Before we get into specifics about thread weight, I want to share a bit about my history with thread. When I first started quilting, I used a variety of (mostly inexpensive) threads that I could find at my local big-box store. I had occasional issues with tension and thread breaking but didn’t realize it was because of the thread until I discovered and starting using Aurifil. A few months later, I came across a blog post all about thread quality and looking at different threads under a microscope. This is what really convinced me that thread does indeed matter. Full disclosure: through using their product, I have become an Aurifil Artisan and Aurifilosopher and do receive products from them. I only promote products that I truly love, use and endorse.
50 weight cotton
My “go-to” general purpose thread is 50wt cotton by Aurifil. It truly is a workhorse and I use it for just about everything:
• Machine Piecing
• Machine Quilting
• Foundation Paper Piecing (FPP)
• English Paper Piecing (EPP)
• Needle-turn Applique
• Attaching Binding (machine sewn to the top then hand sewn to the back)
I’ve been asked what my favorite color is. How could you possibly choose when 270 colors are available? On top of that, I’m probably one of the few quilters that has quilted with all 270 colors in the same quilt. Read more about 270 Colors here.
Okay, okay… if I had to pick one, I’d pick Stone—2324. It’s the thread shown in the big cone and is a great neutral for piecing.
40 weight cotton
As in the case with my Hexie Blues quilt, when I want my machine quilting to stand out, I love using a thicker 40wt cotton thread. The shapes and colors of the quilt top are simple, so I really wanted the quilted straight lines to be the star of the show. I also knew that Hexie Blues was going to be photographed and printed on fabric to be sewn into leggings, so I really wanted the quilting to stand out. Because the quilting is pronounced, people really think I’m wearing a quilt when I have them on!
80 weight cotton
A few years ago Aurifil introduced its 80wt cotton thread. I love using this weight for needle-turn applique. Because the thread is so fine, your stitches just melt into the fabric, hiding any handsewing inconsistencies. At this time, there are less colors available (88 in total) for the 80 weight. If I can’t find a close color match in 80 weight, I use a 50 weight which still works well!
Want to learn even more about thread?
Be sure to check out Aurifil’s Thread Matters blog series. So much good inspiration and information!
Use your favorite thread colors and make your own mini!
Download the Sew Many Colors pattern for free! I designed the original Sew Many Colors mini quilt as a donation to the Quilt Alliance annual fundraiser in early 2016. The original design contained 12 spools. This updated version contains 10 spools, at actual size, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Aurifil USA in 2017.
Go make something great,
Thank you Sheri. I’ve yet to try 80 wt Aurifil, can’t wait to see how it just melts into my fabric:)
Thread really makes a difference on my machines too and once I discovered Aurifil, that’s all she gets to use.
I’m totally enjoying the Blog Hop and can’t wait to see more letters and projects. thank you
Hi Diane, I hope you love the 80wt for applique as much as I do! Thank you for your kind words and following along on the blog tour… there so many awesome projects to come! –Sheri
Hi Sheri. Saw your post on Google. Where would I purchase the Aurifil thread? I usually buy Gutterman’s threa. I’ve been quilting many years and try to keep something to hand quilt all the time. But arthritis keeps me from doing a lot of that.
Hi Sharon, You can find Aurifil at lots of local quilt shops and online — here is a store locator: http://services.aurifil.com/pages/stores.html . I hope you’ll give it a try!
I like 50 weight aurifil thread for piecing . But not quilting. I pulled a big quilt out of the washer and all i could hear is snap snap snap. Thread snapping all over. Also happened on a smaller quilt. What a sickening feeling. Also this thread leaves a pile of fluff and needs to be constantly cleaned out of the machine. I have a ton of it so im using it for peicing only until its gone. Very disappointing.
Hi Mary, I’m so sorry to hear you had such a bad experience quilting with the Aurifil 50wt. I’ve been using it exclusively to quilt with over the past 6+ years and have never had a single thread snap, even after washing and schleping around my quilts throughout the country… and I’m not gentle on my quilts! I’ve never had the quilting break. Did you wash the quilt on a gentle cycle? What type of fabric did you use in your quilt? Was it quilt-shop quality? I wonder if something else may have been going on with the tension on your machine? As far as lint, all cotton thread will leave some lint behind in the machine but I’ve found Aurifil to have the least amount of lint because of some of the processes they use. I do find that some of my fabrics are lintier than others and it’s actually lint from the fabric collecting (I can tell from the color of the lint). I hope you’ll give Aurifil thread a try again in a future quilt. If you do have issues, I’d recommend reaching out to their customer service (email and phone number can be found on their website).
I am so excited to have found this blog of thread information. I will share with all my quilting friends. Over the last 3 years I have been reading and studying everything I could on what type and weight threads to use on my projects. I started using and experimenting with this thread and I have had wonderful success. Still learning. Thank you for this wonderful information. I have found that the right thread determines the success of a project, how your machine performs,and the pride you have in your compled project. Would like very much to know where I could always be connected to your wonderful thread information. Thank you for your information and time.
Hi Betty, Thank you for your comment. I’m so glad to hear you found this blog post helpful. The best way to be in touch and stay connected to my blog posts and studio updates is to subscribe to my newsletter. You can do so here: http://wholecirclestudio.com/signup