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Looking for matte cotton hand embroidery

Claudiam | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on

Does anyone know where I can find/purchase a hand embroidery thread like the matte finish cotton threads used on embroidery on high end jeans and tee shirts etc. (like Lucky, DKNY and Tahari brands)? These embroidery threads are not like the standard smooth embroidery threads commonly found but are more ” natural? and primitive looking — matte and often not perfectly smooth.

I did several searches but couldn’t come up with anything. Must be looking in the wrong places or overlooking something!

I want to do some designer-like embroidery and the shiny standard type just doesn’t go withy the ” distressed” look.


Thanks so much.



  1. Josefly | | #1

    I think cotton embroidery floss looks shinier before stitching than it does in a finished project, especially after it's been laundered. Hand-embroidery floss is most common in cotton, silk, and rayon, with cotton being the least shiny. But there's also a linen embroidery thread - have you run across it in your searches? I would think it would be more matte-looking, but I haven't seen it anywhere, just read about it here:


    Perhaps a store-search at this DMC site will help you find the product. Good luck.

    1. Claudiam | | #4

      I will check out the linen threads and maybe distressing the cotton threads will work.

      Thanks for replying.


  2. User avater
    ThreadKoe | | #2

    It is possible that the post finishing process to distress the garments is what gives the threads the uneven and distressed look to the embroidery. Uneven thread would be hard to work with! Try stitching a sample with regular cotton thread, then gently rub it with some sandpaper, then wash it in the washing machine, and put it in the dryer. I suspect this will give it the look you are after. Cathy

    1. Claudiam | | #3

      Well, gee, I should have thought of this and this might be the answer. I will try it out. I think it would work in some cases and might be my best chance. I suspect, however, that the designers just have access to suppliers that we don't-- probably from sources in countries where they don't finish off the threads as we do. I'll try your idea, however.



      1. User avater
        ThreadKoe | | #7

        I know what you mean by different sources. The manufacturer can often custom order special finishes or matte finished flosses by the batch because they order so much. Perhaps, the next best thing is what we can attain at home. Good luck! Cathy

  3. Palady | | #5

    Floche (flow- shsh) may fit your need.  It's a thread used for smocking because it is "softer" than embroidery cotton.  Price is higher, but once you see it, the quality is clearly discernable.

    This next URL has a very wide on-line offering.




    Edited 2/12/2009 2:13 pm ET by Palady

    1. Claudiam | | #6

      Thanks. I will give it a try!



  4. KharminJ | | #8

    Hi Claudia!You've gotten some excellent suggestions already - here's another idea ~ Try using raveled threads from fabrics. I've gotten some really exciting "floss" from the edges of my stash! My favorite is a bulky raw silk in screaming orange - I've passed it on to several embroidery mavens of my acquaintance, and they love it too. I've also used remnants, cutoffs, even "inchage" of the most extravagant fabrics. A 1/4 yard of fabric will yield yards and yards of the stuff.This increases your color and texture options exponentially, too - look at home-dec fabrics, especially. Happy stitching! Kharmin

    1. User avater
      ThreadKoe | | #9

      Kharmin you have a wonderful imagination! What a great idea! A Whole New World of Thread for Embellishment that I had seen but never realized! You should put that idea into the magazine tips! Cathy

    2. Claudiam | | #10

      What an incredible idea and why didn't I tinik of that! Thank you so much for responding.


  5. thanhminh | | #11

    Thread for hand embroidery

    A full website on hand embroidery will help you, It is 100% cotton thread, after washing them will be more beautiful.


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