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Why do I need to know about threads before I start quilting? Can’t I just go to a local store and buy whatever colors I need? NO. There are many things that you need to know about threads before you can start quilting.

Different Types of Threads

There are many different types of threads. Threads come in many different materials for a sewer to use. The types of threads are:

Cotton thread is the most common, especially for quilters. It is a good idea for quilters to use cotton thread because the fabric you will be working with is cotton.
Silk thread is made from filament and is a good thread to use if you are doing applique on your quilts. Silk thread will make the stitches nearly invisible!
Rayon and Nylon threads are not the friendliest threads for quilters to use.

Rayon thread has a high sheen to it and will not look the greatest on your quilt. Nylon is not heat-resistant.
Polyester thread is another choice for quilters. Polyester thread is strong and durable and will give your quilt more definition because it is a heavier thread.

The Weights of Threads

Not only are there different materials for threads, there are different weights thread. Since we decided that Rayon and Nylon aren’t the friendliest, we will only discuss Cotton, Polyester and Silk.

Cotton thread normally comes in three different weights, 60, 50, and 40. Unlike what you might be thinking, 40 is the heaviest. So, the smaller the number, the heavier the weight! 40 is the most common weight and used for sewing all of the pieces on a quilt together. You can use a 50 or 60 weighted thread to do decorative stitching on a piece.
Polyester thread comes in the same weights as cotton. Convenient, right? For polyester, it is common to use the 40 weight for quilting, and the 60 weight for applique.
Silk thread is somewhat different. 50 weight is the all-purpose thread weight. However, if you want stitches that are nearly invisible, use the 100 weight thread. But be careful! 100 weight thread can break easily.

Colors and Finishes

The part you all have been looking forward to the most, colors and finishes! Thread comes in many different colors and finishes.

The most common to use for quilters are the natural colors, such as white, black, gray, and eggshell. To guarantee that your thread will not show on the fabric, find a thread that matches the color of your fabric. Threads come in a rainbow of colors. A good bet for anyone is to buy the 18 spool box on the Madeira website.

There are also different finishes for threads, and a good tip is to use a finish that works with your material. Does your fabric have silver, shimmering snowflakes? Use a metallic silver finish!



As we have discussed, there are five different types of threads. The most common for quilters are cotton, polyester and silk. Remember, if your fabric is cotton, use cotton thread! Weighting for threads is normally the same, following the 40,50,60 weight rule. Silk is a bit different, as using 100 weight is the norm. Threads come in multiple colors, and it is common to have the naturals at hand.

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