Sewing thread vs embroidery thread. That’s what this post is about, I’ll tell you what they are and some of their uses.
Embroidery thread and sewing thread can both be used in a sewing machine. They have some difference between them.
When I say embroidery thread, I’m not talking about embroidery floss. Embroidery floss is for hand embroidery, not machine embroidery.
The difference between embroidery thread and floss is that thread comes on a spool. And the floss comes in a little skein like yarn. The floss is made up of six individual strands and you can use whatever number of strands you want for your project.
I prefer to do my embroidery by hand. It’s more time consuming than machine embroidery, but to me it’s more enjoyable and it’s my personal preference. And the hardest part is trying to decide what my next embroidery project is going to be.
While I like to do hand-embroidery, I like to use my sewing machine for my sewing. Unlike embroidery thread and floss you can use regular sewing thread for both.
And real quick, crochet thread is more of a yarn. You use it in crocheting and tatting, not sewing. You might be able to use it for hand embroidery, but I don’t know.
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The difference between sewing and embroidery
Before we get into what sewing thread and embroidery thread is, let’s talk a little about what sewing and embroidery are. First off, sewing and embroidery are both needlework.
Sewing is where you stitch together a piece of fabric, or mend your clothes with a sewing machine or needle and thread. One of the great things about sewing is that you pick out whatever fabrics, patterns, and embellishments you want for your sewing project.
Embellishments are things like, buttons, lace, trims, fringe, beads and other things that you can use to decorate your project.
And embroidery is the art of decorating your fabric using a needle and floss (or embroidery machine) to create different decorative stitches with different colors of thread. Embroidery is also a type of embellishment.
Now, what about the embroidery design. There are many different intricate designs for hand and machine embroidery. But, your embroidered design doesn’t have to be elaborate. There are many simple easy embroidery designs.
If you’re a beginner at embroidery, whether you want to do hand or machine embroidery. I would start with a easy, small design. You can find super easy embroidery design for both hand or machine embroidery.
And with both sewing and embroidery there are different needle sizes. The needle size you use depends on the type of materials you’re using.
Sewing thread is what holds all your sewing projects together. So, that makes it very important to use the right thread.
The most common thread you can get is probably polyester thread. That’s what I use for most of my sewing projects. But, there are different types of thread out there.
There’s also cotton thread, metallic thread, silk thread, rayon thread, nylon threads and wool threads and more. There is also serger thread and quilting thread.
For your sewing project it’s important to use the right type of thread, because using the wrong type of thread can mess up your sewing project.
And there are a variety of colors in thread for any color of project.
There are also different weights of thread. I personally don’t really look at the weight of the thread, because I generally use all-purpose thread. And the multi-purpose thread weight can be used on most any project.
With the weight of thread the larger number is the thinner thread. And the smaller number is the thicker thread. I know it sounds kind of confusing.
But, if you’re not using all purpose thread, it’s a good idea to look at the weight of thread. Because if you’re using lightweight fabric or delicate fabrics you’ll need a finer thread than if you’re using heavier fabrics.
And some use a different thread then the top thread for their bobbin thread, but I just use regular thread for my bobbin.
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Embroidery threads are for decorating your fabrics. And like sewing thread there are different machine embroidery thread types.
Cotton embroidery thread is probably the most common embroidery thread. But, there is also polyester embroidery thread, rayon embroidery thread, metallic embroidery thread and silk embroidery thread and more.
The type of embroidery thread you use depends on what look or which thread you want to use. To me it depends on your personal preference, yes some maybe easier to use than others. But, they’re all great for embroidery, it’s whatever is the best choice for you.
Like, sewing thread there are different weights of embroidery thread. The 40 wt is the most popular weight of embroidery thread.
And there is a wide range of colors in any type of embroidery thread. Embroidery thread has a higher sheen than most threads.
Cotton fabric is the most common type of fabric to do machine embroidery on. But, you can embroider on other fabrics as well.
Sewing thread vs embroidery thread
So, we’ve talked about both sewing and embroidery thread. Now, I’m going to talk about some of their differences.
To me the main difference is the high sheen embroidery thread has. Sewing thread on the other hand has a more matte look than embroidery thread. That’s probably because embroidery thread is meant to be seen, while sewing thread is more hidden.
And you use the threads for different purposes. Sewing thread is used for the seams in sewing and quilting projects, and you can even use it for machine quilting. But, embroidery thread is use for mainly decorative embroidery work.
I have a couple spools of 40 wt embroidery thread, even though I’ve never really done machine embroidery. But, it looks like it has the same thickness as my all-purpose sewing thread.
But, the embroidery thread has a looser twist, than the sewing thread does. And I think that the embroidery thread actually feels softer than the sewing thread.
Both of the threads can be made from natural fiber or synthetic fibers.
What about thread breaks? Some say that the embroidery thread is stronger than the sewing thread. Well, I took a length of both the sewing and embroidery thread and tied a small knot in the middle. Then I pulled the thread ends to break the thread, this is a great way to test the strength of you threads.
The embroidery thread actually broke easier than the sewing thread. So, that tells me that the tensile strength of the sewing thread is better than the embroidery threads.
But, embroidery thread doesn’t have to be as strong as regular thread. Because you use it to decorate your fabric, not hold it together.
So, it’s a good choice to not use the embroidery thread for regular sewing. Because in sewing you want your seams to be strong, especially if you’re making clothing.
What about the colors the spools of thread come in. Both embroidery and sewing thread come in many vibrant colors.
And embroidery thread is sometimes cheaper than sewing thread. And there are all kinds of different thread brands for both embroidery thread and sewing thread.
Which is better?
They are both great for what they are made for. So, neither is better than the other.
I wouldn’t use sewing thread for embroidery or embroidery thread for sewing. But, embroidery thread is perfect for embroidery and sewing thread is prefect for sewing.
Yes, there are a few differences, but not many. The best thread is when you use whatever thread you choose for what it was made for.
I hope that this sewing thread vs embroidery thread post helps you to figure out embroidery and sewing thread.
Check out my other embroidery post
- How do I pick out the best needles for cross stitch
- Cross stitch vs needlepoint: what’s the differences
- Needlepoint vs embroidery: what’s the differences