While in Houston, I bought some Wonderfil metallic threads. It had some colors that were just a little bit different than those I find in Superior metallics, and a couple of my professional quilty friends have recommended it to me. I just gave it a try and found that the tension settings are just about the same as for Superior threads for my machine. I like the thread ok. It has a nice sheen to it, and sews without breaking. I still think I prefer Superior, but clearly this is a nice alternative.
Almost all the thread manufacturers recommend really lowering your upper tension when working with metallic threads. Now this may work ok for most machines, but with my Bernina 830, I have found that the tension settings sometimes need to be even higher than for the standard 50 wt that is the thread used for default tension settings for nearly all manufacturers. This may be a surprise to you.
Here is a picture of the little stitch out I used to test the threads. It has both Superior and Wonderfil metallics.
Top with mutlitple tests of tension settings look ok for all:
Bobbin side with 3.0 to 4.0 thread tensions…see how it pulls to the back. The bobbin is threaded for normal tension. Apologies for the slightly fuzzy, picture, but you can still see how bad the tension is.
It wasn’t until I went to 4.25 top tension that it began to look ok, but probably could go to 4.5 to make it work well enough. I have used thread tensions as high as 4.75 on some metallics, especially when using them in the embroidery hoop.
Sew what is the secret to sew with this high tension and not break the thread every few minutes? Well, for me, besides using one of the better threads, I use a 90 embroidery/top stitch needle, a thread net, and set the speed down to middle or less, and sew a little slower than usual. I also use the lubricant bar with the pink lubricant on my 830 LE, but if you don’t have this, I think it would work ok anyway. I heard a rumor that Bernina discontinued this, but I have not checked it out yet.
On my Bernina 350, and my 1230, I have also found a tighter upper tension, bigger needle, thread net, and slow stitching helps to make the metallic threads work well, and if I sew relatively slowly, I have little problem with the threads breaking.
Sew happy everyone!