Thread Applied to Machine Embroidery

Thread Applied to Machine Embroidery

pamela Cox headshot

This series is written by guest blogger, Pamela Cox. Pamela is an expert embroiderer, designer, digitizer and all around wonderful girl! We are so happy to have her contributing to the Sulky Blog!

Crayons, oil paints, water-colors, and even chalk are ways in which an artist expresses creativity.

Thread articulates individual creativity when machine embroidering!

Just as all artists look for “quality” raw materials in creating their next masterpiece, so should a seamstress, quilter or a machine embroidery enthusiast.

But what defines “quality” in thread?

  • One that is strong, smooth (not fuzzy), consistent in thickness, and resists tangles

thread applied to machine embroidery

  • One that is made from long, tightly twisted staple or filament fibers


  • Finally, one that offers multiple colors (hues) in various shades of lightness and darkness (value). Subtle graded colors, may not seem necessary, but they can dramatically enhance a design.

Having a thread chart in hand when deciding on colors for a design makes the small investment of purchasing the chart well worth it.  Not only can you identify the colors you already have, but it is easy to visualize complimentary colors vs. subtle change colors vs. contrasting ones!

Sulky is a proven name brand that is synonymous with quality.  Sulky offers a wealth of thread options in both fiber content and thread weight, allowing choices of solid colors, metallic textures or blendable tones.

It is important to understand that higher numbers equal a finer thread filament.  In other words, a 60 wt. polyester thread is thinner, finer, and more light-weight than a 40 wt. polyester thread, which is just opposite of what our logical minds would lead us to believe.  The thread weight number is found on the spool’s end cap.  The filament content will also be found there, much like the label on the end of a fabric bolt.

It is also extremely important to understand how the thread is wound on the spool because it should be unwound in the same direction to avoid tangles (most noticeable when hand-stitching) and breakage.  Cross-wound spools (thread crosses over itself diagonally as the spool is wound) work best if the thread comes off the top of the spool.  Stacked spools (the thread is wound in an even spiral, not crossing over the other threads) works best if thread unwinds off the side of the spool.

thread machine embroidery

Bottom line, if you are having problems with thread breakage or not getting proper tension results, try turning the spool direction and re-thread your machine.

If one truly wants to master an art, knowledge is the key.  So, we will continue to explore Sulky threads learning how various thread weights and styles effect the same design as well as learning how to combine different thread types within the same design.

In the meantime, check out Sulky’s website……

There is so much useful information to be found in the Resource tab including a free guide to download about Thread & Needles!


Just a few Fun Facts to take with you:

  • Thread has a “shelf life”.  Buying anything larger than Sulky’s 850-yard spool could result in wasteful over-spending because it may take 10 to 20 years to use it all and lesser quality threads will deteriorate with exposure to sun and heat.
  • One 250-yard spool of Sulky 40wt. Rayon thread can create 44,000 stitches, while an 850 yard spool can create 156,000 stitches!
  • Thread weight matters! A 30wt. thread is 1/3 times stronger, heavier, and denser than a 40wt. thread.
  • Sulky 40wt. Rayon, the most popular thread used in machine embroidery, is available in 283 solid colors and 55 variegated combinations.
  • Most machine embroidery designs are digitized with the intended stitch-out done in a 40wt. thread. It is important to read design directions to replicate the digitizer’s intentions.
  • Most sewing machines are calibrated to use 40wt. thread for built-in, decorative stitches. If using a different thread, experiment to find the perfect ratio of stitch length, width, and tension!
  • Sulky Invisible Thread is 100% polyester.  Translation?…. it does not melt with normal ironing through the cotton setting, nor will it break down in the dryer through repeated care cycles.
  • When changing thread on a sewing machine, do not pull the thread back out of the machine to re-wind on the spool. Instead, cut the thread by the spool and pull it through the machine in the same direction the machine is threaded.  Modern tension disks are so precise that thread should only travel in the proper direction through them.

May the Fourth (be with you)

May the Fourth (be with you)…Happy Star Wars Day! 

Let’s be honest, MOST of us are die-hard Star Wars fans, whether we like it or not. When even an utter of a new Star Wars movie is spoken we jump on the nearest computer (aka our smartphones) to find out if the news is true. We then mark our calendars for the big event – even if it won’t be released for another year.

To share their enthusiasm for this “galaxy far, far away” crafters everywhere have shared their Star Wars projects – and creative, they are!  So today, on Star Wars Day, we wanted to share a few of our favorites with you…

I’ll kick things off with these very cool Star Wars embroidery designs that we’ve pinned in our Pinterest Star Wars board – because OF COURSE we have a board for that! Wouldn’t these look great sewn out with Sulky Cotton Petites?

May the Fourth (be with you)

Check out these awesome quilts! Great idea for a child’s room!

Love this awesome cut-out shirt resembling a storm trooper!

The Death Star seems to be a common trend…

May Fourth Star Wars

We even saw a couple of Star Wars crafts at the Pinners Conference and Expo in Atlanta!

Amy Racine of Novelty Arts brings old book pages to life with her amazing paper folding skills.

May the force be with you art from Pinners Conference and Expo in Atlanta 2017

Elexa Bancroft of Lexicon of Love – Music Art finds inspiration in her love of vintage sheet music, books, and her students.

 The best part about today?….

To share in our enthusiasm, we are taking 40% off our specialty Glowy Polyester Thread AND PolyDeco Neon Thread! Sale ends at midnight EDT so be sure to take advantage of this stellar deal!

Sulky’s 30th Anniversary – Where it all began

This year marks 30 years of Sulky! We met with Fred and Joyce Drexler, the founding partners, to discuss the history of Sulky and where it all began….

What was your vision for Sulky when you started? 

Our vision for Sulky of America when we first began in 1987 was to create a company that would focus on educating consumers and sewing store owners to the joys of Creative Sewing as a fun, interesting and rewarding hobby that they would love to do with our 193 colors of super high quality, silky, shiny, Sulky 40 wt. Rayon Threads.

The seeds for this educational program were sewn eleven years earlier in 1976 when Joyce first started teaching free-motion embroidery in the sewing store that we owned. Within the first couple of years, as women who took Joyce’s class spread the word about how much fun they had in her class, hundreds more flocked to our store to learn this intriguing art form. For most, this led to a life-long passionate pursuit of self expression as a creative hobby.

Before they bought the rights to the name Sulky, their publication was known as Speed Stitch


This was not always the case. I began my career in the Sewing Industry at age 23 in March, 1965 as a Singer Salesman, when the vast majority of women who used a sewing machine did so to save money for the family.  However, even then, women were beginning to work in jobs outside their homes in ever increasing numbers.

Joyce Drexler in a Sulky publication

Fast forward to 1969 when I opened my own Singer Sewing Machine Dealership, to 1974 when I met my future wife, Joyce. In 1976 she started teaching in our store and we began to realize that many of these working ladies no longer had the time and/or inclination to sew to save money when they got home. However, they absolutely loved spending their evenings and Saturdays in our store. In 1980 Joyce founded Speed Stitch to teach her methods to store owners and consumers all over the United States and Canada. Finally, in 1987 we partnered with a German thread manufacturer to begin Sulky of America.

Little did we know that what began as a fun-filled, one-day, 6-hour lesson would spawn the Home Embroidery explosion that we have experienced over the last 23 years.

How is that different from what the company has become?

It is interesting to reflect on the difference between what our initial vision for Sulky was compared to what it has become. Our vision for Sulky of America when we first began in 1987 was to create a company that would focus on educating consumers and sewing store owners to the joys of Creative Sewing as a fun, interesting and rewarding hobby that they would love to do with our 193 colors of super high quality, silky, shiny, Sulky 40 wt. Rayon Threads.

I believe that by staying true to that vision for the past 30 years we have been able to grow the company far beyond our wildest dreams. Indeed, today in Sewing, Quilting and Craft Stores all over the United States and Canada, and on our website, millions of Sewers, Quilters and Crafters are able to purchase and enjoy over 4,000 of the highest quality Sulky Products to make their fun, interesting and rewarding hobbies far more enjoyable.

Sulky Solvy back in the day!

The path to get here has been filled with Industry educational milestones including conducting thousands of Sulky Sew Exciting Seminars in retail stores based on 22 Sulky publications. Sulky has also trained numerous aspiring teachers in the Sulky Certified Teacher Training program, and conducted hands-on “Embroidery Zen” programs for consumers to learn in-depth how to get the most out of their embroidery machines. We have showcased thousands of works of wearable art during the 10 years of the “Everyone Loves Sulky Challenge” contest and have made frequent guest appearances on Sulky sponsored PBS Sewing shows.


Currently, Sulky has 6 National Educators teaching five different “Sew Exciting” seminars, which are conducted in retail stores throughout the country. Each year, Sulky educators also teach at more than 25 consumer shows, and Sulky has a very active program that it presents to Sewing Guilds and Quilting Guilds all across the country.

The digital age…

Fearless Free Motion Stitching taught by Eric Drexler, son of Fred and Joyce

The digital age has ushered in the availability of numerous on-line Sulky courses for consumers to broaden their creative knowledge at home, on their own machines, and at their own pace. Free Sulky Webinars 4 – 6 times per year, along with our involvement on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and of course, this Blog have helped grow the Sulky community tremendously over the years.

While our vision when we started Sulky of America in 1987 was to grow the company by focusing on education, we never imagined how many rewarding avenues we would be able to open and follow to make this happen.

Do you have a favorite memory from the past 30 years?

I have loads of great memories from the past 30 years but I would like to share one of my favorites today.

A thread manufacturer from Mexico was trying to get Sulky to market his thread a few years ago. After he did a careful study and analysis of both his thread and Sulky thread, he told me, “Fred, you have too much quality in your thread. You don’t need that much quality”. This only reconfirmed my belief that we would always strive to have “Too Much Quality”.

Be sure to check out next month’s blog on May 30th as we learn more about Sulky’s history with Fred and Joyce.

Earth Day Featured Artist: Laura Pifer from Trash to Couture

Happy Earth Day!

Earth Day is an annual, worldwide event held to demonstrate support for environmental protection. This week we highlighted two of our Eco-friendly products, Sulky Rayon Thread and Sulky KK 2000 Temporary Adhesive Spray. Both products demonstrate that you CAN have a great product, while still being eco-conscious.

Also in the spirit of Earth Day, we wanted to feature Laura Pifer, founder of Trash to Couture. Laura has reinvented the way we see fashion. With her innovative DIY projects she is teaching her viewers how to up-cycle clothing into creative, trendy looks. Her refashioned designs are not only eco-conscious, they are absolutely adorable! We met with Laura to discuss Trash to Couture, her vision for the future, who inspires her, and much more….

What inspired you to start Trash to Couture?

I was running my own clothing line, and I saw firsthand how wasteful the fashion industry can be even in my own little studio.  I did my best to approach my business as sustainable and Eco-friendly as possible. I handmade every garment made to order.  I used recycled packaging and up-cycled materials whenever possible.  I bought my fabric from local, small businesses.  At that time there wasn’t much information on sustainable brands so it was something I was doing because it felt right.

I ended up closing down my clothing line.  I was young and didn’t understand how much help I’d need with the growth my brand was getting.  I did everything on my own from running the online shop, customer service, marketing, design, pattern making, sewing/construction of the garments, photography, modeling, and shipping, etc.  It got to be too much and all while being at home raising my 2 babies at the time.  WHOA! I think back to that time, and I must have been crazy.  I kind of quit cold turkey.

After a couple of months off from sewing, I really missed the creativity and joy it gave me.  I’ve always wanted to start a blog where I shared sewing tutorials on how to refashion and up-cycle clothing into fashion-forward looks.  I wanted something to inspire me and others to get creative all while being Eco-conscious. Hence, Trash to Couture was born.  I remember one of my first tutorials was where I transformed a t-shirt into a dolman-style top.

What is your mission statement?

I hope to inspire a less wasteful approach to fashion through sharing my refashion DIY tutorials. I want viewers to see they don’t have to sacrifice style and creativity to live consciously.

Who inspires you?

Laura sporting an up-cycled men’s shirt turned dress, with youngest son, Louis

My children are my main source of inspiration. There is nothing better than when my kids get inspired to create art because I’m sewing. Nothing fulfills me more than when I make something special for my kids that they enjoy.  We design and sew their Halloween costumes every year, and they’re “famous” that time of year at school for the costumes we come up with. I also love making booties for my baby every couple of months. He has the biggest feet for such a little guy and we can’t find any that seem to fit. I up-cycle his brothers old fleece pajamas and call them Louie’s Booties (his name is Louis).

How did you get started in the sewing/designing world?

Laura’s homemade prom dress she made from upcycled materials. That’s a curtain top, denim skirt, with ruffles made from the curtains as well! So great!

I remember always being interested in fashion, even at a young age.  It really started with Barbie; I wanted to make clothing for her.  As I approached my teen years, I wanted to sew my own designs that I was sketching orthinking about.  When I saw sewing offered in middle school, I was thrilled. From then on, I was making clothing pieces whenever possible. My mom would bring me to the thrift store where my sister and I would get things to refashion. I wore some ridiculous things to school. I’d have a t-shirt with a denim waist as the collar… or redesign one of my dad’s old shirts. Street style before it was cool.

Do you have any professional training or were you self-taught?

I was trained by the teacher at my school who was a master seamstress herself.  By my senior year, she created a class specifically for me to sew whatever I’d like. That was probably because I’d hurry up and finish the initial project and then start sewing my own designs.  It was my favorite class.  I’m still so grateful to this day for having sewing offered in my school and a teacher that let me create without restrictions.

From there it became just trial and error of learning from the process of doing it over and over. I now have a couple of mentors I’ve connected with that always offer me advice and help when needed and vice versa.  I think sewing is a never ending skill to be learned.  There are so many different channels: different types of garment construction (wedding, active wear, couture, ready to wear, tailoring, costumes, etc.), quilting, crafts…I mean we really could go on. So I always feel there is more to learn, and that’s exciting to me!

What are your other hobbies?

Running was actually my first love. I was one of the best prep runners in the country coming out of high school in track and cross country. I chose to focus on athletics over design and went to the University of Colorado. I do still run but not at the level I used to.  Now I run more for the serenity of it because it helps my mental and physical well-being.  I also enjoy photography, which go hand-in-hand with running a blog and designing.

What is your vision for the future with Trash to Couture?

I really enjoy what I’m doing now which is working with creative brands to design original content. I would like to continue and steadily grow to have a larger platform of partnerships with brands that share Trash to Couture values.

Right now I’m working on a project with Sulky using Sulky 40 Wt. Rayon Embroidery Thread and Fabri-Solvy Stabilizer.  Kelly of Sulky really inspires me to try things I would never think you could do with machine embroidery.  For example, currently I’m embroidering with lightweight textiles like tulle and organza. I’d initially be intimidated by embroidering with these, but Sulky has products for all types of projects and Kelly’s expertise is the perfect combo.

Laura working on her latest project: Embroidery on sheer fabrics with Sulky

What is your favorite Sulky product and why?

It really depends on what project I’m working on. Right now I’ve been using the Fabri-Solvy water soluble stabilizer. To be able to embroider directly onto it, and the stabilizer disappear with water is pretty cool. You can create free-standing embroidery or use it for the finest of fabrics like tulle, knit, and organza.

Sulky really opened up my eyes to what you can do with embroidery. The threads are top notch and the stabilizers Sulky offers are innovative. I think they’ve really changed what you can do with embroidery. I used to think machine embroidery was something you’d do on medium-weight fabrics with heavy iron-on stabilizer, but now I’m free motion sewing my own sketches right onto my clothing!

We love meeting people like Laura, who are living an eco-conscious life.

Want to see more of her awesome DIY projects? Visit Trash to Couture here. 

Environmentally Friendly: Sulky KK 2000

As Earth Day approaches, we want to highlight our environmentally friendly KK 2000 Temporary Spray Adhesive. Read on to learn what Sulky KK 2000 is, how it’s safe for you, AND how it’s safe for the environment!

What exactly is Sulky KK 2000?

While Sulky KK 2000 Temporary Spray Adhesive was developed for applique, it is a must-have for machine embroidery, as it also helps provide drum-tight hooping for stretchy fabrics when sprayed onto the stabilizer. This allows these fabrics to be placed in their own natural lie. (This is particularly useful when dealing with large hoop areas!) That’s not all! It is also great for “unhoopables”, such as collars cut on the bias, pocket flaps, cuffs, etc – even socks!

KK 2000 helps reduce warping of knit rows during embroidery and is also ideal for temporarily mending holes by spraying the damaged area together along with a suitable backing. The great thing about Sulky KK 2000 is that it is a temporary glue, which does not make fabric permanently stiff as other spray adhesives can.  Bonding will disappear within 2 to 5 days without any stain. To dissipate earlier than that, iron the sprayed fabric with a warm dry iron.  (KK 2000 is not water soluble, so you want the tackiness gone when you launder.)  BONUS HINT:  If you want the bond to last longer, store your project in a zip-lock bag with all the air squeezed out.

Safe for you…

Sulky KK 2000 is the only SAFE Temporary Spray Adhesive on the market that contains NO dangerous flammable gas propellants. KK 2000 uses a totally different non-flammable propellant that is heavier-than-air. The lighter-than-air, highly-flammable, petroleum-based competitive products require a much larger can to contain the propellant. Sulky KK 2000 is, therefore, significantly smaller with virtually the same amount of usable product! Adhesives with lighter-than-air propellants come out with such a forceful burst that you must hold the can 10 to 15 inches from your target. This can cause the glue particles to float up and disperse all over your room, making it easier to inhale these potentially dangerous propellants.  Our small can has a great directional spray nozzle, which makes it easier to target smaller areas precisely.

The force of Sulky KK 2000’s non-flammable, heavier-than-air propellant is considerably less. When you hold the can 6  inches away from the target and spray in light, spritzing bursts, it falls away from your face, onto your fabric, and is very accurate. This means very little is lost to over-spray and there’s little to no clean-up after.  Hint:  If you do get KK 2000 on your hoops it comes off very easily with rubbing alcohol.  All of these components make Sulky KK 2000 very safe to use indoors.

Safe for the environment…

Sulky KK 2000‘s highly concentrated material and heavier-than-air gas propellant makes it the only non-flammable, safe, non-toxic, ozone-friendly, temporary spray adhesive on the market today!  KK 2000 is considered safe for the environment because it contains no CFC’s or HCFC’s, which are harmful organic compounds that eat away at Earth’s ozone layer.

For us, it’s a no-brainer that Sulky KK 2000 is a must-have! See for yourself! Shop Sulky KK 2000 Temporary Spray Adhesive here.

Be on the look out for more Earth Day blogs posted throughout the week!



Just in Time for Easter: Bunny Bags and more!

With Easter quickly approaching we have some fun Easter ideas for you to make just in time for the festivities!

 Bunny Bag

by Jen Frost

Project Overview:

Note: 1/4 yard of fabric will make multiple bunny bags; however, instructions are written (for simplicity) to make just one bag.


What you will need: 
  • 4 fat quarters in Easter prints (or scrap pieces)
  • Bunny Templates (found in full instructions on website)
  • Sulky® Thread in complementary colors
  • Soft ‘n Sheer™ Cut-Away Permanent Stabilizer
  • KK 2000™ Temporary Spray Adhesive
  • Straight pins
  • Ribbon in complementary colors (45″ in length, cut to 15″ per bag
  • Polyfill

To make the bunny exterior

To make the bunny interior






Ears turned right-side out, bottoms left open and lightly stuffed

To assemble the bunny bag







Just a sneak peek of this awesome Bunny Bag project! Get started on yours today!

*To download the full instructions visit the Free Projects page.


More fun Easter projects from past blogs:

Want more? Here are two past blog posts we’ve shared that would make great Easter projects for you to start on with family and friends!

May Day Basket and Sulky Cotton Thread and Solvy Easter Eggs

“Hop” on over! 😉

Sulky Cotton Thread and Solvy Eggs

May Day Basket


National DIY Day

Founded by the girls from Craft Box Girls, National DIY Day is a movement to celebrate creativity in all its forms. National DIY Day launched on April 2, 2016, designating that day as the official holiday for all things DIY!

The fun gals from Craft Box Girls

The day was started with the intent to bring people from all over the world together in order to celebrate a common love: crafts! Last year, celebrations sprung up from Atlanta to New York to the UK, all the way to Australia!

In the days leading up to National DIY Day there are events, inspirational projects, videos, live broadcasts, and more! You surely won’t want to miss out.

The lovely lady behind The Little Bird Designs, Aimee Leptick

This year on National DIY Day, Sulky is sponsoring The Little Bird Designs and their event which will be held in Millbrook, Ontario at The Quilter’s Bolt. Join them for an afternoon of laid back crafting and good conversation as they design tea towels! All supplies will be covered by sponsors: Sulky of America, National DIY Day, The Little Bird Designs, and The Quilter’s Bolt.

During the event, they will be broadcasting LIVE on Facebook! So, be sure to check out The Little Bird Designs Facebook page at 1:45 pm to catch it live!

For a full list of events visit the DIY Day events page here.

National DIY Day and Craft Box Girls are also proud supporters of, whose mission to help teachers provide the proper classroom materials needed to ensure their students truly excel. Craft Box Girls is committed to supporting teachers, and their classrooms, by providing tools to incorporate into these creative learning environments. To see how you can help you can visit their site here.

Happy Crafting!

April Spools Day – Tame the Tangle

April Spools Day! We love spools here at Sulky so much that we put our hand embroidery thread on a spool! No more dealing with that tangled mess of floss, no more separating strands (one strand of our 12 Wt. Cotton thread equals two strand of regular embroidery floss) and no waste!

It’s the same, great, Sulky Solid Color and Blendables 12 wt. Cotton Thread you know and love – but on a “petite” 50 yd. snap-end spool.

sulky cotton petites thread

We all know the “threadaches” that can come with floss thread. Our Sulky Cotton Petites Thread are the perfect remedy. Here’s why:sulky cotton petites thread

  • One strand is equal to two strands of the typical embroidery floss
  • No separating threads
  • You can cut it to any length
  • No more tangled floss
  • Tidy storage
  • Available in 130 Solid Colors and 30 Multi-Color Blendables on 50 yd. Snap-end Spools

sulky cotton petites thread

Not to mention they are perfect for hand and machine work, including…

  • Hand Embroiderysulky cotton petites thread
  • Applique
  • Quilting
  • Cross Stitch
  • Crazy Patchwork
  • Couching
  • Hand Sashiko
  • Blanket Stitch
  • Needlepunch
  • Candlewicking
  • Smocking
  • Heirloom Sewing
  • Redwork
  • Bobbin Work
  • and much, much more!

Tame the Tangle! Today only, get each of our 12 Wt. Cotton Petites Thread Dream Assortment kits for only $79.99.*Offer ends at midnight EDT. 

Happy April Spool’s Day!

Machine Embroidery Series – Upholstery

pamela Cox headshot

This series is written by guest blogger, Pamela Cox. Pamela is an expert embroiderer, designer, digitizer and all around wonderful girl! We are so happy to have her contributing to the Sulky Blog!


Upholstery Fabrics


Let’s talk about Upholstery Fabrics, which include a wide variety of textures, patterns, weights, fiber content and weaves.

Most materials sold under this heading are strong, durable and resist stains making them perfect for accessories such as tote bags, backpacks or even small purses.

You will also find uses in home deco projects including placemats, throw pillows…

and, yes, even actual upholstery!

Although fiber content may vary, the shared characteristic is that these fabrics cannot be secured directly within a machine embroidery hoop.  Lighter weight upholstery fabrics tend to retain the marks from hoop pressure while heavier weights are simply difficult to evenly secure.

Please Note: Canvas, duck cloth, leather and vinyl can also be considered within this category but have been addressed in previous blogs.

It is a misconception that heavy fabrics require heavy stabilizers.  Think about it.  Thick, solid fabric is already providing a stable foundation to accept the many stitches necessary in machine embroidery!!  Most often, heavy fabric simply requires the path in which to travel through the motions of a computerized design, or, in other words, a method of hooping.

Equally suitable for machine embroidering on upholstery fabric is either Sulky® Soft ’n Sheer™ or Sticky+™.

Securely hoop either Sulky Soft ’n Sheer or Sticky+ directly in an appropriate sized hoop:

Use Soft ’n Sheer if:

  • the final drape of the fabric is a factor – this stabilizer does not compromise the feel of the fabric
  • excess is easily cut away from the design
  • a machine basting a box around the design will not compromise the fabric texture/surface

Use Sticky+ if:

  • the feel of the final project is a non-issue
  • anchoring the upholstery fabric to the stabilizer is best done by an adhesive, rather than machine basting unforgiving surfaces, such as leather or other weather repellent outdoor fabrics
  • the stitched design is dense allowing the stabilizer to be gently, but easily, torn from outside edges

Next, let’s consider needle size and type. In general, I prefer a Topstitch Needle, which offers the same or larger eye-size of embroidery and metallic needles.

The large eye allows the thread to travel through with less friction, translating into less thread breakage. A Topstitch Needle is also available in larger gauges than regular embroidery needles, which is often necessary to easily penetrate a heavy surface.

Please note: One must consider the fiber/material content at this point, meaning leather upholstery requires a special needle.  Please refer to the leather blog in our blog archives. Knitted textures, especially with a knit backing might be better served with a ball-point embroidery needle.

It would not be unusual to use a 100/16 Topstitch Needle for upholstery embroidery.  However, it would also be prudent to slow the speed of the embroidery machine down at least by half, if not by three-quarters.

It may also be necessary to adjust the bobbin tension.  Stitching a sample of the design will prove what adjustments, if any, need to be made.

The upholstery material used for this sample is a textured, heavy-weight fabric.

Sulky Sticky+ was secured directly in the hoop with the release sheet on.  I scored the release sheet with a pin, and removed it (see 4th photo above).  Since I wanted to place the butterfly design (#983-single butterfly available at the Sulky Embroidery Club website) on an angle, following part of the fabric pattern,

the hooped stabilizer could be anchored into the embroidery machine, with the fabric floating over the stabilizer until proper design placement was located and then simply, but firmly, pressed into place.  (HINT:  If you have a piece of fabric that is particularly stiff and unwilling to conform to the hoop, you may need to spray the wrong side with Sulky KK 2000™ Temporary Spray Adhesive to double the tackiness of the Sticky+.)

The design was stitched in Sulky 40 wt. Rayon Thread with a 100/16 Topstitch Needle, slowing the machine down by three-quarters.

Once completed…

embroider upholstery fabrics

Sulky Sticky+ is easily pulled away from the heavy fabric, yet the sticky surface amazingly holds materials firmly in place during the stitching process!

Sticky+ can be gently torn from densely stitched areas…

but should be cut away from single lines or left intact.

Can’t you just picture this fabric made into a rugged tote bag…. piecing the fabric to change the flow of the pattern?  Yes, I too, have complete ideas matched with incomplete projects!  LOL


Mini-purse design from Graceful Embroidery’s Heartsease Collection available


Placemat design from My Fair Lady’s Summer Stipple collection available at:

Shoe Shine Bench design is built in to Janome Memory Craft 350E Embroidery Machine.


Trends from Quiltcon 2017

Trends From Quiltcon 2017

The Sulky Booth at Quiltcon 2017, which took place in Savannah, GA

Quiltcon is a quilt show like no other as it focuses specifically on the world of Modern Quilting!

Best in Show for Quiltcon 2017

The quilt above won Best In Show. It is titled bling by Katherine Jones from Tasmania, Australia. The quilt was paper pieced from solid fabrics; the inspiration for this quilt was a princess cut diamond.

Kelly Nagel and Katherine Jones

I got a chance to chat with Katherine at the show. She is a lovely woman with a passion for all things quilty.

Details of Madonna by Brittany Bowen Burton

Modern quilters use quite a lot of thread! Look at the beautiful machine and hand stitching in the quilt, Madonna by Brittany Bowen Burton, that won for Best Machine Quilting.

This was also the very first show to see our new Cotton + Steel Thread by Sulky. Attendees had a wonderful time trying the thread out in the Cotton + Steel Booth.


Cotton + Steel also had a little area for Quiltcon attendees to take a break from the show and do a little hand stitching with Sulky 12 Wt. Cotton Petites. We heard only great things about both the new 50 Wt. cotton thread, Cotton + Steel Thread by Sulky, and Sulky Cotton Petites at this show.

We noticed some interesting trends in the world of modern quilting which we thought we would share with you:

  1. Facings vs. Bindings –

    This quilt has a facing instead of a binding.

    Lots of quilters in this genre choose to do facings to finish their quilts off as opposed to binding the quilt in the traditional manner. It has an interesting effect on the quilt as this allows the quilt itself to go to the very edge without anything to visually stop it. This might not work on all quilts, but it sure did for many of the Quiltcon quilts.

  2. Combining hand and machine quilting –

    Exchange Student #2 by Jo Glover

    You know we love thread here at Sulky so seeing all the different types of thread and thread techniques in one quilt was just wonderful. Thread adds such great texture and interest to a quilt.

  3. Use of negative space –

    Murmuration Minuend by Janice Marquardt

    The Modern Quilting movement has always been known for heavy use of negative space, but this year at Quiltcon, we think they knocked it out of the park. There were just some amazing quilts that made great use of all that space.

  4. Dare to be different – The wide range of looks, colors, interpretations and techniques has to be our favorite part of Quiltcon.

    Baubaus Birds in the Air by Frances Dowell

    The quilters who enter this show are not afraid to try something new, color outside the lines or show their passion in the form of thread and fabric.

    wafting diamonds by Lisa Hofmann-Maurer

    The passion and energy is palatable at this show. If you have never been to a Quiltcon, we highly recommend you join us for Quiltcon 2018 in Pasadena, CA!