No-Headache Metallic Embroidery

Who doesn’t want to add some shine to a project now and then? A great way to accomplish that extra little sparkle is with metallic embroidery, but anyone who’s worked with metallic floss for handwork can tell you it’s kind of a headache. There are lots of great tips out there for working with metallic floss, but I’ve sworn off floss for 80% of my projects after discovering the glittery product of my dreams.

Quilt Highlights by YLI Metallic Braid

Meet Quilt Highlights – Metallic Braid and Metallic/Rayon by YLI. This product is made for couching, bobbinwork and other embellishment, but I’ve found the metallic braid is great for hand embroidery. Pinky promise, this isn’t sponsored content, this product has just totally changed how I approach embellishing my projects! Like this paper pieced unicorn I took from drab to fab.


I love that the braid reduces the splintering that drives me so nuts with metallic embroidery floss. For fine work, there’s no getting around the need for floss as the metallic braid is best suited for medium to large images, but like I said, that leaves about 80% of my projects perfect candidates for metallic braid.

While working on one such project, I snapped some shots of the little tricks I use to make working with metallic braid all the dreamier.


Cut the metallic braid in approximately 12” lengths. This is shorter than I use working with cotton embroidery floss or thread, but the shorter length is essential. Every time the braid is pulled through the fabric, the fibers are stressed. This means that with each stitch, the likelihood of splintering and wear increases. The shorter length reduces stress on the braid fibers.

star stitch collage

Be conscious of whether you want a flat or rounded look to the stitch. For a rounder stitch, twist the braid. For a flatter stitch, straighten the braid. For instance, I preferred a rounder look with these stars, but with the unicorn horn from before, I used a very flat stitch to cover lots of space with relatively few stitches.

back knot collage

Use a quilter’s knot at the beginning of the braid to prevent fraying. If working areas apart from each other, travel the braid to reduce stress and knots. Finally, weave the end into the previous few stitches and tie off, using an overhand knot at the end to lock the braid and prevent fraying.


Keep to simple stitches to reduce stress on the braid fibers. I like to use backstitch for line work, staying away from seed or split stitches.

Finished top

Voila! Check back soon for a tutorial on how to make a little pillow with an inspirational message like this one.

Happy creating!


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