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By C. A. McWilliams
By pm omoth
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I have a bunch of "new" unopened bias tape, zippers, ribbon, etc. that belonged to my grandmother. I'm wondering if they are still OK to use, or would the fabric be too old for normal wear and tear? They are all from 1980 or before; I'd bet some might even be from the 1960s for all I know. Most of the zippers have a price of 35 cents on them! I would like to use them, but don't want to waste the time if they will fall apart after use and a few washings. Thanks.
By Judy = Oklahoma from Tulsa, OK
I would run a test on the notions-open one each of the vintage notions and subject them to a vigorous tug-pull-crumble test to see how the notions hold up. Then, sew up something small (for example a bag with bias taped seams and a zippered pocket) using the notions, and run the item through the washer and dryer to see how the vintage notions hold up. More than likely you'll find the vintage notions will hold up just fine as long as they were stored out of the sun and in a dry condition.
Some of the fabrics, though, may not stand up to your test, so be sure to keep track of labels and fabric content as you run your tests so that you don't keep testing the same labels and types over and again.
Btw, threads actually do have a 'shelf-life'-because of the way thread is made it is subject to 'break-down' over time, and it's better to replace thread spools that are a few years old to avoid breakage during sewing or using an item sewn with old threads.
Should you find the vintage notions are not going to stand up to use, you could make a lovely shadow box display for your sewing area.
There's no reason at all why they wouldn't be still good to use. I have some from back in the '60s (from my mother too) and still use them.
Thanks for the answers, you kind of verified what I thought. The zippers, I figured would probably still be good (maybe better than new since they are metal), but I will give them a good pull before using, maybe even wash them first. The ribbon looks ok too, so I'll try that on something small.
It was the thread I was worried about. It seems ok, but I don't want to use it to sew something, then have it fall all apart after a couple of washings - maybe I'll take the oldest, which are wood spools, & throw them in a glass jar to display. Thanks again!
Judy - Oklahoma
This is a guide about organizing sewing supplies. Keeping all of your sewing supplies well organized makes working on each project easier.