Vibrant & versatile 28wt

Aurifil Designer Tammy Silvers is a a wonderful pattern designer, a fabric designer for Island Batik, an educator, a Studio 180 Certified Instructor, and truly one of the biggest cheerleaders you’ll find in the quilting industry. We were lucky to collaborate with her late last year on a stunning collection of 28wt threads called Kismet. The set was curated to coordinate with her Island Batik fabrics, a brilliant range of bold and brights featuring a series of motifs that are near and dear to Tammy’s heart. We think this was a bit of a passion project for her, and it shows through with her projects and her marketing.

Tammy shared her thoughts on the collection earlier this year (It’s Kismet), in addition to two passion projects (It’s a Kismet Christmas & Your Love Gives Me Wings). We love that she’s always featuring the 28wt threads, highlighting the benefits, and introducing tips for working with a slightly heavier weight. Every thread needs a champion and Tammy has been shouting her love of 28wt from the hilltops!

We’re turning Auribuzz over to her today, for a closer look at just how versatile Aurifil 28wt really is!

If you are already a fan of Aurifil thread, then you are probably aware of the HUGE range of weights that their luscious, super smooth thread come in. Yes, they have everything from 80wt (super fine, wonderful for applique work) up to 12wt (very heavy, wonderful for embellishment). A crush-worthy weight, one that I feel is somewhat underappreciated, is the 28wt. It is lighter than the 12 wt, but with substantially more presence than the 40wt. Ok, sounds good – but what exactly can you do with 28wt?

I asked a few of my friends to play with the 28wt threads from my Kismet collection, and we want to share some inspiration for how you can incorporate 28wt into your next stitching project! Follow the links below for a little blog hop filled with LOTS of thread eye candy.

Hand Embroidery:
Did you know you can hand embroider with 28wt? Well, you can! Just look at this adorable hand embroidered accent block that Kate Colleran of Seams Like A Dream incorporated into one of her braid template projects! Yes, it is heavy enough to showcase on fabric. Visit Kate’s blog to see more on this fun project and read her tips and tricks for working with 28wt as a hand embroidery thread.

Machine Quilting:
Swan Sheridan of Swan Amity Studios and Becky Jorgensen of Patchwork Posse both used the Kismet 28wt threads for machine quilting – and just look at the results!

Becky added some punch to her lovely little tulip wall hanging by echo quilting in coordinating threads from the collection. Visit Becky’s blog for more details on how she used the 28wt for her quilting.

Swan did some amazing geometric quilting in contrasting threads to create additional texture on her table topper. Visit Swan’s blog to see details on how she created the fun geometric quilted accents.

Top Stitching:
Top stitching is a direct form of embellishment and construction – and Jessica Vandenburgh of Sew Many Creations showcased the Kismet 28wt collection beautifully. See how stunning it looks when used as top stitching on cork! Yes – you CAN top stitch on cork. Ah… are you getting some fun ideas for your next project? Jessica will be sharing more, so make sure to keep up with her via her blog.

Good Fortune Kismet by Tammy Silvers

If you have seen any of my earlier projects, you already know I LOVE to use the 28wt for edge stitching as embellishment on fused applique projects. Fun… easy… eye catching… but I thought I’d try something new this time. So, here’s a technique inspiration idea for you – have you ever tried embellishing a fabric or block BEFORE you finish piecing?

For this article, I thought it would be fun to try embellishing a block from my After the Rain pattern – before I made my cuts and assembled the block.

Here’s the block – but it’s not complete. For After the Rain, once the oval has been fused, the block is then cut and reassembled. Starting to make sense now? I stitched, fused, embellished – and then I cut the block to reassemble into stylized flowers.

If you are going to try this, it is a terrific opportunity to play around with decorative stitches on your machine – which is exactly what I did.  Some pointers if you decide to do this:

  • Select stitches that are not super intricate or have a close stitch pattern. The heavier weight thread will cover up the detailed stitch pattern.
  • Set your stitch length and width a bit larger – and play around with this to find a happy mix – to allow for the heavier threads and to display the stitch in it’s best light.
  • Use a heavier needle, such as a 90/14, to reduce friction on the heavier thread.
  • Use a matching color in the bobbin to minimize tension issues being seen. I use a matching 50wt thread (Aurifil, of course!) in my bobbin.  And yes, I do change it out with every top thread color change.
  • Practice – no really, practice – on a similar weight fabric to determine which stitches show the best, as well as which width and length are the most attractive.
  • Have fun! Try mixing different thread colors and stitches!

Embellishing before you piece the block adds some additional interest to the fabric.  It looks much more intricate, but you won’t have as many thread starts and stops to deal with!

Some great blocks that this technique works well with:

  • Strip pieced blocks (stitch some of the strips BEFORE sewing them together)
  • Blocks with larger center areas. Try this with a snowball block before you sew the corners on!
  • Paper pieced blocks. Yes, I said it!  Embellish a few larger pieces of fabric BEFORE you paper piece the block to add some interest to the block.

Because I was playing around with this idea, I simplified and downsized my After the Rain block.  I made it a bit smaller, and eliminated the center partial seam.  The resulting two smaller blocks were just perfect for pincushions.  And look at how the stitching adds some extra movement to the block.

You don’t have to stop there. At least I didn’t! Once my block was pieced, I added some additional texture by stitching some flower stamens in the block center.  On one pincushion top, I did simple echo quilting in the green “leaf” area, while on the other one I stitched some simple leaf shapes in the lime 28wt.

I can’t wait to see how you use 28wt threads in your next project – as embellishment, as edge stitching, for hand embroidery, or for quilting!

HUGE thanks to Tammy and her brilliant team of makers for showcasing our 28wt and giving us heaps of inspiration for our own next projects! 

Unknown-3Tammy Silvers is the designer behind the brand Tamarinis. She’s been designing quilts for 10 years, and prides herself on offering bold, fresh new patterns for quilters of all levels. She enjoys working with almost any fabric, but her favorites (the one that makes her drool and blow a carefully constructed budget) are batiks, bold prints, and chicken prints. Having a background in art and literature, another of her guilty quilty pleasures is finding ways to use “words” in her work, be it in the fabric itself or by adding them to the piece.

Tammy is a Georgia native and currently lives in Acworth with her husband, children (when they come to visit!), dog, and her favorite fat cats.

Under the label Tamarinis, her designs are regularly published in a variety of quilt magazines, including Quilt, McCall’s Quilting, American Patchwork and Quilting, Stitch, Fons and Porter’s Love of Quilting, Quilty, Quilt It…Today, Sew It…Today, Stitch and Create and Decorate. She also works with some of the major fabric manufacturers designing projects to showcase and promote their fabric lines, including Island Batik (of course!), Northcott Fabrics, Blend, Camelot and Fabri-Quilt.


10 Small Spools 28wt, 109yds each
3910, 2810, 1100, 2545, 2235, 2479, 2888, 2220, 2135, 2692

Want your very own copy of Kismet? Check out a list of our Aurifil Dealers or check in with your local quilt shop and make a request!


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: