Pearl cotton sizes

Pearl cotton sizes DEFAULT

DMC Pearl Cotton Sz 3 Art. /3

Pearl Cotton - Skeins (Art. ) A highly mercerized, non-divisible, lustrous % cotton thread on a twisted skein. DMC Pearl Cotton skeins are available in two sizes - 3 and 5 (the higher the thread size, the finer/thinner the thread). * Size 3 (Art. /3) is available in 16 yard skeins in solid colors. It is the perfect thread for needlepoint, creative stitchery and embroidery, plus it works well on plastic canvas. Size 3 Pearl Cotton is perfect for 12, 13 and 14 count needlepoint. DMC Pearl Cotton is a highly mercerized, non-divisible, lustrous % cotton thread. The twist of the thread is how it received its “Pearl” description and DMC’s Pearl Cotton is best known as the most beautiful thread in the world. During the manufacturing process, the thread is combed, singed by flame and then double mercerized. It is this double mercerizing which gives it its beautiful pearlised sheen. The thread is soft, silky, does not fluff or kink, and % colorfast. Pearl Cotton is a supple thread that provides wonderful volume and dimension to your embroidery.


How often do we actually think about the threads we stitch with? What do we know about them and the way they behave? I like to occasionally explore these questions by looking at threads up close, because it&#;s helpful to know a bit about embroidery threads when making thread choices for embroidery projects.

So the other day we discussed the differences between coton a broder and floche.

Today, let&#;s line those two threads up with more familiar cotton embroidery threads: perle cottons and regular 6-stranded floss.

Cotton Embroidery Thread Comparisons

Perle cottons are up first. You may or may not be familiar with perle cotton. It&#;s the stuff you find on the wall in the craft sections at hobby stores, in twisted skeins or wound into small balls of thread. You can also find it at needlework shops, especially those devoted to needlepoint, because perle cotton in the larger sizes is often used for needlepoint.

Like the floche and coton a broder we discussed earlier this week, perle cotton is a non-divisible thread, which means you use one strand of it as it comes off the skein or ball. You don&#;t break it down into smaller sizes. If you try to break it down and stitch with it, you&#;ll find that the thread strength is compromised, and the thread will shred easily and fall apart.

The four common sizes of perle cotton are featured in the photo above. From top to bottom, these are the size numbers:

a &#; size 3
b &#; size 5
c &#; size 8
d &#; size 12

Remember, the higher the number within any line of thread, the finer the thread.

Sizes 3 and 5 are heavier, used often for needlepoint and sometimes for surface embroidery. Sizes 8 and 12 are relatively fine threads, often used for tatting and crocheted edgings and the like, as well as for embroidery.

Crazy quilters love perle cottons, because they work extremely well for stitching decorative lines and bands.

Perle cottons are also favorites with hand-dyers, which is why you can find many specialty colors and over-dyed perle cottons available through individual small thread-dying businesses.

Cotton Embroidery Thread Comparisons

Now, let&#;s throw the ever-familiar 6-stranded cotton floss into the mix. In the photo above, &#;e&#; is a full six strands of floss, while &#;f&#; is one strand taken from the six.

You can see that, of all of the above threads, one strand of regular stranded cotton floss (f) is the finest in size.

Stranded cotton (called &#;floss&#; in the States) is a divisible thread, up to a point. After you pull the full thread from the skein, it can be separated into 6 finer strands, each of which can be used for very fine embroidery, or which can be put back together in any number of strands, for increasingly bolder lines.

Once you get down to the single strand, though, it cannot be further divided for use, or it loses its strength and integrity.

Cotton Embroidery Thread Comparisons

All of the threads above (including the stranded cotton) have the same construction. The photo above is perle cotton #3 up close.

Cotton Embroidery Thread Comparisons

If you separate the twists, you find that perle cotton is constructed of two plies of thread twisted together in a relatively tight twist.

Cotton Embroidery Thread Comparisons

If you separate the twists on one usable strand of cotton floss, you can see that it is also made up of two plies of thread twisted together.

Cotton floss is not as tightly twisted as pearl cotton. It has a much softer twist, making it more suitable to certain types of embroidery, especially satin stitching and long and short stitch. There&#;s more &#;spread&#; with floss, because of the softer twist.

Cotton Embroidery Thread Comparisons

And now, we&#;ll throw some floche into the mix. We already discussed floche in detail here. In the photo above, it&#;s the green thread at the bottom of the photo.

Notice that it is heavier than the single strand of floss, and it seems to correspond size-wise to the #12 perle cotton, which is right above the thick bright blue floss. However, they&#;re not quite the same size, and their construction is different, so the threads will behave differently when you stitch with them.

Cotton Embroidery Thread Comparisons

Finally, the burnt orange strand below the floche is coton a broder #25, discussed in detail here.

So now you can see all these cotton threads lined up next to each other, to get an idea of their relative size.

Thread Similarities

All the threads above are mercerized (they have a sheen, brought about artificially by a chemical process).

They are all s-twisted threads (you can read about the difference between s- and z-twisted embroidery threads here).

They are all made up of a certain number of plies, twisted together to make the usable strand of thread.

Thread Differences

They differ in size.

One thread featured above is divisible &#; the regular stranded cotton floss that breaks down into six usable individual threads.

They differ in number of plies twisted together to make the individual strand: perle cottons and floss are made of two plies; floche is made of five plies; coton a broder is made of four plies.

They differ in the tightness of the twist used to combine the plies. The stranded cotton and the floche have the loosest twists, coton a broder falls in the middle, and perle cottons have a tighter twist.

How Does this Affect your Embroidery?

What it boils down to is this: the weight of the thread (the thickness) and the degree of the twist (and the number of plies) make a difference in the way stitches look. These characteristics affect the size of stitches, the way the stitches work together and fit together, and the way the stitches reflect light. And all of these points influence the outcome of your embroidery.

We&#;ll examine this point visually with some stitched samples later this week!

Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Have your say below!


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Pearl Cotton Balls Size 8


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DMC Pearl Cotton Balls promise to provide dimension and volume to your next embroidery project. With a reputation as the most beautiful thread in the world, this luminous cotton thread is highly mercerized and non-divisible. It's soft and silky and ideal for embroidery, needlepoint, hardanger, blackwork, redwork, pulled thread, smocking, applique, crochet, and other types of creative stitchery.

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Pearl Cotton Balls Size 8

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Perle Cottons Are Not All the Same

Introduction: Choosing Floss and Fabrics

I've tried embroidering on just about everything with all types of thread and floss.

As you can imagine, this hasn't always worked out very well! Instead of leaving you to learn from your mistakes while nursing very sore fingers, I thought I'd give a little guidance about what I've found to work best. :)

In this lesson I'm going to cover floss, pearl cotton, floss storage and how to choose fabric for embroidery.

Step 1: Pearl Cotton Vs Six Stranded Floss

Hand embroidery threads come in two flavors: pearl (perle) cotton and six stranded floss. In this class I'll be exclusively teaching with six stranded floss, just because it's what I prefer to use.

Six stranded floss can be divided into smaller groups of strands for stitching different thicknesses.

Pearl cotton is not divisible, and instead comes single stranded in several thicknesses, including sizes 3, 5, 8, and Size 3 is comparable to six strands of embroidery floss, while size 12 is comparable to one strand of embroidery floss.

While embroidery floss is flat and smooth when stitched, pearl cotton has a distinctive twisted look.

Floss comes in skeins and cones, while pearl cotton comes in skeins and balls.

Skeins are how most types of floss are found - the green floss above is in a skein! Skeins often contain yards of floss. Cones are just what they sound like - the same floss, wrapped around a cone! Cones often comes in gram measures - grams ( yards for DMC) and grams ( yards for DMC). Balls of floss come just like the purple pearl cotton above. :)

Step 2: Choosing Embroidery Floss

When buying embroidery floss, it's important to be very careful about which brands you choose. Cheap floss is not likely to be colorfast, meaning it will bleed its color onto the fabric when it gets wet. Cheap floss is also rough and hard to work with, so it could make your embroidering look sloppy.

(Pearl cotton bought in craft stores is nearly always high quality, so you don't need to be concerned there.)

My favorite brand is DMC.

It's the most widely available floss I've found in the US. You can find it at nearly every crafting, quilting, or sewing shop! I highly recommend it as I have been embroidering with it for my whole embroidery career.

I have never had issues with it bleeding, and it's nice and easy to work with.

Other Popular Floss Brands

There are many more brands out there, but many of them are harder to find and require special ordering online.

Keep in mind each floss brand has its own numbering system when it comes to organizing and matching your floss. For example, black is DMC color and Anchor color

Buying in Bulk

As a beginning stitcher, I highly suggest getting a large variety of single colors. This will allow you to figure out which colors you use the most.

I only really buy black in bulk by the cone. I like to outline all my satin stitching with it and most of my text is done in black, so I use quite a bit!

If you start to find yourself going through a few skeins of a color in under a month, it may be a sign you should start buying in bulk. If you order online, you can get any color of DMC floss in a 12 skein box from Joann and other online shops.

Step 3: Storing Embroidery Floss

How you store your embroidery floss is up to you, really! Some people leave them as skeins, some people take off the paper and keep them as circles of floss, and some wind their floss onto bobbins.

I like to use bobbins and organize my floss in plastic boxes as shown above. I try to keep only one bobbin of every color in the plastic boxes. I store my extra floss in a zippered bag to keep it safe from dirt and hair.

Bobbins are little plastic or paper cards you wind floss onto for storage, as shown below.

I write the color number of every skein of floss on the plastic bobbins in permanent marker. This allows me to easily replace floss when I start running low and helps keep me a little more organized.

To wind your floss skein onto a bobbin, pull the paper pieces off each end. Use your fingers to "open" the floss so it looks like the second photo - a circle of floss!

Now, find an end to the floss and pinch it against the bobbin card with your thumb, while gently beginning to wrap the floss around the card with the other hand.

Make sure you wind the bobbins very gently. If you pull too tight, you'll warp and crease the floss.

The floss should still look fairly rounded! If it's flattening out as you wrap you're pulling too tight.

Once your bobbins are wound, make sure to put them away in whatever container you're using. Especially if you have pets or kids. They love floss. ;)

P.S. Winding bobbins takes a little while, so it's a great excuse to sit and listen to your favorite podcast or binge watch TV. :D

Step 4: Threading the Needle and Dividing Floss

Threading the Needle

To thread an embroidery needle with floss, trim the floss end with sharp scissors so it's even. Then, stick the end in your mouth to wet it. Press the wet floss end between your thumb and pointer finger to flatten it out.

You may think this is gross, but it's the way it's been done since the start. ;)

If you're having problems, I highly recommend running the end of the floss over a little Thread Heaven - it'll stiffen and smooth the end, making it easier to push through the eye of the needle.

Dividing Embroidery Floss

When you need to divide your embroidery floss into strands, pick apart the strands in the middle and then pull it apart!

You can divide the floss from one end, but chances are it will curl and tangle around itself and frustrate you unless you have experience fighting with floss. ;)

Step 5: Choosing Fabric for Embroidery

First up, what not to pick:

  • Stretchy fabrics, such as jersey or fleece
  • Tight woven or stiff fabrics, such as heavy canvas or denim
  • Fluffy fabrics, such as fleece
  • Cross stitch fabric such as counted Aida

Technically, you can embroider on just about anything. However, the above fabrics will be really tough for you to work with if you've never embroidered before. I don't want you to start this journey by rage quitting because the fabric is too hard to work with. ;)

My absolute favorite fabric to embroider on is linen.

I use this linen / rayon blend from Joann Fabrics almost exclusively. I have it in white and natural, but it comes in loads of other colors too! I always buy it in bulk when it's on sale, since I go through about yards per year with my embroidery work.

The other linens shown in the photo above are straight linen (no rayon or synthethic fibers).

I like to wash and pre-shrink the linen before I use it.

Other fabrics for embroidery:

  • Muslin. Muslin is often used for drafting patterns and backing quilts. If you go this route, try to find a muslin with a tight weave. Place your hand behind it and make sure you can't see it through the muslin!
  • Quilting cotton. Quilting cotton is another good choice. The weave is similar to muslin, but is normally more opaque.
  • Broadcloth. Broadcloth is similar to muslin but typically a little stiffer. Make sure you can't see your hand through it for best results!

Step 6: Pre-Washing Fabric for Embroidery

I like to wash fabric before I embroider on it.

Many fabrics tend to shrink when washed, which is something you absolutely DO NOT want when embroidering.

Embroidering a piece on unwashed fabric and then washing the finished piece in warm water and soap or pressing with a hot iron after washing in cool water will cause the fabric to shrink. Your floss will not shrink at the same rate, which will lead to puckering and rippling. The stitching will look loosened and not be as tight as it should be.

It will make your pieces look like a mess, which would be a shame after spending hours on them!

How to Wash Fabric:

  1. When you buy the fabric, check the bolt end to make sure it is washable. Take a photo of the care label so you remember how it can be washed!
  2. Lay the piece of fabric on a large surface and trim any raw edges with pinking shears. You don't have to cut much off - 1/8 - 1/4 an inch is perfect! Do not cut the fabric into pieces before washing.
  3. If you have several colors of fabric, make sure to sort by colors. Fabric can bleed when washed, so you don't want to wash a piece of dark fabric with a light one.
  4. Wash and dry according to the care instructions.
  5. Fold the fabric and put it away. You'll cut and press the fabric as needed later!

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Sizes pearl cotton

WonderFil Specialty Thread Blog

Comparing Hand Embroidery Thread Weights: 12wt, #8, #5, #3

WonderFil brings you the latest news, events, upcoming thread lines and special tips and advice. Follow WonderFil Specialty Threads on our social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Youtube.

Maura Kang

When doing hand embroidery, there are a number of thread weights to choose from. We’ll show you the difference between a 12wt, #8, #5 and #3 thread and how they show up differently in your stitches so you can choose the right look for your project. Choosing a variety of weights is the perfect way to give your hand embroidered project a unique look with different textures.


The most common size of hand embroidery perle cotton is a #8. If you’re just starting out or doing any general hand embroidery, this is the recommended thread weight. It shows off beautifully with all the different varieties of stitches, and the thread will pull easily through all kinds of fibres and fabrics. With this thread you will want to use a size 3 milliners needle. Our line of perle cottons is called Eleganza™ and comes in #8, #5 and #3 sizes with Sue Spargo. Let’s take a look at the other two sizes.


#5 is a little thicker than the #8 but still thinner than the #3. Many people prefer using this size over the #8 because they like how it stands out a bit more and adds a little more emphasis to the stitching. With this size thread, we recommend using a milliners size 1 needle.


The #3 is the thickest weight of Eleganza perle cotton and its size is comparable to yarn. While this thick thread might give some stitchers pause, all of the Eleganza line of threads go through a treatment called double gassing, which removes almost all the lint from its surface. This gives it a silky smooth finish that pulls much easier through the fabric while making your stitches look clean and tidy. It’s great for adding outlining and emphasis to any hand sewing project. We recommend a size 15 milliners needle with this thread.


Finally, we have these 12wt threads called Spagetti™ and Fruitti™. Both of these threads are a long staple Egyptian cotton that has also been double gassed for a super low lint finish so your stitches will look clean and beautiful. A 12wt thread is comparable to a single strand of embroidery floss like what you would get when you split the strands. This is perfect for any small or fine detail stitching, or if you’re stitching on a fabric with a higher thread count.


These are just a few stitches to show you the difference thread weight can make in hand embroidery. Experiment with them yourself and show us what you stitched by tagging us on Facebook or Instagram! Facebook @wonderfil or Instagram @wonderfilspecialtythreads or by the hashtag: #wonderfil.

tagseducation, threaducation, information, hand embroidery, thread weight, 12wt, 8wt, 5wt, 3wt, #8, #5, #3, Eleganza, Fruitti, Spagetti

A Course in Pearls - Pearl Sizes


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