There are so many different brands of thread available for hand embroidery. Choosing the best embroidery thread that is made of the highest quality fibers is a must so that your project will turn out nice and last a long time. This post focuses mainly around cotton embroidery floss, which is commonly used in surface embroidery, but you can check out this other post I made to learn more about all of the different types of embroidery threads used in hand embroidery.
Keep reading to learn about things to look out for when choosing what thread to buy and a few of the best brands that are available.
This post is one of several about hand embroidery supplies.
Disclaimer: This post has some affiliate links in it. I receive a small commission from purchases at no additional cost to the buyer. I only recommend products I would use and love and that are of good quality. All opinions are my own!
What To Look For When Choosing Embroidery Thread
Check If It’s Colorfast
Take a look at the brand’s website to make sure that the thread is colorfast. Some threads are made of cheaper quality fibers and dyes, which makes them prone to fade over time or bleed onto the fabric when washed. Using colorfast threads will preserve your work if you wash it and it will also prevent the colors from fading over time.
Cheaper cotton embroidery flosses have a fuzzy texture to them, which can make your embroidery look dull. Higher quality floss will have a nice smooth texture and sheen to it.
Check the care instructions of the floss to see if it’s washable. This is important if you are stitching on clothes or if you are using a water soluble stabilizer. You should also take a look at the individual strands of threads. Cheaper thread will have individual strands that are thin or brittle.
Thread Color Choices
Another thing to take into consideration is the variety of colors that particular brand has. Some have limited color palettes where others, such as DMC and Anchor have hundreds of different colors to choose from. This may not matter as much to some people, but if you are working on a piece that requires a lot of different colors (i.e. thread painting) you’ll want a wide variety to choose from.
Best Embroidery Thread Brands
All 3 of these brands are hundreds of years old so they have stood the test of time! DMC is the brand that is most commonly used in embroidery patterns.
Made in France, DMC embroidery thread is one of the most well known brands that can be found worldwide, and it’s also got the most variety of colors and styles. (There are 489 of them!) The cotton floss contains a nice sheen and all of their threads are colorfast. The cotton threads are made from 100% Egyptian cotton. It is also double mercerized, which is a process of chemical treatment that improves the brilliance of the dye and strength of the thread.
These threads are also durable and they are indeed washable if you decide to stitch on clothing. An added bonus: DMC “dyes are Oeko-Tex® certified, an internationally recognized textile standard that ensures products are environment-friendly and safe to use, and have been controlled for harmful substances (dangerous and irritable)” (DMC.com)
There are a wide variety different styles of embroidery threads to choose from, some of which include:
- Six strand cotton
- Pearl cotton
- Variegated cotton
- Satin floss
- Light effects
- Metallic threads
DMC also carries wool and cotton tapestry threads as well as yarns.
Anchor is another widely known brand. In the US, it’s not as readily available in physical stores, but it is available online. It has 444 different colors to choose from. It is also made from 100% Egyptian cotton and double mercerized.
Here are a few of the different types that are available:
- Six strand cotton
- Pearl cotton
- Tapisserie wool
- Viscose rayon
There are a variety of threads manufactured for lacework and canvas work as well.
J & P Coats
Coats thread is another mercerized embroidery floss that is made of long staple cotton, which makes the thread have a smooth finish and a soft, silky feel. Their website has a helpful chart all about the characteristics of different embroidery thread types which is super informative. There aren’t as many styles or colors of thread from this brand but it is available to purchase online and at Walmart.
For more details and an in depth comparison of some of these different brands, check out my review on common craft store brands (Hobby Lobby, Michaels, Joanns, Walmart) and this review on thread-bare.com that compares DMC, J&P, Sullivans, Anchor, and CXC.