How to Get Better Results with Metallic Thread
Ahh, metallics! So pretty to look at and so pretty frustrating to sew.
Have you tried sewing or embroidering with metallic threads only to have them snap and shred? If so, you may find yourself avoiding using these beautiful eye-catching fibers as embellishments in your projects. By implementing these 9 proven tips, you can improve your results quickly and easily!
- Use the right thread: a high quality, well-cared for metallic thread. Cheap, old, dried out or bruised thread of any kind breaks more easily. Run the thread through your fingers to see how smooth it is.
- Use the right needle: the correct size for your metallic, in excellent condition, and make mine an embroidery needle, not metallic. Depending your metallic thread, it may be slightly thicker than standard 40 weight thread so you might try going up one needle size.
- Use the right design: You will get better results in a design that was specifically digitized for metallic thread. Also, see if the design recommends a particular brand; this often means the design was tested using that thread.
- Increase the thread path: Metallic thread loops and kinks more than rayon or poly, and when a kink hits a thread guide, it causes extra tension on the thread which can induce shredding and snapping. Using a thread stand specifically designed to smooth out metallic thread—as is the Echidna Control-A-Twist Thread Stand—can dramatically improve sewing quality.
- Slow the machine down: The faster a machine sews, the more tension there is on the thread. High tensions cause fragile threads to break more easily.
- Optimize thread tensions: Make sure your machine tensions are not too tight. You may find that loosening them slightly will dramatically reduce not only thread breaks, but puckering when working with polyester threads.
- Create a smooth path: Start with the spool and make sue there are no rough edges that can snag the thread. If you’ve had a lot of needle breaks, check the throat plate for nicks and burrs that might shred thread.
- Avoid sticky backings: Adhesives can build up on the needle, on the thread, and can be drag—literally—to sew through, none of which is conducive to smooth sewing.
- Fabric and stabilizer: Tightly woven, stiff, and/or abrasive fabrics and stabilizers are not metallic friendly and can strip the metallic wrapping.
Helpful Links to Products I Recommend & Use
Since I'm constantly being asked, "what did you use for [fill in the blank]," I've begun organizing my favorite products on this Resource page as a convenient place for you to find them.
I've also included links to where I get them, many of which are affiliate links. Hey, I can't stock everything! If I list something I haven't/don't use, I'll let you know that too.
- Why Does My Thread Break?
- Echidna Control-a-Twist Thread Stand
- How To Select Thread for Machine Embroidery for Beginners
- 10 Tips for Getting Great Results with Metallic Thread
- Create Exquisite Embroidery with Any Thread!
About the Author
Lindee Goodall is a veteran master digitizer who's won awards for her beautiful designs, been a guest on numerous PBS sewing shows, written articles for a variety of home and industry related magazines, and is a Craftsy instructor.
Lindee G Embroidery is her second company, following Cactus Punch, which was founded in 1994.