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When creating beautiful projects, you can choose from thousands of different machine embroidery threads. But what if a new design you plan to stitch lists thread colors in a different brand than the ones you own? How do you find the closest color from within your stash?
Two helpful tools for this dilemma are a machine embroidery thread color conversion chart and embroidery software.
While I often visually inspect my embroidery thread stash and pick colors I prefer, some embroidery designs like photo stitches and character designs require particular thread colors. Thus, the need to convert and pick a close substitution.
To help with future conversions (for myself and you!), I’ve found several major embroidery thread color conversion charts and linked them below. And, if you can’t find the chart you need, I’ve also listed ways to convert thread colors without using charts or online converters.
Major Thread Manufacturer Conversion Charts
There are many charts linked below, which may look overwhelming. However, I’ve listed the charts alphabetically, prioritizing by the brand you want to convert to. (You can also Ctrl+F to find relevant charts.)
Don’t forget that if you can’t find, for instance, a Sulky to Gutermann thread conversation chart, you can still use a Gutermann to Sulky chart and reverse engineer a bit.
Conversion charts aren’t always perfect because matches are the closest possible color, there may not even be a good close match, and thread numbers can change over time. Also, metallic and variegated threads are difficult to convert.
Lastly, if you are looking simply for charts with numbers and names for threads, check out my master list of machine embroidery thread color charts.
ARC Polyester Thread
ARC threads are fading from popularity, but you can still find a chart to convert DMC floss to ARC Polyester thanks to RNK Distributing.
Brother Embroidery Thread
Brother embroidery threads (and PaceSetter, Brother Country, etc.) can be converted using Brother’s color thread conversion chart. It converts from Brother to Madeira Polyneon, Madeira Rayon, Sulky Rayon, and Robison-Anton Polyester.
If you own a Brother embroidery machine, these thread charts are also likely available within your machine for easy conversion. Brother lists the machines covered by their built-in thread conversion charts for you to check.
Dakota Embroidery Thread
Embroidery Online has a helpful conversion chart from Madeira to Dakota.
Exquisite Thread (Poly-X40)
DIME’s Exquisite thread is one of my favorite machine embroidery threads. Formerly named PolyX-40, Exquisite threads are easy to convert using DIME’s helpful conversion chart to convert Floriani, Isacord, Robison-Anton, and Madeira to Exquisite threads.
Sewing Machines Plus also has helpful printable charts to convert between Exquisite and each of the three options:
- Floriani Thread App is a free embroidery app for iOS. You can select any thread color from a large variety of thread manufacturers and convert it to its equivalent Floriani thread color. Unfortunately, it’s not available in the Google Play Store at the time of writing, and I’m not an Apple gal to check it out for you.
- You can also print this chart to convert DMC to Floriani Polyester (RNK Distributing)
- Convert Brother to Floriani (RNK Distributing)
- Convert Isacord to Floriani (RNK Distributing)
Glide (Fil-Tec) Thread
Fil-Tec’s website hab+dash provides the following charts if you use Glide threads. (I love their bobbin threads!)
- Gunold to Glide
- Floriani to Glide
- Isacord to Glide
- Robison-Anton (Rayon or Polyester) to Glide
- Madeira (Rayon or Poly) to Glide
The Gunold website also has several helpful charts:
- Convert Pantone to Gunold
- Convert Madeira to Gunold
- Convert Robison-Anton to Gunold
- Convert Isacord to Gunold
WAWAK has a helpful chart to convert between retail and industrial shades of Gutermann threads. PatternReview.com also has another Gutermann conversion chart with the colors listed to match the retail and wholesale thread number equivalencies.
Isacord’s website has the following thread conversion charts:
- Convert ARC Poly to Isacord
- Convert Pantone to Isacord
- Convert Gunold to Isacord
- Convert Madeira Rayon or Polyneon to Isacord
- Convert Rapos to Isacord
- Convert Sulky to Isacord
- Convert Coats to Isacord
- Convert Robison-Anton Rayon or Polyester to Isacord Polyester
Other helpful websites provide additional charts:
- Convert Timeless to Isacord from EmbroideryOnline
- Convert Floriani to Isacord thread colors (RNK Distributing)
Converting to Madeira:
- You can use the Madeira Quiz calculator to convert to Madeira thread colors. At the time of writing, thread brands that you can convert to Madeira from include ARC Poly, Brother, Coats and Clark, Floriani, Hemingworth, Isacord and Isafil, Kingstar, Marathon, Exquisite or Poly-X40, and Stickma.
- EmbroideryOnline also has a printable chart that converts Isacord to Madeira, Sulky, and Mettler.
- You can also convert DMC to Madeira Polyneon or Viscose (RNK Distributing).
Converting from Madeira:
Embroidery Library has its helpful Madeira calculator.
If you know the Madeira thread number and want to convert to ARC, BFC, Brother, Coats and Clark, Exquisite, Fufu, Floriani, Hemingworth, Isacord/Mettler, Isafil, Marathon, Metro, Robison-Anton, Sulky, Thread Art or ThreadDelight, this calculator finds the equivalent shade in these brands.
Marathon’s website has conversion charts for converting Brother to Marathon, Isacord to Marathon, Janome to Marathon, Kingstar to Marathon, Madeira to Marathon, Robison-Anton to Marathon, Royal to Marathon, and Sulky to Marathon.
To convert Isacord to Mettler, Embroidery Online has a chart that lists converting Isacord thread colors to Sulky, Madeira, and Mettler.
New Brothread Thread
Brothread from Amazon (not associated with Brother) uses the Brother embroidery thread coloring scheme. Thus, you can use any Brother embroidery conversion charts to convert to and from Brothread.
Above, I pictured a chart that came with my machine embroidery thread that converts Brothread to Madeira Rayon or Poly numbers.
Polystar thread uses Brother’s (and Baby Lock’s) color numbering scheme, so you can refer to those conversion charts when converting to and from Polystar thread.
All Threads hosts the most impressive Robison-Anton color conversion calculator.
You can convert to RA threads from the following brands: ABC, ADmelody, A&E Signature, Anchor, Angel, Aurifil, Brildor, Brother, Coats & Clark, Colorful, DMC, Designs by Sick, Echidna, Embroidex, Fat Kat, Floriani, Fu-fu, Gamut, Gunold, Gutermann, Haskins, Hemingworth, Hilo/Iris, Isacord, Isafil, Isalon, Janome, JPCoats, KingStar, Kolors, Madeira, Marathon, Megasheen, Metro, Mettler, Outback, Pantone, Peacock, PolyX, Premium Select, Princess, Radiant, Rapos, Roly Poly, Royal/Tajima, Salus, Spectrum, Sulky, Swist, Threadart, Threadelight, TriStar, Ultima Poly, Valdani, Vyapar, and Wonderfil.
One downfall above is you have to enter thread numbers. If you prefer actual printable conversion charts, you can find the following Robison-Anton color conversion charts from the Thread Exchange.
- Pantone to Robison-Anton (Polyester or Rayon)
- Coats to Robison-Anton
- Floriani to Robison-Anton
- Gunold to Robison-Anton
- Sulky to Robison-Anton
- Isacord to Robison-Anton (Polyester or Rayon)
- Madeira to Robison-Anton (Polyester or Rayon)
You can also convert DMC to Robison-Anton Polyester (RNK Distributing).
Simthread, one of Amazon’s more popular thread manufacturers, uses all sorts of numbering schemes for their threads.
For the pack I own, they used the Brother numbering scheme. (You’ll know it’s likely Brother if the threads have 001 as white, 800 as red, and 900 as black.)
However, if the color numbers on your threads aren’t only numbers but also have an S or a J before them, Simthread has its color charts and color conversion charts for these sets below:
- Convert Janome Simthread colors (with a J) to Robison-Anton, Mettler, or Madeira polyester threads.
- Convert Simthread (with an S) colors to Madeira Polyneon or Robison-Anton polyester.
Use Sulky’s thread conversion reference to convert DMC embroidery floss to Sulky, Floriani to Sulky, Gutermann to Sulky, Hemingworth to Sulky, Isacord to Sulky, Janome to Sulky, Madeira to Sulky, Mettler to Sulky, and Robison-Anton to Sulky.
EmbroideryOnline also has one more chart that converts Isacord to Maderia, Sulky, and Mettler.
Lastly, you can also convert Floriani to Sulky (and also Janome) with this RNK Distributing chart.
Thanks to the ThreadArt website, you can access the following conversion charts:
- Convert ThreadArt to Brother
- Convert ThreadArt to Sulky
- Convert ThreadArt to Robison-Anton (Rayon or Polyester)
- Convert ThreadArt to Madeira (Rayon or Polyester)
- Convert ThreadArt to Isacord
ThreadNanny Embroidery Thread
My ThreadNanny threads use Brother embroidery thread numbering.
Thus, as with Brothread and Simthread, you can use Brother embroidery thread conversion charts to convert to and from ThreadNanny. (If 001 is white, 800 is red, and 900 is black, then that’s the Brother numbering scheme.)
However, if you search in the pictures on the ThreadNanny website, you can find a ThreadNanny to Robison-Anton thread chart.
Timeless Machine Embroidery Thread
If you need to convert Isacord to Timeless, Embroidery Online’s chart will help.
How to Convert Embroidery Thread Colors If You Can’t Find a Chart
If you download an embroidery design that gives colors in one thread brand (Floriani, for example), and you want to convert to another brand (like Isacord), there are several ways to go about this.
1. Use Embroidery Software to Manage Thread Charts
If you own embroidery software, you can add different thread charts into the software and customize them based on threads you own, for instance.
The digitizing software I’m most comfortable with is Hatch 3, but it’s pricy. For those not interested in design creation but thread conversion, one of my favorite FREE embroidery programs is dime’s Embroidery ToolShed (it even has its own Mac translator).
To convert a design to your thread brand, first, open Embroidery Tool Shed. Then, click “Tools” and “General Options.”
Under the “Environment” tab, choose your default thread palette. (This is the brand you have in your stash and want to convert to.)
Click “OK.” Every design you now load will default to the closest color match in the default palette.
To load an embroidery design, click “File” and “Open.”
If you want to save a design with the new thread colors, “Save As” in the file format type for your design. You can also access the complete list of colors under the “Design Analysis” section under “File.”
Because thread manufacturers sometimes modify the colors and numbers in their thread lines, the charts in your software may not be perfect. If your program allows you to customize charts, you can fix them. If not, just spot-check design colors before exporting.
2. Use an App
While not free, the helpful app ThreadBook features thread palettes from hundreds of manufacturers, and it can be a great resource for converting from one obscure brand of thread to another and creating your own chart.
It’s only in the Apple App Store for now, though.
3. Use Embroidery Thread Color Conversion Charts
Printable or PDF embroidery thread color conversion charts are helpful if you frequently convert between different brands. As are online conversion tools. After this section, I’ve curated the charts from the most popular manufacturers so you can print them and keep them with your embroidery machine.
4. Use Your Embroidery Machine
Many newer embroidery machines also have built-in thread charts.
My Brother Luminaire, for example, allows me to default to Brother, Isacord, Sulky, Robison-Anton, and several other brands of embroidery thread. Check your machine’s manual or manufacturer’s website to see if you have built-in help for thread conversion.