What Kind of Thread to Use for Sewing Felt

If you're new to using felt fabric, you may be wondering what kind of thread you should use for sewing felt with. It is so different to other fabrics with its matted and rather fuzzy texture.

There are two main kinds of thread that are particularly suitable for felt sewing. Some crafters swear by standard sewing threads that normally come on a spool and others swear by embroidery floss - so which one is right?

The answer is: both are. There are times when sewing threads make a better choice and other times when floss is more appropriate. You'll discover which you should use and for what situations below.

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What Kind of Thread to Use for Sewing Felt: Embroidery Floss vs. Sewing Threads

What thread should you use for felt sewing all about threads polyester vs embroidery floss

There are two main types of thread that I use for sewing felt with. I use polyester sewing threads - the exact same kind that I use for machine stitching. And I also use stranded embroidery floss. Both of these thread types are essentials in my sewing tool kit.

Only someone very experienced with felt sewing would realize that, in most situations, you should be using two types of thread. This is because the two main types of threads used for sewing felt with have rather opposite strengths and weaknesses.

If you are serious about wanting to learn all about sewing with felt, perhaps even wanting to start or grow a business with your hand sewn items, you really should know the differences between these main thread choices.

Different Types of Sewing Threads for Hand Sewing

Sewing basket with threads, needles, pins, scissors, elastic and more

The main types of standard sewing threads that you can get are cotton which is a natural thread (often preferred by quilters) or synthetic threads which include polyester and nylon. There are also rayon threads (oddly enough which are neither completely natural nor completely synthetic) and they are also a very popular choice for sewing with.

I love the fact that cotton is a natural material and I can see why many sewers rave about it. However, it really is not as durable. I found that cotton threads would often snap and break right in the middle of a sewing project, as well as tangle and knot easier, which led to a lot of frustration. It is not nearly as tough as polyester or nylon threads and that is why I do not use it.

Over the years I've spent hand and machine stitching, I've gravitated firmly towards polyester threads because they work brilliantly for either situation which makes them so completely versatile. They also come in a wide choice of colors and spool sizes making them perfect for whatever type of project I'm working on.

Polyester Sewing Threads for Hand Sewing on Felt Fabric

Blue Gutermann thread spool used for sewing fabric on to felt sewing thread and needle

Although I mostly use polyester threads for more functional sewing, they can also be used for decorative sewing too. They make a good choice for many basic embroidery stitches. I'd normally recommend embroidery floss though for embroidery because it just looks even better.

⭐ Polyester threads are long lasting and very strong. I have never managed to accidentally snap these threads whilst sewing by hand or machine. Because they are so strong, polyester threads are absolutely ideal wherever you need a strong stitch or seam. It is an ideal choice for sewing one piece of fabric to another and for sewing accessories such as buttons in place which need a strong hold.

Like many sewers, I've developed a taste for certain brands. My favorite polyester threads are Gutermann. This company also manufacture cotton threads if you prefer although I would choose the polyester variety because of all its strengths.

I Really Love Gutermann Polyester Threads Because They Work Perfectly for Machine and Hand Stitching, are Beautiful and Super Strong

Gutermann 26 Spool Thread BoxGutermann Sew-All Thread Kit, 100 Percent Polyester, 11 x 100 m starter sewing set threads

Gutermann polyester threads are readily available in a wide range of colors and also spool sizes. If you plan to mostly hand stitch, the smallest range of Gutermann spools (approx 110 yards) are really more than ample to last you a long while.

There is no need to buy the larger spool sizes unless you plan to use them for machine stitching as well - which I do. That makes these threads great value for money because I use them for both machine and hand stitching.

Polyester Sewing Threads:
  • ✔ Strong: less prone to breakage
  • ✔ Durable and long lasting
  • ✔ Good elasticity, making it ideal for stretch fabrics
  • ✔ Good resistance to both mildew and sunlight
  • ✔ Available in small to large spool sizes
  • ✔ Can be used for machine and hand stitching
  • ✔ Wide choice of colors
  • ✔ Perfect for functional sewing
  • ❌ Not as good for decorative stitches and embroidery

Embroidery Floss: Stunning Range of Threads Ideal for Decorative Stitches on Felt

Lots of colors of embroidery floss organized into storage boxes ready for sewing

Embroidery floss should never technically be used for any sewing that requires reinforcement because it is nowhere near as strong or as durable as polyester threads are. You should avoid using floss to sew around seams that are likely to be handled a lot.

Plush handmade toys made for children should never be sewn together with embroidery floss because they can be pulled apart much more easily.

A massive no-no is sewing on buttons, beads and any small parts on toys with floss since they could prove to be a choking hazard if pulled off. In fact, any toys designed for young kids should never have these items on anyway.

Embroidery Floss Looks Stunning for Decorative Hand Stitching and Comes in a Great Selection of Choices

DMC 117F25-PC36 Embroidery Popular Colors Floss Pack, Assorted Color, 8.7-Yard, 36/PackDMC 117F25-PC36 Embroidery Popular Colors Floss Pack, Assorted Color, 8.7-Yard, 36/Pack

Even though embroidery floss is not as strong and durable as polyester threads are, it really is a beautiful choice of thread to sew with on felt.

I just love how soft it is and what a gorgeous sheen it has. You can buy floss in infinite choices of colors as well as variegated color change threads which I adore. Do make sure to buy decent brands like Anchor or DMC instead of being tempted by those bulk buy bracelet threads which are of varying quality.

Cute pink mushroom toadstool fairy home plush plushie handmade handsewn

Example of an item I've stitched using embroidery floss. Since this pink mushroom home is purely decorative (and not a toy) it is fine to sew it using floss.

Embroidery floss really is the perfect choice for adding in more decorative features to your felt hand sewing crafts. It looks stunning on finished felt plushies and items due to its beautiful silky sheen and luster.

Although it is possible to use polyester threads for many decorative and embroidery stitches, they really don't work well for everything. For example, French knots require some body and height to create them which really only comes from using special embroidery threads.

⭐ Embroidery floss comes in a wide range of brands (such as Anchor and DMC) and also styles. They are normally sold as skeins which are loosely folded lengths of threads. I wind mine onto plastic bobbins for easy use and storage. You can get special threads such as variegated and metallic threads as well as a much bigger range and choice of colors.

Variegated floss is a type of embroidery thread that I particularly love to use. These variegated threads can gradually change shade and even color while you are stitching because they are dyed with different color variations. Used with some thought and care, variegated threads can make even the most ordinary felt projects have a bit of wow factor.

Embroidery Floss:
  • ✔ Infinite choice of colors and varieties
  • ✔ Many special threads like metallic and variegated
  • ✔ Most beautiful for embroidery and decorative stitching
  • ✔ Easy to store floss with minimal space required
  • ❌ For hand sewing only
  • ❌ Not durable enough for making felt plush toys
  • ❌ Should not be used for sewing on items or seams that require strength
  • ❌ Not strong and can break and snap easily
As a beginner who is starting to sew felt items and plushies, it makes much more sense to start off by using any existing threads that you have.

You can gradually add to your thread selection as you progress with this craft. This will really help you to keep the costs of this new craft down to a minimum.

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