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.

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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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!

Share tips, start a discussion or ask one of our experts or other students a question.

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5 Responses to “The 411 on Embroidery: Thread Resource Guide”

  1. charlie fox

    amazing blog! Very informative.

  2. embroidery designs

    wonderful blog, i love hand embroidery so this blog was very useful to me. i look forward to see this type of blogs.

  3. Katy Rose

    dmc link does not link to dmc website

  4. Dreamish Digitizing

    Nice explanation on embroidery and also thumbs up for the HD images used in the post to make this guide more informative and usable. You have really worked while writing this post, keep educating others.

  5. zdigitizinguk

    This website is very useful and article is awesome, If you are looking for embroidery digitizing servcies then try We offer custom embroidery digitizing and vector art services at lost cost