Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Dangers of Vintage Trim

You can imagine my excitement when I scored this 1950s (?) trim in a grab bag of sewing supplies.  It was new in the cellophane and seemed perfect for my most recent sewing project.  So I basted it onto the top edge of a mandarin collared jacket and double checked my sewing...

...my sewing line was dead on, but the trim began to self-destruct!  One loop had pulled out but when I went to fix it with a few invisible hand stitches, I noticed another that was loose.  One by one the looped braid pulled apart!  Apparently 100% cotton trims cannot withstand 60 years of sitting on the shelf.  Even worse was the pulverized black dust resembling soot all over my fingertips.  The cotton was just disintegrating.  This was serious self-destruction here. 

Moral of this story:  Carefully check all your vintage trims, threads and fabrics for wear or breakage before you you begin.  It's so tempting to be thrifty and authentic at the same time, but it may cost you in the long run.  Don't be afraid to tug and pull a little.  It all needs to hold up in the washing machine after all.  

So this particular black trim is all wound up again and looking nice just sitting on my shelf in the sewing room.  I suspect I have a few more packets of trim that will be joining it.  Sorting my trims seems like a good rainy day project.  On the upside, however, since I was brave enough to tear open that cellophane, the label had a few handy tips on rick rack!  And if you're wondering, my mandarin collar turned out very nice, albeit a bit drab. Photos coming soon.


  1. this is so true! I inherited a big load of sewing supplies and most of it has been fine but some of the delicate stuff was falling apart. I put it all through the wash in a lingerie bag now, I figure if it survives the washer once it's good to go.

  2. Yikes! I use a lot of vintage notions, and so far I have been lucky. I found those rick rack tips in one of my packs recently too! I used the interlock idea and made a heart on a jumper for my daughter. It came out really cute. Well, I was going to put some vintage rhinestone trim I have been hoarding on my holiday dress this year, and I will definitely take your advice to heart and test it for durability first!!

  3. I've often wondered it these type of things would hold up over time. glad you figured it out before you threw it in the washer...yuck!
    also happy to know that you're 'okay' with having it sit pretty for you to admire.
    Live and learn I suppose. Pat

  4. Definitely saving those rickrack tips! I've always dreaded sewing with it, so I've avoided it like the plague! Perhaps it's time to try it again! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Oh yes I've had some bias tape (the double fold cotton stuff) just disintigrate as I unrolled it off the cardboard. Eep!

  6. Really glad that though I'm 60 I'm neither pulverising, nor turning to black dust! Yet! :-)


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