What Machine Embroidery Thread Should I Buy and Use?
Congrats on getting your first embroidery machine. Embroidery is fun and easy if you are using the correct supplies. As experienced embroiderers already know, there are a lot of threads to choose from and it can be very confusing to someone just starting out. This guide will help you pick the best embroidery thread to use on your machine and describe the different types available.
Should I buy the cheapest embroidery thread I can find?
As a beginner, it's tempting to go out and buy the lowest cost thread you can find online; unfortunately, most of the time cheap thread is just that ... cheap thread. Starting off with a high quality brand of thread, like Madeira, will ensure you trouble free stitching from the start. Cheap thread can break, fray, and stitch poorly. High quality thread is designed for strength, durability and performance on high speed embroidery machines. Buying a high quality embroidery thread doesn't mean spending a lot of money, Madeira thread is very affordable at only a few dollars a spool. We consider Madeira to be one of the best thread brands available, why buy another brand and chance poor embroidery quality.
Rayon, Poly and Cotton Oh My!
Embroidery thread is generally available in 3 main types of yarn: Rayon, Polyester and Cotton. There are also some specialty threads like metallic and fire resistant threads, but for the purpose of this article we are gong to stick with the main ones you will be using.
- Cotton: The choice for traditionalists and quilters. Cotton is mostly used by quilters looking to incorporate natural fibers. It's generally not as strong as rayon or polyester and the colors are usually not as shiny and vibrant.
- Rayon: Made from 100% viscose rayon, it is perfectly suited for embroidery on high speed multi-head embroidery machines and home embroidery machines. Rayon thread is known worldwide for high tensile strength and excellent glossy luster and is considered the most flexible of embroidery threads due to its softness and pliability Rayon can be stitched out in any direction, will lie flat in the most intricate of designs and run flawlessly without thread breaks when a good quality thread is chosen. Less abrasive than polyester thread, rayon is softer against skin and gentle on the working parts of your embroidery machine.
- Polyester: Made from 100% polyester, Madeira Polyneon polyester embroidery thread is strong and constructed of a specially developed raw material intended to eliminate looping, puckering and thread breaks. Vibrant colors are glossy, as well as resistant to chlorine bleach, making this thread ideal for commercial linens or any application where the end product will be subjected to harsh laundering. Poly threads offer the best balance of cost vs. performance and are a great thread for beginner embroiderers.
What about thread weights, that's confusing
Embroidery threads are usually available in several different thread weights, with 40 being the most common followed by the finer and lighter 60wt. The higher the number, the thinner the thread. #40 wt thread should be your go to thread for all around everyday embroidery. When you have designs with fine small detail or small lettering you want to use 60wt thread.
How much thread do I need and what size cone should I buy?
Most thread is available on two sizes: 1,100 yd minis and 5,500 yd cones. You will get approximately 200,000 stitches out of the minis and about 1 million out of the larger cones. Stock up on your everyday colors in the large cones and buy the minis for specialty jobs. If you have a single needle home embroidery machine, you will need to buy a separate thread stand to use the large embroidery thread cones.