Springy Threads – Potential Trouble Spots

I’ve been sewing some silver glitter to leather today, and it took me a while to get going.  I hadn’t used these particular materials and threads together before, and found as I did the little sample I always do, I had real problems with the top silver metallic looping and being fed below to the backside of the work with a crazy result; and that every few stitches if they weren’t looping, there were occasional skipped stitches. Pulling out stitching with leather of course leaves holes, so when you re-do it you need to have the same stitch length to re-use those holes, going slowly until you’re in new territory.

I need to say, too, that my machine here in Montevideo is a very basic domestic Bernina – a great little machine, but there’s absolutely nothing computerised in it, and there probably are newer models that easily handle this kind of thing with the flick of a button or two.

I noticed that every now and then there was a skipped stitch (upper left)  Now I really wanted to use this silver thread and so decided I’d just try this little sewing job of 75cm, I’d take my foot off the pedal altogether and just turn the drive wheel manually. While doing this slow motion thing I I saw the springy thread loop under the needle point and come up round behind the needle so the next up-down movement would make the thread loop and bunch underneath and I realised this was probably causing the thread to skip occasionally.   I finished the line of stitching around the edge of the leather, having the time to keep the several potential trouble spots under supervision.  These are highlighted in the pics below.  I know I could use a much larger needle, like a jeans topstitching needle,  or there’s probably a leather needle I don’t have, but I did not want to make large holes in the leather, so that’s a trade-off I faced and decided to keep the needle as was.


springy thread blog

(UL) Skipped stiches; (LL) twists/loops may occur at the feed into the tension discs; (Centre) twists/loops may occur at the top of the overhead arm; and (Right) thread may twist/loop round the back of the needle.

Sometimes I wonder why I do the things I do – and you might, too.  More on the overall little project some other time.

3 Responses to “Springy Threads – Potential Trouble Spots”

  1. Sandra Hamilton says:

    I have had problems using leather as binding on a coat. Did you try changing the needle to a new one the same size. I find a new needle often helps with skipped stitches. The old needle still works fine for less demanding situations. Lubricant on thread sometimes helps. It also occurred to me that you could make holes with the needle then add thread by hand. I seem to recall “fixing” bad spots like that when I used leather.
    Love reading about all the interesting materials you use.

  2. Alison says:

    Thanks for taking time to comment Sandra. I take your point about a new needle at times stitches are skipped – I know even the tiniest burr or bluntness can cause this. I keep the best ones for other ‘less demanding situations’ but some just have to be thrown out. However this was a new needle, 100/16 – not a leather one though, as I don’t have any, and though I imagine you can get them here in Montevideo (a lot of leather is sewn here) it didn’t seem worth the fuss of going out and tramping around the city for about 34″ stitching around the edge of a 7″ x 10″ piece of leather. By turning the drive wheel of the machine rather than operate the foot pedal I was in effect adding the thread by hand, as you suggested. And yes, I use Sewers Aid at such times. With all sewing with metallic thread I always slow down a bit, loosen the top tension a bit, and use lubricant if necessary. I will blog soon on why I was doing what I was doing.

  3. Lorraine says:

    I use metallic thread for machine embroidery and also on my Bernina too. This thread is prone to cause tangles and poor stitching. There are a number of things to try. Use an embroidery needle that has the large eye so the thread has room to move. Great needle for eyes that have issues with threading the needle. Lengthen the distance from the machine by placing the thread on the floor in a container, use a safety pin on eg a curtain at the back of your machine, etc to increase the distance giving the thread a chance to relax. Check that the spool is orientated correctly, eg horizontal for evenly wound thread on the spool, or vertical for thread that is wound in a crosswise position. The other ‘rule’ is to sew slowly which you are doing by moving the wheel by hand. I do hope you can master this as metallics give that special touch. I understand that Kingstar metallic is the best to use, but can’t comment as I have used other brands.

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