Choosing Thread For Quilts

Choosing Thread For Quilts

Not sure if you’re using the right thread for your quilt project? Keep reading to learn about the appropriate threads to use for piecing and quilting your quilt projects.


When working on a quilt, it is very important to pay attention to the weight of your thread. While some people may use leftover thread from other sewing projects to piece their quilts, we recommend using a fine cotton thread.

Why use a fine thread?

Using a fine thread increases your accuracy. If you sew a ¼” (6mm) seam with a regular thickness thread and press the seam open, the fabric will need to wrap over the thread, which will make your finished piece smaller. This effect will accumulate with every seam you sew, creating a distortion in your quilt. Another reason to use a fine thread is to not feel the thread. You want your quilt top to have a nice, smooth surface, and you don’t want to feel any ridges from the thread. In general, a finer thread will have a higher number than a heavier thread. For example, a 30 weight thread is heavier than a 50 or 60 weight thread.

Why use cotton thread?

Although cotton thread is not as strong as polyester, in the case of piecing a quilt, this “weakness” is actually a strength. Over time, polyester can cut through the cotton fabric in your quilt. Most people would rather have their thread break, than their fabric tear. It’s easier to repair a broken thread than to replace a torn fabric.


Many threads that are recommended for hand quilting are glazed. This glazing helps to keep the thread from tangling and lets it slide easily through the many layers of your quilt. Due to the glazing, however, these threads should not be used on your sewing machine, as the glaze can rub off on machine parts and cause problems.

What should you consider when choosing thread for machine quilting?

Generally, a slightly heavier thread is used for machine quilting. The heavier weight means that your quilting is more durable and it also means your beautiful quilting will be more visible.

Also consider surface interest. One way of creating surface interest with quilting is by using a thread with a higher sheen, or by using a thread with variegated colour. When working on a project that uses many different colours, it is often difficult to choose just one thread that will look good, so a multi-coloured thread may be the perfect solution.

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