Invisible Thread-Open Line Friday-We Need YOUR Advice!

Invisible Thread, Quilting Tips

Good Morning, Quilters!

Do YOU know what the photo above is?

It’s Invisible Thread!


(The hardest part about blogging–you can’t tell if YOU have the same lame sense of humor that I have!?)

Last week, a reader asked about invisible thread and I thought we needed The Whole Group’s help on this one.  (10,000 heads are better!)


Well, it’s thread you can’t see…

When used for machine quilting, one notices texture and the motif, not the thread.

Invisible thread can be used for top and/or bobbin thread.

Usually, invisible thread is another name for monofilament thread.


Monofilament thread is a single, (mono) extruded line of nylon or polyester.  (Think of a garlic press with one very tiny hole…Press down and you create monofilament garlic-yum!)

Monofilament usually comes in two colors: clear and smoke…(Hmmm….how does that work–invisible colors???)


The quilting debate:  Which is better nylon or polyester monofilament thread?

Advocates for nylon say nylon has a better “hand”-it is softer and machines like it better.  A few popular nylon monofilaments include: Aurifil 1000 Invisible   YLI Wonder Invisible Thread,

Advocates for polyester say nylon stretches too much, can be brittle and sometimes turns yellow.  Polyester monofilaments include:  Sulky Invisible and Superior’s MonoPoly


When I first started machine quilting, my favorite quilter, Diane Gaudynski, frequently used monofilament thread for her award-winning quilts. Naturally, I experimented with monofilaments.  Unfortunately, my sewing machine HATED the monofilament and I needed to have my machine serviced after using it. I was stitching on a BERNINA, just like Ms. Gaudynski–so it must have been user error.  I don’t remember if I was using nylon or poly.  Ever since then, I have steered clear of monofilament thread.

Whenever I wanted an “invisible thread” I used a thread color that matched my fabric.  Superior MicroQuilter Thread


Recently, I tried Superior’s new thread line, MicroQuilter.

MicroQuilter is 100 wt polyester thread and my machine LOVES it!

The thread is very fine and almost invisible like monofilament, but behaves like a well-mannered polyester!

While I was teaching at The John Campbell Folk School, several students tried it and loved it too.

BERNINA, Lori Kennedy


It’s important to understand that one of the criteria for choosing a thread is:   Does YOUR machine like it?

We all have different machines and we all work a little differently.

Threads that work for Diane Gaudynski do not work for me…What works for me, may not work for you…

Don’t be discouraged if a new thread isn’t working.  Give it to a quilt friend and try something else!

Half the challenge (and fun) of learning machine quilting is finding YOUR favorites!

What about YOU?

Do YOU use invisible thread?

What brand?  Nylon? Polyester?

Do YOU use something else?

We’d LOVE to hear!

Your Thread Maven,

Lo   (the other letters are invisible)

PS…If you like these motifs and tips, be sure to check out my book, Free Motion Machine Quilting 1-2-3 or any of my Craftsy Videos!  

PPS…All tutorials, images and information are the property of Lori Kennedy at The Inbox Jaunt and are intended for personal use only.  Feel free to re-blog, pin or share with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt.  For all other purposes, please contact me at  Thanks!










87 thoughts on “Invisible Thread-Open Line Friday-We Need YOUR Advice!

  1. My Bernina 350 is okay with YLI invisible thread, but I prefer Superior’s So Fine and Bottom Line. Besides the shine, sometimes the YLI wants to unsew itself at the beginning and end of a seam. I really want to get some of the Microquilter, but I feel like I have to use up what I have first, and that includes a lot of the YLI.

    • I should add that I use Bottom Line in the bobbin when I use the YLI invisible, and I use Superior’s cone stand.

  2. Wow, it is such a wonderful thing to have some many opinions and options! Thanks, Lori for providing the chance to share kindly with each other. You set the tone, girl! And , I LOVE your goofy humor!

  3. My machine loves aurfil thread, I have a babylock. I like YlI too but not bottom line. I have used both polyester and nylon and prefer the nylon, it just sew better on my machine.

  4. Nice to hear how much you like the MonoPoly, as I just ordered some to try out. 🙂 My machine is like yours – it HATES monofilament. Superior’s is the only one I can get it to tolerate. I’m not 100% happy with the look, though, particularly on fused applique. The thread disappears, but the holes stay open-looking, which isn’t attractive. So I almost every single always time choose a perfect-match thread (and it’s disappearing holes!), with color changes as needed, over a monofilament to do it all.

  5. Years ago I used invisible thread and loved it for everything. One of the nice features was how long the spool lasted. But I bought some new, hated it and quit. Just learned last year that I had purchased a cheap nylon that behaved like fishing line. It constantly boinged out of the eye of my needle. I didn’t realize there were different kinds. Now, I know. Bought a polyester and love it again. So my message is to try different kinds. It’s the thread, not you, if you are having problems.
    Thanks for all the info about different kinds. Will give them a try.

  6. Hi there, my first experience with invisible thread was when I used to sew curtains for a living.

    I had a giant reel of nylon thread, which I used only in the bobbin, speaking of which I had to be careful if I wound it onto plastic bobbins, as I broke a few by filling them too full – metal ones were much better. I used it in the bobbin on fabrics that were too hard to colour match and it was ok – however I really didn’t much like the shine and the fact that it melted if I touched it with the iron.

    Now that I’m a quilter, I tried the Superior MonoPoly which is much better, but I’m still not happy with the shine it leaves.Just a personal opinion.

    I now use Wonderfil Invisavil (100wt) or Wonderfil DecoBob (80wt) for applique and often for quilting if I don’t want it to stand out too much. It’s also excellent in the bobbin as it doesn’t show very much. I have at times also put the Invisafil in the top to ditch a quilt with lots of seams (like a stack and whack) and used a variegated on the plainer back – I was very pleased with it.

  7. I am a BIG fan of Superior Threads and have used all save the kimono silk. BUT…I didn’t know they’d come out with MicroQuilter! I fmq quite a bit and read the comments with great interest. Will have to order some MicroQuilter and give it a try! Thank you all.

  8. I recently used the monofilament thread for the first time to stabilise my quilt. I gave up after it broke so many times – in the end I used So Fine Superior thread which still breaks and leaves huge eyebrows on the back (needle, tension, work through list etc) but I mostly get a very good run with the So Fine – and Bottom Line in the bobbin.
    Quite disappointed about the invisible thread, but it’s good (or bad?) to see it’s not just my machine that eats it up! Mine is a Janome MC6500.

  9. I love the MicroQuilter! It works beautifully in my 1230 Bernina when I use a 50wt thread in the bobbin. It disappears, leaving just texture!

  10. I have experimented with invisible thread, nylon monofilament I believe, but never really liked it very much. My machine (Bernina) was ok with it but what I didn’t like was the shininess when the light reflected off it. Even when I used it in the ditch it was quite visible when the light hit it at a certain angle. I also don’t really like the combination of a woven cotton fabric and monofilament synthetic thread.

  11. hi loved your “invisible thread” post! I did use it for trap onto (once). But now I just use two batting so for the trap unto effect! l

  12. Wanted texture on a Santa Stocking, used Monopoly, too shines, pulled it out and used matching red thread, more work but better result.

  13. These threads pose risks for animals – if they ingest it it causes havoc on digestive system and since its hard to see pieces end up on floor. And if it ends up in a landfill then the ocean…I also hate using plastic products since they are not biodegradable and are a petroleum product. Not worth using these threads.

  14. Monofilament thread leaves little ends that are POKEY. I would never use it on a baby quilt. It might be okay for a wall hanging, but I prefer cotton, cotton-poly blend or polyester or rayon.

  15. Hi Lori, the short of it. I am with you. It is not the person, but rather the machine. I have not had any success with any of the ‘invisible’ threads. I did try Microquilter and it too is hard on my machines, even after much adjusting. I simply try to match my fabric as close as possible, but lots of times, I like the pop that the quilting gives to a project, so I choose thread that does that. THANK YOU for opening up the discussion.

  16. Hi Lori: thanks for posting on the invisible thread. When I use YLI i found if I decreased the tension to 3 it worked better. I will have to buy some of the Superior Thread Microquilter. Enjoy your blog and skill at machine quilting.

  17. I used YLI invisible successfully when I first started quilting but have since come to dislike invisible thread. Still use it occasionally but mostly end up trying to match thread or use contrasting thread as an accent depending on the look I want. I was told that silk thread is nearly invisible but have yet to try it.

  18. I use Sulky polyester invisible thread in my Janome Magnolia and for appliqué I use the Microtex 10 needle. It is shiny but no holes.

  19. I have some very fine old invisible polyester stuff that unfortunately is missing the label so I don’t know the brand. I DO know that it gave me endless grief when trying to use it in my 20+ year old Babylock. I’ve since tried it in my Brother VQ3000 and was VERY successful using it for both the upper thread and in the bobbin when quilting a two sided wall hanging. However, until I was finished, I didn’t realize that I’d been using a metallic thread needle which I’d forgotten to remove after working with gold and silver on a Christmas project. I’m going to make a little practice project with a regular needle to find out if it was the metallic needle that made the difference or the newer machine.

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