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What thread should I be using?

What thread should I be using?

Old 01-04-2014, 11:16 PM
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Default What thread should I be using?

I read a post earlier tonight having to do with the threads in a quilt deteriorating when it was washed. Now I'm worried that this may happen on some or all of the 10 quilts I have made in my quilting career. I haven't paid any attention to the type of thread that I have used to piece my tops. I have purchased my thread at places like a LQS, Walmart, Joanne's and other stores that sell fabric and I have based my purchase on nothing more than finding a color that will blend with the fabric I use in piecing my tops.

I use a rather small stitch when sewing my blocks together and send my quilts to a LA to be quilted. I attach the binding by machine turn it under and sew it down by hand using a slip stitch. I wash the quilts after I have sewn the binding on and so far I have not noticed my thread deteriorating. Should I make the people I gave the quilts to aware that they may start to fall apart when washed or say nothing and hope for the best?

And, to prevent this issue in the future, what should I look for in a thread? Is there a certain brand and weight that I should be using? Iis there other information about thread I need to know?

Thank you for reading my post and any advise you can give me will be greatly appreciated.
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Old 01-04-2014, 11:53 PM
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I use aurifil or sulky cotton but I can't imagine thread like coats & clarks would disintegrate like that. I've seen $1 spools at Joann's that might be poor quality though.

I use 50 wt for piecing and usually for quilting too. I've tried some 40 wt for quilting and it didn't really look any different.
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Old 01-05-2014, 12:15 AM
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nothing lasts forever, but if you bought regular coats, guterman or similar threads i wouldn't worry it too much.

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Old 01-05-2014, 02:53 AM
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Agree with above, most threads are good quality. However I have some old thread from my Aunt which before I put them in my sewing room I pulled on them. If they broke real easily I threw them away. If they held their tug like the new ones I kept. some of those threads (over 40yrs old) I"ve used in my grandchildren quilts and believe my after 40 or more washing's, they are still holding up.
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Old 01-05-2014, 03:08 AM
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visit the 'Superior Threads' website- they offer a vast amount of *free* information concerning needles & threads- along with charts you can print off & keep for future reference. they tell you about all the different types of threads, their properties, fiber content, weights, what they are best used for, what needles to use with what threads (and why) a great resource. if you feel you should tell the *quilt recipients* something--- I would just tell them- (if you notice anything coming apart- any broken threads after laundering- bring it back- I will fix it). or give them laundering instructions that will help preserve/protect the quilts. one way threads *especially cotton threads* break is when a wet quilt is hung to dry- the weight of the wet quilt puts stress on the threads and they break. but their are other factors- if the thread you used was a good, strong thread- and the quilts are laundered carefully they should last a long time- when making kids quilts/utility quilts that will be dragged round, used a lot, laundered a lot a good polyester thread is a good idea- it is stronger than cotton and will hold up better through the rough treatment. but, even cotton threads will hold up for a long, long time *look at how many beautiful 200 year old quilts their are in museums* - if the quilt is cared for properly- kept out of direct sunlight & laundered with care.
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Old 01-05-2014, 04:14 AM
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I have used coats and Clark cotton thread in most of my quilts and the ones that are washed regularly are still in fine shape. I've been quilting for about 9.5 years - but I don't make "heirloom" quilts.
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Old 01-05-2014, 04:31 AM
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I agree with everyone else, if you hold the thread between your hands and pull really hard and it breaks, then it is no good. Don't use it.

I use cotton thread of any kind, because I tend to use the highest setting on my iron so that I can set my seams quickly. I am afraid that I may leave the iron sitting on the seam thread too long and maybe melt polyester thread. I know several quilters who make beautiful quilts that use whatever they have on hand... polyester, cotton, silk. If it matches, they use it. Some of them don't set their seams and care little about the ironing. They do their own quilting and say after it's washed the first time, they all look alike. Not me....I press and set every seam. If I have a material that won't press easily, then I do use some steam.

I always have to keep in mind, that I am my own Quilt Police. I make mostly utility quilts. I want mine used and if they are used, then they have to be washed. I tell those I give them too, treat them like any washable bedspread. Wash in cold water and dry on permanent press. I've had no problems so far with seams coming out or tearing apart, but maybe, I've just been lucky. Probably not. I use new thread, even though I have some 30 and 40 year old spools hanging around.

Last edited by Barb in Louisiana; 01-05-2014 at 04:35 AM.
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Old 01-05-2014, 04:39 AM
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For piecing I use Aurifil, with it being cottona and two ply not only does it have the strength to hold up, the 2 ply helps give you more accurate blocks, especially when doing ones with multiple seams. I always use cotton thread on my quilts because it won't damage the fabric. Sometimes poly or rayon will cut into the fabric after prolonged use or washing, cotton goes with cotton when it comes to quilting.
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Old 01-05-2014, 05:03 AM
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I think a good cotton thread would last a long time. Look at all the antique quilts, they used what was available and we still have them. The fabric sometimes gives out but the thread is still there..
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Old 01-05-2014, 05:10 AM
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There is a lot we don't know about the situation you make reference. Don't panic. The is a logical explanation as to why that thread broke. In all my years of making quilts I have never heard of thread breaking in the wash.
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