Embroidery thread - the right embroidery thread - is a big part of getting the perfect final product. Once you’ve invested in a Melco Embroidery Machine, you’ll want to make sure that you’re committed to knowing about the right thread to use. Today, we’re going to discuss the different kinds of embroidery thread, weights, and some tips and tricks to help you along the way. Because there is a difference in threads for machine embroidery vs hand embroidery, please note that we are going to specifically focus on machine embroidery thread.
Picking The Right Embroidery Thread
Embroidery thread is made from either natural or synthetic fibers. The threads used most are rayon, polyester, cotton, silk, and specialty, and each has its own highlights and best uses.
The two most popular synthetic fibers are rayon and polyester. While Rayon is available in a wide range and variety of colors, produces consistent quality, and is resistant to breakage, Polyester thread is by far the most popular option for commercial embroidery. It is strong, durable, widely available in many color options, very economical and resistant to color fade, in addition to being able to withstand chlorine (bleach).
Other thread choices include burmilana and polyester in matte finish. Burmilana is about 3 times thicker than standard embroidery machine thread and is available in a rainbow of colors. Its blend of wool and acrylic give the thread the appearance of wool, and burmilana makes a great choice for creating a soft, textured, hand-embroidered look. You’ll get the best results with this choice by using a fine bobbin thread, slightly reducing machine speeds, and adjusting tensions to accommodate the thicker thread. To get high tensile strength without changing your digitizing settings, try polyester with a matte finish. Frequently referred to as “poly in matte finish,” this raw yarn thread is made with a ceramic ingredient, giving it a beautiful contrasting effect when compared to normal polyester.
You can also choose specialty options, like metallic thread. While this thread produces eye-catching results, it’s prone to breakage, so you’ll need to purchase quality thread that doesn’t easily kink. Metallic threads are best used in a smaller design and in places where the design doesn’t have excessive layers of thread. To reduce thread breakage, you’ll need to use a slower machine speed, so if you’re in a time crunch, opt for a different thread choice.
Other specialty thread choices range from mylar thread to clear thread. Fun novelty thread, like glow-in-the-dark thread, falls into this category too! Whatever thread you choose, trial and error will help you decide if it’s the right thread for your product.
Choosing Your Thread Weight
Different thread materials can come in different thread “weights,” and each project warrants a specific thread weight (wt.). In the case of thread, a smaller weight number indicates a heavier thread. The weight of a thread is actually a length measurement. For instance, a thread is labeled 40 wt. when 40 kilometers of that thread weighs 1 kilogram.
Since the higher number indicates a thinner thread, many fine weight (60 wt. and above) is produced with natural fibers. Both cotton and silk are available up to 100 wt.
Three Tips for A Great Final Embroidery Product
Kicking off your next project? Here are three tips that will help you along the way. First, while it’s commonly known not to use old thread, the quality of thread is more important than its age. You’ll get the best result by matching your threads (new thread to new fabric, cotton to cotton, etc.) to your project. Also, remember that most digitized embroidery designs are created for 40 weight thread. Finally, use the hand test! Pass the thread between your fingers, tug and pull to test tensile strength, and place it near the fabric being embroidered to ensure there’s a good fit.