Quilting with Polyester Thread

I had a charity quilt to do for a friend, and she gave me the best instructions a quilter can get – “do whatever you want”.  Don’tcha love that!  So, time to experiment again.

Charity Basket Quilt at From My Carolina Home

I have been hearing a lot about the polyester threads for longarm quilting (and DSM use too), particularly for use where a little shine is wanted.  I have never used polyester threads for quilting as I always heard you shouldn’t use them, only cotton.  Well, turns out the rumor that they cut fabric  and make holes in the quilt top is false.  Many manufacturers offer them now, and I wanted to try one.  So, I bought a neutral color at Long Creek Mills the last time I was there (no affiliation, just like their threads).


The color went well with the quilt top, so time to try it.  So I wound three bobbins with it, about what I usually need, and started sewing the line across the top to stabilize the quilt onto the backing.

Charity Basket Quilt at From My Carolina Home<

You can see this coming, can’t you?  Polyester is so slick and slippery, it wouldn’t stay in the bobbin tension.  I had four episodes of the thread jumping out of the tension just trying to get the first bloody stitching line on the quilt to hold it down!  So now what?!  I have three huge longarm bobbins loaded with it that I cannot use.  But, you know me, I always have an idea.  I put the bobbins on a horizontal pin, and taped the end one so they would stay on the pin, but be able to spin freely.  I also had to put some tape on the other two to keep the thread from unspooling as I sewed.  Then I threaded the machine, using the first bobbin as the top thread.

Charity Basket Quilt at From My Carolina Home

I loaded more bobbins with Bottom Line. Whoopee, quilting is a breeze with this thread.  Zero thread breaks, my favorite thing.

Charity Basket Quilt at From My Carolina Home

All the flowers on this quilt were put on with an iron-on adhesive, but sometimes that iron on stuff doesn’t stay stuck down.  I noticed this one had lifted a bit.

Charity Basket Quilt at From My Carolina Home

So, I got out my iron, and pressed it down, then started quilting again.  Until I hit a snag.  Oh glory, how did this happen?!!  I just ironed the bloody thing!

Charity Basket Quilt at From My Carolina Home

It became clear that I needed to go around each applique as I came to it so I started doing just that.

Charity Basket Quilt at From My Carolina Home

As I came up to the applique, I stopped quilting from the back, and came around to the front to outline the applique.

Charity Basket Quilt at From My Carolina Home

Charity Basket Quilt at From My Carolina Home

These charity quilts get washed a lot, and I wouldn’t want the appliques lifting in the dryer. At the last row of flowers, I just did the appliques first, then put the panto over it.

Charity Basket Quilt at From My Carolina Home

This pantograph really echoed the flower shapes nicely.

Charity Basket Quilt at From My Carolina Home

It is called Pansies by Patricia Ritter for Urban Elementz.

Charity Basket Quilt at From My Carolina Home

All done, and it is such a pretty quilt! I love the colors she used.  The best part of using polyester thread is the almost total lack of lint build up as I quilted.  The thread adds a little shine to the project too.

Charity Basket Quilt at From My Carolina Home

I’ll be using this again.  Are you a fan of polyester thread?

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Quilting Mod



12 thoughts on “Quilting with Polyester Thread

  1. I am a fan. I use Superior’s So Fine most. I don’t have trouble in the bobbin as you did. Good save on using the bobbins for top thread instead. When I have wound too much, I usually use it on my DSM. In fact I’ve gotten to the point that I prefer So Fine for piecing as well as quilting. As you say, there is very little lint build-up, and it is a 50 weight, meaning the thread doesn’t add bulk to the seam allowance. Good luck with using it again. I hope you’ll consider trying a different brand in the bobbin, which might work better for you.

  2. Rosemaryflower

    Well, I am impressed with all of this. First off, I love the quilting that you did, and the quick action you took to remedy this situation with the applique coming up, The tread looks excellent.
    This is a pretty quilt.

    There is a class in Fairfax, 50 minutes away (in traffic/the Washington beltway) to learn how to use the Handiquilter at the Quilters Studio.
    I want to take the class, but ….. it is hard to get motivated,
    I hope to do that this Winter or Spring. Then I can use the one at the shop. They also have a Sweet 16, I will be able to use.
    I just need to get my certificate to use their stuff.
    I have never used a big machine. Yours is very nice. I have tried them at quilt expos.
    I have quilt tops all over the place but I can not even decide what to do with them.
    One day…. I will get them all done. I always learn from you excellent smart people

  3. Heidi

    I don’t have a longarm, so threads probably vary, but I have found So Fine to work really well for domestic fmq. Most of the others I have tried tend to shred no matter what needles I try. Looks like that quilt is a beauty!

  4. I use a DSM to quilt, and one that is a bit cranky with thread types, but it doesn’t seem to mind the silky rayon embroidery threads. Since most of the quilts I make are for charity, I use mostly stuff that have been donated to me. I generally use either a cotton or an all purpose thread in the bobbin which tones with the backing fabric. Seems to work OK once I get the tension right. I really like the sheen of the thread in the quilting if you use one of the embroidery threads. Amazed that the flowers had not been sewn down. You did well to improvise on that.

  5. My long arm started out happy with all thread brands/type. Five + years later it is getting picky. My favorite thread is So Fine by Superior. I’ve used their Omni and like it. I’ve used other brands that are all cotton some with good luck some, not so good luck. I think some poly thread still will cut through fabric — think very lightly quilted and heavily used and washed quilts. With our long arms we can easily get enough quilting on a top so I don’t worry much about that. I have had poor luck with Glide although some folks love it. My Glide is going to be repurposed for the embroidery machine.

  6. I’ve never tried the poly, but I just recently finished a quilt where an expert longarmer recommended it because of wanting a little shine (there is a lot of gold metallic in this quilt). So I’m thinking of giving it a whirl. Thanks for the warning on using it in the bobbin.

  7. Connie Campbell

    I can use just about any thread in my vintage 15-91 singer and seem to use Glide and Bottomline quite a bit. I have had applique lift up like that before…….not fun!

  8. I have not ever used polyester thread but I do have some that I had set aside. I will have to dig it out and use it up! Thank you for linking up! xo jan

  9. Karen in Breezy Point

    My favorite thread to use on my longarm is Aurifil cotton, but I do use Glide (a poly) occasionally. It loves to jump out to the tension plates, but I have remedied that by winding around the tension plates twice (and lowering the tension). When I use my horizontal pin, I keep the spools on with a Clover clip–works great!

  10. I love polyester thread! I use Gutermann 100% polyester for all my piecing and a lot of my quilting (on a domestic machine). I also use Connecting Thread’s 100% polyester cones.

  11. carolegoldquilts

    You certainly handled the applique issue well. Nice job! I use Fil Tec’s Glide thread in my longarm all the time. It sews beautifully.

  12. Great problem solving. I made a mistake and got some embroidery thread at a store, but was lucky that it worked fine. I get Isacord Polyester Thread from LeahDay.com and it works well. I remembered recently that she suggests cotton for the piecing but that’s after a few projects where I used for both piecing and quilting. You did a nice job on this pretty quilt. Thanks for sharing.

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