Part of the
beauty of embroidery is the gorgeous assortment of threads
available. With so many different types and weights, which do you use and when
do you use it?
threads are now available in many different weights. The most common is 40 wt.
and most designs are digitized to stitch using this weight. But that doesn’t
mean that you can’t use heavier or lighter weight threads.
The higher the
number, the more fine the thread. You might think 60 wt. thread would be
heavier than 40 wt. but it isn’t. Most bobbin threads are actually 60 wt. and finer,
heirloom-quality threads are either 50 or 60 weight. Standard sewing thread, in
comparison, is 50 wt.
like 30 wt., work well for quilting or stitching out redwork
Rayon thread has
been the go-to standard for many years due to its brilliance and availability.
Modern embroidery threads now range from silk to nylon, to polyester.
Available in 30,
50, and 100 weights, silk thread is a good choice for heirloom and clothing
embroidery. It extremely strong and also works well for quilting. Because it is
so fine, 100 wt. silk thread can make machine applique nearly invisible.
is becoming a new normal, even in quilting. It is bleach resistant and wears
well which makes it a good choice for garments and bedding that will be laundered
often. Triangular fibers in trilobal polyester reflect light, rivaling many silks
and rayons in shine and performance.
For a more
subtle effect, cotton thread embroiders well and is a particularly good choice
for heirloom techniques and quilting. Just like with bed linens, Egyptian
cotton is the premier blend and will exhibit less lint than other cottons.
have been used for invisible applique and quilting but monofilament threads are
also available in polyester. For obvious reasons, items embroidered with nylon
thread should not be ironed.
special occasion embroidery, even quilted projects, benefit from stitching with
metallic thread, but metallics come with their own challenges as discussed in
Using a larger needle, slowing down stitch speed, and decreasing top tension
often eases typical problems associated with using metallic threads.
Don’t be afraid
to experiment with different types of threads. Often, a slight adjustment is
all that is needed and the results are spectacular!