Matthew S

Stitching With Wire

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Anyone ever used wire for stitching in place of thread? While window shopping I came across this wire. Obviously stitching isn't the intended purpose for this product, so issues like wire flexibility and diameter may prevent its use in stitching. I thought it might provide a nice accent for a piece to have gold, silver or copper stitching.

Edited by Matthew S

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Interesting Idea Matt:Lighten: I'm not sure if anyone else has had this Idea but, we will hear from them soon. I'm interested in their feed back. BTW welcome to LN Matt.

Anyone ever used wire for stitching in place of thread? While window shopping I came across this wire. Obviously stitching isn't the intended purpose for this product, so issues like wire flexibility and diameter may prevent its use in stitching. I thought it might provide a nice accent for a piece to have gold, silver or copper stitching.

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On my last project I used some hemp cord to do some accent lacing. when I was looking for something I came across some wire, even a bit thinner than this and thought, hmmmm. I think anything outside the box is worth trying to get a special look. the only question I would have with this wire is, will it oxidize or retain its luster. if it didnt, it could take down the quality of the work visually. It wouldnt rust I dont think, but it might corrode some.

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Although I have no information on the wires ability to resist oxidation, I would hope that oxidation would be minimal as the wire is intended for jewelry and beadwork. Of course jewelry isn't always subject to the same use and environment as leather frequently is.

And thanks for the welcome, Michael.

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They will oxidize unless they are clear coated, and that would wear off eventually. Wire used in wire wrapped jewelery is dead soft, and uncoated. Some folks like the patina that copper gets with age. My Mom had some copper bracelets, and they all had a nice patina with the high spots highlighted from use.

Why not let it get a patina, many leather workers apply an "antiquing" to simulate that on the leather.

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They will oxidize unless they are clear coated, and that would wear off eventually. Wire used in wire wrapped jewelery is dead soft, and uncoated. Some folks like the patina that copper gets with age. My Mom had some copper bracelets, and they all had a nice patina with the high spots highlighted from use.

Why not let it get a patina, many leather workers apply an "antiquing" to simulate that on the leather.

Will copper get a patina, or will it vertigris? And do you think jewelry wire is too soft to use? The cost of the wire is cheap enough that I can try some experimentation.

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I have seen some thiiiiiinnnn wire. And I mean thin as hair. I've considered using it as accent stitching before. I think I have seen it done but I honestly cannot remember where, or if it is just my imagination. :head_hurts_kr:

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All copper, and brass will develop verdigris if allowed to.. This usually happens with moisture, or corrosives contacting it for long periods of time. Veg tanned is better than chrome tan when copper is used, and a good wax would help to prevent verdigris. The wire will probably work fine. Jewelery wire is annealed to a dead soft condition, which means it has zero springing back when bent. Copper will work harden, so the more flexing it gets the tougher it will get till it cracks. For sewing this should not be a problem, just letting you know.

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uncoated copper wire will eventually turn that beautiful green patina. but it takes a long time. it will darken to a bronze first and then a chocolate brown and then eventually to green.

i personally don't think that a green patina would be objectionable. that patina would eventually leach into the surroundng leather a tiny bit.

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If you buy coil, transformer or motor winding wire, it is coated with a varnish, so would stay the same color forever as long as it has not been scratched or worn through the varnish. You can buy from hair thin to large or very large sizes. You would probably want to stay with AWG 22 as the largest diameter. AWG numbers increase as diameter gets smaller.

As a point of size reference, most of your house wiring is AWG 14 for standard 15 A circuits.

See http://en.wikipedia....ican_wire_gauge for a table.

Edited by northmount

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As an electrician you are right but I believe that the "coil wire" is coated with Varnish ofter wrapping. If this is true the Varnish will flake off if un-wrapped. :coffeecomp: Varnished wire is a good idea and I hope I am wrong.

If you buy coil, transformer or motor winding wire, it is coated with a varnish, so would stay the same color forever as long as it has not been scratched or worn through the varnish. You can buy from hair thin to large or very large sizes. You would probably want to stay with AWG 22 as the largest diameter. AWG numbers increase as diameter gets smaller.

As a point of size reference, most of your house wiring is AWG 14 for standard 15 A circuits.

See http://en.wikipedia....ican_wire_gauge for a table.

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I picked up some 26-gauge jewellery wire and attempted a small stitching project. It didn't really go to well, mostly due to the rigidity of the wire. The wire wasn't difficult to bend, but once bent, unbending it was not an option. If the wire becomes kinked or develops an unfortunate bend, it isn't coming out and can look pretty horrible.

To be honest, I have only made one attempt and probably did not exercise additional care in handling the write while sewing. With extra care it may be possible to effectively stitch with wire and perhaps the results will justify the extra effort. I have a couple of small projects coming up and I'll give it another try.

If I can complete the stitching using the wire, I'll post the results.

Edited by Matthew S

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As an electrician you are right but I believe that the "coil wire" is coated with Varnish ofter wrapping. If this is true the Varnish will flake off if un-wrapped. :coffeecomp: Varnished wire is a good idea and I hope I am wrong.

If the wire was not varnished (insulated) before winding a transformer or motor, the coil would be a dead short since all the individual turns are layed against each other. The finished coil/winding is also dipped after the winding is completed and then baked to ensure it has dried throughout. Then it is tested to ensure no shorted turns.

As well, I have bought bulk wire (spools) and wound my own coils, rewound motors, and rewound automotive alternators. You will also find that if you attempt to solder this wire without scraping the varnish off, it won't solder.

I don't happen to be an electrician. I just have a wide range of experience in many areas having grown up in an automotive garage (from 6 years to 16) and came from a life where there was little money. Therefore you learned how to do things yourself, fix, build, etc. so you could have many of the things others take for granted.

I quoted the house wiring since I thought a few people could relate to having at least seen that size of wire.

Edited by northmount

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Matt ... you can straighten the wire by taking a partial loop around a wood dowel and draw it back and forth under a little tension. It will have quite a curl, but the kinks will be gone. Then pull it tight to straighten it.

For sharp kinks or snarls, time to start over.

Wire is worse to work with than lace is. At least with lace, you can recover from most snarls without any real damage.

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Matt ... you can straighten the wire by taking a partial loop around a wood dowel and draw it back and forth under a little tension. It will have quite a curl, but the kinks will be gone. Then pull it tight to straighten it.

For sharp kinks or snarls, time to start over.

Wire is worse to work with than lace is. At least with lace, you can recover from most snarls without any real damage.

Yup, the gentle bends are fixable, but those kinks you can't recover from. Of course the kinks seem to occur after you have made it 3/4 through your stitching.

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Yup, the gentle bends are fixable, but those kinks you can't recover from. Of course the kinks seem to occur after you have made it 3/4 through your stitching.

Try a piece of dowel sharpened like a pencil, or a sylus or modeler to gently rub back and forth along the kink to work it back out. If the kink is already in a stich, then use a stylus to pull back a little room to play with so you can work out the kink. Be careful pulling it back as you could make a new sharp bend or kink.

I think a sharpened wood dowel is more likely to work to smooth out the kink than metal tools.

You may have noticed too that if you pull the wire too tight, it does a nice job of cutting the leather between holes.

Like you say, small lenghths are going to be much easier to handle.

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Try a piece of dowel sharpened like a pencil, or a sylus or modeler to gently rub back and forth along the kink to work it back out. If the kink is already in a stich, then use a stylus to pull back a little room to play with so you can work out the kink. Be careful pulling it back as you could make a new sharp bend or kink.

I think a sharpened wood dowel is more likely to work to smooth out the kink than metal tools.

You may have noticed too that if you pull the wire too tight, it does a nice job of cutting the leather between holes.

Like you say, small lenghths are going to be much easier to handle.

I will give that a try should I encounter another kink. I didn't experience the wire biting into the leather dangerously. However, I choose 26g wire as it was a bit larger than the smallest stuff (which was pretty thin and "sharp" looking and I intentionally eased off on snugging down the stitches to prevent the wire from pulling through the leather.

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Northmount

You are so right, I did'nt think it through. The wire does need the insulation quality:surrender: :notworthy:

If the wire was not varnished (insulated) before winding a transformer or motor, the coil would be a dead short since all the individual turns are layed against each other. The finished coil/winding is also dipped after the winding is completed and then baked to ensure it has dried throughout. Then it is tested to ensure no shorted turns.

As well, I have bought bulk wire (spools) and wound my own coils, rewound motors, and rewound automotive alternators. You will also find that if you attempt to solder this wire without scraping the varnish off, it won't solder.

I don't happen to be an electrician. I just have a wide range of experience in many areas having grown up in an automotive garage (from 6 years to 16) and came from a life where there was little money. Therefore you learned how to do things yourself, fix, build, etc. so you could have many of the things others take for granted.

I quoted the house wiring since I thought a few people could relate to having at least seen that size of wire.

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Northmount

You are so right, I did'nt think it through. The wire does need the insulation quality:surrender: :notworthy:

All is forgiven :deadsubject:

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An additional piece of info:

To see what wire you have (varnished or bright), scrape a 1/4" or so at the end to see if there is a coating. Some newer plastic coatings might be difficult to see a difference. In this case, use a match to heat the end of the wire up. If the finish bubbles and chars, it is coated and no worry about corrosion.

Coatings/varnish come in different colors too. Probably related to the maximum temperature the coating is rated for, or different manufacturer. So getting a color match between different batches or sources could be difficult. Just make sure you have enough for the job at hand first.

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I picked up some 26-gauge jewellery wire and attempted a small stitching project. It didn't really go to well, mostly due to the rigidity of the wire. The wire wasn't difficult to bend, but once bent, unbending it was not an option. If the wire becomes kinked or develops an unfortunate bend, it isn't coming out and can look pretty horrible.

To be honest, I have only made one attempt and probably did not exercise additional care in handling the write while sewing. With extra care it may be possible to effectively stitch with wire and perhaps the results will justify the extra effort. I have a couple of small projects coming up and I'll give it another try.

If I can complete the stitching using the wire, I'll post the results.

If you are sewing through more than one layer, you might consider using multiple strands and sewing the wire in short intervals.

I asked my husband, whom is a machinist and welder, what he thought wouldn't kink, and he suggested MIG welding wire (strongest, anti-kinking wire he can think of, supposed to be pretty too). I am trying to look up sizes, but most manufacturers have from .045" to .023". I am trying to see if I can find it any smaller than .023" which is about a 23 gauge. But so far I am having no luck.

Jessica

Additional note: Aluminum wire is likely to soft and will break, so hands up between low allow steel and carbon steel wire. Stainless steel is also available but is much less flexible than carbon steel. One day next week I will ask for a short piece from my husband when his shop is open so I can play with it and see if it may be a good idea or not.

Jessica

Edited by JC Javelle

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I only use wire when stitching leather. 28, 30 and 32 copper (either color coated or bare) are the most reliable I have found, though 26 gauge copper is also a viable option. 28 gauge brass, 30 and 32 gauge stainless steel are also good options. 

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