Sulky’s Tips for Thread Success, Giveaway Part 4

Quiltmaker is happy to partner with Sulky for the fourth in a five-part thread giveaway. After reading Patti’s tips, please leave a comment for your chance to win.

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Sulky’s Tips for Thread Success

Part 2

By Patti Lee, Vice President of Consumer Relations, Sulky of America

logo Sulkys Tips for Thread Success, Giveaway Part 4

See Part 1 of Patti’s thread article here.

Part 2

9. What about sewing machine needles? Oh, so important! No matter what your sewing application is, there is a specific needle that will give you better results than any other needle.

needles Sulkys Tips for Thread Success, Giveaway Part 4

10. Most of the problems that occur with a quality thread are caused by using the wrong type or size of needle and/or unsuitable top tension. The thread needs room to pass without abrasion through the needle eye, and it needs appropriate top tension for its type and weight.

Try a different size needle

11.  Here’s a generality: Any 90/14 needle will work better with a metallic thread than an 80/12 (even an 80/12 metallic needle). However, many machines prefer a 90/14 topstitch, metallic or embroidery needle because those needles have both a longer eye and a longer groove to protect the thread.

Buy quality needles

12. Always buy top quality machine needles. If you are experiencing fraying or breaking threads, skipped stitches, puckering or stitch quality issues, change the needle (try one recommended above). Then, lower your top tension if necessary.

Adjust the top tension

13.  What if you’re working with heavier threads, like a 30-weight rayon, or a 12-weight cotton such as Sulky Cotton Blendables? Lower the top tension. It’s a movable dial for a reason!

 Sulkys Tips for Thread Success, Giveaway Part 4

Sulky Cotton Blendables



14.  Occasionally a particular machine likes a tighter top tension with heavier threads.  Truly, the dial is there for a reason.

PFAFF 150 expression Sulkys Tips for Thread Success, Giveaway Part 4

15.  Today we doing much more than sewing seams and mending. We’re embellishing, embroidering, quilting, stitching decoratively, free-motion stitching and more.  Machines are incredibly sophisticated, but you’re still in charge of the tension and the spool pin position. A machine that senses all of this is probably not far off, but in the meantime, we need to adjust that dial ourselves.

Many times people have said to me, “Oh, but my machine doesn’t like metallic (rayon, heavy, light, etc.) thread.” And then every person has learned what their machine was really asking them for: a different thread placement, an appropriate needle or a simple tension adjustment.

Those of us who sew know that machines have personalities, but from the least to the most expensive, every one of them should be able to handle specialty threads with these minor adjustments.

If you have thread questions, I’ll be glad to help you. Contact

This post marks Part 4 of a five-part giveaway. Leave a comment below for your chance to win some luscious Sulky threads by midnight Sunday, May 20. We’ll announce winners here.

Congratulations to our four winners whose comments were randomly chosen from all the great comments, #117 Laura G, #298 Kathleen Graas, #60 Carol Hydeman and #56 Janet F.

About Diane Harris

I'm an editor for Quiltmaker magazine in Golden, Colorado, USA. For six years, I wrote pattern instructions, product reviews and how-to articles. Then I spent four years as QM's Interactive Editor, working to generate much of our online content. Now I'm back to patterns and how-tos, which is a great fit for me. I still love writing about quilt-related topics for Quilty Pleasures, and I always have my finger on the pulse of the quilting world. I teach a variety of quilt classes and give guild programs, too. Reach me by email:
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