Question of the week: Can you Free Motion Quilt or Piece with Polyester Embroidery Thread?

 I get great questions about quilting, sewing, and machine use from my Clubhouse members, customers, and other students/followers. They make great informative posts, so I'm sharing this one with you.

Amy, what are your thoughts on using polyester embroidery thread for piecing and free motion quilting? Thanks.

I love free motion quilting with polyester embroidery thread. For me, my choice is Glide thread because it has so many trouble-free colors. The thread is smooth, consistent, lint free and has a wonderful sheen to it.

free motion quilting with rulers and poly thread
Pieced in Aurifil, quilted in Magic Mint Glide!

While you can piece with it, I don't think you should. Here's why....

It's slippery and seams can start to come undone, especially if sub-cutting strip sets.

Polyester is a lot stronger than cotton fibers and while you'd think that's a plus, sometimes we've got to rip out our seams and in the process, that can sometimes lead to a frayed seam allowance on our pieces.

My choice for piecing is the best Egyptian cotton thread I can afford. For me that's Aurifil 50wt. Wonderfil has great cotton thread too. In a pinch, all purpose spun polyester will do, but I try to avoid it. The fuzz on many common brands of spun poly result in more lint, some give tension issues, and then there's the ability to fray your seam allowance.

Quilt preservationists also gasp at the idea of using poly anything on cotton. They cite concerns of the thread cutting the fabric over time. I don't expect my quilts to be subject to preservation over the centuries, but at least I'm halfway there with piecing in cotton!

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