Nifty thread consumption tool

aneAlternative title: How many ways do I love A&E? Let me count the ways…

A&E (aka, A-N-E) is American & Efird, a US thread company. They’re always doing neat stuff and have been small company friendly well before it was fashionable. Case in point, they have a nifty new-to-me tool you can use to calculate the amount of thread needed to sew garments with an estimating tool they call ANECALC® -but you’re better off starting here because what you want is the ANECALC® Plus spreadsheets. The Plus worksheets are blank Excel worksheets that help smaller companies calculate their thread usage.

For those of you who don’t have machines or seams to measure but may have been hit with an unanticipated thread charge from your sewing contractor, there is a separate page that lists thread consumption of the most common types of products instead of having to figure it out the long way (pdf). The page lists thread consumption for products ranging from ladies panties to kid’s knit shirts to men’s and women’s 5 pocket jeans. That will be great for many of you. That way you’ll have an idea of your thread usage and can quibble (or not) with your contractor over how much thread they charged you for.

But back to the blank Excel ANECALC® Plus spreadsheets (that link is a repeat). These are pretty neat! First you select fabric weight because thread consumption for thinner fabrics is lower than consumption for thicker fabrics (mentioning it for those who never thought fabric thickness mattered) and download the worksheet. Then you go through it line by line to list the seams of the product by operation.  Of course not everyone will know all of that but if you’ve hired someone to develop a tech pack for you, it isn’t as difficult as you’d think.

What I like is that the spreadsheet is embedded with a drop down list of options for seaming so it’s not as difficult as it could be in that you don’t have to come up with seam names on your own. For example, first you fill in the operation -a side seam. Then you pick the seam for it. That could be any number of options (lockstitch, overlock etc). This would be in your tech pack.

If you have more time than money and don’t know much about seam types, you can get the 6 part download here. You are so lucky. In the olden days, we had to pay $50 for it and wait to get it snail mail.  Anyway, you can pick through those charts and find seams that look similar to what you think you want to fill in the slots if you don’t have anyone alongside who can help you and you don’t have a tech pack.

Two asides.

1. A&E went to the trouble of registering ANECALC back in 2005 which is why I stuck in the ® symbol. I understand why they did that. In their defense, they have not used the ® symbol alongside ANECALC on their site (like I have) because they have the good sense to know it looks silly. I am feeling silly today so I do not care. Either that or I’m coming down with the flu.

2. I really wish old school apparel companies were hip to the new social media thing. I really should not have found this tool via a blind google search. I should have known about it from their blog feed. But then they ‘d have to have a blog. I rest my case. Either that or a press release sent to me directly. But no. I don’t get PR pieces from A& E. I get press releases extolling the virtues of whatever celeb has a hot new lipstick color or so and so (not one of my designers) is now being carried where ever and here’s a discount code for my readers and some images for my site. Like I care. You know, I could be just as fashioney as those other blogs but in my way of thinking, my visitors are not coming here to read fluff about their competitors or those they aspire to compete with. That strikes me as a slap in the face, you should have at least one safe place, knowwhatImean?

Thread consumption formulas

Get New Posts by Email


  1. This is pretty neat, thanks Kathleen! Even though our current contractor provides the thread for CMT and it is included in the CMT price, it is always worth knowing those details.

  2. David S. says:

    Samina, there are two sets of spreadsheets at the A&E site. The first are the ANECALC sheets, which calculate the per garment thread usage. The ANECALC plus stuff is for figuring out how much thread you need to buy to make sure you’ve got enough cones to keep all the machines on a line in thread (which can be more than (total length of thread needed / put up length), since you need at least one cone for each machine, and more for overlockers).

    I’e used the basic sheets to figure out how much thread I needed to work some of the projects I’ve done. (I’m an enthusiast, too.). I think, for most things, the sample will be a good enough idea. (If you’re making particularly large or small sizes, you might adsut them) If you dig at A&E’s site, you can find some more useful information. That includes instructions on how to figure out how to actually measure the thread used.

    Kathleen: I’m surprised you didn’t know this existed, as I’m pretty sure I found it from following a link on an A&E page you’ve linked to before (on thread sizes.)!

  3. David S.,

    Are you thinking of this post?

    It points to an A&E page which has since moved, so I don’t know where it linked before.

  4. Kathleen says:

    David: I’ve linked to A&E quite a few times (as you know). I dimly recall seeing a mention of the topics I posted about now but I don’t remember that I followed through. The A&E site is rather enigmatic with respect to navigation; page (link) titles explaining the value of given content being the biggest problem imo. Humor me by pretending I don’t live in a glass house…

  5. kay says:

    I don’t personally know of any tool for calculating thread consumption for those of us who sew for ourselves. But I will say that I’ve referred a lot of people to the A&E site because of the wealth of practical information it contains in the “Technical Tools” section. The “thread logic” section helped clarify a lot of things for me in terms of selecting threads to work with:

  6. Cary Pragdin says:

    Wonderful, informative post Kathleen, many thanks. Hope it’s just the effects of Spring being in the air, and not the ‘flu after all!

  7. David S. says:

    @Alison, I may well be. The wayback machine tells me that in 2008, which is about when I started going through the archives, there was a link from the page kathleen linked to ( to ANECALC. It’s not there in 2005, when Kathleen wrote the post.

    I agree that A&E website is not the easiest to navigate. In particular, I have a number of thread data pdfs that I can’t find the links to on the current incarnation of the site. (google knows they exist, and will find them if I put the file name into a google search.)

    The wayback macine, at , is wonderfully useful tool for reading through things like blog archives. There are often links that point to things that no longer exist, or which are clearly not the same thing as the blog is referering to, and you can often figure out what they did mean to point you to.

  8. Kathleen says:

    I have a number of thread data pdfs that I can’t find the links to on the current incarnation of the site. (google knows they exist, and will find them if I put the file name into a google search.)

    I have exactly the same problem and resort to the same solution with the A&E site.

    I tell you, site continuity is going to be an even greater problem in the future for legacy sites. I have the same issues, it is so much work to manually correct it all.

  9. Daljeet Kaur says:

    I love it when you say ‘in the olden days’. My father says it a lot and I’ve been saying it quite a bit too in the last 8 years or so (and also ‘what crappy music these kids listen to’)!

Leave a Reply

You have to agree to the comment policy.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.