Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Can you Satin Stitch with It? Exploring Metallics!


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Last week, when I updated you on my snowflake embroidery projects, Beth asked a very good question in the comment section, and never being one to shirk a stitching challenge when it really intrigues me, I decided to try something.

Beth asked me if I could satin stitch with the metallic threads I was using.

I should have been able to say, “Of course you can. They are made for stitching, after all.” But since I had not satin stitched with them, I figured I better try it before confirming or denying.

If you’d just like the long and short of it, here it is: “Of course you can satin stitch with this thread. It is made for stitching, after all.”

A Ver a Soie Metallics and Satin Stitch

The problem is, I’m working on a relatively small scale here.

That’s not a problem with testing the thread, mind you! If I can satin stitch successfully on this small of a scale with a metallic thread, then, by gads, that’s a metallic thread that works!

The problem is that the pictures aren’t the best ever of satin stitch. But I think you’ll get the point!

So the little dots in the photo above – I’m pointing to one of them with the tip of my tiny scissors – are satin stitched with #4 metallic braid from Au Ver a Soie.

First, I outlined underneath the dot with a minuscule split stitch, using (yes!) a matching silk thread, and I padded the dot with one layer of straight stitch filling, to lift the little thing a little bit off the fabric.

Then, I satin stitched.

On this small dot, it took about six stitches. I used the same thread, cut in a short length (maybe 10″), and I passed through the fabric – which is a tightly woven linen – about 24 times with a #7 crewel needle.

You’ll find a satin stitch dot tutorial here on Needle ‘n Thread, if you’re unsure of how to go about satin stitching nice round dots.

A Ver a Soie Metallics and Satin Stitch

To give you a better notion of scale, here’s a photo with the spool of thread in it.

It’s just a regular sized spool – not a gargantuan spool.

(I wish I had a gargantuan spool of this stuff! I’m besotted with the color!)

A Ver a Soie Metallics and Satin Stitch

Here’s the remaining thread from satin stitching two dots.

The arrow points to where the thread was crimped in the eye of the needle.

You don’t see any broken fibers on that metallic thread. You don’t see any bunched up areas where the metallic fibers broke and then proceeded to bunch up around the core fibers.

A Ver a Soie Metallics and Satin Stitch

See? The thread is intact.

What a lovely thread.

What a Lovely Thread!

So for Beth, who wanted to know if you could satin stitch with the Au Ver a Soie metallics, the answer is yes. I’ve successfully done so with #4 braid, and even in a tiny area where things were a bit tight. The thread held up perfectly.

A Ver a Soie Metallics and Satin Stitch

The other advantage of Au Ver a Soie metallics is that you can find, among their gorgeous silks, many colors that coordinate with the metallics.

A Ver a Soie Metallics and Satin Stitch


My color choices aren’t all working out – some of them are a bit too “Elsa-Frozen” for my tastes. But it’s all part of the adventure!

I’m not just working with silks and metallics on these snowflakes. I’ve been working with cottons and pulling equivalent colors where possible, so that I know that there are substitutions available, too.

A Ver a Soie Metallics and Satin Stitch

I try to keep track of what’s what up on the wall, so I can see at a glance what I’m doing. This helps keep the various bits and scraps and lists distilled to the basics.

And of course, it’s very easy to get engrossed in the stitching part and forget to write things down, so I always take photos of supplies and color numbers and such with my phone as I go – and always with whatever piece I’m working on in the background, so I remember what goes with what.

A Ver a Soie Metallics and Satin Stitch

Not everything works out the way you expect it to, either, when experimenting with threads and colors and designs on these types of projects.

Sometimes, you keep plugging away on something, thinking it’s bound to improve, only to find that the design is just all wrong in the first place and the color scheme isn’t doing it, either. And so you have to start over and try again.

The one in the photo above doesn’t thrill me. It has more to do with the design, but the color scheme isn’t tickling my fancy, either. So that one is going back to the drawing board.

It’s a tough job.

But someone’s got to do it!

Other News

If you are stitching The Leafy Tree, please read the article I posted on Saturday, which has an errata statement and information on a stitching group for Leafy Tree-ers.

I hope your week is off to a grand start!


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(15) Comments

  1. Hi Mary,
    After I read your previous post on these metallics, I had to have some for my stash! Can’t wait to try them on some detached needle lace elements for my current stumpwork project. Thanks for highlighting this one.

  2. Bonjour,
    Que j’aime ces flocons en bleu ! Ils sont magnifiques ! Pensez-vous mettre en vente les explications pour les réaliser ? J’aimerais tant les broder.
    Merci encore pour cette merveilleuse page : j’y apprends tant de choses à chaque fois.

  3. I found a really good needle for stitching metallic thread. It’s probably too thick to do something as delicate as these satin stitched dots. They are Fons & Porter Binding needles. They are very sharp and have a really smooth eye. If you have less expensive metallic thread, they keep the strands from fraying. I couldn’t find them in any shop so I had to order them from Amazon.

    I love that blue as well.

  4. Hi, I just wanted to say this embroidery thread is gorgeous and so is your work! My mom also loved to embroider pillowcases, dish towels and also did beautiful work. She passed away in 2001 but would have loved this shiny sparkly thread! Unfortunately after many years she couldn’t see well enough to embroider anymore. I finished one pillowcase that she hadn’t finished but crochet is my passion, at least at the current time.

  5. Dear Mary

    Life is so busy at the moment as I’m sure you understand, I will try and keep up with your posts from now on. But I really love this thread it is so different from other metallics threads on the market. It’s sparkles, it doesn’t split or get tangled up and looks easy to sew with, ‘sigh’ if only they would sell it in the UK. Oh and I your stitching is beautiful especially the dot satin stitch how do you do it, I like the stickers a good way to keep tracks on where you are. Thanks for sharing with us your exploration of Au Ver a Soie metallic threads and for the photos.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  6. I have a question about silk threads. If a pattern says to use Cordonnet Silk Yarn and I have Au Ver A Soie 100/3 how do I know if this is the right thickness?

    Thank you,


    1. Hmmm…. I’m not sure. They’re two different threads. So I would guess it would probably depend on the weight of the Cordonnet the pattern calls for, and then you’d have to find out if 100/3 is equivalent.

  7. Hi Mary,

    Thank you so much for showing your satin stitch with the gorgeous blue Au Ver a Soie metallic! Would you mind sharing the color name/number of the Soie d’Alger blue you used that matches the #049 metallic?

    1. Hi, Beth – I’ll have all that information together soon! There are a few different ones, and I’m not sure right now which one I’ve used on this sample.

  8. I very much like the last pic – the teal-and-beads snowflake. It looks like a mid-January spider’s web. (I hope spiders don’t creep you out – I’m a little nervous of the huge ones but find them fascinating, all the same.)
    In TX, there were black-and-brown spiders that would spin large webs between the porch posts, in autumn – we called them “October spiders,” or “zipper spiders” because the webs have a zigzag down the center that looks like woolly-nylon serger thread, more than spider silk. I think you’ve just invented an “ice-spider” or “frost-spider.”

  9. Hi Mary. I found another source for the ice blue metallics. They are at the Etsy store called merceriebroderie. I paid $21.48 for mine. At the moment, they are running a special where 10% will be taken off the total if a purchase is made over $45.94. Shipping is a little high but these items are coming from France. If the discount is achieved, the shipping with therefore be lessened. At any rate they have a lot of goodies available for sale. I hope you enjoy the look-see.

  10. Thanks Mary
    I love that you tackle the hard questions and are not afraid to tell us all the gory details.

    These snow flakes look lovely and I’m certain they’re going to make a lovely kit one day. Now if you could figure out how to get it to Australia without signing mortgage documents, my life would be complete!

  11. Your skills with metallics truly are awesome and amazing!! I am thankful you take the time to share your expertise
    Ps I ordered au ver a soie from needle in a haystack (awesome everything) but I forgot to mention I received the recommendation from your article comparing silk threads

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