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Festive embroideries with plenty of glitz and sparkle

Julia Bernert

Published on 18.12.2019

On most days of the year, the promotional industry solely uses standard size 40 polyester thread for stitching company logos. Perhaps the most unusual thing you would be asked to make would be applications, small embroideries or lettering that demand use of a size 60 yarn. Yuletide, however, provides the ideal opportunity for using shiny and glitzy effects.

Glitzy lettering using metallic effect thread

But particularly in the frantic age we live in, people yearn for something beautiful, a period of contemplation and touching private moments. For centuries, embroidery has served to decorate clothing and make it more expressive – something it is still able to do today.

A restrained glitter-look with an attractive feel thanks to the special thread used (“Poly Star” by Gunold)

However, many embroidery companies are reluctant to use the full range of special threads and fancy yarns that are now available. Admittedly, the pre-Christmas period is probably not the ideal time to start experimenting with yarn which can be quite demanding to use. There are too many other orders that need processing before Christmas, and the stressful flurry of activity at this time of year means you do not have the time and space that more specialised projects demand. This is a pity really, because an embroidered logo or pattern is still the noblest form of textile decoration there is. In the meantime, there are also all sorts of special threads available that are just as easy to use as a standard yarn. Such threads do not require an embroidery programme to be reprogrammed, nor do they require a different needle or thread tension. You can achieve great effects, for example, by using a polyester thread (size 40) that looks metallic thanks to its special design and the ply used.

Size 40 polyester yarn with a metallic look

It makes sense to familiarize yourself with more demanding threads when you have more time available and to make up some samples to show to your customers. Your clients frequently have no idea just what embroidery effects are possible. Even though there are countless opportunities for creative embroiderers to make dramatic samples that really stand out from the crowd. There is a whole wealth of unusual threads, effects and structures created by suppliers of embroidery threads that are out there just waiting to be discovered. Since, for example, metallic-effect threads often have a complicated thread structure, it important to take this into account when digitalising. Use very short stitches (also for the backing stitching) and leaving too small a gap between threads may sometimes lead to threads breaking. Test programmes are normally available for downloading from thread manufacturers’ websites free-of-charge and can be very helpful.

Using applied technologies in a particular way can also often create a special look. It is very easy to create fringes or loops. Long satin stitches are cut open on the back of the design. Depending on whether you cut open the top or lower thread, you either get a loop or fringe on the front of the garment.

The application already mentioned at the beginning is currently experiencing a glittering revival when a shiny material is applied with a multi-coloured yarn.

Application with high gloss fabric and multi-coloured yarn

Anyone who also uses sewing machines can also add highlights by using fancy yarns on domestic or industrial sewing machines.

Metallic-effect yarns used as decorative seams

Sequins are the perfect tool for adding glitzy highlights. Now that more and more embroidery machine suppliers are also providing the required sequin applicators for single-head embroidery machines, the sky’s the limit. The different transparent and hologram sequins in the image were, however, sewn on by hand.

Embroidery with transparent and hologram sequins (hand-sewn using transparent monofilament by Modi Embroideries, India)

Text and images: Reiner Knochel