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Quilting Thread

Posted by Quilting Bee on

No quilt project is ever complete without the use of a thread. Whether to piece fabrics together or to embellish, a quilting thread is an important material. Presently, quilting is steadily blossoming as a form of art and it follows that quilting threads, along with other materials, are improving and are made available in various options. In fact, nowadays, threads come in different beautiful colors and fiber content, and thread makers are constantly developing their products to satisfy every quilter. But because of the many available options, confusion sometimes creeps in, and quilters, beginners most especially, find it hard to choose which thread to use.

There are tips that can guide quilters along. And if you are one of those who are often confused and overwhelmed by the enormity of choices, the following can immensely help in your thread selection.

  1. Know the different kinds of thread. Cotton is the commonly used thread in quilting as it has added strength and can stand the test of time. It is mercerized, meaning it went through some processes and was treated with sodium hydroxide, to give it a luster finish and to enhance dye absorption. Cotton is also coated, allowing it to easily slide through multiple fabric layers. Rayon also has luster quality and is used in embroidery and embellishing.

    Metal/plastic thread, which actually is not a thread but strands made from thermoplastic, is also best used in embellishments because of its shiny look. Metallic in the same way gives a shimmering appeal to projects, and like metal/plastic thread, it requires a metallic needle. Polyester lends a silky finish and doesn’t fade in time. It also doesn’t shrink, which makes it a durable embellishing thread. 

  2. Use the appropriate threads for hand quilting and machine quilting. Hand quilting threads are sturdy, durable, and usually made of cotton. While machine quilting threads are also often made of cotton, they are less durable and strong than hand quilting threads. They can, however, make finer and tighter stitches.

  3. Match the thread to your fabric. In other words, if you are working on a polyester fabric, your thread must as well be polyester. Or, if you are using a fabric made from multiple materials, choose a thread made from the dominant material. Consider also the delicateness of the fabric. For the more fragile fabrics, use silk or polyester thread. But remember that for most projects, especially those that include standard fabrics, cotton is still the most preferred thread as it can work well with a variety of fabrics.

  4. Learn to read thread weight and number of plies. These are printed on the thread label and are usually expressed in fraction, with the thread weight on top and the number of plies below. Thus, in 50/2, the thread is 50wt and has two plies. The thread weight, which can be anywhere between 28 to 60, indicates how fine and sturdy a quilting thread is. Threads with 28 to 30wt are good for embellishments and decorative purposes, while those with 40 to 60wt are sturdier and are best for quilting and piecing. 

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