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Machine Quilting Thread: Recommendations for Beautiful Quilted Creations

Machine Quilting Thread: Recommendations for Beautiful Quilted Creations

Machine quilting is a captivating art form that allows you to transform fabric into stunning quilted creations. It is the craft art of constructing pieces of patchwork fabric together in a creative way, and then sandwiching batting in between this creative layer and a bottom layer of fabric with decorative stitches.

One of the most important elements in the quilting process is the selection of the right machine quilting thread. Choosing the appropriate machine quilting thread is essential for achieving beautiful results and ensuring the durability of your quilts. 

machine quilting finish

Let us explore the various types of machine quilting thread and provide recommendations based on their qualities and characteristics.

Understanding Machine Quilting Thread:

Machine quilting thread is specifically designed for quilting projects done on a sewing machine. Unlike regular sewing thread, it is thicker, stronger, and more resilient, enabling it to withstand the demands of quilting. 

Additionally, machine quilting thread typically has a lower lint content to minimize clogging and maintenance issues with your sewing machine. A machine quilting thread with a lower lint content is more likely to run smoothly through the machine, reducing the risk of tension issues, skipped stitches, and even machine damage.

Types of Machine Quilting Thread:

Cotton Thread: Cotton thread is a very popular choice for machine quilting due to its strength, versatility, and traditional aesthetic. It seamlessly blends with cotton fabrics and provides a classic, matte finish to quilted projects.  

When cotton goes through the spinning and weaving process, having longer fibers makes the surface smoother and reduces the number of loose ends. This makes things made with long staple cotton less likely to get those annoying little balls of fabric (pills) or tear easily. Plus, they can even get softer over time.

Cotton thread is available in various weights, such as 40 weight, 50 weight, and 60 weight. For machine quilting, it is recommended to use a slightly heavier weight thread, like 40 weight or 50 weight, as it offers better visibility and durability. 

Madeira Cotona has an 80wt for a finer look, particularly helpful when creating delicate lacework and heirloom sewing. Cotona has high tensile strength and is perfect for applique, machine quilting, and piecing.

cotona machine quilting thread

Nylon Thread: Although less commonly used in machine quilting, nylon thread can be a suitable choice for specific projects. It is exceptionally strong and has high heat resistance, making it suitable for quilts that may be exposed to elevated temperatures, such as pot holders or oven mitts. 

However, nylon thread can be slightly more challenging to work with due to its slippery nature, so it is recommended for quilters with a substantial amount of experience.

Variegated Thread: Variegated thread adds a beautiful touch to quilted creations. Featuring multiple colors in a single thread, it creates stunning effects as you quilt. Variegated thread works well for both simple and intricate quilting designs, adding depth and visual interest to your projects. 

When using variegated thread, consider the color distribution and ensure it complements your fabric choices.

variegated quilting thread

Polyester Thread: Polyester thread is another excellent option for machine quilting. It is known for its exceptional resistance to abrasion, making it ideal for quilts that will undergo frequent use and washing. Its strength makes it ideal for high-speed long-arm quilting machines.  AeroQuilt is a spun polyester that has a cotton/matte look to it to maintain a traditional appearance.

Polyester thread is available in a wide range of colors, allowing you to match or contrast with your fabric choices. It also boasts excellent colorfastness, ensuring that your quilted creations will maintain their vibrancy over time. Also, it makes less lint than cotton thread.

Polyester has come a long way in the past 20 to 30 years and is smoother gentler, and stronger than ever. It is spun in a way that creates the appearance of a cotton thread. Think of it as the “Look of Cotton, with the Performance of Polyester.”

Recommendations For Machine Quilting Thread: 

While individual preferences may vary, here are some general recommendations for machine quilting threads based on the characteristics mentioned above:

  1. For quilts with predominantly cotton fabrics, opt for a high-quality cotton thread in a 50 weight for optimal durability and blending with the fabric. 50 weight is the most versatile and most commonly used for machine quilting.
  2. You can go for a 30 weight thread for a chunkier look that is more prominent. If you want to show off your 30 weight variegated thread then this Cotona softbox would be ideal for you.
  3. When quilting projects that require strength and resilience, such as bed quilts or heavily used items, polyester thread in a suitable weight is an excellent choice. It offers excellent color options and maintains its integrity even with frequent washing.
  4. For specialized projects involving high heat exposure, such as pot holders or oven mitts, consider using a nylon thread specifically designed for heat resistance. Ensure your machine can handle the slippery nature of nylon thread.
  5. To add visual interest and create unique effects in your quilting, explore variegated threads. Consider the color scheme of your quilt and select variegated threads that complement or contrast with the fabric choices.

Quilting Quality:

Quilting and machine embroidery provide endless opportunities for artistic expression and creativity. With the advent of long-arm quilting machines, the art form has evolved, enabling quilters to work on larger projects while maintaining precision and detail.

quilting display

Your quilt is an investment in time, supplies, and creative energy.  Selecting the right machine quilting thread is crucial for achieving beautiful and durable quilted work that will last for years and become an enduring treasure. Cotton thread provides a traditional aesthetic and works well with cotton fabrics, while polyester thread offers strength and resistance to abrasion. 

The quality of thread used in quilting and machine embroidery will undoubtedly impact the finished product. Extra-long staple fibers, often found in high-quality threads, contribute to enhanced strength and durability. 

Of all the machine quilting thread options, we believe that you can’t go wrong with either polyester quilting thread or cotton quilting thread.

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