Search here...
Digitizing Embroidery Tips & Techniques Holiday Software Uncategorized

Digitizing for Metallic Threads

Last week, I provided some tips on digitizing for metallic thread.  Reader Janis O’Connor asked for some clarification on how to stitch the underlay of a complex fill in polyester thread and finish the decorative layer of the fill with metallic. There may be a better way to do this but this is how I do it. Let’s walk through the process. Draw a hexagon with the artwork tool. Select the design, right click and convert to Complex Fill.

Click on the Redraw tool, and notice the underlay that’s automatically added to the complex fill. Below is a screen capture of the underlay only.

Of course, in Inspiration’s Perfect Embroidery Pro, you have control over the type and density of the underlay.  Click on the Underlay tab in the Properties Box and note the underlay is Perpendicular with a density of 3.0.  Remove the underlay by clicking on the check mark next to Perpendicular. Click Apply.

Now, select the hexagon, copy and paste it.  Change the color of the first hexagon to pink, this will serve as the underlay.  Select the pink hexagon.  The Fill tab will be open in the Properties Box.  Change the density to 3. Click Apply.

The pink hexagon is the same density as the original underlay but the stitches are traveling in the same direction of the blue hexagon.

Change that by selecting the Shape tool and moving the black circles to the opposite sides of the hexagon. 

Now the underlay will be perpendicular to the complex fill providing a stronger foundation.

Small changes to run stitches and satin columns help light reflect off the metallic thread resulting in eye-catching sparkle. Lengthen short running stitches to provide more metallic surface.  Just change the stitch length in the Properties Box to 2.8 or even longer.

Add curvy edges to satin columns. Use the shape tool to move the nodes on each side of the column.  If your column doesn’t have a node, place the cursor where you want to add one, right click and Add Point.

The image below shows an exaggerated example as just a little movement can make big changes in a metallic design. 

So go ahead, add a little sparkle to your stitches!

Related posts:




  • Janis O'Connor

    Thank you so much for providing this information!
    Very helpful!

  • Wanda

    Thanks this was a great post

  • Doree Shandera

    I would like to know if I am going to continue to be able to get the past digital copies of Designs in Machine Embroidery or will I need to reorder copies that I just marked in a note book what I wanted and tossed the actual issue. Figured I would get directions online.

  • cre8iveskill

    nice informative blog step by step you teach in a good way…you can digitized embroidery with us visit us at

  • Daren Mordue

    Hi, this is a nifty website that you have. Thanks for sharing it with all of us. When you have a chance, check out my blog for awesome things to do in Austin, Texas.

  • Metallic thread stitching is really a hectic one, this is a must-know article for every new metallic thread worker. Will consider your tips I hope to get successful 🙂

  • Cara

    I haven’t had much luck with metallic thread in my embroidery machine. It breaks and jams so easily.