Polyester Thread: Friend or Foe?

Tales of polyester thread have been spun all over the internet. Some of them, are ridiculously false, and some of them, I have no idea if they are true or not.

I was recently reading a book on rotary cutting, and the author says that polyester thread will cut through your quilt and will ruin it. I thought to myself, “that’s bleeding ridiculous”, and I call shenanigans! Think about that for a second. Would polyester thread cut through your cotton quilt? No! I instantly thought about a shirt or blouse. I have plenty of cotton shirts with polyester thread, and I highly doubt that any amount of stress a quilt will be under would be far less than the seam on the sleeve of the one of my work shirts. Think about a silk blouse. This clearly isn’t true! I know there are quite a few people who hate all things polyester. I’m not saying I love the fabric, but the thread is nice in my opinion!

When I was a kid, my grandfather would take me clothes shopping, and his only rule was, it had to be 100% cotton. Growing up, I thought that was really weird. I personally think it might have been the fact that my dad wore a lot of leisure suits in the 70’s and that killed polyester for my grandfather, and I really can’t blame him. However, I have forgiven polyester for it’s crimes of passion in the 70’s and 80’s and now we are on good terms. In fact, I only use trilobal polyester to sew. It’s pretty, and it’s strong. I’ve never run into problems with it, but that’s just me. I just don’t seem to understand why people hate polyester so much.

I have heard that it is easier to pick out stitches, but other than that, I really only hear people talk smack about it for being polyester. I mean, is it that heinous that people hate t for just being polyester. It works great in my machine, and I never really run into problems with it breaking while I sew or quilt. I think that is kind of a godsend! Thread breaking while you are quilting is one of my least favorite things in the world.

So, tell me what everyone else thinks! Polyester, friend or foe?


  1. Jim Hahn says:

    My rule of thumb with polyester is that if it hurts your hands to break it, it’s too strong to put in your quilt.

    I also had cheap, cotton covered polyester cut a groove in the plastic housing of my sewing machine.

    I like the precision and variety of color of Polyester, but when pull comes to tug, I want the sewing thread to give way before the cotton of the fabric. And, yes the stress a quilt comes under can be much more than a shirt or blouse (it’s a matter of mass).

  2. Laura says:

    I started quilting when I was 12, sad to say, 40 years ago. I have learned the hard way, over the years, as I have watched some of my quilts fall apart, what not to do, and what works best. If you want your quilts to be used and hold up over time, instead of hung on a wall or discarded …

    … From experience … I tied one quilt, and will never do it again – it will wear holes through the quilt where the ties are. I will never use a sheet for the backing, it will become thread bare much faster than the face of the quilt. I will not mix different types of fabric/batting into a quilt, they wash/wear differently and fall apart sooner, along the seam lines.

    If I sew with polyester fabric, or a blend, I will use polyester batting and thread … If I sew with 100% cotton fabric and batting I use 100% cotton thread. The thread does make a difference 15 to 20 years down the road.

    I feel like my quilts are my children, I would hate for one to deteriorate sooner because I chosen materials that I have learned don’t work for me.

  3. beky says:

    Polyester thread will Not Cot through your quilt. Since the thread is stronger than the cotton fabric of the quilt, as the quilt wears and the polyester does not, it just appears that the thread is cutting the quilt. My longarmer recommends poly as it is strong and stable and allows the quilt to be washed frequently. Just be sure to pay attention to the recommendations on the batting about how far apart you should quilt.

  4. I was told the same thing about polyester thread. I finally tried Omni cones by Superior for my longarm quilting business and I find that I love it. It was recommended by several businesses selling long arms at the MN quilt show in Duluth MN. I thought I would take a chance and I love it. The breakage is less, the linting is less, and it blends into the quilt just lovely. I haven’t found it to be hard on the cotton fabric at all. I would suggest trying it to see what you think. The beauty of quilting is you get to decide what you love best 😀 and its all wonderful!

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