A stitcher training to help you be a more Inspired Stitcher.


Want to add a bit of extra uniqueness to one of your pieces?? A fun way to do this is variegated floss – it adds a bit of spice (especially in pieces with large solid color blocks). 

In this lesson we will learn: 

  • What is variegated floss?
  • How to work with variegated floss.
  • Be aware of your threads – bit of extra planning involved with variegated floss.
  • Tips to working with variegated floss.
  • Stitchee patterns done with variegated floss.

The Different Types of Variegated Floss

First off, what is variegated floss? It is a floss that has some color variations in it – usually from a lighter to darker shade of the same color. It is usually only in cotton, and is usually referred to as “fancy floss” (this is mainly because it is much more costly).

It allows you to work between different colors without changing your floss.

Shade Variations

This floss is all the same color, just different shades of that same color.

Color Variations

This is a similar concept, but instead of being different shades of one color it is a variation of a few colors, like going from blue to mauve to pink.

DMC Selection

DMC has their standard variegated floss line and their Coloris line. The standard one is shade variations and the Coloris is color variations.

Amazon Suggestions

Here are some links on Amazon to the DMC selection of variegated floss. You can, of course, get all of these at most of your favorite stitching stores. 
**Psst! Just so you know I do get a small reward for any Amazon purchases you make through these links — all rewards go right back into making this Stitchee family great!

How To Work with Variegated Floss

The method you use will depend on the look you want to achieve – as well as what colors your variegated floss is.

SIDENOTE: A few terms to get to know (in case you don’t know them) **also a training coming soon on this!!
English Method/Stitching – This is completed each full X before moving on to the next.
Dutch Method/Stitching – This is doing one leg of the stitch, across a row and then returning to finish the second leg of the X.

For Shade Variation:

This is where the shade just varies throughout the floss, but all the same color family.

You probably hear “ONLY USE ENGLISH METHOD” for variegated floss. I’m all about harnessing YOUR uniqueness in your stitching, so I say use whichever you think looks best for your project.

You can use English stitching or Dutch Stitching. Both give you slightly different looks, but still both have pretty variations.

For Color Variation:

This is where the colors actually vary throughout one strand of floss.

The preferred method for this one is do complete each full stitch and not to use the Dutch method. With the Dutch Method, you will clearly see two different colors in one stitch and less of a gradual variation. You can still use the Dutch method, it does have its own unique variation – up close it seems choppy but nicer further away.

**once I get to the craft store to get some Coloris I will post a comparison to help you decide.

Be More Aware of your Threads

Always keep in mind your pattern when using this floss. Cut your threads with the colors in mind.

For example, if you are doing a flower and you want each petal to be the same. Cut small pieces and start the thread on the same end for each petal of your flower.

You may end up working with smaller pieces of thread, to help achieve consistent colors.

When you stop of thread, to start your next watch what color shade you start with – make sure they blend.

If you are stitching a large area and going across for a long length, you may notice your variations end up more stripe like (the dark red in one line, then lighter, then lighter, etc).

If you find that it seems like your shades look more like a stripy sweater, and you want a more blended look. There is a solution. Cut your length of thread. Divide your large stitch area into two halves. Stitch up one, and then the next – using the same colorings of the thread you separated.

Tips for Variegated Floss


  • Do not use loop start, this will muddle the colors together and not give much contrast when stitching.


  • When using more than one strand, line the two strands up as close as possible so the colors match on both.


  • Sometimes referred to as “fancy floss” because it is more costly then regular cotton floss.


  • Great for pieces with a lot of solid colors – gives it some variety and depth.


  • The dye lots can vary quite significantly so if you run out mid-project it may be hard to find a matching color scheme.


  • Be aware of where you start and finish. Try to match the new piece of thread with your last one. For example, if your variegated goes from red, to pink (like mine does in the pictures), watch what you end with. So if you end with the darker red side, start the next string with the darker red end.


Do you have a tip you can share? Post it in the comments below. 

Stitchee Patterns Created with Variegated Floss

Here’s a few of our Stitchee patterns that were created using variegated floss. Give it a try!! Send me a picture and I’ll add it here!

Cutesy Zoo – Octavia Octopus

Stitched by Amy Belitski

Cutesy Zoo – Betty Butterfly

Stitched by Amy Belitski