Embroidery is the art of stitching elegant embroidery stitches on fabric surfaces with thread, embroidery floss, and other materials. It is a prevalent surface embellishing decoration for fabrics creating beautiful patterns with decorative stitches or laid thread. Embroidery involves portraying beautiful imagery on fabric and succeeds in bringing incredible texture. You can do embroidery by hand or with a sewing machine. Hand embroidery requires needles and thread to make beautiful stitches, whereas the sewing machine requires a zig-zag stitch to create different embroidery designs.
You can use regular thread to embroider clothing, but embroidery floss thread is thicker and shinier, so it has a nicer finish and will show up better.
Is Embroidery Thread Different from Regular Thread?
Threads are long, thin strands of nylon, cotton, or other fibers in sewing, and embroidery thread is different from sewing thread because of its texture. Embroidery thread is a special thread that you can use for embroidery work and has a special sheen, whereas regular threads do not have sheen.
Are All Embroidery Threads the Same?
Not all embroidery thread are the same. You can opt from a wide variety of embroidery threads for your embroidery work, and with so many different options available, it is overwhelming choosing the treads to use.
Embroidery threads come in different thicknesses. It can be in a single strand or multiple strands like the six-stranded floss. You can split thick embroidery threads with many strands into smaller groups.
Use a strand or more subject to the embroidery project’s thickness. Some embroidery threads come in a single thread with different thicknesses. Some single strand sizes have an equal thickness to grouped strands.
Below is a list of the various types and sizes of embroidery threads that you can choose from.
Stranded Embroidery Thread
The stranded embroidery thread is the most common among the other threads and is popularly known as embroidery floss. The thread comprises six strands that you can separate. Depending on the thread thickness, you can use the strands separately or in groups.
Generally, needlepoint needs all six strands, but you can use one strand of embroidery floss for needle stitching. You will need two strands of embroidery floss when cross-stitching.
The embroidery floss consists of many colors that a color code can identify. The manufacturers make the thread from cotton, rayon, or silk. DMC and Anchor are known brands for embroidery.
Perle cotton is another popular thread, and it comes as a single strand and isn’t separable. It has a wide range of colors, and you can indicate it by a color code. The thread comes in different thicknesses, which the manufacturers mark by a size number.
As the thread becomes thicker, the size number becomes lower. The thread comes in different sizes, such as 3,5,8 and 12. The single-stranded thread has a similar thickness to groups of stranded embroidery thread. The size 3 of the thread is similar to six strands of embroidery floss, whereas a size 12 is as good as a single strand of embroidery floss. The size 8 is a perfect weight and is the most popular.
You can use it in wool embroidery, needlepoint, cross-stitch, or tapestry work. Using wool to embroider, just like any embroidery thread, is common, and tailors commonly use it for projects that need some texture.
The yarn weight defines the wool thickness, and the thinnest is known as 0 lace, whereas the thickest is 7 Jumbo. If you want Crewel embroidery, you can use Crewel yarn, a type of wool. Felted wool is another type of wool yarn that undergoes a felting process that creates a fuzzy texture. Use feted wool for couching in your embroidery work.
You can use metallic embroidery threads to highlight embroidery work, and you can use them with other embroidery threads. The most prevailing colors are gold, silver, copper, and platinum, although it is available in standard colors.
There are some drawbacks to using metallic embroidery threads. It easily tarnishes, snags, tangles, and frays, and it isn’t easy to wash fabrics embroidered with metallic threads. Hence, this limits the usage of metallic threads.
To be able to stitch better with metallic threads, follow these tips.
- Using shorter lengths and only a few strands of metallic thread to stitch is advisable,
- To help reduce friction between thread and fabric, use a big needle.
- Sometimes when stitching, snags take place, and to avoid it, use a thread conditioner or dampen the thread.
- It is easier to work when combining a metallic thread strand with a standard embroidery floss strand.
How to Embroider Clothes by Hand
There are different ways you can embroider clothes by hand. These include:
To write your name or wordings on any fabric, use a pen or pencil, not a marker, because it will blot on the fabric. A pen/ pencil will make thin lines, and the stitches will cover the marks.
For these, you will require three strands instead of six. Spiral the thread around your finger to separate the embroidery thread, and this way, it won’t be tangled. Thread the needle with the three-stranded embroidery thread and start your first stitch from the inside of the fabric to the outside, at the bottom left corner of your first letter.
Don’t make a knot in the embroidery thread; instead, make a little loop on the inside, and pass your needle through the loop when you come back down from the outside to the inside. Effectively, you have a knot that is secure and not bulky.
Bring the needle and thread up from the bottom again, across the last stitch. After this, bring the needle back down in the middle of your last stitch. The finished stitch length should be of a rice grain length.
Continue going up a half-stitched length beyond the last stitch and down in the middle of your last stitch. You will notice that the stitching looks like a chain, and when you have finished one line of stitches, start the other letter. If there is space, move your needle and thread across on the inside of the fabric, coming up at the beginning of the next set of stitches.
This stitch requires six embroidery strands, although you can use three strands but double the thread as you go. This stitch begins by winding the thread around the needle three times and then inserting it into the fabric from outside to inside.
You can use a cross-stitch to embellish a double row of stitches on any fabric. Move the needle and thread through the loop of the second existing stitch and start working from the outside. If you want to make the first part of the cross, or X, move the needle through the loop of the first stitch on the right row. Then go through the second stitch on the right, from right to left, and up across the outside to the first stitch on the left, passing the needle from left to right.
You will notice that the stitches create small vertical lines on the side of the X. Continue with the pattern until you complete the full area you want to stitch.