A Guide To Choosing The Best Embroidery Thread

There are so many different brands of thread available for hand embroidery. Choosing embroidery thread that is easy to work with and made of the highest quality fibers is a must so that your project will turn out nice and last a long time.

If you’ve just ventured into the world of embroidery, you may be wondering what the best options are. I’ll go over some things to look out for when choosing what thread to buy as well as share a few different brands that are well known and widely available.

This post is one of several about hand embroidery supplies.

What To Look For When Choosing Embroidery Thread

First, let’s go over some of the characteristics to look for in embroidery thread. You may be surprised to hear that the most important thing is for you to find embroidery thread that you love; not necessarily a particular brand.

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.

Texture

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.

Durability

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 a particular brand has. Some have limited color palettes while 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.

Accessibility

There are some thread brands that may only be available online and some may have a limited catalogue in certain countries. I like to do some research into where I can purchase thread in person or online. Once I have confirmed that I’m able to easily order it or purchase it from a store, I like to order a few samples. Embroidery thread is normally available by the skein, so I usually pick a few basic colors and try them out before purchasing a large amount.

Consider What You’ll Use It For

The final thing to keep in mind is what you intend to use the embroidery thread for. Are you looking to do personal work or are you interested in selling patterns or kits of your designs?

  • If you’re only using the thread to create your own work, you can choose whatever brand of floss you want!
  • If you plan to embroider from a pattern, you may want to check to see what brand and colors are recommended.
  • If you’re looking to create your own patterns to sell, there are certain brands (such as DMC) that are more commonly used because of how widely available the thread is. This makes it more convenient and easy for customers to match the thread colors.
dmc embroidery floss skeins

Well Known Embroidery Thread Brands

These are just a few of the most well known brands out there. Depending on where you are located, some may be more accessible to you than others. But I tried to include brands that are available all over the world!

DMC

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
  • Etoile
  • Variegated cotton
  • Satin floss
  • Light effects
  • Metallic threads

DMC also carries wool and cotton tapestry threads as well as yarns.

Anchor

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
  • Metallic

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.

Cosmo

Cosmo is an embroidery thread brand based in Japan. It’s available to order online and has over 500 colors.

Presencia Hilaturas

Presencia is a thread brand based in Spain. This floss is made of high quality long staple Egyptian cotton and comes in a large variety of colors. It’s available in the U.S. through certain suppliers such as Colonial Needle.

Generic Craft Store Thread

Most chain craft stores have their own generic embroidery thread. I wanted to include these because they are generally a lot more affordable but still very good quality. So if you’re on a tight budget or you’re just trying out embroidery to see if you like it, there are still some great options for you.

If you live in the U.S., look for Hobby Lobby’s brand Artiste and Michael’s brand Loops & Threads.

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.

Small Businesses To Check Out

There are a good amount of small businesses that also sell amazing quality embroidery thread.

Sublime Stitching

A small U.S. based business that has lots of fun embroidery thread colors and variety packs is Sublime Stitching. Purchase online or check out the list of international stores where their products are available for sale.

Classic Colorworks

Classic Colorworks offers hundreds of different colors of beautifully hand dyed cotton and silk threads. They are based in the U.S. and you can order their thread through their website.

Do you have to stick with one brand?

No, you don’t have to stick with one thread brand! I mostly use DMC embroidery floss, but there are certain colors that other embroidery thread brands carry that I like to use as well. It’s always helpful to have different color options and it never hurts to try out different kinds thread.


These are just a handful of suggestions to start with…I hope this helps you find brands you love!

Once you’ve chosen a brand of embroidery floss you like, you’ll want to figure out a way to store and organize all of it. Check out this post all about how to store embroidery thread to learn more.

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