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Digitizing Embroidery Tips & Techniques Holiday

8 Tips for Embroidering with Metallic Thread

Tis the season for shiny, sparkly embroidery!  Many embroiderers shy away from metallic thread but a few tips will help even the most hesitant embroiderer master this holiday favorite!

  1. Use a vertical thread stand. If it comes off the spool and kinks, slip a thread net over the spool. Don’t have one?  Cut a 3” section of pantyhose and slip over the spool.
  2. If you’re worried about feeding the thread from the stand to the machine, add an extra thread guide. Tape a safety pin to the top of the machine (closed end up) and feed the thread through the hole. 
  3. Need another guide? Tape a straw onto the top of the machine.  Just a 1” section will do the trick.
  4. Select the right stabilizer. Soft is best as a heavy, dense cut-away can shred the metallic thread as it enters and exits this tough barrier. Consider polymesh, soft tear-away or tear-away wash away stabilizer.
  5. Tension – decrease the top tension to let the metallic thread slide through the tension discs.
  6. Slow the machine down to 500-600 stitches per minute. Remember this is a specialty thread so it needs special attention!
  7. Chill It – really, many embroiderers swear their metallic performs better after resting in a freezer for 30 mins.
  8. Insert a new sharp metallic needle. The large, polish eye prevents shredding.  You can learn more about needles at


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  • Gail Beam

    Thanks for the tips on using metallic thread. I especially liked the idea of using a safety pin and a piece of a straw for extra areas for the thread to go through.

    • eileenroche

      You’re welcome! I love sewing hacks!

  • Karin Callander

    Awesome ideas! Thanks for sharing!

  • Sherry

    Great post! #7 is a must! If you ever need designs, check out this little shop on Etsy – over 600 designs, formats for any machine.

  • Nancy

    I’m always looking for stitching with metallic thread tips because it can be tricky to use. I do have an additional tip to add. I use a needle and push the thread through a styrofoam packing peanut before threading up the machine. It works basically the same as your straw trick. The styrofoam just really helps to straighten the thread out before it goes into the machine.

    • eileenroche

      I remember Deborah Jones teaching that tip many years ago. It’s a good one – thanks for the reminder!

  • Zoe

    Thank you for the tips with metallic thread. Esp. love the one with the safety pin.
    I want to thank Nancy also for adding her tip. Had not heard of that one.

  • Kathleen R. Brown

    Great tips….Thank you!!!! I had never heard of putting in the freezer before….How Cool!!

  • Anita Reimer

    Love your tips. I also use a regular thread with my metalic I find this gives better coverage and stronger. And the slowing down on the stitching. Will try the chilling of the thread. Thanks.

  • Jean

    I thank all of you for the tips on metallic tips, some that I had never heard of.

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