My favorite embroidery supplies for making plush
I’m just going to shamelessly promote a certain embroidery supplies company here. When I was first looking for embroidery supplies, I was totally overwhelmed by the vast selection, and how expensive the supplies were. Marathon Thread is an oasis – their prices are very good, their quality is amazing, and they can make custom thread sets for you. I believe their supplies are made in South Korea.
Before you go out and buy all the things, keep in mind that some brands of machines just “don’t like” certain brands of threads. This is a real thing. Test with a sample spool from your local sewing store or eBay before buying a whole set.
Embroidery Machine: Janome Memory Craft 200E
I chose Janome because it’s affordable, well made (a Japanese brand), and parts/repair aren’t expensive. The hoop size is a bit limited (4×4), but it’s a great starter machine that I’ve had no problems with. This particular machine is embroidery only.
USB flash drive
For transferring files from my computer. Check your embroidery machine manual to see if your USB flash drive needs to be a specific type. Not all are compatible. You shouldn’t need a huge amount of space; embroidery files are pretty small. My machine actually can’t read from large flash drives.
The embroidery world debates on Polyester vs Rayon. I chose Rayon because I like that little extra shine and color selection for plushie eyes. Also, I don’t put my plush through heavy washing machines, so the durability of Rayon is just fine for my purposes. I have sets of the Mini-Kings, and they’re going to last me a long time.
When I only needed smaller spools enough to last me a few projects, Sulky 40 wt Rayon 250 yd spools from JoAnn’s were perfect.
I also purchased Marathon’s plastic thread storage containers, as I’m in California and our low humidity would dry out the thread and make it break easily. These have handles so they’re easy for me to pull out of storage.
Thread spool holder
Thread cone holders come in single or multi, depending on how much embroidery you’ll be doing. I like the multi since I don’t have to move spools of thread very often, and I have enough room for it (it’s around 16″ wide).
Bobbin thread: 60 wt Polyester or Cotton
My machine takes both, but takes cotton more happily. I wind my own spools as it’s most economical this way.
Stabilizer: Medium cut-away
I’ve had best results with cut-away for plush. I tried tear-away, and it did not provide enough support. It teared away during the embroidery process, and my design warped.
Embroidery spray: Gunold KK100
Whatever brand you get, anything is better than nothing for minky and stretch fabrics. I’ve tried a few brands, and this one is my favorite. It’s strong; no slipping or puckering of the fabric at all. It does gunk up my sewing machine a bit if I’m sewing the fabric afterwards, so I clean that area of my machine with rubbing alcohol.
I have the 25 yard roll, and just cut pieces small enough to cover the area I will embroider, and use 4 little pieces of masking tape, one on each corner. It’s very economical this way!
For applying water soluble film.
Embroidery thread scissors: Snip-a-Stitch scissors
I absolutely love these because they’re small enough that I can snip thread while it’s still hooped, and they’re spring-loaded so my hands don’t get tired. Anything as small, sharp, and flat as possible is going to be good for trimming threads. A good quality pair of these is worth the investment.
But still sharp enough to cut away the stabilizer after embroidery is complete. Clean with rubbing alcohol as needed to remove stickiness.
And that’s it! I know that researching supplies takes a lot of time, so maybe the results from my researching journey will help you on yours. :)