Beeswax helps to reduce static and tangling, and strengthens your thread. Beeswax can also be used to improve the glide of an iron and even ease stiff drawers in your old sewing cabinets! Waxing ensures durability of a finished garment and makes hand-sewing much easier.
You should always wax your thread before performing any of the following tasks:
- Hand-working buttonholes
- Sewing on buttons
- Setting-in a sleeve by hand
- Inserting a zipper
- Hand-stitched French Seams on fine fabrics
- Sewing-on patch pockets
- Sewing fur
Generally, any task that requires a little extra strength from your thread will benefit from using beeswax. Cotton and silk thread should always be waxed before hand sewing with it. Waxing is also important to keep polyester thread from tangling and achieve some needed stiffness.
Tips for Waxing Thread:
When hand sewing, your thread should generally be about 36 inches long, or from your shoulder to wrist. Working with anything longer could lead to knotting. If you have to use a longer piece of thread, avoid tangling by waxing the thread and working slowly.
Once cut, draw each thread two or three times through the wax, then press it with an iron between a folded piece of paper or a pressing cloth to blend the wax and the thread. This also removes excess wax. Ironing through another piece of material is recommended if you don’t like the idea of coating your iron and ironing board with wax. Some professionals recommend simply pulling the thread between your thumb and the index finger to set the wax, or to wipe it with a soft cotton cloth.
Be careful, when sewing with white fabrics: beeswax may discolor the fabric or thread, so be sure to do a test run first!