Friday, April 17, 2009

What Makes a Good Metallic Thread?

Having previously lived in Japan for 10 years, we appreciate the beautiful metallic stitching on silk Kimono's. When I moved back to the States, and tried working with metallic threads in my sewing projects, I became extremely frustrated. I was working on cotton, not silk, and couldn't even stitch 18 inches without the thread breaking.

This experience prompted us to ask questions of the thread manufactures in Japan. We discovered that they only made quality metallic thread for an Industrial market, wound on very large spools. We desired the same product to be offered in a domestic market, wound on smaller spools.
It took some convincing, but with outstanding results. Superior Threads was created and Metallic thread became our very first product.

Trying to turn real metal into a smooth-sewing thread is not an easy task.
To successfully run metallic, make sure the thread you are using has 3 essential components.
  • Does it have a nylon core? A nylon core is an indication of strength and quality. Combined with "paper" pasting prevents tangling.
  • Is it paper pasted? The best Metallic will have a coat of rice paper pasted over the nylon core, resulting in a stronger thread.
  • Does it have a protective coating? An outer coating will help the thread run better with less friction, and protects against fraying and shredding.

A good metallic thread does not require additional lubricant.

Always use a size 90/14 top stitch needle or Metallic needle and loosen the upper tension.


  1. I have a question - When you say use a 90/14 top stitch needle, are you referring to a DSM, or a long-arm? I'm new at this longarming, and haven't seen special needles for metallics for my Nolting. Any help you can give would be appreciated.

  2. So which threads are shown in this photo and what would you recommend for tatting with?

  3. Janice ( 19, 2009 at 2:52 PM

    I nearly threw my machine out the window the first time I tried metallic thread, it was so very frustrating! Years later someone talked me into trying your metallic - with great reservation I gave it a shot.

    I had made a dragonfly quilt in a class, and used the "Diane-shiko" technique by Diane Gaudynski to quilt the border with your gold metallic. Your thread was a joy. The border is spectacular, and a single length of thread was used to quilt the entire border - there were no breaks, no bird's nests anywhere, and I never once had to stop stitching due to thread issues. I have used your threads ever since, and while I occasionally use other brands, I have become a "Superior snob".

  4. Enjoy your blog, but please take the apostrophe out of the word "kimono's"