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Metalized thread: history, manufacturing technology and application in embroidery
Metalized thread: history, manufacturing technology and application in embroidery

Metallic thread or gimp has been used since ancient times to decorate fabrics. Clothing embroidered with gold or silver has always been considered a sign of we alth and belonging to an aristocratic family. The art of decorating fabrics with precious patterns is still very much appreciated. This work is very painstaking and requires special skills and patience from craftswomen.

Lurex and rigmarole

Thread made of a film coated with a thin layer of metal was called "Lurex" in honor of Lurex, a manufacturer of nylon and polyester yarn. It can be any shade. The color depends on the composition of the adhesive with which the foil is applied to the base. A shiny material, including metallic threads, is usually called lurex. Foil made of brass, copper, aluminum can be used for manufacturing.

metallic thread

Metalized thread for embroidery in Russia was called a gimp and looked like a thinwire, which was not easy to make. The metal was heated and slowly pulled out of it a strong and uniform wire. That is why the word has become synonymous with long and troublesome work. Gold embroidery was used to decorate church utensils, uniforms and festive clothes from various materials: cloth, velvet and morocco.

Metal filament technology

Metalized thread of silver and gold over time began to be made by other methods. The technology of its production has changed, various textures have appeared. Gradually, other materials began to be added to the composition of the product, including silk thread. The embroidery technique also improved, and pearls and precious stones were used to additionally decorate fabrics. The color range of metallized threads has been supplemented with various shades. There are matte and glossy options. Modern Lurex is created from copper, nickel or aluminum, which are painted with special pigments and coated with vinyl acetate. Nylon fibers or lavsan thread are used as the basis. They are covered with metal foil.

metallic thread for embroidery

Disadvantages of lurex thread

Due to the special properties of the material and special additives, it is possible to achieve an iridescent overflow of threads, glow in the dark and a light-absorbing effect. But, despite the modern technologies used for the manufacture of metallized threads, they have several significant drawbacks that complicate the embroidery using suchyarn.

The main problems associated with the use of Lurex are:

  • The fragility of the threads. They tear and stretch easily.
  • The ends fluff up and tangle, making it difficult to embroider.
  • The thread slips off the needle.

Craftswomen who often work with lurex additionally secure the thread on the needle with a small knot to save material and prevent the threads from fluffing too much. In order not to tear the yarn, they try not to overtighten it. Another technique that is often used by needlewomen is embroidery with a metallic thread combined with other types of yarn. Most often it is cotton. When working with floss, one thread is pulled out of the skein and added to the lurex. This option is also found in cross stitch kits, where you need to combine different types of threads yourself.

embroidery with metallic thread

The use of metal threads in needlework

Real gold or silver thread is practically not used to decorate household items and everyday clothes because of the high cost. Most often they are decorated with carnival and theatrical costumes, expensive designer products and shoes. Accessories are also decorated with lurex. In modern embroidery, a nylon-based thread has become widespread. This material is cheaper, elastic and quite durable, unlike the usual gimp. Lurex is used not only for embroidery, but also for knitting or crocheting. An additional metallized thread is introduced into a skein of ordinary yarn, giving the product knitted fromher, eye-catching shine.

metallized silver thread

Gold sewing in the modern world

The difference between the technique of embroidering with a cantle is working with the surface of the material, and not stitching it through. In this type of needlework, the required number of threads is determined in advance and cut based on the type of pattern. Then each piece of yarn is fixed to the fabric with a cross stitch. Modern needlewomen often use gold embroidery to create beautiful brooches and other women's jewelry. Much less often, a metallized thread is used to decorate suits and dresses. Modern technologies allow you to create a drawing using an automated system. But the art of handmade gold embroidery continues to be highly valued not only among lovers of luxury.

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