King Tut Quilting Thread by Superior Threads

There are many different 'types' of threads in the thread world.

Some threads are created for specific purposes such as quilting, upholstery, garment construction, and piecing. With all these specifics, is there a 'general' thread type available for all uses?

Below, we will do our best to distinguish the differences between quilting thread, embroidery thread, serger thread, construction thread, bobbin thread, upholstery thread, and more.

Quilting Threads

Quilting threads are usually made from Cotton or Polyester and have a wide range of quality. Strength is the most important attribute in quilting threads because the thread needs to withstand the stress of high-speed machine quilting through multiple layers of fabrics and battings.

  • Cotton

  • The highest grade is extra-long staple Egyptian-grown cotton. Any cotton that doesn't list the staple length is probably lower grade short staple cotton. Most thread labeled “Egyptian cotton” is not from Egypt, which is why Superior pushes that our cotton is actually Egyptian-grown cotton.

  • King Tut and MasterPiece are both high-quality, Egyptian-grown extra-long staple cotton. (What a mouthful!)

  • Polyester

  • Spun poly tends to be quite fuzzy and not as strong as the other types of polyester listed below. We do recommend our Spun Polyester thread, Superior Spun Poly, for garment construction, serging, and general sewing, but not for quilting.

  • Multi-filament polyester (smooth, lint free, and stronger than spun poly). All threads in our So Fine! lines are examples of strong filament polyester. So Fine! #50So Fine! #40 (variegated), and So Fine! #30

  • Trilobal multi-filament polyester is a high sheen polyester. Most trilobal poly is not as strong as regular multi-filament polyester but a new high strength, high-sheen polyester is now available! Magnifico and Fantastico are examples of this new high-strength trilobal polyester fiber.

  • Poly-wrapped poly core thread is a hybrid polyester made from a filament polyester core and then wrapped in spun polyester. OMNI is our poly-wrapped poly core thread. It is less expensive and has more fuzz than multi-filament poly threads. It is strong enough for high speed machine quilting. 

Embroidery Threads

Most embroiders prefer a high-sheen thread to give embroidered designs a nice 'pop'. Embroidery thread usually has a looser twist than quilting thread because the looser twist allows a higher sheen. Most embroidery threads are 2-ply which allows for a higher sheen. Strength of an embroidery thread is not as important as it is for quilting threads.

  • Rayon We do not sell, use, or recommended rayon thread. It is weaker than polyester and most rayon is not colorfast (meaning that the color can bleed when washed with detergent). 

  • Trilobal polyester High-sheen polyester which is stronger than Rayon and is also colorfast (bleach does not affect trilobal polyester) Magnifico, Fantastico (variegated) Rainbows (variegated), TwistNature Colors, and Living Colors are all great embroidery threads.

Piecing Thread

Cotton is the preferred thread to piece with, because it can be ironed with a high heat iron. A fine, smooth, evenly twisted, low-lint 50 wt. thread will make the best seam and won't add any bulk. The highest grade cotton is extra-long staple Egyptian-grown cotton.

  • MasterPiece is our recommended cotton thread to use for piecing.

Serger Thread

Because sergers (overlock machines) simultaneously use multiple cones of thread per single application, thread costs are especially considered. Unfortunately, there are many cheap serger threads on the market which produce a lot of fuzz and don't perform well when trying to change tension or stitch type.

  • OMNI is our poly-wrapped poly core thread which makes a gorgeous all-purpose Serger thread. It is strong and commonly used for higher-end garments. It is designed to lay in seams and avoid puckering.
  • Superior Spun Poly is a spun polyester thread we have created specifically for clothing construction and garment sewing/serger applications. Spun Polyester is the thread of choice for garment construction and apparel creation due to the strength and economic cost associated with this fiber.

  • ProLock is an exciting new texturized polyester thread (DTY) designed for serging on fleece, knits, and stretch fabrics. ProLock has the bulk, elasticity, and flexibility popularized by "woollie-like” nylon, but is stronger and will last longer due to the polyester fiber and advanced processing methods.

Appliqué Thread

Most appliqué techniques are intended to hide the thread and therefore use a fine, blending thread.

  • #100 Kimono Silk is a very fine, smooth, and lint-free thread.

  • MasterPiece is our 50 wt. cotton thread. A little heavier than a fine silk or poly, but blends very well. 

  • Bottom Line is our 60 wt. multi-filament polyester. It is fine, strong, and blends well.

Bobbin Thread

It is perfectly fine to use a different thread in the bobbin than what is used on top. It is also perfectly fine to use a different wt. bobbin thread than top thread. Most prefer to use a finer bobbin thread because it blends well and more thread can be wound on a bobbin. The most common bobbin threads are 50 wt. or 60 wt. threads. 

  • MasterPiece is our #50 cotton thread. Excellent bobbin thread for piecing.

  • Bottom Line is our 60 wt. multi-filament polyester. It is great for all-around quilting and embroidery.

  • So Fine! #50 is our #50 polyester thread which is great for the bobbin as when quilting.

  • So Fine! #60 is our #60 polyester thread prewound on Class 15 bobbins.

Invisible Monofilament Thread

There are two types of invisible monofilament thread currently available in the industry:

  • Nylon (sometimes labeled as polyamide). Not recommended due to its low heat tolerance, tendency to go brittle over time, and tendency to yellow or discolor.

  • MonoPoly polyester monofilament thread. Higher heat tolerance than nylon, does not go brittle, and does not yellow.

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By: Bob Purcell