Which Thread Weights Should I Use For Machine Embroidery?

Machine embroidery is a great way to add a personalized touch to your projects, whether you’re making a quilt, a jacket, or even a t-shirt.

One important factor to consider when embroidering is the weight of the thread you use. The weight of the thread can affect the appearance and durability of your embroidery, as well as the ease of use of your machine.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the different thread weights available and which ones are best for machine embroidery.

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The term “thread weight” generally refers to the thickness or diameter of a thread used in sewing, embroidery, or other textile crafts.

Thread weight is typically measured in numbers, with a higher number indicating a thinner thread and a lower number indicating a thicker thread.

Thread Weights

The numbering system used for thread weights can vary depending on the country and type of thread. In general, the higher the thread weight number, the finer the thread.

Thread weight is an important factor to consider when choosing a thread for a particular project. Different thread weights can be used for different purposes, depending on the type of fabric being used.

Thicker threads are generally used for heavy-duty sewing projects such as:

  • Upholstery, heavier fabrics, topstitching, and decorative embroidery.

While finer threads are used for delicate fabrics such as:

finer threads

  • Silk, fine detail work, and machine quilting.

When using a sewing machine, it is important to choose a thread that is compatible with the machine’s needle and tension settings.

Using the wrong thread weight can result in stitching problems, such as skipped stitches or thread breakage.

If you experience stitch skipping when embroidering, keep reading to learn the cause and a solution.

How One Can Determine The Different Kinds Of Thread Weights?

In machine embroidery, thread weight is typically measured in terms of “denier,” which refers to the thickness and weight of the thread. 

Denier is a unit of measurement that describes the mass per unit length of a fiber. In general, a higher denier count indicates a thicker, heavier thread. using a number system.

Here are the basic steps to read the thread weights in machine embroidery:

Look For The Thread Weight Number

To determine the thread weights, look for the number on the spool or cone of the thread. It may be listed as a weight number (such as 40wt or 60wt) or as a denier number (such as 120D or 200D).

  • Denier counts typically range from around 40 to 120, with higher numbers indicating thicker threads.

If the thread is not labeled with a weight, you can compare it to other threads you have on hand or consult a thread weight chart for reference.

In addition to deniers, some thread manufacturers also use other indicators of thread weights, such as weight numbers or thickness values, to help embroiderers choose the right thread for their projects.

Read the article to learn about the top embroidery thread brands, as using high-quality thread is essential for getting the finest results.

Other systems to read the thread weights are:

Tex: Tex is another unit of measurement for linear mass density, defined as the mass in grams per 1,000 meters of thread.

  • A typical range of tex for the sewing thread is 20 to 50. A higher tex number indicates a thicker, heavier thread.

Thread count: Thread count is a measure of the number of threads in a fabric, usually expressed as threads per inch (TPI) or threads per centimeter (TPC).

Thread count

  • It can also refer to the number of threads in a woven or knit textile, such as bed sheets or towels. A higher thread count generally indicates a softer and more durable fabric.

Here are some of the most common thread weights used in embroidery and digitizing:

  • 40 weight: This is the most commonly used weight for embroidery. It’s a standard weight that is suitable for most designs and fabrics.
  • 30 weight: This is a thicker thread that creates a more pronounced look on the fabric. It’s often used for designs with larger fill areas or for creating a bold outline.
  • 50 weight: This is a finer thread that is often used for detailed designs or small text. It creates a delicate appearance and is best suited for lightweight fabrics.
  • 60 weight: This is an even finer thread that is often used for delicate designs or intricate details. It’s best suited for lightweight fabrics like silk or chiffon.
  • 80 weight: This is the thinnest of all the thread weights and is used for delicate embroidery work.
  • 12 Weight: This is a heavy-weight thread that is primarily used for decorative stitching, such as topstitching and outlining.

Types Of Thread Weights For Machine Embroidery

Here are the basic types of thread weights in machine embroidery:

1- Medium Weight Thread

Medium-weight thread is a commonly used type of thread in machine embroidery. It is typically thicker than lightweight thread, but thinner than heavyweight thread.

Medium Weight Thread

The specific thickness of medium-weight thread can vary depending on the brand and type of thread but generally falls within the range of 30 to 40 weight.

Medium-weight thread is a versatile choice for machine embroidery because it can be used for a variety of designs and fabrics. It is strong enough to create bold, solid stitches, but also thin enough to create delicate designs.

Many embroidery machines are designed to work with medium-weight thread, and it is available in a wide range of colors and materials, including cotton, polyester, rayon, and silk.

When using medium-weight thread for machine embroidery, it is important to adjust the tension settings on your machine accordingly.

If the tension is too loose, the stitches may appear loose and uneven. If the tension is too tight, the thread may break or cause puckering on the fabric.

Following the professional guidance given in the post will help you avoid puckering, which can be a frustrating problem with machine embroidery.

2- Fine Weight Thread

The most common thread weights used for machine embroidery are 40 wt and 60 wt. A 60-wt thread is thinner than a 40-wt thread, making it ideal for fine details and small lettering.

Fine Weight Thread

It’s important to note that using fine thread weights can also have some drawbacks. Thinner threads are more prone to breakage, which can be frustrating and time-consuming during the embroidery process.

Additionally, fine threads may not hold up as well over time as thicker threads, especially if the embroidery is subjected to frequent use or washing.

3- Heavy Weight Thread

Heavy-weight threads can be made from a variety of materials such as cotton, polyester, rayon, silk, metallic, and even wool.

The thickness of the thread can vary depending on the material and can range from 30 to 12 weight or even heavier.

Heavy Weight Thread

When working with heavy-weight threads, it is important to adjust the settings on your embroidery machine accordingly.

You may need to slow down the stitching speed and adjust the tension to accommodate the thicker thread.

Go and get complete guidance on understanding thread tension in machine embroidery and how to adjust it to prevent any problems.

It is also important to use a larger needle to prevent thread breakage and ensure the thread can pass through the fabric smoothly.

Some popular uses for heavy-weight threads in embroidery include creating raised lettering, outlining designs, and adding dimension to floral or other decorative elements.

What To Choose From 40 Wt Or 60 Wt?

When it comes to machine embroidery, the weight of the thread used can make a significant difference in the outcome of the project.

A common question in machine embroidery is how 40wt and 60wt threads compare, and which one to use for different projects.

Here are some key differences between 40 and 60-thread weights in machine embroidery:

Thread Thickness:

  • 40wt thread is thicker than 60wt thread.
  • This means that a 40wt thread will cover more surface area and create a bolder, more visible stitch.
  • On the other hand, 60wt thread is finer and more delicate, creating a more subtle, delicate stitch.

Thread Strength:

  • 40wt thread is generally stronger than 60wt thread.
  • This means that it can withstand more wear and tear, and is less likely to break or fray during stitching.
  • 60wt thread, on the other hand, is more fragile and may require more care during use.

Thread Color:

Thread Color

  • Both 40-wt and 60-wt thread come in a wide range of colors, but some colors may be more readily available in one weight than the other.
  • It’s important to keep this in mind when choosing thread for a design, especially if color matching is important.

Thread Coverage:

  • Due to its thickness, 40wt thread will cover the fabric more completely and is less likely to show the underlying fabric.
  • 60wt thread, however, may show through the fabric more easily and may require more layers or coverage to achieve the desired look.

Stitching Speed:

  • Because the 60-wt thread is thinner, it can be stitched at a faster speed than the 40-wt thread.
  • This means that designs stitched with 60 wt thread will typically take less time to complete.


  • 40wt thread is often used for bold, prominent designs, or for creating textured effects such as applique.
  • It is also commonly used for quilting and other heavy-duty stitching applications.
  • 60wt thread is more commonly used for delicate or intricate designs, such as lace or filigree, or lightweight fabrics such as silk or chiffon.

This blog has a comprehensive list of the top embroidery fabrics along with information on each fabric’s particular use.

Suitable Thread Weights For Embroidery Digitizing

Suitable Thread Weights For Embroidery Digitizing

The suitable thread weights for digitizing embroidery designs can vary depending on several factors, including:

  • Type of fabric being embroidered on
  • Size of the design
  • And the desired final look of the embroidery

In general, a thread weight of 40 or 50 is often used for digitizing embroidery designs. These thread weights are versatile and can be used for a wide range of designs and fabrics.

However, for smaller designs or designs with intricate details, a finer thread weight of 60 or 80 may be more suitable to ensure that the design is accurately represented.


Ultimately, the best thread weights for machine embroidery will depend on the specific project and individual preferences. It is recommended to experiment with different thread weights and fabric types to find the best combination for your particular embroidery project.

The thread weight you should use for machine embroidery depends on the type of design you are stitching and the fabric you are stitching onto.

  • Thinner threads such as 50wt and 60wt are suitable for delicate designs and lightweight fabrics, while thicker threads such as 30wt and 12wt are better suited for bold, heavy designs and fabrics with a looser weave.
  • 40wt thread is a good all-purpose thread weight that can be used for a variety of designs and fabrics.

You can use different thread weights in the same design to create different effects. For example, you could use a thicker thread for the outline of a design and a thinner thread for the fill.

A polyester thread is more durable and resistant to fading and shrinkage compared to rayon thread. Rayon thread has a more lustrous finish and is softer to the touch, making it ideal for designs that require a high level of detail and sheen.

If you have any questions leave the comments or you can visit our social channels for more updates regularly. We provide embroidery digitizing services if you need digitizing services feel free to contact us or email us.

3 thoughts on “Which Thread Weights Should I Use For Machine Embroidery?”

  1. Informative post! Choosing the right thread weight for machine embroidery can greatly impact the final result, and your article provides valuable guidance. The explanations of different thread weights and their recommended uses help readers make informed decisions. Thanks for sharing this helpful information and helping us achieve the best results in our machine embroidery projects!

  2. Thread weight made simple! Unravel the mystery of choosing the perfect thread weights for your machine embroidery projects. Get ready to stitch with confidence and create stunning designs!

  3. Thread weight demystified! Your post is a helpful guide for machine embroiderers looking to choose the right thread weights. Thanks for shedding light on this essential aspect of embroidery!


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