Sewing Vs. Embroidery Thread – What Are The Differences?

Sewing and embroidery are two very popular crafts that can be done either as a hobby or a career. But if you're new to one of these crafts, you want to make sure that you're getting the correct materials, including the right type of thread. Is there a difference between sewing and embroidery thread? We've researched this to give you all the information you need.

The main difference between sewing and embroidery thread is the texture. Embroidery thread has a shinier texture than sewing thread does. There are more minor differences between the two as well.

This article will explore all of the differences between sewing and embroidery thread and why these differences are necessary. We'll also learn whether or not the two threads can be used interchangeably and the best thread to use for sewing. Continue reading to learn more.

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Cropped shot of spools of thread on a shelf, Sewing Vs. Embroidery Thread - What Are The Differences?

What Is Sewing Thread?

Sewing thread refers to any thread that can be used for sewing. Threads that are used for sewing are made out of thin strands of yarn. The yarn can be made out of different materials, depending on what the thread will be used for.

When it comes to sewing threads, they have three main purposes: sewing, darning, and embroidery. Sewing refers to using a pattern to make a particular type of clothing with the thread holding different fabric pieces together. Darning means using thread to repair holes and rips in clothing. Embroidery is a wider category of specific techniques, such as cross-stitching or needlework, among others.

Sewing threads are made from a wide range of fibers, including cotton, polyester, wool, silk, and rayon. Each of the different types of materials varies in texture, strength, and thickness, and the type you choose depends on what you want to make or repair as well as personal preference. 

But no matter what material a particular type of thread is made of, all sewing threads are manufactured in a way that allows them to pass through a sewing machine quickly without getting tangled or broken. Sewing thread also comes in many different colors and can even be purchased in metallic colors as well.

How Is Embroidery Thread Different Than Sewing Thread?

Embroidery thread refers to a specific type of sewing thread that is typically used for embroidery. This particular type of thread is made of yarn that isn't as tightly twisted together as other types of sewing thread. 

Other than being more loosely twisted together, embroidery thread is also stronger than other types of sewing thread. It needs to be stronger to pass through fabric multiple times. Because of this, embroidery thread is usually made of stronger, less delicate fibers, such as polyester or rayon.

Threads are dyed in different colors, and polyester threads also hold onto color better. That makes them more useful for embroidery since designs are meant to be more noticeable. Although rayon is also used for embroidery thread, it doesn't hold on to dye as well as polyester. With sewing, the thread isn't that noticeable, so it doesn't matter what the thread is made of.

Another difference between the two is the thread sizes. The thread size determines the heaviness of the thread, with larger numbers meaning smaller size thread. Sewing threads, in general, are numbered from 100 to 12. Sewing thread used for constructing clothes is usually size 50, while embroidery thread is a little larger at size 40.

With that being said, the biggest difference between sewing and embroidery thread is in appearance and texture. Embroidery thread has a higher sheen than sewing thread, meaning it is shinier. The threads are also a little softer. These differences in appearance and texture give embroidered designs more dimension and make them pop against the fabric.

Click here to see this 50 pack of embroidery thread on Amazon.

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What Are The Similarities Between Sewing And Embroidery Thread?

The most significant similarity between the two is that embroidery thread is a type of sewing thread. That means that you can buy both embroidery thread and sewing thread made out of the same materials, although some materials are more commonly used for embroidery thread. 

You can also usually buy both of them in the same colors. Remember that embroidery thread will have a bit more of a sheen than other kinds of sewing thread and will hold the dye better than sewing thread.

Can Embroidery Thread Be Used As Sewing Thread (And Vice Versa)?

Cropped shot of spools of thread on a shelf, Sewing Vs. Embroidery Thread - What Are The Differences?

You can use embroidery thread as sewing thread, but it's essential to pay attention to the type of embroidery thread you are using. For example, if the embroidery thread you're using is made of rayon, then you should be careful when using it to make clothing. This is because rayon becomes weaker when it gets wet, so it may not hold your clothing together as well as regular sewing thread.

On the other hand, you can use pretty much any type of sewing thread for embroidery. Using different kinds of sewing thread can create unique effects in your embroidery designs. That means that if you find a particular color sewing thread that you love but they don't have the embroidery thread in the same color, you can use the sewing thread!

Using other types of sewing thread as embroidery thread can also give your designs different textures and sheens. Try embroidering the same small design with varying types of embroidery thread to see how it changes the appearance of the design. Using sewing thread for embroidery is better than using embroidery thread for sewing to sum it all up.

What Is The Best Thread For Sewing?

Full frame, colour sewing threads for background use

The best type of thread to use for sewing ultimately depends on the project you're trying to make. We've already mentioned that the best size thread to use for sewing clothing is size 50. When it comes to choosing a thread, you don't want to choose the cheapest one. Cheap sometimes means low-quality, and low-quality threads will either fray or not hold up over time.

Since sewing thread comes in different materials, you'll also want to use a thread that matches the fabric you're using as closely as possible. Different fibers and fabrics react differently to water and heat, so the last thing you want is for seams to fall apart when you wash, dry, or iron the clothing. Here, we'll cover which types of thread to use with which fabric type.

Cotton Thread

It is best to use thread made of cotton when you are sewing with cotton fabric. Cotton thread holds color very well and has a smooth finish, just like cotton fabric. But you wouldn't want to use cotton thread with a stretchy fabric because cotton doesn't stretch very much. It could break if you use it for sewing together fabrics besides cotton.

Polyester Thread

Polyester thread is best used for embroidery or sewing together any type of synthetic fabric because polyester is a synthetic fiber. Synthetic fabrics include things such as polyester, nylon, spandex, and acrylic. Synthetic fabrics can't tolerate high heat levels, so you want to use a synthetic thread so that the seams can be pressed properly.

Silk Thread

It's best to use silk thread when sewing with natural fabrics like silk and wool that require special care. Silk thread is strong, so it works well for holding together heavier fabrics. It can also tolerate very high levels of heat.

See More: Should Sewing Thread Be Lighter Or Darker Than Fabric?

Can I Use Embroidery Thread In A Sewing Machine?

Sewing machine in a design studio for sewing and tailoring, special education concept, place for insertion. Red threads in the foreground

You should use embroidery thread in a sewing machine as long as you use the correct type of thread for your particular project. Make sure you choose the right type of needle as well. But, it's a good idea to check the manual of your particular sewing machine to make sure that it is okay and how to use it properly.

Is Bobbin Thread Different Than Regular Thread?

Bobbin thread is a type of thread that is usually used for embroidering with a sewing or embroidery machine. It is different from regular thread because it is more lightweight. It is also a little more delicate than standard sewing thread, although it can be almost as strong as long as it is high-quality. Using bobbin thread is ideal when embroidering on lightweight fabric because it makes the design less dense on the back of the material.

Click here to see this set of bobbin thread on Amazon.

In Closing

We hope this guide helped distinguish between sewing and embroidery thread. There are very few differences other than appearance, and the two can be used interchangeably, although you should be more careful when using embroidery thread for regular sewing. Thanks for reading!

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