What weight of machine quilting thread should I use?
A reader asks...
What quilting thread weight should be used when long arm quilting?
What weight should be used for piecing?
I am not a long arm quilter, but I would imagine that pretty much anything you can put through a needle, you can quilt with on a long arm machine. You would need to make adjustments to fine tune the tension depending on the combination of needle and bobbin threads, just like on a home sewing machine. You may also need to change the needle to a larger or smaller size depending on the chosen threads.
I've seen quilts long arm quilted with monofilament which is very fine (.004mm), to regular quilting cottons (like the 50 wt Aurifil
, polyesters and rayons and all those fru-fru princess threads that make us drool.
Honestly, I think the sky's the limit, as long as you can make it work in your machine. And that will take some testing.
...personally I like to use a 50 wt or finer cotton. Superior Threads makes Masterpiece
for piecing. Aurifil
and Prescenia also make quality 50 wt, 100% cotton piecing threads. Superior's and Prescenia's 50 wt cotton threads are 3 ply. Aurifil is a 2 ply. The extra ply is supposed to make the thread stronger. Personally, I do not find a difference
I also will use Superior Thread's Bottom Line
, a 60 wt polyester for piecing.
Many have written that they fear that the polyester thread is too strong for cotton quilting fabrics and it will cut the fabric when stressed. The result would be a seam that can't be re-stitched.
However, I've been sewing longer than I've been able to cross the street by myself and have never experienced this problem in either the clothing or the quilts I've made.
I love Bottom Line because it it very fine so it takes up less room in my seam allowance and I feel my piecing is more accurate. The fact that there is way less lint than the cotton threads is another plus.
So for machine quilting, whatever you can pass through the needle and balance the tension is good.
For machine piecing, look for a 50 wt or finer quality thread.
Thank you for your question.
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