Why Do The Cost Of DMC Threads Vary So Much?

Discontinued US only DMC threads (source: 123stitch.com)

If you look to buy DMC threads, you’ll often find that the price will vary. This isn’t just an inter-country thing either, the prices of threads vary massively depending on where you live in the world. On Facebook recently someone asked why this was, and I jumped in with an answer. It turns out, that answer was wrong. So I want to dedicate this post to those who both set me straight, and led me down the weird path of finding out why prices vary so much.
 
So, I hear you ask, how much do they vary? Here are a few countries (converted to US dollars) with prices:
 

$0.49 to $0.56 – USA
$0.74 – Canada
$0.89 – UK
$0.89 – Australia
$1.00 – Portugal
$1.61 – France
$2.00 – Italy
$2.00 – Finland
$2.78 – Switzerland

thread plastic rings (source: DMC)
thread plastic rings (source: DMC)

The Rumors

Or more specifically, what I thought was the case. In the 1990s DMC was going through less than stellar times. The company thought this was in part due to its expansion of factories across the US, Asia, and Africa. They decided that they needed to concentrate on the heritage of the brand more, and rely on the “made in France” tag line. In order to do this, they closed down one of the US factories and brought their main thread manufacturing back to France.
The rumor, however, is that some threads are still made in the US and other factories. This is false. The Asian, African and non-French European factories do produce some of DMC’s stock, their six-strand threads are all made in France. The remaining US factory was shut down, and they are now just a warehouse.

Average Income

So with that in mind, the standard thought is why is it cheaper in countries other than France? Well, lots of reasons, but the first and most striking when it comes to France is a standard commercial decision. What can we sell them for?
To use an example, let’s take Portugal, selling at $1.00 a skein, and France, selling at $1.61 a skein. Both are in the EU with no import charges, both have the same regulations and sales tax. The difference is the average wage. On average France makes $10,000 more per citizen than Portugal does, meaning they can charge more for the same product in France than they can in Portugal. The Portuguese stores run at a lower profit per skein than France.

Country Competiton

The second reason is competition. Once again, let’s look at two European countries, France and the UK. Both once again have the same import tax, sales tax and have the same regulation. They also both have roughly similar average wages (in fact, the UK is higher by $5,000). However, despite all of the similarities, a skein in the UK is $0.82 cheaper than it is in France. The reason is a simple one; Anchor threads.
The biggest rival to DMC is Anchor threads, which was in the UK long before DMC got involved, meaning they have history here. And whilst they are no longer made in the UK (they are made in Germany after they combined with JP Coats) they are big competition. In fact, Anchor threads go for about $0.90 on average in the UK. DMC knew that in order to compete, they had to reduce their cost to just under that. Stores in the UK just run at a lower profit margin.

Regulations

The previous reasons are fairly striking in themselves, however, if you compare France with a country outside of the EU, like the USA or Canada, you see a MASSIVE difference in price. The above factors do have sway here as well, but there is also a large transport cost you have to add into the price, but despite that, North American threads are cheaper still. We’ll get into the US specifically later on, as there is another factor that impacts their price, so for now, we’ll talk about Canada, which sells at $0.80 less than France.
 
To many both inside of North America, and outside, there are a set of threads, 3773 to 3895 that are discountinued threads. This isn’t actually the case. Instead, some threads are only to be sold in North America. We go into detail in our post about why those DMC threads are discontinued, but in short, the dyes used in those threads are illegal in the EU, Australia, Switzerland, New Zealand, China, and many more. The US lags behind many countries on regulations. This can be specific dyes used as per the above example, or larger regulations, such as the traceability of products.
In the EU, in particular, there is large accountability on textiles to ensure the supply and manufacture is done in a sustainable way, that doesn’t take advantage of lower economic growth countries, and has no modern slavery involved. Therefore in order to sell textiles in the EU, you need to supply documentation about this and other regulations. These regulations cost money, lots of money. So much, that the cost of sending products to North America is not only cheaper but a lot cheaper, than filling out regulation paperwork.
That said, I hear you asking about Australia, which is cheaper than France. Well, in Australia, there are lots of Anchor threads being sold, they have a lower average wage, and the regulations aren’t as strict. This all means that they can compete on price in the same way the UK does.

Discontinued US only DMC threads (source: 123stitch.com)
Discontinued US only DMC threads (source: 123stitch.com)

Import Fees

Only three more reasons now, and this one can be a big thing, or small thing, depending on the country you’re in.
This time, we go to Switzerland, which pays a whopping $1.26 more than France, almost double the price, despite being in Europe, and in fact, bordering France. However, Switzerland isn’t part of the EU. This means they don’t have the same laws about trade that the rest of Europe does. In short, if you want to import into Switzerland, you have to pay a heavy fine.

Sales Tax

Now we get to more US specific pricing. There are two main things, but the first is inter-country pricing, and how you can vary by the price of up to 10c on a skein.
The US works a little like separate countries, in the sense that each state can set its own sales tax. In fact, each city, county, and municipal area can also change their sales tax, which can vary as much as 10% on the original price. In many places, there is one cost for the whole country, but in the US depending on where the store is, you can save a fair amount of threads.

Selling At A Loss

Finally, we come to the biggest cost difference going. This is usually why people ask on Facebook about cost; the US is super cheap. In fact, it can be cheaper to buy US threads and have them sent to a different country. There are two reasons. The first is that the US is a large market. In the same way that the UK has high competition from Anchor, the US has none. This, you would imagine, would hike up the price, but thanks to no competition and a large number of people buying, orders from stores are normally large. In addition, the US has a lot of “big box stores” that buy in supermassive volumes to sell across the country. In other countries, stores are usually smaller and can’t get bulk order discounts that the US stores can.
 
But the second reason is the biggest. In the US, DMC thread is usually sold at a loss or very close to wholesale prices. Most stores in the US are selling thread so low as they want you to come in and buy other, higher-margin products. This can be coupled with the fact that the US has a discount culture, meaning that whilst they have the lowest prices, unlike other countries, you can get further discounts on threads.
I won’t state who, but I spoke to someone that runs a small store, so does not get bulk discounts, who buys in at 46c a skein. The average sale price in her state was 50c a skein, meaning she gets only 4c of profit, before and extra discounts are applied. I spoke to a British store owner that has a profit margin of 40c after discounts are applied.
 
So there you have it, all the reasons that prices vary so much from country to country. We’d love to hear the price you pay for threads, and if any of you buy from different countries and import to get lower prices. Leave us a comment and we’ll update the list as we go!
In addition, we’d just like to say that there are cheaper embroidery threads which are a great alternative to DMC. But if you wanted to know, we also have a round up of the best places to get good DMC thread deals and if its worth buying second hand threads.

Fine Art Cross Stitch Book

Fine Art Cross Stitch Book Cover by Lord Libidan (source: amazon)

Once again, I have awesome news to tell you all! I’ve got another kit book out!

Fine Art Cross Stitch Box Cover by Lord Libidan (source: amazon)
Fine Art Cross Stitch Box Cover by Lord Libidan (source: amazon)

This time we delve into the classic paintings of the past, with a Fine Art Cross Stitch kit, complete with 12 patterns from Mondrian to Da Vinci.

Cross Stitch Creations: Fine Art turns your needlework from a craft to fine art by showing you how to recreate the classic masters’ finest works.
Take your needle art to the next level and recreate some of the finest masterpieces in history! Cross Stitch Creations: Fine Art presents to you a myriad of patterns that will channel the master artist in you. From van Gogh to Klimt to Munch, the projects and artists found in Cross Stitch Creations: Fine Art represents a wide range of art movements in the painting world as a whole. The clear, step-by-step instructions and full-color photographs for the 12 included projects allow you to decorate your walls with the master’s most iconic works of art in the classic medium of cross stitch!
Cross Stitch Creations: Fine Art includes a 64-pg instruction book which shows you how to create works originally painted by van Gogh, Klimt, Matisse, Hokusai, and many others.

Fine Art Cross Stitch Book Cover by Lord Libidan (source: amazon)
Fine Art Cross Stitch Book Cover by Lord Libidan (source: amazon)

You can get your copy from Quatro (the publisher) now!

I’ll be posting some of the completed peices over the next week, so keep your eyes out for them!
 
I’ve now been published quite a few times. Check me out in:
Fine Art Cross Stitch Kit
Emoji Cross Stitch Kit
Star Wars Cross Stitch Kit
Star Trek Cross-Stitch: Explore Strange New Worlds of Crafting Book
Disney Classic Cross Stitch Kit
Mr X Stitch Guide to Cross Stitch book
CrossStitcher Magazine (twice)
CrossStitcher Designer Stitches Magazine
CrossStitchCrazy Magazine
& XStitch Magazine

Emoji Cross Stitch Book

Emoji Cross Stitch Book Cover by Lord Libidan (source: amazon)

Two bits of news in one day? Yep! I’ve got two kit books out this month!

Emoji Cross Stitch Box Cover by Lord Libidan (source: amazon)
Emoji Cross Stitch Box Cover by Lord Libidan (source: amazon)

12 fun and simple emojis to stitch your heart away at, with enough thread in the kit to stitch up to 4 emojis (but definitely at least 2)!

Stitch 12 Iconic Patterns to Communicate with Your World!
Even when you can’t find the right words, you can always find the right emoji! Frame these sweet and sassy little symbols as art or embellish clothing, linens or a throw pillow!
Emoji Cross Stitch includes the patterns to craft twelve of the most popular emoji, along with all the materials to make to finished projects. The 64-page book offers clear step-by-step instructions and full-color photographs, suitable for beginners and experienced stitchers alike.

Emoji Cross Stitch Book Cover by Lord Libidan (source: amazon)
Emoji Cross Stitch Book Cover by Lord Libidan (source: amazon)

 
I’ve now been published quite a few times. Check me out in:
Fine Art Cross Stitch Kit
Emoji Cross Stitch Kit
Star Wars Cross Stitch Kit
Star Trek Cross-Stitch: Explore Strange New Worlds of Crafting Book
Disney Classic Cross Stitch Kit
Mr X Stitch Guide to Cross Stitch book
CrossStitcher Magazine (twice)
CrossStitcher Designer Stitches Magazine
CrossStitchCrazy Magazine
& XStitch Magazine

I’m published in the Hello Kitty Cross Stitch Kit

Hello Kitty 12 super cute patterns cross stitch creations Book by Lord Libidan cover (source: amazon)

After the release of Mr X Stitch’s Guide to Cross Stitch and the XStitch magazine, both that I was part of, I have yet another publication coming out this year.
It might not be my normal style, but I was asked to with my good pal John Lohman to create a Hello Kitty book kit, which is being released in 4 languages!

hello kitty 12 super cute patterns cross stitch creations by Lord Libidan
Hello Kitty: 12 Super Cute Patterns Cross Stitch Creations cover

Crafting just got a whole lot cuter. Like Hello Kitty herself, the twelve patterns in this fun, accessible, cross-stitch kit are all simply adorable.
Cross Stitch Creations: Hello Kitty includes a fully illustrated book with step-by-step instructions and photographs of the finished projects, plus fun notes and details about the characters of Hello Kitty’s world.
A needle, embroidery floss, a six-inch hoop, and cloth for completing two projects come with the kit, so there’s no waiting to get started. With twelve sweet patterns inspired by the world of Hello Kitty and featuring all of her friends, adding Hello Kitty’s classic charm to clothing, pillowcases, onesies, and more has never been easier.

I’ve also been contacted about another 2 books since this, so be on the lookout for the Libidan name in your bookstore!
You can purchase a copy over on amazon for $13.
 
I’ve now been published quite a few times. Check me out in:
Fine Art Cross Stitch Kit
Emoji Cross Stitch Kit
Star Wars Cross Stitch Kit
Star Trek Cross-Stitch: Explore Strange New Worlds of Crafting Book
Disney Classic Cross Stitch Kit
Mr X Stitch Guide to Cross Stitch book
CrossStitcher Magazine (twice)
CrossStitcher Designer Stitches Magazine
CrossStitchCrazy Magazine
& XStitch Magazine

DMCs 35 New Threads

Collectors tin for the new 2018 DMC color threads (source: sewandso.com)

DMC new threads

For the first time in 14 years, DMC threads are launching new colors. We were able to get a preview set, and so we’ve decided to help out and go into detail with the 35 new colors.
Firstly, the new colors range from code 01 to 35, and no colors are being replaced; these are all additional only. This brings the total range up to 500. They’re out in late October/early November (dependent on where you live).
Based of the new colors is clear that DMC have really listened to what customers wanted. Without further ado, lets look at each of the new colors.
 
New DMC Thread range 01 to 35
 
01 to 04 – Greys
DMC threads color 01DMC threads color 02DMC threads color 03DMC threads color 04
The first set is numbers 01 to 04, all grey. The current grey selection is a bit lack luster, with very popular colors such as 415, 318 and 414 being slightly purple hued. The new set effectively replaces these colors by removing the purple, making a fantastic run of 762, 01, 02, 03, 04, 317, 413, 3799, 310. We’ve made up this color swatch up below. Honestly, of all the new threads, we think these four will be the most popular by far, and will stop that weird purple hue on grey scale projects like our Canabalt piece.
dmc greys

 
05 to 09 – Browns
DMC threads color 05DMC threads color 06DMC threads color 07DMC threads color 08DMC threads color 09
The second set, 05 to 09, are all brown. At first glance they’ve very similar to the 453, 452, 451, 3861, 3860, 779 line, however that has historically been muddled and lacking in a progressive shading. Instead, the new line makes a pure brown, something that’s been missing for a while from the traditional line.
 
10 to 18 – Greens
DMC threads color 10DMC threads color 11DMC threads color 12DMC threads color 13DMC threads color 14DMC threads color 15DMC threads color 16DMC threads color 17DMC threads color 18
Initially it seems a little odd to have so many greens in the new threads, especially considering green has always been a strong point of DMC. However, if you think about the greens available, they either transition into blue, or brown. Hardly any move into yellow. This is where the new green threads come in, offering fairly pale greens that transition into yellow. In addition color 13 sits as a lighter 3849 to allow blue to green blending a little easier at pale ends of the spectrum.
 
19 – Orange
DMC threads color 19
We then have the solitary 19, a peachy orange. This is clearly made to fit within existing 3823, 3855, 19, 3854, 3853 line. I must admit, I’ve never really seen much use of these colours, however unlike most other color ranges featuring at least 5 colors, it shows DMC are devoted to making their existing line perfect. (The images don’t do it justice.)
dmc peachy oranges
In addition this orange could be included within the next set of colors; flesh tones.
 
20 to 22 – Flesh tones
DMC threads color 20DMC threads color 21DMC threads color 22
Skin tones have ALWAYS been an issue with threads, and whilst there are some good shades out there, the darker white skin colors have been missing for a while. Colors 20 to 22 solve that issue.
 
23 to 35 – Purples
DMC threads color 23DMC threads color 24DMC threads color 25DMC threads color 26DMC threads color 27DMC threads color 28DMC threads color 29DMC threads color 30DMC threads color 31DMC threads color 32DMC threads color 33DMC threads color 34DMC threads color 35
Finally, we look upon the final section of new threads, colors 23 to 35. These compromise a series of purples, mostly light hued, without any runs of progressively darker threads. For a long time purple has been a big issue, with only darker purples being an use, as lighter ones were just way too pink. The new threads offer both lighter purples, but also a series of purples that merge into other colors, such as 28 and 29 which blend into a grey line 415, 318 and 414, which now feels a little orphaned with the new greys. 30, 31 and 32 blend into blue. And 33, 34 and 35 blend into red well, something there currently isn’t any of.
 
A word on compatibility
It’s worth noting that with all new threads, pick up is a little slow going at first. Most pattern makers will updated yearly, meaning the next update using these threads could be some time in mid 2018. We reached out to WinStitch/MacStitch which will send an update in the coming week. No update on when PCStitch will update, we’ll update this when we hear back.
In addition the DMC shade card, despite earlier reports, it being updated with the new threads.
 
Where and when can you get them?
Officially the new threads go on open sale in November, with a few select retailers getting their hands on them early. One of these is SewAndSo.com where you can buy each thread with 25% off, or get a collectors tin with all of them included, in the middle of October. In Canda you can pick them up from StitchItCentral. We expect this will be the only place you can pick them up this early, with the DMC website, Hobbycraft and Michaels to carry the line once they’re officially out in November. We’ve got confirmation that Walmart will NOT be carrying the line at all.
Collectors tin for the new 2018 DMC color threads (source: sewandso.com)
Collectors tin for the new 2018 DMC color threads (source: sewandso.com)

I’m featured in the XStitch Magazine!

xstitch magazine cover summer 2017 featuring Lord Libidan (source: xstitchmag.com)

It’s been a rather busy few months for me this year, with my upcoming Hello Kitty Kit coming out, and a feature in Mr X Stitch’s Guide to Cross Stitch Book. However, when I heard about the new cross stitch magazine, XStitch, on kick starter, I just HAD to get involved.

I’m keeping my pattern secret, for now, however, it is one of the patterns featured on the cover below.

xstitch magazine cover summer 2017 featuring Lord Libidan (source: xstitchmag.com)
xstitch magazine cover summer 2017 featuring Lord Libidan (source: xstitchmag.com)

The first issue comes out Summer 2017, with 80 pages, and all kinds of great things like thought-provoking columns, interviews, product reviews and tips and techniques to help you improve your stitching. And to make it stand out from the competition (just encase the contemporary side of things wasn’t enough) each issue will have a collaborative playlist to listen along to as you read.
It stands to be one of the best magazines around in my mind, and I’m just crazy happy about being able to get involved from the very first issue.
Saturn V blueprint embroidery in the Xstitch Mag by Lord Libidan
Saturn V blueprint embroidery in the Xstitch Mag by Lord Libidan (source: xstitchmag.com)


 
I’ve now been published quite a few times. Check me out in:
Fine Art Cross Stitch Kit
Emoji Cross Stitch Kit
Star Wars Cross Stitch Kit
Star Trek Cross-Stitch: Explore Strange New Worlds of Crafting Book
Disney Classic Cross Stitch Kit
Mr X Stitch Guide to Cross Stitch book
CrossStitcher Magazine (twice)
CrossStitcher Designer Stitches Magazine
CrossStitchCrazy Magazine
& XStitch Magazine

You can check out a full unbiased review of the XStitch Magazine at our recap of the best cross stitch magazines.

Star Wars Cross Stitch Book by Lord Libidan

Cover of the Star Wars Cross Stitch Book by Lord Libidan (source: Amazon)

Once again, I have awesome news to tell you all! I’ve got another kit book out!

Star Wars Cross Stitch Book by Lord Libidan Alternative Cover (source: Amazon)
Star Wars Cross Stitch Book by Lord Libidan Alternative Cover (source: Amazon)

This time on Star Wars, which is sold in the US, AU, UK and EU territories. It’s full of cross stitch patterns from A New Hope all the way to Rogue One.

Inside of the Star Wars Cross Stitch Book by Lord Libidan
Inside of the Star Wars Cross Stitch Book by Lord Libidan
Cover of the Star Wars Cross Stitch Book by Lord Libidan (source: Amazon)
Cover of the Star Wars Cross Stitch Book by Lord Libidan (source: Amazon)

Cover of the Star Wars Cross Stitch Book by Lord Libidan (source: Amazon)
Cover of the Star Wars Cross Stitch Book by Lord Libidan (source: Amazon)

There will be a killer review on Mr X Stitch soon, however if you’re itching for a stitching, get it on Amazon now!

I’ll be posting some of the completed peices over the next week, so keep your eyes out for them!
 
II’ve now been published quite a few times. Check me out in:
Fine Art Cross Stitch Kit
Emoji Cross Stitch Kit
Star Wars Cross Stitch Kit
Star Trek Cross-Stitch: Explore Strange New Worlds of Crafting Book
Disney Classic Cross Stitch Kit
Mr X Stitch Guide to Cross Stitch book
CrossStitcher Magazine (twice)
CrossStitcher Designer Stitches Magazine
CrossStitchCrazy Magazine
& XStitch Magazine

Journey To A Complete Set Of DMC Floss Threads

Full set of DMC threads

“I’ve been stitching now for more than 5 years, and in that time; I’ve amassed more than 230 threads, but is it worth getting the complete set of DMC threads?”

That was a year ago, and now, with the full set of DMC threads, I can finally answer the question. However, as always, it’s not that simple.

Full set of DMC threads
My full set of DMC threads ordered by number

The story starts back when I picked up a small inch square kit from the local hobby store. I had nothing, yet instantly fell out of favor of the standard kits. So I started making my own and buying threads up.

The early years

At first, you buy a thread here. A thread there, and maybe you buy 10 or 20 for a big project. But it never really goes beyond that. You never finish a thread, resorting to reusing the same color next time, even if it isn’t a perfect fit.

Cross stitch is my main hobby

But things start getting better. You start larger and larger pieces, and you’re getting picking about the right colors. Sure, you still make changes to reuse old ones, but you have 5 reds to choose from, so its OK!

But you realize buying 1 or 2 threads isn’t effective. You get batches, and you start having over-spill from your storage boxes…

I’m serious about this now.

So you get new storage. Maybe you get the DMC Thread Storage Box.
But that makes you realize how few you have.

But you just keep getting through those blacks… So you buy a cone or two. And that’s where things hold.

You have so much selection you can always find 1st or 2nd choice threads.

Purchase

And that’s where I caved. Now, to be clear, I didn’t go out of my way to buy all the threads. I had actually got an offer from a store to buy a kit at a discounted cost.
And I turned it down.

And regretted it instantly.

I made a new pattern and pulled up a list of colors to find I didn’t have any of them, which was rare in itself. I searched my thread book for a good alternative and didn’t have the second choice.
Or third.
Or fourth.

So I finally splurged on a full 447 set, complete with variegated threads for £250.

DMC thread number wraps
So many DMC thread number wraps…

Post purchase

Whilst initially I started using a few new threads, I quickly found another problem. Over-spill. I had worked with 230 threads for the better part of 3 years, and when I brought my new set, I also got those 230.
So I had to work through all 230 threads first.

It took 9 months, and a load of stitching, but I got through it all. Now, I can use any color. Now I have so much choice every piece uses a new thread just for the hell of it.

And you know what? I finally have a choice when it comes to skin color. Skin tone threads! Ahhhh!

Is it worth it?

Yes. Oh, my word yes.

Even though it doesn’t seem it at first, a complete set means you can always pick the right color. Hold it up to your screen to check its perfect, or put multiple threads next to each other and pick the best.
And it really shows in your work…

You can pick up a set yourself on at Etsy.com
I don’t have that illusive Limited Edition Golden Skein though…

I’m in the Cross Stitcher! Again!

CrossStitcher Magazine Cover Issue 317 (source: crossstitchermag.co.uk)

I’ve once again been featured in The Cross Stitcher magazine! And once again it was my transforming piece. Time for an improved piece maybe?

The Cross Stitcher 300th Edition Cover featuring Lord Libidan
The Cross Stitcher 300th Edition Cover featuring Lord Libidan (source: crossstitcher.com)

 
I’ve now been published quite a few times. Check me out in:
Fine Art Cross Stitch Kit
Emoji Cross Stitch Kit
Star Wars Cross Stitch Kit
Star Trek Cross-Stitch: Explore Strange New Worlds of Crafting Book
Disney Classic Cross Stitch Kit
Mr X Stitch Guide to Cross Stitch book
CrossStitcher Magazine (twice)
CrossStitcher Designer Stitches Magazine
CrossStitchCrazy Magazine
& XStitch Magazine