There are so many different types of thread to use for hand embroidery. Choosing the type of embroidery thread you use depends on your skill level and what kind of project you’re working on. This post will go over the basics so you can decide which thread is appropriate and most suitable for your next project!
All of the thread that I go over in this post are DMC embroidery floss. DMC embroidery thread is one of the most common brands that you can find in the U.S., and it’s also got the most variety of colors and styles. (There are 489 different colors!) I know there are more brands of embroidery thread out there that I’d like to try some day, so if you have any recommendations please leave a comment!
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Types of Embroidery Thread
6 Strand Embroidery Floss
The most common type of thread I use for hand embroidery is 6 strand DMC cotton floss. This thread has 6 strands that are twisted together, but you can easily pull apart the strands to use separately. Traditionally, cross-stitch projects use this thread because you only use two of the six strands of thread. I use this thread a lot because I use one to two strands of the thread for pet portraits, as they require a lot of small details to make them look more realistic. For floral embroideries or any of the kits that I make, all of them use all 6 strands and give it a more 3-dimensional feel.
Perle Cotton Embroidery Floss
The next type of thread I use for hand embroidery is the perle cotton thread. This thread comes in various sizes of thickness and is twisted like a rope so that you cannot pull it apart. For more complicated embroidery stitches that are more intricate and decorative, this thread can be easier to use. (Sometimes with the 6 strand thread, it starts to unravel or one of the strands can get snagged. )
If you’re looking for thread that has a more satin finish, you can use 6 strand satin thread. This thread is super silky, a bit more slippery (it’s made of viscose), but extremely beautiful to work with and so VIVID! Just of note, the strands tend to separate easily, so I’d recommend starting with the regular cotton floss if you’re a beginner!
This floss is just 6 strand cotton floss that has a gradient of colors on a single strand. I find it fun to use it for embroidering letters or filling in an area with stitches such as a satin stitch.
DMC Light Effects Floss
This floss is absolutely beautiful, but it’s really stiff and hard to work with when you use all 6 strands. I would recommend using 1 to 2 strands and blending it in with regular cotton floss. (See below)
This floss is neat because it’s cottton floss with metallic thread mixed in. It makes the floss a bit more fluffy and textured, and it’s definitely my favorite out of all the “fancier” threads!
There are many brands of embroidery thread you can use. I have always used DMC embroidery thread as it is color fast and high quality. I personally cannot speak to any other kind of thread, but I’m sure there are many other nice kinds! Let me know in the comments if you have a recommendation to share!