A Complete Guide on Thread For Embroidery

Explore a diverse range of embroidery threads to infuse creativity into your projects. Discover the unique qualities and applications of each type, aiding you in selecting the perfect thread for your next embroidery endeavor. In this article, we are giving you A Complete Guide on Thread For Embroidery. So Let’s Start!

Types of Thread For Embroidery 

Having gained knowledge about the primary brands, let’s delve deeper into the distinct types of threads available.

Pearl Cotton

Pearl cotton is a type of thread with a two-ply construction that cannot be separated like the six-ply version. It is often used to enhance embroidery pieces with a shiny finish and added texture.

Available in various thicknesses, pearl cotton allows you to select the floss that suits your desired effect, whether it’s a chunkier, raised look, or a delicate touch. Typically sold in twisted skeins or shiny balls, it offers a visually appealing appearance.

However, due to its inability to be separated, pearl cotton may not be the ideal choice for intricate or fine embroidery work.

Rayon Floss

Rayon floss is popularly chosen for its vibrant colors and appealing silk-like sheen. It shares the same presentation format as stranded cotton thread, offering a wide range of options. However, working with rayon floss can be challenging as it tends to knot and tangle easily.

To mitigate these issues, consider using shorter lengths of thread to minimize tangling problems. Additionally, you can slightly dampen the thread by running a wet sponge over it to add moisture, making it more manageable during embroidery.

Metallic Thread

Metallic thread is commonly employed to add highlights to various embroidery techniques or used independently, such as in gold work. While it boasts exquisite beauty and brilliance, there are certain challenges associated with its use.

Metallic thread is prone to tarnishing easily and has a tendency to tangle, snag, and fray. Care should be taken while working with it to minimize these issues. It’s important to note that fabrics embroidered with metallic thread may be challenging to wash, thus limiting its application in certain projects.

Silk Thread

Silk thread is commonly employed for silk shading or thread painting techniques. As the name implies, it is crafted from silk fibers, which can be exceptionally fine, facilitating effortless blending of colors. However, silk thread may be relatively more expensive and slightly more challenging to source compared to other types of embroidery thread.

6 Strand Satin Thread

For a thread with a satin finish, consider using 6 strand satin thread. Like 6 strand cotton floss, this thread can be divided into separate strands. However, it offers an exceptionally silky texture as it is made of viscose, making it slightly more slippery.

Working with 6 strand satin thread is a delightful experience, thanks to its beauty and vibrant colors. It is important to note that the strands have a tendency to separate easily. To avoid any issues, it is recommended to use only a few strands at a time instead of all six strands. This will help ensure better control and prevent tangling.

Crewel Yarn/ wool

This wool or acrylic two-ply strand is ideal for wool embroidery, needlepoint, cross-stitch, and tapestry work. Thread it onto your needle and use it like other embroidery threads, adding texture. One strand of this yarn is equivalent to two strands of embroidery floss.

Variegated Thread

Variegated thread is a type of embroidery thread categorized based on its color variation. It features multiple shades of the same color within a single skein, with the color changing along the length of the thread. Variegated thread is available in various fiber types, including cotton, silk, and rayon.

Etoile Thread

Étoile thread is unique because it combines cotton floss with metallic thread. This blend adds a touch of fluffiness and texture to the floss, making it visually appealing. Compared to threads made solely of metallic or synthetic materials, étoile thread is much easier to work with, offering a smoother embroidery experience.

Sashiko Embroidery Thread

Sashiko embroidery thread is a specialized thread used for stitching in the Japanese embroidery technique called Sashiko. It is known for its strength and durability, making it ideal for clothing repair work, for which Sashiko is renowned.

One strand of Sashiko embroidery thread is equivalent to the thickness of four regular embroidery threads. It features a unique twist that enhances its robustness. To work with this thread, a thin long needle with a large eye or a specially designed Sashiko needle is recommended.

Read more: Is embroidery hard?

Embroidery Thread Characteristics

Here are some of the characteristics that make up each type of thread:

  • Fiber type
  • Texture
  • Number of plies
  • Non-divisible vs separable strands

Each thread type possesses distinct characteristics, resulting in a unique appearance for every kind of thread.


Embroidery threads encompass a wide variety of fibers, such as wool, cotton, silk, acrylic, viscose, and rayon. Natural fibers generally offer ease of use, while synthetic materials often provide specific advantages.


Natural fibers typically exhibit a soft and pliable texture, offering a comfortable feel. On the other hand, synthetic materials often have a shimmery appearance and can be stiffer and more slippery in texture.

Number of Plies

Embroidery floss consists of individual threads or strands that are twisted together. The plies can be divisible or non-divisible.


In conclusion, I’m glad that this information has been useful to you! With knowledge about the various types of embroidery fibers, you can now make an informed decision on which ones to purchase for your embroidery projects.

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