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Thread: Old sewing thread

  1. #1
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    Old sewing thread

    I went to an estate auction today and picked up an old sewing stand. It has several spools of thread inside. I assume that wooden spools would no longer have useabe thread on them. I would further assume that thread on sterofoam spools would no longer be useable. Is this correct? Now I would like to know how to tell if regular plastic spools contains useable thread. Just because it is on plastic spools probably does not mean it is good, fresh strong thread I also assume. So how can I tell before I put it on my machine ??? That Ks in advance for your help. Sue

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    Super Member Murphy1's Avatar
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    Are you familiar with Tamari balls - the old thread could be used for these lovely pieces of art. http://www.temari.com, http://www.japanesetemari.com
    Murphy1
    For our wonderful Golden Retriever adopted in March of 2010.

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    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    never simply 'assume' I've used thread that my mom bought in an estate sale 20 years ago that is still just fine- do a strength 'tug-test' to see if the thread is still strong- or if it breaks easily when you hold a strand of it between your two hands & give it a tug. I've had brand new thread that was- *garbage* and old thread that was wonderful- wood. plastic, cardboard- what ever does not have a lot to do with it- the way it was stored, where, and the thread itself will determine if it is still good or not.
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  4. #4
    Super Member mom-6's Avatar
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    I've used thread from wooden spools that I knew had to be years and years old that was perfectly fine and also have bought supposedly new "fresh" thread that was useless.
    As stated before, test it and see. You might be pleasantly surprised.

  5. #5
    Super Member quilts4charity's Avatar
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    I'm still using some on both types of spools and it's still strong and sews well!!!

  6. #6
    Super Member nanacc's Avatar
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    I can only echo what the others have said! I am using some of my Mother's thread. She died in 2003 and the thread was bought in bulk long before that!

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    Senior Member QuiltingHaven's Avatar
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    Okay, I am 66 years old and just starting quilting 2 1/2 years ago. I inherited my grandmother's 1937 Singer which I use weekly. Along with that I got her sewing kit and my mother just past away in January and I got her machine and her sewing kit. Both of them have well over 60-70 wooden spools of thread. I do the tug test and if it holds, I use that thread. I think some of that thread is better than the thread today. It is 100% cotton and I think I have every shade imaginable. Oh, yes, I do buy modern thread but before I do, I check my stash from my mother and grandmother. Thank you, ladies!!!!!
    Busy in Ohio

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    I also have some older thread. LIke everyone mentioned do the tug test . I find most of my older thread is fine.

  9. #9
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    I have a lot of thread I bought in the 70s and maybe before. It is all still good and I use a lot of it for piecing. Seems just fine to me.
    Another Phyllis
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  10. #10
    SMR
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    I agree just because thread has a little age on it does not automatically make it bad. I use the tug test to see if it breaks easily, if it does it goes off to the side for hand basting that doesn't require strong thread, like basting for English paper piecing. Just finished using up a spool of my mother's thread that was priced at thirty-one cents for a small spool so we know how old it was and had no problems with it.
    Thankful to still be here.Someone upstairs must still have a plan for me.

  11. #11
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    Sometimes it is just the outer layers of thread, the ones exposed to years of light and temperature stresses, that fail the 'tug test'. If your first test fails, unwind a few layers and try it again. You may be surprised. I have solid and strong thread on spools that date back to WWII.
    The Earth without art is just "Eh".

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    Ditto what ckcowl said, I got some thread that is on wooden and the foam spools and I'm using it. I also got it at an estate sale. I washed the thread while it was still on the spools. I put them in a small plastic basket and put that into a plastic dish pan. Swished them around a bit the bottom of the basket had holes so they were easy to rinse. That's been a few months and I'm using the thread. none so far have shirred or split. The colors are vibrant. I used just a tad of Woolite.

  13. #13
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SewinSue View Post
    I went to an estate auction today and picked up an old sewing stand. It has several spools of thread inside. I assume that wooden spools would no longer have useabe thread on them. I would further assume that thread on sterofoam spools would no longer be useable. Is this correct? Now I would like to know how to tell if regular plastic spools contains useable thread. Just because it is on plastic spools probably does not mean it is good, fresh strong thread I also assume. So how can I tell before I put it on my machine ??? That Ks in advance for your help. Sue
    Sue,

    Like many of the other posters have said, I have many spools of thread on the wooden and Styrofoam spools. I check each roll of thread to see how easy it breaks, my mom taught me how to do that, and if it's good, I use it.

    I don't condemn all wooden or Styrofoam spools of thread just because they are old(er).

    Joe

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    I have lots of old thread on wooden spools and have never had a problem with sewing with them. If you take a piece and try to break it and it doesn't, then I would say go ahead and use them. The older thread was a lot less lintier than most the new stuff.

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    Super Member DOTTYMO's Avatar
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    I handle e with old thread where I can do a tug test as I re thread a needle. I love some of the colours with old threads especially the mucky type. I haven't used on a ,a hine because they are dusty and get a build up of fluff which breaks the thread as I machine. And is so annoying.
    Finished is better than a UFO

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    If it passes the 'tug-test' I use it. I've found some of the older thread is strong than recent purchases.
    Fabric is like money, no matter how much you have it's never enough.

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    Swap Hosts Krystyna's Avatar
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    Not correct at all! I regularly purchase thread at estate sales. Tug on it. If it breaks right off, it's no good. If it is firm, you can sew with it. Although I do purchase thread for many of my sewing needs, why pay $4 a spool when I can get a huge bag full for $5?
    Krystyna
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  18. #18
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    Besides the tug test.....spritz with a little water...if it is cotton thread that will rehydrate the strands,if poly won't hurt it.....

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    Tug Tug Tug. I, too, have older thread that passes the test with flying colors

  20. #20
    Senior Member Noiseynana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ckcowl View Post
    never simply 'assume' I've used thread that my mom bought in an estate sale 20 years ago that is still just fine- do a strength 'tug-test' to see if the thread is still strong- or if it breaks easily when you hold a strand of it between your two hands & give it a tug. I've had brand new thread that was- *garbage* and old thread that was wonderful- wood. plastic, cardboard- what ever does not have a lot to do with it- the way it was stored, where, and the thread itself will determine if it is still good or not.

    ditto for me. I'm using some that came from ebay as vintage thread , works fine. I had to take off a couple of layers of thread because of dust. Underneath , beautiful.
    Stitching is Meditation in Motion

  21. #21
    Super Member amyjo's Avatar
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    I have a lot of thread that is over 20 yr old and it is better than what I have bought now. Do the test, I use mine in piecing and any other sewing I do.

  22. #22
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    Just tug on it! I've got thread that's more than 50 years old and it's just fine! froggyintexas
    Quote Originally Posted by ckcowl View Post
    never simply 'assume' I've used thread that my mom bought in an estate sale 20 years ago that is still just fine- do a strength 'tug-test' to see if the thread is still strong- or if it breaks easily when you hold a strand of it between your two hands & give it a tug. I've had brand new thread that was- *garbage* and old thread that was wonderful- wood. plastic, cardboard- what ever does not have a lot to do with it- the way it was stored, where, and the thread itself will determine if it is still good or not.

  23. #23
    Super Member CookyIN's Avatar
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    I was speaking with the owner of my local Vac and Sew shop yesterday. She's a gem of information on anything dealing with sewing. She said to tuck older cotton threads in the refrigerator to revive them -- said the moisture inside the fridge is just enough to rehydrate and refresh the thread.

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    I am 77 years old. Very frugal, but wise enough to not use thread that is questionable. I remember my home economics teacher telling the class that cotton thread "dries out". She said to sprinkle some water on the spool, wrap it air tight (now we would use plastic bags) and store it in the freezer for a week or two. It rehydrates the thread, and it should be good as new. As for polyester threads, I agree with the strength test. If it breaks easily, use it to teach a younger person to sew!

  25. #25
    Power Poster Boston1954's Avatar
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    I am with ckcowl. Give it a little pulling test and see. If it was good quality at the time it was made, it could still be usable.
    Life is not a movie. No one is going to yell "CUT" when you make a mistake. - Anne L. Fulton

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