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DMC Satin Embroidery Floss

Reported by Susie Ziegler


Have you seen the beautiful display of embroidery floss at your craft store? DMC is the brand I always use because it is readily available, and I trust that it won’t run, break or fade in the wash. Recently I’ve noticed some specialty threads from DMC, notably this shimmering rayon floss. I think that DMC has repackaged what they called “Rayon Floss” with a longer see-through plastic sleeve and now it is called “Satin,” but it is still made of rayon. I found both kinds this morning at my local retailers, Hobby Lobby and JoAnns. I was unable to detect a difference in the two kinds other than the better packaging of the Satin Floss.

First a word about embroidery floss. Floss comes in 6 strands. You can stitch with any number of strands at a time depending on how bulky you want your work to look. I am impressed by the thick, funky look of six-stranded work, but I am addicted to my own style of two-stranded chain stitching. Needle’nThread.com has a terrific video library of many of the types of embroidery stitches. Overwhelmed by all that information? DMC has their own guide of basic stitches HERE. I encourage everyone to try some hand embroidery. I see many fantastic projects made entirely of simple back stitching.

If you happen to be a beginner, go ahead and use the regular cotton floss to get the hang of stitching. It comes in a huge rainbow of shades and is predictable and easy to work with. This glossy, slick rayon stuff is probably for intermediate stitchers.

Now, when you get that package of floss, you are going to need to cut off a length to stitch with. You should only use about 12-18 inches of thread at a time. Trust me on that. You’ll have less knotting and twisting if you use shorter lengths.

Pull your length of thread gently, straight out of the package and not at an angle and cut off your 12-18 inches:


Next you need to separate out your threads. Like I said, I prefer using 2 threads. I think this preference goes back to my obsessive cross-stitching days when only 2 or 3 threads is recommended. Gently pull out just one strand at a time from your length of floss. If the strands get tangled, try pulling them out the opposite direction. Only pull one thread at a time. Lay your strands together, thread your preferred needle, and knot one end.

Okay, now for my reaction to using this floss. The word on the street is that it is a bear to work with, but it is better than metallic floss. I haven’t used metallic (because I’m scared and stuck in my ways). The first thing I noticed was that it really is slick. The strands do not hold together the way that cotton floss does. Neither do they hold into your stitching. Notice in this photo how the thread wants to pull up? I am afraid that any threads that are not securely woven in on the back will pull out with use.


It also seems thicker than regular floss. I felt like it showed every flaw in my stitching. The satin stitches I did on this little beak don’t want to lay flat.


On the other hand, in this photo of my cross-stitching, you really can see how glossy and pretty these threads are.


The thing is that DMC thread is a superior product and their cotton floss already has a pretty polished cotton sheen to it. I am not convinced that this stuff, though lovely is worth the extra cost at $1/ skein.

Pros:
  • Shiny, silky, and pretty
  • Threads don’t get stuck and twisted together. Knotting up is not a problem.
  • Can be substituted for regular floss in any application.
  • Did I say that it is gleamy and reflective?

Cons:
  • Limited variety of colors. DMC shows about 36 on their website.
  • The ends fray
  • Has an untamable quality. The threads seem to want to go wildly in their own direction.


I was happy to finally try this product. It was probably a good thing that I only did very small projects with it, because I think that a large scale project would have made me a little bit crazy. This is a little bird drawing from my daughter that I stitched up with spring in mind.


DMC Satin Embroidery floss is available on-line at CreateForLess, NordicNeedle, and directly from DMC. Be sure to look at your local craft retailers with stitching and needlework supplies. I paid $1 for each 8.7 yard skein.

I would really like to know what our crafty readers think of the specialty embroidery threads available these days. Leave us a comment and let us know!

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

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15 Responses to DMC Satin Embroidery Floss

  1. Avatar
    Etha February 25, 2009 at 2:06 pm #

    Satin floss is quite tameable for stitching: just wet it 🙂 You can take one or two plies in working length and run them over a slightly wet sponge. They dry in no time and will be flat and a lot tamer than the unbathed ones.
    I like this floss a lot as the colors correspond to the regular DMC floss. You can even mix and match plies of each and substitute the rayon in your stitching patterns. This looks real neat in patterns done up with the regular floss and have some butterflies or such done up in the rayon, soo neat!
    thanks for the review, such nice pictures!!

  2. Avatar
    IamSusie February 25, 2009 at 10:08 pm #

    Great tip Etha!

    I noticed that when I wet it, it was sort of sticky instead… I didn’t include that in my article because there are no tips about that provided by DMC and I don’t think casual new users of this floss would know about techniques like that unless they come with the packaging.

    I’m hearing things like “tool of the devil” from expert stitchers in some of my other forums. 😉 It sure is pretty though!

  3. Avatar
    Blue Mama April 2, 2009 at 10:16 am #

    I am a very beginner stitcher and I just tried the satin floss for the first time on my largest, most intricate project to date.

    I was alarmed at first by the satin floss, it wouldn’t stay knotted! I ran it over a block of beeswax and that was the trick. After that I made sure to run the new strands over the wax a few times, then the stitches “stuck” better and it didn’t harm the sheen at all.

    I am so please with the way the satin floss looks, it really adds a lot to my finished piece.

    I only used it on the large focal point of my design…I probably wouldn’t do a whole piece in satin, but normally I like to mix it up with traditional floss, pearl cotton and now these little beauties. I’m happy I found it! I’ll have pictures on my blog with my finished piece today or tomorrow.

    (Keep in mind I am still a beginner, but I’m really happy with it!)

    Thanks for this review, I literally just tried this product the other night.

  4. Avatar
    IamSusie April 2, 2009 at 10:31 am #

    DMC should probably make these tips about how to tame their wayward flosses more widely available. Maybe in another review, I’ll try some of the wax and see how I like it.

    Embroidery is awesome because even beginners can make terrific projects. Keep stitching!

  5. Avatar
    Anonymous April 2, 2009 at 11:24 am #

    Hey Susie,

    I am slowly accumulating all the colors of this floss and I always wet it and dry (iron or air dry) it before I use it and then run it through some thread heaven.

    All and all it is kind of good for those days when your project is boring needs some spicing up. It is like getting some fancy markers – it won’t help you draw but it might tempt you to draw something if you are in a rut.

    If your readers really dig the rayon I suggest they take it to the next level and try silk it is more expensive but has the best finish of all the floss I’ve tried.

    ttyl,
    rectangel

  6. Avatar
    Kelly April 2, 2009 at 12:52 pm #

    I used the white in blanket stitch around a winter scarf, and ended up removing it. I had a really hard time getting it to stay knotted, and after I did, as time lapsed it un-knotted itself. It sure is pretty, but not practical for any everyday items. Probably worth it for purely decorative embroidery like wallhangings.

  7. Avatar
    Loralynn April 2, 2009 at 4:34 pm #

    I used the satin floss on a linen napkin. It is a little persnickity, but I was very happy with my results. Just a note about the wetting, I bought a boxed set of colors and the instructions did say to wet it. Not very useful, though, if you are buying it by the skein.

  8. Avatar
    jan April 2, 2009 at 7:37 pm #

    I am in the “floss of the devil “camp. I bought a pack of 6 or 8 colors to do some highlight on a small piece and I had no end of frustration with it. I do not consider myself an expert, but I have done a lot of embroidery over the years. I will stick to the cotton floss, I think, although I am intrigued by the mention of silk floss….

  9. Avatar
    IamSusie April 2, 2009 at 7:45 pm #

    This is just the kind of feedback we need from readers. I think I’ll give some of these tips a try and write about them in the future. I’ve never tried thread heaven, but I’l watch for it at the stitching store.

  10. Avatar
    Blue Mama April 3, 2009 at 10:26 pm #

    Thread heaven sounds awesome! I’m so buying some! 🙂

    I saw silk floss at the craft store the other day and thought ‘hmmmm…’ but didn’t buy any. Next time I definitely will!

    Thanks for the tips, ladies!

  11. Avatar
    Misty April 11, 2009 at 2:13 am #

    Thank you for the review . . . I just purchased some to use in a project, but wasn’t sure how it would work out. At least now I’m armed with a few strategies.

  12. Avatar
    Anonymous April 22, 2009 at 12:55 pm #

    I am so glad you reviewed this floss. It drove me crazy when I tried it . I had to unpick all my stitching and it has sat in the drawer unused ever since. I am so happy to see that others persevered and found a way to tame it. I thought it odd that DMC could have got it so wrong. I didn’t think of wetting it as I assumed it being a manmade fibre would be too set in it’s ways. Thanks to all these posts I shall give it a second chance.

    Ruby :o)

  13. Avatar
    Cassie October 11, 2010 at 12:27 pm #

    I make friendship bracelets a lot and I went to a craft store last week and saw the satin floss for the first time with my own eyes and I was stunned by it’s bright and vibrant beauty! I had to buy just one to try it out. WHAT A NIGHTMARE! It would just not hold a knot. I’m so glad I ran across your blog. I’m going to try it wet, that sounds like a perfect solution. Thanks so much to you and your helpful readers/posters!

  14. Avatar
    BlueMoon Butterfly August 11, 2012 at 1:01 pm #

    I’ve used DMC satin floss on a number of small projects, and after each use, I swear to myself that I will never use it again. It’s just so shiny! So hard to resist!

    But, yes- it frays, doesn’t lie down flat, twists, shreds when you use too long a piece and it gets pulled through the fabric too much, and doesn’t want to stay anchored in the back of the piece. Beeswax makes things a bit easier, but you have to really slather it on. I haven’t tried wetting it yet, though. Next time.

    This is my first visit to this blog, and I’m loving it! I will def be back!

  15. Avatar
    nessie duncan May 8, 2013 at 9:34 am #

    I have recently started working with rayon floss, and i have to say i have a LOVE to HATE relationship with it. I was using it for a pattern called ‘let’s do tea’ which is three tea cups stacked, that are made out of different words meaning tea.. it’s really cute. So i started with the rayon, and found that it frayed, and my needles {john james petite 28;s} cut the thread in the eye.. Then i rememberd that i had a tub of ‘thread heaven’ so i tried that– it made it SOO much easier to work with! I think i paid $3 for the thread heaven at a joannes… soooo nice! completely worth the time! oh, and the green bled. not sure how it bled, because you’d think that rayon would have the color in it, not on it? but yea, it bled.