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fabricholic | Posted in General Discussion on

I get inspired by the pattern review. I love reading the suggestions and how the seamstress felt they sewed. She usually suggests who could wear it and what they added to the pattern and why. I, also like the section they have where they give certain fabrics to 3 people and they design outfits from them.
Trying out a new technique on something small is fun. I loved those pryamid boxes with the zippers in them. I made them for my daughter and husband to put Christmas goodies in for Christmas. Overall, I love Threads Magazine.



  1. Bettefan | | #1

    I am so grateful for the article on shoulder fitting. I fugured out a while ago that I have very square shoulders...but they are also somewhat narrow. Every fitted shoulder line falls way off of mine. So fitting this area has not been easy for me! I am going to have my daughter draw the outline on paper for me when she gets home from college tonight. Hoping desperately to be able to fix a jacket that I totally messed up...if not, at least I can try for doing a better job on my next project.

    1. Ralphetta | | #2

      I've met very few people with shoulders as square as mine. They aren't particularly wide. The article in Threads was the first  simple, easy to follow one, I' ve seen about this problem.  My shoulder line is parallel to the floor with no slope. ( Actually, it may go up a tad. )  Years ago  I had to   figure  out how to change things, but  I wish I'd had that article when I was starting out.

      1. edgy | | #3

        I sure wish Threads would either go back to or add their discussion of fashion trends that used to be combined w the pattern reviews.

        1. LindaFaye | | #4

          I just bought my first Threads Magazine last week and I LOVE IT!  The only thing is now I feel so behind because I just found out about the magazine.  Guess I'll just be satisfied that I found it now.  I know I could but back issues but that could geet really costly. 

          Linda Faye

          1. ctirish | | #7

            Sometimes you can buy back issues of Threads on Cd and you get three or four years. I just purchased the Holiday Designs CD and it has 1999,2000,2001,2002,and pieces of 2003. I haven't started reading the articles but I am hoping it will be worth the cost.

            I wish Threads would set up a data base with the content of all the back issues in it. Then subscribers could log in with a secured ID and log into the site. The database would have to be set up so it only allowed subscribers to see the years and issues when they had a paid subscription. I would hope it would be free because we have already paid for the magazines.

            The other option is to offer the CDs of the years of issues are a reduced price for subscribers of that year of issues.  I live in a small condo and I am a fabricholic as well saving every magazine, patterns and thread.  There isn't room for anything else; but I don't want to give anything up. 

          2. cynthia2 | | #18

            Actually, most scholarly journals allow their current subscribers to access all back issues.  (I'm a publisher of medical journals).  In some cases, that can be literally a hundred or more years of content.  It's expensive, though, to go back and digitize all that content.  The earlier issues weren't prepared for distribution online, so Taunton Press would have to scan the earlier issues and then tag them for searching -- assuming they even have copies of the earlier issues on hand.  With space constraints, it's becoming difficult even for libraries to keep every issue on hand.

            I agree, though, that this would be a tremendous benefit to subscribers.  Once an individual ceases to subscribe, online access to back issues is forfeited -- thus keeping the value of a current subscription far above the basic print subscription price.

            Just a thought.

          3. lilah | | #19

            That's a great idea. 

          4. User avater
            Becky-book | | #20

            Back issues of Threads mag on-line !!!!  I love that idea!!!!


        2. AmberE | | #16

          We do offer style tips with each review and a brief intro on trends. Are those helpful to you at all?

          1. ctirish | | #21

            Amber, did you catch the parts of this thread that talk about getting Threads online. I am a firm believer in limiting the participants to the information to the subscribers for that year.  I just believe loyalty should give you an advantage. I know the size project I am talking about, I was in IT for many years.  Also, on the historical note, I bought at a book sale last weekend several copies of Threads from the 90's.  What a different magazine - for those who don't know - it has knitting and other non-sewing articles.  I will mention I loved the article on sergers from the April/May 1992 issue. It is about selecting a serger, but it is so detailed and the picture of the typical serger stitches. The other article I loved is the "Memories of a Parisian Seamstress." 


          2. AmberE | | #22

            I think it's a great idea, and we are working on developing a model.

          3. ctirish | | #23

            Wonderful, now if all the magazines (I am a mag junkie) would do this it, I might have room in my sewing room. Ah...what a thought, room to move around...

          4. AmberE | | #24

            More room for fabric, right!

          5. WandaJ | | #25

            I'm hooked on Threads Magazine. It provides sewing information that most others do not, particularly it is not craft oriented. What I really liked are the older issues of threads that focused on Couture Sewing Techniques. I am not a sewer that is interested in the fastest technique (and notions or supplies) to complete a garment. I've always believed that if I take the time to go through the process of making a garment that it should be not only different from any on the racks, but it too should be very well-constructed, to the point of it most likely being unaffordable.

            And, it's those techniques that I gained from some of the older magazines. Most things today are like a McDonald's Drive Through line and therefore, lack in quality.  Sewing is relaxing and I don't mind giving extra, extra care and time to come up with the garment that speaks for itself when I walk in a room, and every head turns.

            Now, if I can just get this fitting issue straight, I'll be on the way to sewing bliss :>}!

          6. Josefly | | #26


          7. AmberE | | #27

            I agree that slow techniques are important---we work hard to keep adding them to the mix and plan to do moreso in the future. In February, we have a special issue on newsstands called Sew Stylish that will actually provide some training in couture techniques, to go beyond the pattern to add fine sewing touches.

          8. Ralphetta | | #28

            The thing that has set Threads apart from other publications has been it's lack of emphasis on "3 easy pieces, make it in 15min., etc."

            When I first started sewing I got caught up in that trap and the result was that my projects looked tacky and I didn't want to wear them.  As I became better informed I realized that the "easy" things eliminated facings, interfacings, etc. in order to tout "3 easy pieces."  I figured out that a facing or a lining didn't take much more expertise and looked a heck of a lot better.  (It seems that "easy" instructions often require 8 miles of bias binding instead of a facing or lining.  Doing a smooth job of sewing on binding is not easy for an unsteady sewer and takes forever)

            I've always enjoyed the articles that showed things like how an Armani jacket is put together, and Mrs. Clinton's ballgown.  It's good to see what you should aim for.  You don't improve if you don't know that you should.  Threads has always shown its readers the very BEST way to do something.

            I think there are a lot of publications that motivate people to sew...and that is good.  But it's always been a pleasure to read a magazine that motivates sewers to not settle for okay, but to go WAY beyond minimum standards.

          9. AmberE | | #30

            Couldn't agree more! Thanks for your note!

          10. cynthia2 | | #29

            Hi Amber,

            Will the Sew Stylish be an issue of Threads or a different magazine altogether? 

            Have you considered starting a new magazine?  Rather than have Threads try to meet the needs of both beginning and advanced sewers, why not create two magazines.  I haven't studied the ad the market, but it seems that the advertisers might support both titles.  Or perhaps a quarterly supplement to Threads (with commercial sponsorship to offset the additional cost) that would highlight couture techniques and the regular issues could then continue to present a variety of topics and skill levels.

            Some of the other posts have gotten me thinking about the next generation of sewers.  Have you considered providing free (sponsored) copies of Threads to high school students?  If one of your advertisers (maybe one of the big machine companies like Bernina or Janome) were willing to sponsor them, these could really provide inspiration for a whole new generation of designers and sewers.



          11. AmberE | | #31

            Sew Stylish will be a special issue of Threads---for sewers who are interested in combining current fashions and couture/embellishment techniques---so it cuts across many levels, but will also provide the basic training to develop these skills.

            We give many magazines away to many groups, and in particular to the entire incoming class of Fashion Institute of Technology---600! (A record enrollment for them)

            Thanks for all of your great ideas---they will go into the hopper!



          12. SAAM | | #32

            Will Sew Stylish be sent to Threads subscribers, or will it only be available on newsstands? This sound like exactly what I'm looking for.

          13. ctirish | | #34

            Ok, I missed something... You did have an issue in February or you are going to have an issue in February. Do you know if this is going to be quarterly, or semi-annually, or yearly? When can we sign up for it? Although this weekend I am feeling like I need a beginner magazine.

            PS. I am a fabricholic (sp).. I went to Malden Mills yesterday and now I know why I should not have wasted money on the other fleeces I have seen in stores.  Now I need to rent a storage facility to store my fabric, maybe get a heated one and set up my machines and tables and I would have room to actually accomplish something.

          14. AmberE | | #35

            It's on newsstands this Feb. You can get the web page to order in the editor's letter next issue. Thanks for your interest!

          15. lilah | | #37


            That sounds fabulous!  Now I can hardly wait 'til Feb.  I have a confession.  I really blasted the article about deconstructed seams, but after watching the first season of Project Runway, I bought some fabrics to try a simple skirt with that technique.  I don't know if my number 1 model (DD who normally loves everything I sew) will like it, but I am going to take a stab at it.  I thought about making one for myself, but think the texture of the deconstructed seams might not be the most flattering look for me.  Anyway, I'm stretching and growing and it's fun!

          16. AmberE | | #38

            that deconstructed article does grow on you---i keep finding way to incorporate it into garments. most recently i made a chiffon dress with a satin bias binding that did a little less than bind---with some careful clipping, i could called "deconstructed"! it looks cool, almost vintage

          17. TJSEWS | | #33

            I truly enjoy the style tips and info on trends...please keep these fun features!

            By the way, Threads is doing a fantastic job of pairing shoes, jewelry and accessories with the featured garments.  I love to see how all of the pieces come together to make a really great outfit.  Keep up the great work!

          18. AmberE | | #36

            I'm so glad you appreciate this---we've been working on it!

      2. Bettefan | | #5

        Well, the Palmer & Pletsch book had some helpful info on shoulder fitting too. But I didn't realize how much poor fit could be attributed to thaq one simple adjustment. It affects the neck, the armhole, and the bust areas. Cheez!

  2. lilah | | #6

    I've bought Threads magazines for years.  I'm not an expert seamstress but I have always loved reading the magazine cover to cover because it deals with sewing, not crafts.  Techniques were covered in detail, with great photos.  I have been able to use the old issues for reference on many sewing projects.  I loved the back covers with vintage garments and it was the first thing I would look at when buying the mag at the bookstand.   I have even used some of those, like cartridge pleating.  It was the only place to see some of those details close-up and in color.

    I still like the magazine, BUT I'm a little unhappy with the "dumbing down" of the articles.  Too much of it is like filler/fluff, like the deconstructed seams, or the poncho.  All I have to do is look at a garment and Ive got it, I don't need several pages, several garments and photos to understand it.  Besides, it's a trend and already on the way out. 

    This is also the reason I don't like most craft programs.  When they show pillows and drapes put together with glue, because the hostess thinks that sewing a straight seam is too difficult, I just turn it off.  I like seeing current trends in fashion, but I want to learn the best way to construct garments. 

     Unfortunately, a lot of junk has been lumped together and called fiber art or wearable fiber art when it's really an excuse not to use good technique.  This detracts from true fiber art and from sewing as a whole because the garments like this often turn out to look worse than "loving hands at home."   A good example of this was on Project Runway when Robert made the garment inspired by Jackie O.  Who would have thought that he would have made a poorly fitting jacket with the wrong fabric?  And a rope belt?  Please.  Another example is the quilted garments made by contestants to promote quilt batting.  Bad idea.  Nobody looks good wearing a stiff, puffy quilt.  Nobody looks good wearing a quilt with embroidery, beads, sequins, buttons, balls, mirrors or anything and everything attached to it.  You may call it art if you like, but it is bad design, bad technique and bad fabric choices converging to create the very broad term "wearable art."    

    Easy projects for beginners are great, but they have their place to fill.  Maybe there should be a beginner's section with super-simple projects, and the rest of the magazine could be devoted to the kinds af things we loyal readers thirst for.  That way, a beginning sewer can be exposed to and explore more difficult projects and can advance their skills.  Beginner projects should not take up the whole magazine. 

    Threads had always been the magazine that was about building real technical sewing skills, practical and beautiful techniques were shown and explained in detail.  There are so few magazines or TV programs that do this.   I hope Threads will continue with the previous vein of the magazine and not fall into the crafty side of sewing.   

    1. fabricholic | | #8

      Hi Lilah,I agree with you about the gluing of items. I would rather sew them. Do you call sewing pillows and drapes crafts? I am more into garment sewing, but a little of the other is o.k. by me. I have not seen a magazine with so many techniques until I came across Threads. I don't want them to lose that. I think Sew News has gotten better, but I find it helpful, also. It's not in the league of Threads, though.Marcy

      1. lilah | | #11

        Hi fabricholic,

        I don't consider home dec sewing crafty, it is designer work.  I just find it really frustrating that so many people think that sewing is so hard that they can't use a sewing machine at all. 

        1. fabricholic | | #14

          Hi Lilah,Oh, but what people are missing when they don't sew. Everyone should learn how to use a sewing machine and learn to stitch by hand.Marcy

          1. marijke | | #15

            Amen to that!

            I think the current trend for individualized embellishment (or, as far as RTW goes, the illusion of individualized embellishment) might help young people want to try their hand at some simple sewing and handembellishments.  At least, I hope so. 

            People who cannot sew miss out on so much creative fun!



    2. marijke | | #9

      Doesn't it all depend what sort of style one uses for a quilted garment?  There were some articles by Mary Ray of fitted garments that were quilted and I thought those were fabulous. 

      But then, I also like the deconstructed seams.   As with anything, such techniques can be done well or badly.  Done well, and in a well-made garment, deconstructed or raw-edge seams can add a fun and funky touch.

      Different individuals, different tastes?


      1. lilah | | #10

        Not all quilted garments are bad.  I have seen lovely quilted garments in Threads magazine.  A silk dupioni quilted jacket can look fabulous.  A jacket that is made from a sweatshirt with pieces of quilting cotton glued and stitched on looks like what it is. I have in mind the contests like the ones occasionally shown on Simply Quilts or featured in quilting mags.  You'll have to see the difference to know what I mean.  And you're entitled to think what you like, but what I see in a lot of it is little thought given to fabric choices or overall shape and design.  Actually, it's pretty funny to see someone wearing a dress stiff enough to be body armor.  The quilt batting and the stitching change the drape of the fabric, making it stiff and unflattering.  There are ways to make a quilted garment that looks better.  If I remember correctly, these were some of the things mentioned in the Threads articles on quilted garments. 

        And of course, any technique can be done well or badly, my point is that there's no need for several pages on a simple idea like deconstructed seams.  It's like having several pages on how to sew on buttons.

        1. marijke | | #12

          I agree that not all quilted garments are created equal.  I don't like the look of bulky and stiff clothing either (I don't even like my super-cold-weather coat, which makes me feel like I am walking around in a sleeping bag).   I misunderstood your comment as a rejection of all quilted clothing and I just wanted to point out that there are beautiful quilted garments -- like the one in silk doupioni you mentioned, but I could see something done in cotton or linen that's fitted that would work also).

          On the deconstructed seams: I do think that more variations could have been shown to get the creative imagination going.  Maybe some samples of seams in addition to the garments shown.  Many simple ideas can take on very different looks depending on how they are used, what fabric is used, and whether it's used straight grain or bias, etc.  I could imagine making the slot seam with a raw instead of a serged edge.  If the fraying was carefully controlled, the bit of bright fabric peeking through might be quite interesting. 

          I think what you were getting at is that it really depends on how a technique if applied and whether the result is a flattering garment?


          1. lilah | | #13

            Yes.  You are right and expressed it better than I did.  I still think Threads is the best magazine for sewing.  I want it to remain as great as it was and it to become greater.  More, more, more!

    3. AmberE | | #17

      Thanks Lilah for your feedback. I would also suggest that you consider becoming an author. Threads is a "reader-written" magazine and it's devoted readers like yourself who can inspire the core. Looking forward to hearing from you. Best, Amber

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