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For over two centuries, generations of artisans have trusted The DMC Corporation’s high-quality fabrics, textiles, and other crafting supplies. Now we’re launching Commonthread, our tribute to the community of makers, artists, DIY enthusiasts, and anyone who shares the creative spirit. We’re featuring finished goods for the first time in our history as a way to unite everyone who is passionate about making and appreciating handcrafted works of art.
We have many exciting surprises in store, and want to make sure you’re kept in the loop. So be sure to visit our newly-launched Commonthread landing page—Commonthread.us—to be put on our mailing list. You’ll gain insider access to all the latest news about DMC and Commonthread.
DMC’s Commonthread: celebrating creativity and those who bring beauty into the world with their own two hands.
Still looking for last minute gift ideas for the creative person on your list? Well look no further – Introducing the new DMC Holiday Marketplace!
The new DMC Holiday Marketplace is your one stop shop for beautiful kits and specialty craft supplies for all your holiday gifting and project needs.
How about a glimpse inside the marketplace? Just grab a cuppa and let’s go. Our first stop begins with Holiday Stockings – add to your holiday decorations with a set of festive Christmas stockings. These stocking are just too fabulous, a must have for your holiday decor.
Our next stop begins inside the Unique Kits Section of the Holiday Marketplace – no holiday can be complete without some holiday crafting. I can’t remember a single holiday where I wasn’t creating something special for a family member or friend.
Have some little ones waiting to shine this holiday season? Then visit the products inside Ready to Stitch.
Don’t have time left to create a holiday project? Well how about buying something handmade inside our Artisan Handmade? When you buy something handmade you are buying an original, one of a kind work of art and supporting the handmade movement.
Inside the Artisan Handmade section you will find some amazing items such as these baseball rhinestone cuffs created from vintage or game used authentic baseballs, rhinestone brooches, and DMC threading.
Now that you have finished shopping, creating and decorating, you have to wrap. If you are like me then you love to jazz up your gifts with unique gift wrap. When I receive a gift that’s wrapped so beautifully I get excited and inspired just like I did when I saw these presents wrapped in DMC threads, cute tags and embellis.
During the past 3 weeks I’ve been taking you on a tour of the DMC Factory in Mulhouse, France. We started with a brief history of the area, then moved on to spinning, and last week we covered Mercerizing, dyeing and drying.
This week we’re ready to put up the thread onto skeins or balls and get it labeled and ready for shipping. After this section, the next part of the threads’ journey is from retailer to stitcher.
After the dye color is checked, the thread is then wound onto large cone so that it’s ready for winding onto balls or into skeins. There’s a veritable rainbow happening on this machine!
Depending on the type of thread, the cones are loaded onto machines that each perform a different duty, winding, and labeling the threads in a series of quick movements.
On one machine – wonder of modern machinery – winds the familiar pull-skeins of DMC Embroidery Floss, labeling and boxing skeins in quick succession.
Another machine almost 200 years old, yet still fully functional, winds DMC Pearl Cotton onto balls, inserting the familiar round label into the hollow cardboard spool.
The finished threads are then boxed, labeled and warehoused, ready for shipment to your favorite, local needlework store! I couldn’t resist posting this image of
In addition to all the wonderful DMC Threads, ready to send to all corners of the globe, these floor-to-ceiling shelves also contain books, kits, accessories, painted needlepoint canvas, needlework fabrics, organizers and more.
There are just so many DMC goodies for stitchers!
We’ll continue the tour by following a bale of clean, raw cotton, through the manufacturing process until it is ready for mercerizing and dyeing before being transformed into beautiful, ready to use needlework thread. You can read Part 1 of this series here.
DMC uses the “Giza 88“ variety of Egyptian cotton, due to its long fibers. The cotton is spun into a plied yarn and loaded onto large cones in Egyptian mills. The cones are then transported to our mill in France.
At this point, the thread is still very rough and a long way from being ready to use in your stitching! The next step in the process is called gassing, which removes all the fine hairs and impurities on the thread, helping to make the thread smooth and eliminate the dreaded fuzzies.
In the image to the left, you can see the thread being passed through a flame, burning off the hairy fuzz. It happens so quickly that the process is nearly invisible to the eye – and so quickly that it does not singe or burn the thread.
I must admit, watching this process was mesmerizing (as opposed to mercerizing, which we’ll discuss next week, LOL!)
The the cone on the right has been run through the gassing process, and is slightly smaller – it has lost a bit of it’s bulk because all of the those unwanted hairy, fuzzy fibers have been singed off. This is a very important step in manufacturing fine hand embroidery threads.
After gassing, the cones are loaded into another machine where 6 strands of plied yarn are twisted – usually in the opposite direction of the twist of the plied, gassed yarn.
The yarn is then wound from the large spool into a huge, 1 kg hank. The circumference of these hanks is 2.26 meters or about 7.41 feet in circumference (about 3 feet in length, based on my height and holding one of the hanks).
They’re big hanks, and at this point they are starting to look like thread instead of yarn.
Next week, we’ll explore the mercerizing, dyeing and packaging process for your favorite DMC Embroidery Threads, so stay tuned!
Hi Stitchers! I’m back from France and my tour of the DMC factory and Archives in Mulhouse. I had a great time, and have much to share with you.
Today I’m posting Part 1 of the factory tour, as well as a bit of information about the history of DMC and the city where the factory and archives are located. I hope you will join me for the entire series, and that you find it as informative as I did.
Mulhouse, located in Alsace near the German and Swiss borders, was not always part of France. For a period in its history, Mulhouse (which means mill house in the local dialect) was actually part a free and independent association of ten Imperial Cities in Alsace. joined the Swiss Confederation in 1515. On 4 January 1798, its citizens voted to become part of France in the Treaty of Mulhouse. As time went on, it once again became part of Germany as Alsace-Lorraine, and then become part of France again in 1945. You can read more about the city’s amazing history here.
Traveling through the area, you’ll notice that many of the local place names, gourmet specialties and other local products attest to its unique history, with names in the local Alsation dialect that are more German than French.
DMC didn’t start as a thread company, but instead got its start in the business of block-printing, which were later replaced by engraved copper cylinders. In the 19th century, DMC began producing fine threads, enhanced and strengthened by a new process called mercerization. Soon after, DMC dropped its fabric printing operation, focusing solely on producing fine threads for sewing and needlework.
You can learn more about the early history of DMC, its founders, and needlework legend Therese de Dillmont on the DMC History Page. With over 200 years of history, one blog just can’t contain all of the interesting information!
The tour started outside the factory on a beautiful Autumn day with a tour of the exteriors of the historic buildings on the site. Many of the buildings are no longer part of the DMC factory, but are owned by the City of Mulhouse, which has plans to renovate and preserve these beautiful, historic brick 18th century buildings – some of which are over 200 years old.
In Part 2 next week, I’ll be following the manufacture one of DMC’s most cherished product – 6-strand cotton embroidery floss (mouliné) – from clean, raw cotton (shown to the left) to ready-to-ship skein. This will be followed by a visual tour of some of the many treasures in the DMC archives, housed in the Archives of the City of Mulhouse, as their histories are intertwined.
Have you ever run across and antique DMC pattern booklet, or a reproduction of a booklet, written by a famous designer named Therese de Dillmont? This talented stitcher wrote many booklets for DMC.
…but who was she?
Therese was born in Austria and was both an accomplished needleworker and writer.Dillmont’s famous Encyclopedia of Needlework (1886) has been translated into 17 languages. You can view the complete English version of the book here.
In the 19th century DMC established strong links with the famous embroiderer. The friendship between this talented woman and Jean Dollfus-Mieg (both are shown above) led her to move to Dornach, a town close to Mulhouse (where the DMC factory is located), where she founded her own embroidery school in close cooperation with DMC.
A complete biography of this talented woman, along with can be seen on the DMC Archives site. The site is in French, but is easy to navigate and full of inspiration, including the images found on the pages featuring her work. You can also view images from the 2012 Exposition of her work here.
To this day her booklets and the Encyclopedia of Needlework are sought after by needleworkers around the world, as the quality of the education and designs are just as relevant today as they were two centuries ago. I’ll be visiting the factory and archives next week, and will be blogging more of the DMC story soon.