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Using Metallic Threads

Using metallic thread may seem a bit daunting at first but there are a few tricks to making the threads easy to use, and they add such a beautiful finish to a stitched project, so they are well worth the effort.

Start by using a slightly bigger needle. This helps by making the needle easier to thread plus the needle pushes the fabric threads apart a bit, so letting the thread slide through the fabric easily. If you normally use a size 26 needle, try a size 24 as we have done here.

Knot the thread onto the needle to lock it in to place, so you do not to repeatedly rethread your needle as it will want to slide loose.
There are two ways to do this. You can just thread your needle with a single thread, then literally just tie a knot using the main long thread and the tail. This does hold the thread in place, but you will need to tighten the knot every now and then as it will want to untie itself.
The 2nd method is to do a loop knot by threading the needle as normal then thread the short tail back through the needle eye. You will now have a loop on one side of the eye, and the thread & tail on the other. Next, pass the thread and the tail, one at a time, through the loop and then pull tight.

This is a bit fiddly but worth giving a go as the thread will now be secure and will not undo.  See the photos to see how it looks. The knot at the needle will still slide through the fabric easily.

Use a single strand of thread rather that two strands. If you need a thicker covering then use a thicker thread i.e., if you are using Kreinik thread try a #8 instead of a #4, and if you are using DMC Diamant try Diamant Grande instead. We have used one strand of Diamant stitched over two threads in our photo.

Leave a longer tail at the back of your stitching when you start and stitch the first few stitches overtop to hold it in place.
When you finish stitching with that thread, again leave a longer tail and stitch it under more stitches on the back of your work to hold it more securely in place.

Use a shorter thread than you normally would. Metallic threads can start to fray a little as you pull them back and forth through the fabric, so by using a shorter thread you are using up the thread before it begins to fray.

Use a thread conditioner like Thread Magic. This is not essential, but some stitchers like to use thread conditioner to smooth down the thread and to prevent any fraying.

Allow the needle to drop now and then to let the thread unwind and to stop it twisting.

Blend one metallic strand with a cotton strand and this will make it easier to stitch and will still add a subtle shine to your work.

Stitch a little slower than normal and this will allow you to watch the thread and stitches a bit closer, so that you can see they are neat.

Stitching with Metallics does take a little bit more effort but the results are well worth it, so why not give it a go!

1 thought on “Using Metallic Threads

  1. It is quite true. The colours really do ‘pop’ with metallic thread added. I am currently designing a Christmas gnome who will go on a polystyrene cone and I have added metallic thread from Elizabeth to add that extra sparkle. It is well worth the effort and there are many metallic threads to choose from.

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