Product review: MicroQuilter, a new thread for invisible machine applique
I just finished a large applique block using a new thread for invisible machine applique. Superior Threads recently released MicroQuilter, a very fine, thin thread made out of polyester and perfect for applique.
This review is not being sponsored, so these words are purely my own opinion and the result of my experience with them. I have always liked Superior Thread products and I appreciate their support of the quilting community. Their newsletter and website is full of information specific to quilting. When I heard about this thread, I wanted to try it out right away.
MicroQuilter is a 100 wt. extra-fine polyester thread designed for invisible machine applique, detail quilting, and stitch in the ditch. It is an extremely fine thread that can be sewn with a very small needle, rendering the thread virtually invisible. MicroQuilter is noticeably strong, especially considering its thin diameter and is the preferred thread for micro stippling and miniatures. MicroQuilter can be used on home machines and longarm machines and is available in 30 colors on 3,000 yd. cones.
The project I’m working on is a block of the month quilt, Portage Lake, designed by Minick & Simpson. I just finished block number 3 and I have some catching up to do. I love the mix of piecing, embroidery and applique in this quilt. And the fabrics are fantastic (The Granary Quilt Shop still has kits available – just saying.)
I’m using an applique method called invisible machine applique. The idea is to make the applique look like it was done by hand, but it was quickly sewn on by machine. You can read about the stitch I used on my machine here. The edges of the applique are turned under with the freezer paper and starch method.
When I sew the edges down by machine, I usually use monofilament thread which is clear and mostly invisible, but it does have a shine to it and it’s not always easy to work with (it doesn’t play nicely with some sewing machines).
The MicroQuilter thread is a 100 weight thread made out of polyester. It’s strong and very fine and you can use a really small needle (60/8) in your sewing machine. A smaller needle means a smaller hole. I was out of that size needle so I used a size 70/10. That’s still a small needle. The photos below were taken right after I was done stitching. You can still see the holes very easily. After time and once it’s layered, basted, and quilted, the holes will close up and not be nearly as visible.
The thread almost disappears into the fabric but does the job of stitching the applique edges down securely. It goes easily through my machine and I had no problems with it breaking or with tension. That’s not to say every sewing machine is going to behave as well as mine did (I’m using a Bernina 770 QE). I used a neutral color bobbin thread called Bottom Line, also by Superior Threads.
The stitch I’m using is similar to a blind hem stitch, but it’s called a vari-overlock stitch. It gives you two straight stitches and then a “V” shaped stitch to the right. The stitch needs to be mirror imaged so that it’s biting into the applique shape. The thread is so fine that it’s really hard to see and even the straight stitches that lay next to the applique are invisible. The settings on my Bernina are 1.0 wide and 1.7 long.
I found that I didn’t need a stabilizer underneath the applique as I usually do when using heavier thread for applique. That’s a big time saver right there because I don’t have the tedious task of tearing away the stabilizer when I’m done.
The only disadvantage to MicroQuilter thread is that you need a matching color of thread for each applique shape. It doesn’t have to be absolutely perfect, but very close. I also wish it came in smaller sized cones and in more colors (which I think they will add in the future). Each cone contains 3,000 yards and costs $11.50 each. I’ll probably never get to the end of one cone, and it could get expensive if I have a project with a rainbow of colors. I’m using four colors for the Portage Lake BOM.
This is just one use of the MicroQuilter thread. I can’t wait to try it for stitching in the ditch. Just about every project I quilt, I do some stitching in the ditch. I think this thread will be awesome to hide those stitches in the seam. It would also be wonderful for micro stippling or delicate feather stitching as well.
I know many of you have asked for a remodel update and since I was using my unfinished kitchen to stage these photos, I thought I would share a few progress shots. We have partial cabinets and granite counter tops! Floors go in tomorrow.
I’m glad the weather has warmed up and I can open the doors and windows. I’ve got a busy week ahead and I’ll share pictures of my WIP’s when I can. See you next time!
Thank you so much for this review–very useful!!! Your quilt is coming along beautifully.
Thank you for this great tutorial – I found it really informative as I am thinking of doing some machine applique – I love your more or less invisible technique and will be practicing that today! I also enjoyed your starch and freezer paper tutorial as well. You make really good tutorials with fantastic pictures.
perry94022 at hotmail dot com
Thanks for the great info. Cooper is a real doll and your photo really sets him off.
Your work is absolutely beautiful. Thanks for the info. Your kitchen will be great. Love your dog, too. I can only dream of becoming so accomplished. Thanks for sharing.
Hi. I have a few questions regarding the Portage Lake kit. It is beautiful! And labeled Advanced. Do you find it to be so? I am not advanced and really want to get it. Pattern is unavailable alone so I can get just that and wait for my skills to improve 🙂 What are your feelings regarding the difficulty? It is really beautiful!
sorry. pattern is unavailable to purchase so i can NOT get it and wait!
What a terrific post! Thank you for sharing those great tips on the overlock stitch! And your Portage Lake quilt project is just beautiful! It made me stop in my tracks on Instagram. Such lovely work!
Looks like great thread for the machine applique. I love when it can look like hand work with out all the work. Your applique block is stunning! Good luck on your remodel!
Hi Julie! Thanks for the review. I have a quick question–if you iron over it, will it melt or weaken the thread? Sounds like it would be good for free motion-especially to help hide my mistakes. Then I iron the binding away after I sew it on–would use regular thread for that, but may iron over the quilting.
I love your blocks, your kitchen and your doggie!
Thank you for taking the time to post a review of the new MicroQuilter…I will be anxious to try it too. Your kitchen is looking fantastic and I love the countertops. I bet you’ll be happy when it’s finished.
Julie-Congratulations on the beautiful kitchen to be!!! I love the nice big kitchen window! Mine is at the sink and I love watching the birds in the morning and really all day! Thank you for the update on the thread as I do enjoy applique by machine. Sounds great! Your Bernina is on my “Wish” list! I have the 440QE now and really love it.
Ps. the kitchen is looking beautiful!!
Thanks for the info Jule! I was just on their site looking at some other thread, and it’s nice to hear what you thought of the micro fine thread. I’m going to try some: I’ve got to do something to speed up my applique projects!! 🙂
Thank you for such a detailed review of MicroQuilter! I tried monofilament thread once upon a time, but it felt like wires in my hands and it did not play well with my machine. I haven’t bothered since, but I’m definitely intrigued by MicroQuilter and will have to give it a try.
Hi Julie, I love the large block with flowers bursting out of the pot.
Thank you for sharing this new thread and your quilt. And by the way, your kitchen looks beautiful and so does your doggie.
Thanks Julie for sharing the info and pictures.
What a cutie Cooper is! I can’t wait to see the finished kitchen….your granite is very
nice and looks similar to mine. I know you will love it!
Thanks for the info and pictures. Your project is beautiful! Love seeing Cooper too. Is Cooper a Brittany?
I love that you include Cooper’s picture. I love that you tried this new thread out. Perhaps they’ll release MicroQuilter bobbin set by PIQF! Keeping my fingers crossed. Thanks Julie!
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