Metallic thread

jenni_caNovember 7, 2004

Has anyone done any embroidering with metallic thread?

I tried a design with it and had terrible problems. I used a metallic needle and a thread stand. I don't know what I was doing wrong, but the thread kept breaking.

It was almost as if it was getting caught on something inside.

My machine is a Brother ULT 2001

Before I even try this again, does anyone have and tips?


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Make sure you are using an embroidery needle made for metallic threads (Schmetz Metafil is the brand I use). If your machine has a slower speed, use that. When sewing at high speeds, the needle will actually heat up, so if you don't have a slower speed, stop the machine occasionally, let the needle cool for 10-15 seconds, then start up again.

The top tension may need to be reduced slightly.

Often with metallics it helps to reduce the stitch density. If you have editing software reduce the stitch density in the metallic areas to about 85%.


    Bookmark   November 7, 2004 at 11:23AM
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Jenni - I have the PC8500. I just did a design with gold and silver metallic thread. I was using Sulky Sliver looks like a very thin, flat strand of (probably) plastic.

Anyway, as the thread works through the tension of the machine, it twists up. I had to let the thread run through my fingers (or stop frequently) to work the kink out that was forming between the spool and the beginning of the thread track in the machine. If that kink got in the tension, the thread would break.

Also, maybe try a bit larger needle, and do loosen the tension at least one notch. And be patient! My design looks great now that it's done, even though working with the metallic was a bit stressful!

    Bookmark   November 8, 2004 at 10:05AM
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I second everything already mentioned. I've also found Superior Threads metallic thread to really work better than the Sulky and Madeira I have, although loosening the upper tension just a bit, slowing down the machine and using a thread stand do make a big difference in how well they all work. I've also got an attachment for my 8500 that goes onto the thread spool holder, makes a 90 degree turn, and holds the spool of thread so that it actually unrolls instead of unwinding from the top, which will twist the thread. I'll see if I can find a picture of it. If you do a lot of metallics, it's a neat thing to have.

Also- some designs are just too dense, and I don't think lend themselves to metallic thread no matter what you do.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2004 at 10:44PM
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Hi Jenni,

Funny you should mention metalic thread - I have a ULT2003D and under the section entitled 'Vertical Spool Pin' and 'Using the Spool Net' there is an explanation as to how to use metalic thread with the ULT2003D; apparently this pin goes on the Bobbin Winder and is meant to hold the thread spool and the Spool Net helps to guide it. This info can be found in section 1-37 of your book if it is laid out the same as mine. Goodluck.


    Bookmark   November 9, 2004 at 7:50PM
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Oh geez mean I have to read the manual!!LOL
I am using a new metallic needle,
and a thread stand but I suspect the problem is this spool of thread.
I'm going to use some brand new thread.
Thanks everyone for the suggestions.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2004 at 8:02PM
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Hi Jenni,

Please let us know how things end up. Metalic thread scares the wits out of me no matter how beautiful it is.

Take care,


    Bookmark   November 10, 2004 at 7:08AM
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In my naive happiness last year I bought a selection of non-embroidery metallic threads before I learned about the capability of my machine. I couldn't do more than 5 metallic stitches at a time. I was told, later, by the salesperson that I needed to feed these threads through the needle by hand if I wanted it to work.

Then I read this thread! It wasn't my needle, my tension, or anything--just the density. I just stitched a 4X4 inch 10,000 stitch metallic design without a single break and without having to let the needle cool down. What I'm going to do in the future is do my dense fills in several low density layers since I have the editing software to do that.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 3:00PM
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Have been using metallic threads for snowflakes (overlay) and we have found in class that it doesn't matter what needle we use (microtec, metallic, regular....we all seem to have different preferences and successes) the biggest help/success was using a thread stand and LAYING the spool loose on its side on the stand base or in some kind of container to keep it from "running away". And as mentioned before, slow your machine down. The twisting has to do with how the thread feeds off the spool.
Just finished a 15" block with a six pointed 12' snowflake and didn't have any problems with breakage. (the snowflake was stitched with RA with Sulky sliver metallic overlay)
The other thing you can do, is flip the spool every 300-500 stitches or sit and feed the thread through sssssllllooooowwwwlllyyyy to keep it from twisting(and we all know how tedious that can be!!lol)
Once you find a method/needle/thread that works for you, it's a joy to work with and the results are worth the effort.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2009 at 2:49AM
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I agree with the sewing speed and not only should you use a metallic needle, you should change it often and use extra thin bobbin thread.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2009 at 10:23PM
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