Can You Use Embroidery Thread for Quilting? 11 Tips and Tricks

Embroidery enthusiasts often wonder, Can you use embroidery thread for quilting? The answer lies in understanding the versatility of this thread type. While primarily designed for intricate needlework, embroidery thread boasts a rich palette of colors and a fine, silky texture.

In this guide, we’ll unravel the possibilities and advantages of employing embroidery thread in your quilting projects. By exploring the compatibility of embroidery thread with quilting techniques, you’ll uncover a realm of creative potential that adds depth and nuance to your quilted masterpieces.


  • Embroidery thread can be used for quilting with some adjustments, such as opting for a thicker thread to ensure durability.
  • Consider the fiber content of the embroidery thread, favoring high-quality cotton or polyester for added strength in quilting projects.
  • Testing a small sample before committing to a full project helps determine the compatibility and performance of the chosen embroidery thread.
  • Achieving a successful balance between the visual appeal and structural needs of quilting is key when experimenting with embroidery thread.

What is Quilting and How It Is Done?

Quilting is a time-honored craft that involves sewing together layers of fabric to create a padded and decorative textile. This traditional technique has evolved over centuries and holds cultural significance across various communities. The process typically begins with selecting a variety of fabrics, where color coordination and pattern choice play essential roles. Once chosen, the fabric pieces are cut into geometric shapes, such as squares or triangles, to form a visually appealing design.

The next step in quilting involves layering the pieces together, including a soft padding material called batting, and a backing fabric. This layered arrangement is then secured using a process known as basting, where temporary stitches hold everything in place. The real magic begins with the stitching, which is done through a top layer, batting, and backing to create a cohesive, quilted pattern. Quilting stitches not only serve a functional purpose by securing the layers but also add artistic flair to the final product.

One popular method of quilting is the use of a quilting frame, where the layers are stretched tightly, facilitating easier stitching. However, many modern quilters use sewing machines equipped with specialized quilting features for efficiency. The choice between hand quilting and machine quilting often comes down to personal preference and the desired level of intricacy.

The outcome of a quilting project is a beautiful, durable quilt that can serve various purposes, from cozy bedspreads to decorative wall hangings. Beyond the practical utility, quilting also fosters a sense of community, as it is often passed down through generations or shared among enthusiasts. The rich history and versatility of quilting make it a cherished craft that continues to thrive in today’s creative landscape.

What Do You Need for Quilting?

To get started, you’ll need a few essential tools and materials:

  • Fabric:
    • Choose high-quality cotton fabric for durability and comfort.
    • Opt for a variety of colors and patterns to add visual interest to your quilt.
  • Cutting Mat and Rotary Cutter:
    • A self-healing cutting mat and a rotary cutter make it easy to cut precise fabric pieces.
    • These tools help speed up the cutting process and ensure accuracy.
  • Quilting Ruler:
    • A clear quilting ruler is essential for measuring and cutting fabric strips and blocks.
    • Look for one with clear markings for accurate measurements.
  • Sewing Machine:
    • Invest in a reliable sewing machine suitable for quilting.
    • Ensure it has features like adjustable stitch length and a walking foot for quilting layers evenly.
  • Thread:
    • Use high-quality cotton thread that matches or complements your fabric colors.
    • Polyester thread is also a good option for its durability.
  • Needles:
    • Have a selection of quilting needles in different sizes for various tasks.
    • Needles with a large eye make threading easier.
  • Iron and Ironing Board:
    • Keep an iron and ironing board handy for pressing seams and achieving crisp, flat quilt blocks.
    • Pressing is crucial for a polished final look.
  • Quilt Batting:
    • Choose quilt batting appropriate for the desired warmth and thickness of your quilt.
    • Options include cotton, polyester, and blends.
  • Quilting Thread:
    • Select a thicker quilting thread for stitching the layers together.
    • Contrast thread can add decorative elements to your quilt.
  • Quilt Design and Pattern:
    • Have a quilting design or pattern in mind before starting.
    • This guides your fabric choices and ensures a cohesive and visually appealing quilt.

By gathering these essential tools and materials, you’ll be well-prepared to embark on your quilting journey, creating beautiful and functional quilts.

Revamp Your Quilting: Can You Use Embroidery Thread For Quilting

Can You Use Embroidery Thread for Quilting?

Embroidery thread can indeed be used for quilting, but it requires certain considerations. Quilting typically involves creating a three-layered fabric structure through stitching, and the choice of thread plays a crucial role in ensuring durability and a visually appealing finish.

Embroidery thread is generally thinner than traditional quilting thread, which could affect the overall strength and stability of the quilt. To compensate for this, one can consider using a thicker or heavier embroidery thread to enhance the quilt’s durability.

Additionally, it’s essential to pay attention to the fiber content of the thread; opting for a high-quality cotton or polyester embroidery thread can provide the necessary strength and longevity. While experimenting with embroidery thread for quilting, it’s recommended to test a small sample first to evaluate its compatibility with your quilting project.

Remember, a successful outcome depends on striking the right balance between the aesthetic appeal of embroidery thread and the structural requirements of quilting.

Revamp Your Quilting: Can You Use Embroidery Thread For Quilting

Difference Between Embroidery Thread and Quilting Thread

Embroidery and quilting are distinct crafts, each requiring specific types of threads for optimal results. Understanding the differences between Embroidery Thread and Quilting Thread is crucial for achieving success in your projects.

CriteriaEmbroidery ThreadQuilting Thread
PurposePrimarily used for decorative stitching, intricate designs, and adding embellishments to fabric.Designed for stitching layers of fabric together, providing strength and durability in quilting projects.
CompositionOften made of rayon, polyester, or cotton, providing a glossy finish and vibrant colors.Typically made of strong cotton or a blend of cotton and polyester, ensuring sturdiness for quilting seams.
ThicknessGenerally finer and more delicate, allowing for intricate details in embroidery designs.Tends to be thicker and heavier to withstand the wear and tear of quilted items, providing structural integrity.
Color VarietyOffers a wide range of colors, including metallic and variegated options, for diverse design choices.Available in a broad spectrum of colors, but typically in solid shades suitable for traditional quilting patterns.
FlexibilityRequires flexibility for intricate stitches and designs, allowing for smooth movement through fabric.Requires moderate flexibility to navigate through multiple layers of fabric while maintaining stitch integrity.
Tensile StrengthEmphasizes color and appearance over strength, as it is mainly for surface embellishments.Prioritizes strong tensile strength to withstand the tension and stress quilts endure over time.
Use CasesIdeal for decorating clothing, linens, and other fabric items with intricate designs.Suited for piecing together quilt blocks, quilting layers, and creating durable seams in quilted items.

Understanding these differences ensures that you select the right thread for your specific crafting needs, whether it be adding artistic flair to fabrics or creating sturdy and enduring quilts.

How to Use Embroidery Thread for Quilting?

Knowing how to use embroidery thread for quilting can open up a world of creative possibilities. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to make the most of this versatile material.

Step 1: Choose the Right Thread

Selecting the appropriate embroidery thread is crucial for a successful quilting project. Opt for threads that complement your fabric choices and provide a good contrast. Ensure the thread weight is suitable for quilting, typically ranging from 30 to 50 wt.

Step 2: Prepare Your Needle and Machine

Use a needle that accommodates the chosen thread weight. Threading your machine with the right needle is essential to prevent thread breakage and ensure smooth stitching. A size 75/11 or 80/12 needle often works well with most embroidery threads.

Step 3: Adjust Tension Settings

Achieving the correct tension is vital for optimal stitching. Adjust the tension settings on your sewing machine to accommodate the thickness of the embroidery thread. Start with a test fabric to ensure the stitches look balanced and secure.

Step 4: Practice Stitching Techniques

Before diving into your quilting project, practice stitching on a scrap piece of fabric. Experiment with different stitching techniques such as straight-line quilting, free-motion quilting, or stippling. This will help you get comfortable with handling the embroidery thread and improve your overall quilting skills.

Step 5: Knots and Starting Points

When beginning your quilting, secure the embroidery thread with a knot or use the machine’s backstitch function. This ensures that the thread stays in place and prevents unraveling during the quilting process.

Step 6: Mindful Color Placement

Consider the color placement of your embroidery thread to enhance the visual appeal of your quilt. Experiment with color contrasts to highlight specific areas or create intricate patterns. This step allows you to unleash your creativity and make your quilting project truly unique.

Step 7: Finishing Touches

As you near the completion of your quilting, make sure to secure the thread properly. Create a knot or use the backstitch function to prevent unraveling. Trim excess thread carefully to give your quilt a polished finish.

Different Types of Threads

Threads play a pivotal role in determining the durability and appearance of the final stitch. Let’s explore the various types of threads commonly used in sewing.

Thread TypeMaterialCharacteristicsBest Use
Cotton ThreadNatural FiberKnown for its softness and absorbency.Suitable for general sewing, especially on natural fabrics like cotton and linen.
Polyester ThreadSynthetic FiberOffers strength and durability. Resistant to mildew and UV light. Ideal for versatile sewing projects, including apparel, home decor, and crafts.
Nylon ThreadSynthetic FiberExhibits excellent elasticity and resilience. Well-suited for sewing stretchy fabrics like spandex and elastic materials. Also used for outdoor items due to its resistance to mildew and abrasion.
Silk ThreadNatural FiberRenowned for its luxurious feel and sheen. Commonly used in high-end garments, lingerie, and embroidery where a delicate touch is desired.
Rayon ThreadSemi-Synthetic FiberBlends natural and synthetic characteristics. Provides a smooth finish and vibrant colors. Often chosen for decorative stitching and embroidery on delicate fabrics.
Metallic ThreadMetallic Coating on CoreAdds a touch of glamour to projects. Suitable for decorative stitching, embroidery, and quilting. The metallic coating may require special needles to prevent breakage.

Understanding the characteristics of each type of thread enables sewers to make informed choices based on the specific requirements of their projects. Experimenting with different threads allows for versatility in achieving the desired results.

How to Choose the Right Thread for Quilting?

Choosing the right thread for quilting is crucial for achieving a successful and durable quilt. The thread you select can impact the overall look, feel, and longevity of your project. Here’s a guide on how to make the right choice for your quilting endeavors.

Thread Weight:

When selecting thread for quilting, consider the weight of the thread. Common thread weights for quilting include 40wt and 50wt. Thicker threads (lower weight) can add more texture and visibility to your stitches, while thinner threads (higher weight) create a more delicate appearance.

Fiber Content:

Pay attention to the fiber content of the thread. Cotton is a popular choice for quilting due to its strength and natural feel. Polyester threads are known for their durability and resistance to fading, making them suitable for quilts that will be frequently washed.

Color Matching:

Choosing the right color is crucial for achieving a polished look. Select a thread color that either matches the dominant color of your fabric or blends well with the overall color scheme. If in doubt, opt for a neutral color that complements a variety of shades.

Thread Quality:

Invest in high-quality thread to avoid issues like breakage and uneven stitches. Look for well-known brands that produce threads specifically designed for quilting. Quality threads also contribute to the longevity of your quilt, ensuring it stays intact over time.

Consider Quilting Technique:

Different quilting techniques may require specific thread characteristics. For intricate designs or detailed quilting, a finer thread might be preferable. For bold and visible quilting, a thicker thread can make your stitches stand out.

Tips to Use Embroidery Thread for Quilting

Embroidery thread can add vibrant details and intricate designs to quilting projects. Here are some key tips to make the most of your embroidery thread in quilting:

  1. Thread Weight Matters: Choose the appropriate thread weight for quilting. Lighter weights, like 50 or 60, work well for intricate details, while heavier weights, like 30, add bold accents.
  2. Match Thread to Fabric: Select embroidery thread that complements the fabric colors. Matching thread helps create a cohesive look, while contrasting thread can highlight specific elements.
  3. Use Quality Thread: Invest in high-quality embroidery thread to avoid breakage and fraying. Well-known brands often offer durability and a smooth quilting experience.
  4. Consider Thread Material: Opt for threads made from natural fibers like cotton for quilting. Natural fibers work well with fabric and are less likely to cause tension issues.
  5. Adjust Tension Settings: Experiment with your sewing machine’s tension settings when using embroidery thread. Proper tension prevents breakage and ensures smooth stitching.
  6. Prevent Tangling: Place the embroidery thread on a vertical thread stand or use a thread net to prevent tangling. This reduces interruptions during quilting.
  7. Mind Needle Size: Choose the right needle size for your embroidery thread. A smaller needle helps prevent friction and reduces the risk of thread breakage.
  8. Test on Scrap Fabric: Before starting your quilting project, test the embroidery thread on a scrap piece of fabric. This allows you to assess how the thread interacts with the fabric and make any necessary adjustments.
  9. Secure Thread Ends: Knots at the beginning and end of stitching can create bulk. Instead, use a small backstitch or secure the thread by stitching over it for a cleaner finish.
  10. Blend Thread Colors: If using multiple thread colors, consider blending them for a gradient effect. This technique adds depth and dimension to your quilting design.
  11. Maintain Consistent Tension: Keep a steady hand and maintain consistent speed and pressure while quilting. This helps avoid uneven stitches and ensures a professional-looking finish.

Remember, the key to successful quilting with embroidery thread lies in understanding the characteristics of the thread and how it interacts with your chosen fabric. Experimentation and practice will help you master the art of incorporating embroidery thread into your quilting projects.


In essence, the question, Can you use embroidery thread for quilting, opens a door to a world of artistic expression. The fine texture and vibrant colors of embroidery thread lend a unique touch to quilting projects, enabling you to create stunning, multidimensional designs. By seamlessly integrating this versatile thread, you infuse your quilts with a distinctive charm that sets them apart.

So, don’t hesitate to experiment with embroidery thread in your quilting endeavors—unleash your creativity and watch your creations come to life with an unparalleled vibrancy and finesse. Elevate your quilting game with the fusion of embroidery thread’s brilliance.


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Frequently Asked Questions

Can Embroidery Thread Be Used for Hand Quilting?

Yes, embroidery thread can be used for hand quilting. When using embroidery thread for quilting, it’s important to consider the weight and type of thread, as well as using appropriate needles and tension. Here are some tips for using embroidery thread in quilting.

What Are the Advantages of Using Embroidery Thread for Quilting?

Using embroidery thread for quilting offers several advantages, such as a wide range of vibrant colors, added texture and dimension to the quilt, and the ability to create intricate designs using different types of embroidery stitches.

Are There Any Specific Techniques or Stitches That Work Best With Embroidery Thread in Quilting?

When incorporating embroidery thread in quilting designs, there are various techniques to consider. Certain stitches, such as the French knot or chain stitch, can enhance the visual appeal. Additionally, blending embroidery thread colors can create stunning effects in quilting projects.

How Does the Cost of Embroidery Thread Compare to Quilting Thread?

When comparing embroidery thread to quilting thread, it is important to consider both the cost and quality. While embroidery thread may be less expensive, quilting thread is specifically designed for the demands of quilting, ensuring optimal results and longevity.

Can Embroidery Thread Be Used in Machine Quilting?

Embroidery thread can be used for machine quilting, but it has both pros and cons. The main advantage is the variety of colors and textures available, while the disadvantage is its strength and durability. When selecting embroidery thread for quilting, consider the type and weight that will best suit your project.

Can you use embroidery thread for free motion quilting?

In free motion quilting, polyester embroidery thread, like Glide, is a preferred choice due to its extensive range of trouble-free colors, enhancing the quilting experience.

Can you use embroidery thread for big stitch quilting?

For big stitch quilting, opt for perle thread (typically #8), thicker cotton such as Aurifil 12wt and 28wt, or embroidery floss (separate 3 strands). Avoid cutting long thread lengths, especially for quilts intended for use.

What is the difference between embroidery thread and sewing thread?

Embroidery thread, designed for decorative stitching, boasts high sheen, vibrant colors, and superior tensile strength. In contrast, sewing thread prioritizes strength and versatility, catering to the functional aspects of garment construction and seam stitching.

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