10 Dec 2014
December 10, 2014

Sewing Metallic Threads

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metallic thread photo

Shine on!

Nothing adds a little shine to a project like metallic thread, whether you use it as an accent or as the primary embellishment. It’s great for decorative stitching, topstitching, serging, and even quilting, both on a regular machine and a longarm machine.

Metallic thread is actually not made from metal, but from nylon, polyester and cotton. It’s available in multiple colors of gold, also silver, copper, pearl, ruby and emerald. Coats Metallic Embroidery thread is comes on conventional spools and on larger mini-king spools, depending on how much you need.

D79 & S990 Metallic

Some sewers are apprehensive about using metallics, and admittedly, some machines can be persnickety as well, but here are some tips to follow for trouble-free stitching with metallic threads:

  • Use a vertical spool pin to hold the spool, or better yet a thread stand that sits behind or to the side of the machine. A thread stand allows more space for the thread to unwind and unkink itself before it gets to the needle.
  • Slow the machine speed if possible, or simply stitch slower than you would with other threads to help reduce stress (on the thread).
  • Some machines/fabrics require a reduced tension for a perfect stitch. On some finicky machines, you may need to leave the thread out of one or more upper thread guides to create the ideal stitch.
  • Select a metallic or topstitching needle with a larger eye (size 90/14 or 100/16). The bigger eye helps to reduce abrasion on the thread, preventing breakage and shredding that can occur with a universal needle’s smaller eye.
  • Avoid very dense stitch patterns as metallic threads are more fragile than other types, and they can snap if packed too tightly in a small space.
  • Always test-sew on the same fabric as your project before committing to a stitch. Adjust stitch length, width and tension as needed.
About the Author


Linda Griepentrog is a writer, editor and designer who lives in Bend, Oregon with her husband (a long arm quilter) and dog, Frank. She loves all things fabric! Linda also leads fabric shopping tours to Hong Kong. Contact her at gwizdesigns@aol.com.

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