Sunday, November 12, 2023

Earth friendly 100% organic cotton thread hits the quilting and sewing market

There’s a new thread in the market! It’s a 100% organic long staple Pima cotton thread for sewing and quilting by Scanfil. This thread has all the best qualities you want in a sewing and quilting thread and it’s kinder to the earth, as well. 

Scanfil 100% organic cotton threads at the 2023 Quilt Market.

What’s “organic” thread?

I was introduced to this organic thread product by one of my fabric rep associates, Andy Jacobs. Scanfil was looking for new sales representatives in the US so he put me—and a few other sales reps—in contact with the company. Thread is a good complement to the quilting fabrics I rep, and I trusted Andy's recommendation. 

Six- and three-spool thread sets from Scanfil Organics.

The manufacturing and thread specs, and the benefits of this organic cotton thread are:

  • extra long staple organic Pima cotton thread. Pima cotton is responsibly grown in the USA.
  • GOTS [Global Organic Textile Standard] certified to ensure ethical and sustainable production; free of pesticides and toxic chemicals.
  • OEKO-TEX certified—tested for substances that could be harmful to human health.
  • Forbitex, the parent company of Scanfil, is a second-generation family-owned business in the Netherlands. The company's threads are all manufactured in Europe.
  • a unique spinning process provides strength to the thread.
  • dyed and coated with natural solutions that are free of impurities.
  • mercerized for smoothness, more receptive to colorants, and yields virtually no lint.
  • precision wound with no knots on biodegradable wooden spool cores (no plastic).
  • thread will not shrink or bleed with washing.
  • packaged in recyclable, biodegradable kraft paper products (no plastics are used).
A bamboo thread stand comes with the 6-spool thread sets.
  • currently available in 2-ply 50 wt and 2-ply 30 wt solid colors.
  • individual spools, cones, and curated thread sets in both weights are available.
  • a bamboo thread stand is included with each 6-color thread set.
  • the smoothness of this thread will feel better to the skin. Those with allergies or chemical sensitivities may find relief from using certified organic thread or items sewn with it.
The packaging of the six spool thread set.

Let’s “Kick the tires”

Before discussing this product with my client base, I wanted experience using it. I put the thread through the paces—piecing patchwork, free-motion machine quilting, and hand stitching. My new zipper tote is proof of the testing.

Zipped tote bag pieced and quilted with Scanfil 100% organic cotton threads.

Piecing and patchwork

I loaded the 50/2 wt. thread in both the top and the bobbin for testing patchwork construction and piecing. The blocks shown below are pieced improvisationally. 


  • bobbins were easy to wind and I was able to get a lot of yardage on the bobbin using the 2-ply 50 wt. 
  • There were no issues threading the machine or with machine piecing. I used the 50/2 wt for piecing with an 80/12 universal needle. 
  • after piecing the outside of the tote, the bobbin area was fairly lint free.

Patchwork blocks and bag construction. Layers were hand basted for doing hand stitching.

Hand stitching/Hand quilting

After patchwork and construction of the bag's outside, the quilt layers (patchwork top, a 100% cotton quilt batting, and a quilting cotton for the bag lining) were hand basted. I used several colors of the 30 wt. threads to do a bit of hand stitching/quilting. 


  • The 30/2 wt gives more prominence to the stitches.
  • The thread glided easily through a hand sewing needle and through the fabrics. The majority of the fabrics are Painter's Palette solids from Paintbrush Studio.

Hand stitching using 30/2 wt organic thead.

Machine quilting

The 50/2 wt organic cotton was used in the top and bobbin for the background fillers. The 30/2 wt was used in the top for the decorative quilting details on the block motifs. The machine needle used was a 11/75 quilting needle.

Free-motion quilting starting at the bag bottom.


  • For the free-motion quilting (on a domestic machine), I used the 50/2 wt. for the background fills—spirals and bubbles.
  • Thread tension was easy to balance. No thread breakage or shedding through the needle occurred. I used nearly two bobbins to quilt this piece.
  • Back-tracking had minimal build-up using the 50/2 wt thread.
  • Minimal lint in the bobbin area of my machine after 3 - 4 hours of machine quilting.

The 30/2 wt thread was matched to the patchwork motifs. The 50/2 wt thread was used for the free-motion quilting.

Decorative machine stitching

I put a green 30/2 wt thread in the top thread and used a decorative 3-step zigzag stitch on the bag handles. 50/2 wt was used in the bobbin. 


  • No issues or skipped stitches using the 80/12 universal sewing machine needle.
  • Although I used the built-in decorative stitch on just the bag's handles, I feel confident this thread would do a beautiful job with other decorative machine stitches. As with any thread, I do a sample swatch to determine what stitches, stitch width and length, and thread weight give the desired effect.

A decorative stitch was used on the bag handle with the 30/2 wt thread.

Machine friendly threads

Serged skirt using Scanfil organic cotton thread.
Fabrics from The Ghastlies collection from Alexander Henry.
Photo credit: S. Zimmerman
The Scanfil organic thread line is rated to perform well in other sewing machines such as sergers and longarm quilting machines. 

One of the new Scanfil reps used the cones on her serger to sew a gored skirt. She informed us that the thread worked like a champ. She noted her well-loved and well-used serger had “very little lint in the mechanism… demonstrably less than [another well-known brand of thread].” I suspect the mercerization and gassing processes performed during the manufacturing of the Scanfil thread greatly contributes to its success. 

Customer testimonial

This past August, I left a sample spool of the Scanfil thread with one of my shop owners. The shop owner, in turn, gave it to one of her regular customers to run it through the paces. Determined—at first—that she would not like the thread, the customer gave it a go anyway. 

I'm happy to report that @combat_quilter was pleasantly surprised with the Scanfil thread's performance. (Thanks for keeping an open mind, Terri!)

More thread uses and techniques 

In addition to the sewing and quilting techniques discussed here, there are other uses for this organic thread: hand or machine appliqué, decorative stitching, heirloom sewing, home decor, thread painting, to name a few.

Scanfil organic thread sets and appliqué example.

Need thread? Choose organic!

The next time you reach for thread, why not go earth-friendly with organic? With Scanfil Organic, you won't be giving up any of the characteristics of a fine, reliable thread that you've come to know and trust.

Visit your local quilt shop and ask for Scanfil organic threads. Independent quilt shops and sewing centers are beginning to carry the full collection of colors as well as the thread sets. Treat yourself—and a quilting friend—to a spool (or three) of Scanfil organic thread.

Try Scanfil 100% organic Pima cotton thread on your next sewing or quilting project.

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