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My Overall Opinion on Hand Embroidery Materials Part 1

19 June, 2020 - 0 Comments

When starting a new hobby, or even after doing the hobby of a long time, many would always think about what sort of material they should buy. Because there are always so many options. And embroidery is probably the healthiest hobby that anyone can start with the least investment. But even so, it’s easy to be confused about which thread to buy, which embroidery hoop to get and what type of needle to use. And since most of don’t know these things very well when starting out, it’s daunting to know why a certain product is cheap or why another is expensive. Leaving us only more confused at the end of it, and sometimes because of this confusion we might say, “Let’s just give up.” Since you never know how long you’d enjoy the hobby, you usually have to always think long and hard before making a purchase.

If you think about it in terms of starting an instrument, an instrument that is too cheap won’t sound too good and I might lose interest because of that, and an instrument that is too expensive is just an excessive investment into hobby I might not be too good at.

For embroidery, threads and hoops have a large difference in quality depending on the price. In fact, I’ve seen plenty of people who started embroidery with cheap materials and end up losing interest due to it. So, on our site, we want to do our best to provide you with the most cost-effective materials so you don’t lose your interest and continue to do embroidery.

With that, I want to share some information and tips that would be useful to know before starting embroidering.


  1. Which embroidery thread is the most used?

The most commonly used thread is a yarn that combines six threads called 25 yarns. Some of the popular brands for this type of thread are DMC and Anchor. Although the DMC room is cotton floss, it boasts a luxurious gloss. It has the same luster as silk yarn. The gloss on Anchor however is not as good as that of DMC, but it has a pleasant and simple atmosphere. When I embroider roses with satin stitches, the threads look a bit different depending on the angle, but the difference is more noticeable in the case of Anchor.

  1. What’s the difference between the DMC/Anchor and their alternatives?

Even if it’s not a thread from DMC, there are plenty alternatives that are the similar as the ones that appear on DMC color chart. These yarns are cheap and good to use. Of course, there is a difference between them and the genuine threads, but if you understand the differences, you can use the appropriate alternatives when necessary.

For example, there is a difference in thickness between the genuine threads and the copycat alternatives. Most replacement threads are thinner than the ones sold by the brands, and their slightly less glossy too. And although they follow the DMC color chart, it isn’t exactly the same color as the originals.

Another problem that occurs with the alternative threads is that that they don’t fit well into the needles. This is the most common complaint against them. Brand threads like DMC, have threads that fit nicely into the needles, but the replacement threads often crack making it difficult to fit. You should also try keeping the replacement thread in short lengths. The more brand threads rarely tangle even if they are cut very long, but the cheaper ones do. So, I would recommend to keep the thread at a shorter length. No more than 50 centimeters.   

As you can see there are clear differences, but I still use the cheaper threads often when I just want to practice.

Which needle should I use?

When embroidering, it is strongly recommended to use a professional embroidery needle. Professional embroidery needles have a pointed tip, and their needle eyes are slightly wider for a better fit. So, it is much easier to use than a regular needle. In the case of needles, the smaller the number, the larger the eye.

The most popular brands are John James from the UK and Clover from Japan. Needles also come in a variety of ways depending on the purpose. For products that use needle number 25 yarn, you can purchase a product that says Embroidery. Clover sells No. 3-9, and No. 3 is a needle that can use the 6 floss No. 25 yarn. While the John James' needles are numbered 1 to 9, and the number 1 is a needle that can use the 6 floss No. 25 yarn.

The difference between these two needles is that John James 1 is longer and slightly thicker than the Clover 3. Jon James is more convenient than Clover if you do a lot of French knots.

You should also note that needles have a lifespan. You need to purchase extra not just in case you misplace them but because after a while the needle might not work as well as when you started. The part where you hold the needle often degrades due to the sweat from our hands. So, as time goes by it doesn’t pass through the fabric as softly. But, depending on the person and how much sweat they have on their hands, the lifespan of the needle will vary.

It will continue in the Part 2.

By Sue Kim

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