by dianned 01 Aug 2010

Help!! I have been sewing with metallic thread (Gutermanns Sulky in silver) and it's been driving me NUTS! It will sew so far - and look beautiful - then suddenly snap. I was doing a satin-stitch border and it sewed the first two sides just fine, then snapped halway along the third side - then at the corner - then a third of the way up the last side - then five times on the final straight, each time the breaks got closer and closer together! I had intended doing the letering (I'm making a silver wedding anniversary card) in silver thread too but I've abandoned that idea. Has anyone any tips, suggestions and cures for sewing with metallic thread? I love the effect, but hate the work involved trimming and re-threading.


by sandralochran 05 Oct 2010

Diane, thanks for asking this question .I have enjoyed reading all the ideals , I used some metallic thread in my Christmas Table Runner that i posted. I had very little trouble . ( used larger neele )

by bevgrift 05 Oct 2010

Thanks for this Q. Loved reading all th A too.
From Bev

by maggieduck 05 Oct 2010

machine to slow up verry slow
sorry for my english

by msfancyvip 05 Oct 2010

Dianned, I feel your pain. I have been pulling my hair out using metallic thread on a tree skirt for snowflakes and had gone through 9 Schmetz Metallic needles at 50% completion and was about ready to scrap the entire project. Then I tried putting the spool of thread upright inside a glass votive of a wall sconce across the room (about 25 feet) from my machine and ran the thread threw the metal light holder on my chandelier (to keep it up off from the floor and away from the dogs getting tangled in it) then down around an empty bobbin spool (a half wrap as using for a guide only) that is placed on my upright spool pin. I waited for the thread to relax or decompress from being so tightly wound around the spool for 20 minutes or so when starting and then sew normally. For some reason the thread pullng off the spool and then being able to relax and untwist by it's own weight I was able to complete my project without another single needle breaking. I must say that I do watch the thread VERY VERY closely and actually hand pull the hanging thread to make sure it is feeding freely without any tugging or pulling of the thread before it goes through the tensioner as a further precautionary measure...and I do reduce the tension also. Woo-Hoo! I have now permanently installed a very small eyelet in a ceiling beam just for stitching with metallic thread. I'm sure I will experience a certain amount of needle breakage while stitching with metallic threads...but nothing like I was and without the insane dread and fear that I used to experience when even thinking about using metallic threads. Good Luck! ~Rita

whtsands by whtsands 05 Oct 2010

OMG I can't believe what you did. I swear I am sitting here cracking up. I am not laughing at you, but the lengths we will go through to complete a sewing project. It becomes "I am going to do this if it kills me". I love that you actually installed an eyelet in the ceiling beam. I read the other day about folks putting the metallic thread in the freezer, etc. I have also used the dreaded "metallic thread" and had numerous thread breaks. Only on a site like this can we laugh at ourselves at the trials and tribulations of machine embroidery. I love it.

sewbadly by sewbadly 05 Oct 2010

What a wonderful visual!

msfancyvip by msfancyvip 05 Oct 2010

Whtsands...I totally GET what you're saying! It is so true that my husband thought that I'd completely lost my mind...since the request to put the eyelet was coming out of the mouth of a person that uss T-pins instead of nails for hanging home decor on the walls!!! LOL ~Rita

by airyfairy 05 Oct 2010

I have been terrified of working with metallic but with all these tips, I have been out and bought a silver and gold - just to try.

getEdited - SELECT
by sewdoctor 05 Oct 2010

I bought a TP holder and mounted it on a heavy piece of wood..exchanged the roller for a dowel cut just big enough that I have to force it in. I use the small cones and had a problem with the thread wrapping around the dowel. I cut a plastic circle with a hole large enough to just force it on the cone, as a stopper. I then run this up to my thread stand and then down to a bullnose clip (through the "pinchers") clipped to a weighted small box then up to my machine where it goes through another bullnose clip clipped onto the thread holder on the machine, and then into the thread path on the machine. It looks like a roller coaster! Last night I stitched a large monogram with very dense thick letters, that took 90 minutes to sew out and the thread only broke twice. I also took my tension way down, as the path supplied enough tension on the thread.
I also used a topstitch needle and, Marathon metallic thread.

by spendlove Moderator 05 Oct 2010

I'm experimenting today with the thread on a horizonal pin (actually a pencil in an improvised cardboard stand) so that it comes off the side of the spool rather than the end. So far it seems to work!

by fannyfurkin 03 Oct 2010

probably just reiterating what everyone else has said but I did write a blog post about it.
I use Soft light metallic which is not quite as shiny but works really well I get it from Echidna in Australia, not sure where else it is available but I have used it to stith out entire designs with no problem.

by eastwitch2 17 Aug 2010

Try using a Schmetz Metallica needle or a Large Eyed Organ Needle # 15x1ST both of which are made to use for embroidering with Metallic thread.
A Size 80/12 is a good size to use in these needles.

You might also want to adjust your top thread tension down just abit when using Metallic thread.
Slow your machine down just abit also.
This will cut down on the friction that is on the thread as it moves through the needle eye.

Place your Metallic thread on a separate thread stand behind and to the right of your machine at a fair distance away and this will allow you metallic thread to relax abit. Just thread the thread from the stand over to the machine and thread as normal.

Some designs are a bit too dense for the metallic thread so if you can you may want to enlarge your design by about 5 percent and see if that makes a difference in the stitching using metallic thread especially with the satin stitches.

I also agree that Kingstar is one of the best Metallic thread I have used. But I do use other bransds too.


by margiepink 17 Aug 2010

Sure use a Metallic needle 90/14, slow the machine way down, also if your needle is the slightest bit damaged (not visible to the naked eye) could have a burr, I always hold the spool of Metallic thread in my lap and make sure there is enough like 2/3 ft. to easily slide through the openings and down to the needle. I never have a bit of trouble and I use a lot of Metallic threads. Hope this helps. Go eat some peanuts you will feel better.

by anne55 10 Aug 2010

On emblibrary, Kenny suggested putting the thread into a cup to let it "relax". A link to the tip is attached. They have tons of help pages on emblibrary at Kenny's Korner.

by capoodle 10 Aug 2010

I threaded mine through the serger thread holder and placed it quite a good distant away from my embroidery machine. This gave it more time to to get straighter and slowing down the machine helps.

by auntbaba 10 Aug 2010

I love this site! What great answers from the Cuties. I'm sure that you will find a method that works for you. I've never had a lot of trouble with metallic thread, but that peanut trick sure sounds like something to try. Good Luck!

1 comment
lulu07 by lulu07 03 Oct 2010

I love it too..cuties are so helpful and always so quick with" great!

by carolvm 10 Aug 2010

Hi, this is going to seem really silly but keeping metallic thread in the freezer until it's needed really helps stop the breakage problem.I actually read about this on another site and it got me thru making a lot of fsl Christmas ornaments with hardly any breakage and I was using 4 different brands of thread too. I did not believe it until I tried it. Good luck, Carol

crousse by crousse 10 Aug 2010

wow...what a unique tip! can't wait and try it! Thanks for the info... :-)

shilly by shilly 05 Oct 2010

I tried this too; it definitely helps.

by lani02 10 Aug 2010

I have used metalic threads as accents and yes it breaks more often than other thread. I slow down my stitch speed and that helps me.

by laffma1 10 Aug 2010

Dianned - have you ever tried the King Star brand of metallic threads? I have just been tringd their Gold #3 thread, and am very impressed with the way it stitched out and the vibrant color. I think this brand works even better for me than the Superior brand I praised so much when you first posted your question. Give it a try, if you haven't already, and let us know what you think. Thanks.

catsnhorses by catsnhorses 10 Aug 2010

I totally agree about using King Star's metallic threads! It's an excellent thread with a lovely luster to the colors. I gave away all of my other brands of metallic threads, since King Star stitches so well with hardly ever a break.
Marion in KY

shirlener88 by shirlener88 10 Aug 2010

That is what I use, as well - it stitches like a dream.

crousse by crousse 10 Aug 2010

Thanks for the awesome tip! Now I know what kind to try without the hassle of some of the other 'cuties' to begin with. I am anxious to try that! :-)

tonilee by tonilee 10 Aug 2010

i am terrified of the metallic threads,but after reading all the tips,I'm going for it-but do you know were do you go for king star metallic threads? thank you. Tonilee

by claudenicolas 01 Aug 2010

you have receive many good advices. About needles, I think that large eye needles are as well as metallic ones. I think also that each machine has a brand of thread that is better for her and some other brands with which there are always problems. We must learn to well understand our machine!!!

by holly12 01 Aug 2010

Thanks for all the ideas. I have had these problems and thought it was me. I will say using the Madera Metallic I really didn't have the problems. Thanks again. Arlene

by psssst 01 Aug 2010

I found the post with a picture of the "foam peanut"

by libpage1 01 Aug 2010

I use Hemingworth Metallic. Never had a problem. You can buy it online.

by mary51 01 Aug 2010

I think all the ideas are very helpful, I have tried some but it has not been easy so I always avoid using it I do not have the time to deal with this kind of thread, I gave up, I use the rayon golden tread it not metalic but it does not give me trouble.

by shirlener88 01 Aug 2010

I have always adored working with metallic thread - but have used one brand mostly - when I tried others - I found trouble with them - I purchase mine from the Embroidery Store - 1-800-504-9757 - I use a stand - have used a metallic needle, but don't really need it - have never slowed my machine down, except when actually sewing - not for embroidery - I do use a net around the outside of the spool - it helps to control the tension some. I can't wait to view your card - I am sure it will turn out nice in the end.

by ansalu 01 Aug 2010

I use Madeira metalic and it works wonderful. No extra-needle, no extra-stand, just slow down the speed ;o)
Especially I like the rainbow-colored thread (on the picture with red and silver)

by laffma1 01 Aug 2010

Diane - I'm working on a special project using metallic thread on dupioni silk. I tried a couple different brands of threads (and all the various suggestions that others have mentioned below), and even with a new metallic needle, I had similar difficulties as you described. I was just about ready to give up, when I found some Superior brand metallic thread on sale. I had not heard of it before, but thought I would give it a try as well. Wow - what a difference!! Now I can keep the thread spool on the pin where it is supposed to be and it works great. Although, I do still watch it like the hawk - just in case... Good luck.

1 comment
lenamae by lenamae 05 Oct 2010

please tell where you got it and the name of it.

by lbrow 01 Aug 2010

One more suggestion to add to all of suet's try having the thread run through a styrofoam packing peanut. I take a large needle poke a hole through the peanut put the metallic through the peanut then on through embroidery machine. I learned this trick from another cute, jrob.

marietta by marietta 01 Aug 2010

This really works, I have been doing this for a long time too.

crousse by crousse 01 Aug 2010

what a great idea! thanks so much for your tip! I cant wait to try it!! :-)

by mops Moderator 01 Aug 2010

I place the reel in such a way that the thread does not unroll and kink, but the reel is forced to turn. That way the thread stays straight. Otherwise it's like making a cord, you know the method, turning long enough to double the thing and let it unwind in the opposite direction. Helps me.

by asterixsew Moderator 01 Aug 2010

Use a larger needle, slow the speed down, I often alter the tension to AND watch it like a hawk. I dont find the Gutermann metalic thread the easiest to use. Have fun, I know my friend and I have had similar problems too.

dianned by dianned 01 Aug 2010

Unfortunately my machine (Janome MC5700) doesn't have an option to slow it down - or if it does, I haven't found it yet! My machine prefers all the other Gutermann threads to anything else so I thought it'd like their metallic too - not so, though!

asterixsew by asterixsew 01 Aug 2010

I only recently found out how to slow my machine down and it was only as I was in the machine shop and was shown. I felt a little daft as I have had the machine a number of years. Sometimes things are not obvious...

by gayle950 01 Aug 2010

I will be interested in any ideas. I haven't tried metallic thread yet.

1 comment
shilly by shilly 01 Aug 2010

A few tutorials mentionned putting the thread in the freezer for a bit before sewing with it; apparently the humidity helps. Worked for me. also, placing the spool upright behind or away from the machine and through a second holder helps with the kinks and extra tension, the further the thread travels the less jerking and twisting you get. I use regular ball point needles size 14. i guess we all have to experiment some, but I really like the tutorials on the sites. good luck and happy sewing.

by suet 01 Aug 2010

I find the following helps with metallics:
1. Place thread upright on a stand behind the machine. This helps with the kinks, especially when you are towards the end of the reel.
2. Use a needle for metallics. I like Schmetz.
3. Sew at the slowest speed possible for your machine
4. Watch it like a hawk! The minute you turn your back it will play up!!

Hope you get to finish your anni card. Sue

dianned by dianned 01 Aug 2010

Thank you - I am getting towards the end of the reel so that could well be the problem, and I'm also sewing with an ordinary needle (a new one) - didn't realise they did ones specifically for metallic thread, I will have to get some. Love and a flower from Dianne x x x

edithfarminer by edithfarminer 01 Aug 2010

I totally agree with that. bigger eye in the needle what metalic needles have and slow down the speed. Good luck

fabreg by fabreg 10 Aug 2010

Je pose la bobine par terre(elle doit rester debout)et ne pas oublier de mettre une aiguille spéciale pour fil métallique. C'est le déroulement ,qui fait casser le fil!J'emploie différents fils métal et j'ai trés peu de casse. J'espère que la traduction du français sera bonne. Bonne broderie.Brodeuse 77

dianned by dianned 10 Aug 2010

Merci. Je vais essayer de mettre la bobine sous ma machine. J'ai acheté des aiguilles pour fil métallique, ils ont été remis aujourd'hui, alors je vais essayer encore une fois!