Go Back  Quiltingboard Forums > Machine Embroidery
Cotton vs. Polyester thread and shrinkage >

Cotton vs. Polyester thread and shrinkage

Cotton vs. Polyester thread and shrinkage

Old 11-17-2020, 11:37 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Punta Gorda, FL
Posts: 303

I use 100% cotton thread for piecing, and use polyester for machine quilting (top & bottom threads). Not sure of the supportive data but that was recommendations from a couple of quilt shop classes I attended.
mpepperm37 is offline  
Old 11-18-2020, 07:57 AM
Super Member
Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Southern California
Posts: 6,237

You can use either but if you are doing anything that will be embroidered use a good poly like so fine
Dolphyngyrl is offline  
Old 11-18-2020, 08:19 AM
Power Poster
Join Date: May 2008
Location: MN
Posts: 23,474

Originally Posted by DrosieD View Post
I'm posting this mainly from a garment construction view but I do carry it into my quilting. All fibers should be of the same content, cotton fabric, cotton thread, cotton batting, cotton backing, cotton quiting. While the majority don't believe this reigns true and I argued the point with Rickey Timms. His response was "do you want all your beautiful quilting to disintegrate". My argument was, no, however what good is all that beautiful quilting if all the cotton has worn away from abrasion of polyesther thread. I piece with cotton and quilt with cotton, UNLESS I can't find what I need, then I go to rayon as it's also considered a natural fiber, then if all else fails for a small area I would consider trilobal poly. If I've spent months piecing, laying out, layering the sandwich and quilting if It's all going to fall apart it will do so at the same rate. As far as shrinkage, today's cotton doesn't shrink at the rate our mother's and grandmother's did. We have high quality long fiber cottons that have been mercerized. I'd not hesitate to stitch 2.5" strips with cotton thread, use my cotton batting, and backing and quilt with my cotton thread. I doubt it's going to wrinkle that much. Besides, IMHO it's the wrinkling and softness of a washed quilt that gives it the charm and the feel of sleeping at grandma's house. Only my opinion it may only be worth a grain of salt to some though but worth a thought.

I have two "couch quilts" that are over twenty years old - they have been used so much that the bias binding is severely frayed.
I used the cotton covered polyester Dual Duty for the piecing and quilting. I do not see one tiny bit of shredding on any of the seams not has any of the pieces come unstitched or the fabric "worn" or "shredded" at the seam lines.

One has a polyester batting and the other has Warm and Natural batting.

I have measured hundreds (really!!!!) of pieces of fabric before and after washing. I do not know what the shrinkage rate was 50 years ago, because I only started measuring about 20 years ago. I would guess that less than 2% of the pieces that I measured had no shrinkage. Most of them shrank more in one direction than another.

I have had a Michael Miller black (from more than one bolt) shrink more than 2 inches in width. So "good brand" is no guarantee of no shrinkage. I also had a roc-lon tea colored muslin - that the end label siad "pre-shrunk" shrink drastically.

So - that is my experience and observations.
bearisgray is offline  
Old 11-18-2020, 08:33 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Southern California
Posts: 632

Cotton thread is mercerized, a process that makes it smoother, stronger, less linty and pre-shrinks it. Still, my preference is Glide poly thread. It has all of the above characteristics and is finer than most cottons.
SallyS is offline  
Old 11-18-2020, 08:38 AM
Super Member
juliasb's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Waterford Michigan
Posts: 5,828

Originally Posted by AriMeij View Post
sounds good! I have been using that for everything but have been pre-washing all my fabrics...

do you pre-wash your fabrics and then use polyester? Or you donít pre-wash and use polyester and you donít see puckering?
Pre-washing is one of those things I don't like to do so it depends a lot on the fabrics and what is being done with them. I always pre-wash fabrics used in swaps. That is one of the rules here. When I am doing things for myself I only pre-wash darker fabrics that I feel might run like reds or dark blues. I will also prewash fabrics that have a heavier than usual amount of sizing. All others are at how I "feel" the fabrics are responding to touch. I don't prewash layer cakes as an example or packages of pre-cuts. It is up to you for the most part. You pattern may say to prewash, then you might want to consider it.
Puckering is something I rarely see. I wash all my quilts after finishing them because I glue baste my quilts. The small amount of puckering I see gives the quilt the perfect look of a much loved quilt. But I have to tell you puckering is far and little between.
juliasb is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

FREE Quilting Newsletter

SEO by vBSEO ©2011, Crawlability, Inc.