Know your quilting threads: essential guide to the best thread for quilting

Ok folks, let's talk about a quilter's best friend – quilting thread! We've asked the lovely folk at Aurifil to share this guide to the best threads for quilting

Quilting thread guide

Get ready to up your thread game! Whether you’re new to quilting or looking for a stash refresher, we’ve made this guide to the different common quilting thread options out there. Simply switching your thread choice can make all kinds of difference to your finished quilts, whether you’re machine quilting, hand quilting or sprucing up your quilt tops with extra details like appliqué or embroidery.  We’ll have you knowing your 80 weight from your 40 weight in a flash…

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One of the most common things we hear when we’re chatting to quilters is, “what’s the best thread for quilting?”, closely followed by “why are there so many different types of quilting thread?”  All of our threads are all created with quilters in mind, but they also have special qualities that make them a firm favourite for different tasks that quilt-makers need.

Aurifil threads are loved for their quality, strength and lustrous finish, not to mention for their kindness to your sewing machine (they’re created to produce less lint to clog things up). Discover the complete range at www.aurifil.com or if you prefer to swot up on the basics first, check out our handy guide to the most common quilting threads: what do the different weights mean and what should you use them for?

How to choose the right quilting threads

Common quilting threads: a guide

1

50 weight thread

The perfect choice for both piecing and quilting, 50wt is our most popular thread, favoured by both beginner and expert quilters.

  • Use it for: Machine quilting, bastin g, whole cloth and micro quilting, Needle Turn Appliqué, English Paper Piecing, Hand Piecing, Machine Appliqué
  • Made from: 100% Egyptian Cotton, 2 ply
  • Comes in: Small Spool, Large Spool, Cone
  • Which needle to use? Best used with a 80/12 Microtex/Sharp, Universal, Quilting, or Denim Needle or a 4.0 Longarm Needle. Use 50wt in the bobbin too.
Applique thread Aufiril 50 weight
Aurifil’s 50 weight thread comes in 270 colours and you can choose between a Small spool (220 yards), Large spool (1422 yards) or Cone (6452 yards)
2

40 weight cotton thread

Aurifil 40wt thread has all the benefits of our 50wt, but with even greater definition. It is strong enough to withstand fast, dense stitching, and thin enough to support intricate detail.

  • Use it for: cross stitch, hand piecing, machine appliqué, machine embroidery, custom longarm quilting.
  • Made from: 100% Cotton, 2 ply
  • Comes in: Small Spool, Large Spool, Cone
  • Which needle? use a 80/12 Microtex/Sharp, Universal, or Denim Needle, a  90/14 or 75/11 Quilting Needle (use 40wt or 50wt in the bobbin) OR 3.5 or 4.0 Longarm Quilting Needle (use 50wt in the bobbin)
Hand quilting thread Aurifil 40 weight
Aurifil 40 weight threads are a favourite with quilters – choose from 270 colours and pick a small spool, large spool or cone depending on how much sewing you have planned!
3

28 weight thread

Our 28wt thread is an amazing option for when you want your machine quilting to really shine. The weight of the thread allows for increased stitch definition so that the thread itself is as much a part of the finish look of the quilt as the fabric.

  • Use it for: machine quilting, cross stitch, blanket stitch, appliqué, hand piecing, hand quilting machine embroidery
  • Made from: 100% Cotton, 2 ply
  • Comes in: Small Spool, Large Spool, Cone
  • Which needle to use? use 90/14 Topstitch, Quilting, or Denim Needle (use 40wt or 50wt in the bobbin), or a  4.0 Longarm Needle (use 40wt or 50wt in the bobbin)
Common threads quilting 28wt-pastel
Ahhhh the colours we shall stitch in! Aurifil 28 weight thread comes in 270 shades so you can find just the right one for your quilt.
4

12 weight thread

Our 12wt thread, while perfectly lovely for use in a machine, is typically the go-to for hand-stitching. Strong, with enough heft to make a striking visual impact, it is both easy to use and produces fantastic results.

  • Use it for: Hand appliqué, hand embroidery, hand quilting, cross stitch, Sashiko, Redwork
  • Made from: 100% Cotton, 2 ply
  • Comes in: Small Spool, Large Spool, Cone
  • Which needle to use? 100/16 or 90/14 Topstitch Needle (use 40wt in the bobbin) OR 4.5 Longarm Needle (use 28wt in the bobbin)
12 weight thread
These super versatile 12 weight threads come in a small spool (109 yards), large spool (820 yards) or Cone (3609 yards)
5

Cotton Forty3 thread

Our Forty3 threads were first launched in Houston in 2017, with all the versatility and lustrous color of the original 40 weight threads, plus the added benefit of extra strength.

  • Use them for: quilting, machine embroidery, decorative stitching, making clothes, satin stitch
  • Made from: 100% Egyptian Cotton, 3 ply
  • Comes in: cones, 50 colour options
  • Best needle: 90/14 Topstitch Needle (use 50wt in the bobbin) or 4.5 Longarm Needle (use 40wt or 50wt in the bobbin)
Machine Embroidery Thread Aurifil Forty3 weight
Enjoy all the quilting thread benefits of 40 weight threads plus a strength booster with Aurifil Forty 3 threads
6

Cotton 80 weight thread

Our 80wt thread is delicate and a wonderful choice when it comes to English Paper Piecing and hand appliqué, but it is also a fantastic option for detailed & delicate machine quilting!

  • Use it for: English Paper Piecing, hand Appliqué, Machine Embroidery and Appliqué, Free motion quilting and couching
  • Made from: 100% Egyptian Cotton, 2 ply
  • Comes in: Small Wooden Spools – 300 yards/274 metres each with 88 colours to choose from
  • Needles to use it with: use 70/10 or 80/12 Microtex/Sharp or Embroidery Needle (use 80wt in the bobbin)
Machine quilting threads Aurifil 80 weight
80 weight threads (affectionately known as weighty eighty) give a lovely finish to hand stitching,  machine embroidery and free motion quilting
7

Cotton floss

At first glance it’s easy to assume these luxury floss threads are purely for embroidery or cross stitch, but they’re also a great choice for miniature punch needle embroidery. Aurifloss is a 6-strand separating embroidery thread that allows you the ability to choose exactly how thick you would like your hand quilting to be.

  • Use it for: cross stitch, miniature punch needle embroidery, tatting, needle point, appliqué
  • Made from: 100% Cotton, 2 ply, 6-strand
  • Comes in: Small Wooden Spool containing 18 yards of thread.
  • Which needle to use? Match your needle according to project (Embroidery, Cross Stitch, Tatting, etc.)
Aurifil floss thread
Floss thread comes in 27 shades so you’re sure to find the one to suit your project
8

Monofilament

Our monofilament thread is a fantastic option if you are quilting a highly colorful quilt yet do not want to make several thread changes throughout the quilting process.

  • Use it for: Attaching binding, machine stitchi n the ditch, free motion quilting, invisible seams, all types of appliqué
  • Made from: 100% Nylon
  • Comes in: Large Spool, Cone
  • Which needle to use?  80/12 or 70/10 Topstitching or Microtex/Sharp Needle, or a 3.0 or 4.0 Longarm Needle (use 40wt, 50wt, or hand-wound monofilament in the bobbin)
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aurifil-monofilament thread
Choose between 2 colours, and stock up your stash long germ with options to buy 16,400 yards cone or 1094 large spools.

Find out more

For more quilting thread advice, project ideas and beautiful photography, visit Aurifil’s website or follow them on FacebookInstagramPinterestTwitter and YouTube

Guide to quilting threads