Thread Holder From a Vintage Find

Here’s a creative way to store your most-used threads; we have the perfect solution for a thread holder upcycled from a cool vintage find!

Since Hubs started his new vintage sewing machine repair hobby, he’s gained a lot of contacts through buying vintage machines that offer him parts they no longer want. This random foot pedal was one of those ‘gifts’.

The top is fairly worn and a little rusty; imagine all the sewing with the press of a foot this pedal has seen?! You could check out our post (how to remove rust metal) for the best and easiest way to de-rust cast iron. But we both love the patina so we will clean it then clear coat it to preserve it just the way it is. If you use a good clear coat specifically for rust, as you’ll see later, it hides the worst of the wear and tear.

cast iron vintage foot pedal on table

It’s not very often that I have an instant idea about our upcycles. The second I saw this vintage cast iron foot pedal, I knew exactly what it should become. And, as it happens, it solves a real problem too.

Watch this Video!

Make this quick and easy upcycle in just a few steps! And by the way, if you watch the video, I’ll reveal a secret about some thread spools!

Do It Over Designers

Today we’re taking part in the Do It Over Designers blog Hop hosted by Ann at The Apple Street Cottage.

We’re a group of bloggers who take something old and/or unused and ‘do it over’ into something new. These items can be found in closets, barns, garages, yard sales, thrift stores, you name it! Check out the other projects at the very bottom of this post. And be sure to drop back in throughout the week to visit them all!

Thread Holder Idea

It’s always an annoyance when I know I have a matching bobbin and thread but can’t find the pair. So an idea about how to store my sewing threads AND bobbins together has been brewing for ages.

However, this is an idea only for my most used threads. You see, it’s not a great idea to store threads out in the open where they are exposed to sunlight. Thread will break down and deteriorate over time, which is why it’s best to store them somewhere like a container or drawer.

Thread Holder Supplies

* [If you’re looking for some of the things we used, we’ve got you covered (disclosure): Clicking on the affiliate links below means we may receive a commission. But don’t worry, you don’t pay a cent more and it helps us make more unique crafts to share with you! Thanks for helping to support our blog!]

For this project, you will need:

  • A vintage cast iron sewing pedal
  • Bobbins (get ones compatible with your sewing machine)
  • Thread (I like Gutermann for its quality)
  • Thread Mates / Bobbin Mates
  • Bobbin Clips (optional)
  • Rust inhibiting clear coat like Tremclad or Rust-Oleum

Supplies for project: bobbins, Thread Mates, thread and vintage foot pedal

As an aside, did you know that some threads have a hidden compartment, like this Gutemann spool? This one untwists at the bottom and you can store a spare needle in it. How handy is that to carry in your purse, just in case you ever need a quick repair?

How to Keep Thread and Bobbins Together

Insert the short end of the Thread Mate into the spool.

By the way, the bobbin clip you see around the bobbin is another real convenience! Have you ever dropping a bobbin and half of it unwinds just like a yoyo (except it doesn’t automatically bounce back)? Not only does the bobbin clip keep your thread from unwinding, but also from getting tangled.

right hand holding spool of thread on a bobbin mate and bobbin in left hand

Now attach the bobbin at the other end.

Inserting the bobbin mate onto the bobbin

Your thread spool and bobbin are together in one handy package!

Don’t forget to watch the video for the secret you may not know about Gutermann (and some other) thread spools.

Spool of thread and bobbin assembles onto thread mate

Assemble Thread Holder DIY

There’s two ways to attach the thread/bobbin combo onto the thread holder. You can attach a bobbin underneath the foot pedal to hold it on.

Thread mate assembly being attached onto vintage foot pedal with washer

Here’s how it looks from underneath.

Finger pointing to washer holding onto the thread mate assembly from underneath the foot pedal

Because the washer tends to be a little floppy, a better idea is to use a spare empty bobbin underneath instead.

Foot pedal and box of bobbins in background while hands hold bobbin and thread mate assembly in foreground.

In comparison to the washer, the bobbins hold the thread onto the thread holder much tighter as you see below!

Under side of thread holder showing spare bobbins attached underneath

Thread Storage

Now you can screw the foot pedal onto a beautiful piece of wood, like this walnut. Here it is before clear coating the metal when I was just playing round to see if this would even work.

Finished thread holder on piece of walnut

And now; you can see that the clear coat on the cast iron really brings out the dark tones  and even hides the rust (you can use Tremclad or Rust-Oleum)!

Finished thread holder on piece of walnut beside small metal sewer at sewing machine sculpture

If you have multiple hobbies, display your new-old thread holder with a shoe form to store your crochet hooks.

Tread holder on piece of walnut beside shoe form with crochet hook resting in top

Or, more practically, add a thread stand. And then, you can use a cone of thread at the sewing machine that matches your serger thread when the need arises.

Thread holder on walnut board with thread stand holding a blue cone of serger thread

On the other hand, the DIY thread holder looks stunning just as-is! I’m going to stick with lucky number 7 to store my favourite colour threads!

DIY thread holder displaying 7 colours of thread.

But, if you’re like us, you likely have lots more thread to store! These sewing thread organizers on Amazon may help.

Ready to Sew

Think cast iron is a mundane material you can’t do much with? Well then, you have to check out these DIY Cast Iron Upcycle Ideas!

We just love creating sewing related upcycles, like this painted sewing box and these sewing table ideas!

So, are you ready to sew something? Try these Jalie Lounge Pants,  a slip on coaster or a sling water bottle. This tread holder will certainly come in handy.

Pin Vintage Thread Holder

Pinning is always welcome and appreciated.

Pinnable image for DIY Thread Holder

Do It Over Designers

Our talented blogger friends have some amazing and inspiring DIYs for you! Don’t forget to visit these posts for more upcycled do-it-over transformations!

34 thoughts on “Thread Holder From a Vintage Find

  1. You are so clever, Sara! The foot pedal is the perfect storage solution for thread and I love how it looks displayed. Fantastic upcycle!

    • Thank you Anne; I was so excited when Hubs brought it home and can’t wait to use for my next sewing project!

  2. It’s amazing how you can just look at old parts and know exactly what to create using it, Sara! Your DIY thread holder is quite unique and very creative! You go! I love it!

    • It doesn’t always come to me so quickly, but it sure did with this one lol!

    • Thanks so much Anita! I’m a fashion designer by trade so this one speaks to me ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Brilliant. And spooky because I was just messaging with a sewing friend this morning as she was sending me photos of a quilt she was finishing. I admired her spool rack in the background of the photo and then I come here and see this!
    I love that you’ve upcycled a foot pedal – so clever. Isn’t it funny how, once people know you use or repair something, you quickly get offered lots of left
    overs and broken bits just in case you can do something with them. So nice!

    • I know right? It’s like the universe is conspiring to make sure these awesome vintage parts don’t go into landfill lol!

    • Ha ha! It’s handy to have a least one to travel with just in case a hem falls or a button pops.

  4. I love the quirky and unexpected use of your vintage foot peddle!! This would look real good in my craft room, but I guess I’m a thread spool hoarder and would lots and lots of pedals ~ lol. I’d use it as a fun and colorful art piece to display!

    • Itโ€™s actually best to store thread in a dark place anyway where it canโ€™t degrade so thatโ€™s what I will likely do too :).

  5. Now that’s what I call having creative vision! Great use for that pedal, what
    a cool project and love that thread. It’s the only kind I use. That’s so funny about storing the thread in a dark place, though. I’ve never heard that and everywhere that sells it around here is light and bright. I guess it makes sense that it shouldn’t be exposed to direct sunlight for long periods of time, but my thread never sticks around long enough for it to get sunburned! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Gutermann is the only thread we use too; that’s probably because of my fashion design roots, but Hubs also loves it for testing his sewing machines. He comes across old thread all the time because of his hobby and you can tell whether it’s been stored properly; you shouldn’t be able to break it with a pull lol.

  6. Oh my gosh! What a special thread holder. Lucky you were gifted it and had the vision for what it could be. Great repurposing.

    • Thanks Rachel! We seem to be on a roll with repurposing cast iron pieces lately. They were certainly built to last.

  7. I think you should get a reward for having the most clever upcycle project.
    You will get a lot of use out of this one. And it is sure to be a conversation piece as well. Love it! Pinned.

    • Ha ha! Thanks Donna. I’ll definitely get a lot of use out of this one. I’ve lost count how many sewing machines Hubs has now; I can make a project on every one of them ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks so much Christy. Iโ€™m a fashion designer by trade so it fits right in with my craft studio ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks so much Donna! Itโ€™s one of my all time favourite Upcycles!

  8. Sara- You always come up with the most clever ideas! This thread holder is no exception. It’s so practical AND it looks cute. Thank you for sharing this post on the Home Imagined Link party.

  9. What a clever idea Sara, and making it functional to boot! I wish I could say I could sew, but I can’t. My mother was quite the seamstress in her time, but I never picked it up. She always kept all of her thread in the basement so I am guessing that is why so many spools have stuck around all of these years later!

    • It never too late to learn Cara :)! I do far less sewing these days, but I would like to do more around the home like curtains.

  10. I would have never thought to do this. Love it and find it so clever! Thank you for linking up on Farmhouse Friday. Hope you link up again soon. Featuring it tomorrow! pinned

    • That’s awesome Cindy; thanks so much for the feature!!

  11. What a clever idea for a thread holder.
    Happy spring,

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