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DMC Linen Embroidery Floss

I’ve been investigating the specialty embroidery flosses that are available. In my last article, I played with the shiny, modern satin embroidery flosses by DMC. This time I went traditional with the lovely linen threads offered by this popular manufacturer.

Linen is one of the oldest textiles in the world. It is a sturdy natural fiber from the flax plant, is stronger than cotton, and has a lovely natural luster. Linen is highly absorbent, and gets softer with washing. Linen does not “pill” as do many other fibers. The fibers of linen have a low elasticity. They do not stretch and are resistant to damage. You may have noticed this characteristic when ironing out stubborn wrinkles in your linen garments or table linens.
During my research for this review, I found that the United Nations declared 2009 as the International Year of Natural Fibers. I am not quite sure what to do with that information, but as Craft Critique Fabric Crafts Specialist I thought I should share that nugget of trivia with you.
This DMC floss comes in 24 beautiful colors, all coordinated, but limited to muted “natural” tones. I purchased a multipack at Michaels. The full price was $17.99 for 12 skeins. Two multipacks are available. I chose the one with more color variety… and pink. I like pink.

 

The multipack I purchased came with 10 cross-stitch patterns using their line of linen embroidery threads. I don’t have enough time as a Craft Critique reporter to finish an epic cross-stitch pattern like these, so I’ll keep these pretty patterns in my stash for some time in the future when my urge to cross-stitch returns. Still, it might be fun to try one of those butterflies or a single flower as an embellishment somewhere.

Instead I opted to use a pattern from this lovely book, Doodle Stitching by Aimee Ray. The muted tones and simple, whimsical designs in this beginning embroidery book will look lovely on the linen fabric I purchased for this project.

It is simple to trace a pattern onto your fabric. Since you will be covering up your lines, you can use a pencil, but if you make a mistake tracing, you might always be able to see your pencil marks. I prefer to use a disappearing ink marker and trace in a sunny window. The water soluble markers are preferable to the air soluble ones. You don’t want to lay your work down overnight only to find that your pattern lines have disappeared. Don’t ask my how I know this, but sometimes I am a slow learner.

It is not necessary to follow your lines exactly. No one will know that you improvised your stitching a little bit because the lines will disappear with a little spritz of fresh cool water.

My favorite stitch is the chain stitch, but I worked on some other stitches in this design like satin stitch and the long and short stitch. I found that this floss worked these stitches easily.

Sometimes the floss showed little thick slubs. They did not occur often and did not seem to show up in my work. This thread frays a bit as you work, so it is preferable to use short lengths (about 18 inches is what I prefer) when you stitch and not run the needle up and down the thread tail too often. In this photo you can see the little slubby “flaw” in the floss.

Unlike the slick satin floss I stitched with before, I found this floss to be sturdy and reliable. It behaved nicely and laid just where I wanted it to. My satin stitches were lined up nice and flat. I think it was even more cooperative because I was stitching on a natural linen fabric from the fabric store.

It took me two days to stitch this project for you and it looked perfect when I finished it, but I thought it was important to see how this floss stands up to the laundry. Into my regular washer and dryer it went with all my kids socks, kitchen towels, and other household laundry. I am happy to report that my piece laundered beautifully. All the fibers have the luster they started with. In fact, ironing enhanced their subtle shine.

Pros:

  • Natural, premium fiber is perfect for heirloom stitching that will last generations.
  • Beautifully coordinated colors.
  • Sturdy, cooperative threads with a soft natural sheen.
  • Launders like a dream
  • Multipack comes with inspiring, easy to read, large patterns
Cons:
  • Expensive compared to regular floss
  • Limited array of colors
  • Not easily found at all embroidery retailers
I found this package of floss at Michaels for $17.99. Individual floss skeins are available for about $1 each. DMC Linen Embroidery Floss is available online at HSN.com, JoAnns, or directly from DMC.
I still love my regular cotton embroidery floss collection. I set aside my slick rayon flosses for some time in the future when hell freezes over. I determined that these linen flosses are lovely for heirloom work, and I might purchase the second set color pack so I have the complete set of colors.

Have you used the DMC Linen floss, or do you have questions about the many flosses available? Tell us what other specialty threads we should look out for and test!

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12 Responses to DMC Linen Embroidery Floss

  1. Dana (*danavee*) April 2, 2009 at 7:41 am #

    I literally laughed out loud about the next time you’ll use your rayon floss!

    I just picked up that book myself, although I’ve never embroidered a stitch in my life, and I need another hobby like I need another kid (read: not at all). But I thought it was too cute, and I had a 50% off coupon, so, you know how it goes… I will definitely email you for help when I’ve stabbed myself 12 times with my needle and am all tied up in floss.

    Thanks for the great review!

  2. IamSusie April 2, 2009 at 1:05 pm #

    I love embroidery so much. That book has really simple designs and good stitch explanations. I hope you give it a try! I can send you that rayon floss if you are in for a challenge 😉

  3. Ellen April 2, 2009 at 1:40 pm #

    How would you compare Doodle Stitching to the Sublime Stitching book in terms of explaining stitches?

  4. Donna April 2, 2009 at 3:20 pm #

    Thanks for the review! I’d read another one, can’t remember where, that hated the linen floss because of it’s tendency to fray so I hesitated to buy any–thanks for including tips on dealing with that particular problem, I think I’ll have to treat myself to some after all!

  5. Ann Martin April 2, 2009 at 3:30 pm #

    Such a helpful review and lovely project. Very good of you to toss it in with a regular wash load for the sake of the review – not sure I could have done that!

  6. IamSusie April 2, 2009 at 4:19 pm #

    Ellen- That is an excellent question. I have both of those books, but I have to say that I like Doodle Stitching because it has better illustrations and photographs along with some variations in the uses of the basic stitches. I love the patterns at Sublime Stitching. The SS book has iron-on transfers and that is a nice advantage.

  7. twinklescrapbooks April 2, 2009 at 5:07 pm #

    It is a GREAT book! I am addicted to DMC floss,too. Cheap and so so many colors!!!!
    tina

  8. Nancy April 3, 2009 at 12:01 am #

    Thanks for the review – this looks like something fun to try!

    Curious… do the cross-stitch patterns that come in the Hearts set only use the threads that come in the Hearts set? I’d like to know before I invest if I’ll have to pick up both sets. 🙂

  9. rose deniz April 3, 2009 at 4:06 am #

    Really great review, excellent examples and photos. If I even see the name DMC I want to make something new even with stacks of projects and a pile of floss already awaiting me. I’m now intrigued by the linen floss, and I have looked at Doodle Stitching quite a lot, but it is your review that is making me go from thinking about buying it to ordering it. Persuasive!

  10. IamSusie April 3, 2009 at 11:01 am #

    Nancy- Yes the cross stitch patterns correspond to the floss available in that particular collection. In addition, I read that the linen floss colors correspond to the cotton floss, just remove the L from the color code. So linen floss L225, should be a color match for cotton floss 225.

  11. tarabu April 5, 2009 at 4:54 pm #

    I have only used a few of the linen colors, generally for ties/buttons on my artbags.

    I think it’s wonderfully strong and reliable.

  12. Amy May 7, 2009 at 11:44 am #

    I have talked myself out of buying the linen floss several times now, telling myself I already have plenty of embroidery supplies between all my cotton and wool floss.

    This review cinches it. I must now buy linen floss for my stash. Dang it!