DMC has taken their regular cotton embroidery floss and given it a bit of sparkle with the introduction of their new Mouliné Étoile line. The newly released thread has sparkle, but it is not a metallic, nor is it exactly like working with regular cotton embroidery floss.
We got our hands on some and (naturally) started stitching. Here is everything you need to know about working with this fun new thread.
Look and feel
While the Étoile thread comes in the same 8-yard skeins as its standard counterpart, you will notice right away that it looks different than the 100% cotton version. With a composition of 73% cotton and 27% lurex, the Étoile is almost fluffy. and feels softer and more airy. It's strands are almost kinky in comparison.
Etoile is a 6-strand floss with the same weight as regular embroidery floss, so you can divide and use it just as you would normal floss. We found 2 strands of Étoile gave good coverage on 14ct Aida.
The airiness of the thread makes it super easy to divide into strands.
What about the sparkle?
Étoile does not have an all-over sparkle like a metallic floss would. The sparkles are sprinkled along each strand to give a twinkling effect. Because each strand has a bit of sparkle, you will still get the effect even when you divide the thread.
Etoile means 'star' in French, and the name definitely fits. If you are expecting major sparkle, you might be disappointed. This is not a smack-you-over-the-head, hit-you-in-the-face kind of sparkle. It’s more of a subtle twinkle, a mere hint of shimmer. Think more starry night than disco ball.
Being subtle, the sparkle is hard to capture in a photograph. So if you're looking to show off your stitches on social media, take your photos in bright light or consider video so you can rotate your piece to catch the light.
DMC released the Étoile line in 35 of their most popular colors. It's a good, if limited, range of colors and neutrals. Étoile color numbers match their standard floss counterparts, but start with the letter "C". So for example, Étoile C600 is the same bright pink as regular floss 600.
But while the colors match, they are not identical. Regular DMC floss is double mercerized, so it has a shiny, silky appearance. Étoile is not, so the finish is more matte. The Étoile colors can seem a bit duller than their 100% cotton counterparts.
Notably, Étoile Blanc is not a true bright white, but more of a very light gray.
For the most part, Étoile stitches up just like normal embroidery floss. Our biggest tip is to condition the thread before you use it to reduce the fluffiness and tame any fuzz. Running the strands through a little bit of beeswax or thread conditioner will go a long way to smoothing the thread and giving it more structure, making for neater stitches.
Because the ends tend to fray a bit, a needle threader is also a helpful tool when working with Étoile.
Some stitchers have said that pulling your Étoile stitches a bit tighter than you might normally leads to neater stitches. I didn't find this necessary, but it's something to keep in mind.
While the sparkle effect is subtle to start, if you want an even more subtle effect, you can combine one strand of Étoile with one strand of standard floss. Since the color numbers are the same, matching them is easy to do.
Overall, I'm really pleased with DMC's new thread. Unlike metallic thread, where a little goes a long way, the subtleness of Étoile's sparkle means you can use it in larger areas of a pattern for an all-over shimmer. Bonus that it is sooo much easier to work with than metallic threads, especially if you condition it first.
I am sure designers will start incorporating Étoile into their designs in the near future, but in the meantime, you can substitute Étoile for regular floss in any pattern. It will look especially pretty in all your holiday stitching.
Ready to give Mouliné Étoile a try? See all the colors, plus exclusive color palette collections, in the shop.