Using metallic thread can be frustrating as it splits, frays, tangles and snags. This does not make it the most relaxing experience which is how stitching is supposed to be. There are a variety of metallic threads on the market from all the major manufacturers of cotton embroidery threads and it is important to purchase the appropriate type for your project. They are packaged in different ways – some are on bobbins and others in skeins as normal embroidery threads. Not only are you able to buy single stranded thread but there are some that are in strands or ply so you can choose the amount of strands needed.
Why does this thread split, fray, tangle and snag? This is because it is a fragile thread and prone to friction as it is pulled through the fabric. This weakens the thread causing it to fray and eventually will break. It is important that when stitching a little more care is taken.
Using one strand of embroidery thread and a length of blending filament helps to strengthen the thread. This also gives a hint of sparkle in a project rather than a glare of metal. Metallic threads can enhance a design even if it is only a few scattered stitches over the whole project.
• Using shorter lengths than normal embroidery threads helps. An ideal length for normal thread is eighteen inches so for metallic use twelve or fifteen inches.
• Using a needle with a larger eye to open the holes of the fabric will reduce friction.
• Cross stitches should be worked in two movements up through one hole and down the next hole.
• Using a thread conditioner prevents fraying and tangling. Use a proprietary brand or perhaps try some beeswax.
There will never be an easy way to stitch with metallic thread but reducing the frustration of stitching with it will make the experience more enjoyable.
We hope you’ve found our little guide to using metallic threads helpful – you can find more of our ‘Very Little Guides’ here.
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