Tips And Tools Tuesday – Monofilament Thread – It’s Not So Scary

I'm making a multi-colored baby quilt and was wanting to practice my machine quilting skills. Well, the fabrics vary widely in both color and value (light, medium, and dark, compared to the background fabric.)

Choosing just one color of thread for the entire quilt just didn't seem like an option. There were just too many opportunities for any quilting boo-boo's to show.

I could use different colors of thread for each colored block in the quilt. But, that takes up soooooo much time! The truth is, I honestly just didn't WANT to change threads with each color, so, my plan was to buy a multicolored thread.

I looked at Wal-Mart. Nothing. I looked online. I found some, but it's really difficult to distinguish just what colors are on those photos of spools of thread and whether or not they will "play nice" with my fabrics.

Well, we were traveling to Huntsville last Saturday, so, with the baby quilt top in hand, I went into one of the local quilt shops there, and told the owner what I was looking for. We looked through her wide variety of wonderful threads, but found no multi-colored thread that would blend with my particular colors.

Then, she said, "Have you thought of using a mono/poly thread?" (Monofilament/Polyester)

Hmm. I hadn't even considered that. Never used it before.

Yes, that might just be what I need to try. What a great suggestion! So, I bought two spools and left the shop with a new excitement for the project.

I knew NOTHING about using monofilament thread so did some online research. I gleaned advice from several sources. I created a mini quilt sandwich from the same fabrics and batting I used for the baby quilt, and tried out the advice. Some worked with my particular sewing machine and some did not.

I'M SO GLAD I MADE A MINI QUILT TO PRACTICE ON!

After working out a few "Oh, No!" issues and a couple of "What the...?" ones on my practice piece, I started on the baby quilt.

Quilting with monofilament thread looks so good!

Here are a few tips from my experience with a mono/poly that I hope will help you give it a try.

  1. Make a mini-quilt to practice on.  Make      a       mini-quilt        to       practice       on.     You'll be glad you did.
  2.  Have very good lighting.
    This one is important, because a mono/poly thread is incredibly thin!

Can you find it in this photo?

I promise you, my machine is threaded with it.

It's kind of like working with one long single hair from a child with baby-fine hair.

 

 

Below is a photo of the monofilament thread along with the 50 weight bobbin thread.

3. Test out your thread tension.  This one is key. One of the resources giving advice about using a mono/poly thread said to have virtually no tension on it because it has a bit of stretch. She suggested loosening the tension knob until it falls off and then only slightly tighten it back on. Did that. I got a rat's nest of monofilament thread on the back of the mini quilt.  I increased the tension to 1, then 2, and then finally 3 until the stitches on the back looked normal and there was no bobbin thread showing in the holes made by the needle on top of the quilt. They were meeting inside the quilt sandwich like they are supposed to. Perfect!

You can't tell it from this angle, but the tension is on three.

 

 

 

 

4. Stitch slower than you normally do. I actually taped half of a wooden clothes pin to my sewing machine pedal to keep it from depressing too far.  That really helped, because I didn't have to think about the pedal AND moving the fabric under the needle. I could just concentrate on the quilt and the pattern I chose to stitch into it.

5. Have a needle threader handy. The monofilament thread tends to curl at the end and can be challenging to maneuver through your sewing machine needle.

6. DON'T BE AFRAID TO GIVE IT A TRY! Try it on some scrap fabric and batting. You might just find that monofilament thread can add the perfect touch to your creation!

Have fun!

Today is a good day to make a quilt.

Diane

 

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