Last Updated on May 10, 2021

Do you want to learn how to separate embroidery floss? Look no further! We’ve put together this guide for you.


Floss is a divisible type of thread that generally has six strands. Very often we need to separate the strands for a thinner look in the embroidery design.

Again for the cross stitch pattern you have to embroidery with only two strands. Separating embroidery floss strands is not a difficult task but for the beginner, it is a disturbing step.

To separate an embroidery floss you will need a pair of scissors along with your embroidery floss. Here I have taken DMC embroidery floss.


Take an embroidery floss and measure it with your hand

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At first, take a standard embroidery floss. You have to start by cutting the required length of the floss you require for your project.


Measure the thread with your hand

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If you are a beginner and do not have the idea that how long should you cut, hold the floss between your thumb and finger and then measure it to your elbow.

I am suggesting this length because it is the more manageable length to use.

If you take a long piece of thread, it will get tangled and knotted while sewing which will cause nothing but wasting your time.


Cut the length with a scissor

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Now cut this length with a small pair of scissors. You have got a single piece of thread length that you require.

Now you are going to separate the floss. Usually, the embroidery flosses have six strands, you know. Now you have to decide how many strands you will use.

For several projects, you can break it in half which means, three strands. But if you want a more delicate design, you can use fewer strands. You can also divide the skeins into thirds that means 2 skeins of each.


Pull apart the three strands

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So, take three strands to one side and three strands to another side. Now simply pull them apart.

When pulling the floss apart, you will notice the thread knotting up at the bottom but have faith in that. That will not actually knot up even though it looks like.

When the floss was attached to the rest of the length, it would get tangled. Now, it is more manageable to avoid getting tangled.


Untwist the floss where it has got tangled

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Now you have to untwist it slightly. And this the strands will be separated. Now you can release them and won’t face a tangled mess at the end.

Re-join the strands by holding them together at one end and gently stroking the length to smooth and combine them.


You will have three strands on both sides

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Now you have got three strands to the one side, and the other three strands to the other. Put the strands you will not use on a needle in your pincushion for later use. This will be ready for the next use.

There is another easy way to separate the skeins. After snipping the required length of thread, hold the tail of the floss with about an inch remaining above your fingers. Separate one thread from the others.

Now gently pull that one thread up. The remaining threads will spiral together but you need not worry about that. They will not mess up finally.

Continue pulling the thread until it is separated from the others. When it is finally separated, keep it in another place. And repeat the same process.

And that is how you can easily separate your embroidery floss. Actually,  it is so easy that when you will get used to it, you will do it distinctly without thinking a second. It actually takes no time.

But it is an important step. If you can not do it perfectly the threads get tangled and knotted, you may finish up by cutting a good amount of floss and this spending a lot of threads.


Thread the needle

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Now all you need to thread the needle. Wet the top of the three strands and thread it through the needle’s eye.

Some needles have very small eyes were reading three or more strands is difficult. You won’t be able to get those three strands through it. So, take a standard size embroidery needle for your project. Ordinary needles will not work well.

Once you will learn to separate embroidery floss, it will be a very silly thing for you.



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