Embroidery Floss – Thread Types, Colors, and Uses
When you consider the number of hours that will be spent on a
needlework project, then you will see the importance of using good
quality embroidery thread. Embroidery floss is used for a
large variety of needlework projects - cross-stitch, counted
thread, embroidery, needlepoint, smocking, crewel, punch
embroidery, appliqué and quilting. Embroidery floss is a
thread that is manufactured or hand-spun specifically for
embroidery and other forms of needlework. It is a loosely
twisted, slightly glossy 6-strand thread, usually of cotton but
also manufactured in silk, polyester, rayon, and linen.
Choosing the Right Embroidery Floss
- Embroidery flosses come in a rainbow of colors to choose
from. When using a needlework chart, care should be taken to
stay within the same manufacturer to ensure consistency throughout
your project as thicknesses and other factors can vary.
- Embroidery thread can be divided based on how delicate you
want your finished product to look as well as how closely woven
your fabric is.
- The easiest way to seperate your floss is by cutting it into
shorter strands and holding it in place with tape, a safety pin, or
knoting it around something, and pulling it tight. Use a needle to
seperate out the amount of strands you want into a y shape and pull
them apart. Remove the floss and pull the rest apart.
- Use a tapestry needle when embroidering with larger weave
fabrics. For more info on tapestry needles, check out the buying guide.
- Keep track of the colors you are using for a given project, so
if you need to buy more or fix something, you will get the right
- Embroidery floss is stored in a loop, cut it at one end for
even and shorter strands.
Types of Embroidery Floss
Cotton floss is the standard thread for cross-stitch. It
is made from mercerized cotton, to make the floss stronger,
smoother, and give it a lustrous appearance. Cotton floss
(like most embroidery floss) is divisible, meaning the strands can
be used individually or in groups of strands, depending on the
thickness needed for a project.
Variegated floss has a blend of soft multicolors that flow
seamlessly into one another. The subtle color changes reveal
themselves every few stitches. This is just a dye technique, so you
could have variegated cotton, silk, or linen floss.
Light Effects is a reflective polyester floss which comes in
shades including Precious Metals, Jewels, Antiques, Pearlescent,
Fluorescents, and Glow-In-The-Dark tones.
Metallic Floss adds metallic qualities to any
needlework or craft project. This floss is usually 100%
polyester or a poly blend.
Rayon Floss is highly lustrous and soft. It is
particularly striking when used as an accent thread to other
threads in all types of creative stitchery.
Linen floss is made from 100% linen and gives a rusic matte
finish. Use this floss to give your projects a natural
Silk Floss is very versatile. Made from 100% silk, it adds a
special elegance to any heirloom embroidery and shadow embroidery
project. Noted for saturated colors and a lusterous shine, silk
floss is wonderful in crewel tapestry, smocking, and
Pearl cotton is a 2-ply twisted thread with high sheen. Unlike
other embroidery threads it is non-divisible (the strands cannot be
separated). Pearl Cotton can found five 3, 5, 8, 12 and 16,
with 3 being the heaviest and 16 the finest).
Embroidery Floss Color and Conversion
Needlework and Embroidery Floss Project
Billie G. Henson, owner of Crafty Angel
Save and Share