Thread Conditioning Tip – Beeswax

As you know I teach hand sewing techniques for fabric manipulation. Because you are making multiple passes through the fabric with your needle and thread to create the texture on the back, it’s important to use a “strong” thread, meaning the thread is not brittle or will break or fray easily. One of the things you can do to your thread is apply a conditioner to it to help it keep some of it’s strength.

I’m not going to discuss silicone-based conditioners that coat your thread for ease of pulling it. There’s a suggestion from conservators that silcone-based thread conditioners “hasten rot”, which over time, disintegrates the thread and the area you have sewn through. Now this may never be in your lifetime, but for those of us passing our work down and on, it’s not a good thing to have something in your toolbox that will eat your work.

For Beeswax, however, it’s another matter altogether. Beeswax does not “have a negative impact on thread”.  Thread coated with beeswax is strengthened for multiple passes through fabric. It protects thread from that constant wear as it is used. It’s not meant to make your thread slippery. And for “heirloom sewing” which is meant to be passed down, it’s perfect.

Beeswax has been used in sewing toolboxes for hundreds and hundreds of years. You may have an old slab of wax that your grandmother or her grandmother used. When I went to look for mine, it was coated with dust and dirt. That led me to think about ways to make it more useful (and dirt free) in my sewing toolbox, and I thought of my lip balm tube! Next thing you know, I was making 100% pure beeswax tubes with my dad for use in your sewing.

Interested in trying some out for yourself? You can get it in my shop, just by CLICKING HERE!