Testing Threads + Your Thoughts

Hey sweet friends!

I’ve been quiet this week, I know.  I’ve been battling un-inspiration.  That may not be a word, but it’s definitely a thing.  I have felt zero desire to sit at my machine and get my quilts completed.  Instead I’ve been sitting in different places, like my sofa, my front porch swing and my lounge chairs out back.  I’ve been dragging around an old completely handmade quilt and doing a repair job on it.

I’ve been pretty happy for the break.

I also think I’ve mastered whip stitch repairs, which is new for me.  Normally I do my repair jobs on the sewing machine, but if you’ve ever touched an antique quilt that has nothing but tiny hand quilted stitches, the thought of putting it under your machine will make you shake your head and sternly tell yourself no.

It’s lovely by the way, the antique quilt.  My repair stitches are more than obvious, but that’s okay.  I’m finding some beauty in them anyway.

None of this is what we are talking about today by the way.  Today we are talking about thread and I need your help.


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The other day on Instagram, I asked about thread.  I know all of my readers are not on Instagram and I wanted to ask those of you that are only here as well.

I am doing some research on thread.  For all the years I’ve been quilting, I have been using not so great thread.  I won’t name the thread I’m using, but I will tell you that it is the cheapest thread I have found.  There have been a few splurges, but not many.

I didn’t realize how bad my thread was until I tried some Sulky Cotton + Steel thread.  In that moment, it was pretty obvious.  Like, “whoa.”

In the near future, I’m going to be doing a full review of the Sulky threads I tried.

I’ve also been doing a lot of English paper piecing and if you’ve ever done that or even just hand sewn in general you will find that the thread you choose is of the utmost importance.  It can make your experience hand sewing your project horrible or easy breezy.  For this reason, I’ve been trying different threads for different projects.

The response I received on Instagram kept listing the same brands over and over.  I’ve since ordered those brands of threads and am doing a full on thread experiment.  I’ll be trying all the threads on both my machines using multiple tasks like piecing, quilting, hand sewing.

I’m going to tell you what I’ve learned about each thread, including cost and color availability, and where you can find the threads.  I’m going to tell you about my own experience with them and I’m also going to include your thoughts, favorites, tips or any other information you want to give me.


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Here is what I want to know:

I’d love it and be incredibly grateful if you’d leave your answers in the comments below or contact me directly with your thoughts here.

  • What is your favorite brand of thread for piecing?  Please include the weight you are using.
  • What is your favorite brand of thread for machine quilting?  For hand quilting?  Please include the weights.
  • How do you decide between polyester or cotton?
  • Do you match your threads to your project when you are piecing?  Or just when the thread color is going to show?
  • What needle are you using with your favorite thread?
  • Do you find that your machine dislikes certain threads no matter what needle you use?  If so, what machine and what brand?
  • Please let me know if you have any tips or tricks for machines that dislike certain threads that make them behave.
  • If you’ve had a problem with a certain brand of thread, please tell me the name of the thread, the weight, and the machine you were using.


I can’t wait to hear your thoughts.  Look for this article by the end of the month.


Cotton + Steel Boutique


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  1. I love Aurifil 50wt thread for piecing and I find it quite economical because the spools are large. I’d love to try the cotton and steel thread though! For quilting I use a variety- Mettler 50 or 40 wt, Aurifil 50, 40 and 28 wt. I like them all, and they work in my machine. The thicker threads need a bigger needle like 90. I just purchased some Glide thread (polyester 40wt) to try for quilting, as friends have told me it’s great. For EPP, I’ve used Aurifil 50 wt but just started using Infisifil 80 wt and I love it. Any hand quilting I’ve done has been with DMC pearl cotton 8 wt or wonderfil eleganza 8wt and I use an embroidery needle for that.

  2. I use nothing but Aurifil 50 weight thread now. Seems to be less lint in my bobbin area on my Janome machine. I still am using up my Sulky for top stitching. Also I like the fact that the ends of the Aurifil spool come off so it’s easier movement of thread sometimes when the day is long. Superior Threads have some wonderful hand stitching weight threads for appliqué as well. I have not used their 50 weight.

  3. My favourite brand is Aurifil 50 wt for hand applique, hand stitching and machine applique, 40 wt for machine piecing and machine quilting. The 80 wt is lovely for hand applique but quite expensive. I sometimes use Aurifil
    I love to hand quilt with Yli thread and Aurifil 28 wt
    I never use polyester. I make my quilts of 100% cotton fabrics so why use a polyester thread.
    I match my threads for hand applique and whenever it’s going to show.
    I use purple Janome needles on my Janome 9400.
    My machine dislikes Gütermann thread 40 wt. All my Janome’s behaved like that.
    My machine behaves with the right Janome needle and Aurifil thread. I recently bought some Mettler thread, but still have to try those.
    I would love to try some Cotton & Steel thread.

  4. Good luck on your thread investigations! I’ve shared a lot of my thoughts lately, so I won’t go over them again here. Right now I am using a lot of Superior Brand threads and liking that. I hear you on using cheap thread. It comes back to haunt you! The twin quilts I made for my kids a few years ago are in poor shape. The quilting snapped all over them! ALL over. =(

    1. Ah! I think I read your thread post awhile back. I just don’t think of thread too much, but with all the hand sewing I’ve been doing lately and trying new things I realized it made such a big difference. 🙂

  5. I use aurifil for piecing….but recently tried superior thread and must say it would give aurifil a run for its money! I have two Pfaff machines one is over twenty years old, the other about a year. They both love either aurifil or superior thread…far less lint with both.

  6. Hi! I use aurifil 50w exclusively for everything. I used to use connecting threads spools, they have some great colors like aurifil but my sewing machine eventually disliked that thread- after using it for years! It would shred and the lint in my machine was really bad. I sew exclusively on Janome machines too :). I have found that aurifil is consistent in quality, the large cones seem to last forever and don’t lose anything with age and then the colors!!! Amazing.

  7. Hi Melanie,
    I just discovered your blog and am loving exploring all of your gorgeous quilts and your quilting tips and insights.
    I have a Janome machine and have used Aurifil 50wt for piecing and love it, as it is high quality and so fine that the seams do seem to sit flatter. I mostly use Gutterman thread though as it is good quality and a bit more affordable and easier to purchase locally, and I don’t seem to have any issues with it in my machine. I use only use neutral thread colours like white, light cream or light grey. The only time I tend to use coloured thread, is for hand stitching binding. I strictly only use 100% cotton thread – when I first did a quilting course years ago, my teacher was adamant about using cotton thread with quilting cotton fabric. She advised that polyester or polyester-coated-cotton thread will eventually rip through the threads of the cotton fabric, as polyester is stronger, and that its better to match your thread to your fabric for this reason. I don’t have much experience with hand quilting, so don’t have any info to add there sorry. I will look forward to your review and findings! Thanks again for your lovely blog and sharing your creations. Cheers, Kelly

    1. Hi Kelly! Thanks so much for your insight. I’ve heard that same thing about quilting with poly on cotton, but then heard it was a myth. Who knows, I guess. It seems to depend on who you ask. Happy quilting! And thanks for reading along. 🙂

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