A Challenger Appears: Wonderfil Invisafil vs Aurifil Monofilament

Friday, June 16, 2017

At this past Quilt Market in St. Louis, my friend Jessee introduced me to a brand I wasn't familiar with: Wonderfil. Not Aurifil. Wonderfil. (My reaction to the name.) Okay.

Jessee convinced me to check out the booth for their 12wt "Spagetti" (she said it makes pretty top stitched details and I'll check this out in a future review), but it was the Invisafil that I ended up talking to Calista, Wonderfil's marketing director, about at length. She had asked me what I like to quilt with. Easy! Aurifil's monofilament is BAE. That's when she pitched me InvisaFil as a superior alternative for quilting, applique, and piecing. (My reaction.) It's going to take a lot to make me abandon my boo! She gave me a pastel mini pack (six 400m spools) of InvisaFil to take home and put to the test, along with a pre-wound InvisaFil bobbin.

I jumped into testing it when I got home, so let's go over how it performed for each test.

Test 1: Will it blend? 

The primary reason I use invisible thread is to do away with the pain (and cost) of color matching thread to fabric. My first indication that InvisaFil might not be an apples-to-apples comparison is the fact that it comes in sixty colors. (MRW when I was told an "invisible" thread comes in sixty colors.)

So if that hasn't tipped you off...I wouldn't call this an invisible thread at all. When I went to stitch an orange applique piece, none of the thread colors in my mini pack blended well. Clearly color matching is still in play, which is something I was hoping to avoid.

To me, a thread that is marketed as "invisible" should adequately (not perfectly) blend with a wide range of fabric hues. Wonderfil has a different take on it. Calista says in her email:
"Monofilament threads in the market today are available only into two shades, clear or smoke, which don’t cover the breadth of all the different fabric colors. And also due to the nature of the material it looks 'plastic-y’ to some people and reflects light, which are characteristics we want to move away from when using InvisaFil. The reason why we sell 60 colors is because people can match the thread to the tone of their fabric and when you do so, the thread blends into background, showing only the texture of the quilting and not seeing a lot of the thread. No thread can be 100% invisible and that is not the concept we are trying to sell to customers, we want to offer a thread that can blend into fabrics with ease."
So rather than trying to be a one-size-fits-all solution, Wonderfil's idea of "invisible" thread is how well it blends into fabric when appropriately color matched. I can buy that point. So if you're looking for that perfect match and have no hang-ups about color matching, I'd say it's worth a shot. If you hate color matching, move on.

Test 2: Can I use it as a bobbin thread with my monofilament?
No. Just...no. It's too fine. The tension does not work. Calista says they do not reccommend using it as a bobbin thread, so turns out I was just being a dummy on this test.

Test 3: Piecing, you say?
By this point, I was feeling pretty smug. No one can dethrone my monofilament baby! Well, what about that claim about being awesome for piecing. I made my first seam with InvisaFil in the top and bottom of my machine and...my reaction.

It's one of those things where you can't un-experience the beauty that you just witnessed. InvisaFil makes some sexy seams. Like you can see there is a seam, but it feels non existent on your block (in a good way) Things feel more accurate, more flat, more right. I actually felt like a disgusting traitor to Aurifil...I really love this for machine piecing. I've already purchased a couple spools for exactly that purpose.

Calista told me that this thread is also popular for English paper piecing, so I gave it a shot when starting out on my Tula Nova. After the first round of pentagons, I ended up switching back to Aurifil 50wt. The Invisafil wasn't a very "obedient" hand piecing thead (see this doodle I did of it in my visual journal). It felt slippery and kept coming unthreaded from my needle. Not fun! The thinness of the thread also means the knots I'd make when starting to sew weren't very large. They'd pass right through my fabric unless I spent time making them super bulky. Finally, I experienced issues with my thread shredding and breaking while sewing. No thanks.

In conclusion
Is Wonderfil a replacement for monofilament thread. No? they're different animals. I will stick with Aurifil monofilament for machine quilting and applique. If you have the budget and patience for color matching, it might be worth your time and money to try it out if you don't like monofilament for some reason. BUT, it is a disgustingly nice machine piecing thread, and I've already purchased more for that purpose alone.

1 comment :

  1. Intersting comparison. I would describe Invisafil as a blending thread rather than an invisible thread based on your results. Like you, when I'm after an invisible thread, I don't want to have to match it to a fabric. I want it to be clear and work regardless of fabric color. I do match my thread to my fabric when quilting, but then I'd rather have the many color choices of Aurifil to get the closest match possible. I wouldn't have thought to use an "invisible" thread for piecing, so it's surprising that this was the area where Invisafil shone.