A very quick post and a sewing tip!

Hello everyone!  Today’s post is short and sweet. While there are lots of exciting things happening, keeping me busy, I couldn’t leave you with radio silence!

So here’s an easy, helpful tip. Do you often end up with lots of nearly-empty thread spools from all your leftover projects? (I know I do!)

Save them, and keep them handy to use for basting! Especially if you machine-baste the seamlines of your muslins, like I did here. See, I’m using a yellow bobbin and a bright blue top thread, because it doesn’t matter! It’s actually kind of helpful, because I can tell which is the right side and which is the wrong side of the muslin pieces.

You can also use them for hand-basting, when you know it’s only temporary. Not only are you using up the ends of your thread, but you’re saving the real thread for permanent stitches. Choose a contrast colour so you can see it easily!

You can apply the same idea to any temporary or hidden stitches. Tailor’s tacks would be another great use of leftover thread.

Any other tips for using up old thread? Or other helpful tips for leftover bits of sewing supplies? (What do you do with that extra four inches of elastic leftover from one of those pre-cut packets?) And do you all already do this with your half-used thread? I’d love to know!

21 Responses to A very quick post and a sewing tip!

  1. TM November 23, 2010 at 6:25 am #

    Do eye spy with my little eye something that is new? Or am I way behind the times? I love the new Sewaholic headline – is that what you would call it? – anyways, it looks awesome!

  2. Casey November 23, 2010 at 6:46 am #

    I always keep the odds and ends of thread for either basting by machine or when I do handwork (obviously matching the thread to my fabric though! ;). I have a whole bunch of nearly-gone spools that are taking up space in my thread storage spot, but I hate to get rid of them and be wasteful. (They eventually do get used, so really no complaints here–it just takes me awhile sometimes!)

    ‚ô• Casey | blog

  3. Jennifer November 23, 2010 at 7:24 am #

    Because I have “AADD”, Artistic Attention Deficit Disorder, my bits of thread on a spool don’t last long. I use them in piecing quilt blocks. That’s when I’m not trying to tole paint, scrapbook (where thread would come in handy for stitched looks), decorate my house, or chase cows.

  4. Patty The Snug Bug November 23, 2010 at 7:34 am #

    I recently promised myself to cut scraps into strips and immediately make into bias tape (well, not bias all the time) for later use when I need to finish the edges of facings, etc. Also, I’m not always into crafty sorts of projects, but I recently saw one of those bowls made from strips of fabric sewed around clothesline….I don’t know if I’d have the patience for it, but brilliant use of scraps!

    I never thought of basting with different spool/bobbin colors on muslins! Brilliant! I ALWAYS sew at least one seam wrong on a muslin because it get the front/back mixed up!

    Eagerly awaiting a proposed use for those bits of elastic and other trims!

  5. daiyami November 23, 2010 at 7:49 am #

    I’m a hoarder who refuses to throw anything away, so I was already doing that with thread. I also tend to use up matching thread on things made out of the leftovers—drawstring gift bags, this cute flower tutorial (http://sewritzytitzy.blogspot.com/2008/11/from-annas-gardenfabric-flower-tutorial.html), etc. I have bags of remnants, selvages, and scraps just waiting to be used for something. And yep, I save the 4 inches of elastic. Hey, hair scrunchies might come back into fashion.

  6. Tanit-Isis November 23, 2010 at 8:21 am #

    I’m not anal about thread matching, and seem to sew 90% of my projects with about four colours (black, white, red, and cream), so I don’t *usually* find myself with small bits left over. That being said, if I ever get ambitious enough to mark my seamlines on a muslin, I definitely will use some of the odd colours I have kicking around that have been sitting in boxes for years. My most recent pair of jeans I used red thread I had on hand (for both construction and topstitching), and I think I used bits of about four different shades of red. If I can’t tell the difference wearing them, no one else will be able to, either. :)

  7. Beth (SunnyGal Studio) November 23, 2010 at 8:37 am #

    Yes I always do this with my threads, especially use the contrast colors for tailor’s tacks.
    But as a fabric miser, I have lots of bits of lining as I save everything that is larger than about 8″. Consequently when I make a dress or jacket the lining is usually multi-colored, and I think it is fun to mix and match. Always red satin in a welt pocket lining!
    I am just about to do a post on my mismatched linings. Keep up the great tips.

  8. Alana November 23, 2010 at 9:46 am #

    Yes – definitely use it for basting and tailors tacks when I can be bothered doing them :)
    I also figured out how to make a Madewell inspired Colourblock Bracelet using left over thread.

  9. Sofia November 23, 2010 at 9:57 am #

    Dear Tasia,

    I love your new logo. :) It matches you to a T, I think. (har har, bad pun.)

    Your Sister.

  10. Funnygrrl November 23, 2010 at 11:52 am #

    I do save it for handstitching. Also good to toss in your purse for quick button re-sewing on the go. You won’t care too much about colour if you are desperate to keep your trousers up!
    Obviously only on RTW as OUR buttons hold fast. :)

  11. Corinne November 23, 2010 at 1:24 pm #

    I have about 100 spools of little threads. Some came as a bonus with other sewing notions, some are bits and pieces of other things, mostly odd colors that are best used for basting. I have started winding bobbins with these so that I don’t have so many big spools hanging around and I can just pop them in the machine or on the spool holder and go. Now for those little elastic bits. I save them too. Here is what I do. I butt the ends together with a piece of scrap cotton or selvage behind and zig-zag them together. When I have enough I use them to make dog collars. These collars look like very large scrunchies. They are cute and safe because they come off easily if caught on something. Halloween was little pumpkins and witches, Christmas is a red and green confetti etc. I purchase fabric at Joann’s on the cheap. The dogs are the talk of the town and I have avoided waste. Right now Miss Lucy is wearing her little Gobbler collar, Thanksgiving in USA on Thursday. The large male dog (a guard dog) has opted out. Oh well, no style!

  12. Sue November 23, 2010 at 1:26 pm #

    Yes, I already do use my threads like you do. It’s a great way to use up those last few yards.

  13. The Slapdash Sewist November 23, 2010 at 1:59 pm #

    Don’t forget about gathering stitches–that’s how I run out bobbins. Also, when doing tailor’s tacks or basting, I sometimes pull long pieces of thread I’ve used for gathering out of the waste bin to use.

  14. Khristie November 23, 2010 at 3:49 pm #

    I tend to use a limited colour pallet of thread, so it all gets used up.
    Also I have been known to use different top thread to bobbin thread for seam that no-one will see.
    What to do with all the empty spools? Maybe some christmas tree garland?

  15. Caroline November 23, 2010 at 4:00 pm #

    Another trick along these lines is to use the crazy colors that end up wasting away forever on bobbins as TOP thread in situations like these: basting, mockups, and unseen stitch lines. Usually you can throw a bobbin on your spool pin and use one of the smaller spool caps to hold it on if it’s not a vertical pin.

    I like keeping my bobbins current, and having lots of empty ones ready to go!

  16. Mel November 23, 2010 at 4:54 pm #

    My little girl LOVES playing with empty spools – she stacks them, throws them, chews on them, and when she’s a wee bit older I’ll give her a shoelace so she can learn to thread them. It’s all part of the sewing indoctrination (start them early!).

    If you have old spools you don’t need perhaps think about giving them to your local playgroup, childcare centre or kindy, the kids there will love them.

  17. Haylee November 23, 2010 at 8:28 pm #

    This is such a great tip, thanks so much! I’ve never thought of using two different colors of thread to tell the top from the bottom but that’s genius. I’m going to do that from now on.

  18. Miss P November 24, 2010 at 4:32 am #

    Me too, I find this a great way of using up spool ends,for hand tacking, tailor tacks,basting etc.
    For making use of fabric remanants; I quite like using them as contrast fabrics for neckline facings, seam bindings, piping, applique embellishments, fabric corsages etc. Adds a personal touch to garments made from commercial patterns.
    For larger remnants, I keep meaning to have a go at making knickers to match, say, a dress that I’ve made. The ultimate in co-ordination! Waste not want not, Ha ha!
    Miss P

  19. Becky November 24, 2010 at 5:35 am #

    I don’t like to throw things out when I can help it– I feel like I get more for my money, and it’s better for the environment, to just use things rather than throw them out. So I’ve been in the habit of using up spools on muslins for awhile. That, and tailor’s tacks, and the occasional scrapbook page (I say that’s one of my crafty hobbies, but it only comes in binges because more often than not, I’d rather sew consistently. But one of my favorite techniques for when I do scrapbook is using my sewing machine to stitch things down on a page…go fig.) Leftover bits of trim usually get saved for the latter, as well. Or for making bags, because they take smaller amounts than clothes, generally speaking.

  20. Caroline November 24, 2010 at 8:40 am #

    @The Slapdash Sewist: This reminds me of something I did recently. I have a fancy pair of jeans that needed taking in but I couldn’t match the thread. So I took out the stitches carefully and re-used the existing (topstitching) thread. They look straight from the store, but they’ve been majorly reconstructed.

  21. Mary-Anne May 2, 2011 at 5:44 am #

    I can’t believe I’ve never heard this tip before. I’ve been wasting perfectly good full spools of thread for basting when I should have been doing this. I just can’t slap my forehead any harder. I’m definately passing this one on. Great tip.