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Thread Talk: Piecing vs. Quilting Threads – What You Need to Know

Posted by Kim Reynolds on

If you've ever found yourself scratching your head over the difference between piecing threads and quilting threads, don't worry – you're not alone. It can be a bit confusing at first, but I'm here to help.

A red and white quilt draped on a bed

Piecing Threads - The Basics

Let's start with piecing threads. These threads are specifically designed for stitching your quilt pieces together. The key thing to remember about piecing threads is that they are always 100% cotton. You'll often see them labeled as "50 weight" which means they are a standard weight for stitching. When you're shopping for piecing threads, look for those with "50 WT" on the label.

I like to use brands like Mettler and Gutermann for piecing, but there are other good brands out there too. Just remember, the 50 weight thread is your go-to for joining quilt pieces. If you decide to venture into sewing clothes, you'll still use a 50 weight thread, but you'll want the polyester version.

>>> Shop For Piecing Threads Here <<<

Quilting Threads - The Skinny on Thickness

Next, let's dive into quilting threads. When you're quilting, you'll want to switch to a different kind of thread, and this is where the thickness comes into play. Quilting threads are typically thicker than piecing threads. One example is Gutermann Coton 30, which is labeled as a "30 weight" thread.

With threads, the lower the number, the thicker the thread. So if you ever come across a 20 weight thread, it's even thicker than the 30 weight, and a 40 weight thread falls somewhere in between the 50 weight (piecing) and the 30 weight (quilting).

>>> Shop For Quilting Threads Here <<<

Why Thicker Thread for Quilting?

You might be wondering why we use thicker threads for quilting. The reason is simple: we want those quilting stitches to show up beautifully on the surface of our quilt. Whilst you can absolutely use 50 weight threads for quilting depending on the look you want, starting with a 30 or 40 weight thread is a great thread to start your quilting journey with.

A quilt sample showing quilting with a variegated quilting thread

Caution: Not All Threads are Equal

I recommend not using quilting threads for piecing or sewing anything together.

Mainly because when you're piecing quilt blocks, precision is essential. Thicker threads can take up more space in the seams, affecting the accuracy of your quilt's measurements.

To Wrap-Up

To sum it all up, stick with 50 weight cotton threads for piecing, and choose 30 or 40 weight threads for your quilting. As you gain confidence, you can explore finer threads or even specialty ones like metallic or rayon for a touch of glitz and glamour.

A napkin on a plate on a placemat showing embroidered leaves using metallic thread

Remember, thread choices can make a big difference in your quilt, so have fun experimenting and let me know how it goes in the comments below.

Happy quilting!


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