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Tip of the Day

 

Threads and their uses

This is the second part of a two part article.  The first part is Thread Theory: Choosing the Correct Thread for your Project (and your machine.)

Here is a sampling of threads available, including a description of their characteristics and recommended uses. Most of the information below was provided by the manufacturer. If you would like add more information or make a comment, please E-mail me at quiltbug.com@gmail.com

General Piecing Thread

  • Aurifil 50wt Mako Cotton Thread, an Italian long staple Egyptian mercerized cotton thread, is a smooth, strong thread with a beautiful sheen. It is strong and smooth enough for high-speed commercial embroidery machines and sergers. Used for both machine piecing and quilting, this thread is available in both varigated and solid colors.
  • Coats Dual Duty Plus Thread Cotton wrapped polyester thread. Good all purpose thread.
  • Coats and Clark Star thread. A bit on the linty side.
  • YLI Select is an extra long staple cotton thread which is is ideal for piecing, appliqué, background quilting and all-purpose sewing. No knots, no fuzz, no problems. This special 100% cotton thread  Hand stitchers love it because of the ease with which it pulls through fabric. Machine sewers enjoy the way each stitch blends with the fabric and with the lack of fuzz and lint left in their machines.
  • Madiera Cotona 80wt is a fine yet strong 100% double mercerized cotton thread with a soft matte finish.
  • Metrosene All Purpose Polyester Thread  Long fiber polyester staple. High quality all purpose thread.  100/3
  • Metrosene All Purpose Polyester, long fiber polyester staple. High quality thread for all machine sewing projects.  100/3
  • Mettler Silk Finish 50-weight 3-ply 100% cotton sewing thread. This top quality thread is made of 100% Egyptian long staple and mercerized cotton. Soft and lustrous, it is shrink resistant and safe to iron. Use for machine sewing and hand sewing. Recommended for piecing and applique. Colorfast, fade resistant, boil proof. Do not bleach.
  • Gutermann Natural Cotton Thread.  100% mercerized cotton - 50 wt. For all applications which require pure cotton. Also can be used as a top thread for embellishments
  • Valdani comes in a variety of weights in 450+ colors.  The 35 wt is better for hand quilting.  
  • YLI  Heirloom Cotton 100% long staple cotton. 70/2 ply and 100/2 ply. 70/2 ply is used for piecing with a 70/10 Jeans needle. If used in the bobbin,  be sure to fill slowly. 100/2 ply is used for lace and fine applique work also with a 70/10 Jeans needle.

Applique Thread

  • DMC "Broder Machine" 50 wt 100% cotton thread is good for hand applique.
  • Metrosene Mercerized 100% cotton thread for machine quilting and appliqué.  50/3
  • Mettler Silk Finish 50-weight 3-ply 100% cotton sewing thread. This top quality thread is made of 100% Egyptian long staple and mercerized cotton. Soft and lustrous, it is shrink resistant and safe to iron. Use for machine sewing and hand sewing. Recommended for piecing and applique. Colorfast, fade resistant, boil proof. Do not bleach.
  • Tire Silk Thread from Clover has a natural beauty and glossy shine and is smooth and soft to the touch. It is very flexible and has great strength and elasticity. It works well on all fabrics. It will not twist or curl when used. Used in appliqué, sewing, quilting, and embroidery. 50wt.
  • YLI Wonder Invisible Size .004 Thread can create unexpected effects.  Soft and pliable, it gives a virtually invisible appliqué stitch. Use a Jeans 70/10 needle.  
  • YLI silk threads are 100% pure filament silk, the very highest quality silk thread in the world. Available in both 50 and 100wt.  Use #50 for construction, quilt basting, or embroidery. Use #100 for appliqué, background quilting, and fine heirloom sewing.   Use Select or Heirloom Cotton in the bobbin. For hand stitching use a size 10 Milliners or Sharps needle; for machine, a Jeans 70/10. Size 50 in 100 metre spools, size 100 in 200 metres.
  • YLI Jeans Stitch 30 weight thread. A thick, soft thread that works well in the bobbin. Or use in the needle with a Topstitch 90/14 and Select, Heirloom or Lingerie & Bobbin in the bottom. For a quick machine appliqué use a zig-zag stitch on the edges of your motifs with a stabilizer on the back. 

Invisible Nylon Thread


(note that nylon (also known as Polyamide) thread melts at lower temperatures)
 
  • Champion Nylon Thread (Gudebrod) A/23 nylon thread. Washable and dry cleanable. Comes in 6 colors.
  • Collins Quilter's Nylon Thread Fine .004 size nylon thread. Available in clear and smoke.
  • Dritz Invisible Thread () Transparent thread blends with your fabric. Available in clear and smoke.
  • Invisible Thread (Sulky) 
  • Sew Art Intl Clear Nylon Invisible Thread, SewArt has a matte finish to help your stitching blend into your work.
  • Sulky Invisible Polyester Thread is a very fine, flexible polyester monofilament thread which does not melt with normal ironing through cotton setting. Soft, strong and smooth, it works well in the bobbin and can be used on sergers.  Also good for machine applique with a bobbin or lingerie thread in the bobbin.  Use a 60/8 needle. (Customer recommendation:  Schmetz Microtex)
  • YLI Wonder Invisible Size .004 Nylon Thread can create unexpected effects.  Soft and pliable, it can be used in the needle with a thicker thread in the bobbin for general quilting.  Gives a virtually invisible appliqué stitch. Use a Jeans 70/10 needle. 

Quilting Thread

  • Gutermann 100% Natural Cotton Thread . Natural fibers for machine or hand sewing.
  • Metrosene 100% long staple Egyptian Cotton Machine Quilting Thread, mercerized. Very good for machine quilting.  40/3
  • Metrosene Mercerized 100% cotton thread for machine quilting and appliqué.  50/3
  • Mettler Metrolene is 120 weight (very fine) 100% polyester continuous filament thread. Ideal for quilting and machine embroidery, exceptional for bobbin work.
  • Perfect Quilter 30/3 is a strong mercerized cotton thread which provides the strength and finishing necessary for both hand and machine quilting.  creates a smooth, soft, touch and appearance. Use a #100/16 Schmetz Topstitch needle. Reduce upper tension
  • Signature Variegated 100% Cotton Machine Quilting Thread.   44/3. 
  • Signature 100% cotton machine quilting thread in a cone. Also available in a variegated cone.  44/3 
  • Signature Cotton / Poly Core for Machine Quilting on a cone
  • Star Mercerized Thread (Coats) - 100% mercerized cotton thread 
  • Superior Rainbows Embroidery and Quilting Thread is a Polyester embroidery and quilting thread. This strong 35 wt. trilobal thread is soft enough to sew the most detailed designs and has a sheen that rivals silk.
  • Superior Poly Quilter™ 30 wt Spun Poly Quilting Thread is designed for machine quilting. This extra strength, reinforced 30 weight, spun polyester thread is amazingly strong while remaining soft enough to respond to the most delicate stitches.  Use a #100/16 Schmetz Topstitch needle. Reduce upper tension.
  • Valdani Hand-Dyed Variegated Cotton Thread.  Spun of 3-ply double mercerized long staple cotton, 35wt., these hand-dyed variegated threads can be used for a wide variety of your decorative stitching, sewing, quilting, embroidery projects. They are excellent on all home and commercial machines.  Also available in 28 wt for hand quilting. 
  • Valdani Perle Cotton size 12
  • YLI Wonder Invisible Size .004 Thread can create unexpected effects.  Soft and pliable, it can be used in the needle with a thicker thread in the bobbin for general quilting.  Use a Jeans 70/10 needle. 
  • YLI Variegated Machine Quilting Thread 100% long staple Peruvian Mercerized Cotton thread. 40/3. Also available is a 30wt variegated for hand quilting.
  • YLI 100% glazed cotton quilting thread on a wooden spool. Ideal for hand or machine quilting. Excellent color fastness. Made in USA.
  • YLI Colours Mercerized Cotton Variegated Thread, A 30/3 ply cotton thread that gives a great decorative look for machine quilting and embroidery. Use an embroidery 90/14 needle.
  • YLI Metallic Embroidery and Serger Thread is a fine metallic thread which offers great coverage. Excellent for machine embroidery or rolled edge on serger.
  • YLI Natural Fibres 100% Egyptian Cotton Quilting Thread 40/3 ply, extra long staple. Excellent for hand quilting and on the machine. Unique glazed finish contains no wax.  Will not curl up on itself. For hand quilting use a Betweens 8, 10 or 12. In the machine a use a 90/14 Jeans needle with Select or Heirloom thread in the bobbin.
  • YLI Machine 100% Long staple Peruvian mercerized cotton quilting thread. 40/3ply.  Superb thread for use on the machine. Use 90/14 embroidery needle and Select in the bobbin.

Machine Embroidery Thread

  • Coats 40 Wt. Rayon Thread
  • Coats Color Twist 35 wt. Rayon Thread.  Decorative sewing thread for machine sewing, topstitching and embroidery.
  • Coats Sylko Polyester Machine Embroidery Thread.  A commercial polyester 40 weight machine embroidery thread is shiny, gives excellent coverage and will retain its color and sheen. The product of choice for many high-end designers in the garment industry for their embroidery designs.
  • Madeira Supertwist Thread 30 wt is a festive and shimmering metallic thread with flashes of sparkle. Used for embroidery, festoon work, ornamental seams, and many other decorative applications on high speed sewing machines.
  • Madiera Decor is a glossy 4-ply rayon thread designed to be used in sergers for edging or hem finish on garments.  It can also be wound on the bobbin for bobbin work.
  • Madeira Polyneon is a silky, luxurious commercial polyester embroidery thread available in 359 colors, including variegateds, which is resistant to chlorine bleach.
  • Madeira 30wt and 40wt Rayon is made from 100% natural viscose filament.  An exceptionally strong and color-fast rayon thread. The 30wt thread is 50% thicker than 40 weight.  Use it for topstitching, buttonholes and machine quilting.  It works well on napped fabrics like velour and terry cloth, too.
  • Metrosene Fine Machine Embroidery Thread 100% cotton. 60/2
  • Mettler Silky Sheen (PolySheen) 100% polyester. A heavier weight thread which allows for better coverage of your design when machine quilting.  Available in a beautiful array of colors, this attractive embroidery thread is highly lustrous, colorfast and and has both a high breakage resistance and a high abrasion resistance.  
  • Mettler Metrolene is 120 weight (very fine) 100% polyester continuous filament thread. Ideal for quilting and machine embroidery, exceptional for bobbin work particularly with metallic threads.
  • Superior Threads Rainbows is a varigated thread with short colors (each color is only 1 1/2" long) made of a strong trilobal filament (not spun poly) polyester thread, soft with a silky sheen. Use a #90/14 Schmetz Topstitch needle.
  • Sulky Bobbin Thread: Polyester 
  • Sulky Rayon 30wt and 40 wt are light weight, but exceptionally strong, silky rayon threads used in embroidery, applique and hand work.   They are colorfast, both washable and dry cleanable. It is recommended that no bleach or whitening agents be used when laundering.  Can also be used in the bobbin.   The 30wt is 33% thicker than the 40wt and can be used for top-stitching, quilting and satin stitch decorative stitches.  Best for computerized designs too.  Use a 12/80 machine needle for the 40wt and a 14/90 machine needle for the 30wt Rayon.
  • Sulky Prism Metallic Colors 
  • Sulky Ultra Twist Rayon 35wt. Each Sulky Ultra Twist shade is made by twisting together two existing Sulky solid-colored strands, so you can stitch individually or use it to accent, highlight or blend with solid colors.
  • Sulky 12wt and 30wt thread.  Formerly known as 'Cotty' and sold through Pfaff dealers, this is a top quality, long staple, highly mercerized Egyptian cotton thread.   It has a matte finish which creates a soft, warm natural look and feel and is perfect for hand or machine quilting; counted cross stitch; lace work; bobbin work; hand or machine appliqué; machine decorative stitches; couching; tassels; longarm quilting; fringe and serger techniques.  Use the 12 wt for hand or machine low density embroidery and crewel work.  Use the 30wt for high density embroidery and monogramming.
  • Superior Rainbows Embroidery and Quilting Thread is a Polyester embroidery and quilting thread. This strong 35 wt. trilobal thread is soft enough to sew the most detailed designs and has a sheen that rivals silk.
  • Superior Halo Decorative is an acrylic/poly blend, intertwined with metallic fibers which can be used in a serger or for bobbin work. 
  • Superior The Bottom Line by Libby Lehman is an innovative polyester bobbin thread for sewing with all types of top thread including metallics and designer threads. Its lint free ultra smooth silk-like finish allows it to slide, not grab, to form the perfect stitch with no snagging or knotting. By matching colors, you can sew even the finest stitch without the bobbin thread showing. Ideal for both machine and hand appliqué, this fine 60 wt. thread disappears into the fabric resulting in perfect curves and sharp points. This soft, fine thread also prevents stiffness in embroidered designs. Superb for heirloom sewing, fine lace work and intricate trapunto. Wrap 360° around bobbin tensioner to apply appropriate tension when filling bobbin. Simply wonderful for appliqué!
  • Superior Highlights is a 40wt Tex 25 high-sheen trilobal polyester, ideal for embroidery and quilting.
  • YLI Kaleidoscope Thread. This new holographic thread from is very versatile. It is suited for embroidery, embellishing, quilting, even in the serger. Available in five colors.
  • YLI Variegated Embroidery Thread.  High quality acrylic machine embroidery thread makes a great look when you want color tones in a design or border.
  • YLI Mon´et Embroidery thread is the extra fluffy thread that gives a matte look and a third dimension to your embroidery projects. Blended from 40% Wool and 60% Acrylic, Mon´et is very durable durable and because of its unique softness, Mon´et runs smoother than most machine embroidery threads. With 25 colors to choose from, you can embellish any design.
  • YLI Reflections Iridescent Embroidery and Serger Thread is an elegant thread which changes color depending on the fabric, the light source, as well as other environmental influences.  Use a 90/14 or 75/11 embroidery needle with Select in the bobbin. 
  • YLI Pearl Crown Rayon Variegated, Comes in 5 colors For a bold burst of colour try Pearl Crown Rayon.  Best used in the bobbin.
  • YLI Natural Fibres Cotton Quilting Thread 100% Egyptian cotton, 40/3 ply, extra long staple. Excellent for hand quilting and on the machine. Unique glazed finish contains no wax.  Will not curl up on itself. Use a 90/14 Jeans with Select or Heirloom in the bobbin. 
  • YLI Kaleidoscope A flat holographic thread which gives a glittery effect to  embroidery, decorative quilting and embellishing. Use with a 90/14 Topstitch needle. 
  • YLI Silk Floss Six-strand pure silk floss. Wonderful for surface decoration and cross stitch but have you tried it in the bobbin of your machine? Combine three pieces (18 strands) with any standard thread such as Select or Invisible in the needle and sew "upside down". 
  • YLI Silk Ribbon 100% pure filament silk ribbon. The uses are innumerable but include hand and machine embroidery, tied quilts and surface embroidery. In the machine, wind slowly onto the bobbin, loosen the screw a little or by-pass the bobbin hook. Use a Universal 80/12 needle and any suitable thread on top - try YLI Fine Metallic for extra glitz. 
  • YLI Highlights Ultrasheen 40 weight thread. For free-motion quilting, machine embroidery, satin stitch and more. Pure acrylic thread for extra sheen and strength. Use a  75/11 embroidery or quilting needles. Use same thread or Select in the bobbin. 
  • YLI Multis A super soft cotton and rayon yarn-dyed thread.  Use in the bobbin, for couching, surface decoration, needlework etc. 
  • YLI Pearl Crown Rayon 250/3/2 denier thread Highly twisted, thicker rayon, thread-like cord is a versatile decorative thread that will fit many of your creative needs. Use in the bobbin with a slightly looser tension with YLI Wonder Invisible Thread in the needle and sew "upside down".

Hand Embroidery Thread

  • Madeira Silk Embroidery Floss is a 4-strand embroidery floss woven from  fine quality imported silk.
  • Sulky Rayon 40 wt is used in embroidery, applique and hand work.  Also available variegated.
  • YLI Fine Metallic 40 weight thread. Nylon core wrapped with rice paper for superior bonding of metallic film. Will not tarnish.  It works equally well in the sewing machine, or by hand. 
  • YLI Natural Fibres Cotton Quilting Thread 100% Egyptian cotton, 40/3 ply, extra long staple. Excellent for hand quilting and on the machine. Unique glazed finish contains no wax.  Will not curl up on itself. For hand quilting use a Betweens 8, 10 or 12. 
  • Perle Cotton is spun of 3-ply 100% mercerized long staple cotton, these threads are double twisted, which, together with their beautiful silk luster makes them highly decorative, excellent for hardanger, cross-stitch, crochet, quilting, stitching, embroidery, serging, Sashiko, and needlepoint

Metallic Threads

  • Madeira Metallic threads are soft but durable.  Use to provide a shimmer to your projects.  Needs a metallic thread needle.  
  • Madeira Heavy Metal Metallic Thread, so named because this 30wt is 50% heavier than 40 wt metallic thread which gives it greater coverage.
  • Madeira Glamour is a soft metallic thread which is too heavy to go through a machine needle and should be used in the bobbin.
  • Madeira FS Jewel is an iridescent metallic embroidery thread which should be used with a 90/14 needle.
  • Madeira SuperTwist 30wt is a festive and shimmering metallic thread with flashes of sparkle designed for use on high-speed commercial embroidery machines.  Use with a 90/14 need and a thin bobbin thread such as Metrolene or The Bottom Line.
  • Sulky Metallic - strong, no-fray metallic thread 
  • Sulky Sliver Metallic is a brilliantly reflective flat, ribbon-like polyester film made from thermoplastic coated colored aluminum cut into thin strips with a laser and wound. It must be completely unwound to be used because of static cling. Great for both hand and machine sewing. Requires a metallic needle.
  • Sulky Holoshimmer is a thin, flat, ribbon-like polyester film that is metalized with an aluminum holographic layer to give it a shimmery, brilliant reflectiveness.  Use Holoshimmer only on a vertical spool pin with a 14/90 metallic, topstitch, or embroidery needle and a reduced top tension.  A smooth lightweight thread should be in the bobbin. Dry clean or wash in cool or warm water, dry at low heat setting. Ok to iron on a low temperature. 
  • Superior Metallic Thread.  Designed for use on high speed commercial embroidery machines as well as home machines. Its strong nylon core and genuine silver metallic base enhances both its sew-ability and appearance on everything from heavy denim trousers to vinyl upholstery to wool caps to terry cloth bath towels. Use a #90/14 metallic needle with a reduced upper tension.
  • Superior Metallic Variegated Thread 
  • Yenmet metallic thread has a smooth finish with a vibrant color sheen.  It is designed to be used with high speed industrial embroidery machines without breaking, tangling or shredding. 
  • Yenmet Twilight, a special metallic thread 
  • Yenmet Pearlessence, a thread with a mother of pearl look.
  • YLI Fine Metallic Thread Fine metallic thread for decorative stitching, embroidery and serging. Consistent, supple, and smooth thread. It has a natural core, so is less heat sensitive when pressed. Performs well through the eye of a needle or serger looper.   Add sparkle 
  • YLI Candlelight Metallic Yarn is a textured metallic yarn that is extremely versitile. Produces beautiful serged edges. Also achieves spectacular results in bobbin work, machine couching, weaving, serger fringe and serger braid. Adds sparkle!  Also excellent for needlepoint and punch embroidery.  Best used in the bobbin. 
  • YLI Brilliance Metallic Luminous Thread.  40/2 
  • YLI Woolly Nylon Metallic, 500m 100 percent nylon serger thread. Woolly nylon thread with metallic threads woven in for a sparkly decorative effect. Note that nylon thread melts at lower temperatures. 
  • YLI Fine Metallic 40 weight thread. Nylon core wrapped with rice paper for superior bonding of metallic film. Will not tarnish.  It works equally well in the sewing machine, or by hand. Use 90/14 Embroidery, 80/12 Metallica or 90/14 Topstitch needles; in the bobbin Heirloom Cotton or Lingerie & Bobbin thread.
  • YLI Select 100% Egyptian cotton, 40/2 ply. All-purpose thread for piecing, applique and lightweight quilting. Use a Jeans 80/12 needle. 

Miscellaneous Threads

  • Superior Glitter Hologram Thread is a thinly sliced decorative film that gives the appearance of liquid light. Use for topstitching, decorative stitching, appliqué, embroidery, or quilting.  Use a #90/14 metallic or Topstitch needle and reduce upper tension. Position spool vertically.
  • Superior Threads Vanish-Extra is a stronger thread for machine or hand basting, trapunto, quilting, appliqué, heirloom, and numerous other uses. Water Soluble.  Use a #80/12 needle.
  • NiteLightTM Glow-in-the-Dark Thread (Superior Threads) Fun thread that glows in the dark. Use for embroidery in childrens wear.
  • ThreadFuse Fusible Thread
  • VanishTM Extra Water Soluble Basting Thread (Superior Threads) Vanish is a water soluble thread. Use for machine or hand basting, quilting, applique and heirloom work.
  • YLI Wash-A-Way A water soluble basting thread that is also ideal for Trapunto work. Immerse in cool water or dab with a damp cloth to remove. Use a 90/14 Universal needle in the machine or an 80/12 Jeans for Trapunto work.
  • YLI Solar Active Embroidery Thread:  Poly-propylene UV thread actually changes color in the sunlight or any UV exposure. Machine washable in cool to warm water. Tumble dry low setting. Do not use bleach, or dry clean. Do not iron embroidery directly.
  • YLI Lingerie & Bobbin Thread A super fine spun nylon thread for use in the bobbin.  Note that nylon thread melts at lower temperatures and is not colorfast.
  • YLI Basting & Bobbin Thread A soft cotton thread that gives excellent performance in the bobbin at a fraction of the price of normal threads. Not designed for construction. 

 

 

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