This is a compilation of QUILTNET postings about quilting with metallic thread.
All comments are the OPINIONS of the person who posted the
Just wanted to pass along a lesson I learned the hard way trying to
get through some Christmas gifts....I have always used Sulky
metallic thread, but ran out and couldn't find any at the closest
fabric store, so I bought Coats and Clark. It kept breaking as I
was quilting, even though I had
loosened the top tension. Anyway, in desperation I went out today
and bought the Sulky, which was less expensive than the Coats and
Clarks stuff....and have been quilting smoothly all evening.
There's something to be said for good quality thread!!
BTW, does anyone have any sewing tips on stream lame metallic
thread....I did not fare well with it at any tension setting---I'm
using a topstitching needle...(and I'm putting off using again
until after the Christmas stuff is done.)
Sun, 12 Dec 1993 21:29:03 MST
I have done a fair amount of machine quilting with metallic thread
this Christmas season, and the BEST metallic thread I could find
was Talon America's thread. It came in tiny (71 yd) spools that
were promotional. They had gold and silver. It didn't break in
the machine,the color was true (no greenish cast to it), and it
really looked smooth in the fabric. The Coats&Clark looks like
bent metal, IMHO. Unfortunately this thread was only a promotional
item, and my local stores are out of the gold thread. They have
tons of silver, but no more gold.
Ironically, the Talon AMERICA thread was marked as being made in
Japan :). I'm using the Sulky thread now.
My other favorite metallic thread was also made in Japan, and I
picked it up when I was in Tokyo three years ago. I'm "saving"
that for when I hand quilt the wedding rings into a quilt. I got
it in a fabric stor e near the Hard Rock Cafe.
If anyone stumbles across the little spools of gold Talon America
thread,buy as much as you can for me and I'll pay you double the
price plus shipping! If it were available here, I'd probably buy
10-15 spools of it. Jean
Mon, 13 Dec 1993 10:01:18 PST
You might have more luck "couching" it. Lay a few strands of it
where you want to stitch, then use a narrow zig zag stitch
to stitch over it and hold it in place. You'll get the same
metallic look without the pain and frustration. The thread you use
to hold it down could be invisible thread, or a cotton that matches
the backing fabric of your quilt, or the "good" metallic (sulky)
that doesn;t break. In Chinese embroidery, gold thread is often
couched with red thread, it's a very "gorgeous" look.
Also, there are new needles especially for metallic thread,
I'm going to buy some soon and give them a try.
I've used the stuff with no trouble at all. I used a brand new #12
needle as recommended on the spool. I loosened the upper tension
on my machine. I satin stitched the math blocks I sent out for an
exchange. I think the thread broke once on six blocks- and I think
it was my fault, not the thread's. The results are great.
Actually, my husband bought two spools of the thread to use in
tying fly fishing lures- I stole it from him for the project. I'm
definitely going to go and buy more colors of it. dss
I got some info on sewing with stream lame thread, which I thought
I might share:use a size 90 or a topstitching needle loosen the top
tension put a drop of Sewer's Aid on the spool of thread longer
stitch length This stuff looks like Christmas tree tinsel and is
gorgeous, so it's probably well worth the extra trouble. Happy holiday sewing!
Fri, 14 Jan 1994 13:46:01
Vivian asked about metalic threads. I've used many for both hand
and machine work. Coats &Clark has one that is a bit more
"thready" than "metally" and that works well for hand quilting but
doesn't give the shine you're looking for. My favorite is the Sulky
brand. I've quilting entire quilts with it and it is FAB.
As with any thread, don't use a large piece because it will weaken
and break. No longer than 18" - maybe shorter. It comes in a
Fri, 14 Jan 1994 16:27:57
Need Suggestions on Metallic Thread for Hand Quilting
On Fri, 14 Jan 1994, A train of thought is passing by. wrote:
> Has anyone had any experience hand quilting with metallic thread?
I just finished a Streak of Lightning wallhanging and I think it
would look great if hand quilted in gold metallic thread. Any
ideas? Sugesstions? Am I crazy? Thanks, Vivian
No, I don't think you're crazy! Metallic thread works FINE for hand
quilting. It's NOT just for machine work. I've done several quilts
with it. The kinds I've used have been Kreinik (or Balger) Fine
Braid (be careful to get the Fine Braid, not the Blending
Filament, which is too thin) or Sulky Metallic. A friend of mine
has also done a lot of hand quilting with Stream Lame, which is a
very shiny "tinsel" type thread that comes in some amazing
iridescent shades. I haven't tried it yet, but will probably =
use it on a top I just finished. The only caveats I can offer for
working with metallic thread are:
Work with a shorter thread than usual -- about 12" long.
Keep moving the needle to a different place on the thread as it
does tend to fray and shred when the needle stays in one place for
Good luck -- it is well worth the effort!!! Diane
From Sarah :
I used metallic thread while sewing some stockings in December.
I used it both in the bobbin and as thread, and didn't have too
much trouble. It only broke when I went too fast or hit a thick
spot. I'd be interested to know if it works better if you only use
it as a bobbin.
>Are there any special needles I should use?
I use a needle size 90 and put "sew ease" on the tread. Just slide
a glob of it across the lengthwise part of the spool of thread.
This lubricates it so it doesn't break. It isn't greasy.
> Do I have to loosen the tension for the top thread?
I don't change the top thread at all. I have used metallic thread
in the bobbin and it works just fine. Get up your nerve and CHANGE
THAT BOBBIN TENSION! Just remember where the screw was when
you started. I give mine a quarter turn and it works very well.
March 9, 1994
I used Madeira gold metallic this weekend for quilting, and
did very well after I went through about 4 needles, all new out of
the pack, til I found one that had a very nice, sharp point on it.
Until then, I kept getting skipped stitches. I didn't sew fast,
just carefully &deliberately, and got very nice straight and
blind-hem stitches. The Feather-stitch needed to have the bobbin
tension tightened; it kept pulling the bobbin thread up. No matter
WHAT I did, I couldn't get a nice satin stitch applique; I ended up
going back to regular thread in black.
I think there has been some misunderstandings on the topic of
"filament". The original post was about adding a filament to
another thread for machine stitching. What I think was meant about
the original question was the use of Balger Blending Filament.
This is a thin, polyester metallic thread wrapped around a core
polyester thread. It is very lightweight and comes in a multitude
of metallic shades. It is manufactured by the Kreinik corp. I
have used the Balger blending filament for hand embroidery and
especially smocking. It gives a nice sheen, but is very fragile
and must be used in short lengths. Marina posted about how to
thread a hand needle with it. I would not use it for hand
quilting, since there are other metallic threads that can withstand
the constant pulling through the fabcric. I'm curious to
hear if the original poster did try it on the sewing machine, and
what the results were. Blending filament is a very different
product from the nylon filament thread that is used for machine
quilting. Hope this clears up any confusion. Debra