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Polyester vs Rayon Thread

Polyester vs Rayon Thread

ThreadArt offers both rayon and polyester machine embroidery thread.  So what is the difference and which one should you use?

Rayon and polyester both make for excellent threads, depending on your unique project. Both possess distinct qualities and advantages, and we'll delve into the circumstances that might lead you to favor one over the other.

Rayon, also known as viscose, is a semi-synthetic fiber that is made from wood pulp. It is admired for its high sheen, silky finish, and vivid color rendering, making it a popular choice for decorative and fashion-oriented embroidery.  It is also a popular substitute for silk thread.

Benefits of Rayon Embroidery Thread:

  1. High Luster: Rayon threads are well-known for their luxurious shine, which can give your embroidery a stunning and attractive look.

  2. Soft Texture: Rayon thread is soft and smooth, which makes it perfect for embroidery on delicate fabrics.

  3. Vivid Colors: Rayon threads are excellent at holding dyes, resulting in bright, vibrant colors that can make your designs pop.

However, rayon is not as strong as polyester, which means it may break more easily during high-speed embroidery. It also doesn't fare well under high temperatures or when frequently washed, which might fade its colors over time.

On the other hand, polyester is a fully synthetic material. It is highly durable and colorfast, which makes it an excellent choice for items that require heavy laundering or will be exposed to harsh environmental conditions.

Benefits of Polyester Machine Embroidery Thread:

  1. High Durability: Polyester thread is resistant to breaking, shrinking, and most environmental conditions. This durability makes it perfect for heavy-duty embroidery works or pieces that will undergo frequent washing.

  2. Colorfastness: Unlike rayon, polyester is highly colorfast, meaning it maintains its color even after repeated washings or exposure to sunlight.

  3. Cost-Effective: Polyester thread tends to be less expensive than rayon, making it a budget-friendly choice for large embroidery projects.

The downside of polyester use to be that it did not match the luxurious sheen of rayon and was not ideal for high-fashion applications.  In recent years this gap has been narrowed significantly to the point that is in difficult to see the difference.


So which thread should you choose? 

Rayon thread is great for uses like appliqué or decorative stitching, but not for structural jobs like quilting.  It also isn't the best choice for projects needing to withstand wear, chemicals, or moisture since rayon weakens when it gets wet. 

Polyester machine embroidery thread is a great choice for machine embroidery. It can handle bleach, wear and tear, and most chemicals. It stays strong even when wet and is reliable for holding projects together. However, it can make fabric a bit stiff when the stitch area is large or overly dense. It is also a great choice for structural tasks such as quilting where a high sheen finish is desired. You can also use it for embroidering patches on items that will be exposed to the elements.

As with all crafts, understanding your materials is key to producing the best results.  We hope this information helps you make the best choice for you.  If you have any more questions, please send us an email.  We would be happy to help.

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