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Waxing and Pressing your Sewing Thread

Have you ever been plagued with knots or fraying threads while doing some hand sewing work? It can be a most frustrating event to be in the middle of a line of stitching and suddenly have the thread break off. For many years now I’ve been not only waxing, but pressing my sewing thread as well, with great results. It may seem crazy at first, but it’s completely worth the effort.

Start by cutting several strands of thread about 20 to 24 inches in length. By keeping the threads on the shorter side, you further decrease the likelihood of the thread fraying because you use up the thread before that can happen.

Next, rub the threads one at a time over a cake of beeswax. I’ve even used beeswax candles if I can’t find my little cake for some reason. I like to coat each strand twice in the beeswax to ensure even coverage. While you’re doing this, plug in your iron and let it heat up.

Waxing your sewing thread.
Waxing your sewing thread.

After all of the threads are coated, iron each piece, ensuring all of the wax melts into the thread. You can use a piece of paper to keep your ironing board wax free, or perhaps use a spare or old sleeve board like I do that you don’t mind getting dirty with wax and pigment / fiber buildup.

Your threads are ready to use now! I like to store them in groups of ten or twelve which I prepare each day before starting the next phase of my project. It’s tempting to do more sometimes but then they have a tendency to become tangled no matter how carefully you store them. If you compare the treated threads to some normal thread, you should find it has a much fuller body to it, and when used, these threads will go through even the toughest fabrics like butter. It truly is amazing and worth the five minutes of preparation it takes.

Here’s a video I prepared on the subject showing how to do each step. If you give it a try, please let me know in the comments how it works for you!

Waxing and pressing your sewing thread.