All About Thread For Hand Sewing

Basics

  There are different threads for different jobs. Select lighter weights (50 – 100) for appliqué and piecing, heavier weight (30) for hand quilting.  Traditionally, change your quilt thread color to match the background fabric.  If you want to showcase the quilting stitch to stand out, then use a contrasting quilting thread.  To prevent the frustration of knotting, fraying and breakage always use the best quality threads and fibers.

Hand Piecing/ Appliqué

Cotton Thread

For sewing your patches into blocks and blocks into rows, select a medium weight 50/3 ( 50 weight so it’s a thicker fiber strand and 3 plys twisted together), 50/2  or  40/3.  If the twist is correct, an “S”, not over twisted and the weight, ply, material and finish all work well together then you will eliminate the frustrating tangles and breaks seen with inferior threads.  Double mercerized, 100% mercerized, long staple cotton, silk finish all indicate a better quality hand piecing/ appliqué thread. Choosing a lighter weight for appliqué will allow your stitches to melt into the background, 50/2 long staple Egyptian cotton, mercerized, works very well.  Aurifil, orange spool, is  my favorite. See Aurifil for the best piecing thread.

Silk Thread

YLI Silk Thread for Applique

YLI Silk Thread for Applique

I have to mention 100% Silk Threads because they are, hands down, my top choice for appliqué.  These seemingly delicate threads blend and melt effortlessly into your appliqué fabric.  They are very strong, come in assortment of beautiful colors and withstand the sharp eye of the straw needle. 


Hand Quilting Thread

Hand Quilting Thread

Hand Quilting Thread

The purpose of quilting thread is to keep all your quilt’s layers together, forever.  For this, select a heavier weight 30/3, 100% cotton thread.   My favorite is the YLI glazed finish.