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When to discard spools of thread?

Posted by bumblebeez (My Page) on
Mon, Dec 8, 08 at 20:24

I have a drawer full of old- decades- spools of thread from my grandmother and mother. I don't sew except for the occasional button, however, someday I will learn and might want the stuff.
How can I tell if it's any good? Once I take up sewing I will make pillows, tablecloths, drapes, etc.

Is there a tension test?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: When to discard spools of thread?

Bumblebeez, if you pull the thread with both hands, you should be able to judge the strength yourself. Are the spools made of wood? If so, they are worth about 25 cents each or more. If the label is etched into the wood, they are worth more. I once collected wooden thread spools, and I would have paid $1.00 each for spools with etched labels.

RE: When to discard spools of thread?

Decades old thread won't sew well, especially on a sewing machine. It will probably be dusty, it's likely dried out, and I know it will create an unreasonable amount of lint in a sewing machine. Especially as a novice, you really want fresh thread. Pillows and drapes need a strong thread, and I use an upholstery weight for this type of sewing.

But as lexi said, wooden spools have a bit of value.

RE: When to discard spools of thread?

Yes, pull some of the thread and see how easily it breaks.

I would probably roll off the entire top layer of thread, though. After discarding a lot of thread once, I decided to roll off the first layer and test the thread underneath and it was much stronger.

RE: When to discard spools of thread?

Heh, It never occurred to me that anyone would want an old spool!
Many of them are wooden, small and etched with the name and price - Coats and Clark .15. None of them are wool.
Thanks for the advice. So I should save them to sell someday and don't use for real sewing on a machine. I'll keep the worthless ones for buttons and such.

RE: When to discard spools of thread?

People make neat things out of old wooden spools, too.

I saw a really nice looking walking cane made out of old spools. They, in fact, left the thread on and laquered over it so it became part of the spool.

In one of those country decorating magazines I saw where they cut the spool ends off and used them for knobs on their kitchen cabinets. It was kinda cute.

We used to make spool dolls by stringing them together.

They make spools out of plastic now, and sometimes styrofoam. And they don't hold nearly as much thread as the old ones always did.

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