Sulky of America - Committed to Quality for Over 35 Years!  

Sulky Co-founders, Joyce and Fred Drexler are insistent about maintaining the very highest quality in all of the merchandise that bear the Sulky label. Sulky products are in great demand because of this high quality and stunning array of over 4,000 items. Joyce and Fred are education innovators. According to Fred, “Educating consumers has always been a top priority and our extremely strong focus on education through the years has caused Sulky to become the most recognized and asked-for name in decorative threads”.


Sulky of America Quality Standards


Sulky Rayon Embroidery Thread:

An example of this continued commitment to quality is Sulky's use of only raw rayon fibers made by ENKA in Obernburg, Germany, which have been tested and proven to be the very highest quality raw goods produced anywhere in the world. While some thread companies are now using lesser quality raw goods from Asia, Sulky steadfastly refuses to use anything but the very best raw goods from ENKA.

All Sulky Rayon Threads Are Made Exclusively
From Enka Fibers, Proven To Be The Highest
Quality Rayon/Viscose Fibers In The World.


What Makes Sulky the Best Quality Rayon Thread?

There are many reasons why an embroiderer should only use Sulky Rayon Thread made exclusively of 100% viscose from the ENKA Germany plant. In the following few minutes we will give you some of the most compelling arguments why ENKA viscose is the best viscose that is made anywhere in the world. It is provable, it is traceable, and it is visible.

  • We will start with viscose itself. What is viscose, what is viscose made of, and how is it turned into embroidery yarn?
  • We will show you microscopy photos of viscose filament cross-sections, a stress-elongation diagram and stress-elongation tests.
  • You will see photos of fibril breakage and abrasion tests that show what embroidery thread looks like after the stress of an embroidery process.
  • And, finally, German certificates referring to ENKA, and the production of ENKA viscose, complete the traceability of this very high quality product.

Many people don't know that Rayon, sometimes referred to as Viscose, originates from nature! The raw material needed for the production of viscose is cellulose pulp, and the original material for the pulp production is wood.

Cellulose is the natural building material needed by plants for forming their cellular walls. There are only a few wood types where the cellulose develops the properties required for the production of viscose. In most cases, pine or spruce wood, or even well selected deciduous tree types, are used.

One of the special features of cellulose is that the molecules are connected with each other in chains, and the length of the chain is critical for producing the highest quality raw viscose fibers. Long-chain, consistently high quality cellulose molecules are absolutely necessary for reprocessing cellulose into a perfect viscose product.

The world renowned ENKA plant in Obernburg, Germany produces raw viscose fibers exclusively from these long-chain, consistently high quality cellulose molecules, and all Sulky Rayon Threads are made exclusively with ENKA raw fibers, which have been tested and certified to be the highest quality rayon/viscose fibers in the world.

The trees that ENKA's raw viscose fibers are produced from are substantially and consistently better because ENKA strictly controls every working step from cultivating the right trees on plantations with optimal climatic and geologic conditions, to reprocessing only the highest quality long-chain cellulose fibers. Cultivating trees on carefully controlled plantations is the agricultural use of a permanently regenerating source - wood.

Because ENKA knows that only consistently high quality, long-chain cellulose guarantees a perfect viscose product, they make sure that every single step is subject to their strict oversight, from selecting the seeds from healthy trees to keeping a data sheet on which the entire life story of the tree is written down. Furthermore, the growing speed, ground and climatic conditions play an important role. It takes about 20 years until each individual tree has the inner structure and ripeness to meet ENKA's high quality demands.

That's why you experience less breakage with Sulky/ENKA threads even when using high-speed embroidery machines. And why everything you make using Sulky/ENKA threads lasts longer and looks better years from now. Granted, all this may not be apparent when you're just looking at a 40 wt. rayon thread. But put Sulky/ENKA fibers, along with any others, under a microscope and you'll see what we're talking about.

Scanner electron microscopy cross-section photos of ENKA viscose filaments and an Asian viscose.

The photo of the ENKA viscose shows regularly toothed and/or lapped cross-sections of the filament that are always the same size.

The photo of the Asian viscose shows different shapes of the filament and strongly jagged outlines.

What Does This Mean in Practice?

Size and form of the filaments are important criteria for:

  • Even dyeing
  • Optical refraction
  • Cleanness of the yarn
  • Constant strength

Because ENKA fibers have a more even form and structure, they can be dyed more evenly. ENKA fibers also have more perfect optical refraction and cleanness of yarn to make Sulky Rayon threads appear glossier and more brilliant. That's why embroidery connoisseurs prefer the softer, warmer, more natural look of Sulky Rayon Thread. It's no wonder Sulky 40 wt. rayon threads are the strongest, most brilliant rayon threads available.


Other important tested elements that prove the high quality of Sulky/ENKA Rayon thread are Tensile Strength, Stress Elongation, Fibril Breakage and Abrasion.



The following diagram shows the Tensile Strength of several strands of embroidery yarn with increasing elongation. The Sulky thread made of 100% ENKA viscose is Blue and the thread made from the Asian viscose is Green. Each time, both threads are exposed to constant stress that is permanently measured. The stress (elongation) is increased until the thread breaks.


  • When there is little stress (elongation), the resistibility of both viscose embroidery threads is the same.
  • As the elongation is increased, the resistibility of the ENKA viscose is clearly higher than the thread made from the Asian viscose.
  • The end points of the curves show that ENKA viscose has relatively the same results throughout all the tests - the curves are bundled.
  • On the thread made from the Asian viscose, the end points are far away from each other, they never reach the length of the ENKA curves and there are tests among them where the curves are short, indicating a low tensile strength. That's why you experience less breakage with Sulky/ENKA threads even when using high-speed embroidery machines. The greater elongation capability of Sulky compensates for faults in the thread tension and fluctuations of the upper thread drawing off.


In the following diagrams you will see the results of testing the breaking strength of ENKA viscose and the thread made from the Asian viscose. The tests are carried out one after the other. The breaking strength is measured when a certain stress is applied.

Figure 1 SULKY, 100% ENKA viscose


Figure 2 Asian viscose



  • Test instrument Statimat ME
  • Test repetitions of Sulky: 100
  • Test repetitions of the thread made from Asian viscose: 50
  • 1 spool each is examined at a length of about 100 meters
  • The same test conditions during the test of both viscose products



Figure 1: Sulky
The individual results consistently show relatively the same length of the bars with very minimal difference of one bar to the next. The bars are quite a bit longer than on the thread made from Asian viscose indicating that the total tensile strength is much higher.

Figure 2: Thread made from Asian viscose
The individual lengths of the bars are much shorter than on the Sulky test and they are erratically different, proving that the total tensile strength is much lower.

Sulky thread, with the same bar length in the test, guarantees an even and perfect embroidery process from the first to the last yard. Other thread with relatively short and erratic bars can cause thread breakages because the tensile strength is lower in these places.


Fibrils are single fibers that form the embroidery thread. As you can see from the microscopy pictures below, fibril breakage of the Asian fibers will lead to, at the very least, an untidy embroidery result with lint formation on the embroidered surface and, in the worst case, to thread breakages while embroidering. You can see that Sulky/ENKA viscose has an excellent cleanness of the fibers that cannot be found in viscose of other origins.

Figure 1 Sulky/Enka

Figure 2 Asian Fibers



The Martindale Abrasion Tests were carried out by TTI, an independent institute. They simulate the stress of an embroidery design as it occurs under normal circumstances, e.g. when being worn, washed, dried, and ironed.


Embroidery design in backstitch filling, embroidered with:

  • Sulky/ENKA thread
  • Thread Made from Asian viscose
  • Identical embroidery thread colors
  • Identical embroidery program
  • Comparison of the basic material before the abrasion test (photo 1 & 2)
  • Comparison after abrasion of 1000 revolutions (photo 3 & 4)
  • Comparison after abrasion of 2500 revolutions (photo 5 & 6)


Photo 1 Sulky/Enka

Photo 2 Asian fibers

The microscopy photos were taken after the embroidery and prior to the first abrasion test. Both photos show a few filament breakages that were caused by the embroidery process. There is a small difference between both photos.

Photo 3 Sulky/Enka

Photo 4 Asian fibers

These microscopy photos were taken after the abrasion test of 1000 revolutions.

Photo 3, embroidered with Sulky, shows a slightly higher number of filament breakages than in photo 1, while Photo 4, embroidered with the thread made from Asian viscose, shows sizeable clusters of filament breakages.

Photo 5 Sulky/Enka

Photo 6 Asian fibers

These microscopy photos were taken after the abrasion test of 2500 revolutions.

Photo 5, embroidered with Sulky, shows no significant differences compared to photo 3, while Photo 6, embroidered with the thread made with Asian viscose, shows that long fibers are visible which were pulled out from the embroidery design due to fibril breakages.


Sulky, made from 100% ENKA viscose shows substantially better results in abrasion testing compared to the thread made from Asian viscose. It is not really visible directly after embroidering but, after longer use of the embroidery, the design sewn with the thread made from Asian viscose will become shabby much faster and the greater the stress, the more visible is the quality difference from Sulky/ENKA viscose.


Following are the 4 Certificates from the German Organizations and Companies who conducted the independent testing followed by a final summary.



ENKA - a Renowned Manufacturer with enormous experience

  • ENKA is the manufacturer, rich in the tradition of making the highest quality
    raw viscose filaments and fibers.
  • ENKA viscose is the best viscose worldwide.
  • ENKA viscose is an ecological product.
  • ENKA viscose is a German product.

ENKA Viscose - the best quality embroidery yarn with:

  • Highest cleanness of the yarn
  • Lowest level of lint
  • Highest abrasion strength
  • Greatest total strength
  • Consistent High Quality
  • Continuous evenness
  • Lowest frequency of breakages
  • Best dyeing regularity - every color, every spool always looks the same
  • Approved, checked, controlled production - certified according to ISO 9001

ENKA viscose is produced in an environmentally friendly way:

  • From raw material, wood, cultivated on environmentally friendly plantations.
  • No use of tropical woods, no rainforest clearance.
  • Produced in accordance with the highest European health, safety, and environmental standards.
  • Economical use of water and energy.

Look for the spools marked with the Sulky name and the Sulky/ENKA symbol on the Sulky Rayon Thread display where you shop to be assured that you are buying the very highest quality Rayon Thread available anywhere in the world.


All Sulky Rayon Threads Are Made Exclusively
From Enka Fibers, Proven To Be The Highest
Quality Rayon/Viscose Fibers In The World.

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