a beautiful range of colors…the japanese make a very nice silk thread. YLI is also made by the Japanese and it’s a little finer than Kanagawa. I think it comes down to stitcher’s preference…someone used to the weight of pearl cotton might prefer the Kanagawa…

    Still, if you can get your hands on it, vintage buttonhole silk is the best, IMHO. Send me your addy and I’ll send you a spool or two to play with…tell me which two colors to send…Have a great day, Susan

  3. I forgot to mention another fave of mine in an overdyed thread — Gloriana’s petite perle and perle threads are quite lovely to stitch with (loses the twist a little more easily than vintage or YLI) and the colors are glorious! I think you’d have great fun playing with this thread too…

  4. This solves a mystery for me. I “inherited” a bunch of sewing supplies from a friend, or her mother-in-law actually. There were a few tiny spools of Coats and Clark silk twist thread – 10 yards each. I had no idea what she used it for. I don’t think she did any embroidery or decorative sewing, but she did make lovely garments. I bet she used it for the zippers as Jane mentioned. I think what I have is too thin for most embroidery. I’ll keep it in mind for something delicate.


  5. Thanks, all, for your comments! I’m really looking forward to having some fun with this thread!

    Hi, Susan! Thanks for the information on the threads – I haven’t tried the vintage buttonhole silk – but it sounds intriquing! But I don’t want you giving up your vintage silk! Do they still make the corticelli? In different packaging, perhaps? I’ve seen the thread show up on e-bay before, but I’ve never bothered to bid on any of it.

    Thanks heaps for the information!

  6. Oh, vintage-schmintage, Mary…A treasure shared is WAY better than a treasure kept to oneself. You know that better than anyone. I’m delighted to share my twist with you…the offer still stands if you want to take me up on it!

  7. I know this is a year old, but I use this in my hand bookmaking. It's great for headbands – the little decorative stitching on the top and bottom of a book on the spine. I've also tried tatting with it.

  8. I am trying to find number 161 green of the Kanagawa silk thread. Is there anything close to it, if it’s not available?

  9. I love silk buttonhole twist. I am working on a crazy quilt and my mother gave me some coats and Clark and a large spool of Holland machine silk. It is like stitching with clouds! You can find some on eBay, but I really want to try the Japanese silk. I love love your videos!

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