5 essential tips for free motion quilting using thicker threads

This week I’m going to share some smaller projects that I often make and show how I play and experiment with free motion quilting and WonderFil’s thicker threads; Accent and Spagetti and Fruitti. These projects are the perfect size to stitch on my domestic sewing machine.

Pretty quilted knitting bag looks so much better than a brown paper bag.

These threads are thicker than we’re used to and require a bit more attention when quilting. Most of the time we’ll quilt with 50wt [Konfetti], 40wt [Master Quilter] and 30wt [Mirage] threads. The 12wt threads give clear definition to our stitching projects.

Although they also work great with decorative stitches on a sewing machine, this week I’m focusing on Free Motion Quilting.

Quilting with WonderFil’s 12 wt rayon Accent #16, Green Foliage and 30wt Mirage #16 Green Foliage

Use the thicker threads when you want your stitching to show!

WonderFil’s 12wt Fruitti thread, Color # 41 Lamb

Some of my many knitting project bags…

In addition to sewing and quilting, I’m an avid knitter. These days I limit myself to socks, scarves and shawls. These are small projects and don’t require a lot of time or fitting. I knit at night when I’m watching TV or when we take road trips and I’m the passenger!

I was organizing my knitting projects for a recent trip and came across all these bags that I use to store my projects. I thought some new and pretty quilted bags would be a good idea.

Cut bag pieces; outer fabric, batting, lining and straps

I start with 12″ squares of fabric and use 2 layers of batting for added body. I drop my feed dogs on my sewing machine and attach the darning or free motion quilting foot. I thread up something pretty for quilting.


Collection of WonderFil Accent thread

“This bold and beautiful 12wt 2-ply rayon is a thicker thread with a gorgeous sheen, making it stand out and “pop” when you want your stitching to show, as well as providing dimension, texture, and depth to any project. Accent can be used in all types of sewing machines and is available in 40 brilliant solid colors and 20 variegated colors.”

Accent is available on 437yd [400m] spools and is the perfect size for many projects.

TIPS for thick threads

When working with the thicker threads, follow these helpful tips.

  1. Use a larger needle. I use a 14/90 or 16/100 top-stitch needle. Top-stitch needles have a larger eye than a universal type needle and you’ll have less thread shredding.
  2. I have had success with using WonderFil’s DecoBob 80wt thread in the bobbin for these projects, but have found that I like using the 50wt Konfetti cotton thread especially when I’m working on a quilt. Any tension issues I may have are minimized with the heavier thread.
  3. Don’t use the needle threader. If your machine has an automatic needle threader you may find the thread is too thick for the thread and may cause problems with either the thread shredding or the needle threader breaking.
  4. Also, don’t use the automatic thread cutter for similar reasons. I like to take a few short stitches at the end of my stitching line and use my thread snips to cut the needle thread short. I then pull on the bobbin thread to pull the end of the needle thread thru to the back of the work.
  5. Even though the feed dogs are down for free motion quilting, make sure you quilt with a larger stitch length. Slow down your needle speed and work towards a 3mm stitch length.

Free motion quilting sample, WonderFil Accent #40 Sunset

Once my machine is set up correctly, I sit down and quilt! I experiment with new free motion quilting motifs and ideas that I may want to use on a larger project. Sometimes I’m not sure how a thread will look on a fabric until I’ve actually used it in a project. These small bags allow me to play and experiment before I move onto a larger project.

Quilting sample using WonderFil’s Accent, #38 Spring

Tomorrow, I’ll continue with the steps to make these lovely little bags and share with you more quilting using WonderFils’ thicker threads; Accent, Spagetti and Fruitti.

This is part 1 of 5 in this series.

Go to part 2: FMQ shines when using WonderFil’s thicker threads: Accent, Spagetti & Fruitti

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Use Silco thread to add more punch to your applique edges

When your quilting calls for threads to be invisible, use InvisaFil