I have been trying to stock up on long arm quilting threads, and while scouring the internet for good deals on quality thread, I found this bargain lot of Sulky rayon thread. Being new to my long arm I haven't tried rayon in it yet. But I do use rayon quite frequently in my domestic machine, and in my quilts.
Here's what you want to know about rayon...
It's technically considered a synthetic fiber. Because polyester is so strong, it's easy to equate strength with synthetic, but in the case of rayon, that's not so true. Rayon is a very weak thread. It's GORGEOUS! Shiny, pretty, comes in lots and lots of mouth watering colors...variegated's....it's lovely thread. But in my opinion, I would not use rayon thread as the sole component to hold your quilt sandwich together - for quilts that will get a lot of use and abuse.
If you are an embroiderer or former embroiderer who has a stock pile of rayon thread laying around and are itching to use it in your quilt - by all means - do!! I would just recommend saving the rayon for decorative uses.
Another thing to note - rayon thread isn't colorfast. In the sewing world, the definition of colorfast is a little more conservative - it means that the color doesn't hold up to bleach or the chemicals used in washing. So if you toss a little bleach into your wash when washing your quilts...you could very well lose color, have color bleeding, or lose strength.
To me, colorfastness in those terms is not super important because I don't regularly bleach my finished quilts. But what is important to me is that the quilt can stand being washed many times - so for quilts that will be used, quilts that will be washed, beat up, banged around and abused, I make sure the main thread holding my quilt sandwich together is something strong and durable. But for wall hangings, table runners, and other "fun quilts" that aren't going to get washed or terribly worn, I use rayon thread all the time!
Above is a photo of Superior's So Fine #50 in an off white compared to Sulky Rayon in a teal shade...they are both thin, but you can see that rayon is a bit of a slippery thread. Sometimes it can help to use cotton or a cottonized/cotton wrapped polyester in the bobbin to help "grab" the top rayon thread and give it something to grip and lock into. Rayon in both the top and bobbin can be tricky and it takes some fiddling to prevent looping on the top, which happens sometimes when the thread is very slippery.
Free motion quilting with rayon is LOVELY!!! If you are playing around and practicing your free motion quilting by all means, bust out that rayon. It's a nice thin thread and in areas where thread tends to build up it really looks beautiful. Below is a little table topper I made and sold on Etsy and the entire project was quilted with rayon thread.
So hey, I'm still obsessing about thread over here! It's my new nail polish... :) Here's a little video you might enjoy talking a little more about rayon thread. I will show you a bit of the new thread I just bought and do a thread break test so you can decide for yourself how you'd like to use rayon in your quilts...or not at all!
Oh - and don't forget to grab the pretty thread button below for your blog!!! :) Link it back here and we can talk about GREAT thread together! ;)