Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Thread Talk: Coloris by DMC


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Some of the questions showing up in my inbox lately have to do with Coloris, DMC’s new multi-colored stranded cotton.

I’m working on a little Coloris project as we speak – I’ll share that with you in upcoming weeks. I always figure you can get a better idea of a thread and what it does by actually stitching with it, rather than just handling it and staring at it. And to that end, I’ve been playing about with it! (Hey, any excuse to play with thread!)

In the meantime, I’ll answer a couple questions about the thread that may help you decide if you want to add this new collection of twenty-four colors to your stitchy stuff.

Let me put it this way – if you have a fun streak when it comes to embroidery, I’m pretty sure you’re going to want to add it to your stash!

Coloris by DMC

What is Coloris?

First of all, the very basic question: what is it?

Coloris is a mercerized stranded cotton, just like DMC’s regular stranded cotton. It’s the same base thread.

It’s made up of six strands that can be separated and used individually for very fine work, or used two, three, four, five, or six strands at a time, depending on how heavy you want your stitching to be.

The difference, of course, is all in the color.

Coloris by DMC

Coloris and Color

Coloris is a multi-colored thread. Each skein is pretty much packed with color!

And while the colors in each skein are compatible, they don’t necessarily belong to the same or similar color families. They are complimentary colors, and they involve some vivid contrasts.

Coloris by DMC

How does Coloris differ from Color Variations?

Color Variations is DMC’s more familiar line of “overdyed” threads. Each skein combines shades (in a soft and gradually changing sequence with no noticeable harsh contrasts) from the same or neighboring color families. The colors change gradually – you’re into a new color about every four inches of thread. The colors blend blend smoothly and seamlessly.

Coloris is the wild-and-slightly-hyper cousin of Color Variations. The colors within each skein change more frequently – about every 1.9 inches – and the colors that make up a skein don’t promise a lack of contrast! You’ll find contrasting colors working together for a dramatic, motley effect.

You might call Color Variations soft, elegant, gentle and calm.

Coloris you might call bold, vigorous… and a bit crazy.

What’s the Point?

Coloris fills a gap in the cotton embroidery thread line by supplying a variegated thread that changes colors more frequently and that employs vivid contrasting colors within the individual skeins, for a more dramatic and noticeable effect when stitched.

Like other variegated threads, you can manipulate Coloris to do interesting things with color, within the constraints of the colors offered in each skein. We’ll look at this concept later, when I share some stitched samples with you.

In the meantime, the advantages of Coloris are the same advantages you’ll find in DMC stranded cotton: it is easy to stitch with, it is colorfast and fade resistant, and the colors and their sequences are consistent from skein to skein.

Where to Find Coloris

Check with your local needlework shop! If they carry DMC, chances are, they have Coloris in stock.

I haven’t checked any of the hobby and craft stores that carry DMC to see if they have Coloris in stock, but I would imagine most stores that carry DMC will eventually carry the collection.


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(31) Comments

  1. Oooooooo!!!! Those look so much fun. But Mary — you said you played around with the thread and then didn’t show us any of your play things? Don’t you want to share with the group? 🙂

  2. I have been an avid thread collector and DMC is the thread I use the most. I just finished my second set of dish towels (not very exciting compared to most of the work here, but great for me) These threads are fun to stick in here and there to add some variation and something new in the way of colors.

    I have washed one set of towels and the thread does indeed appear to be colorfast as DMC threads have always been. However a warning, slightly off topic the red DMC thread I had used ran and made a mess of those towels I used it in. I have never had this happen with DMC threads and wonder if this is a one off since the thread is several (a lot)years old. With some baking soda, spray and wash and cold water it came out mostly, but just a word of caution.

    1. How awful that it ran – I’ve known that red is the hardest color to make colorfast, but DMC is usually so dependable in that regard. I’ve always used DMC for anything I think I will wash. I hope it was an anomaly, because it would be a loss to not be able to use red in a washable project. What about all those redwork patterns for pillowcases? I shudder to think…

  3. Dear Mary

    What beautiful colours. Colouris by DMC look lovely and what I like is the colours are so different from each other and yet combine together lovely I like the wild and the dramatic it suits my nature. I can’t wait to see the project and photos of what you have done with these threads it’s so exciting. Thank you so much for sharing with us Colouris thread. I wonder where you can buy it in the UK, I shall have to investigate. I hope you are well.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  4. I wish I could find them. Sadly, all three of the (not private) craft stores I have easy access to still do not offer ANYTHING other than the DMC solids. They used to offer a few others, but it was downsized about two years ago. It also takes YEARS for them to even get the variety packs in stock, and then it becomes a seasonal offering, never permanent. They all have about a third (only on part of one side of the aisle) an aisle of embroidery craft items. Obviously stitching is not popular around here, they have three aisles of cooking and four of scrapbooking and one of just stamps and ink. The closest LNS is over an hour (one way) away, so I need to spend money on shipping as well, so I never order online unless it is a larger order (no need for a 5$ shipping fee for a three skeins of floss order), and with my limited craft budget that only happens every few years. I have been planning to buy the Coloris colors as soon as I can because variegated are some of my favorites. 🙂

    1. RMW – I understand what you are saying but there is another way to look at that shipping fee. I sell on line myself, but I also buy a lot on line and every year it becomes more an more as I am disabled with really bad arthritis and it is so hard to get out and go shopping. They closed my nearest fabric store, years ago and so now to get anything ‘crafty’ it is around a 42 mile round trip which is about 1 1/2 gallons of gas which today would run about $4.00 just for the gas, not to count the wear and tear on the car and if you are one of those that when you are out end up eating out as well you have that extra expense.

      Just wanted to give you a way to justify paying a shipping fee if you wanted one. I do agree though that if you are in the US $5 is a bit much for shipping 3 skeins of floss, but these days it does run around $3 to ship a small padded envelope.

      I too love varigated threads and have all my life. Even when I was much younger (I’m 60 now) I used to think that there had to be a better way of doing varigating, instead of going from white to navy blue and back, white to bright red and back, white to dark green and back, etc. Now we are living in a glorious age for those that love varigated threads. Funny but my husband doesn’t like the looks of them. I just wish I had the energy and co-operating hands to do more hand embroidery.

    2. Have you tried 123stitch.com? Their shipping rates are pretty reasonable. It would be about $2.00 for three skeins of floss but since they are selling floss at a rather nice discount, it is as if one is just buying retail anyway.
      They also have really, really good customer service!

    3. Thanks Gailete, but I already only go to the craft store when I am already running other errands in the area, (only about twice a year) so in my case it does not justify ordering on-line. I wish it did, but I am stuck between a rock and a hard place (I have epilepsy) budget-wise and unless that changes (unlikely), things will have to stay as they are, so I will just have to admire the new colors until I can find some for sale, when I can afford some. I also agree that Mary should pop us a few peeks of how gorgeous they are in use. 🙂

  5. I ordered the set from Commonthreads along with extra floss holders (which are larger than the regular ones) and that brought me up to the free shipping amount. I did a little freehand sample….some cross stitches and french knots. Then I labeled each with a micron pen. This way I know what is what and what the colors look like. I wanted this primarily for french knot flower centers or flowers. Also I wanted the greens for leaves. The regular varigated threads didn’t change color often enough to see much difference in a leaf or flower. Now that I know which ones I like for flowers and leaves I’ll try some lazy daisy petals with french knot centers. I’m pleased with this line and can’t wait to see what your project is.

  6. Do you know if DMC has released the component colors of each of the Coloris threads? I couldn’t find it on the web site. I was thinking these would be a good accent for something that was mainly monochromatic and knowing the base colors would be helpful.

    1. You might email and ask them. I tried in the past to find out what colors the older variegated ones matched with, but there was never a list. I would also love to know on the new ones when I manage to find some. 🙂

  7. I look forward to seeing your stitched samples, Mary. This thread is so sassy!

    Hope you are feeling well and doing better.

  8. Dear Mary,
    Janie Hubble of Cat’s Whiskers used to synchronize the variegated floss so that as the floss was stitched the colors would change but the change could be less noticeable. Have you tried to synchronize the DMC Coloris floss?

    Thank you for the long awaited review of this floss.

  9. I have used it for blanket stitching around the pages of a sampler book. I liked the effect very much

  10. Hi Mary, went to my local Joann’s today to see if they have the DMC Coloris. Just wanted to let you know that they do not have it-yet. Will keep checking back to see if and when they do.

  11. Wow, what kind of fun is this? I can’t wait to get my hands on some of these threads. I have used variegated threads in the past, but they were usually the same color running from light to dark. The exception was a ‘rainbow’ thread. I have been doing hand embroidery since I was a child.

  12. Dear Mary
    Just letting you know that for most of us Australians the price of buying overseas will drop off. I was going to buy a beading course but now due to the drop off of the Australian
    dollar I will not be buy again until our dollar rises. I did buy before the drop. I got a couple of courses which I might say are terrific. I was unfortunately unable to get another of these in the last days as I had been trying to ask a question at Craftsy re where to get the beads used in particular cuffs. So the dollar dropped and I couldn’t find the beads so I take it that I was not meant to have it. I know that is a lot of cods wallop but anyway I missed out, so it is now to finish the UFIs until all is calm.
    I really think getting these deals has been fabulous. Even not going to a class and seeing the instructor/tutor is really not necessary as they are there and we are able to ask questions or show an tell and have our teacher comment. Biggest help it teaches us to be patient and we are not the only ones in the class.

    Like you I am at the moment finishing off my Hazel B’s Late Harvest. Believe me 2 of Trish Burr’s. Other stuff as well. I am sitting here this morning finishing a Louis XVI chair repair, seat and back. Unfortunately the threads had to be dyed with natural dyes used in the era. Not always an easy task. I find it all enjoyable. Cold weather I don’t.

    I hope all in northern climes are enjoying their summer.

    regards for now

  13. In my small town, unfortunately, the only place to buy any kind of sewing notions is Walmart. I’ve not specifically checked there yet for Coloris, but I did an initial search on Amazon, and was shocked to discover single skeins being sold for over $5! Are they that expensive in the stores? What is the average price for a skein that you’ve found?

    1. Hi, Krystyna – No, they’re not that expensive in the stores! You can find the skeins available individually through some needlework shops. All the colors are currently available individually on Commonthread (DMC’s website / blog), and they run around $1.55 a skein.

  14. Okay, it’s been over a year and I’m just now seeing this. I hope some other latecomers will be able to answer:

    When using Coloris threads, is it best to stick with the traditional stitching of:

    ///// one way and then \\\\\ the other way?

    Or should I do XXXXX?

    Does my stupidly-written question make any sense? Will anyone see this, or am I just screaming into the void?

    1. Hi, Carl – welllllll, I think it depends on the look you want. But I understand your questions perfectly. If you want all the colors to bunch together in little groups of color, then stitch xxxxxx but if you want them to sort of blend and speckle and change a little, then stitch ///// then \\\\\. You might test it both ways to see how you like it. I think you’d get an interesting effect, either way – but I suppose it somewhat depends on what colors are crossing over if you go the /// \\\ route.

  15. Thanks for all the good information — just what I was looking for. Where does the “old” DMC variegated thread fit in ( colors 48 – 121). Thanks, Judy

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