Monday, September 14, 2015

Add Sparkle to Your Embroidery to Stay on Trend

While some may point out that I don’t qualify as a fashionista (who has all that time to shop?), when you are in the embroidery field, a sense of fashion and fashion trends is second nature. Embellishment is what we are all about. Specialty threads are designed to offer customers something different and designers a rich palette with which to experiment and shine. And shine is exactly where I am going with this blog! A recent perusal of top fashion magazines (purely in the name of research) crystallized for me the trend toward shine and sparkle: 

From Fashion magazine, “Somewhere between the sky-high shoulder pads and bedazzled skirt suits of the eighties, metallics got a bad rap. Today, however, shiny clothing and accessories mean one thing: glamour. On the spring 2014 runways (the introduction of 2015 trends), everyday outfits were injected with a shot of glitz thanks to some flashy, not trashy, twists on the metallic trend.” Fashion goes on to name “sparkle and shine” (in my humble opinion, the fashion equivalent of “shock and awe”) as “one of the top 6 trends for 2015.”

Harper’s Bazaar concurs in its “10 Style Risks to Take in 2015:” “Once relegated to cocktail dresses on New Year’s Eve and cocktail waitresses in Las Vegas, sparkles are starting to see the light of day…”.

As does Elle magazine: “Trend Alert: Precious Metals. Whether they come in the form of cool silvers or rich golds – we can’t get enough of these metallic colored dresses, sweaters, heels and beauty must-haves. Shine on (straight into fall!)” As well as Glamour: “Don’t wait for that evening party to pull out your metallics! This season, try metallics for day, too.”

I could go on and on (InStyle magazine lists Metallic Shimmer as “one of the 10 Top Fashion Trends seen on the red carpet”)…and Marie Claire, noting “over-the- top metallics at Europe Fashion Week,” clearly states, “…there’s no better way to make a look stand out than to incorporate a huge amount of metallic sheen.” You probably read that BeyoncĂ© recently paid $300,000 for diamond-encrusted heels. You don’t need to go that far! 

You would have to be crazy not to take advantage of the trend that is pushing fashion -- and embroidery -- towards the metallic, considering the vast choice of metallic threads ( smooth, shiny, sparkly) that you have at your disposal. And if you’re timid, your ability to charge around 20% more for a design that incorporates metallic thread should toughen you up real fast!

For the purpose of this blog, I’d like to shine a little light on Madeira’s popular Supertwist #30 thread. Unlike the smooth metallics on the market, Supertwist is the result of a three-twist process that gives the thread a unique sparkle with texture. It offers a strong nylon core that is wrapped with metallic foil in order to provide the most reflection. And while you wouldn’t want to set any speed records on your machine, it is designed to run smoothly and efficiently on commercial embroidery machines.

Running Tips 

A special effect thread, Supertwist #30 does demand some special considerations when running. Make sure you begin with a fresh #90/14 needle. A large eye variety will make it easier to thread. A thicker thread, Supertwist is best behaved when chosen for a design highlight, using longer stitches like running stitches or as an overlay for special effect. To incorporate Supertwist into a design, you may need to reduce the density by about 20%, from a 4.0 to a 6.0. As an alternative, try increasing the
size of the design by 10%. My final tip would be to lighten up your top tension for this twisted thread, since it is more pliable. Madeira recently produced a webinar on working with its metallic threads, including Supertwist. You can click here to view it and see for yourself how to run this fashion-friendly, season-stopping specialty thread. And did I mention your ability to charge more for designs that include it? Ah-hah!

Finally, if the fashion scene is of absolutely no interest to you whatsoever (have I not convinced you?), look at the calendar. We are fast approaching that time of year when snowflakes, pine cones, evergreens – wishes of the season and more -- can all be enhanced by some genuine shine and sparkle.

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