Machine Stitching with Metallic Threads
Our Illuminations metallic threads have a polyester core thatís wrapped with a thin layer of
metallic material. I have worked with metallic thread for many, many years. Here are some of
the best tips and techniques I have learned.
At the factory the thread is wound onto the spools while they are in an upright position, so
they usually sew best if they are spooled off the same way. Use a thread stand or cone holder
to pull the thread up through a hook and over into your sewing machine. Thread nets are
helpful, especially with larger spools because they keep the thread from spooling off too fast.
Tension and Stitch Length
The best tension for satin stitching with metallic thread is about a 2 or 3 on most machines.
These are the settings used to sew appliques or buttonholes. Lengthen the stitch from a 2 to a
2.5 or 3. By loosening the tension and lengthening the stitch, there is less chance of the thread
making a "birdís nest" (packing in one place) and breaking. Practise on a scrap of fabric
before sewing to ensure best results.
I recommend Schmetz Top Stitching or Metallic Needles Ėor they are designed for metallic
and other hard-to-sew threads. The eyes have been smoothed to eliminate burrs that cause
shredding or breakage. This process also makes them more expensive. The eyes of machine
embroidery needles have been smoothed more than regular sewing machine needles but not
the same degree as the metallic needles.
Use a 90 or 100 for the best results but if you are
working on finer fabrics, try the 70 or 80.
I also recommend Titanium coated topstitch style needles from Superior Threads. These
needles have an ultra-thin coat of titanium nitride layered on the surface to extend their
productive life by five to eight times that of conventional needles. You can buy them in
70/10, 80/12, 90/14 and 100/16
There really is nothing scarey about using metallic threads. The effects are well worth it.