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Getting Started with Machine Embroidery Threads

If you’re new to Machine Embroidery, there was a slight learning curve. It’s slightly different than just regular sewing. In sewing, you only have to worry about the needle and the thread tension. With machine embroidery, you have to learn about the different threads, types of stabilizers and which one to use for the various types of fabrics. I’ll split into two posts to help explain how to get started with Part 1 – types of thread in this post and Part 2 – types of stabilizers. Have I mentioned how much I love my embroidery & Sewing combo 🙂

Part 1 – Embroidery Thread:

The threads you use for machine embroidery is also important to understand as different threads are for different purposes. The most popular types of embroidery threads: polyester vs rayon. It will depend on the material you are putting the design on or the look you are goinf for, it will help you decide which thread to use. Here is a few links to read more about how to select the right thread for your designs: Printwear Magazine: Choosing the right thread and Sulky: polyester vs rayon. Thread Art has some great thread choices for machine Embroidery. Once you decide which thread to purchase, save 10% on your order with Coupon Code: SAVE10 with Thread Art. If you are not sure what colors to get, check the colors in your designs and use this conversion table to lookup the Thread Art color vs the popular thread brand colors. For example, if your design calls for a Madiera Rayon Rose Tint #1121, you can buy Thread Art #127 as the equivalent thread.

Types of Machine Embroidery Threads:

Rayon Thread, Machine Embroidery Thread


Rayon is most popular thread to use. It’s has luxurious glossy luster and subtle sheen which creates beautiful depth in embroidery designs. It comes in hundreds of vibrant colors by many manufacturers. It’s also nice and soft to the touch, but it can fade over time. Traditionally, rayon is used for fashion wear and home decor embellishments.
Polyester Thread, Machine Embroidery Thread


Polyester threads have become more and more popular over the years because it has super strength, high sheen, elastic properties, and much more memory, which causes them to stretch further and return to their original shape. It also causes less thread breakage. It is a synthetic that is resistant to fade and bleach. When you need to put an embroidery design on items that need to be laundered, like linen, towels, uniforms, or safety garments, this will be the better option. Polyester is also slightly cheaper than rayon thead.
Cotton Thread, Machine  Embroidery Thread


Cotton thread is the original and traditional thread used for hand embroidery but today you can get cotton thread for machine embroidery that mimics the traditional look of hand embroidery. It is a natural thread with a matted look. It’s most popular for quilting, cross stitch and redwork designs.
Specialized Thread - Metallic Machine Embroidery Thread

Specialized Thread – Metallic

Who doesn’t love to add a little bit of gold or silver to any design. Metallic thread is a specialized thread that can be used to help add flair to your designs. This thread can be a little bit more finicky to use as it will cause more friction and cause more breakage. The key is to slow down the speed of stitching, lower the tension, reduce the number of stitches and use a larger needle. Read reviews, read manufacturer’s instructions or get recommendations as some metallic threads are better than others. But once you get it right, the results are beautiful.
Specialized Thread - Holographic Machine Embroidery Thread

Specialized Thread – Holographic

Holographic thread is similar to metallic thread but it’s flat, ribbon like thread. It has incredible shine and is reflective. It will add shimmer and dimension to any design. See manufacturer instructions for needle size and thread speed.
Specialized Thread - Variegated Machine  Embroidery Thread

Specialized Thread – Variegated

Variegated threads are multi color threads that are available in hundreds of gorgeous color combinations. With one spool, the colors can change every few inches. Some color changes are subtle while others are bold. Variegated thread is ideal for patterns and designs where tone-on-tone is desirable.
Specialized Thread - Color Changing Machine Embroidery Thread

Specialized Thread – Color Changing

My favorite thread to use is color changing thread. There are two types of thread that I have tried. Both will change color when it comes in contact with light or sunlight. The thread is usually white to start with. The first one will change colors when it is exposed to sunlight. The other one thread will glow when you shine a light on it. This is a great glow in the dark option for astrological or Halloween designs.

~~Words of Encouragement~~
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things, at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8 (ESV)

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