Embroidery Blog

The 411 on Embroidery: Thread Resource Guide

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!

Pink Embroidered Rose Bud : Embroidery Thread Resources

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:

Major thread manufacturers

Manufacturers have an abundance of information on their sites from colors and weights available to free projects and designs.

Thread resources: color card

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.
  • PresenciaColor 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.

Do you have a useful thread resource that I missed? Share them in the comments section!

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How can I purchase a color embroidery thread conversion chart. I have thread that I could use for my counted cross stitch, but don’t know the brand. Any information would be appreciated. Thank-you.

Debbie Henry

Sherry, Buying actual thread sample charts can get costly when you are trying to match up unknown threads. Outside of taking samples to a store to match as closely as possible to a known brand, you could match it to a PMS color. The PMS system is the world standard for color matching. Your local printer has PMS color keys that you could compare to your thread. Many manufacturers cross reference their threads to PMS colors. You should be able to find an equivalent that you can cross reference to different brands using the free conversion charts listed above. If not, wing it and use a color that is close to the cross stitch chart. Good luck!


I have a cross stitch project which I began DECADES ago. I’d like to complete it, however, I am missing some colors of the floss. The kit doesn’t indicate which name brand that was used! This is a Kappie Kit from Kappie Originals ltd. Would anyone know which company of floss they used in their kits? I do not have samples of the 8 colors I am missing. Thank you

Debbie Henry

Lydia, Kappie now does business at http://www.everythingcrossstitch.com. Go on their site and see if they still sell your kit. It may mention the thread manufacturer. If not, they list contact information. I would email a photo of the kit photo/chart to them and ask about the thread for that particular kit. Let me know how it turns out!

Cindy Kirby

I was given a lot of Gutterman polyester thread as a gift. Is it suitable for machine embroidery?

Debbie Henry

Cindy, sewing thread is manufactured differently than embroidery thread. There are now a lot of polyester embroidery threads now. Give it a try. If you have problems, you may need to use heavier stabilizer, slow the machine down, and loosten uopper tension.

Dorothy Hebbes

Thanks for letting me join.

Debbie Henry

Welcome aboard, Dorothy!

Nisha Nandwani

Would love to learn about different kind of threads…thanks

Rhonda Short

Where can I find instructions to create a custom electronic color thread chart for the popular threads options that I want to offer customers online.?

Debbie Henry

Rhonda, manufacturers have many electronic thread charts you can download for free. The problem is that the colors vary tremendously on screen and in print. Make sure you include that disclaimer if you use thread charts for reference online.


I am trying to find a conversion chart for Marathon rayon colors to Madeira polyester. Was wondering
if you can help me.
Thank you.

Sue G

If you go to emblibrary.com, down at the bottom left of the home page is a link to their Thread Exchange. They have a tool that will match a number of different threads, including Marathon, to Madeira rayon. Threadchart.info has links to a bunch of color charts, including this one http://threadchart.info/threadchart.php?f=MADEIRA7 which will convert from whatever brand to whatever other brand. I ordered some thread from Allstitch.net and they had a Madeira color chart for $4.99, with actual thread samples. Their prices are the best I’ve seen.


How does Hemingworth embroidery thread compare with the ones you’ve mentioned?


Carrie, I’ve never tried Hemingworth but have been seeing the name more and more. I would say it’s worth a try!


I have a set of Pacesetter thread which the Disney patterns call,for .
is there a conversion list for that ? Thanks so much. I think I heard it changed names but I don’t know to what.


Nancee, Pacesetter is manufactured by Robison Anton. RA does have a line of bright polyester threads. Check some of your Pacesetter color numbers to RA bright poly threads. If they are the same, you can convert from RA to another brand of your choice.

Michelle Hill

Hello. I am very confused. I have bwen given lots of TREBLA threads but i am used ANCHOR. how or qhere can i convert the codes ro wnsure i use the corrwst colours. Thank you.


I’m not finding anything Michelle. I would just use the closest color that you have.


I’m wondering if you know of a site that I could load a picture into and select certain sections that would tell me what color floss corespondents, versus spending an hour sitting on the floor of the craft store trying to match it up lol! 🙂


I have a design that calls for Robison-Anton Rayon thread. I have Brother and Floriani thread how can I convert these numbers

Debbie Henry

Halene, follow the Floriani link above to their site and click “Resources.” There is a Floriana to Robison Anton converion chart there. Honestly, I never use exact colors unless I am matching a specific fabric. I choose the colors I have for the designs I’m stitching.


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