Monday, December 17, 2018

What Happens If I Use Old Thread?

By Laure Justice

If you're fairly new to sewing, or if you've been sewing a while but are still a bit of a novice, you may have heard about the risks of sewing with old thread - that sewing with old thread can mess up your sewing machine - that clothes made with vintage thread you make may fall apart - that kind of thing. Well, those things can happen, so I wanted to share a bit about how to tell if vintage thread is too old to use.

Vintage thread on wooden spool
Old thread image courtesy of LisaRedfern and Pixabay

Wooden Spools Are a Sign You Have Old Thread

Thread used to come on wooden spools, until about the mid-1970's. Since then, it's been wound on platic and hard foam spools, so if you're looking at a length of thread wound around a wooden spool, it's probably been there a while.

Can You Use Vintage Thread Or Not?

Does that mean you can't use old thread? Some people will say don't use it at all - to just glue the old spools to some craft project - and that's cool if the idea interrests you - but it isn't necesssary - old thread can be used for certain things. Ideally, once thread is that old, it should only be used for certain things, such as crafts that don't take any abuse.

How Do I Know If Old Thread I Safe to Use?

While this isn't a very scientific way to test vintage thread for tensile strength, pulling on it is one of the easiest, fastest ways to find out how strong it is.

This is a short YouTube video I filmed that shows how to test old thread to see if it's strong enough to use to sew seams in pants. (It wasn't.)

Basically, if you're sewing clothes, you don't want to use thread that's likely to break and leave you exposed. When I filmed this, I was getting ready to sew a crotch, inner thigh area, outer thigh area and hip area on a pair of uniform pants for a mechanic, so I wanted to be sure the thread i used was going to helpd up to some heavy movement and strain.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Information About Fabric Glue to Mend a Hole in Clothes

Fabric glue can be a real time saver when you need to quickly mend a hole in something, but it can be tricky to apply properly, so I wanted to share a bit of information about it. I also would like to share a bit about my experience with applying fabric adhesive to patch a small hole in a pair of dress slacks, which I documented in the YouTube video shared near the end of this article.

Info about using fabric glue to mend clothes image courtesy of Pixabay

Types of Fabric Glue to Consider

Basically, fabric glue can be permanent or semi-permanent.
  • Temporary repairs: If you're trying to mend something you plan to properly fix later, look for semi-permanent fabric glue. It may be labeled semi-permanent or the label may mention that it washes out.
  • Repairs that last: If you're using fabric glue as a final repair, or if it's in a spot you don't want to risk tearing out at an inopportune moment, look specifically for the word permanent on the label. 

Basics of Applying Fabric Adhesive

Applying fabric adhesive is fairly simple if the place you're putting it is easy to access. In the video below, I'm applying it to the inner layer of lined dress slacks, which made it fairly complicated.
  • Make sure the fabric and patch are both clean and as free of frayed threads as possible.
  • Use an artist's paintbrush or cotton swab to apply the fabric glue so you can put it neatly where you need it to be.
  • Try to only apply the fabric glue where the patch will be placed because it can leave a shiny, coarse surface if it's exposed, plus it's more likely to peel if it sticks out from under the patch. 
  • Apply a heavy coat of fabric adhesive, it may seem like you're just drenching the fabric with this glue, but it's more likely to bond well if you apply a thick coat of adhesive. 
  • Check the label of the glue, fabric, and patch to make sure they're compatible. Some fibers simply won't bind well with fabric glue no matter how much you apply or how careful you are when applying a patch with fabric glue.

Video Showing How to Apply Fabric Glue to Mend a Hole in Clothes

With the pants in the pants in the video, I didn't apply nearly enough fabric glue, but I did also do some hand sewing to mend the hole.

The glued patch stayed very well on one side, but it was loose on the other.

I could have reglued it, of course, but I was already planning to sew the frayed ends and the parts that did stick well added enough strength to the pants that there was no worry of the hole getting bigger any time soon.

Here's a link to fabric glue on eBay in case you're interested in finding deals on this product.

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