Home / Blog / DMC Pearl Cotton Thread Tips
DMC Pearl Cotton Thread Tips

DMC Pearl Cotton Thread Tips

with 29 Comments

Have you ever seen DMC pearl cotton thread (also spelled perle cotton) in your local needlework or craft store and weren’t sure what to do with it? Recently I’ve had quite a few people asking me how to use it, so below is a quick demo on what you can use it for. Pearl cotton is a very flexible thread — depending on the weight you can use it for any needlework such as cross stitch, crewel embroidery, hardanger, or even blackwork.

 

Tips for working with pearl cotton

  • Don’t untwist the strands of thread — they are meant to stay twisted as one strand, they aren’t separated like 6-strand embroidery floss.
  • Choose the weight of cotton according to your cross stitch project. Higher thread count fabric (like 18 +) should use the finer #8 or #12 pearl cotton. For 14 count fabric, you can use #5 in a similar way you would use 2 strands of DMC embroidery floss.
  • To cut your pearl cotton skeins into shorter strands (approximately 18-19″), move both the paper labels on the skein to the centre. Separate the two twisted ends of the skein, and cut each loop in half. Remove one strand of thread by pulling one out from the still-looped end of the skein.
  • To cut your pearl cotton into longer strands (approximately 36″), remove both the paper labels from the skein. Untwist the skein to lay flat, then tease the skein open to create a loop (see the video for a demonstration). Cut the skein once.
  • Keep your paper labels handy to easily identify the weight and colour later. Slip them back onto the skein if you removed them, or tie it onto one end of the skein.

 

Pearl cotton tutorial video

 

 

 

Summary
DMC Pearl Cotton Thread Tips
Article Name
DMC Pearl Cotton Thread Tips
Description
Ever wanted to try pearl cotton thread for cross stitch and needlework projects? Add texture and interest to your stitching with pearl cotton.
Author
Publisher Name
Peacock & Fig
Publisher Logo

29 Responses

  1. JeanAnn Taylor
    | Reply

    Hi,
    Thank you for the video. What size needle do you use for the different sizes? I’ve never used pearl cotton, and just bought size 5 to experiment with, but I’m not sure about the needle size.
    Thanks!

    • Dana Batho
      | Reply

      Hi JeanAnn! No clue, all my needles are all mixed up in a pincushion, I don’t know which sizes are which. Just try a few and see what works best for you. 😊

    • David
      | Reply

      HI Jean, I use a #22 DMC needle. I tried a 24, but the eye was really hard to theead sue to the thickness of the #5 perle

  2. Tania
    | Reply

    Hey! I was looking for the fabric you are using for these. What is it called and where can I get it ?

    • Dana Batho
      | Reply

      Hi Tania! That’s Aida fabric, 14 count I believe. You can get it at any online needlework store, or local needlework or craft stores. The Aida from big box stores like Michael’s is ok to learn on, but it’s quite scratchy and starchy, so I’d find better stuff if you’re going to do a bigger project (some of the best stitching fabrics are produced by Zweigart, any good needlework store will carry it). 🙂

  3. Ta
    | Reply

    Can you please suggest the size cotton perle thread to use to replace the candle wicking thread in candle wicking/embroidery kits sold in the 1980s? I have the thread, but prefer new- just not sold as candle wicking thread/yarn any longer. Thank you.

    • Dana Batho
      | Reply

      Hi Ta! I can’t unfortunately, I’ve never done candle wicking. Just buy a few thicknesses of perle cotton and see what you like, sometimes it’s down to personal preference and how you’re using the floss too (especially if you’re using it as a substitute for another type of thread). 🙂

  4. KAREN HOLTQUIST
    | Reply

    I am working on 11 ct Aida fabric using the horrible floss that was provided in the kit (using 3 threads), can I substitute #8 Perle Cotton instead? Or, what weight should I use. Thank you so much.

    • Dana Batho
      | Reply

      Hi Karen! It’s best to use six-strand embroidery floss, but you can try with the perle cotton. I’d experiment and see if the #8 looks good, or whether you’d need a different diameter. Depending on the size of the project, using regular embroidery floss might be easier as it’s less expensive for the length, and it’s available in a much wider selection of colours. Good luck! 🙂

    • David
      | Reply

      #8 might work if it’s doubled, I use #5 on 14 count and it’s a really nice coverage, and makes a thick stitch. If you do decide to go with a #8, 3 strands may be too much. Try and see if the results are what you’re looking for.

      • Dana Batho
        |

        Thanks David! 😊

  5. Mandy Foster
    | Reply

    Hi
    I’m starting a project on 32 count linen using pearl cotton which I’ve not worked with before. I’m planning on using number 8 as it’s finer or would 12 be better. Also, I’m guessing I would use only 1 strand instead of 2 like with regular cotton?

    Thank you

    • Dana Batho
      | Reply

      Hi Mandy! Pearl cotton isn’t separable, it’s twisted, so you’d only use one strand no matter what size you use. As for what would be best for your project, you’ll have to test that and find out — I don’t know how it would look on such fine linen as the holes in linen are much smaller than Aida. Plus it depends on what you like as far as coverage, so I’d try both the 8 and the 12 and see which you like best. 🙂

    • David
      | Reply

      HI Mandy, I’ve never tried #12 on 32 count linen, it is a single twisted thread. I would be afraid, if going over two threads it would pull the linen and make your stitches look funny. I see you did ask your question back in November, last year. If you did try already, how were the results..

  6. Joyce Johnson
    | Reply

    My pattern (flowers) call for 14 adia cloth and 2 strands of pearl #5. Have you ever done this or do you think it is going to be actually too thick?

    • Dana Batho
      | Reply

      Hi Joyce! I have no idea, I’ve never designed with pearl cotton so it depends on the effect the designer wants to give. Give it a try and see what it looks like, or contact the designer directly and ask. 🙂

    • David
      | Reply

      Hey Joyce, I only use one thread of #5 on 14 count. It is quite thick and makes a perfext stitch. I do think #5 doubled would be too bulky. Did you try, I s see e that you asked your question back in July of last year.. but I wanted to answer since I’ve just started using #5 on 14 count aida. The last time I stitched on 14 count aida was in 1982, it was a long time ago.

  7. Susan Farmer
    | Reply

    Thanks for the video!! I couldn’t make heads or tails of the written directions!

  8. Tracey
    | Reply

    Hi Dana can I use variegated perle cotton on 28 count evenweave or am I better of crosstitching in14 count aida using variegated perle cotton. Ive only ever used dmc and wonder if there was an alternative. Tracey

    • Dana Batho
      | Reply

      Hi Tracey! I don’t know, I haven’t tried it on 28 count, the holes of the fabric are much smaller so the floss may have a lot more friction going through the fabric. You could definitely give it a try, see if you like it. 🙂

      • Annie weaver
        |

        Hey

        Are the pearl DMC numbers the same as the DMC cotton numbers? Are the same numbers the same colour? If that makes sense.

        Thank you

      • Dana Batho
        |

        Hi Annie! Yes they’re the same, but not all six strand floss colours are available as pearl cotton (or in all the various weights/lengths, etc). If you have the DMC color chart (particularly the one with real floss), you’ll see at the top there are rows with types of floss (six strand, #3 pearl cotton, #5, etc), and a box next to each colour as to whether it’s available in that type of floss or not). Hopefully you can see the image in my reply. 🙂 DMC color chart

  9. Tracey Smith
    | Reply

    Hello Dana,
    I am toying with the idea of using a perle cotton on 16 ct aida to cover a huge area that is all in one color. Could I get way with a half stitch? (tent stitch?). The large area is the focal point (a tree) – not the background. The rest of the pattern is letters. Would a #5 be thick enough if I do a half stitch? Could I continue this with the letters (done in Xs not backstitiching)?

    Either fulls Xs or half stitch, will it look very different from floss?

    Any help is appreciated. ~ Tracey

    • Dana Batho
      | Reply

      Hi Tracey! I don’t know unfortunately, I’ve never used #5 on 16 count. I’d just experiment and play, see if you like the effect. It’s a slightly different look than stranded floss, but it’s actually easier to stitch with as it’s just the one strand. There is no right or wrong, just whether you’re happy with the finished effect or not. 🙂

      • Tracey L Smith
        |

        Thank you! Happy New Year 🙂

      • Dana Batho
        |

        You’re very welcome Tracey, right back at you! 🙂

  10. Nikii
    | Reply

    What’s the best way to thread a needle with Pearl Cotton for cross stitch?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Want exclusive freebies and a 15% discount?