working with metallic thread can be a bit more challenging to handle than regular machine embroidery thread. if you get into trouble using metallic thread, try these steps, in this order:
1. make sure you’re using a quality, new, SHARP “metallic needle.” (metallic needles have a larger eye, which allows the thread to run more smoothly, and this eye is often coated with teflon for an even better effect.)
2. if you see that the thread is coming off of a spool too easily and is causing loops and knots at the very beginning, try using a thread net (spool net). these are very helpful with frustrating looping issues, and are very inexpensive. most metallic thread—particularly the extremely high sheen brands—have this looping problem, but it’s an issue that is easy to solve because the benefits of using shiny metallic thread are huge.
another possible solution to “early looping” problems is to use a QUALITY vertical thread stand (thread feeder), as this issue is especially noticeable on machines that have horizontally positioned spool. if you have a good thread stand, it’s worthwhile to try it. i got mine for $25 bucks at a craft show.
3. reduce your machine speed! try the lowest speed you can set on your machine, and observe the results. move the speed up, little by little, until the point where it begins to cause thread breakage. turn the speed down a bit down from there, to the best point of good performance.
4. make sure the top thread tension is not too high for a metallic thread. usually metallic thread requires a LOWER thread tension than regular embroidery thread, and lowering the tension can also help prevent shredding. nothing ticks me off quite lite shredding.
5. make sure your design is suitable for metallic thread. many designs are digitized in such a way that they don’t work well with any metallic thread, but if you’re hellbent on using metallic thread, avoid these types of designs for better luck:
* many overlapping objects that create 3 or more stitch layers
* designs with many small stitches
* designs with very dense areas
6. make sure you’re using a decent backing. metallic thread usually works much better soft, cutaway backings or with backings that have a viscose or cotton component to them. 100% polyester backings are usually too sturdy and create too much friction with needle and thread, which causes unwanted thread breaks. rule of thumb: if the backing feels good on your face, it’s suitable for working with metallic thread…too itchy or scratchy, save it for something else.
7. make sure you’re using decent fabric. fabric that is too thick or dense can cause unwanted friction, therefore causing metallic thread breakage. when working with metallic thread, always try to use soft materials and natural fibers.
8. try cooling your metallic threads in the freezer for about 5-7 minutes before embroidering. can’t explain the physics behind this and am too lazy to look it up…but it works! probably has something to do with expansion and contraction of fibers.