Sunday, December 2, 2012


          Floche is Fabulous!

     This goes along with the whitework and Madeira Embroidery! Floche (French for floss) as we know it is a wonderful 100% cotton emmbroidery thread that is the primary thread used in Madeira Embroidery!
    It is a 5 ply, soft twist thread that has a wonderful sheen when stitched.  It is not stranded - one piece is one piece!  It is a bit haeavier than one piece of stranded cotton - 1 strand of floche is abouthte same equivalent of 1 1/2 strands of stranded cotton.  For example, when I smock, I usually use 3 strands of stranded cotton, but I would only use 2 strands of floche.  It fluffs when you wash it, so it is ideal for shadow work.  In Madeira embroidery, all of the cutwork, padded satin stitch, granitos, bullions, outline and stem stitch are all stitched with floche.  The sheen gives it a rich, full look that results in an elegant piece of emvroidery.
     On my first trip over, the first day that we went to the Imperial Bordados factory, there was a beautiful antique armoire - the piece was beautiful!  But then they opened it up!  It was full of boxes of skeins of floche in a rainbow of colors!  Keep in mind, this was in the mid 90's when floche was not readily available in the U.S., and when you did find it, it was in a braid (it is 1/3 of a skein) in a little ziploc bag.  I though I was in heaven - like a little kid in a candy shop!  The workers that were putting the kits together would come in and choose the colors that they needed - oh how I wanted to just pick up some skeins and pet them.  In case you have not worked with floche before, it is very soft - fluffy and light.  Not only does it look good, it feels good!


                                The original 87 colors.

     Most floche in the U.S. is made by DMC.  Anchor also makes floche, but at present there is not a U.S. distributor.  (When I talk about floche, unless I note, I will be refering to DMC floche.)  The floche skeins are much larger (150m) than a skein of stranded floss (8m).  The prices are different also - stranded floss should retail for about .75 cents a skein (although you can often find it on sale). Floche retails for $6.25 a skein and you can find specials on that also - I always have a 'Buy 5, get #6 Free' special.  While this price difference may seem huge, when you take into account the different amounts in the skeins and the quality of the thread, floche is a clear winner!  For years, it was available in 87 colors, but about 2-3 years ago, they added another 7, so it is now available in 94 colors.

                                    The 7 new colors!

     When we were on out lunch break, we went over to the drug store (one of the few businesses that were actually open during the 2 hour lunch break).  Believe it or not, the floche and embroidery supplies were sold at the local drug store (more like an old Woolworth's with medicines).  Even though I do not speak Spanish (and Portuguese is a close cousin to Spanish), thanks to Zak (my oldest) being in a bilingual class in Kindergarten and first grade, I knew my colors.  I could say rojo (red), verde (green), azul (blue), rosa (pink), blanc (white), negro (black), amarillo (yellow), and naranja (orange).  Thank heavens for kindergarten colors!
     The floche at the store was Anchor, and the skeins were only 50m, but I got my fill!  I still have some of them in my stash that I pull out every once in a while!
     Since many of the embroideries are white on white, just a heads up - DMC makes 2 different whites!  There is the tradiitonal Blanc, which I would call a soft white.  They also have B5200, which is a stark white.  When choosing your colors, it is a good idea to have a piece of your base fabric with you to see which white 'goes' better.  Many times, they are both close, with neither being a perfect match.  If this is the case, just choose the combination that you like the best!

Hope youhave found this informative and interesting!

Happy Stitching!



1 comment: