How Many Threads Do You Use for Embroidery Stitches

Do you love beautiful embroidering fabrics? Do you look at the threads you have and want to make art with them? Before you go on to experiment with what you have, this article is for you. Here, you learn the basics on which thread is suitable for embroidering and how many you can use. Read on.

Embroidering is an art that most sewers enjoy. Not only do you have fun doing it, but also the end pieces can be mind-blowing, full of art, and give you beautiful fabrics for your home. What you end up with entirely depends on the type of embroidering thread you use, and that is why you need to understand more about them.

How Many Threads Do You Use for Embroidery Stitches?

Embroidery Stitches

Typically, embroiders put all the 6 strands in a needle and use them at once. However, you can decrease the strands if you want to make more details with better stitches. Embroiders recommend 3 strands as they give you bold lines and decent detailing.

Different Types of Hand Embroidery Threads

In the embroidery craft, there are a hundred different types of threads you can use. More and more are coming up each day. For beginners, the following threads are suitable for use:

1. Stranded  Embroidery Cotton

Stranded  Embroidery Cotton

The stranded embroidery cotton, also the embroidery floss, is the most common thread in embroidery work. That is because embroiders across the world prefer it for making different patterns and designs, including cross-stitching. So why is the floss the best?

That is because it has six strands. You can choose to use all the six strands by threading them all in your needle or separating them. In short,  how you use the stranded embroidery cotton or the embroidery floss depends on the design you want and the fabric you are working on.

2. Pearl Cotton/ Perle Cotton

The Pearl cotton thread is a massive thread that is of heavy strands. If you compare Pearl cotton threads with the embroidery cotton, you feel that the Perl ones are heavier than embroidery. The threads have numbers on them, and they have a meaning. The higher the number in a Perl thread, the lighter in weight it is.

If you look at the thread closer, you see that a single Pearl cotton thread strand is made of two fibers twisted together. While you may separate other flosses when using, you cannot separate the Pearl cotton one. You are supposed to use it that way when embroidering.

3. Rayon Floss

It is a bright thread that has a silk-like sheen texture. If you compare with other embroidery threads, it is the shiniest embroidery floss similar to stranded cotton thread. When you make embroidery with the thread, the result is a colorful and beautiful fabric.

As much as the thread is excellent, it also has its cons. This thread tangles and knots when you are working with it. That makes it difficult to use. So, how do you overcome the cons? You can choose to use shorter lengths or slightly dampen the thread with a sponge before using it.

4. Metallic Hand Embroidery Thread

Metallic Hand Embroidery Thread

It is a vibrant thread you can choose to work with. That is because it has more pros and fewer cons. The cons are that it tarnishes quickly, tangles, snags, and frays. It even makes it difficult to wash a piece of fabric with the embroidery work. The thread’s brighter side is that you can use it when you want to give highlights to your design or bring a  beautiful gold metallic look in fabric.

5. Crewel Yarn/Wool

If you love wool embroidery, the crewel yarn is what you use. It is a fine natural two-ply strand wool that you use in needlepoint, cross-stitch, and tapestry work. The thread is thicker than embroidery thread, making the best to use when you want to add texture to your fabric. 

6. Tapestry Yarn/ Persian Yarn

Tapestry Yarn

It is a soft, thick yarn that has diverse uses. If you work on canvas and heavy material, the thread is suitable as it is good for needlepoint and crewel work. When embroidering bedding and other warm fabrics, the soft and thick yarn gives you excellent results.

7. Silk Threads

Just as the name suggests, you use the thread when working on delicate fabrics. You find it in various beautiful and bright colors. The only problem of using the thread is that it fades quickly as the colors bleed away during a wash making it unsuitable is you want lasting colors.

8. Variegated Threads

Variegated threads classify embroidery threads according to colors. They have many shades of the same color in the same skein. What is unique about the floss is that the colors of the thread change along the length. You can find it in cotton, silk, and rayon fiber threads.

9. Cord and Beading Thread

Cord and Beading Thread

It is a thread that is common in couch embroidery, making jewelry, crafting, leather sewing, binding, wrapping, stringing, knotting, lacing, or beading. The use shows you that the thread is strong, durable, and withstand all kinds of services.

10. Crochet Thread

Though it is indeed true that you can crochet using any of the above threads, there is a particular thread you can use. The crochet thread has a beautiful sheen making your crochet work more manageable, and the results are gorgeous. Use it for doilies and other string art and see the difference.

11. Sashiko Thread

It is a common thread in Japan. They have a unique Japanese embroidery work of clothing repair called Sashiko, which explains the name, and that is where they use the thread. The floss is as thick as four embroidery threads with a unique twist making it strong and durable.

Essential Tips on Using Hand Embroidery Threads

  1. Pick and cut your thread of choice. Keep your thread neat, clean, and organized using a plastic thread holder.
  2. Separate floss into different strands before using it. That is to prevent it from tangling.
  3. Use shorter (25 inches) length of thread to prevent fibers from becoming weaker.
  4. Just like fabrics, threads have grains. Know the grain of your thread by touching it.
  5. Prewash fabric and threads before embroidery. That is to test color bleeding.
  6. To get high-quality threads, go for reputable brands, and always check the prices. The best is, of course, costly.

Can You Use Sewing Thread for Embroidery?

Use Sewing Thread for Embroidery


Yes, you can! You can use the regular sewing thread to make stunning embroidery pieces. The process is similar to that of working with embroidery threads. That means you don’t have to shy away from using that sewing thread you have on your shelf. You can even combine both threads in a single fabric.

What Is the Best Thread for Embroidery?

Cotton threads are the best for embroidery work. That is because it is strong, has a lovely soft sheen, appropriate for machine embroidery, and produces excellent beautiful results. It is available in weights of up to 100, though you can use 30 or 50 wt. It is a thread that is highly recommendable.



I'm Jessica Flores, a professional fashion designer and an expert seamstress. Crafting has always been a deep-seated passion of mine, one that has flourished and evolved over the years. I've dedicated considerable time to both studying and practicing in the realm of fashion and sewing, amassing a wealth of experience and skills. It brings me great joy to share these insights and experiences with you all, hoping to inspire and foster a similar passion for the art of sewing.

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