Hand embroidery thread – how to blend custom thread colors

If you do a lot (or even a little) hand embroidery, over time you can accumulate quite a collection of embroidery floss and yarn. But doesn’t it always seem that you simply never have the right color hand embroidery thread to finish off a sewing project?

The color thread you use for hand stitching can sometimes be important to the overall design, so choosing the right color is important. You could of course overdye your floss to get the color you need, but in this tutorial I’m going to show you a much simpler, and less messy way.

For this project I printed an image onto fabric and planned to add some hand embroidery embellishment using variegated thread. But of course I didn’t have quite the right shade of embroidery floss.

Hand embroidery thread - how to blend thread colors

However it’s easy to make your own custom thread colors by combining single strands from different color threads. Although it’s not quite a variegated color, it adds highlights and depth to your hand stitching which makes it more interesting. I’ve chosen to begin with a soft green, yellow, and beige.

Hand embroidery thread - how to blend thread colors

I’ve used one strand from each color to make some french knots but I can see that it looks a little pale and washed out to me.

Hand embroidery thread - how to blend thread colors

So I added in an extra strand of dark brown.

Hand embroidery thread - how to blend thread colors

And this has made all the difference. I really like the way this turned out, don’t you? And how easy was that!

Hand embroidery thread - how to blend thread colors

8 thoughts on “Hand embroidery thread – how to blend custom thread colors”

  1. Such a simple but effective idea, I’m definitely going to use that technique over the next couple of weeks. Thank you.

  2. Thank you so much for that tip. I love that idea and will definately be experimenting with it. I look always look forward to hearing more from you. Thank you so much for sharing ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Linda, I so look forward to your newsletter. Thank you. I was certainly inspired by your beautiful French knots on your super art print!

  4. Thomas Castle

    The technique of choosing color is excellent. I would like to bring these ideas on my work.

  5. I started embroidering with no instruction and learned as I went along, which led to a lot of experimentation, some of which worked and some didn’t. Using different coloured threads is wonderful in small touches. Too much and it can look messy. Anyway, what I discovered is that combining colours works best when I use regular sewing thread, added to a strand of regular embroidery cotton or floss. Sewing thread is very thin, so the colour combination is very subtle. Or, you can use two different coloured strands of sewing threads–up to three seems to work ok, and together the thickness is about that of a regular cotton embroidery strand. Do use a larger needle with a bigger eye, though, otherwise you may run into knots every other stitch. More is possible, if you are very patient but you’ll need a still larger needle and have to hold the thread taut with your other hand while pulling through or it will tangle. Also, depending on the fabric and design you may not be able to cover those large needle holes. But I’ve gotten some really cool effects, especially using 3 colours of thread for leaves – olive green, medium green and a very light yellow look amazing when combined! But I’ve also made some big messes, which is ok so long as it’s just an experiment and not part of something I’ve worked on for weeks lol

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