Tuesday, July 12, 2011

What Kind of Thread To Use?

What kind of thread should you use? Any thread that you can, one way or another, get through the machine. If it doesn’t go through the needle, then you can always put it in the bobbin and stitch from the back side instead!

As you know, threads now come in a huge variety of sizes and fiber content. The first consideration in deciding what thread to use is to remember the thread rule. If you have mended a tear in a pair of pants and the thread you used was weaker than the fabric, if they rip again only your thread is broken and you can easily re-sew the seam. If the thread you used was stronger than the pant fabric, you know that if they rip again the fabric itself will have disintegrated and what you have left is a candidate for the rag bag. This rule applies when piecing your quilts, too. Machine quilting doesn’t add stress to your quilt; the stress points remain in the pieced seams, so I piece with cotton thread only in order to use a slightly weaker thread at the quilt’s stress points so the fabric isn’t accidentally damaged later.

Somehow the notion seems to have evolved that the bobbin thread should match the fabric on the back of your quilt. Not true! Quilting is a very important element of the overall design, so feel free to use a contrasting thread. And you might also want to keep in mind that machine quilting is much more fun when you don’t have to worry about the bobbin thread peeking through to the top. This just won’t be an issue if you choose to use the same color thread through both the needle and the bobbin.

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