Free-motion quilting is a specific style of quilting using a machine. It can be done on your regular home sewing machine or on a long arm quilting machine. It is much faster and more precise than quilting by hand. And some say it is much more fun too!
The process of free-motion quilting involves a darning foot, which is a specialized foot that is designed to hover over the surface of your quilt. This allows you to move the quilt around in all directions as you sew.
So what are the best threads for free-motion quilting? The best threads for free-motion quilting are 100% cotton, nylon or polyester in weights between 40 to 60, with 50 weight being the most popular. The thread you choose can be used in both the bobbin and the needle.
Keep reading to learn out favorite threads for free-motion quilting, and more importantly, why they are our favorites!
The 5 Best Threads For Free-Motion Quilting
Most sewing machines are built to sew with little to no tension adjustment when the same fine thread is used in the needle and bobbin. That is why it is a good idea to always use the same thread in both.
Simply use the bobbin threader on your machine to fill the bobbin with the same thread you plan to use on the quilt.
Sewing machines usually have a built-in thread holder to hold the spool of thread while you sew. This is located on top of the machine. Some free-motion quilting threads come on extremely large spools so you might consider buying a single thread holder to hold the thread for you instead.
This list represents the best thread for free-motion quilting. Have a look to find the one that’s just right for you.
|1.||Clear Nylon Sewing Thread||Ideal for a variety of uses, works best on a Serger|
|2.||First Blush Cotton Thread||Beautiful colors, fits perfectly on all standard sewing machines|
|3.||Mako Cotton Thread||Best for free-motion quilting, highly trusted brand|
|4.||White Quilt Thread||Great on a long arm machine, recommended by professionals|
|5.||White All-Purpose Polyester Thread||Strong, high-quality thread, works best on a Brother 1034D|
1. Clear Nylon Sewing Thread
Made from 100% nylon, this 2 pack of clear thread for quilting is ideal for a variety of uses.
You can create fabulous quilts with sequins, appliques, rhinestones, and tags. The crystal clear thread is strong and smooth. It is virtually invisible, leaving nothing but your own great design.
The thread is very fine, just 0.1 mm. Each spool holds an incredible 5000 yards for many hours of quilting pleasure. No need to stop and constantly put on a new spool of thread, just quilt away all day!
The thread is nylon, so you can’t use a hot iron on it without covering it with a cloth first. The tension on your machine will have to be adjusted for the thread to flow through smoothly. It is also great in your bobbin.
Just be aware that it tends to wind quite tight in the center and it makes a strange squeaking sound when the bobbin is nearly empty. This is a good time to refill the bobbin rather than risk having the thread snap on you.
- A great thread that works like a charm on a Brother SE400 and perfectly on a Serger.
- Extra-large spools last a very long time.
- The transparent thread is nearly invisible on your finished product.
- Excellent price.
- Works perfectly from start to finish.
- Very pliable and makes a nice clean edge.
- Perfect thread for free-motion quilting.
- This thread sometimes breaks easily with just a minimum amount of pulling.
- Some spools are very tangled. You have to untangle the thread before you can use it for your quilting project.
- Not suitable for high speed sewing. It will break.
2. First Blush Cotton Thread
This set of 5 100% cotton thread features pretty pink colors (called First Blush) you will love!
Each spool of high quality 50 weight thread is a whooping 1200 yards. That will keep you busy for a while.
The thread is three plies of 100% cotton. This extra-long cotton is super smooth and produces much less lint than lesser threads.
It is part of the Essential Thread line which means it is satiny smooth with a gently lustrous sheen. Colors in this set of five include red, cherry, coral reef, mauve, and blush.
The spools fit perfectly on all standard sewing machine spindles and can be used for all types of quilting projects. This is a great thread for all levels of quilting and sewing expertise from beginner to professional.
The Connecting Threads team does not just make this great thread, they use it in their personal lives as well. The team is made up of a variety of creative minds that love to sew and quilt in their spare time, just like you!
They know what quilters want because they themselves are quilters. Every product they make is guaranteed to be the highest quality. And every product is one you will truly enjoy using to make creative fashions and quilting designs you will be proud to show off, give as gifts or sell.
- This thread is safe to put in the microwave.
- A great thread for pot and bowl holders.
- Very low lint.
- Excellent price.
- The colors are beautiful.
- The colors are a bit flat, not shiny.
- It tends to twist and knot up.
- Breaks easily.
- Leaves a large amount of fuzz behind.
3. Mako Cotton Thread
Mako cotton thread by Aurifil is premium quilt shop quality. Each spool of thread is 100% mercerized 50 weight Egyptian Cotton.
This set includes three spools: one white, one dove and one light beige and each spool holds 1422 yards of the best free-motion quilting thread you can find.
Ideal for quilting, machine embroidery, and Serging. This thread is super smooth and very strong.
Aurifil cotton thread is known in the sewing world as the best thread for quilting, making handbags and all around general use. Avid quilters absolutely love using Aurifil thread, and they absolutely love all the money they save.
When it comes time to clean and lubricate your sewing machine, you will be so thankful that you chose Aurifil. Even after a huge quilting project, you will find very little lint or fuzz to clean. Much less than you would find with a cheaper thread, which can cause some serious damage over time.
The colors in this set are perfect for piecing and quilting because they blend beautifully with any color. Aurifil is very thin, yet extremely strong so you can easily stitch in a scant 1/4 inch seam, which can be vital to the outcome of your quilt.
- Aurifil thread is the best brand for free-motion quilting.
- It is perfect for both for piecing and machine quilting.
- The colors blend perfectly with other colors in your pattern.
- For some unknown reason, some of the spools are wound wrong and won’t feed through a sewing or quilting machine.
- Some spools have an unusual amount of knots.
4. White Quilt Thread
White 100% mercerized cotton quilt thread by Signature Thread is a must-have for your quilting projects. It works great at high speeds and performs extremely well on home quilting machines and long arm machines.
The perfect thread for free-motion quilting.
Mercerized cotton produces much less lint and much higher luster. This Signature thread comes in giant 6000 yard cones and is available in five beautiful colors, each sold separately.
When you first see this spool in real life, you will ask yourself, “What am I going to do with this giant spool of thread?” That question will barely be completed before the answer pops into your head. There is absolutely nothing you can’t do with this premium quality thread.
Your mind will soon be racing with all of the projects you can tackle. Simply gather your supplies and the ideas will start flowing!
- Great value for the money.
- Highly recommended by professionals.
- Works great on a long arm machine.
- Throws off more lint than it should.
5. White All-Purpose Thread
This four-pack offers a whopping 24000 yards of premium thread! Each spool holds 6000 yards. That’s 6000 yards of professional-grade thread you can use on all of your projects.
From fine dainties to heavy-duty quilts, this is the perfect thread for everything.
White goes with every color, so if you want a strong polyester quilting thread you can use for repairs, heavy duty upholstery, drapery or beading projects, this is the thread for you.
The super large spool might be a bit cumbersome to hang on your machine. Although, it will fit nicely on a Brother 1034D.
If it doesn’t fit on your machine, you might consider purchasing a stand to hold the spool. A single spool thread holder brings the thread right up to suitable height for easy threading into your machine.
- All purpose 100% polyester.
- Long lasting spools with zero breakage.
- Works great on any machine.
- Spun on a plastic core.
- Super strong and durable.
- Excellent value.
- Very smooth.
- Some spools have little breaks in the thread and have been tied together in several spots.
Next, check out our related article, The Best Thread For Hand Quilting.