Choosing The Right Machine Embroidery Thread

Choosing The Right Machine Embroidery Thread


Shopping for machine embroidery thread can be a mission. Let’s face it, stopping at the thread rack can feel like going to the candy store because there are so many choices and colors! It’s easy to feel a little overwhelmed but once you gain a little thread knowledge, choosing the right machine embroidery thread can be a fun and satisfying experience!

First things first; always use quality embroidery thread which are manufactured specifically for machine embroidery. Luckily, they are available in a vast variety of colors!

Now, some types of machine embroidery thread are a little more trickier to use than others but for the most part, a few slight adjustments can reduce thread breakage, looping and other unwanted issues. Three things to definitely keep in mind that can affect breakage levels are the needle you use, thread tension and bobbin filament thread (we suggest using polyester pre-wound bobbins instead of purchasing bobbin thread and winding bobbins at home because experience has taught us that almost all embroidery machines perform better with factory-made bobbins.

So, how do you choose the right machine embroidery thread? Imagescapes Embroidery and Screen Printing has put together the following informative list to guide you along the way:


Silk Thread:

Silk thread is the best choice when embroidering on silk or other luxurious fabrics because it is strong and stable with an unmatched noble sheen. Although it is more costly and harder to find than others, it is truly the aristocrat of specialty threads! Silk thread combines the strength of polyester and the stability of cotton, without being abrasive and sews smoothly without breaking. You can find silk threads in a wide range of weights but we have found that the 30 to 50 weights are the most suitable for machine embroidery.


Cotton Thread:

Cotton thread is great because it has a lovely and soft sheen with that is unattainable with other fibers. Cotton threads are also available in a wide range of weights (from 30 to 120, 120 being considered heirloom quality). 30 to 50 weights are usually the most popular due to their strength and sufficient fabric coverage. Cotton thread is particularly important when stitching complex designs with light and shade effects because with cotton you may achieve subtle shading between colors within a color family. If you want your designs to look much like hand stitched cross stitch then it is better to use cotton thread because the softer qualities it possesses is perfect for machine cross stitch.


Rayon Machine Embroidery Thread:

This is a popular choice among embroiderers because of it’s widespread availability, consistent trouble-free performance, appealing high sheen and the fact that it holds up to high-speed stitching without breaking or fraying. Rayon thread can be found in 40 and 30 weight and like many of the others, is also available in a wide range of solid, diverse and “twist” of colors (which is composed of two or more solid colors twisted together to form a single strand, which adds a visual effect of shading and dimension to embroidery designs).


Metallic Thread and Glittery Mylar Thread:

Although these are a fantastic choice for adding sparkling accents to embroidery designs, they are also considered to be the most tricky. They are available in a wide range of colors as well as holographic hues (which pick up light and color from surrounding objects and add spectacular luminous accents to machine embroidery). Be sure to experiment with these to find the ones that perform best for you because some might perform better than others on your machine. These threads sometimes tend to break with high-speed sewing and you might need to adjust the thread tension and use specialty needles for these types of thread, but, they are well worth using!


Polyester Machine Embroidery Thread:

Polyester thread is usually a little cheaper than rayon because of it’s synthetic origin and it’s also a great choice because it has a sheen almost comparable to rayon. Polyester threads are colorfast, exceptionally durable (they will not fade or bleed) and they have a high resistance to bleach and chlorine making this thread ideal for embroidering catering items, hotels, sportswear, work-wear and any other item that will be frequently and/or heavily washed.


There are so many choices out there that it is easy to feel intimidated. However, experimenting with threads can be beneficial because you can expand your color and texture palettes and add new life to your designs. Once you have a little experience under your belt, you will become a pro in no time. Please contact Imagescapes Embroidery and Screen Printing if you have any questions regarding embroidery or our embroidery services, we are always ready to help you!



embroidery thread

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