When I first started quilting thread wasn't really a top priority to me. At the time I didn't realize the utmost importance of quality thread. I had concern for my fabric quality and always tried to purchase the best quality fabric my money could buy, but never took into consideration the quality of my thread and always purchased whatever was on sale at Joann's. Well I continued sewing wondering why machine after machine I was having tension issues, breaking thread, etc.
When I participated in the Patchwork Prism Quilt Along, I won a sampler pack of Aurifil thread. The sampler pack came with a few different weight threads, cotton, wool, and variegated thread. I didn't really know anything about thread so I just stared at the pack thinking what in the world am I going do with this, I don't know the difference in weight or where to even start. I had heard wonderful things about Aurifil so I was pretty excited, but knew it would take some researching and learning to really take advantage of what the thread had to offer.
I later decided to contact Aurifil to see if they wanted to participate in the Totally Groovy Quilt Along, and sponsor with a giveaway. Alex at Aurifil was incredibly helpful and was more than happy to participate. One day UPS dropped a medium box on my doorstep. When I looked at the return address and saw Aurifil, I was thinking, "wow thats a big box for such little thread". Well Aurifil had generously donated 13 packs of Aurifil Samplers for the QAL, and some other amazing threads for me to test out and play with. So yes, I was given this thread to play with, but believe me when I tell you this review is completely my opinion, and I was under no obligation to write this post it was my choice to write this review. This is my honest opinion!
My first goal was to learn everything I could about Aurifil, what makes their thread different, how to use the different weights, what the pro quilters who use Aurifil say, etc. Here is what I learned.
All About Aurifil
Aurifil is an Italian company based near Milano, with a full-grown experience in producing superior quality cotton threads for professional and domestic quilters.
It is made with Egyptian Mako Cotton, which is grown much like wine grapes in climate that nurtures the quality and makes for great sewing thread. This ensures very little breakage, and makes it virtually lint free. Which in turn can leave you with a very happy machine, less broken needles, and tension issues.
Aurifil comes in 4 different weights. The Ne.50, Ne.40, Ne.28, Ne.12. The higher the number the thinner the thread. As stated on the Aurifil website
here are the common uses for each weight
- Ne. 50 - Hand Appliqué, Hand Piecing, Long-arm Quilting, Machine Appliqué, Machine Embroidery, Machine Piecing, Machine Quilting.
- Ne. 40 - Cross Stitch, Hand Piecing, Long-arm Quilting, Machine Appliqué, Machine Piecing, Machine Quilting, Machine Embroidery, Serging
- Ne. 28 - Cross Stitch, Hand Piecing, Long-arm Quilting, Machine Appliqué, Machine Piecing, Machine Quilting, Machine Embroidery, Serging, Under Thread
- Ne. 12 - Cross Stitch, Long-arm Quilting, Machine Appliqué, Machine Quilting, Machine Embroidery, Machine Sashiko, Redwork, Hand embroidery, Hand Quilting, Hand Applique, Embellishment
- 6 Strand Floss - six-strand divisible thread to be used in place of pearl cotton or embroidery floss
Aurifil comes in a few different materials.
- 100% Egyptian Mako Cotton- All Purpose
- Invisible Monofilament - for Invisible Stitching
- 100% Lana Wool - For Folk Art and country style stitches
One of the amazing things about Aurifil is the unbelievable color selection. As you know I am a huge fan of using color cards. Aurifil has two wonderful color cards. One for the Mako Cotton with all 250! Mako Cotton colors, 216 of which are plain solids and 36 variegated. One for the Lana Wool with 192 colors, 180 plain solids and 12 variegated.
Aurifil sells thread collections which have been put together by designers and Aurifil experts. Pat Sloan, Pat Bravo, Mark Lipinski, are some of the designers who have chosen their favorite "go to" threads and have created a collection to purchase.
Thread Spool Sizes
Each color comes in a few different sized spools.
- Small Spool - 220 Yards
- Large Spool - 1422 Yards
- Cone - 6452 Yards
- Skien - 109 Yards (40wt, 28wt, 12wt only )
So when Aurifil states that their thread is perfectly suited for every quilt project. They aren't lying! The options are endless.
To learn more about how to properly use Aurifil with your machine, project ideas you can visit Aurifil's website
and watch a plethora of videos.
Playing with Aurifil
Once I was done getting a thorough run down on Aurifil thread I wanted start playing. For the last month or so I have been using Aurifil on most of my projects.
For my Hexie Bag, I used Aurifil 50wt. to whip stich my hexies together. When I assembled the bag, I really wanted the stitched to look solid and heavy duty, so I used a 28wt thread.
After embroidery was done, I finished up sewing the crayon roll with 50wt thread.
For my Pleated Bohemian Tote I used 50wt thread.
For all machine quilt piecing I have been using a 50wt thread
It is very important to remember that when you are using different weights and materials you must make sure you are using the proper tension settings, needle size, and bobbin thread. Aurifil gives suggestions on their website
. For machine quilting here are the suggestions.
- Ne. 50 - Machine quilting : Use for very detailed machine quilting with a lot of back tracking such as feathers and heavy background quilting . Perfect for quilting that creates texture when you don’t necessarily want to see the quilting lines. Use the same thread in the bobbin. Titanium Top Stitch 80/12 needle
- Ne. 40 - Machine quilting : Perfect for quilting when you want to create texture, and also when you want to create a quilted motif that stands out a bit more. Same wt or Mako 50 wt in the same color in the bobbin. Titanium Top Stitch 80/12 needle.
- Ne. 28 - Machine quilting Good for machine quilting when you desire the thread to add an extra visual impact to the patchwork top. Use a slightly longer stitch length. Use Mako 50wt in the bobbin, loosening the top tension to adjust for the difference in weight. If necessary, tighten the bottom tension by threading the bobbin as if for embroidery (if applicable on your machine). Titanium Top Stitch 90/14 needle.
- Ne. 12 - Machine quilting : Good for art quilting when heavier thread effects are desired . Beautiful on linen and jeans fabric . 90/14 topstitch needle
- Ne. 12 Wool - Machine quilting : Suitable for quilting wool fabrics. Use a 90/14 topstitch needle.
Each quilter has their own preference of desired thread weight. I personally have always liked the look of a thick stitch for hand quilting and machine quilting. So to test the thread weights I decided to make some quilt sandwiches and get sewing.
Now I don't do a lot of free motion quilting, my machine just wasn't made to do it and doesn't handle it well, but I decided to give it a whirl to test the thread out. So my stitches are incredibly even, but that is operator error :) In the picture above you will see the different weight threads labeled. I used an orange thread for Ne.40, because I didn't have white or cream. For all of these examples I was using 50wt. in my bobbin.
In the above straight stitch example, I have labeled the weight. For the 40wt. I used a green variegated thread.
So after all of my testing, I am leaning heavily to using a 50wt for piecing, a 40wt or 28wt for machine quilting, and a 12wt for Hand Quilting and Embroidery.
I am truly very happy with Aurifil thread, and my machine which doesn't always like to corporate seems to love it too and is working much better. Now that I am starting to make more items to sell on Etsy, I feel like when I use Aurifil the end result is very high quality and I am proud to sell items made with it. Some of you may be thinking well wait a minute you haven't really tried any other comparable threads, so how can you tell me to use Aurifil. Well that is true, but I am so satisfied with the Aurifil, I don't need to try anything else!
So there you have it folks, my new favorite thread. I would love to hear your opinions on thread brands, weights. If you want to give Aurifil a try. I will be giving away 12 sampler packs in a few weeks for the Totally Groovy QAL, otherwise here are a few shops you can purchase from online.
- Fat Quarter Shop - They sell the Pat Bravo Collections, Invisible Thread, and 15 colors in the 50wt cotton.
- Pink Chalk Fabrics - They sell 10 of the neutral colors of the cotton 50wt. And a Thread Basics Collection.
- Pink Castle Fabrics - They sell 4 Neutral colors in 12wt, 2 neutral colors in 28wt, 2 variegated colors in 28wt, 12 colors in 40wt, and black and white in 50wt.
- Follow that Thread - Has basically the whole Aurifil collection, wool, cotton, color cards etc.
Do you use Aurifil? I'd love to see the projects you have made with it!
Aurifil threads provides complementary threads for me to review, as with all reviews I vow to give my honest true opinion no matter what the compensation (see blog disclosure).