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DMC Pearl Cotton Thread Tips

with 10 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




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

  1. Susan Farmer
    | Reply

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

  2. 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. 🙂

  3. 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! 🙂

  4. Nikii
    | Reply

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

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