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Quick Tip – Iron Your Thread

Happy Valentine’s Day! My vintage Vogue Yves Saint Laurent coat is coming along nicely. I did the pockets today. They are welt pockets with flaps, which is always slightly nerve-wracking for me because at one point I’m essentially operating blind from the wrong side of the garment, so I spend hours (literally) measuring, marking, and lining up. Plus, this is a tricky garment with multiple seam lines, and the fabric I’m using is really luxe but really soft and shifty, so it took me a long time.

In the meantime, here’s a quick tip for you that may make your life a whole lot easier. I used it today, and it helped me.

When getting ready to hand-sew, iron your thread first.

I came up with this while I was sewing a hem using a beeswax-impregnated thread. Whenever I wax my thread for hand sewing, I always run it under the iron (using a press cloth to protect my ironing board cover and my iron) to melt the wax into the thread.

Today, when I was prepping to hand-baste my interfacing to the outer garment fabric, I pulled the thread off the spool and I noticed: the thread comes off the spool curled. It makes sense – the tension from the rollers and the settling over time make it happen and it comes off like curly hair.

Before running the iron over it,

 

So then I thought, well, why not iron the thread? I didn’t bother with wax or press cloth. I just ran the thread under the iron. I laid the iron on the thread and pulled the thread underneath it, pulling the thread so it all got straightened. Like flat-ironing your hair – it removed the the curliness.

 

And after ironing it.

Doing this makes it much less likely for your thread to tangle and knot, without adding any stiffness to the thread (unlike waxing). I used the ironed thread to diagonally baste my interfacing to the front pieces of the garment. I didn’t have any knots or tangles, and I was working with very long strands. My thread ran beautifully between the layers and gave me a great result.

Happy sewing!

13 thoughts on “Quick Tip – Iron Your Thread”

  1. LisaB says:

    Nice tip! I’ve never thought of doing this, but I can see that it would be helpful for some unruly thread.

    I did chuckle, though, over the missing letter in this sentence: “Whenever I wax my head for hand sewing, I always run it under the iron”. I know what you meant, but the missing ‘t’ truly makes for a hilarious picture.

    1. Gorgeous Fabrics says:

      Must have been a Freudian slip! 😆
      Or maybe I just fat-thumbed it.

  2. jan says:

    OMg I have been sewing for over 50 years and never realized this! Great tip. I will be using it immediately. Thank you.

  3. nancy says:

    Well duh! Why didn’t any of us think of this sooner. Many of the quilting cottons are very ‘curly’ towards the end of the spool. Thank you, cannot wait to try this.

  4. Tina Spear says:

    Very interesting! I will have to give it a try also. Thanks for the tip.

  5. Rhoda K says:

    I agree! It would be helpful for hand embroidery thread as well. I’ll definitely give it a try on both, thanks!

  6. Allyn says:

    You learn something new every day! Thanks for this tip . . . I will try it!

  7. Reader says:

    I read that it’s a good idea to thread the needle with the cut end of the thread because that reverses the curl. That’s what I usually do if not waxing the thread.

    1. Gorgeous Fabrics says:

      I believe Ruth C (I can’t remember how to spell her last name) wrote a tip for Threads Magazine espousing threading in the same direction as it comes off the spool. Whatever works for you is fine with me. As Susan Khalje says, “There are no hard and fast rules in sewing. Except one. Always sew from wide to narrow.” 😆

  8. Bunny says:

    Great tip, Ann. Heirloom sewists often do this or have a tiny sponge that they wet their fingers with and run the length of the thread to make it it compliant. Thanks for sharing.

  9. ChoctawCharli says:

    I have been sewing since I was a kid. New to me. Brilliant!

  10. Cherie says:

    Ann, thanks for the brilliant idea!

  11. Su says:

    What a good tip, thank you.

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