Metallic Thread Investigation

Metallic threads add bling to machine embroidery designs, as well as free hand quilting. But, many find that using metallic threads is too painful and give up the bling that these beautiful threads can provide.

I wanted to investigate different brands of metallic thread to see how much the experience of working with these threads can vary from brand to brand, as well as how the outcome might vary in bling. My investigation has taken me longer than anticipated. In fact my investigation is still on-going, but I felt I wanted to provide an update on what I’m doing.

I tested 20+ spools of metallic thread, representing a broad spectrum of manufacturers. The brands include: Coats & Clark, Guetermannn, Madeira, Metler, Robinson Anton, Signature,Sulky,and

My evaluation test uses two different designs, one a light thread count design and the other a higher thread count design, with some solid fill areas. At this point, I’ve completed stitchouts of the lightweight designs and have formed my opions, but am also in the process of performing a blind study evaluation of the level of bling each brand of thread provides.

While I plan to complete this evaluation and post my findings in late May, I can share with you that at this point I found all threads acceptable, with the exception of one. On particular thread seemed to pull the metallic coating from the core part of the thread, leaving the final result of the stitch out to have a poor quality bling. While I tried different needles, speed settings and stabliziers, I was unable to resolve the issues with this particular thread. I currently have someone else testing this particular brand, to see if they are able to resolve the problems I experienced. Overall, the majority these threads stitched out perfectly on first test, but a few had one or more thread breaks. For threads where I had problems with breaks, those were retested with different machine speeds, needles, fabric and stablizer, but for the most part all each re-test resulted in similar breakage.

The design used for this initial test is from Designs By Sick. It is a nice design that stitches out easily for metallic and non-metallic threads.

I hope you’ll check back late May, when I complete my investigation on Metallic Threads.


2 thoughts on “Metallic Thread Investigation”

  1. I can’t wait to hear the results. I tried using metallic thread for the first time last week. Yes it kept breaking. So I gave up and used a shiny variegated thread instead. Later the helpful lady at my local quilting shop asked if I had thought to reduce the tension. Doh! No. Do you think i should have? The test piece went okay, but them it just kept snapping. 😦


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