How do you make your thread last?

Have you ever wondered how you can make your thread last the life of your quilt, and still look and function as great as ever? 


Anyone else get weirdly obsessed with things and do a deep dive resulting in info you never thought you’d need to know? Just me?

I love Aurifil thread for piecing and quilting. It’s strong, comes in every colour you could ever need, and it’s made in Italy in their own factories. So you know the quality is great!


I also love how I can fit so much more on a bobbin than other brands, even when it’s the same weight of thread. Anything that keeps me sewing longer makes me happy!

I went down a rabbit hole though and found out that they have a thread care guide for washing and dying, and I thought that was super interesting! It really shows the attention to detail they have. Now I pretty much wash all my quilts in cold water and dry on low heat, but the more you know, you know?

Aurifil has three colour categories: 

    • 23 Reactive Colours (marked with a * on the Aurifil color chart)
    • 211 Indanthren Colours
    • 36 Multicolour (variegated threads, marked with a small black square on the Aurifil color chart).

make your thread last

Reactive Colors (marked with a star) 

Reactive colors are created using a reactive dye– a type of deeply coloured organic material that attaches itself through a chemical reaction. This chemical reaction forms a molecular bond between the dye and the fiber. The dye then becomes a part of the fiber and is a lot less likely to “bleed” like something that was dyed by simple absorption.

Reactive Colour Care Instructions:

  • Launder without bleach
  • Machine wash in cold water – no more than 140˚F (60˚C)
  • Tumble dry cool
  • Iron on low heat – no more than 300˚F (150˚C)
how to extend life of your aurifil thread

Indanthren Colors

Indanthren colors are their ‘work-horse’ colors. They are seen as more heavy-duty and have a high level of colourfastness. ’Indanthren’ is a trade name for the first synthetic vat dyes, discovered in 1901 by a German chemist named Renohn. Vat dyes are insoluble in water, mainly used for cellulose or protein fibers (plant or natural fibers like cotton, flax, or wool), and have a final color that is developed in the oxidation process. Indanthren dyes can withstand light, bleach, and somewhat higher temperatures.

Indanthren Colour Care Instructions:

  • Launder with bleach (as necessary) in cold water only
  • Machine wash in cold to warm water — no more than 160˚F (70˚)
  • Tumble dry at low to no heat
  • Iron on low heat – no more than 300˚F (150˚C)
extend the life of quilting thread

Multicolour threads (marked with a square)

Multicolour are also known as variegated threads. They are marked with a square on the colour chart.

Multicolour Thread Care Instructions:

  • Launder without bleach
  • Machine wash cold – no more than 85˚F (70˚)
  • Tumble dry at very low or no heat
  • Iron on low heat – no more than 230˚F (150˚C)
So how’s that for some Aurifil education? Until the next rabbit hole, happy stitching! 


Michelle Brassens

Hi, I’m Michelle! I’ve never met a craft I didn’t like. Sewing however was where I really found my groove! So I left behind life as a pastry chef and concentrated on making things with fabric instead of food. I work at Dinkydoo Fabrics now and get to write about sewing and quilting for work. Stick with me and I’ll show you all kinds of tips and tricks, from beginner to expert maker level. Can’t wait!