Guide to Embroidery Thread Color Conversion Charts: Everything You Need to Know

Are you getting frustrated with trying to find the right embroidery thread colors for your project? Trying to match an existing color palette or finding the perfect hue for a pattern can be confusing and often very time-consuming. Understanding how to convert colors from one brand of thread to another can provide some relief but may leave you feeling overwhelmed with all the options available.

To help make this process easier, we’ve put together an ultimate guide on embroidery thread color conversion charts – which provides everything you need to know when matching and converting different types of threads. From understanding basic terminology such as solids vs variegated dyes, through to online tools that simplify choosing what hues are right for any fabric – our comprehensive guide will give you all the knowledge needed so that just about anyone should be able to find their ideal color combos in no time at all!

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What is an Embroidery Thread Color Conversion Chart?

An embroidery thread color conversion chart is a valuable tool for anyone involved in embroidery or needlework. It is essentially a reference guide that helps convert thread colors between different brands or systems. This is important because different manufacturers often have their own color numbering systems, which can make it difficult to find the exact shade you need when working on a project. With a conversion chart, you can easily match colors between different brands and ensure that your embroidery work turns out exactly as you envisioned.

The process of converting thread colors may seem daunting at first, but a conversion chart simplifies it significantly. The chart typically lists the colors of a particular brand or system alongside their corresponding equivalents in other brands or systems. This allows you to easily identify the closest match and select the appropriate thread for your project. Some conversion charts may also include additional information such as color swatches or descriptions to further assist in the selection process.

Using an embroidery thread color conversion chart can save you time and frustration when working on embroidery projects. Instead of having to search for the exact shade from a specific brand, you can quickly find a suitable alternative from another brand. This is particularly useful if you have a specific design in mind that requires certain color combinations or if you are trying to replicate an existing pattern. By having access to a conversion chart, you can expand your options and work with a wider range of thread colors.

Why are Embroidery Thread Color Conversion Charts Important?

Embroidery thread color conversion charts serve a crucial purpose in the world of embroidery. They allow you to seamlessly switch between different thread brands without compromising the integrity of your design. Imagine working on a project that requires a specific shade of blue, but the brand you prefer doesn’t offer that exact color. With a conversion chart, you can easily find the closest match in another brand and continue your project without any hiccups.

Moreover, embroidery thread color conversion charts ensure consistency in your designs. If you are working on a series of projects and want to maintain a uniform color palette, these charts enable you to switch between brands while keeping the desired color scheme intact. This is particularly important for embroiderers who sell their creations or work on commissioned projects where color accuracy is paramount.

Understanding Embroidery Thread Color Systems

To fully comprehend embroidery thread color conversion charts, it is essential to understand the different color systems used by thread manufacturers. Each brand has its own unique numbering or labeling system for thread colors. Some popular color systems include the Pantone Matching System (PMS), the Madeira Classic system, the DMC numbering system, and the Anchor system.

The Pantone Matching System is widely used in various industries, including embroidery. It uses a standardized numbering system to identify colors, making it easy to match colors across different mediums. The Madeira Classic system categorizes colors into different families based on hue and intensity. DMC and Anchor, on the other hand, use a numerical system to identify colors.

Different Types of Embroidery Threads

It is also important to understand the different types of embroidery threads available. Threads are typically categorized according to their type, color, and brand. The most common types are cotton, rayon, and polyester. Cotton thread is the traditional choice for hand embroidery and tends to be more affordable than other options. Rayon provides a lustrous sheen to your stitches and is the perfect choice for intricate designs. Polyester is strong, durable, and ideal for machine embroidery.

Threads are also classified according to their color. Solid-colored threads are typically used in basic embroidery projects while variegated dyes can add a unique touch of color to any design. A conversion chart should make it easy to match a solid color with a variegated one for an eye-catching effect.

Popular Embroidery Thread Color Systems

Among the various embroidery thread color systems available, some brands have gained popularity among embroiderers worldwide. DMC and Anchor are two well-known brands that offer a wide range of colors and have reliable color conversion charts. These charts allow you to seamlessly switch between DMC and Anchor threads and ensure consistent color representation in your projects.

Madeira is another reputable brand that provides high-quality embroidery threads. Their color system is based on a numbering system that categorizes colors into different families. Madeira also offers a color conversion chart, making it easier to find equivalent colors in other brands.

How to Read an Embroidery Thread Color Conversion Chart?

Reading an embroidery thread color conversion chart may seem daunting at first, but once you understand the basics, it becomes a straightforward process. Most conversion charts have two columns: one for the original thread brand and another for the brand you want to convert to. Each row in the chart represents a specific thread color.

To use a conversion chart, locate the color number or name of the thread you have in the original brand column. Then, scan across the row to find the corresponding color in the brand you want to convert to. The chart will provide you with the closest match, allowing you to make an informed decision about the thread color you should use in your embroidery project.

It’s important to note that while conversion charts aim to provide as close a match as possible, there may be slight variations in color shades due to differences in dye lots and manufacturing processes. It’s always a good idea to test the converted thread color on a small sample piece of fabric before committing to it in your main project.

Tips for Using Embroidery Thread Color Conversion Charts Effectively

To make the most out of embroidery thread color conversion charts, consider the following tips:

  1. Familiarize yourself with the color systems: Understanding the color systems used by different thread brands will help you navigate through conversion charts more effectively.
  2. Cross-reference multiple charts: While most conversion charts are reliable, it’s always a good idea to cross-reference between multiple charts to ensure color accuracy.
  3. Test the converted thread color: As mentioned earlier, always test the converted thread color on a small piece of fabric before using it in your main project. This will help you ensure that the color matches your vision.
  4. Keep a record of conversions: Maintain a personal record of color conversions for future reference. This will save you time and effort when starting new projects or when you need to find a specific color again.

Online Resources for Embroidery Thread Color Conversion Charts

In today’s digital age, there are numerous online resources available to help you with embroidery thread color conversions. Many thread manufacturers and embroidery websites provide downloadable or interactive conversion charts. These online resources make it convenient to access and use conversion charts from the comfort of your own home or studio.

Additionally, online forums and embroidery communities are valuable sources of information. Engaging with fellow embroiderers can help you gain insights into specific thread brands and their color conversion processes. Participating in discussions and sharing your experiences can also provide you with new perspectives and tips for using conversion charts effectively.

Creating Your Own Embroidery Thread Color Conversion Chart

If you frequently work with specific thread brands that don’t have readily available conversion charts, you can create your own. Start by purchasing a small selection of threads from the brand you want to convert from. Then, match each thread color with the closest shade in the brand you want to convert to. Keep a record of these conversions for future reference.

Creating your own conversion chart may require time and effort, but it ensures that you have accurate color representations for your preferred thread brands. It also allows you to tailor the conversion chart to your specific needs and preferences.

Common Challenges with Embroidery Thread Color Conversion

While embroidery thread color conversion charts can be incredibly useful, there are several common challenges that you may encounter. One such challenge is finding the closest match for certain colors. Depending on the brand and color system used, some threads may be harder to find conversions for than others. It’s best to check multiple conversion charts to ensure accuracy.

Another challenge is the discrepancy between printed and digital charts. Printed conversion charts may not accurately reflect the actual thread color due to differences in printing processes. To avoid this problem, be sure to check out digital versions of conversion charts for an accurate representation of colors.

Finally, some threads may have slight variations in shade even when they come from the same dye lot. This can make it difficult to identify the closest match for certain colors. Using a light box or other color-matching tools may help you pinpoint the most accurate conversion.

Embroidery thread color conversion can be an intimidating concept for beginners, but with a bit of knowledge and practice, it becomes easier to navigate through different charts and brands. Keeping these tips in mind will help you find the closest match for your desired thread colors and achieve beautiful results in your embroidery projects.

Where to Find Embroidery Thread Color Conversion Charts

Fortunately, finding embroidery thread color conversion charts is now easier than ever before thanks to the internet. Most major thread brands have their own online tools that allow you to compare colors and find the closest match. Additionally, there are many websites and embroidery forums that provide both digital and printable versions of conversion charts.

You can also purchase conversion cards from your local craft store or online supplier. These cards often come in booklets featuring multiple brands and their corresponding colors, making it easier to compare threads side by side. With a bit of research, you’ll be sure to find the right conversion charts for your embroidery needs.


Are embroidery floss colors universal?

No, embroidery floss colors are not universal. Different brands may have slight variations in color hue due to differences in their dyeing processes and other factors. Embroidery thread color conversion charts provide a helpful guide for comparing different threads from various brands and finding the closest match for each color.

How many colors of Brother embroidery thread are there?

Brother currently offers over 400 colors of embroidery thread, which can be compared side by side with the help of a Brother thread color conversion chart. The chart helps you identify the closest match for any given color and ensures that your projects turn out the way you envisioned.

What is the difference between embroidery thread and embroidery floss?

Embroidery thread and embroidery floss are both materials used for stitching fabric. However, embroidery thread is usually thicker than embroidery floss and has a heavier weight. Additionally, embroidery thread is made from synthetic fibers while embroidery floss is made from cotton strands twisted together. Both threads can be useful for different projects, so it’s important to use the right one for the job.

How many threads is best for embroidery?

The number of threads you should use for embroidery depends on the project at hand. For heavier fabrics, more threads may be required to achieve thicker and bolder stitches. On lighter fabrics, fewer threads can help create delicate and subtle designs. Ultimately, it’s up to your preference and the desired effect of your finished product.

What are the differences between types of threads?

The type of thread used for embroidery can make a big difference in the quality and outcome of your projects. Different types of threads come with different weight, texture, and even colors. Some common types include rayon, polyester, metallic thread, cotton floss, and variegated thread. Each type has its own unique properties that are best suited for specific embroidery applications.

Learning the differences between types of threads is an important part of successful project completion. Additionally, it can help you find the right thread for your project and make sure that it turns out looking exactly how you envisioned. With some research and practice, you’ll be able to easily choose the best type of thread for your next project.

Do you need different thread for embroidery?

Yes, different types of thread may be needed depending on the project you are working on. Different threads have different weights and textures that can affect how your embroidery looks. Additionally, some fabrics may require specific types of thread in order to produce the best results. By researching what type of thread is best for your project and practice using it, you can ensure that your embroidery turns out exactly how you want it to.

What is the best thread for machine embroidery?

The best type of thread for machine embroidery depends on the project you are working on. Generally, rayon and polyester threads are popular choices because they have a smooth texture and produce bright colors with good coverage. Additionally, they are known to stand up well to repeated washing and colorfastness. However, depending on the project at hand, other types of thread- like metallic or cotton floss- may be more suitable for achieving specific effects. Ultimately, it’s up to you decide which type of thread is best for your project.


With all of the knowledge you have gained about thread color conversion, now is the time to get creative. Don’t be afraid of experimentation; it’s a wonderful way to explore designing through embroidery and learn how to create vibrant masterpieces. Having an understanding of the different colors available is key when starting any embroidery project, which is why we have created a thorough guide on how to make use of conversion charts.

Don’t hesitate to refer back to this guide in the future – or even send it along to fellow creatives who could benefit from its tips. Now put your newfound craft knowledge into practice and bring some color into your life! There is no limit when it comes to expressing yourself with beautiful and inspiring embroidered works – all it takes is a little dedication and creativity.

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