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Can Embroidery Thread Be Used for Regular Sewing? Pros, Cons, and Alternatives (2024)

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Key Takeaways

  • Test embroidery thread on fabric scraps first to evaluate stitch quality and durability
  • Adjust machine tension and stitch settings for best results with thicker, decorative threads
  • Use embroidery thread strictly for decorative stitching accents due to less strength
  • Consider combining traditional thread for structural integrity with embroidery thread for creative details

Overview of Embroidery Thread

Overview of Embroidery Thread
You’re often wondering if embroidery thread can be used for regular sewing projects beyond just embroidery.

  • Greater strength and durability
  • Beautiful sheen and luster
  • Versatility for creative applications

Polyester and rayon embroidery threads are designed for high stitch counts on computerized machines, making them suitable for decorative stitching.

While excellent for embellishing garments, embroidery thread may lack the durability required inside seams. Still, creative sewers relish embroidery thread for quilting, cross stitch, applique, and any project requiring pops of color.

Consider nylon upholstery thread as an alternative for hand sewing lightweight fabrics. Explore embroidery thread’s creative potential, but recognize its limitations for structural integrity.

Embroidery Thread Vs. Sewing Thread

Embroidery Thread Vs. Sewing Thread
When choosing between embroidery thread and regular sewing thread, consider the fiber composition and resulting strength and durability.

Embroidery threads like rayon and polyester tend to be smoother and more lustrous than common sewing threads, but may lack the rugged strength of cotton and poly-cotton blends.

For high-stress areas on garments and projects subject to frequent use, traditional sewing thread is often the wiser choice.

Fiber Composition

When examining the differences between embroidery and sewing threads, you’ll find variations in fiber composition impacting durability and purpose.

Polyester offers strength for machine embroidery while rayon provides alluring sheen.

Cotton lends a matte finish.

Specialty threads boast versatility.

Bobbin threads bear increased weight.

Strength and Durability

Although embroidery thread offers a gorgeous sheen, sewing thread tends to have greater strength for high-stress applications when compared. The composition and thickness impact suitability for certain projects. While creative uses exist, evaluate embroidery thread’s durability concerns prior, especially for clothing construction.

Thread Type Strength Durability
Embroidery Moderate Questionable for high-stress uses
Sewing Higher Proven for seams and construction

Types of Embroidery Thread for Sewing

Types of Embroidery Thread for Sewing
Four popular types of embroidery thread used for sewing projects are polyester, rayon, cotton, and specialty threads.

Polyester offers excellent strength and durability for a variety of sewing applications.

Rayon is prized for its high sheen and glossy finish.

Cotton has a soft, matte look similar to regular sewing thread.

Specialty threads open up creative options with variegated colors, metallics, silks, and more.

When selecting embroidery thread, consider the fiber type. Polyester and rayon are common choices. Cotton Perle threads create a hand-worked look. Metallic options add sparkle while silk gives a luxurious sheen.

The uses for embroidery thread expand beyond basic stitching to include creative effects. With the proper needle and tension adjustments, embroidery threads can produce striking results on sewing projects.

Using Embroidery Thread in a Sewing Machine

Using Embroidery Thread in a Sewing Machine
You can use embroidery thread in a regular sewing machine for decorative stitching, but adjust the tension and stitch length to prevent issues.

When working with embroidery thread, start by testing stitch quality on a scrap piece of fabric. Adjust the tension dial if needed to achieve balanced tension between the top and bottom threads. You may need to loosen machine tension for thicker threads. Additionally, set stitch length between 2.

Embroidery thread allows exciting creative possibilities, like 3D embroidery, trapunto quilting fills, and dimensional flowers on apparel. However certain techniques require specialty needles and presser feet. Consider thread strength too – some are too fragile for construction seams despite interesting visual texture.

With care, embroidery thread unlocks ornamental embellishment well-suited to your next inspired project.

Considerations for Clothing Construction

Considerations for Clothing Construction
When using embroidery thread for regular sewing, carefully consider the intended use of the finished item.

While embroidery thread comes in strong varieties like polyester, other types like rayon may lack durability for clothing subject to frequent washing.

Test different thread types on scraps if construction quality is a priority in your project.

Suitable for Decorative Embroidery Only

You’re better off using embroidery thread strictly for decorative embroidery on clothing. Its variable strength across materials means some types may not hold up well in seams or areas needing reinforcement.

Adjust tension and stitch size to prevent puckering when embellishing garments.

Embellish collars.

Accent sleeve hems.

Highlight waistlines.

Thread Strength Varies by Material

Regarding uses for clothing construction, you’re better off understanding how the strength of embroidery thread varies depending on material before deciding whether to use it for seams or high-stress areas.

Polyester and rayon embroidery threads offer more strength and durability than cotton alternatives when evaluating options for garment construction and decorative stitching projects requiring versatility across the color spectrum.

Adjust Tension and Stitch Size

When adjusting the tension and stitch size for clothing construction with embroidery thread, you’ll want to first test different settings on scrap fabric to find the right balance between tension mastery and stitch precision for optimal thread compatibility.

Consider adjusting machine settings to accommodate potential stitching challenges when substituting embroidery thread for regular sewing thread or using alternatives.

Tips for Hand Sewing With Embroidery Thread

Tips for Hand Sewing With Embroidery Thread
Six tips for hand sewing with embroidery thread are:

  • Prepare the thread by removing it from the skein and forming a loop.
  • Measure proper lengths using your forearm from fingertips to elbow.
  • Separate strands by pinching plies together and pulling out one strand at a time.
  • Integrate the first stitch by anchoring it with other stitches instead of using a knot.
  • Secure ends by neatly weaving the needle underneath previous stitches on the backside.
  • Use a knotless anchoring technique.

Three key hand sewing tips when working with embroidery thread are:

  1. Use short thread lengths, as embroidery thread frays more easily than regular thread.
  2. Reinforce stitching by repeating stitches over each other.
  3. Choose the right type of embroidery thread for your project, whether cotton, silk, or a specialty thread.

Special Techniques With Embroidery Thread

Special Techniques With Embroidery Thread
Transition from Previous Subtopic

After discussing tips for hand sewing with embroidery thread, let’s explore some special techniques you can try with this versatile thread.

Special Techniques With Embroidery Thread

Embroidery thread allows you to add artistic embellishments and unique stitching not possible with regular thread.

  • Try thread painting for free-motion embroidery using a sewing machine – simply draw with the needle and thread.
  • For dimensional appliquĂ©, layer fabrics and secure them with embroidery stitches for texture and depth.
  • Embroidery thread is also wonderful for mixed media art quilts, enabling you to integrate fibers, found objects, and all manners of ephemera into fiber art fused with stitching.

With some creativity, embroidery thread opens doors to special techniques beyond classic embroidery.

Creative Uses Beyond Embroidery

Creative Uses Beyond Embroidery
Looking past embroidery, you can unleash your creativity by using this special thread for applique, quilting, and even some garment construction details that play with texture and sheen.

Embroidery thread enables Thread Artistry full of vivid colors and alluring sheens on your creations.

Stitching Innovations fuse thread types together, producing alluring fusion pieces packed with depth.

Whether whipping up Colorful Creations like quilts or embellishing garment edges with metallic threads, this material stretches beyond classic embroidery.

Yet certain techniques require care when Sewing Beyond traditional uses. Consider durability demands and test small thread samples first.

With an open mind, clever hands, and the right thread choices, your next sewing project could pioneer enthralling new realms.

Potential Drawbacks to Consider

Potential Drawbacks to Consider
Before utilizing embroidery thread for your regular sewing projects, consider some potential drawbacks.

Embroidery thread may lack durability for seams, poses risks of knotting and tangling, and often requires tension adjustments on sewing machines.

Keeping these limitations in mind can help determine if embroidery thread meets the demands of your particular sewing needs.

Lack of Durability

You’ll find embroidery thread’s creative versatility outweighed by its lack of durability for high-stress sewing projects.

The softer fibers and looser twists that yield gorgeous sheens compromise endurance, showing wear and tear over time.

Consider more durable threads if longevity is paramount.

Knotting and Tangling

Since embroidery thread tangles more easily than regular thread, vigilantly manage tails and check for snarls, especially hand sewing.

Prevent tangles using knot-free techniques, smooth thread flow, and troubleshooting tension.

Alternatively, consider stronger threads less prone to problematic tangling.

Tension Adjustments Needed

Embroidery thread requires you adjust your sewing machine’s tension settings when you use it.

Consider the bobbin, stitch size, machine compatibility, and tension troubleshooting when substituting embroidery thread to avoid skipped stitches or puckering.

Final Recommendations

Final Recommendations
Based on your project, consider complementary threads before settling on embroidery.

While offering versatile colors, embroidery thread may lack the strength for all applications.

Evaluate the tension adjustments needed for your sewing machine when working with thicker threads.

Get creative with embroidery techniques, but recognize project suitability limitations.

For clothing construction requiring durability, embroidery thread alone falls short despite creative possibilities.

Combining embroidery accents with traditional sewing thread builds on the strengths of each.

Whether machine or hand sewing, match thread strength to project demands and experiment with tension for optimal stitch formation.

With prudent thread choices suiting stitching purpose, both sewing and embroidery threads unlock potential.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What types of hand sewing projects are best suited for embroidery thread?

For delicate details on dresses, decorative accents on quilts, and precise finishing touches on accessories, embroidery thread allows wonderful creativity. Yet reserve it for handwork rather than long seams, as frequent knotting and potential for slipping demand patience.

With mindfulness and a delicate touch, embroidery thread unlocks ornate embellishment.

How does embroidery thread compare to topstitching thread?

Embroidery thread shimmers as your best friend, offering a comforting sheen of support whenever life’s seams feel taut. Yet topstitching thread stands sturdy as a lifelong partner, bearing up under pressure when stakes are high.

What needle types provide the best results when sewing with embroidery thread?

When sewing with embroidery thread, use embroidery needles or metallic needles.

Embroidery needles have a slight ball point and larger eye to accommodate the thread’s thickness.

Metallic needles are sharper and designed for specialty threads.

Choosing the right needle helps prevent skipped stitches, breakage, and frustration.

What stitch lengths should be used when sewing embroidery thread by machine?

When sewing with embroidery thread, use a shorter stitch length between 5-2mm. This prevents potential tangling or breakage that can occur with longer stitches.

Carefully monitoring thread tension is also advised, as it may need adjusted based on fabric and project specifics.

Proceeding slowly and methodically helps achieve optimal results.

What creative embroidery thread techniques can add special details?


  • Free-motion embroidery
  • Satin stitch applique with decorative borders
  • Thread painting
  • Couching thicker threads over fabric
  • Incorporating specialty threads like metallics or variegated colors
  • Applique with contrasting blanket stitches
  • Mixing embroidery threads together for custom color blends in your stitching


Whether dabbling in embellishments or constructing entire garments, don’t let lackluster thread dull your creative spark.

Like a rainbow waiting to emerge, embroidery thread offers a vibrant palette for your next masterpiece. Simply adapt your techniques, adjust machine settings, and this versatile yarn can help raise ordinary sewing to an art form.

Yet even without special equipment, clever hands can craft beauty stitch by stitch. Wherever your DIY journey leads, let embroidery threads guide your seamstress dreams toward dazzling new horizons.

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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a site dedicated to those passionate about crafting. With years of experience and research under his belt, he sought to create a platform where he could share his knowledge and skills with others who shared his interests.