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A Bit About Thread

We’ve all stood in the thread section of our local fabric store in front of spools and spools of thread. No doubt, we each have different methods for choosing which thread makes the journey home. For some color is king, yet others favor a specific brand or type of thread.

When you piece, what type of thread do you prefer to use? Thanks for sharing.

When it comes to shopping for thread, your best bet is to choose one made of long staple cotton which refers to the variety used to make the thread. The longer fibers, or staples, are ideal for quilting because the way the thread is spun decreases fuzz, corresponding to a decrease of lint while sewing.

Let’s be honest, a lint-free thread is a pipe dream, but you can get awfully close to making that dream a reality by using long staple cotton thread that’s been gassed, meaning the small bits of fuzz are burnt off as the thread passes through a flame.

With so many options it can be difficult to find the best thread for quilting.

Thread Size is Not Exact

Who knew There? There is not an industry standard for thread size, similar to the way one size of pants fits differently from brand to brand; the same can be said for thread. What is marked as 50 weight may be thinner or thicker depending on the brand. Unlike clothing, however, the larger the number listed on the spool, the smaller or finer the thread will be.

Oftentimes, you’ll see two numbers on a spool of thread; for example 50/2 or 50/3. Catherine explains the first number indicates the weight of the thread and the second is the ply. Generally, the three-ply thread in this example is stronger than the two-ply.

When to Use What

“What’s the best thread for quilting?” is kind of a loaded question, isn’t it? Different thread weights are best for the various stages of quilting and the wide array of effects we desire.

Some suggests using a fine, yet strong two-ply 50 or 60 weight thread for piecing because it allows her to sew a true quarter inch seam.  Many quilters advocate of using the same weight in the top and bottom while sewing to maintain good tension throughout the quilt top.

As a thrifty or budget quilter, I often grab the 40 weight cotton Signature spool because it is good value for my money.  I think the next time I will indulge in a more expensive 50 weight spool and see it I can actually get a more true 1/4″ seam without using a scant seam!

Let me know your thoughts.  I would love to hear from our Guild experts🙋‍♀️

Happy piecing

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