Quilting with Perle Cotton

Posted in hand quilting, Projects on Aug 21, 2012

I have received numerous questions recently about using Perle Cotton for quilting whether by hand or by machine.  So, I thought I’d talk a bit about the two techniques.

The Faux Sashiko pillow(pictured above) that I designed for the fall issue of Stitch magazine was machine quilted using Perle Cotton.  This is a great time saving trick, but one I would really only reccommend on smaller projects–my machine gets a bit cranky when using the heavier weight thread and I certainly wouldn’t want to attempt it on a larger quilt.

When I machine quilt using Perle, I only use the Perle for my top thread–the bobbin thread is regular thread.  I use 8 wt. Perle cotton–although 12 wt. might make my machine a bit happier with me.  I always lengthen my stitches–I usually set my stitch length as long as I can on my Bernina.  And I manually pull the thread off the Perle cotton spool so my machine doesn’t have to work so hard.  I leave my tension at the same setting I would use for regular sewing.

My Fall Petals Pillow is hand quilted using 8 wt. Perle Cotton.  Hand quilting with Perle Cotton is essentially the same thing as hand quilting with quilting weight thread.  The technique is the same, but you take longer stitches and you get to use prettier thread. =p

There are a lot of great resources for hand quilting–one of my favorites is from Mary.

Appliqued Pillow

 I almost exclusively use Finca Perle Cotton which I can now purchase locally.  Prior to purchasing locally, I purchased online from Yarn Bazaar.  I was able to purchase a color card from them which is a wonderful tool if you are unable to view the thread colors in person.

Machine Quilted Journal Cover

 Hopefully this answers some of your burning questions about quilting with Perle Cotton! =p

20 to “Quilting with Perle Cotton”


  1. 1
    Anna says:

    I just pinned this – I’ve often wondered if I could get that Perle through my machine… now I’m going to give it a whirl. (Also, that journal cover is delicious!)

  2. 2
    Liz says:

    Both those pillows make me wish I had the stuff to make those two pillows on this vacation. Wonder if there’s a quilt shop in this teensy town!

  3. 3
    elsa says:

    Really love the things you make ~ you do such fabulous work!

  4. 4
    Lynette says:

    Yep. I had to pin, too. Thank you for taking the time to share your tips. I’m about to start getting into perle cotton work. :)

  5. 5
    heather says:

    I just tried quilting with perle cotton and it was lots of fun. However since I use a rocking stitch when I do normal hand quilting I found I had to change my technique. I ended up doing more of an embroidery style running stitch and that worked well for me. :-)

    • 5.1
      Corey says:

      You might try switching from the smaller sized quilting needles to a larger embroidery needle to accomodate the longer stitch length. I am easily able to do the rocking stitch using an embroidery needle–and it’s so much quicker than one stitch at a time!

  6. 6
    Barb says:

    These pillows are so fabulous and the stitching…oh my gosh! Thanks for sharing your tip on thread.

  7. 7
    Ingrid Burton says:

    Hi Corey, thanks for the tips! I’ve been wondering if I could use perked cotton in my Bernina. What type of machine needle do you suggest for this?

  8. 8
    jackie says:

    Hey great tips on pearl cotton, I’ve been wanting to try using it. Thank-you!

  9. 9
    Julie says:

    Thanks for the tips on using perle cotton. I love using for hand stitching but didn’t realize that you could use it with a sewing machine.
    I am loving your notebook cover. Is it a pattern that is available or is it your own.
    thanks julie

  10. 10

    Thanks for the good tips. I’m especially interested in trying the machine stitching with perle cotton!

  11. 11

    Hi Corey! Thanks for the shout-out! I just would like to add that my new favorite needle for hand quilting with perle is Fons and Porter’s Utility Needle. They come in a pack of 12 for just a few dollars! Great pillows!

  12. 12

    I love what you did with the Perle Cotton on the Faux Sashiko pillow. Wow. The thread makes the design. Great job!

  13. 13
    michele says:

    I wondered how you hide the knot in the back of the quilt when you use perle cotton.
    Thanks.

  14. 14
    Claudia says:

    Thank you so much for you helpfull tip. I had often wondered if it would work on a sewing machine but had never tried (or dared to try) So I am very grateful for your tip – I will go try it directly!

  15. 15
    melanie says:

    Have you quilted with 12wt. perle cotton?

  16. 16
    Libby says:

    Thanks so very much for your website. Do you know if you can get 12 wt. perle cotton in spools or cones so they will fit on a sewing machine or midarm machine spindle? Thanks again for your help.

  17. 17
    Susan says:

    What machine needle did you use? I was wondering if there’s a special needle with a large enough eye to fit the #8 perle cotton.



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