I have a love-hate relationship with metallic thread. Don't get me wrong, it looks gorgeous and adds an extra touch of something special to any embroidery project. But it's also a pain to work with. It tangles easily, it slides out of the needle, it doesn't lay flat on the fabric, there are so many other reasons why I find metallic thread annoying to work with.
Don't let my complaining deter you! I find that many stitchers avoid using metallic thread because they've heard that it's not the easiest thread to work with or are daunted by the fabric that it looks hard. Even though I have an iffy relationship with this thread, I'm not here to give metallic thread a bad rap. Instead, use these 4 tips to make working with metallic thread easier.
Cut Short Pieces
You might be tempted to cut a long piece of thread so you can do all your metallic stitches in one go. While this tip might sound counter-intuitive, it's actually easier to cut the metallic thread shorter than you normally would. Shorter pieces will make working with it easier. I find that the longer my thread is, the more likely it is to tangle, come undone, or unravel.
Don't Split Your Thread (Unless You Absolutely Have To)
Splitting metallic thread is much harder than splitting 6-strand cotton thread. Because the thread is somewhat stretchy and not as smooth as cotton thread, it easily tangles. By using the whole piece you can avoid this. Thankfully, DMC has a few metallic thread options that come in varying weights/thicknesses so you can still add delicate details or chunky gems while using the hole thread.
Use A Thread Conditioner
Thread conditioner is similar to what you'd use in the shower for your own hair. It essential coats your thread in a thin gloss making it easier to thread a needle, glide through your fabric, and tangle less. Some of my favorite thread conditioner is Thread Gloss by Ponderosa Creative. I use this as part of my regular stitching, and trust, your thread will thank you. And if you're wondering how to use thread conditioner, check out this tutorial video on my Instagram.
Make Short Stitches
Shorter metallic stitches are easier to control when stitching. And because metallic thread can be a bit unwieldy, keeping your stitches short (or shorter than usual) can help curb some of it's wildness. Short stitches are also easier to keep flush with the fabric or hold in place while you create the next stitch in your design.
Bonus: How To Keep Metallic Thread On Your Thread Card
Use a little scotch tape! Once out of the skein, metallic thread can quickly turn into an unwieldy mess. By using a small piece of tape, I secure the end of my thread to the thread card and keep the skein from unravelling while it's stored. (Yes, that happens. No, I have no idea how sitting in a box can do that to this thread...)
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