The quality of Metallic Thread ranges from very high to very low. A good metallic thread does not require a lubricant. Quality metallic thread has three quality components. A nylon core offers the most strength and resists tangling. Polyester and rayon cores are inferior. Rice paper construction is another component. This adds strength and cohesiveness and makes the thread more soft and supple, reducing the wiry feel. It also reduces tangling. Outer coating is the last quality component. Lower-quality Metallics have no outer coating. This means the metal foil rubs against the needle, creating friction and heat, resulting in discoloring and shredding. A good metallic has an outer coating which reduces friction and acts as a protective layer. Here's some tips on how to use metallic thread wisely:
Make sure you are using a quality, new, SHARP "Metallic Needle." Metallic needles have a larger eye, which allows metallic thread to run smoothly. Often, this eye has Teflon coating, for even better effect. If you see that the thread is coming off of a spool too easily, and is causing loops and knots at the very beginning, try using a thread net (spool net). These nets really help with looping issues, and they cost pennies.
Most metallic threads, especially the brands that have a high sheen and really are "metallic," have this looping issue. But it's easy to solve, while the benefits of using shiny metallic thread are huge. Another possible solution to "early looping" problems is to use a quality vertical thread stand (thread feeder), since extreme looping is especially
noticeable on machines that have horizontally positioned spool. If you have a good thread stand, try it.
Machine speed should be reduced. Turn on the lowest speed your machine allows, and observe the results. Increase the speed little by little, to the point when it begins to cause thread breakage. Now lower the speed down a bit, to the point of good performance. Make sure top thread tension is low enough for a metallic thread. Usually, metallic thread require a lower thread tension than regular embroidery thread. Decreasing thread tension can also help guard against shredding.
Make sure that you're using an appropriate backing. Metallic thread usually works much better with backings that have a Viscose or Cotton component in them. 100% polyester backings are usually quite sturdy, and create too much friction with needle and thread. This friction can cause unwanted thread breaks. Whenever you can, use a backing with a viscose or cotton component. Soft cutaway backings usually work best with metallic thread.
You can now purchase metallic thread in your chosen style and color on the internet. This makes life a lot easier as it takes out the bother of going to stores and searching for the right metallic thread. One online store which is very popular for its high quality metallic thread is Thread Art. Thread Art's metallic thread can be found online at http://www.threadart.com/c-662-all-metallic-threads.aspx. If you would like to equip yourself with some high standard metallic thread today, head over to Thread Art and choose from their range.