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Forum > Beginner's Forum > Does thread go bad? ( Moderated by EleanorSews)

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Does thread go bad?
sharkycharming
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sharkycharming
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Maryland USA
Member since 11/10/10
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Date: 12/6/10 8:41 AM

I know it says there are no silly questions, but I am guessing this is as close as it gets. I am just wondering if it's safe to use the thread I inherited from my grandmother, or if there is some test I should do before I use it. I have a lot of different kinds -- silk, polyester, cotton, blends, etc. I just am unsure if thread could lose its strength when it's old. Some of this is probably vintage early 60's or maybe even 50's. I could just use it for basting if necessary.

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Heather in Baltimore

Pinkytoo
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Pinkytoo
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Nevada USA
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In reply to sharkycharming


Date: 12/6/10 8:45 AM

I inherited a lot of spools of thread from my mom, and I can definitely say YES, thread does "go bad." Some of them ravel and break when used in my machine, of course right in the middle of a seam.

You could use them for hand sewing.

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Sewing is my therapy!

sharkycharming
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sharkycharming
Beginner
Maryland USA
Member since 11/10/10
Posts: 345
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Date: 12/6/10 8:56 AM

Thanks for your help, Pinky! I still have enough trouble threading the machine as it is -- I'd be so frustrated if I had to do it repeatedly because of breakage.

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Heather in Baltimore

JKimes
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JKimes  Friend of PR
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Texas USA
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Date: 12/6/10 9:28 AM

You can try putting some of the thread in the freezer--I was taught to do that to "rehydrate" the thread. It make sense for cotton since it can dry out. Silk thread probably wouldn't benefit since it actually breaks down over time.

Juliette

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Juliette near Austin, TX
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tourist
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tourist  Friend of PR
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In reply to JKimes


Date: 12/6/10 10:39 AM

Some cottons and silks seem to last forever. Pull some thread off the spool and give it a good tug. If it doesn't break, it will be fine to use. I have also had some that were no good on the outer layer, but once I took that off and exposed the layers inside, they were fine.

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http://bgballroom.wordpress.com to follow the progress on my next ballgown.

sharkycharming
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sharkycharming
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Maryland USA
Member since 11/10/10
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Date: 12/6/10 10:46 AM

Thanks for your tips -- I will try them for sure.

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Heather in Baltimore

JTink
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JTink
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In reply to sharkycharming


Date: 12/6/10 1:01 PM

It might depend on how the thread was stored, but, Yes, thread will go bad. I have some that's got to be close to 25 years old and some even older that I inherited from my mother that is on wooden spools, and it will break if I look at it hard. I do as you mentioned, I use the old stuff for basting.

JillyBe
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JillyBe
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Date: 12/6/10 1:09 PM

I had a large stash of thread from my former sewing days - meaning it was 20 yrs plus old. I went through the stash & tug tested everything, & tossed almost all of it. This was all stored in containers - no light, dust, etc.

What I kept was the silk thread - it's still in great shape, (smooth & strong) & that's what I hand baste with. I don't care to machine sew w/ silk - either that or none of my machines care to work with it - but I love hand sewing with it!

Freezing...interesting....I'll give that a try, just out of curiosity, but I admit I'm a bit skeptical!

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http://jillybejoyful.blogspot.com/
a blog about creativity, sewing, vintage sewing machines, and...... life :)

RuthieSews
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RuthieSews
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Date: 12/6/10 1:14 PM

Agreed that it can do.
Two tests
- as several people suggested, unwind a length and hold it between your two hands, pull hard, if it breaks its no use in the sewing machine but you could use for tacking, basting, marking etc.
- other test is to look at the thread very close up (or through magnifier) and see if it looks all hairy and flaky, or a nice smooth twisted cord. If its smoth it should be OK. If its all flaky/hairy it may well split and shed.
Uneven colouration and spotting also tend to be bad signs.

If the spools are old and looks pretty you could always get a deep picture frame and make a sewing room display from them, even if they are not usable.

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Sewing in Derbyshire, England
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JillyBe
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JillyBe
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In reply to RuthieSews


Date: 12/6/10 1:29 PM

Quote: RuthieK

If the spools are old and looks pretty you could always get a deep picture frame and make a sewing room display from them, even if they are not usable.

Avid recycler that I am, I should have said I didn't really toss my old and pretty wooden spools of thread - they are on display

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http://jillybejoyful.blogspot.com/
a blog about creativity, sewing, vintage sewing machines, and...... life :)

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