What is the better buy, an 1100 yard spool of popular 60 wt. bobbin thread at $8.49 or a box of 144 pre-wound bobbins at $46? Your embroidery design lists color numbers for one brand of thread, but your stash consists of another brand. What color equivalent do you use? This collection of resources for sewing, quilting and embroidery threads will answer these questions and more!
Photos via Debbie Henry
Here’s a basic guide to embroidery thread
Are pre-wound bobbins or self-wound bobbins the better buy?
Pre-wound bobbins win this one. According to Dr. Bob, Superior Threads‘ professor of “threadology,” pre-wound bobbins hold three times the amount of thread as their home-wound counterparts. By far, the most comprehensive resource for anything thread is Superior Threads. In addition to selling a variety of innovative sewing, quilting, embroidery and industrial threads, they also have an extensive library of educational tools, including:
- Bobbin compatibility list
A collection of bobbin styles for more than 500 sewing machine brands.
- How Much Thread Does it Take to Quilt a Quilt?
Get an idea how much thread you will need for light, medium and heavy quilting from crib size to king size.
- How Tension Works diagram
- Troubleshooting Guide
No matter how much experience you have in machine embroidery, problems will happen. This flowchart helps narrow down the fix.
Major thread manufacturers
Manufacturers have an abundance of information on their sites from colors and weights available to free projects and designs.
- Jennie Haskins
- Robison Anton
- Superior Threads
The best thread charts are created from actual thread samples.
Color cards, conversion charts and converters
Like any artistic tool, everyone has their preferences when it comes to thread brands. Digitizers use their favorites when they create embroidery designs, which is great if you use the same brand. If not, there are dozens of thread charts out there that cross reference colors in other brands. Better yet, free thread conversion programs quickly identify known equivalents across the market.
Most manufacturers also provide color cards online with swatches of color arranged by thread number. Never fully rely on screen colors or color cards printed on home printers. There are too many variables in monitors and printers, making it impossible for any two of the same color to view or print the same. The best color cards are created with samples of the actual thread.
- Ann the Gran: Charts converting Brother, Isacord, and Madeira, to ARC; Sulky to Isacord.
- All Threads: Massive converter of more than 23,000 embroidery thread colors, from more than 60 thread lines, to Robison-Anton.
- Embroidery Designs: Convert five major brands of thread (Robison-Anton, Madeira, Ackermann, Sulky and Marathon) at the same time. Search by Pantone color number or thread number.
- RNK Distributing: Conversion charts from Floriani to Marathon, DMC/Madeira/ARC/RA, Isacord, Brother, Sulky/Janome, RA Rayon and Jenny Haskins
- Isacord: Charts for eight different threads to Isacord.
- Madeira: Madeira color cards and Pantone color match.
- Needle Pointer: An abundance of color charts.
- Red Rock Threads: Charts for Isacord, Madeira and Mettler to Robison-Anton; Robison-Anton to Isacord, Mettler and Sulky; and Sulky to Robison Anton.
- Robison-Anton: Convert Isacord, Madeira, Pantone and Sulky to Robison-Anton. Also charts.
- Sulky: Convert Robison-Anton, Madeira and DMC threads to Sulky. Also links to downloadable rayon chart by color type or color family and cross references DMC floss to Sulky 12 wt. cotton for handwork.
- The Sewphisticated Stitcher: Charts for Brother, Coats, Janome, Melco ARC, Mettler and Sulky to Madeira.
- Thread Art: Charts for Brother, Isocord, Madeira, Pantone, Robison-Anton and Sulky to ThreadArt.
- Thread Exchange: Convert 15 different threads to Madeira.
Floss color cards and conversion charts
Fans of hand embroidery can also benefit from conversion charts.
- Stitching Tools: Manufacturer conversion charts between Anchor, Coats, DMC, and Sullivans. Kit floss conversions of Bucilla, Candamar and Dimensions to Anchor, DMC, Coats and Sullivans and Design Works to DMC.
- Presencia: Color cards and charts converting Presentia to Anchor, Cosmo and DMC.
- Sulky: Cotton Petites 12 wt. thread chart, equivalent to two strands of typical embroidery floss.