The more we delve into the world of embroidery, the more we learn about it, as we are sure you know. When getting the tools to embroider, the floss may seem like the most straightforward purchase.
There is, however, more to it than colour and thickness. While cotton embroidery floss is the most popular thread and a great choice, you can also go for cutwork thread, Pearl, or even Floche.
They are usually made from the same fiber but vary in thickness, weight, and twist. Stranded cotton – another name for cotton floss – is a six-stranded divisible thread.
Pearl cotton is not divisible and has a tighter twist that gives a unique texture to projects. Floche is the finest and softest of embroidery threads, and perfect for dainty, delicate work.
If you really want to branch out, why not try silk? The world is your oyster!
Whether you are looking for something specific for your next project, or the humble and reliable stranded cotton, we gathered the nine best embroidery floss sets available today.
The Best Embroidery Floss of 2020
1. DMC Floss Assortments & Tins
DMC is an established brand with many models of embroidery floss. One thing is sure – they are well known among crafters and sewists and deliver quality materials for all sorts of needlework.
This set is a premium kit of cotton floss, divisible and double mercerized. That means you can choose how many threads to use and personalize the thickness of your project, and the floss is shiny and completely colourfast – the color does not bleed or fade.
As a nice touch, the 25 skeins come inside a beautiful tin, great for storage or to gift someone.
The colours are slightly metallic, adding to their lustre and shine. Any embroidery design would look great with them!
2. Caydo Embroidery Floss
A best-seller on the embroidery market, this Caydo set comes with no less than three hundred skeins of polyester floss. Each of them is 8.75 yards long and can be separated into six threads.
What Caydo offers here is a mix of quality, affordability, and quantity. With that many vivid colours, you are well served for any projects you need to do, be it embroidery, cross-stitch of children’s crafts.
You also get twenty pieces of floss bobbins so you can loop the unused thread around them when you are finished.
Be aware that this kit comes with three hundred skeins, not three hundred different colours. The colours are varied and vibrant but repeated.
3. Le Paon 240 Skeins
Another big name on the embroidery game, Le Paon brings a diverse, vast, and great set of floss. Unlike other kits of this size, the material used is cotton and not polyester.
That means they are softer and more comfortable to handle, and also better for the environment.
Another advantage is the colour scheme, they all match greatly and you get sets of shades instead of repeated colours. Le Paon guarantees 120 gradients of colours so you know what you’re getting.
The skeins are colourfast and can be washed and exposed to the sun with no change in vibrancy.
4. Anchor Floss
This is a fantastic product to get, both for the brand name and quality, Anchor is up there with DMC in terms of reliability.
The interesting thing about this floss is that even though it is made of one hundred per cent cotton it has a silken and sheen feel. This is fantastic to complete projects that will look more expensive and delicate without having to use real silk.
The set comes with one hundred different colours, and they are more pastel than vivid, very elegant.
The colours hold up to washing and the thread does not fray when in use, all in all, this is a great buy.
5. DMC Limited Edition Floss
This package contains twenty-seven skeins of cotton floss, each of a different colour.
These are rich colours to add to your regular collection, and they work great to complete a bigger set or to replace skeins of colours you used up.
You can expect well-packaged skeins too, with good paper wrapping. It is a strong thread that doesn’t knot up when you are working but passes smoothly through the fabric.
The end design has a beautiful sheen and appealing look, and it is consistent with all DMC products.
Each skein is 8.7 yards long and, although this may not seem like much, it is worth investing in quality threads if you are serious about embroidery.
6. Le Paon Rainbow Kit
Le Paon really does cater to every type of client. This set consists of one hundred cotton skeins of different colors, each measuring 8.7 yards and being divisible by six threads.
In addition to that, you get two weaving plates (one round and one square), two threaders, one curved needle, and five embroidery needles. All that for an incredibly affordable price.
That makes this kit the perfect beginner embroidery present or a good set to make bracelets with kids.
The colors can be a little unreliable, therefore more advanced embroiderers choose to spend a bit more and get what they really need.
7. Sullivan Pearl Cotton
Pearl thread is not divisible like cotton floss. That means you use it directly from the skein or ball, without separating it. It is very smooth and has a silky feel to it.
It is great for surface embroidery, and it adds texture to designs, which can be very interesting. That happens because of its tight twist, much more curled than stranded.
This Sullivan’s pack comes with twelve skeins, each one measuring fifteen yards. The colors are beautiful and complement one another, and they are made of quality Egyptian cotton.
It feels great to use them, and they rarely knot or break. A fantastic pearl embroidery floss!
8. High-Class Silk Embroidery Thread
This amazing set of embroidery spools comes with thirty different colors of Japanese made silk threads. The color palette is pleasing, with great tones of orange and purple, and extra golden and silver threads included.
They are perfect for fine work and are extremely shiny. They are comfortable to embroider with and go through the needle and fabric very smoothly.
They are untwisted, so you cannot divide them. That also means they make very flat designs with little texture, but a lot of detail and glaze.
There are thirty different colors, and each one is 27 yards long, enough for the majority of hand embroidery projects.
9. DMC Floche Floss
If you are looking for the best embroidery floss floche style, DMC has a good selection. Since we all know how good DMC’s usual cotton floss is, we can trust that they also make amazing floche ones.
This is a single skein black floche, but the brand offers all kinds of colors and you can mix and match to make a collection.
One floche thread is equivalent to two or three plies of stranded cotton, but it offers a smoother finish and better coverage than cotton, in the opinion of seasoned embroiderers.
Buying Guide for the Best Embroidery Floss
The material of the floss will greatly influence the final work. Cotton is the most common one, and it is readily available.
It’s soft, strong and much more environmentally friendly than its counterpart – polyester. Polyester floss is shinier and stretchier. Silk is incredibly shiny and feels luxurious, but it’s much more expensive.
There is even floss made from wool, and they are quite hairy and great to mimic animal looks.
Choose the floss material based on your needs and budget, and test different types to get an idea of what you like if possible.
Common and popular brands are more likely to offer good customer service and quality products. Sullivan, Anchor, Le Paon, and DMC are prominent manufacturers, with the last one being in the market since 1746.
There is no reason, however, to dismiss a good floss set just because it is made by a different brand. Research is key.
Most embroidery projects ask for specific colors and, while it is ok to improvise, they will usually end up better if you follow a well thought out color scheme.
Check the kit to see if they have the colors you want and if they are vivid, pastel or neutral.
It is also important to notice that different brands will have distinct tones, so a green thread from DMC may not be the same as a green one from Anchor.
Divisible or not
Stranded floss can be pulled apart and separated into six strands. That means you can decide how thick you want your embroidery lines to look, making one area of the work flatter and delicate and another bulkier and fuller.
Floche and pearl are not divisible, but offer other advantages, like texture and sheen. It is a good idea to match the type of project to the floss type.
The best embroidery floss needs to have colorfast. That means it has a protective coat that stops color bleeding and fading.
You can test that by washing the skein upon arrival with warm water and soap and leaving it to dry under the sun. If the color still looks the same after a few days, you’re good to go.
Hand or machine embroidery
We mostly covered threads for hand-embroidery on this post, but you should know that machine embroidery requires its own type of floss. You can’t use cotton, silk, or more delicate threads on a machine, as they will likely break.
Instead, polyester, metallic or rayon work – these are strong materials that won’t break.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between embroidery thread and embroidery floss?
The embroidery floss is composed of six embroidery threads. You can separate them and use one, two, or more threads, or use it whole.
How many threads of embroidery floss should I use?
That depends on the project you are working on. The pattern will tell you to separate the floss or not. Working with one strand results in a flat and delicate design, while working with a six-thread bunch will give your work bulkiness and texture.
What needle do you use for embroidery?
It is important to use embroidery needles, they are sharper and have bigger eyes than sewing needles. Always match the floss size to the needle size for better results.
What do the numbers mean on embroidery floss?
The numbers on threads refer to thickness. While stranded cotton is always a 6, meaning it can be divided into six threads, indivisible threads don’t work like that.
For them, the bigger the number the thinner the thread. For instance, a size 8 Pearl cotton is thinner than a size 3.