Choosing the Right Thread for Your Embroidery Project

Stitch It International
Wednesday, May 27, 2020

By Lacey Stephens, Supplies Specialist

There are many different types of embroidery thread and thread sizes out there. Choosing the right one can be very important, changing how your project may turn out. Let’s walk through a few of the types, to help you find the right kind of thread to use for your work.

The most used and versatile thread in machine embroidery is the 40wt (weight) polyester thread. This is used for industrial wear, sportswear, hats and most projects. It’s strong and durable and will run smoothly through your machine. This thread will be used with a 75/11 universal needle and is stronger than rayon thread. This is personally my thread of choice and it is also offered in 60wt. As a note, the higher the weight number, the thinner the thread. I would use 60 weight thread for fine detail and thin lettering under 1⁄4 inch. It makes it look crisper and will sew better. When using a thinner thread, make sure to use a smaller needle such as a 65/9 size.

polyester embroidery thread

Polyester Embroidery Thread

Rayon thread is weaker than polyester and is a lightweight type of embroidery thread. If you are sewing a project that might be laundered with bleach, you shouldn’t use this type of thread. It is very sheen but will not hold up to lightening agents like polyester. Rayon is good for lightweight embroidery or medium weight fabric.

rayon embroidery thread

Rayon Embroidery Thread

There is also metallic thread, a decorative thread, but it can be harder to embroider with. You should be familiar with tensions and needle sizes if using metallic, but the end result is absolutely beautiful. You typically want to run your tensions a little tighter with metallic and make sure your needles have no burrs on them. You may have to adjust your digitizing as well to accommodate the thread weight.

metallic embroidery thread

Metallic Embroidery Thread

Filaine thread is a 12wt acrylic heavy weight thread made for a vintage and rustic look. It requires fewer stitches since its so heavy and will withstand rubbing or tearing. Some people will even rub the finished product with a wire brush to enhance the look of an animal design to make it look more realistic.

filaine embroidery thread

Filaine Embroidery Thread

Then you have fire-retardant thread for more uniformed projects such as fire department logos or electrical companies. Keep in mind when running this type of thread, you should also use fire retardant bobbins and backing for a complete fire proof project.

fire retardant embroidery thread

Fire-Retardant Embroidery Thread

You can also add detail with a monofilament thread, an 80wt, used for added effects to embroidery designs. It is translucent and is used for seems, cording, and related items.

monofilament embroidery thread

Monofilament Embroidery Thread

My personal favorites are Isacord polyester and Gunold embroidery threads. Isacord runs smoother, has beautiful vibrant colors, is very durable and keeps your logo from bunching or pulling. Gunold has a huge variety of thread to choose from. They have many different colors, types, and is easy to convert from other name brands. They also offer small cones in 1100yds for your smaller projects and 5500yds for the bigger ones. I also suggest when switching your threads out, to keep a tension gauge to help you with setting tensions correctly.

If you have any questions regarding thread, please contact us here at Stitch It International and we will be happy to help you figure out which thread is right for your project!

Lacey Stephens

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