Craft Industry Alliance is excited to announce that Sulky has joined us as a corporate member. Sulky has a longstanding history in the sewing community and is best known for their rayon threads and stabilizers. The rayon threads and stabilizers are used most often for machine embroidery and quilting, but these make up only a portion of their products.
Before Sulky was a household name, Joyce and Fred Drexler were running a sewing and fabric storefront in Florida, which led to Joyce founding Speed Stitch in 1980. Through Speech Stitch, she taught thousands of store owners all over North America how to teach free-motion embroidery to their customers with just a basic zig-zag stitch on a sewing machine. These were the years before the home embroidery machine took off and her extensive knowledge and experience with the many different threads and stabilizers were quickly catching on. Realizing that there was a market for stabilizers and threads for the home sewist, the Drexler’s joined up with Chris Gunold, of Gunold Worldwide, in 1987 and the Sulky brand was born. Joyce continued teaching how to use all these different materials through the 22 books that she authored over 28 years and numerous in-store and guild seminars that Sulky National Educators taught. After Hurricane Andrew devastated Florida, the Drexlers moved their operation to Georgia; which is where they are to this day.
The mission statement of Sulky truly sums up the heart of their company: Sulky longs to help bring beautiful things into the world; to inspire others and help creators have confidence. Their passion is to provide the tools and education for them to do that.
Sixty percent of Sulky’s product lines concern machine embroidery, with their rayon threads and stabilizers being sold through JoAnn’s, while the other forty percent is split between quilting, sewing, and handwork. Independent retailers have the exclusive rights to sell Sulky’s cottons; including their Cotton Petites. While you can order threads and materials through their main website, once the order goes through Independent Retailers are given the opportunity to fulfill that order before Sulky takes over. This is truly evidence of their eagerness to encourage and support your small local quilt shop.
As a hand embroiderer, I’ve been using stranded cotton threads pretty much all my life. I recently tried out the Sulky Cotton Petites for a project and was blown away at their ease of use and how they felt being sewn. I used the 12 wt. and was able to use it for about 90 percent of my project. Having a spool of thread in which I didn’t have to split the strands made the project much more transportable and overall just easier and quicker. And their threads aren’t just for home sewists! My son has been using some of their Holoshimmer threads for tying flies for fly fishing.
One of their most recent products is their collaboration with Cotton + Steel. Their partnered collection offers one hundred different colors of 50 weight cotton threads designed to match any Cotton + Steel fabric selection. There is a fascinating video detailing how Sulky Cotton + Steel threads are made from cotton to spool found here. Along with the Cotton + Steel cotton thread, Sulky also has a collection of Cotton + Steel machine embroidery patterns. The patterns are a set of little patches that are super cute! If these patches aren’t enough, Sulky has thousands of embroidery designs available at sulkyembclub.com.
Along with the current C & S thread collections, Sulky debuted a new 12 pack cotton thread collection at Quilt Market that coincides with Rifle Paper’s new collection along with a Japan Collection that will coordinate with the new lines coming out by Cotton + Steel.
The world of home sewing has changed drastically since the Drexler’s began their storefront over 49 years ago. When Sulky was born in 1987 they were the only thread company selling decorative threads. Indeed, they created the category. Fast forward to today and there are twenty-six. Sulky is answering the question of how to stay relevant in this crowded and ever-changing market by striving to set themselves apart through education. The sulky.com website offers a wide selection of education videos with both free and paid content. With Sulky, you do not just receive a product, but you receive access to loads of education and ideas on how to use that product. One of their goals in 2019 is to increase their video content in order to offer even more opportunities to inspire and create confidence in makers.
Sulky is active on Instagram, Facebook and through their blog. Their blog is updated regularly and is full of project ideas for using all of their variety of materials.
Aimee Davis comes from a long line of women makers. She sleeps under quilts that her grandmother made, her head rests on pillowcases that her aunt embroidered, and her memories are full of time spent watching her mom and grandmother create. The majority of her sewing and embroidery skills are self-taught, and she’d like to think there is a little bit of genetic love seeping through.