Hand Embroidery for beginners | Needle and Threads | HandiWorks #103
How to Choose Embroidery Floss
With all of the different types of embroidery floss (thread) that are available, choosing floss for your project can be overwhelming. However, if you take time to consider your project, then you can drastically narrow your choices. It is also important to consider the type of embroidering you are doing: hand embroidery or machine embroidery. Both methods have special types of embroidery floss to choose from.
Considering Your Project
Check the design for recommendations.If you are working from a design, then make sure that you check the design for embroidery floss recommendations.This can take the guesswork out of choosing and embroidery floss brand, color, and type.
- Bring the design guide along with you to the craft store as a reference or make a list of the items you will need before you go.
Identify the colors you will need.Your project may only require one color or you may need several colors. Embroidery floss comes in a wide range of colors, so you will have many options to choose from.
- To make it easier to choose when you arrive at the craft store, make a list of the colors you will need before you go.
Note any special texture needs.Adding texture to your projects is optional, but it can be a nice touch. Think about your embroidery project to decide if using a special thread might help to give your project the desired texture.
- For example, if you will be hand embroidering a landscape, then using wool thread for the grass could provide texture.
Consider the brand.Using a well-known brand name will help to ensure that you are getting a quality thread, and it will also help to reduce the chance that you are buying old thread that has been on the rack for a long time. Some brand name threads to look for include:
- Coats & Clark
Avoid using sewing thread, bargain thread, or old thread.It may be tempting to pick up thread sold in bins at dollar stores or on clearance racks, but you should avoid buying these types of thread. If the thread is cheap or old, then it will be more likely to shred or break while you are using it.
- Purchase thread that looks like it is in good condition and avoid any old looking thread.
Selecting Embroidery Floss for Hand Stitching
Start out with stranded cotton.Stranded cotton is the standard type of thread for hand embroidery. It consists of multiple strands, which you can break apart and use between one and six of the strands at once. Using one strand will create a delicate effect while using more strands will result in a thicker, textured look.
- If you are new to embroidery, then you may want to start out with this type of floss.
Use perle cotton.Perle cotton consists of two strands that are twisted together and cannot be separated. This floss creates a more textured look than stranded cotton. It comes in several different sizes depending on how thick you want it to be.
- This thread may also appear a bit shiner than stranded cotton, so it is a good option if you want to add a bit of shine.
Try cotton floss or coton a broder.These types of cotton thread are straighter and smoother looking than stranded or perle cotton thread. Both are great choices for fine detail work.
- Cotton floche is made up of four strands that you cannot pull apart. It is great for adding fine details to your project.
- Coton a broder (French for “embroidery cotton) is a lot like cotton floche, but instead of four strands, coton a broder has five strands. It is great for creating tiny designs and fine details.
Opt for silk if you want a high sheen.Silk is the natural choice if you want your hand embroidery to be shiny and luxurious looking. Silk floss comes in many different colors, which may even appear more vibrant than cotton floss in the same colors.You can get silk floss in multiple sizes as well to suit the needs of your project.
Use wool thread for a hairy or fuzzy effect.Wool thread is also a great option for hand embroidery. You cannot sue wool thread with a machine because it is too rough, but it works well for hand embroidery and you can use it to make plants, animals, and other things in your design look hairy or fuzzy.
- For example, if you were creating a rabbit, then using a light brown or white wool floss could make the rabbit appear furry.
Choosing Embroidery Floss for Machine Stitching
Opt for rayon thread for high performance.Rayon thread is an all-around great choice for machine embroidery because it is strong, has a nice sheen, and you can use it with high speed stitching.You may want to use this thread if you are new to machine embroidery and/or want a high performance thread for your project.
Choose polyester if you plan to wash the embroidered garment often.Polyester is a lot like rayon thread in the way it looks and performs. However, polyester thread holds up best against frequent washing and even when using bleach.Polyester is also less likely to break while sewing with it than rayon thread.
Go with cotton thread if you want a softer sheen.Cotton is also an option for machine embroidery. It is not as shiny as rayon or polyester, but it performs well and it has a light shine to it. Cotton thread is also available in an ultra-fine 100 weight. However, such a fine strand will be prone to breaking, so it is best to choose 30 or 40 weight thread.
Use silk thread if you want a shiny, luxurious look.You can also get silk thread for machine embroidery, which will give your project a high sheen and it will also feel nice and smooth. Silk thread also performs well for machine embroidery. Go for a 30 to 50 weight thread for best results.
Try metallic and mylar threads for a reflective look.If you want your project to have the appearance of silver, gold, or bronze, then choosing a metallic or mylar thread may be the best choice. For example, you could embroider a gold star on a garment as an accent, or use metallic thread to embroider someone’s name or initials.
- However, keep in mind that metallic and mylar threads can be difficult to work with. You will need to adjust your machine’s tension and go at a slower speed while working with these threads.
Check out special effects threads.There are also special effect threads to choose from. Embroidery floss comes in neon colors, glow-in-the-dark, and even color changing threads that change in the sunlight.If you want to add an interesting touch to your project, consider using one of these threads.
- For example, you could embroider the moon in your project using glow-in-the-dark thread, or use color changing thread to embroider initials on a shirt.
Video: Embroidery Thread Choices
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