A thread color chart displays all available thread colors for a specific brand and type of thread, along with a picture of the color and an identifying series of letters and numbers for that specific color. When starting a new embroidery thread project or shopping for new thread after running out of a specific color, a crafter can look up the threads she needs either by matching the identification numbers on the pattern or from the old thread, or by comparing the color she needs to the pictures on the thread color chart. Thread color charts are particularly useful when starting a new project or replacing a color of thread that is no longer available. Online embroidery thread converters can take the brand name and identification number of a specific thread and display the closest matching threads available. Comparing the thread to a physical or online chart and choosing the closest match is another option.
At the start of a new project, the crafter first reviews the list of colors she needs based on the pattern's recommendations. She may write down the numbers and purchase those specific threads, or she may locate them on a thread color chart to see if her current thread collection contains any similar colors she could substitute without needing to buy more thread. This is most helpful on older patterns that list brands of thread no longer available and for choosing replacements for hard-to-find or expensive brands.
When making a selection based on the color images of a thread color chart, it's best to choose a shade that is slightly darker than the background color of the material on which it will be used. A slightly darker shade is less noticeable and won't draw as much attention to itself if it doesn't exactly match the fabric or previously used embroidery thread. Choosing a shade lighter than the material makes it more noticeable, and for this reason it's better for the crafter to choose a darker thread color when she cannot find a perfect match or is unsure from the thread color chart pictures which shade matches the closest.
After she has picked a shade from the thread color chart, she can order the thread online or write down the brand and number and visit a craft store to see if the thread is available. Whenever a crafter starts a new project, she should write down which colors she's using for quick reference later. She should also label her unused embroidery thread so she'll have the identification number when she choosing to use it in the future.