When most people who vaguely know of pearl cotton think of it, they probably think of tatting or making doilies. While this is a common use of pearl (or perle) cotton thread, it is by no means the only use. Pearl cotton has a variety of applications when it comes to crafting, needlework and crochet. It is a versatile thread, which should be a part of any embroidery, crafting, quilting or crocheting tool kit.
If you aren’t familiar with pearl cotton, we’ll start with the basics. Pearl cotton is a non-divisible thread, which means it cannot be separated into strands the way that embroidery floss can be separated. This thread is sized like most threads, with the lower numbers being thicker and the higher numbers being thinner. Size 3 and 5 are heavier threads, size 8 is a medium weight and size 12 is a fine thread.
Pearl cotton has a variety of uses. The size 3 is perfect for cross stitch, crewel embroidery and crochet. Size 5 can be used for needlepoint, crochet, smocking and applique. Size 8 pearl cotton is ideal for quilting, crochet, lace making, and tatting. It can also be used in bobbins. Size 12 which is the thinnest thread, works for embroidery and cross stitch, smocking and tatting. pearl cotton also can, depending on size, be used in embroidery machines, long arm quilting machines and sewing machines. Pearl cotton is also ideal for quilters, as it is very useful in stitching decorative lines.
One nice thing about pearl cotton is its sheen. This type of thread is a mercerized thread, which means the thread has undergone a process of submersion, first in sodium hydroxide and then in an acid bath. Mercerizing thread increases the thread’s luster, strength, ability to be dyed and resistance to mildew.
To learn more about pearl cotton and how it can be used, take a few moments to watch the following helpful videos: