• Rayon embroidery thread (Sulky, Madeira, Natesh, Gutermann)is available in various weights: -

    40 (or 35 for some blended threads) is used for most digitised designs;

    30 is heavier and is effective on outline and some cross-stitch designs but for heavily stitched designs increase the design size or reduce the density;

    60 is finer and is good for delicate designs; it may be necessary to decrease size or increase density for adequate coverage

  • Polyester embroidery thread (Madeira, Empress Mills, Robison-Anton) can be used instead of rayon – the effect is similar but not identical

  • Cotton embroidery threads (Madeira, Mettler, Empress Mills) have a soft sheen and come in various weights. 50 weight can usually be used instead of rayon 40 for a subtle look and is excellent for free-standing lace. Cotton creates a lot of fluff in your machine and you will need to clean this out after stitching even a small design.

  • Metallic threads (Empress Mills, Madeira, Sulky) come in a wide variety of types and some are more temperamental than others. Beware of using them on garments you wear next to the skin, as they can be very scratchy!

  • Acrylic/wool threads (Madeira's Burmilana range) are best used on designs digitised specifically for them.

  • Bobbin threads are available from several manufacturers (Empress Mills' Polylight, Madeira Bobbinfil, Sulky Bobbin). They are not all exactly the same weight and you may need to experiment to find the best combination of bobbin thread, machine, fabric, design and top thread.


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Mary Prior's 10 Tips for Machine Embroidery  - Embroidering on Difficult Fabrics
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