What are all the different types of machine embroidery threads?

By on February 5th, 2013
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I have noticed that I seem to have quite a variety of  machine embroidery thread types, but I have never quite understood what the difference was between all of them. I try to be conscientious when combing threads within a design, making sure that i am using the same thread type – or what appears to be the same thread type throughout. But knowing exactly what the difference is between all the embroidery thread types has been something on my to do list for quite a while.

So today, while visiting Make it Sew (formerly Eunice Farmer Fabrics) in St. Louis, I asked the embroidery expert, Vicki, what exactly the differences are between all the different machine embroidery thread types. Here’s how Vicki broke it down.

There are essentially three different types of machine embroidery thread: cotton, rayon and polyester. Cotton is the thickest and fills in the most. Rayon is the most popular, is shinier than cotton and not quite as thick. Polyester is the toughest of the machine embroidery thread types.  It does not break easily and, like the rayon thread, is very shiny.

My personal preference is cotton machine embroidery thread.  I like the thickness and the way it fills.  Typically I design and stitch out simpler machine embroidery designs, so for this, cotton machine embroidery thread is most appropriate. Whew!  For the very detailed machine embroidery designs, rayon and polyester work best.   One thing Vicki said was, “for monograms – there is nothing that looks nicer than cotton machine embroidery thread.”  This was an informative revelation for me because now I know that I want to stick primarily to cotton machine embroidery thread.

Another question that Vicki answered for me was, “do I need to really be using a machine embroidery needle when embroidering?  I recently learned that there is a difference between machine embroidery and regular sewing needles.  Vicki confirmed the fact that machine embroidery needles have a larger eye than regular sewing needles that allow the thread to pass through more easily.  Vicki said that machine embroidery needles help prevent your thread from breaking. I told her that my thread doesn’t often break, and she said – then keep using whatever needles you are using.  ha!


One thought on “What are all the different types of machine embroidery threads?

  1. […] Now that I got my threads organized I am in the market for some more thread. But what to buy? I think I have finally figured out how to tell the different threads apart. […]

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