Problems with quilts stitched with monofilament thread appraised

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A client of mine who also happens to be a quilt appraiser has made me aware that some of her quilts that have been stitched with monofilament thread are not holding up.  Here is her comment about it.


"Have any of you run into a problem with the monofilament threads that are being used. I have run into two different long arm quilters that have used it on a quilts brought to me for appraisal only to find that the filament thread had broken. It appeared that it had been stretched then broke. Top of quilt threads were lifting off."


It is hard for me to determine if this was nylon or poly monofilament thread.  I understand that the regular monofilament is much more brittle and will yellow over time and also will melt if you iron it.  I use superior reduced sheen  poly monofilament.  I am a new quilter.  Is this a mistake?  I thought that most custom quilts had stitch in the ditch poly monofilament. Could someone clearify and give me some information about this?


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If as you say "It appeared that it had been stretched then broke. Top of the quilt threads were lifting off"-- which would indicate that the monofilament was used in the bobbin. Mono thread is inherently stretchy, so was it snagged? Were both ends of the broken strand apparent?


My suspicion is that the thread didn't break from heat or wear, but that the longarmer didn't secure the starts and stops well enough. With handling and wear perhaps the ends worked themselves out of the quilt.


I did a heat-test years ago on Superior Monopoly, Madiera Monolon, and Fil-tec Essence invisible threads. They are listed in order of thickest to thinnest. The only thread affected by 20 seconds of hottest, dry, direct heat from an iron was the Monopoly, which went from transparent to foggy and became rough. The other two showed no change, were smooth and stayed pliable.

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I would think if the top tension was too tight when the quilt was stitched, it might be more susceptible to breaking especially if the quilt is then sat on while on the bed. I don't think there is enough information to provide a meaningful analysis. Harriet Hargrave has been using it for years and has seen no degradation, and her quilts are folded and hauled around constantly. I would refer your appraiser to her for a discussion on monofilament thread.

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It is up to the quilter and the customer as to what thread is used for stitching in the ditch.  I rarely use the clear thread when quilting....unless the customer asks for it specifically.   I usually match the stitch in the ditch color thread to the background, or what ever color the piece I'm stitching into is.

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