Types of Cross Stitch and Embroidery Thread

Types of Cross Stitch and Embroidery Thread

Thread Types

Stranded cotton is the most popular thread for cross stitch and DMC have manufactured stranded cotton for over 100 years. DMC stranded cotton is made up of 6 loosely twisted strands of mercerized cotton. It is extremely adaptable and gives great results. The main DMC colour range has 447 shades with additional shades available in variegated colours.

DMC Satin thread is also made up of 6 loosely twisted strands. It has the same colour numbers as DMC stranded cotton and can easily be exchanged to add a silky, glamorous finish to designs.

DMC Light Effects metallic threads are also divisible and add light and sparkle to a design. These threads are prone to wear and tear as you sew, this is sometimes known as backcombing.

If possible use a slightly bigger needle as this will help to separate the fabric threads and allow the metallic thread to pass through the fabric without rubbing on it. Fold your thread length in two and create a loop at one end, pass the two ends through the eye of the needle then pass them through the loop, pull to secure the thread, this is to stop the needle sliding up and down the thread and damaging it. When using DMC Light Effects metallic threads (or any others that are similar) use shorter lengths and allow the thread and needle to hang down under the stitching periodically to untwist.

You could use a thread conditioner or beeswax to help protect and strengthen the threads but remember to wash your hands or used gloves to prevent greasy marks from fingers on your fabric, this is also recommended to reduce the damage caused by sweat from the hands. DMC Light Effects metallic threads are well worth using and with care can make a difference to your project, with a bit of practice it will be no different to using ordinary stranded cotton.

Number of thread strands used*

6 count – 6 strands
8 count – 6 strands
11 count – 3 strands
14 count - 2 strands
16 count – 2 strands
18 count – 2 strands

*unless your chart states otherwise

Information kindly provided by Mrs Hazel Evans

Happy stitching,


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