Metallic thread makes almost any design extra special, especially when embroidering holiday themes! Yet many embroiderers shy away from using this type of thread because of the problems it causes.
Choose the best quality thread available. The quality of metallic threads ranges as widely as that of cars. There is the Yugo and there is the Rolls Royce. Quite surprisingly, when compared yard for yard, the price of metallic thread does not vary much regardless of the quality you choose. In the metallic thread world, you will pay the same price, yard for yard for a Yugo as you will for a Rolls Royce. The main difference is in the spool size. As a general rule, quality metallic threads are not put on small 100 or 200-yard spools. The smallest size is usually a 500-yard spool.
If you start with a good quality thread, you will not need all the gimmicks. Numerous notions and techniques have been developed to try to make a poor quality thread work. We've heard them all, including useing silicon spray, putting the thread in the freezer, positioning the spool of thread across the room or turning the spool upside down.
The following tips will be sufficient to allow you to fall in love again with metallics:
1. Choose the best quality thread. Select a spool with a large spool core diameter. Avoid the skinny-core spools.
2. Use either a topstitch needle size 90/14 (made by Schmetz) or a metallic needle, size 90/14. A size 80/12 needle is too small.
3. Loosen the upper tension setting to "one."
4. Use a smooth, lint-free bobbin thread.
Three Essential Components of Metallic Thread.
Trying to turn real metal into a smooth-sewing thread is not an easy task. To successfully run metallics, make sure the thread you are using has three essential components. Poor quality metallic thread has nearly ruined this product's reputation, but there is quality metallic thread available, and at prices less expensive than some of those very poor imitators.
1. Does it have a nylon core? A nylon core is an indication of strength and quality. Polyester and rayon are weaker. A nylon core, combined with "paper-pasting," prevents tangling.
2. Is it "paper-pasted"? The best metallics will have a coat of rice paper pasted over the nylon core. This adheres the nylon core to the metal, resulting in a stronger thread. Metallic threads without the rice paper pasting do not hold up as well during high-speed embroidery. Paper-pasting makes the thread cohesive and flexible.
3. Does it have a protective coating? If the thread has a protective coating over the outer metallic layer, the thread will run better and with less friction. An outer coating also protects against fraying and shredding.