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I finally finished my great niece’s quilt, and I learn something new each time I make a new one. In this article, I discuss what I think every professional quilter has in the way of thread for Piecing Quilts
Thread for Machine Piecing
Most quilters (at least for me) begin choosing a specific thread with their new quilts. With all the thread choices, you may wonder what is the best choice in thread for piecing quilts. In case you are not familiar with the term, piecing means simple sewing pieces together. If you want to know about threads for free motion quilting check out the article I wrote here.
Polyester – You could use a polyester all purpose thread, or you can go a step further and look for a thread that will not add bulk to your seams.
I remember reading a while back, a polyester blend means in the long run polyester will war against and shred the cotton fibers. I have yet to experience this, and I have polyester blended threads in some of my quilts. The reason I have polyester blend in some of my quilts comes from using a polyester in the bobbin and my favorite choice thread for my project on the top. I certainly choose either a full polyester or a full cotton; however, on special quilts such as gift or product, I will choose an all cotton (organic cotton if I can) thread. A lot is left unsaid here; I digress.
Cotton, Polyester or Blend
I choose to use a 50 weight (wt) Egyptian three ply cotton extra-long staple thread for my piecing at the time of this article. Specifically, I use Masterpiece thread from Superior Threads. I did use this thread for the free motion quilting before I realized Masterpiece thread, created for piecing, does not sit well in free motion quilting the way I prefer thread to show up. I feel the weight of the thread is too fine for free motion quilting.
All the which makes this thread perfect for piecing unless you prefer polyester thread. The thing about polyester thread that most people like is strength. Polyester thread is stronger than cotton; however, the strength can overtime break down the cotton fibers in your fabric. Your choice here, because you know what you are sewing and whether you want to keep it for a long time. If your quilt will go through a lot of tugging and pulling, best use an all cotton thread unless your fabric is a cotton polyester blend. As a rule of thumb, try to match thread to fabric fiber.
The type of thread for piecing quilts you will find is best for piecing is a 50wt cotton thread (40wt for free motion quilting). Many different companies sell such a thread. You can find an all cotton 50wt thread at your local sewing and crafting center, and you can purchase premium 50wt thread from Superior Threads, Pima, and a lot of quilters say they use Aurifil (a lot).
The idea here is to use a thread that will last and that will not work against the fiber in your quilt.
For a strong cotton thread, you want to choose a long staple thread. Long staple means longer strands of cotton twisted into a thread. Shorter staples tend to lint up your machine or leave little fuzzies on your quilt after you use or wash it. They are not as strong as a longer staple thread.
Another gold standard is to keep neutral colors, such as grey, white, and black in your stash for those quilts you really just want to get finished. I always keep a spool of tan! These premium threads cost a bit more than those you might find in your sewing and craft store, but you will have a spool of this thread for a long time since they come in 600 yard spools. You also have a peace of mind in knowing these threads will keep your quilts together for a long time.
I made my granddaughter’s first quilt completely by hand! Here again you decide on what thread you feel comfortable using for hand piecing. Keep in mind the fiber content that will be best for your quilt in the long run. Short fibers will lint up and leave fuzz balls on your quilt after washing them. A 3-ply is stronger, and you can find three ply in long ply and extra long ply (the longer the staple, the stronger the thread).
Some quilters prefer a 60wt thread for hand piecing, but I have read where some suggest using a 28wt because they feel a 28wt is thicker and stronger; you only want to use a 28wt for hand quilting not piecing!
I hope you find this article helpful. I am learning new stuff all the time, and I enjoy sharing what I learn with all of you. Have a great day and I will see you soon.