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Thread: Using Polyester thread to quilt?

  1. #1
    Super Member jcrow's Avatar
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    Using Polyester thread to quilt?

    I was at a quilt shop a few weeks ago and the girl there said I should use polyester thread to quilt. Well, I only have used cotton since my fabric is all cotton. But I bought a lot of polyester thread because I thought she knew better (working in a quilt shop) and now another gal told me NOT to use polyester thread, that it would rip my cotton fabric. I have all this beautiful polyester thread and I don't know if I should use it or not. Any suggestions?
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    dd
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    Super Member dd's Avatar
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    I've always been told to keep it the same. Cotton fabric - cotton thread. You can use it for regular sewing - crafts, clothing, that sort of thing. But I was told the same - poly saws at your fabric everything it's moved and eventually cuts the fabric. I was also told that poly batting scrubs the fabric but I still use it.
    Blessed are the quilters, for they are the piecemakers.

  3. #3
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    Personally, I never use polyester thread for anything, but that's just my way of doing things. There's a special word for sales people who tell a customer they SHOULD use a specific product they are selling...the proper word is COULD. It's your choice, not hers. There is no real proof that poly thread will rip your fabric, but it will probably outlast it by a very long time.

    ETA: I'd be willing to bet most longarmers use poly thread; I know mine does.
    Last edited by ghostrider; 12-30-2011 at 06:40 AM.
    The Earth without art is just "Eh".

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    Senior Member crashnquilt's Avatar
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    There are no stead fast rules about poly or cotton. Poly thread ripping cotton fabric is an old myth. If you go to Superior Threads website he has very useful information about poly vs. cotton threads. Personally, I prefer poly over cotton for several reasons less lint, colorfast, easier to tension, doesn't change due to weather conditions, AND it does not shrink in the wash! I like using Maxi Lock thread for piecing because it is a finer thread and there is less of a bump when pressing seams. For machine quilting I use a lot of Maxi Lock, So Fine and Bottom Line threads.
    You just need to find which works best for you. If you prefer the poly threads then use them. Whenever someone says you should be using cotton thread just smile and say, "Thank you."
    The reason people think that poly thread will rip the cotton fabric is over time cotton fabric (being a natural fiber) degrades over time and with use and washing. Poly thread being a man made fiber does not.
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    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    This is another of the discussions that will never have a finite answer.
    Likewise the brand of thread.
    Lots of quilters use poly ... and lots of quilters do not use poly!
    Try the poly and see if you like it .... and do what works best for YOU!!!
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    Here is some information from Dr. Bob at Superior Threads about poly thread you might find useful.

    http://www.superiorthreads.com/educa...dition-or-myth

  7. #7
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    crashnquilt said it beautifully. Poly is fine to use, and so is cotton. I use both, but am moving more toward poly because of less lint. I also use Bottomline frequently because I don't have to change the bobbin as often and it takes up less room in the seam, so can help me with more accurate piecing. It's all a matter of preference - yours, not the sales person's.

  8. #8
    Super Member Val in IN's Avatar
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    I have to agree with crashnquilt. Thread is no different than any other product that we use. When Poly first came out, it was a different "animal". Just like our fabric has evolved, so has our thread, cutting methods, machines, etc. Would you use Poly thread from the 70's? Probably not any more than you would use cotton thread from the 70's. Everything evolves. Remember that cotton thread has evolved too. Use what you are comfortable with. If you're not sure, make 2 doll quilts, one using cotton, one using Poly. Wash them each several times together, and see which result is better. If there isn't any difference, you have your answer. If there is a difference, you have your answer.

  9. #9
    Super Member carslo's Avatar
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    I use poly my machine doesn't like cotton so much.
    A bed without a quilt is like the night sky without stars.

    http://californiaquilting.blogspot.com/

  10. #10
    Super Member hperttula123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crashnquilt View Post
    There are no stead fast rules about poly or cotton. Poly thread ripping cotton fabric is an old myth. If you go to Superior Threads website he has very useful information about poly vs. cotton threads. Personally, I prefer poly over cotton for several reasons less lint, colorfast, easier to tension, doesn't change due to weather conditions, AND it does not shrink in the wash! I like using Maxi Lock thread for piecing because it is a finer thread and there is less of a bump when pressing seams. For machine quilting I use a lot of Maxi Lock, So Fine and Bottom Line threads.
    You just need to find which works best for you. If you prefer the poly threads then use them. Whenever someone says you should be using cotton thread just smile and say, "Thank you."
    The reason people think that poly thread will rip the cotton fabric is over time cotton fabric (being a natural fiber) degrades over time and with use and washing. Poly thread being a man made fiber does not.
    I agree with everything Crashnquilt says. I still use cotton at my domestic machine, just because I have so much of it but on the long arm I only use poly thread. So Fine is my favorite. I have done it this way for years now and I will tell you the quilts that I make for my kids at home get used for everything from cleaning up spills to sleds(my kids have great imaginations). Mainly the reason I use poly thread for quilting is that it doesn't lint up the machine like cotton does. It means cleaning it more often.
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    Senior Member littlesurfer's Avatar
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    Be careful with polyester threads when pressing. I've had some that melted...when I accidentally used a cotton setting on my iron.
    Lynn

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    Super Member irishrose's Avatar
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    The quilt I just finished on my DM has Isacord poly, Sulky rayon, C & C poly covered cotton, and Guterman poly in its FMQ. All worked fine and I'm sure will continue to do so. I was more concerned over color than content. When piecing, I use any of the Guterman poly in the bobbin to save space and either that or some of my stash of C & C for the top. Some Connecting Threads cotton, too, but it's a little linty. I've heard the new C & C poly covered poly isn't as good as the old - it stretches, but I haven't tried any yet. If the thread tests strong, I don't worry about it.

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    Super Member crafty pat's Avatar
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    I use both and have been pleased with both, but my machine stays cleaner and runs smoother with poly.

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    Super Member jgriinke's Avatar
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    I love that on the Superior site about why the whole family does something with the roast. Too funny. Take a minute and go read it.
    That's about the same as not ever touching the bobbin tension. We are creatures of habit.
    I use it all to quilt with and haven't had any quilts ripping apart. Sometimes, I really like the look of the noncotton thread on a quilt. Give it a try, or not, it's all up to you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jcrow View Post
    I was at a quilt shop a few weeks ago and the girl there said I should use polyester thread to quilt. Well, I only have used cotton since my fabric is all cotton. But I bought a lot of polyester thread because I thought she knew better (working in a quilt shop) and now another gal told me NOT to use polyester thread, that it would rip my cotton fabric. I have all this beautiful polyester thread and I don't know if I should use it or not. Any suggestions?
    this is one of those 'cotton company myths'....they say that the poly thread will outlast the cotton fabric, so what? if the cotton fabric is gone, your quilt is gone, they say you should use the same...cotton fabric means cotton thread....why? give me a good reason...matchy matchy is not a sufficient reason. Poly will melt when ironed...really? I've been using poly thread and fabric for 30 years and have never melted anything since the ugly doubleknit floral fabric left our world...and that was probably some sort of freudian slip to get rid of it.... never had any poly thread melt...most of it is cotton covered and it's pretty tough...i press every seam from both sides and never had a problem. These choices, like the color, fabric type, color combinations sizes we make, who we give to and who we don't...are all personal...and all right....if you like cotton thread....great! I'm happy to quilt in cotton for you if you choose....if you like only poly....super! no problem...will quilt in poly....but for my sewing, i look at the color....the color is important to me in terms of how it blends with the fabrics around it, either camoflaging and disappearing, or it contrasts perfectly, setting off whatever i'm trying to show off on the quilt top. the content is simply not important to me and i suspect not important to lots of people. you will have to choose for yourself after reading all the various reasons other people made their choice and then adding your own experiences to this information. good luck... i know you will reach the right decision for you..........

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    Super Member Tink's Mom's Avatar
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    I use both. Last night, I was using a cotton to free motion quilt my Dad's throw...but when I'm doing Downey's Quilt's for Kids, I usually will use the poly.
    Tink's Mom (My name is really Susie)

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    Super Member raptureready's Avatar
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    When I see posts like this I think, "Oh NO, someone ran into a self-appointed quilt sheriff." Personally I don't believe that our quilting ancestors worried about what brand or style they used, they were just happy if they found enough stuff of some kind to finish a quilt. If you're lucky enough to see some of those quilts they're beautiful. Use what you have and don't worry about it. Quilting is to enjoyed so don't sweat the small stuff. Use the best things you can afford and improvise the rest.
    If no one ever experimented we'd all still be making 4 patches.

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    I'm glad to see this thread as I am still so very hazy about thread and needles. One quilt teacher said to only use cotton thread as she had seen seams just pop when she used poly. What really has me concerned is that our local Bernina dealer said DO NOT use thread by Connecting Threads (there is a certain brand by them that I can't think of right now) as it has a coating on it and he can tell when he cleans the machines and charges $20 extra for scraping the coating off. Come to find out, this is exactly the thread that my quilting teacher uses. The Bernina dealer is very opinionated and thinks he knows best about a lot of things but- does he know best about this?

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    Senior Member Marni's Avatar
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    I use cotton on all my machines with no trouble and I like the results
    It's not a stash-it's a fabric library!
    http://www.mamisquilts.com/

  20. #20
    Super Member kiffie2413's Avatar
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    I actually have better luck with poly thread than I do cotton with my fmq...and believe me I have tried lots of different brands of both! I also make sure and "match" my threads, meaning if using cotton on top, I use same in bobbin and vice-versa. That being said, I do use cotton thread, too...just depends on what I am making...
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  21. #21
    Super Member mamaw's Avatar
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    I use Gutermann poly thread to piece and to quilt and am very pleased with the results. My Horizon is also very happy with the thread. The shop that recommended it, has been in business for 30 years and the owner uses it in her projects also. Not much lint and great end results. To my knowledge, it is NOT true that polyester thread cuts cotton fabrics. This gal also sold me my machine.

  22. #22
    Senior Member VickyS's Avatar
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    I use whatever I have or can get, mostly donated thread. For years, the only thing available was Coats & Clarke and it worked just fine.

    My first quilt made with cotton/poly fabric solids back in the 70's was made with 100% cotton thread that I found someplace. I made a massive 100" square quilt, and tied the quilt 12" apart (using an old 100% polyester blanket for the batting).

    Guess what? The moment I finished the quilt, the seams started popping. I never did get the quilt to stay together. It has had broken seams for 40+ years now. I wish I had used cotton/poly on it. I'll never fix it because it is the only quilt my grandma and I worked on together. She and I tied it and I really don't want to tear all of that apart to fix it.

    I'm now using Aurifil and loving it, and still using up the stash of Coats and Clarke I have from 3 generations of sewers. Just use it and make up your own mind on when to use it. All the rest is opinion.
    VickyS

  23. #23
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VickyS View Post
    I'll never fix it because it is the only quilt my grandma and I worked on together. She and I tied it and I really don't want to tear all of that apart to fix it.
    It'd be very easy to blind stitch all the open seams and you wouldn't have to take anything apart in order to do it. It's just like hand stitching the binding on a quilt. Easy, relaxing, and no "tearing apart".
    The Earth without art is just "Eh".

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    Super Member thepolyparrot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghostrider View Post
    It'd be very easy to blind stitch all the open seams and you wouldn't have to take anything apart in order to do it. It's just like hand stitching the binding on a quilt. Easy, relaxing, and no "tearing apart".
    I would take this route, too. And then I would quilt the heck out of the whole thing to get the stress off of the seams and keep them from popping any more. This will help preserve this keepsake that you treasure.


    For the OP: Go ahead and use your beautiful threads! You aren't breaking any rules and you're not going to hurt your quilt at all by using polyester thread.

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    Senior Member crashnquilt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mom2boyz View Post
    I'm glad to see this thread as I am still so very hazy about thread and needles. One quilt teacher said to only use cotton thread as she had seen seams just pop when she used poly. What really has me concerned is that our local Bernina dealer said DO NOT use thread by Connecting Threads (there is a certain brand by them that I can't think of right now) as it has a coating on it and he can tell when he cleans the machines and charges $20 extra for scraping the coating off. Come to find out, this is exactly the thread that my quilting teacher uses. The Bernina dealer is very opinionated and thinks he knows best about a lot of things but- does he know best about this?
    I found this post most interesting. The only coated thread is HAND QUILTING THREAD. I have used thread from CONNECTING THREADS a lot (because she has some really good sales!) and have NEVER had a problem with it. Some people don't know this but the woman that owns and operates CONNECTING THREADS is a longarm quilter! Actually her quilting is so beautiful I prefer to call her a longarm artist. I met her on another forum many years ago, long before she started CONNECTING THREADS. I do support her business as much as possible because she has done very diligent research and a lot of her products are MADE IN THE USA!!!!!!!!
    Now if that tech is "scraping the coating off", then I don't think I would be using him as a tech! Does gunk get built up in the tension disks? If the owner doesn't do proper cleaning, yep it does. Where does the gunk come from? EVERYWHERE! Moisture from our hands, dust and humidity in the air, the moisture from our breathing at the machine, just about anywhere that you have not imagined!
    Cleaning the tension disks is fairly easy. Get UNWAXED DENTAL TAPE, the tape not floss. Cut off a length of tape that you can handle easily. Mine is about 36" long. Tie knots in the tape about every 1 to 2 inches apart. Not big knots, just one tie will do. During your regular cleaning routine, "floss" the knotted tape thru your tension disks a few times. Voila, you have a clean path thru the tension disks! I learned this trick in a machine maintenance class taught by a highly qualified Pfaff tech. BTW, the best "tool" to use when cleaning lint from your machine is......believe it or not.....CHENILLE PIPE CLEANERS. Yep, the ones you get in the kids crafts. Super cheap and they do a fantastic job of getting out lint in the places a brush can not go!
    Crashnquilt


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