If you’ve ever wanted to add a touch of sparkle to your sewing projects, sewing with metallic thread is your solution. However, sewing with metallic embroidery thread can be a bit intimidating due to its unique properties. Fear not, this guide is here to demystify the process, and get you comfortably sewing with metallic spools of thread in no time.
Understanding Metallic Thread
Metallic thread is typically made from a synthetic core wrapped in a metallic foil. The synthetic core can be made from materials like polyester or rayon, which provide strength and flexibility. The metallic foil, which gives the thread its characteristic shimmer and shine, is usually made from a thin layer of metal such as aluminum or silver.
The exact materials can vary by manufacturer and the intended use of the thread. Some metallic threads, for example, may use actual gold or silver in their foil, while others may use metallic-colored plastic or polyester film. These threads can vary widely in terms of their durability, ease of use, and appearance.
While metallic thread gives a beautiful, shiny effect to sewing projects, it is also known to be somewhat delicate and tricky to work with compared to non-metallic threads. It can be more prone to breaking or fraying, which is why special handling and adjustments to the sewing machine are often required when working with metallic thread.
Prepping Your Sewing Machine
The first step towards successful sewing with metallic thread is setting up your sewing machine or embroidery machine properly. Here are a few adjustments to make:
- Use a Metallic Needle: A metallic needle has a larger eye of the needle that prevents the thread from shredding. Can’t find one? Try a topstitching needle.
- Adjust the Thread Tension: Metallic threads require less tension than standard threads. Start with a lower setting and gradually adjust until you get smooth stitches.
- Slow Down the Sewing Speed: A slower speed reduces friction and the chance of thread breakage.
- Use a Thread Stand: A thread stand allows the thread to unspool smoothly, reducing the chances of snags and breakage.
Generally, it’s not recommended to put metallic thread in the bobbin. Due to its delicate nature and tendency to fray or break under tension, metallic thread can cause issues when used in a bobbin, such as thread breakage and tension problems.
However, if you do want to use metallic thread in your bobbin, there are a few tips you can follow to minimize potential issues:
- Lower the Tension: Since metallic thread is sensitive to tension, lower the tension on your bobbin thread to reduce the risk of thread breakage.
- Use a Bobbin Case for Metallic Thread: Some sewing machine brands offer bobbin cases specially designed for metallic thread. These cases usually have lower tension settings that are more suited to the delicate nature of metallic thread.
- Wind Slowly: When winding metallic thread onto your bobbin, do so slowly to prevent the thread from stretching or snapping.
- Use a Polyester Thread in the Bobbin: One common practice is to use a standard polyester thread in the bobbin that matches the color of the metallic thread. This allows you to enjoy the look of metallic thread on the top of your project without the issues of using it in the bobbin.
Remember, every sewing project is different, and what works best may vary depending on your specific sewing machine and the nature of your project. It’s always a good idea to do a test run on scrap fabric before starting on your final piece.
Choosing Quality Metallic Thread
Like any sewing supply, the quality of metallic thread plays a huge role in the end result. Cheap threads may break easily and cause frustration. Look for threads with a strong core and smooth metallic finish. High-quality metallic thread is easier to work with and produces better results.
When Do You Use Metallic Thread?
Metallic thread can add a unique, sparkling touch to various sewing and embroidery projects. Here are some situations when you might use metallic thread:
- Decorative Sewing: Metallic thread is often used to enhance the aesthetics of a piece, whether it’s an intricate quilt or a simple pillow cover. The added shimmer can make patterns and designs stand out.
- Embroidery: In embroidery, metallic thread can be used to create stunning, eye-catching designs. It can be particularly effective when used for festive or celebratory designs, like holiday ornaments or celebration cards.
- Fashion: In the world of fashion, metallic thread can add a luxurious element to garments. It’s often used for decorative stitching on clothing, such as dresses, jackets, or accessories like scarves and bags.
- Craft Projects: Metallic thread is great for craft projects like scrapbooking, card making, or decorative gift wrapping. It can add a special touch that elevates the final product.
- Special Occasions: Metallic thread is often used for projects related to special occasions or holidays. For instance, it can be used to add sparkle to Christmas decor or to create a special birthday gift.
Remember, while metallic thread can add a touch of elegance to your projects, it also requires careful handling due to its delicate nature.
Sewing with metallic thread requires a few adjustments to your usual sewing techniques:
- Stabilize Your Fabric: A stabilizer helps to reduce the fabric’s movement, which can prevent thread breakage.
- Practice Your Stitches: Metallic thread can behave differently than regular thread. Practice your stitches on scrap fabric first to get the hang of it.
- Use the Right Stitch Type: Straight stitches and zigzag stitches work best with metallic thread. Complicated stitches can lead to thread breakage.
Even with careful prep and technique, you might encounter some issues while sewing with metallic thread. Here are some common problems and solutions:
- Thread Breakage: If your thread keeps breaking, try reducing the tension or slowing down your sewing speed.
- Skipped Stitches: This may be due to a dull needle. Try replacing it with a new metallic needle.
- Thread Shredding: This could be caused by too fast sewing speed or high tension. Adjust accordingly.
Sewing with metallic thread can elevate your projects with a dash of sparkle. Although it may seem challenging initially, with the right preparation, quality thread, appropriate sewing techniques, and a bit of patience, you’ll master this skill. Embrace the shine of metallic thread and let your creativity take flight!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Yes, a metallic needle with a larger eye is recommended to prevent thread shredding and breakage.
Reduce your sewing speed, lower the thread tension, and use a thread stand to help prevent thread breakage.
There are numerous brands known for producing high-quality metallic threads. Some of these include:
Madeira: Known for their wide range of thread types and colors, Madeira’s metallic threads are durable and come in a variety of vibrant hues.
Sulky: Sulky’s metallic threads are popular for both machine and hand sewing projects due to their quality and strength.
Kreinik: Specializing in decorative threads, Kreinik offers metallic threads that are often used in embroidery and cross-stitch.
Gutermann: Known for their quality sewing threads, Gutermann’s metallic threads are sturdy and have a nice shimmer.
Brother: While best known for their sewing machines, Brother also produces a line of high-quality embroidery threads, including metallic options.
Coats & Clark: With a long history in thread manufacturing, Coats & Clark offers durable metallic threads that are suitable for both hand and machine sewing.
Remember to always choose a quality thread to ensure the best results with your sewing projects.