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Thread: Applique thread

  1. #1
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    Applique thread

    Hi, I'm new to the board and I'm not sure I'm doing this right. My question is what thread should I be using for applique. I've been a quilter for 10 years, but haven't done any applique. I've been told to use silk thread, but the Clover silk thread I'm using seems to fray in the middle as I'm using it. I'm tempted to go back to plain cotton. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks so much.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Hinterland's Avatar
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    You can use any thread you are comfortable with, so long as your stitches don't show. Lots of quilters like using 60 weight cotton thread. Use a color to match the applique.

    Janet

  3. #3
    Super Member nanna-up-north's Avatar
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    Welcome to the board, Ro V.

    I've been quilting for about 15 years and sewing for 50+. So, I have lots of thread..... 100% cotton, cotton/polyester blends, 100% polyester, and silk. I do love appliqueing with silk because it glides through the fabric so easily but I use cotton or cotton/polyester at times, too. I try to stay away from 100% poly because the thread is so much stronger than the fabric and I've heard that it can cut the fabric over time. I've seen that happen on really old quilts that got used and washed a lot.

    I think the color of thread you use is more important than using only silk. I have so much thread that I can match the color of the applique piece perfectly and the thread just seems to disappear.... that's really important to me. I don't want those stitches to show and distract from the applique piece. The quilt in my avatar is all appliqued and most of the thread I used is 100% cotton..... because it matched the pieces. I may use 20 or 30 different colors of thread.

    I'm sure you will get lots of others giving their opinion.... and this post is just mine. So, experiment with your applique, wash it a lot, and decide for yourself....... and happy quilting.

    Nanna

  4. #4
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    i use beige silk thread for all of my applique. the thread does not show. welcome to the board.
    Nancy in western NY

  5. #5
    Super Member franc36's Avatar
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    I just started doing appliqué this year; but have done quite a lot of appliqué. When I started, I used whatever thread I had that matched. When I discovered silk thread and a very thin needle, I couldn't believe what a difference it made for me. Now I use only silk thread. I'd say, use whatever works for you.

  6. #6
    Senior Member mermaid's Avatar
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    Nanna-up-north said " I try to stay away from 100% poly because the thread is so much stronger than the fabric and I've heard that it can cut the fabric over time. I've seen that happen on really old quilts that got used and washed a lot." This statement kinda puzzled me cause I didn't think poly thread had been around for a terribly long time? Maybe it was the fabric dyes that weakened the fabric? Or stitches were too tight or needle too large? Does anyone know what could make that happen? I've done applique w/poly thread because it is strong, but I'd hate to have my quilts someday start to deteriorate because of it.

  7. #7
    Senior Member alisonquilts's Avatar
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    I'll chime in here with another vote for "use whatever thread you've got that matches the color of the applique". I stay away from purely synthetic threads as well, mostly because I don't like the way they handle. I also found when using silk or rayon thread I got fraying and breakage, but that may be due to my technique more than thread properties!

    Alison

  8. #8
    Super Member ckcowl's Avatar
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    if your silk thread is fraying it is caused from the wrong needle or too long of pieces- you should use about 18" of thread on your needle- and a needle with a round eye helps- but it could just be the needle is too tiny- use a bit larger needle-and shorter thread length's and you probably will not have fraying problems-
    i do alot of applique & love silk threads- but do use other threads too- the color is the deciding factor- i do have a good selection of silk colors though- when i can that's what i use most.
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  9. #9
    Super Member jcrow's Avatar
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    I use cotton and silk. Sometimes I use the same color as the fabric and sometimes I don't. Sometimes I use black thread and outline a project and have it stand out and it really looks pretty. Or I'll use a different color. It depends on the project. Sometimes I'll use a lemon yellow when it's more of a soft yellow and make it stand out. I like the thread to stand out sometimes. I do a lot of hand work on the applique and want my handwork to show sometimes and so what's necessary to make it stand out. Other times I don't want it to stand out at all. It depends on the applique I'm working on. So you have to decide for yourself. I use cotton all the time because I have a trillion spools of cotton and not to many spools of silk.
    "Be yourself...everyone else is taken."
    Strong people don't put others down...they build them up."
    "Remember that your instincts are more important than rules"

  10. #10
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    I use to use whatever thread that I had the color to match. I splurged and bought a silk thread set and it made all the difference in my stitching. I will not use any other thread for hand applique now. I bought the set from Connecting Threads the YLI gift pack.

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