Thread made from plastic bottles? What I found out.
I was at one of my local fabric shops, El Kilo, the other day and I bought a few meters of insertion lace (for a project that I’m excited to share in the next few weeks!) The girl at El Kilo rang me up and popped my lace into a small white paper bag which I slid right into my handbag, it was that small! I do love small bags no matter if it’s our Union bag mini or a small paper bag from the fabric store – they’re just cute!
So when I got home I naturally took a closer look at this small bag:
On both sides, there are drawings of a Gutermann thread spool and I took notice as Gutermann is a thread brand I’ve known as long as I can remember. We also had Coats & Clarks brand but my mom would always buy Gutermann, especially if it was on sale at Joann’s, because it was the best. So I have good memories of quality associated with the brand. Adding more to my feelings of the thread is that I can find it here, even on a small Spanish island! There is a certain amount of comfort in brands that are familiar.
So, why am I talking about a little paper bag?
Well, also on the bag, I saw a plastic water bottle and the words 100% recycled and thought, “They make thread from water bottles?” It seemed super innovative for a brand filed in my mind as being sort of “old school”. So, I put on my (fashionable) detective hat to find out more.
Sure enough, Gutermann has a line of thread labeled rPET, which is made from 100% recycled PET bottles! The thread comes in sew-all and topstitching types and a full variety of colors. Turns out they’ve been at it for 10 years and were the very first to bring recycled thread to us sewists in home! All the thread is manufactured in Germany.
You can tell this thread apart from the regular line because it has the green spool bottom.
While it doesn’t look like any of my local shops here stock it, a simple Google search led me to many buying options.
I found William Gee in the UK carries the full color range and prices it at 1.68 pounds/100meters or roughly 2.25 dollars. Minerva Crafts stocks all colors for 1.95 pounds/100 meters, or 2.59 dollars.
In the USA, I was surprised that Joann Fabrics doesn’t stock it nor does Mood Fabrics in NYC! I even did a deep search in my hometown of Seattle and didn’t find any local shops there that stock it. But, I did find a full selection online at Red Rock Threads out in Nevada. A great price, too at $1.85 dollars /100 meter spool which makes up for shipping if you buy several spools at once.
In Australia, I found it a bit hard to find as well. Spotlight didn’t carry the rPET line but I did find JM Embroideries carrying the full line for 3.25 AUS for the 100 meter spool.
Of course, there’s always ebay and Amazon…but in these times, I do like to support our local shops as much as possible!
The other surprise I found out about Gutermann is that they have fabrics! Did you know?! Their most popular seems to be their Ring of Roses cotton line that’s giving me chic country home vibes or even a modern quilting project. I couldn’t find it in many places but My Fabrics in the UK has some as well as this Etsy shop.
I also found that Gutermann is under the corporate umbrella of Elevate Textiles, a parent company of 5 different brands, with a notable commitment to sustainability. By 2025, their website states that Elevate brand products will be produced using at least 80% sustainably sourced cotton and 50% recycled polyester content and manufacturing operations will reduce its water intensity by 25% per unit of production. Also, as part of the Science Based Target (SBT) Program, Elevate will reduce greenhouse gases by 2.5% per year.
While thread made from plastic bottles is still plastic and not eliminating the root issue of the plastic being created in the first place, I believe that as a home sewist, I can “vote with my wallet” so to speak and that my buying choices influence what is created in the future. I’d much rather buy thread that is making use of some of this plastic that is already here on our planet when organic options like this cotton thread aren’t in my budget or reach.
Thanks for reading! Here is a really cute cat named Burnie pinched from the all in German Gutermann Instagram 😀
Have a great weekend!