Metallic thread is a magical way to add glimmer and shine to embroidery projects, however using these delightful threads can be much of a threadache if you haven't used them before.
Here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind when using metallics, to ensure you don’t run into any issues.
Slow it down
Embroidery Machine Sewing Speed - As metallic thread is thinner and more elastic than most embroidery threads you will use, it is important to slow down your stitching when using metallic thread. Lowering the speed of your machine to 350 - 400 stitches per minute will decrease the stress on the thread and greatly decrease the chance of thread breakage.
Of course like all thread some metallics are more resilient than others which is why some will perform well at 400 stitches a minute while others will need to be reduced to 300. The best way to figure out the appropriate speed is of course, test stitching before beginning your project.
The Needle Choice
When using metallic thread the choice of needle is important. If you have somewhat of a ‘general use’ needle, it may not quite cut it in this situation… or it may cut it too much.
The eye of the needle being used must be longer, to reduce the tension on the thread as much as possible. This will once again reduce the likelihood of your thread breaking or shredding when creating your "in the hoop" machine embroidery design. It is possible to get needles specifically designed for use with metallic thread, so for best results these should be your first choice.
Having the least possible tension on the thread before it enters the embroidery machine is of the utmost importance when working with metallic thread. This makes it even more important than usual for you to check that the thread is feeding through the embroidery machine correctly. Also, the thread should not be unwound from a flat position, this will reduce both the thread tension and chance of the thread twisting. Instead, a thread-stand/horizontal spooler should be used for the best results.
Following these instructions should reduce the likelihood of your projects involving metallic threads from encountering issues. If you are taking all precautions and still having issues with thread breakage or shredding, HERE is a blog listing solutions for more general thread breakage causes, as the metallic thread may not be the problem.
The metallic thread really is a great way of adding a sparkle to any project. Once you have used it effectively in a project once you’ll find that many of your future designs can benefit from its use. So don’t give up! Keep testing and trying till you get it right, and make those decorations twinkle.