Monday, 6 February 2017

Monday's Mending Pile: Does Thread Have an Expiry Date?

My new-(ish) coat made it to the mending pile this weekend.

This coat has proved to be quite warm and is holding up to the elements (and outdoor duties) so I've been wearing it to work. A lot. That means it doesn't get the gentle care that it deserves. Instead of hanging on a hanger, it is shoved into a locker, dangling from a metal hook. And that is how this hole developed from where the neckline and under collar meet.  

This mending task proved to be an easy peasy fix, no sitting (thank goodness) required. I was able to lean it on the back of a chair, stand, and hand-stitch the opening close. This time I used jean thread since the thread I sewed this coat with did not hold up to the reality it faces. And that got me thinking about whether or not my thread could have been to blame?  

Does thread have an expiry date?  

According to Bob Purcell, the senior threadologist at Superior Threads, the answer to that question is yes. The thread that I initially used to slip-stitch the under collar to the lining is of a certain vintage. I'm can say for certain that the salmon coloured thread was purchased at designer's going-out-of-business sale back in the eighties.  

And I have to admit that I have spools of thread that are wrapped onto wooden spools. When was the last time you seen wooden spools at the fabric store? So yes, they're that old.  

If threads have an expiry date, why are they not date stamped? How do you find out if they're past their expiry date? Whip Stitch has a test that you can use to check if your thread is up for the sewing job. 

I don't think I would ever toss a spool of thread. Seriously, I'm proud of my frugality. But maybe I might save those older spools for temporary basting and underlining tasks.  

Happy Sewing!  


  1. I had a textiles teacher say you might be able to save old natural fiber thread by putting it in a freezer to rehydrate it. I haven't tried it, but if you're frugal and have lots of old thread it might work.

  2. I finally gave up trying to save old thread after a few frustrating incidents. It really does do much better as basting thread. (Still ends up in the garbage, but at least it was useful along the way.)


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