A Quilter’s (And Sewer’s) Guide To The Best Sewing Thread

Have you ever gone into your local fabric shop or arts and crafts store hunting for thread only to stumble upon hundreds of options for colors, uses, and materials?

If you don’t know the basics of thread, it can be pretty overwhelming.

In today’s episode of “The Quilter’s Guide,” I will explain the basics to you and help you better understand what makes good thread, and help you pick out the best sewing thread for your next project.

Frequently Asked Questions about Sewing Thread

Before I jump into giving you some of my picks for quality thread, I want to go over some of the most frequently asked questions surrounding thread and give you some helpful information.

How do I choose a sewing thread?

In most craft and hobby stores, you’ll find helpful displays that give you an idea of the purpose of each thread type. Examples include hand quilting, embroidery, all-purpose, machine quilting, etc. 

Depending on the type of sewing you plan to do, your thread choices could vary quite a bit. All-purpose thread is the most versatile but not necessarily the best choice for every craft.

Tip: The weight of the thread is very important. The weight is on the label on the end of the spool. It will look like “40wt” or “60wt”, for example. The larger the number, the thinner the thread, just like the gauge of knitting needles.

Consider the thread’s weight more than what the label marks as its purpose.

Here is a list of just a few different types of sewing projects and the thread weight that would work best for them:

  • Hand quilting: Ranges from 12wt-30wt. Thread specifically labeled for hand quilting also has a special wax coating that helps with pushing the thread through several layers. 
  • Machine quilting: Ranges from 40wt-50wt. You can use this weight of thread for all-purpose sewing, such as piecing a quilt top.
  • Embroidery: Most common is 40wt.
  • Applique: Ranges from 50wt-60wt for hand applique and 60wt-80wt for machine applique.
  • Clothes-making: Use 40wt-60wt.

Is it better to sew with cotton or polyester thread?

Depending on the project you are working on, either one could potentially be the better choice. If you use your sewing machine at high speed, cotton will withstand the machine’s friction and heat better than polyester.

Polyester is a great choice if you are making clothing since it does have some stretch to it. It is also the thread type that is used most in embroidery machines.

What is the best thread to use for sewing?

As we discussed earlier, the weight of the thread varies from project to project. Another detail to consider is what the thread is made of.

We talked about cotton and polyester, but there are also nylon, elastic, metallic, and even silk threads. If you need some thread with stretch in it, your best choices are polyester, nylon, and elastic.

Silk, metallic, and cotton are beautiful choices for decorative stitching such as applique, quilting, or embroidery. I recommend playing around with different threads and figuring out which works best for you and your design style.

What is the best thread for sewing cotton fabric? This is a popular question, especially in the quilting community, and here are my top three choices for the best sewing thread brand.

  1. Aurifil 
  2. Gutermann
  3. Coats and Clark

Your Guide to the Best Sewing Thread

Now that we’ve reviewed the basics of thread selection, let’s look at some of the best sewing machine thread out there.

Keep in mind, everyone’s preferences are different, and this isn’t a complete list of every thread brand out there.

1. Gutermann All Purpose Thread Set

Gutermann is a 100% cotton thread perfect for someone who is doing several different sewing projects. This thread is a 50wt thread and an excellent all-purpose option.

This kit is a great way to try out 20 different colors from Gutermann. Use these threads for quilting, piecing, and other sewing projects that call for a medium-weight thread.


2. Singer All-Purpose Thread

Singer is a well-known name in the sewing world, so you should use their thread with confidence. This all-purpose thread is 100% polyester, and you can use it for hand and machine sewing projects. 

Since it is 100% polyester, it is especially a great choice for clothes making and mending.


3. Aurifil 50wt Thread

If you’re a quilter, you have most likely heard of Aurifil thread. They are one of the most popular quilting thread companies with hundreds of colors to choose from. 

This beautiful thread is made from 100% Egyptian cotton, which makes it sleek and virtually lint-free. This thread is ideal for quilt piecing and machine quilting.


4. Connecting Threads 100% Cotton Thread

This brand is a budget-friendly option for my fellow quilters and sewers who want a good quality thread but don’t want to spend a bunch on supplies. 

This thread has a low lint strand and is 100% cotton. With a weight of 50, you can use this thread for all the steps in creating a quilt from scratch or do a wide variety of other sewing crafts that need a medium-weight thread.


5. Coats and Clark Surelock Overlock Thread

Did your grandmother or mother have a sewing basket with all kinds of buttons, spools, and other doo-dads in it? If she had spools of thread, chances are they were Coats and Clark brand. 

Coats and Clark is an industry-standard in the vast sewing community, and their Surelock Overlock Thread cones are probably the best deal on thread that you can find. 

It is 100% spun polyester, and yes, the cone may be meant to be used in an overlock/serger machine but can be used for pretty much any other sewing application. I have used it for quilting, applique, piecing, etc.


6. New brothread Embroidery Thread

This beautiful set of variegated (a.k.a. multi-colored) embroidery thread is perfect for those who want to sew some decorative stitching on different projects. 

This thread is 40wt, so it will work great in an embroidery machine and a regular sewing machine. Made from 100% polyester, it has just the right amount of stretch and durability to do those complex embroidery stitches without looping or breaking.


7. New brothread Metallic Embroidery Thread

This is the metallic version of New brothread’s embroidery thread, and it is gorgeous. Typically, a metallic thread is used in an embroidery thread to add an extra layer of design and shine on various projects. 

Many sewists use metallic thread for uniform decor or for other embellishments. This thread is another 100% polyester thread and will work wonderfully in an embroidery machine.


8. Mettler Variegated Cotton Thread

Mettler Variegated Cotton Thread

Mettler is another brand that is well known in the quilting community. This beautiful variegated thread is perfect for machine quilting and other decorative stitching.

I think this would look amazing on applique edges with all the different colors mixed together. This thread is 50wt and has a lovely silk finish to give it extra shine for your designs.


9. Coats and Clark Machine Quilting Thread

Coats and Clark Machine Quilting Thread

Coats and Clark’s Machine Quilting thread is my personal favorite for machine quilting. Not only is Coats and Clark is a well-respected company, but the thread itself is superior to other threads I have tried. 

I’ve never had it break, no matter the abuse I put it through, and it creates soft, beautiful stitches for my quilting projects. It is a 30wt 100% Egyptian cotton thread and works beautifully for machine quilting, piecing, and other simple projects.


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Have you found the best sewing thread for your projects?

I hope this review has answered some of your burning questions about the best thread to use for various quilting and sewing projects. 

Remember, these are just suggestions, and what may work for some people and their machines may not be the best fit for you.

I always like to recommend other quilters play around with different brands and weights to figure out what they like most. It should be a fun experiment, so have fun with it and happy stitching!

Looking for the best sewing thread you can use in your various fabric crafts? We have reviewed 9 threads available in the market for your reference. Read this post and see what you can use.


About the author: 
Miriam Ronne is a lover of all things quilting and sewing. She is a self-taught quilter and is constantly learning and broadening her skill set to create one-of-a-kind quilts! When she's not behind her sewing machine you can find her playing with her fur babies or trying her hand at other crafty things.

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