Welcome back to In’s and Out’s of Machine Embroidery. If you’re visiting for the first time, catch up here.
Today’s subject is thread, or more correctly, Threads.
Check out the design above. It is a series of tiled embroidery designs. Each tile is stitched out separately then connected.
That is some serious machine embroidery.
Nevertheless, the point I want to make here regards thread.
There is a lot of thread in this design. And, you will need a variety of thread colors to stitch a design like the one above.
While you probably won’t stitch out such a complicated design right off the bat, will still need several colors of embroidery thread.
When I got my first machine, I purchased this small box of Madeira rayon thread (and a package of precut stabilizer).
Now, this is my current collection of threads. I know, it’s a little messy; what can I say.
I built up my collection by replacing thread as I ran out and added to my collection with sales and coupons.
Notice that I have a variety of different colors in an assortment of sizes. For the most part, I can embroider almost anything with this collection.
For machine embroidery thread, there are two basic types: Rayon and Polyester.
Rayon has long been the preferred choice. It has a high sheen and is very soft. When you see a high-end garment with exquisite machine embroidery, it’s likely rayon thread.
Rayon thread is easier on your machine, leaving behind less lint but it can have a tendency to break easily. It is also slightly more expensive.
Rayon thread may be the thread prom queen in looks, but she doesn’t hold up very well to everyday laundering or chlorine (think swimming pool).
I am absolutely over the moon, can’t live without it, get me some of that prefer rayon thread when doing monograms or lettering.
It’s shiny, soft, and so elegant.
The other type of embroidery thread is Polyester. This poor-cousin-at-the-embroidery-table has been slightly maligned in machine embroidery world.
Polyester thread will hold up to intense washing (think kids clothes) and harsh chemicals (think chlorine pools). It is less expensive and has excellent tensile strength.
It seems like Polyester thread’s day has arrived. It used to be that polyester embroidery thread didn’t have the color or sheen of Rayon. So, in a side by side embroidery comparison, the polyester thread looked dull while the Rayon thread was vibrant.
Now, companies like Floriani are making Polyester thread that is as beautiful as Rayon.
And, for those of you on a very tight budget, Joann’s carries both Rayon and Polyester threads which can be purchased with a coupon.
For finer projects, however, I would recommend buying a high-quality thread from a dealer.
The last thing to remember about embroidery thread is spool size. Both Rayon and Polyester thread come in various sizes.
I get the large cones for main colors like black, white, red, blue, etc. I usually buy the smaller spools for specialty colors that aren’t as common.
And don’t forget about storing your threads. A plastic grocery sack is not going to do the trick. I use plastic boxes from Joann’s, purchased with a coupon, of course.