photo comparing thread weights

10 Ways to Sew with Heavy 12wt Thread

WonderFil Specialty Threads
Autumn 2020

Some sewers might be stumped on what to use 12wt thread for, after all it isn’t your traditional medium-sized thread. What a lot of people don’t realize is how beautiful, bold and versatile this thicker thread can be, as well as what kinds of effects you can create with it. We’ll also take a closer look at the different types of 12wt thread you can find on the market and when you might want to choose one over the other.

Thread Painting
12wt threads are a fantastic choice for thread painting for a few reasons. Because the thread is thicker, you can actually cover more area with less thread, making it a lot more efficient to thread paint with a 12wt thread. In addition, you’ll also find that the thread sits a little higher from the fabric. This gives a bolder textural effect to your project than using a medium weight thread would.

photo of thread painting

Cross Stitch
These threads are thick enough for cross stitching projects, especially when you want to use a fabric or fibre with a finer weave.

photo of cross stitch

Machine Embroidery
40wt threads are the standard when it comes to machine embroidery, but you can create a new look by using 12wt thread in your embroidery machine. If you have a larger design, or a design that isn’t too intricate, a 12wt thread will show the pattern much more boldly without needing to double stitch the same lines. Your pattern will also show off better due to the thicker thread.

photo of machine embroidery

Hand Embroidery
If you love doing hand embroidery and sometimes split the strands of embroidery floss to make a finer thread, a 12wt thread is actually  comparable in size to a single strand of embroidery floss. Choosing a 12wt cotton is a good choice if you prefer to use perle cotton to embroider with, as perle cotton should not be split as it can weaken the thread as well as give it a lintier look.

photo of hand embroidery

Decorative Stitching
The decorative stitches built into most sewing machines are perfect for utilizing 12wt threads for fun, stand-out stitches. They’re perfect for  decorating any project, whether it’s a stocking for your family, adding a small decorative line of stitching to a piece of clothing, or embellishing any quilt or table runner. A 12wt thread will give every decorative stitch a little more emphasis than a regular medium weight thread would.

photo of decorative machine stitches

Needle Punch
Needle punching is a tool that can be used to create incredible textural effects, and it works best with thicker threads like 12wt. Depending on how you use the tool, you can make either dense loops or weave back and forth to fill in a space. This is a fantastic way to add a unique look to any project.

photo of needle punching

Big Stitch Hand Quilting
12wt is one of the best threads to use for big stitch hand quilting because the thick thread really stands out against the fabric. You’ll also find it  easier to handle a 12wt thread versus a medium weight thread as it is less delicate and sits better in a wide running stitch.

photo of big stitch hand quilting

Machine Quilting & Longarm Quilting
If you’re not afraid of bold stitches that love to show off, a 12wt thread is the perfect choice when used for quilting. 12wt is actually the thickest  thread you can put through the eye of a machine needle, so you can guarantee a quilted look where the thread adds another dimension of texture and colour.

photo of longarm quilting

Red Work
Red work is a form of American embroidery that traditionally uses red thread and basic stitches to decorate household items. It can be completed with a simple back stitch following a traced pattern to create motifs that can decorate anything from dishcloths to quilts to cushion covers. A 12wt  thread stands out beautifully against white fabric, making it ideal for outlining patterns

photo of red work embroidery

Sashiko is a Japanese embroidery technique that uses a simple running stitch to create beautiful geometric patterns or imagery. Traditionally it is done with white thread on indigo-dyed fabric, but these days, you can use any colours you like. Sashiko can be done by hand using a running  stitch and a long hand embroidery or sashiko needle. However, you can also purchase a sashiko machine which replicates the look of a hand stitch.

photo of sashiko embroidery

These are just 10 ways you can use these beautiful, bold threads. We hope this inspires you to use 12wt threads in some of your projects, or expand your horizons on what techniques they can be used in. Visit WonderFil Specialty Threads for a list of retailers or to order online.

Quilt Canada July 19-22, 2023

Quilt Canada July 19-22, 2023

Quilt Canada July 19-22, 2023 in Edmonton, Alberta