Can I Use Regular Thread in My Embroidery Machine?

Your embroidery machine may be threadbare. It happens as you embroider so much you may run out of supplies and it is too late to get to the nearest store that sells thread. Running out of embroidery thread is not the end of the world. You may be surprised by what can be used as a replacement.

Can I use regular thread in my embroidery machine? Yes, you can. The good news is you shouldn’t hurt your machine at all. The only problem you may find is that regular thread is a little thicker and it may pile up on you as you embroider. In other words, you may get more coverage with regular thread than you would with normal embroidery varieties.

To learn if you can use regular thread in an embroidery sewing machine just continue to read our article. It has the information so you can use replacement thread without worry.

What Thread to Use For Embroidery Machine

Standard embroidery thread is about #50. That weight makes it a little lighter and a little finer than regular thread. The latter style of thread is usually around #40 and is a bit thicker than embroidery thread which may stiffen your design a bit.

Using standard embroidery thread helps avoid thread breaking as the regular thread may rub too much against the inside of the eye of the needle. Another way to avoid thread breakage, as it can happen with embroidery thread, is to use a top stitch needle instead of a regular one.

Some machines do have a preference so you should be careful which thread you use. Using regular thread should be limited to emergency use if possible. Like when you run out of the embroidery thread and cannot get away to get more to refill your supplies.

Which Thread is Best for Machine Embroidery


It seems that rayon thread is what a lot of people prefer when they do embroidery. As long as the rayon meets the #50 standard you should get a lot of good designs out of that thread. Rayon is shiny and it makes your embroidery work look a lot better.

Other sewers like to use polyester. Much for the same reasons. The shine of polyester helps make your embroidered designs pop. That is what some people like to see and that bright difference helps attract a lot of attention to your sewing handiwork.

If you do not understand the #50 or the #40 symbols, the #50 simply translates into 2 ply thread. This style of thread is also not as twisted as much so it lies flatter on your fabric. This effect helps spruce up your brightness on your embroidered work.

Also, you should know that a #40 embroider thread and a #40 regular thread are not the same. The former is a lot finer than the latter. Even though they have the same number, those numbers are not sending the same message about the composition of the thread.

The most commonly used embroidery thread is 40.

How Much Thread Does Machine Embroidery Use

The answer to this question will depend on the size of your design that you will embroider. Obviously, you lose some thread setting up your machine and threading the needle etc, but it shouldn’t be that much.

What matter is if you have enough thread on hand to finish the design you have started. Stopping mid-project to get more thread can throw off your time schedule and set you back a little ways.

To make sure you have enough thread on hand, it would be a wise move to buy your thread wrapped on cones. One cone handles about 1,000,000 stitches. That is 5 times more than a regular spool handles.

With that much thread it shouldn’t matter how much your machine uses at one time. You should have enough to cover a lot of patterns. Then you should have enough cones in reserve to make sure you don’t lose a lot of time when the original thread cone runs out at the wrong time.

Then the cones are very good for those basic colors you use a lot. For specialty colors or other thread colors that you use from tie to time, you may want to save some money and buy a few spools of the thread.

That way you are covered and should have enough on hand when you embroider your next project.

Can I Use Polyester Thread for Machine Embroidery


Yes, you can. In fact, after rayon, polyester thread is the second most preferred thread top use when you embroider. The reason for that is because polyester has some of the same properties as rayon.

It is thinner than cotton or about the same size as rayon. Plus, it produces the same type of shine when you are done. The lighter polyester should also lie flat for a better look to your design.

Cotton can be used as well, but it is not as shiny as rayon or polyester. But it is a good thread to use when you want a more matter type finish. Not every embroidered design needs to be bright and flashy. Sometimes a duller finish is just right for what your project is all about.

On a side note, there is cotton thread made for embroidery as well. It is called DMC and there may be other varieties out there. So if you run out of rayon, you do have good thread options that will help you produce some great embroidery designs. Going outside the box from time to time should help keep your sewing life more interesting.

That fact also helps you become more creative and innovative with your sewing projects that require embroidered designs.

Can I Use Serger Thread for Machine Embroidery


It is possible to use serger thread on an embroidery machine. In some cases, you may have to make a few adaptions to get the spool or cone to work though. Those modifications need to be directed at your thread stand, cup, cd case spindle, and the paper towel holder.

Other people disagree and dislike serger thread being used on an embroidery machine. Their argument against using the thread seems to omit the fact that serger thread is 2 ply, like regular embroidery thread. It is also stronger than polyester and has less lint to it.

Some seamstresses use serger thread as a bobbin thread and only when the embroidered design is seen on both sides of a given project. One reason people may not like using serger thread is that it is like regular thread. It doesn‘t have the same sheen as rayon or polyester.

If you want a great use for serger thread, use it on those meats that you have to baste. It makes for a great basting thread as it pulls out better and is stronger than regular thread. A better way to baste is usually a way to impress your mother-in-law.

Embroidery Thread Tips

Tips are great to get. They give you new ideas on how to embroider or what designs, machines, etc., work best and so on. Tips for embroidery thread may help you create better projects faster.

Here are a few tips to help you do better when embroidering:

Build a thread collection. Having a variety of different colors in as many shades as possible helps you match a torn or rip design quickly. It also saves you time as the thread you need is right there and you can avoid a special trip to the store.

Use #30 weight cotton thread. This is a better thread weight to go with. No adjustments are necessary and you should be able to embroider as you do with regular embroidery thread. If thread breaks happen, you can reduce the speed of your machine or change the needle. You can also reduce the upper thread tension a little

Pick the right colors. The first step here is to make sure you know what color you want for your fabric. Knowing this will help you pick the right thread colors that match up. Your thread colors depend on which one gets the most stitches. They also depend on your embroidered theme. Finally, try to avoid using colors that are very close together.

Some Final Words

While it is best to use the proper thread when you are doing embroidery work, that may not always be possible or preferred. The correct embroidery thread works best in your embroidery sewing machine.

That thread is rayon but you can substitute polyester if you want to. Polyester produces basically the same look as rayon and is just about the same strength. Then there is nothing wrong with using cotton thread in your embroidery machine.

Cotton gives you a different look and there are specially made embroidery cotton threads to make sure you can use that style without the hassle. Then a lot is left up to your preference. Your embroidery machine should handle the differences but watch the lint and the pile up as you go.

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