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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3 Good Reasons to try DMC Floche


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Some of my recent embroidery adventures have involved cotton floche – like this monogram and this monogram – and without a doubt, I’ll be dabbling with the thread again very soon.

I love floche. And it re-infatuates me every time I stitch with it.

Those of you who have been hanging around with me on Needle ‘n Thread for a while already know I love this embroidery thread! But for folks who are just joining us, if you don’t know what floche is, I’ll introduce you to it here.

Whether new or old in your explorations of embroidery, you’ll appreciate floche. It’s an amazing cotton thread – it definitely tops my list of favorite cottons.

Cotton Floche Embroidery Thread: Three Good Reasons to Try It

In case you’ve never stitched with floche and you’re not yet convinced it’s worth trying, here are three good reasons you just might fall in love with this lovely hand embroidery thread.

1. Floche is an Easy Thread

It’s easy to stitch with floche. If you use a #7 or 8 crewel needle with it, you’ll notice that it glides beautifully through your ground fabric.

Floche is non-stranded embroidery thread, which means you use it right off the skein without separating it. Normally, you just stitch with the one strand, which makes setting up a new needle and thread very quick and easy.

Because it’s slightly heavier than one strand of regular floss (it equals about 1.5 / 2 strands of regular floss) – but it’s more softly twisted, so it has that nice “spread” – it’s easy to stitch quickly with it and get good coverage.

It handles practically all stitches well, but I like it best with classic stitches like satin stitch, stem stitch, split stitch, chain stitch, daisy stitch, French knots, and long and short stitch.

If you’re adventurous, you can very carefully separate floche and stitch with it, but doing so does weak the integrity of the thread, which makes it a little tricky. I wrote an article about separating floche, if you want to read more about it.

Cotton Floche Embroidery Thread: Three Good Reasons to Try It

2. Floche is an Affordable Thread

Cotton floche comes in a Huge skein. If you purchase the regular skein of floche, you’re getting around 150 yards of thread, at about 4.5 cents a yard, which is quite reasonable for a specialty thread. (Update, 2021: the price has increased since this article was written, but it’s still one of the most affordable specialty cotton threads out there.)

Cotton Floche Embroidery Thread: Three Good Reasons to Try It

3. Floche is a Beautiful Thread

Because it is mercerized (a chemical process that adds a sheen to cotton thread) and because it is softly twisted, floche stitches up beautifully.

It shines softly, and it offers a nice coverage for a relatively fine thread. It has what I call “spread” – the softness of the thread allows it to spread and fill and stitched area well.

The “spread” of floche makes it exceptionally beautiful when working satin stitch. You can read more about satin stitch with floche here.

Read More About It & See Floche in Action

I like floche so much that it has its own category here on Needle ‘n Thread. If you’d like to explore more articles about floche and see the thread in action, you can find a whole list of articles and projects involving floche here.


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(67) Comments

  1. Hi Mary,
    Your articles are so useful, and the photos great! I would really love to try Floche thread, but I live in Canada, and I’m wondering if there are any Canadian suppliers of Floche thread?

  2. I wish I had the time….Was wondering if anyone has considered stitching a design from all the wonderful adult coloring books that are so popular now??

    1. When I was taught to stitch in 4th grade we drew our own projects, but the teacher also taught us about taping coloring book pages to windows and tracing the photos on fabric. 🙂 I do not use them with crayons etc, but I do buy coloring books for the pictures to stitch. 🙂

  3. Does floche shrink when washed? I do white on white church embroidery on fine to medium linen that is washed a lot, sometimes needing to soak in hot water & oxygen bleach to get stains out. Satin stitch is a challenge for me & would be nice to have a floss that would work well with that stitch. Btw, LOVE your website. The entire generation of embroiderers in our church have passes on & you have given us the courage & knowledge to renew our skills & teach others.

    1. Hi, Oleta – floche works beautifully for church linens. I’ve used it myself on several. But I think I prefer coton a broder on church linens, just because it’s a more substantial thread, with a slightly tighter twist. Given the amount of laundering, I’m just more comfortable with coton a broder.

  4. I might try it if they had more colors, but because the variety is so limited, and my local craft stores only sell about a dozen colors (if that) I will have to stick with stranded. I would think they could do all of the same colors as the stranded, but for some reason they do not.

  5. I am going to give it a try. I often get frustrated with satin stitch, so maybe the floche will improve my satin stitching efforts. Thank you for your fun informative web site! I view it every day. I just love it.

  6. Mary,
    Do you think floche is comparable to pearl cotton? I mostly use size 12, Presencia Finca Pearl cotton and literally have hundreds of colors so I am reluctant to start collecting another type unless it is significantly different. The Presencia brand has a silky smooth almost silk like finish that I love.

    Thank you and hope all is well with you!

    1. Hi, Barbara – well, they’re completely different threads, so you’ll always get a different look in the way they both stitch up. Perle cotton is a tightly twisted thread with fewer plies. It isn’t soft, like floche. You can’t, for example, create the same smooth finish on a satin stitch with perle cotton, like you can with floche, because perle cotton will always have the bumpy look that comes with that type of tightly twisted thread. Also, split stitch, long and short stitch – any stitches that require splitting – would look completely different with perle cotton. That’s not to say it looks bad, it’s just a different look. Floche is both soft and softly twisted, so the the thread has more “spreadability” to it and the finished look on stitches is much smoother.

    2. Thank you Mary for such a complete explanation! I see that I need to try Floche as it sounds like a great addition to my stash of embroidery threads.

  7. How timely!! I was just perusing my thread stash and I have the complete set offered by Hedgework. I’m finally moving into more surface embroidery as opposed to counted thread work and I’m just not crazy about woolen threads, they fray, even with a larger needle eye and short lengths. Anxious to set up a project using my floche.

  8. Mary, thank you so much for linking to the floche color chart! Your previous article on floche inspired me to try it, and I love it….but I needed an easy way to select colors when ordering from Hedgehog Handworks. The chart is perfect, now saved in iBooks for future reference. Thanks for all you do!

  9. Hi Mary,

    I bought a Needlepoint kit for a Cotswold cottage. I have done a part of it, but I would rather Embroider. I don’t like the yarn that came with the kit; it is too thin. Part of the kit uses Pearl Cotton for the flowers. I loved using that. Do you think I could just use Floche thread instead of the yarn? Is it thicker than Pearl Cotton? If I don’t have to use the yarn I would probably finish the project. If I have to use the yarn, I know I won’t. I tried doubling the yarn but it is too thick. I wish it had been Crewel Embroidery since it would then be Embroidery!!!!! I love your website. Thank you Mary.

    1. Hi, Barbara – it depends on the size of perle cotton the design calls for, but in most cases, no, you probably wouldn’t use floche in place of other threads on needlepoint canvas. I think the canvas would be a bit harsh on the soft cotton. And the gauge of the canvas would have to be pretty fine. Floche is about the weight of 1.5 single strands of regular 6-stranded floss – not quite as heavy as two full strands but not as fine as one.

  10. I used floche for a Christmas piece last year and it was fun to use, however, I could not figure out how to manage the skein and it became a huge mess. Now I just try to find an end and yank it out long enough to cut it off. A little blog post on handling that thread would be great.

  11. Dear Mary

    Like you I really like Floche thread as you say it’s easy to stitch with and has a lovely feel to it. The problem is I am limited to the colours I can purchase here in the UK they mostly only sell white floche so If I want a colour selection of Floche thread I would have to purchase from the USA, although the skeins are inexpensive the postage is expensive which puts me off buying floche. But I would love to use it more often if only they would sell it here in the variety of colours they have in the USA. Thanks for sharing the Floche article with us and for the links to the Floche colour charts very useful.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  12. Can floche be used for cross stitching? Maybe use 1 strand of floche in place of 2 strands of regular floss?

    Thank you,

    P.S. Love your blog. I’ve learned a lot from you.

    1. Hi, Jean – yes, it can, but the color selection is not as broad as it is with floss. In fact, there are only 89 shades of floche available, as opposed to some 400+ in regular floss.

  13. I took your advice and tried floche. Now it is MY favorite! I just completed a small project which included silk, metallics perle cottons, etc. it looked great, but all the way through I was wishing I was using floche. It makes stitching a joyful thing. I guess a little time with a needle fighting some cantankerous threads makes you appreciate the truly wonderful ones.

  14. We’ll Miss Mary Corbett, you just enticed me to buy the whole set of the 30 yard Floche. I have had a few skeins of it before, and a few skeins of Coton a Broder. But not enough colors. I really like split stitch with this thread, and satin stitch. Thanks for the recommendation. I’m excited to see now.

  15. I agree Mary Floche is a really nice thread. The softness has a “forgiving” quality when stitching as opposed to the more polished strands of floss.

  16. Hi Mary ~ You introduced me to Floche a few years ago – I love stitching with it. Floche feels nice in hand, it is lovely to work with. I do a lot of Tea Towels (also thinks to you) which I mostly stitch with Floche. I think my favorite stitches are Spilt Stitch and Satin Stitch using the Floche. There are so many beautiful colors.
    Thank you Mary for your informative articles and tutorials.

  17. The colors of DMC floche are limited. If stitching a project that calls for a color not in floche, can 2 ply of DMC stranded floss be used in the same project?

  18. agree! I have used Floche for smocking and it does a wonderful job….easy to handle, soft sheen, good coverage….it’s everything you could want in a thread!

  19. Mary, Your article on Cotton Floche was timely as I had just considered writing you as to what size bundle of floche you order from Hedgehog. Since you recommend the 30 yards, and it is in 55 inch strands, what length of thread do you find the best to work with. I hope to have some shortly and would appreciate knowing since this is something that you use regularly. Sincerely, Louisa

  20. I have some floche that a friend gave to me and it feels wonderful. But I haven’t found a project for it. Like other wonderful threads I have, I’m afraid to waste it by doing something that will turn out badly. Instead, I take out my soft, sparkly, silky thread stash and simply admire them.

    You mentioned Lacis. Oh my. I’m part of a Facebook group called Stitchers Escapes and I’m going on my first cruise. Guess where we’ll be visiting during one of our stops? Yep, Lacis Museum. I do hope that’s close to the actual store area. 🙂

    1. You can walk from the cruise ship terminal along the SF Embarcadero left (south) to foot of Market St. to descend to the underground entrance of the Embarcadero BART station. Purchase a BART ticket & it will take you east under the water to emerge on the Berkeley side. Exit at the Ashby BART station and escalator or walk up to street level. Lacis is practically in sight, north (left) across same side of Adeline street about the third commercial building from the Ashby/Adeline street light. Don’t be early or you will be pressing your nose on the windows, eager to get inside (open noon-6PM).

  21. This is timely for me, too. I’m working something that needs better coverage, and after stranding up didn’t work I knew I needed something with a twist. I think I’ll order some floche. I’m one of those people who likes to experiment, so even if it doesn’t work for this, it might be just the thing for something else.

  22. Mary, thanks for spending some time talking about Floche. I’ve seen mentions about it here and in books, but I have never even seen a strand of it. Hopefully some day it will show up and my thrift store as money is tight these days.

    It looks like there are a lot of available colors. I know that it is probwably impossible to do, but is there some basic colors you would recommend for when starting to buy or should you just wait until you know what thread colors of floche you will need?

  23. I have tried floche after a previous recommendation. I enjoyed working with it. The large (10g) skein quickly became a tangled mess though. What is the trick to keep this from happening again?

  24. Great article! I love, love, love, floche, and have pretty much all colors of the huge hanks. It’s absolutely great for smocking, since you get great coverage with two strands, which are much easier to get to lay next to each other than three strands of floss. I’ve never tried it with picture smocking, which requires four strands of floss, as I’m deathly afraid of this technique.

    As far as handling the entire hank, if you untwist it into a big circle and cut it into three segments, each will be around 18 inches (at least that’s what I do) and this seems to work out well. Thread the segments through the paper wrappers and braid them to secure. You can then easily pull out a strand when you need it.

  25. Hello Mary, First you are in my daily prayers.
    Which brings me to some direction. I have offered to “embroider” a kneeling pad for the steps of our new marble altar. I mostly see canvas work (needlepoint etc). I enjoy crewel embroidery. Do you have any patterns and suggestions for such a project. Do you think crewel will hold up??? Thank you, Frances

    1. Hi, Frances – Well, crewel work holds up ok for furnishings, like footstools and upholstery for chairs, but I often wonder how much use those items really get. After embroidering a footstool or upholstery for a whole chair, I don’t think I’d be inclined to put it to rugged use. If the kneeler is intended for a LOT of use, I think I’d stick with canvas work, though I’m sure it would be beautiful in crewel. If it’s not intended for heavy use – just to be used occasionally – then crewel would probably work fine. I have a church patterns e-book available here on Needle ‘n Thread, if you’re looking for patterns. They aren’t specifically for kneelers, but they could be adapted. You’ll find it here: http://shop.needlenthread.com/product/church-patterns-book-one-e-book

  26. Mary,
    Marion Scoular, well-known designer and teacher, also sells DMC Floche in whole, half and quarter skeins on her website http://www.sherwoodembroidery.com. It was Marion who introduced me to floche in a class years ago at Callaway School of Needlearts, and it has been a love affair ever since! Especially good for shadow embroidery as it covers well on the reverse.

  27. P.S. when working padded satin stitch with Floche, I save money by padding with floss (cheaper) and working only the top layer of satin stitches with Floche. Learned this trick from Susan O’Connor…thanks Susan!

  28. you got me really curious about stitching with floche, unfortunately DMC doesn’t seem to sell it in Europe. The only thing I could find on one of their european websites is a thread called “Broder Spécial”. Would that be the same as floche, by any chance? I am confused, because “Border Spécial” comes in 4 different sizes (16, 20, 25, 30) instead of just size 16, but they do look pretty similar on the color charts… Hoping you can shed some light on this conundrum…
    Thanks for your beautiful website, by the way. I have learned a lot from you!

    1. I think broder special is what we call coton a broder here. It’s similar to floche, and it comes in the sizes you mention. It has a slightly tighter twist. It’s this stuff: https://needlenthread.wpengine.com/2012/03/thread-talk-coton-a-broder.html and the size 25 normally comes in a pretty good range of colors (much more than the floche). The other sizes tend to come in white and ecru and sometimes black. Coton a broder is used primarily for whitework, except in size 25, which is used a lot for smocking and general surface embroidery, monogramming, and so forth. It’s a nice thread – I like it equally as well as floche! In Europe, you might try looking for “floche a broder.”

    2. Hi, I live in France , and yes Broder Spéciale is Coton á Broder. Floche is not available. Mouliné Spéciale is stranded cotton.
      Hope that helps.

    3. I was also looking for Floche in the UK, and contacted DMC to ask about it. This was the response I received from them: –

      Unfortunately the Floche no 16 is an American thread and isn’t available in the UK.
      We do however have a very similar thread called cotton a broder, size 25 is the UK equivalent to Floche no 16.
      Both threads are composed of 4 non divisible strands and both are manufactured the same (the cotton is combed, singed by flamed and mercerized) so the end result does not knot, kink or fluff and is soft and gentle to the touch.

    4. That’s too bad, Sue! 🙁 Strangely, floche was a French thread, though I hear it’s not widely available there, either. In fact, it’s made in France. It is not quite the same as coton a broder – which is actually a 5-ply non divisible thread (floche is 4-ply), and it has a slightly tighter twist (the twists are not as long as those of floche). But it can be used the same way and it is gorgeous for monogramming and the like. I used it quite a bit, too, in my Stitch Sampler Alphabet ebook, and for the Lattice Jumble, both of which are surface embroidery projects, so it works great in just about any form of general surface embroidery. #25 comes in an extended range of colors, more colors than floche, and it’s a nice thread to work with, so you can’t really go wrong with it!

  29. I loved this article and I have a hunch Hedgehog Handworks did too because I’m probably one of many who ordered the entire color range of floche in the 30 yard twists. It’s much more affordable that way and will let me try it out for a very reasonable price. Thanks.

  30. Mary I agree that floche is a very lovely thread to use but alas getting it here in Australia is like pulling teeth from a dragon….Near on impossible.
    The price here is large. Add to that some sites have no size of the skein obvious.

    Getting it from the US is more cheap but the killer is the postage.
    It is a real put off and deal breaker.

    As for your new site, I will endeavour to use it. It will take me a bit of time to get know my way around. Good foe the brain.

    Never heard of the Montenegrin stitch. I am glad though as I don’t really like cross stitch.
    Having looked at the stitch I have to say again not a favourite and at a distance it appears to me as a knot. I will read more about it.

    A lovely little country. Very mountainous and cold. Sun somewhere.
    Since its troubles it has come a long way. One can only hope it remains so.

    Good luck with your new site.
    Stay well
    Kind regards
    Martha May

    1. Hi, Susan – it’s a little too fine for 18 ct. canvas. I think it would have to be a significantly finer canvas. One strand of floche is equal to about 1.5 – 2 strands of cotton floss.

    1. I think it depends on the technique you’re doing the belts in, Ann. If it’s surface embroidery, sure – it would work. But if it’s needlepoint, floche isn’t really a needlepoint thread, especially on canvas that’s 18hpi or larger. You’d have to use some very fine canvas, and even then, the wear of the stiff canvas on the thread could be problematic for floche, because it’s a soft cotton with a very slightly, soft twist, as opposed to other needlepoint threads that are usually much more tightly twisted and therefore hold up better to the stiffness of canvas.

  31. I am re learning embroidery and have found a new passion in needle work. My mother taught me around 65 years ago and I did a little as a child and nothing until now. Wow am I having fun. Your blog is wonderful and you are so generous to share your knowlege. Thank you Thank you. I tried the floche upon your recommendation and am hooked. The Needlepointer in Edmonds, Wa has an excellent stock on hand along with many other threads to tempt me. Again, thank you for your wonderful advise and so nicely presented. Gail

  32. I am working on a Trish Burr project that requires floche blanc. I can’t find it anywhere in UK .Could you tell me whether it is the same as coton a broder and suggest where I can find it.

    Thank you

  33. Did you know that Ruth Schmuff has an overdyed line of Floche called Color Dreams? Made in France and dyed in US. The color changes are very subtle. Love your articles!

  34. I’m sure I speak for many embroidery enthusiasts in the UK when I say “oh where can we purchase DMC Floche? “
    Thank you for all your tuition. Much appreciated
    Kind regards

  35. Hi Mary
    Where can floche be purchased?
    I’m keen to try it. I’m in Canada and haven’t found anywhere that sells it. I can buy from U.S. if they ship to Canada.
    Thanks so much

  36. Hi! May i ask where you purchase Floche from? I live in Norway, so it shouldn’t be so difficult as Europe is close, but I can’t find a supplier for it?
    Thank you for this wonderful site Mary, you write and teach so well! And we share the same kind of humour, so you get me smiling a lot reading your posts.

  37. Is there a pattern/stitch key for the voided pattern needlecase? It looks like a great project to play with the floche threads. Thanks

    1. At this time, there is not. I will be putting out the designs for the voided alphabets as a downloadable PDF in the future. Thanks for asking!

  38. I found an old introductory Jacobean style crewel kit that my mom started in the last century. Yep ~ late 70’s maybe? The yarn to complete the kit is gone, but the fabric is linen and the pattern is clear. Could I use floche to finish the kit? Or would you suggest finding wool yarn? I won’t need a large quantity so I was avoiding this option. I thought the Heritage warm might work.

    1. Hi, Sara, I think you’d definitely be better off finding wool. There’s all kinds of crewel wool available today. I don’t know if the kit used the heavier Persian tapestry wool that was common in the 70’s or if it used finer crewel wool. Appleton crewel wool has the widest range of colors and is more akin, perhaps, in texture to the 70’s crewel yarns. But floche would be far too fine for anything that was designed for crewel. It’s definitely worth taking the trouble to find a good crewel yarn if you are keen to finish the kit as it was started.

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