Metallic Thread Tips

Metallic Thread Tips

Published: July 19th, 2016

By Michelle of Abigail Michelle

Embroidering with metallic thread can be so rewarding, yet so intimidating at the same time. There are some tips that can help the rewards far outweigh any problems when using metallic threads.

Machine Speed

Slow down your embroidery machine speed. Because friction is the #1 problem that metallic thread has, slowing down the speed while embroidering takes some of that friction off the needle and thread. If your machine does not have speed control try stopping the machine about every minute or so to let the needle cool down.


Although it may sound silly, the greater the distance between the thread spool and the needle, the less it will break. Setting the spool just a few feet away from the machine could make a world of difference. I've even had a friend who put a small paintbrush through the hole on the spool and had her son stand across the room with the spool raised above his head while the metallic thread stitched out. It worked beautifully! 

What I do is put a pencil through the hole on my spool and sit with it a few feet away from the machine while I try to watch what is stitching out. 

High Quality Metallic Thread

With metallics, you really get what you pay for. 

Thread Style

Some brands have thinner thread bands which have little "breaks" in the metallic part. This allows the thread to go around the curves and handle the stitching better. Other brands have one long metallic "rope" with no obvious breaks in it. This tends to be harder to use, however some have good luck with it. It's a matter of experience, skill and preference.


Not everyone agrees with this and not all machines do well with thread lubrication. Check with your manufacturer or machine dealer. I like to use beeswax with mine. It's sold on the notions wall at my local fabric store. Mainly, it's a small coin-shaped container that has grooves in it. Inside is a pat of beeswax. It sits on top of my machine and I thread my metallic thread through it. While the design stitches, it gets dragged through the beeswax and lessens the friction as it goes through the needle. 

A similar product is called Thread Heaven. It is also sold on the notions wall. This isn't made of wax,so some prefer it for their machines.

Location... location... location!

There are some areas of designs that are not especially suitable for metallic threads. Of course, there are always exceptions and you can try on a scrap piece of fabric before attempting it on your project. One place that you may want to think twice about using it on is for a satin border. It may look really pretty, but the density and friction while stitching that type of  area may not work well with metallic. Large filled areas (especially "fancy" fills) may not do well if you use metallic thread there. Of course, your mileage may vary!