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Sewers Aid


Frequently Asked Question 

How do I control breakage of Exotic & Metallic Threads when using the Sewing Machine for Embellishments, Applique & Quilting?

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Sewers Aid makes machine sewing smoother and hand sewing easier.
Sewers Aide

Size: 1/2 ounce
MFG: Collins
Item Code: N1S132
Weight: lb
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Sewers Aode is a clear - non-staining lubricant. A drop on the sewing machine needle, machines threading mechanism or thread itself will help reduce skipped stitching and friction heat of needle while sewing through heavy material and sheer fabric.

Check my Tutorial Hints 6 and 7 below for how to use when sewing, quilting, or embellishing a quilt.


Place dispenser tip at top of needle - spool etc. Allow a drop or two of Sewers Aid to come out-distribute evenly by moving downward on both sides. CAUTION-if swallowed or comes in contact with eye consult physician and treat as a silicone.

Sharla's Tips for Using Sewer's Aid on the Home Sewing Machine.

NOTE: The following does NOT require putting Sewers Aide directly on the thread.

  • Cut a crochet thread (or similar heavy thread) 12" to 18" long.
  • Run a bead of Sewers Aid on the center 3-4".
  • Use the lubricated section of thread like dental floss and floss all threading points on the top of the sewing machine, this includes the tension disc.
  • REAPPLY whenever unreasonable breakage starts up again.

Frequently Asked Questions Answered


Exotic threads and sewing machines are often a temperamental combination with breakage and fraying problems. Sharla Hicks, owner of Soft has outlined the following techniques to make the metallic and fragile threads used in machine quilting, machine applique, thread painting and other embellishments techniques more manageable.

Breakage or Fraying Problems when Machine Sewing with Metallic or Exotic Threads?

By Sharla R. Hicks ©1999 and revised ©2013

Sharla Hicks, owner of has an extensive background in working with fragile threads. She has taught machine quilting, applique and freestyle machine embroidery for over 30 years.

In the order of importance, do the following to make machine quilting with Exotic and Metallic threads more manageable. Occasional breakage is to be expected, even under the best of circumstances!"


Unreasonable breakage is breakage that makes you want to scream—tear your hair out—throw the sewing machine out the door after about 10 minutes of working with exotics and metallic threads that just will NOT stop breaking! The following should help you manage that uncontrollable urge of trashing a perfectly good sewing machine.

Hint 1: A well wound bobbin is crucial.

My first choice of thread for the bobbin is a thinner thread that will lay neatly on the underside. Wind bobbin carefully. Many times I use a monopoly, monofilament, or fine lingerie thread aka nylon thread as this lays flat on the underside.

Some threads can present problems when winding a bobbin.  Here are some tips on how to deal with various types of metallic thread:

"How To" Wind a Monofilament, monopoly, fine nylon threads or as last resort, exotic and metallic thread bobbins.

  • Clear Nylon Thread (1/2 filled bobbin—don't cheat, you'll be sorry, especially on the larger bobbins! A 1/2 bobbin of thin nylon is much more than a bobbin of regular thread!).
    • Wind slowly and carefully on the machine.
    • Winding the bobbin too fast can break the bobbin, expand the bobbin so it does not fit properly, or embed the thread back into itself, rendering the thread on the bobbin useless!
    • NOTE: I have over wound plastic bobbins with monofilament and nylon threads and had the bobbin pop open and break apart wasting precious thread and money because it is not salvable.
  • Elastic Thread (full bobbin): Evenly hand wind with tension on the elastic thread as you are winding it on the bobbin.
  • Fragile Metallic (1/2 filled bobbin because the thinner threads wind more thread on the bobbin than regular weight thread, so 1/2 bobbin is often enough):
    • Slowly and carefully wind the bobbin
    • Sometimes hand guiding the thread while filling of the bobbin on the sewing machine is necessary
    • You will probably have to try several different threading techniques to find the one that works.
    • If you are unable to get a clean machine wound bobbin, hand wind because an evenly wound bobbin is needed to help prevent snapping, breakage and fraying.
  • Thin Yarn (full bobbin; example, needle punch yarn): Evenly hand wind the bobbin firmly.
  • Pearl Crown Rayon (full bobbin): -- Wind carefully on the machine, but you may have to hand wind.
  • DMC 30 Crochet Thread: Wind carefully on the machine, but you may have to hand wind.
  • Ribbon Floss (full bobbin): Some people are successful winding this thread on the machine. If not, evenly hand wind the bobbin.
  • Decor (full bobbin): Use the Machine first. This usually causes little problems but if it does, hand wind.
  • Heavy Metallic Thread (full bobbin): Wind carefully on the machine, but you may have to hand wind.
Hint 2: Working with the correct sewing machine needle is imperative.

Thread & Topstitch Needle Size Recommendations chart provided by Superior Threads.

  • Sew with a needle that has not been blunted by a pin or used so long long it is dull,
  • Make sure you have selected the correct type and size for the thread choice.
  • See chart to the righ for needle size recommendationst. >>>

In most cases a Large Eyed Topstitching for Sewing Machine Needle reduces the friction on Metallic and Exotic Threads resulting in less breakage.

NOTE: Not all breakage will be gone, expect occasional breakage to continue.

IF unreasonable breakage occurs, move up to a larger sized Top Stitch Needle, size 90 (14) or 100 (16).

  • 70/10: #100, 60 wt., & MonoPoly.

  • 80/12: #50 (50 wt.) threads.

  • 90/14: #40 (40 wt.) threads.
  • 100/16: #30 (30 wt.) threads and thicker.

We carry Superior Titanium Coated Topstitch Needles (sizes listed in chart above) for their sharpness longevity, deeper grooved shaft and larger eye to prevent wear and tear on the thread..

Needle Groove Comparison of topstitch and regular needle
CLICK HERE to purchase Superior Topstitch Needles

Superior Titanium Topstitch Needles comes in 4 sizes and assort.
Click for addition information

  • Also check out Schmetz Speciality Needles. designed specifically for machine embroidery and metallic threads that have a special grove and larger eye.
  • If you can not find a Superior or Schmetz Top Stitch needle I have used a Jean needle, size 100 (16) with success.
  • If unreasonable breakage persists (not occasional breakage), go to next hint.

Schmetz Topstitch Needles Denim Needles Schmetz Metallic Needles Schmetz Machine Embroidery Needles
Click for Additional Information on the Schmetz Sewing Machine Needles

Hint 3 for Applique and free-motion thread painting:

  • Using a a stabilizer on the underside can offer more body to the project and often is all that is needed to stop the breakage issue.
  • Stabilizers come in a variety of weights, softness, crispness and etc.
  • Testing again may be required for the best efforts.
  • We have several here at (see below)

Hint 4: Machine Quilt

  • Use a Walking Foot sometimes known as an Even Feed foot which is why it works, both the top and bottom quilt layers are being pulled through the presser foot to to stabilize the quilting process.
  • Use a longer stitch length for machine quilting.
    • Longer stitch length helps prevent fraying because the metallic or fragile part of the thread bends less often causing less friction, equating to less breakage.
  • If unreasonable breakage continues go to next hint.

Hint 5: Loosen the Top Tension down a half step at a time until the breakage is reduced.

NOTE: Results will vary depending on the technique being used: quilting, thread paint, or applique so experimenting may be needed.

  • When using the darning foot (freehand work), expect more breakage (not a lot more, but some).
  • When using a Walking Foot or a Standard Embroidery Foot that fits the sewing machine a more stable tension is created, therefore, expect much less breakage.
  • If unreasonable breakage persists (not occasional breakage), go to next hint.


Hint 6 : Add layer of silicon to the surface of the sewing machine thread guides. (Note: This does not eliminate occasional breakage, but it helps greatly.)

My tip varies somewhat from others but has worked well for me (Sharla)

  • Cut a crochet thread (or similar heavy thread) 12" to 18" long.
  • Run a bead of Sewers Aid on the center 3-4".
  • Use the lubricated section of thread like dental floss and floss all threading points on the top of the sewing machine, this includes the tension disc.
  • Thread machine normally and proceed.
  • REAPPLY whenever unreasonable breakage starts up again.
  • If unreasonable breakage persists (not occasional breakage), go to the next hint.

Hint 7: Use Sewers Aid directly on the thread. This is often recommended 1st choice but I prefer to do it after lubricating the threading mechanisms first.

  • Apply a very thin line of Sewers Aid down 2 sides of the spool or cone of thread.
  • Thread machine normally and proceed.
  • If unreasonable breakage persists (not occasional breakage), go to next hint.


Sewers Aid makes machine sewing Smoother and Hand Sewing Easier

Hint 8: Wind the bobbin with same thread on the top as the bottom (see hints and tips for winding bobbins at the beginning of the tutorial.

  • Some machines are more sensitive than others and require the same thread on the top and in the bobbin or require using
    a more stable thread in the bobbin.
  • To see which works best, experiment with regular, nylon, lingerie or metallic thread in the bobbin.
  • My last choice is metallic in the bobbin because of the expense (See NEXT section)
  • If unreasonable breakage persists (not occasional breakage), go to the next section.

LAST RESORT: Use the following Method for
Metallic and Exotic Threads that are VERY Fragile!

Hint 1: Very fragile Metallic Threads break less when wound on the bobbin and used in the bobbin case.

  • HINT: To have the metallic appear on the front, consider the following simple yet effective method:
    • Use a large print on the back of the quilt and trace the outlines. This gives a wonderful overall design on the front of the quilt in metallic.

Hint 2: When the Metallic Thread is on the bobbin, students always say to me, "How can I follow the quilting pattern, it’s on the front?" To transfer a quilting pattern from the FRONT of the Quilt to the BACK of the quilt, use the following two-step method:

Step 1: Using Nylon thread on the top and in the bobbin, stitch over the quilting design on the front of the quilt with a stitch length setting of 2 (10-12 for American made machines).

Step 2: Then, change to the Metallic Bobbin and from the BACK of the quilt, stitch over the previously sewn nylon lines. The nylon will blend with the Metallic Thread and not show. Or, if you missed the nylon line, just pull it out. (Note: Short stitch lengths are harder to pull out so follow the recommendation in Step 1 above. ) This is the technique I used to add the quilting my son's graduation quilt.


To create textures with Metallic Threads experiment with different designs using the darning foot and freehand designs.

  • Try hearts, flowers, zigzags, swirls, spirals, or any other pattern you can think up, even try writing your name or little hidden messages over and over to create the quilting pattern.

FAQ: Quilting & Applique Topics by Sharla Hicks

Invisible Machine Applique Example

AtlantisSuperior Threads Razzle Dazzle Variegated Silver 1008 Bronze

  • How-to Use Article: Breakage with Metallic thread?? Here are the Tips and Tricks by Sharla Hicks, an expert in using the sewing machine with decorative threads for the sewing machine. Find tips on appropriate needle sizes. when to use in the bobbin, when to use as top & bottom thread, and much more.


FAQ: Computer Quilting Topics by Sharla Hicks and other authors click here

To stay up to date on the latest information added to this website, subscribe to our Expressive Quilters Newsletter, click here


Metallics are the rage and Soft Expressions carries several lines to meet the glitzy needs of the embellishment quilter and embroiders Look at the metallic line included Robison-Anton Metallic , Superior Glitter and Metallic, and WonderFil you will be delighted with what you find.

Razzle Example
Superior's Razzle & Dazzle

endorsed by Ricky Timms
Great for Bobbin Work


3 ply rayon with metallic strand
Great for Bobbin Work


Superior offers


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Glitter Hologram Metallic by Superior Threads

(hologram metallic)

gold metallic

Robison Anton
Excellent strength & fray resistant

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Bobbin SuperBOBs Bottom Line Prewound

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Wonderfil Thrds: Invisafil
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DMC 50 wt.Machine Embroidery Cotton

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Color & Style Index
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Titanium Needles
by Superior Threads
Superior Titanium Needles Assortment
assorted +70/10,
80/12, 90/14. 100/16

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Hot Ribbon Art 22 colors
Hot Ribbon Art
2 yds each of Machine Washable Iron-On
(22) Standard Colors
(2) Metallic Gold & Silver

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SixthFinger Stiletto

Mfg: Colonial Needle Co.

10% off
Sewers Aid
Sewers Aid

Stabilizers available at

Freezer Paper & Steam-A-Seam

for Applique, Fabric Printouts Stabilizers


10% off
CJ Jenkins Freezer Paper
Freezer Paper

Extra Heavy & Reusuable
8.5x11 & 12x15
  10% off
Lite Ez-Steam II by Pellon
Lite EZ-Steam II
& EZ-Steam II
Excellent fusible with fine webbing

Jenny Haskins
Private Selection

11 Stabilizers Styles
Fusible Batting
Jenny's Thread Collection Sets

ALSO SEE: Jenny's Books & Design CDs

Fusible Lightweight
Quilt Magic by Jenny Haskins
Quilt Magic®
(1 side) Fusible Fleece
Quilt Magic® PLUS
(2 sided) Fusible Fleece
Note: 59" Wide
Sold by Yd, 5 yd or Bolt

59" Wide
Sold by the Yard
5 Yd Package
15 YD Bolt

click here For More
Robison-Anton Threads


Jenny's Stabilizers
tearaway magic

Jenny's Thread Collection Sets:

  1. MarJen for Error (8)
  2. Roses for Mary (8)
  3. Bella Fiori (8)
  4. Moulin Rouge (8)
  5. Aqua Ambiance (8)
  6. Best 24 of Jenny Haskins (24)


Jenny's Stabilizers

Jenny's Stabilizers

Sulky Stabilizers


Puffy Foam
Puffy Foam
Stabilizer Sampler
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17 Sheets
8" x 10" Pieces
Solvy by Sulky

19.5" x 36" OR
7 7/8" x 9 1/2 Yds (Roll) OR
12" x 9 Yds (Roll)
super solvy
Super Solvy

19.5" x 36" OR
8" x 9 Yds (Roll) OR
12" x 9 Yds (Roll)
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Ultra Solvy

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7 7/8" x 8 Yds (Roll) OR
12" x 8 Yds (Roll)
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paper solvy
Paper Solvy

12 Sheets of
8.5" x 11"
tear easy

20" x 36" OR
8" x 11 Yds (Roll) OR
12" x 12 Yds (Roll)
Stiffy by Sulky

20" x 36" OR
8" x 11 Yards (Roll)
Sticky by Sulky

22.5" X 36" OR
7.5" x 6 Yds (Roll) OR
12" x 6 Yds (Roll)
totally stable
Totally Stable

20" x 36" OR
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12" x 12 Yd (Roll)
cut plus

20" x 36" OR
7.66" x 9 Yds (Roll)
soft sheer
Soft 'n Sheer

20" x 36" OR
8" x 11 Yards (Roll)
12" x 11 Yds (Roll)
Tender Touch
Tender Touch
20" x 36" OR
8" x 9 yd (Roll)
heat away

Clear Film
19.75" x 36" OR
7 7/8" x 9Yards (Roll)

Books, Stabilizers (with & without fusing) for Sewing Machine Work, Embellishment, Wearables & More

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Heavy Weigh
by Yard or Package
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It's a Wrap II
It's A Wrap II
sewing new shapes,
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by Sussan Breier
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It's A Wrap
It's A Wrap
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