Embroidery Machine Thread

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There are many types of thread that can be used to create embroidery for various applications.

All thread is a natural or ecru color and is dyed. White thread is bleached. Bleaching sometimes makes the thread weak and may cause thread breaks. Black thread is sometimes dyed twice, and this may cause the thread to become weak.

Common Types of Thread

Rayon

Rayon is one of the most common threads uses for commercial embroidery equipment

 • Rayon thread has a high sheen which makes it an attractive, eye-catching choice for embroidery
 • It is available in many colors
 • Easily breaks by hand for trimming while sewing
 • Washable, dry cleanable and mostly colorfast

Polyester

 • Available in high sheen
 • Much stronger, more durable thread that results in less thread breaks
 • Washable, dry cleanable, very colorfast, less expensive, will withstand bleaching
 • Use for items that will be subjected to excessive sunlight, wear or bleaching
 • Tendency to stretch and loop. May require adjustment of check spring¶

Acrylic

 • Similar to polyester in appearance and handling
 • Slightly stiffer than rayon
 • Cut the thread at an angle so that you prevent fraying of the different plies of thread

Cotton

 • Low sheen
 • Easily breaks by hand
 • Dry cleanable, colorfast
 • Special care in the cleaning of the embroidery machine is required since cotton thread produces more lint fibers
 • Preferred by many for low luster fabrics such as towels and shirts

Neon

 • High sheen and glowing
 • Available in both rayon and polyester
 • Washable, dry cleanable, and colorfast
 • Use for specialty applications

Metallic

 • Color selection will be limited
 • Dry cleanable
 • It is made of a nylon or rayon core and has the metallic thread wrapped around it
 • Thicker than average thread and is very coarse
 • Texture of this thread causes more friction than usual (which can result in thread breaks)

Thread Storage and Upkeep

Thread should be kept out of the sunlight to prevent the color from fading and the thread from drying. The best way to store thread is to keep it in a bag. This helps to prevent thread dry out.

Thread should also be kept out of extreme temperatures and weather. The inside of the cone can become like a compost pile and age much faster than the outer layer. This will lead to thread rot. Once the thread begins to rot it will break very easy. Before putting thread on an embroidery machine, one should inspect the thread by seeing how easy it breaks and what the ends look like when it breaks. A bad cone of thread is worthless and should be thrown away - the reason being that a good spool of thread costs much less than the labor of frequently mending thread breaks.