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Superior's Blog Posts

  • What thread should I use for Applique?

    Baa Baa

    Applique is awesome!  It’s a great way to add interest and dimension to quilts, bags, shirts, and more.  We offer several thread lines that are prefect for blending, decorative, and invisible applique. 

    It’s ideal to stitch with a blending thread to make your applique look effortlessly applied.  These are the threads we’ll be discussing today.  Each of the threads can be used for applique by hand or machine.

    Baa Baa Black Sheep

    MasterPiece - Designed with award-winning quilter Alex Anderson, MasterPiece #50 is nature’s finest thread. Say goodbye to linty cotton threads and enjoy smooth stitches without the mess.

    Bottom Line – Bottom Line is a 60 wt. lint-free polyester thread which blends very well when paired with similar-colored fabrics. Bottom Line is available in 55 colors and wound on cones, spools, and prewound bobbins. Our most popular color is #623 Silver, as it blends well with any light-colored fabric.

    Kimono Silk - Kimono Silk is a #100, very fine silk thread. Made from 100% pure Japanese filament silk, Kimono Silk is incredibly strong for how fine it is. It slides through fabric without added friction.

    MonoPoly - Our reduced-sheen monofilament polyester is the best choice when it comes to invisible threads. Unlike other monofilament threads made from weaker nylon materials, MonoPoly is made from polyester. Commonly referred to as an invisible thread due to its fineness and reduced-sheen, MonoPoly is great for invisible applique. Available in 2 colors, Smoke (for dark fabrics) and Clear (for light fabrics).

    Baa Baa Black Sheep

    One of the best things about applique is that you can do it on the go!  To help manage space in your applique bag we offer Donuts.  35 colors to choose from in one convenient ring.  Available in MasterPiece or Bottom Line.

    What’s your favorite applique thread? 

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  • Hurray for Free Shipping!

    Free Shipping Superior Threads

    Guess what?  We offer free shipping on all non-business orders over $50, shipped within the United States (including AK and HI).  But what if you only need one or two spools?  We offer a low, flat rate shipping of $3.95 for any order less than $50.

    You know what that means?  Another great reason to shop our threads.

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  • Sewing Curves With A Bias Binder

    Sue teaches us how to sew bias onto a curve using the Bias Binder attachment for Baby Lock sergers. Using a coverstitch with the Bias Binder helps make sewing the neckline or arm holes much easier and more precise. The Bias Binder is available in several varieties and sizes. This video demonstrates the Single Fold and Double Fold bias binders.

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  • Merry Christmas!

    We hope your Christmas is beautiful, filled with love, happy reminiscing, delicious food, and staying snuggly warm in a homemade quilt.

    Merry Christmas from Dr. Bob and Mother Superior

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  • Quilting a Christmas Card

    This is a story about the Christmas video Martha and her daughters recently made featuring Superior Threads...

    The whole time that my mom was piecing the Christmas Tree card quilt, she and I were discussing how to quilt it. We decided that we wanted to quilt a garland of holly and ivy in the wide red border.

    For me, the first step in quilting a new pattern is always to practise it on paper before I even think about approaching the machine. I have a huge long roll of tracing paper that I like to use for practising my quilting designs. I practised the pattern below for a couple hours (the image is slightly grainy because tracing paper doesn't seem to like being photographed!). Mom even brought me in some ivy from the garden so I could try and copy it more accurately!

    Audition Superior Threads
    Then came the actual quilting! We loaded the quilt onto the frame, and then auditioned some threads to see which ones we would use first. 

    We ended up using  King Tut #988 Oasis for the garland. The King Tut creates a beautifully bold line, and we really wanted the quilting to stand out. In the image below, you can see the end of the garland. this is actually two layers of thread - I used Twist, and then King Tut #988. The berries were done using Magnifico.

    Quilting

    Next was the Christmas trees themselves! I used King Tut again (this time #981 Cobra) for the branches. It was a very striking effect, and I like how every tree is slightly different - almost like real life!

    Oh Christmas Tree

     

    Between the Christmas trees, I used Fantastico #5170 Pixie Dust to create curls that looked a little bit like swirling snow. This thread was beautiful to use, and it wasn't a thread that I would have immediately thought to use with a white background. On the cone it looks a lot more colourful! It blended beautifully, leaving behind a wonderful, snowy texture. 

    The final quilt looked a LOT like the original Christmas card that mom based her piecing on. We like the quilted version better though!

    Christmas Tree Quilt

    Visit Martha’s blog to learn more about her and her company.

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  • It started with a Christmas card...

    This is a story about the Christmas video Martha and her daughters recently made featuring Superior Threads.

    It all started with a retro 1950's Christmas card. 

    I thought that this 1952 Christmas card by Charley Harper could translate really well into a Christmas quilt so I pinned it on my Christmas pinterest board. I like using pinterest boards as  design boards for various quilts that are percolating in my head. The pinterest board keeps all the ideas in a place that I can actually find when I want to come back to it later.

    Martha Milne

    This year when we were planning a Christmas video clip for our friends at Superior Threads we decided to translate the card into a quilt. Because I love the quilting part best these days, I usually see the pieced top as a 'canvas' for the quilting.  When I piece a quilt I am already thinking about how to quilt it. I was thinking even at the start of the project how fun it would be to draw the branches with the sewing machine needle and thread.

    Christmas Trees

    First I raided my green fabric stash and  pieced the trees. I used So Fine #50 for the piecing with SuperBobs pre-wounds in the bobbin. These very fine lint-free threads gave me flat seams and nice sharp points for my triangles.

    Then I needed to appliqué my tree-cutter person in the larger white triangle. I used Kimono Silk on top and SuperBob pre-wounds in the bobbin for the machine appliqué.  

    Martha Milne Quilt

    These silk threads blend so well with the fabric! I like how the raw-edge appliqué technique makes the figures seem to pop-up out of the quilt.  Finally we decided to add a wide red border. We were planning to use this border to quilt a holly and ivy garland to frame the trees.

    Here's the top all pieced and ready to go on the JUKI QVP 2200 long arm frame. 
    Christmas Trees

    Visit Martha’s blog to learn more about her and her company.

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  • Serging with a Bias Binder

    Serging with a Bias Binder allows you to sew a strip of fabric on your project with a coverstitch and get perfect coverage on your seams (including neckline). Available in several varieties and sizes, this video demonstrates the Single Fold and Double Fold bias binders.
    Sue details the process on how to install the bias binder, what positions the needles should be in, and how to keep the stitching in line with the bias.

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  • How to Hide a Thread Tail in the Middle of a Seam Technique

    This video highlights how to hide a tail chain in the middle of a seam. There are times when you will want to hide the tails on a garment or project, which can appear to be difficult. Use this quick technique to ensure flat seams and eliminate the chance for your thread to unravel. We are serging on a Baby Lock Ovation serger in this video. This technique can be used on many different sergers, not just this one.

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  • Hiding Thread Tails on a Serger

    There are times when we want to hide the tails on a garment when serging but don't want to use a tool to tuck the threads inside an existing seam. Learn about the different feet available for sergers (including the clear foot and open toe foot) and how they will help you deal with the left over tail chains at the beginning and end of a seam. This video shows how to hide the tail chain while serging.

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  • Superior Spotlight: Rosemary St. Clair

    Does the challenge of design motivate you?  It does for Rosemary St. Clair.

    This past September Rosemary participated in a fun Island Batik contest, which required participants to use Island Batik Rayon fabric to design and create an outfit.

    Rosemary St Claire

    Rosemary St Claire

    Rosemary St Claire

    Rosemary St Claire

    Rosemary explains the jacket has a thin layer of cotton batting and is quilted and lined with a decorative lining.  The beautiful flowers on the jacket are fabric origami.  She used So Fine! #50 to construct the garments and King Tut to do the machine quilting on the jacket. 

    Now, each story needs a twist.  When Rosemary sent this beautiful outfit to the American Sewing Expo, it was not complete because they had lost the tank top!  They were unaware of this mistake until Rosemary arrived at ASE (how upsetting!).  They searched, but couldn’t find the missing piece before judging.

    Thankfully, they kept looking and found the tank top a week and a half later—still in the tissue paper (whew!).

    We’re glad they found it and so thankful to Rosemary for allowing us to share her beautiful creation today.

    Have you had a moment of terror when you (or someone else) has lost a quilt or garment at a show? 

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  • What thread should I use for sewing?

    What thread should I use for sewing?

    Sewing is so much fun!  It gives us a chance to express our creative side as well as make something really pretty, useful or both. 

    A common question we hear is “what thread should I use for sewing?”

    For general clothing construction we recommend a polyester thread like our Sergin’ General or So Fine! #50.  These are all polyester threads.  Polyester thread is recommended for clothing construction because it doesn’t soak up water, has less lint, and is generally stronger than its cotton counterpart.

    For quilt construction (piecing) we recommend using a cotton thread, like our MasterPiece thread.  We know some quilters like to use polyester threads for piecing, such as So Fine! #50.  If you are using a polyester thread for piecing, make sure that the iron isn’t left on the seams for too long because polyester has a low melting point.  We love piecing with MasterPiece because it makes flat seams, has low bulk, and is very strong.

    If you are sewing decorative stitches or looking for need a specific look, Superior Threads offers 40+ threadlines.  To find the perfect thread for the look you want, use our Quick Start Thread Guide or download the App

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  • Guest Blog: Natalia Bonner

    Today we're excited to have Natalia as our guest blogger. 

    I grew up in a pretty creative home. My mom has always sewn and created everything from my underwear to beautiful draperies and everything in between. My dad may not claim to be creative but he's always been pretty amazing at wood working, gardening, building homes, he's pretty much a jack of all trades. I grew up watching my creative parents and many generations of grandparents, so really it's not such a surprise that I chose a creative path in life.
    In 2007 I was young, and pregnant with my first child. I swear I had pregnancy brain. As I was driving home from work, an hour long commute I got the crazy idea to quit my "real job" and become a stay at home mom. However, I knew that I would need something to keep my time occupied, so I decided to buy a long-arm machine. Without really trying the machine I knew that Gammill had a good reputation so I went and bought one two days later.

    I really had no idea what I was in for, but I did have a lot of determination and drive to figure out this machine. After buying my long-arm I was given a big box of thread. I tried out every single color and weight I was given and hated them. I didn't know a lot about long-arm quilting but I did know that I wanted my thread to be secondary to my piecing. I didn't love the heavy cotton threads on my quilts. Not long after this I set out on a mission to find the perfect thread for me. I think that I tried every single weight and brand on the market and eventually stumbled upon So Fine! #50 by Superior Threads. I had been told in the past, like many of us, that we can't use polyester threads on cotton fabrics. Well, I didn't care. I loved the way this thread ran through my machine, I loved that it was strong and I had very minimal lint and thread breakages. Most of all I loved the way that it looked on my quilts. I was hooked. I later fell in love with Bottom Line for my bobbin thread, it's a very fine, and strong thread, but I swear it's the cure to all of my tension headaches. I recently found the jumbo cones of Bottom Line, and they are pretty much like heaven for me.

    In 2012 my first machine quilting book, Beginner's Guide to Free-Motion Quilting was published, in that book I share all of the ins and outs of where to start, threads I recommend, needles, batting and 50 visual tutorials.

    In 2013 & 2015 I collaborated with my mom, Kathleen Whiting and together we wrote Modern One-Block Quilts and Cabin Fever: 20 Modern Log Cabin Quilts. In December of this year my next machine quilting book will be released; Next Steps in Machine Quilting: Free-Motion & Walking Foot Designs. I'm so happy that I was able to find something that I'm truly passionate about at a young age. I really love that I get to be creative every day, yet spend time at home with my kids. 

    ---

    You can learn more about Natalia by visiting her website:  pieceandquilts.com.
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  • Longarm Tension Issues

    Stop Thread Breaking

    Do you have thread breakage or shredding on your longarm quilting machine?  Do you experience frustration with looping or birds nests? 

    We’re here to help!  Our first tip: use Superior Threads (we know you saw that coming!).

    Our second tip is to read our education articles.  If you can’t find the answer, please call, email, or visit our booth at one of the many quilt shows we attend.  Sometimes the answer is a simple adjustment, and we’d like to help you make that adjustment before you sprout a few more white frustration hairs!

    Today’s longarm tension tip comes from a happy customer, Ron, who visited us at Houston Quilt Festival.

    “I have a longarm, which has a 36 inch throat, so the top thread path is quite long. Fantastico and Magnifico were frequently breaking.  I tried many things with no success.

    However, after speaking with Bob at the convention, I decided to try relieving the tension via the three hold guide near the front of the machine.  Normally, I go through the top hole, wind around, then through the bottom hole.  I tried just having the thread pass through the center hole with no winding.  

    tension plate

    Voilà!  Worked great.  I took the most difficult of my Fantastico threads and have completed six quilts with no problem.  And, since there were no other changes, it is very easy to change back for using other threads. Thank you for helping me solve my thread issues.”

    What a happy ending.  May we help you with your longarm quilting frustrations?

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  • Backing mistakes and what to do about it!

    How to fix backing problems

    Your backing constitutes half of your quilt.  We often spend countless hours on the quilt top.  It’s important to not lose steam and skimp on the quilt back.  Here are a few common troubles when it comes to backing and how to remedy them.


    Too-small backing

    Add to the top/bottom or sides to make up for the smallness.  Sometimes you can add evenly around (think borders on your backing).  If your backing is the exact same size as your top, sometimes you can temporarily add  4” strips around the border.  The danger in this is possibly adding an extra seam on your edge.

    Not cut straight

    If you tragically find your backing has been unevenly cut, center your backing on your quilt, cut the uneven edge(s) and add extra backing fabric to one or both sides.

    Selvage              

    When you sew the seam down the center of your back, trim of the selvage.  The selvage has no give so it’s important to trim the extra prior to quilting.  The center seam is the widest on your quilt.  Be sure to iron the ½” seam open.

    DO NOT USE SHEETS

    It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking “I’m making a twin size quilt; I will use a twin size sheet for the backing”.  Sheets are typically made from mixed fibers.  Usually, sheets have a looser weave than the high-quality fabrics that you used on your quilt top.  The looser weave can allow batting to poke through the quilted stitches (the dreaded bearding!).


    Have you had backing troubles while quilting?  Let us know what they were and what you did about it in the comments below!

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  • 7 Tips to Eliminating Frustration When Using Minky Fabrics

    Tips for using Minky Fabric

    We love the feel of Minky fabrics.  So cuddly, warm, and perfect for snuggling!  It’s a wonderful fabric, but we frequently hear, “If only it were easier to sew with!”

    Never fear, there are ways to make sewing with Minky less of a challenge!  Today we’re discussing 7 tips on how to eliminate frustration when using Minky fabrics.


    1. Get Rid of That Fluff!

    Not entirely, of course.  Minky tends to have a lot of loose fuzz.  It’s almost like stitching a Muppet costume for all the fluff that ends up in the machine, the floor, your hair, etc.  Prior to cutting or pinning, take your fabric outside and give it a good shake.  Keep your vacuum or lint roller nearby when cutting.  Your machine and your home will thank you for it!

    2. Pin Like Crazy

    Pins are your best friend with this fabric.  Minky behaves best when pins are placed 1-1.5” apart.

    3. Use a size #90/14 Topstitch needle

    Minky is a bit thicker than cotton fabric.  The thicker fabric can be more abrasive on the needle and thread.  Using a larger #90/14 Topstitch needle protects the thread and ensures less thread shredding and breaking. 

    4. Use a walking foot

    Do not stretch Minky while sewing.  Using a walking foot maintains even pressure and avoids stretching.   The walking foot also prevents slipping.  For more stability, try hand basting prior to quilting. Lengthen your stitch to 3.0-3.5 mm.

    5. Understand Nap 

    The nap of a fabric is the direction of its pattern, but in Minky’s case it’s the direction of the texture.  If you iron Minky it will ruin the nap (so don’t even think about it!).  Another fun fact is Minky doesn’t stretch lengthwise, it stretches on the crosswise grain and bias.  Be sure you have your stretch in the right direction prior to stitching!

    6. Use a Rotary Cutter

    It’s much easier to cut Minky with a rotary cutter.  Rotary cutters ensure clean, even lines.  Keep in mind the nap when cutting!

    7. Clean your Sewing Machine

    It’s a definite must to clean your machine after you’ve finished sewing with Minky.  If you see your stitch quality start to deteriorate mid-sewing, it’s a great idea to stop and clean out your machine and possibly change your needle.


    Follow these tips for an easier time quilting with Minky.  Today we had only time to share 7 tips, but we know there are more!  Please share your tips for sewing with Minky in the comments below!

     
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