Tips: Use a thread colour chart

If, like me, you do a lot of your fabric shopping online, you may find yourself lacking a suitable colour of thread to match a particular fabric. One of the advantages of bricks-and-mortar fabric shopping is being able to choose a matching thread, zip and lining in one trip, if you have access to a nearby haberdashery! Whilst a lot of the online retailers who have haberdashery departments will offer a thread matching service, one tip I’d like to share is to find yourself a thread colour chart for your favourite thread suppliers, if possible. I purchased mine a couple of years ago, and as we are on Covid-19 lockdown, I’ve been using it more than usual, recently, to determine which threads to order for some of the fabrics sitting in my stash.

The card I have is the Gutermann Sew-All shade card. It is a neat little booklet of shade cards, showing the colours in this range. Each coloured square on the image below is made from actual thread wound onto the card, so it gives you a really accurate view of the colour of the thread. There’s quite a wide range of colours included…

..and next to each colour is the ‘number’ (ID) of the thread, so you can then go online and search for ‘Gutermann 623’, or whatever your perfect shade is. (It also indicates which lengths the particular colour is available in).



I find it so reassuring to have the thread card in front of me because, as they always say, the colour may very look different on your screen, no matter how hard they try to photograph it accurately.


I’ve found this to be a really handy tool, so thought I’d share in case it’s helpful! I’m not sure how readily available it is to retail customers – the store I bought mine from a couple of years ago is no longer listing them, but some other retailers do seem to have them listed. I’ve also seen listings for YKK zip colour cards, for example, which I’m tempted to investigate further as I do order a lot of my zips online too!

Do you use colour cards? And if you didn’t know about them before this, do you think you’d be interested in getting one now?




Posted on 7 Comments

7 thoughts on “Tips: Use a thread colour chart

  1. Your post arrived at a very opportune moment. I have just bought some pink linen by mail order from a supplier that does not sell thread and, as I don’t normally sew pink have nothing in my stash anywhere close to this shade. I didn’t know about shade cards, but now have one on the way from William Gee UK, which will be very useful as where I live only a small selection of thread is available. Also handy for getting the best shade for fabrics pulled out of my stash.

    1. Fabulous! I’m so glad the post was helpful, Jane! May it bring you many years of perfectly matched threads 🙂

  2. This couldn’t have come at a better time! After spending what felt like hours yesterday trying to imagine if the thread on my screen will match my fabric, I just gave up! No longer being able to just pop into my JoAnn’s sucks. Then I come across this post, so I have a Gutermann color chart in my cart and will be putting it to good use! And I like that I’ll be able to match my thread to my entire fabric and not just a little swatch that I take to the store, whenever they open back up. Thank you!

    1. Excellent! I’m so glad it is helpful!

  3. Hello, this is incredible & genius insight..! i’d love to purchase these cards. I’m googling to find them. If anyone can suggest an online store delivering to Australia i’ll jump on & purchase immediately! Thanks so much, Kerryl x

    1. Wawak is where I got mine, not sure how far they deliver. I think they do deliver internationally, and they have TONS of sewing supplies.

  4. Oh I’ve been looking for something like this but sadly hard to find where I live so I’ll have to look for it overseas – would be lovely if you could share the dimensions of the colour chart. I wonder if the colours also correspond to the sulky and silk equivalents.

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