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How To Use Metallic Thread for Machine Embroidery

by Sarah
Metallic Embroidery Thread

If you are intimidated by metallic thread, you are not alone. I am absolutely convinced that it can smell my fear. Although it’s difficult to work with when learning, in the end, it pays off. It is absolutely beautiful and adds the shine and sparkle we all love. Here are a few tested tips that have helped me tame the shiny beast that is metallic thread. In no time at all, you will be a pro at adding decorative thread to your projects.


Quality Thread

This is the most important aspect to successfully using metallic thread. Always use a high quality thread in a large spool size. Hemingworth is a great brand, we also recommend using Madeira or Wonderfil Metallic thread. These brands manufacture a sturdy metallic thread that feeds consistently through your machine, saving you a lot of headache.

Metallic Thread needles

Using the proper needle for your thread is just as important as using the proper needle for your fabric weight. Metallic needles have a special groove down the front shaft to help guide the delicate thread. The best is size 90/14. Some people also have success with a 90/14 topstitch needle.

Thread stand

A thread stand attachment for your sewing machine also makes a huge difference. It will ensure your ‘glamour’ thread feeds through your machine smoothly without breakage. Thread stands are also a great way to utilize larger spool sizes. Most sewing machines can’t handle large spool sizes on their small horizontal spool pins. These attachments allow you to set the stand behind the machine vertically to use thread cones.



Additional Tips

The above tips will solve the majority of problems that sewists encounter when first starting to work with metallic threads. Here are some more helpful tips and tricks that I’ve found to really help the process as well.

Choose a longer stitch

If it is your first time using metallic thread, I suggest a simple straight stitch to practice. Once you get the hang of it, experiment with your other stitches.

Thread tension needs to be loose

Before you begin sewing on your fabric, use a similar weight fabric to get your tension perfect. Start with your thread tension at 0 and tweak as needed. Metallic thread tension needs to be looser than normal thread.

Threading the bobbin

Put metallic thread on your bobbin by hand. If you are using very fragile thread, having metallic thread in the bobbin can help.

Clean up the dust

Make sure you remove any lint or dust from your bobbin case before sewing.

Remove the paper from thread spool

The paper sticker on your thread can cause skipped stitches and breakage.

Sew Slowly

Very, very slowly. Sewing too quickly will increase breakage.

Be Patient

Your frustration will come out in your work. Take a breath, grab a drink, put the heavy object in your hand down and relaaaaax. Cursing is expected.

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Kathy Drews September 20, 2022 - 2:57 pm

WOW! So much helpful information on your website! Thank you for sharing! I just recently retired and plan on embroidering squares and making quilts with them. I’m really excited to start but I’m intimidated but the long arm machine. When I took the class (a year ago), nothing was said about thread or needles. So I’m doing my research on both. I have already bookmarked several of your articles. 🙂 I hope you don’t mind if I send you a question or two – then I don’t feel like I’m doing this all by myself! LOL Thanks again!

Seasons01 December 2, 2020 - 12:23 am

What is the best stand to use?? I’ve seen a thread director? But the ones that sit on the table are much cheaper and can also be used for large thread holders.

CustomerService December 3, 2020 - 9:32 am

If you are looking for one for your machine, please call us at 888-824-1192 with your make and model and we will be happy to see if there is a stand for your machine. Otherwise, a great stand behind one is:

Christine November 25, 2020 - 2:55 am

Some great helpful info here helped tremendously thank you

CustomerService November 25, 2020 - 8:32 am

I’m glad we could be of help. Thanks for reading!

Melissa September 20, 2019 - 9:52 am

I’m trying to google it but I can’t find anything…. is there a way to remove metallic threading from a sweater? Thanks

CustomerService September 27, 2019 - 8:34 am

Hello Melissa!
I was also unable to pull up anything specifically showing how to remove the metallic thread.
We wish you luck!

Mary Biz August 13, 2017 - 3:07 pm

This little tutorial was so helpful to me. I have been sewing for years (ever since home economics in HS -a requirement when I was young). But I have never really paid attention to thread until recently when I mistakenly purchased quilting thread for regular sewing. Needless to say, it was much too heavy and strong for the project at hand. Now I have a knowledge of different threads, how, and when to use them. Thank you for this.

Sarah August 14, 2017 - 9:58 am

Our pleasure! Thank you for reading!

Linda Komberec August 12, 2017 - 6:35 pm

Wow, loved your information,I’m sure I will be ordering lots from you also will put the word out. Linda Komberec,Auntie Linda’s Quilt Shop,Athol,Idaho

Sarah August 14, 2017 - 9:55 am

Hi, Linda! Thank you so much! We really appreciate the support!

ed August 12, 2017 - 5:29 pm

as a begining sewest, these tips come in very handy. thank you for the tips.

Sarah August 14, 2017 - 9:54 am

My pleasure!


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