When you’re on the journey to master Free Motion Quilting, it’s essential to experiment with different brands and weights of thread to see what you (and your machine) like best. It’s one of my favorite variables to play with when I quilt.
Here’s are the two most important tip I can give you:
- If you want to your quilting to be the star, to make people notice your free motion work, choose a heavier weight thread (which is a lower number for the weight, like 30, 40 or 50) in a color that contrasts with your quilt top.
- If you want your thread to blend with your quilt top, so your piecing or the overall texture is the star, use a finer thread (which is a higher number of thread weight, like 80 or 100).
Here’s a link to my video on FMQ pebbles, where I talk a bit about the reasons I love the threads listed below when I want my free motion quilting to blend, and not act as the focal point of the quilt.
Fine Threads Perfect for Blending
For free motion quilting pebbles, I love using a fine 100 weight, super strong polyester thread that matches the fabric on the top of my quilt. One of my favorite choices is Invisafil Thread by Wonderfil.
The white Invisafil blends in across many colors of light and bright print fabrics, and the gray or brown Invisafil blends in across darker palettes.
This color set includes: Pure Orange (711), Cinnamon (722), Aqua (713), Lilac (714), Dusty Rose (717), and Copper (719)
I also like to use Superior So Fine thread, in 50 weight in the bobbin, even when I use Invisafil on the top thread. So Fine also works well as a top thread if you (or your machine!) prefer a heavier weight thread than the 100 weight Invisafil.
(This is a great thread for the bobbin and the top thread, and you can find it in virtually any color you can imagine).
Thread choice makes a huge difference in the overall look and feel of your finished project!
As I mentioned about, usually the weight of the thread is assigned a number like 30, 40, 50, 60, 80 or 100. A smaller number means a thicker thread, and a higher number means thinner thread (think silk).
However, there is no clear standard across the industry to make sure that all threads are labeled the same way. So the safest thing for you to do is to trust your eyes and fingers when choosing a thread, and don’t worry as much about the number.
Tension Tips for Fine Thread
Different machines perform differently with various threads. You will have to adjust your tension when you change thread! So get ready to experiment and have fun.
With fine thread, you will need to lighten or loosen your top tension. You can try any combination of the following techniques. Each time you make a change, be sure to stitch a few swirls and spikey points to test the tension, and a make a note in a notepad about what change you made to track your steps. If you continue to have tension problems or thread breakage, try another technique listed below:
- loosen the top tension with your tension knob
- try a smaller needle
- skip a thread guide
- move your thread stand closer to your thread guide
I hope this helps! I have lots more thread recommendations, so stay tuned for future video tutorials!
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