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Free stitching on card A4 instructions

Friday, 9 September 2016

Thread recommendations for stitching on card.

The best embroidery threads for Stitching Pictures paper embroidery patterns.



One of the most challenging aspects of designing embroidery on card patterns for Stitching Pictures has always been deciding which make and type of thread is the best to use. I have to get a balance between what looks good, works well and is easy for my customers to purchase. In this post I'm looking at five different thread types from Anchor, Gutermann and DMC.

Pulling thread through holes in card causes a lot of abrasion on the thread quickly giving it a fuzzy appearance. Cotton threads are particularly prone to fuzziness. Rayon and polyester threads are much stronger so remain smooth. The thickness of the thread is also of great importance. A thread that's too thin makes the design look a little dull and uninteresting. A thread that's too thick will require a bigger needle that will stretch the holes making the finished work look untidy and amateurish. Getting a balance between thickness, quality and colour range is difficult.

My first example is Pearl cotton 8, I've used Anchor's thread but DMC also do a version. It's the thickest thread of the five I'm showing here so it does need a slightly larger needle than the size 10 embroidery needle that I would normally recommend. As it needs a larger needle then it also needs slightly larger holes pricked into the card. Use a thicker pricking mat so that the pricking tool goes further through the card making the holes a bit bigger. It's a lovely single strand twisted thread with a glossy finish. As you can see from the first image it does go a little bit fluffy which will show more when using darker thread colours against white card but I don't see this as too much of a problem. This thread can be purchased from Hobbycraft in the UK and many specialist online retailers. Be careful if you buy a cheap mixed colour pack of threads from Ebay. They are genuine Coats Anchor threads but they're produced in Pakistan by a subsidiary company of Coats so the quality isn't quite as good as the threads made in Hungary. I give this thread 8/10.


Stitching on card paper embroidery using Pearl cotton 8 threads.

To be certain you're getting the best quality Anchor Pearl cotton 8 threads only buy the reels with a barcode and clear printing on the label. The inferior quality threads don't have the barcode and the gold text is larger.

Stitching on card paper embroidery using Pearl cotton 8 threads.

The next thread is Sulky rayon 30 by Gutermann, there's also a 40 which is far too thin for stitching on card. It's a strong glossy thread that doesn't go fluffy and comes in a lovely range of colours. The main problem is that it's not really thick enough for stitching on card so it does have to be used double. This means you don't get a nice even finish and you do use a lot of thread. It's also a bit difficult to get. I haven't found it in any bricks and mortar shops, I've had to buy it online which can be a bit hit and miss with selecting colours. Barnyards have a good selection of colours with reasonably accurate colour images. This is a lovely thread but I don't like doubling so I'm giving it 7/10.

Stitching on card paper embroidery using Gutermann sulky rayon 30 threads.

Stitching on card paper embroidery using Gutermann sulky rayon 30 threads.

Thread number three is Gutermann Sulky cotton 12 which is  a 100% cotton thread for machine embroidery and quilting but works reasonably well for stitching on card. It comes in a lovely range of colours and is readily available both online and from specialist retailers. I got mine from Heirs and Graces patchwork suppliers in Darley Dale Derbyshire, unfortunately they don't sell online. It's quite a fine thread so it needs to be doubled and as it's a cotton thread it needs using in short lengths to keep the fluffing to a minimum. I deliberately used a dark colour on white card so that the fluffing would show up and as you can see it's not too bad, Doubling this thread gives a better finish than the previous thread but the slight fluffing is a negative so I give this thread 7/10.

Stitching on card paper embroidery using Gutermann sulky cotton 12 threads.

Stitching on card paper embroidery using Gutermann sulky cotton 12 threads.

Thread number four is my particular favourite, Gutermann Top Stitch thread. It's an extra strong polyester thread designed for stitching heavy weight fabrics such as denim and canvas, it's the least prone to fluffing so can be used in longer lengths. I'ts thickness is good so it doesn't need doubling. It's also the easiest thread to get as it's supplied by most high street and online haberdashery stores. The biggest problem is the lack of exciting colours. I've possibly got all of the useable colours available, which isn't many, so it is a little frustrating from a design point of view. I give this thread 9/10.

Stitching on card paper embroidery using Gutermann Top Stitch threads.

Stitching on card paper embroidery using Gutermann Top Stitch threads.

Finally is good old stranded cotton or floss as the Americans call it. There are many manufacturers of this thread including DMC and Anchor. It's available in hundreds of colours. It can be bought everywhere and it's cheap but all I can say about this thread is DON'T USE IT FOR STITCHING ON CARD it's horrible. It has six strands and if you want to use it you only need three of the strands so you have to split it which is a pain. It's really soft and weak so after a few stitches it goes really fuzzy as you can see in the picture below. The strands twist or separate as you're stitching so it looks untidy and it's prone to knotting. Then there's the fact that it comes in skeins which you have to transfer onto bobbins otherwise your bag of threads get into a complete tangled mess. I give this thread 2/10. If it wasn't for the huge range of colours I'd only give it 1/10.

Stitching on card paper embroidery using stranded cotton threads.


So, what's the verdict? If you want quality of finish and don't mind the lack of colours then go for Gutermann Top Stitch threads. If you want lots of bold vibrant colours and don't mind a bit of fuzziness go for Pearl cotton 8 threads. All my samples up to now have been made using Top Stitch which gives my designs a subtle, modern almost minimalist look but I'm in the process of building up a supply of Pearl cotton threads so that I can create some bolder more colourful patterns.

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