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Conversational Threads

Gosh – are you all “know it alls?”

JanF | Posted in Feedback on Threads on

I’m sorry to say this but just read the last few letters and am disappointed that so many of you seem to think you know it all – so only put really advanced stuff in the mag! God help the editor if things dont improve? I agree that there seems to be too many reader’s letters and some articles are basic – but surely a good editor will take your criticism on board and try to get an even balance – remember that we are never too old to learn and hopefully the balance will return to information/inspiration/sharing?


  1. mygaley | | #1

    Dear Jan, I hope you can see that the real reason we're complaining is that there is no longer any advanced source like the Threads we were used to. Our frustration is exacerbated by editors asking for our input and still then reducing the content.  Threads is still best, but not what it was.  Here is a site that I find fascinating http://www.fashion-incubator.com/mt/archives/constructing_sparkle.html.  This garment and article is more what I want to see.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.  Galey

    1. JanF | | #3

      Thanks for that - just gone on and spied something about bra- making - my daughter tells me yesterday that she's going to try having a go! shes a great trier of all things - but has a bra size to die for - she hates it - and has real trouble getting affordable bras - so obviously fancies a go! I didnt say anything about the difficulties to her - she never listens anyway! but have emailed her the website! I think her problem might be accessing the fabrics - any ideas?

      Thanks jan

    2. JanF | | #5

      Ive just reread and had a thought - ive only subscribed for the last 2 years - are you saying that if i were to order really old back copies that i would get a lot more info out of them? - In which case - any good suggestions which ones - especially as i use free machine embroidery a lot?

      Thanks - Janet

      1. SewNancy | | #6

        YOu'd have to go back quite a few years to get the issues we are talking about. The things that I miss are the wonderful articles on great designers and their techniques. I have made Jackets using the Articles on Armani and others. Years ago there was a fabulous article by Fred Bloebaum on creating a Donna Karan wardrobe.

        1. JanF | | #8

          I do actually have a copy from 1999 that deals with Armani stuff - I checked! - It was an odd copy - the first i'd seen in this country - and yes I bought it because of that interest to me - so i possibly agree that this would have been why i bought the magazine at the time! It was 2 years later that I actually got the next copy - and that was by luck - and was really impressed as it dealt with a design challenge for dressmakers. Its the first time I was aware how limited we seem in this country unless you actually work in the fashion industry, whereas over there, there does appear to be more of an interest for non-professionals to do exciting design and making. How to address the problem in the current mag - I dont know - possibly with 2 sections to it - 1 for learners etc. but of course then how do you assess what would be learning to some and easi-peasi for others. Bear in mind here I'm a true Libran - cant decide anything!

          Thanks for your response - if only for the fact that it made me think about how hide - bound I could appear to some!

          look forward to other chats - Jan

        2. AmberE | | #19

          Hi SewNancy: Just wanted to thank you for your great ideas in this note. It helps a lot as we work to define those articles that will thrill our advanced readers. I hope that in the near future we will come closer to those articles that you have so appreciated in the past.


          Amber Eden

          Editor, Threads

          1. mygaley | | #21

            This is to thank you for the upgrades that have been made in Threads content.  I am enjoying the issues more now.  Please consider renewing the back page as a showcase for finely done work "a picture is worth..." Galey

          2. AmberE | | #28

            We have gotten many, many requests to continue the back cover as a showcase of great work, and I'm looking at ways to do this. As as question, are the fabric back covers of any interest---particularly those such as the kimono, where we showcase the fabric in a garment?

          3. jkimes | | #31

            Hi Amber,I personally prefer the photos of vintage and couture garments, especially when they relate to a technique or fabric featured in that issue. Seeing the application and treatment of a particular fabric is what is interesting (and inspiring) and usually gives more indication of the properties of the fabric than a cut piece of yardage.
            I have a professional sewing business and have been sewing most of my life (I'll be 40 in a couple of months). The more I sew, the more I find I need to learn. Even some of the more basic articles have taught me something, though I would like to see more "Master Class" articles, especially on construction techniques.Thanks for "listening",
            Juliette in Texas

          4. Sarahbelle | | #45

            Juliette spoke for me.  (and read my mind -- how spooky!)

            When I was working on my degree in Textile Artifact Conservation at UT, the back pages of Threads (old and new) were featured prominnetly in many lectures. Thank goodness I finished my degree before the new changes, or my profs would have to have worked twice as hard!!!

          5. jkimes | | #46

            Hi Sarahbelle,You know what they say, "Great minds..."
            Are you still in the Austin area? I live about 30 minutes from Austin in the Hill Country, and would love to hook up with clothing seamstresses, especially those with interest in vintage/historical costumes.Juliette

          6. mygaley | | #32

            I love the details, ideas, "how did they do that" from seeing made-up garments, vintage and contemporary.

            Modular sewing, embellishing with self-fabric, new ways to cut, seam. In July 2006 #125, ruffle challenge caught my eye first; in my mind I have constructed each of the items shown.  I also liked p. 34 embroider off the edge, and plan to do that.  When I have an edge to finish, I plan to refer to p. 74 because I have never been satisfied with my edge-finishing skills.

            I love the sparkle, the glamorous 40's fashions and the sparkle.  Thank you for asking.  Galey 

          7. AmberE | | #33

            Thank you!

          8. Beth | | #72

            The back page with samples of various colors of natural cotton fibers and the kimono were adequate substitutes for the previous examples of exceptional fine sewing.


          9. stringlady | | #75

            Well put!!

          10. AmberE | | #76

            Thanks! We are also looking at even more ways to bring in more vintage.... :-)

          11. SherryG | | #87

            What I find so inspiring about the vintage items is how they would handle the fabric.  From the cut (I seldom see such innovation now) to creative uses of the print.  Especially the creative uses of the print.  The new issue of threads has an article on manipulating shear fabrics that is close.  Especially the shear plaid.  The folding/pleating of the fabric almost makes is appear that different coordinating prints are being used.  Talk about optimizing your selection!!!  I have seen similiar manipulations in all kinds of prints found in the vintage clothing.  It is thrilling to see that kind of creativity.



            Edited 9/8/2006 3:51 pm by SherryG

          12. AmberE | | #136

            I agree about the Sheers artcles and want to see more like it!

          13. SherryG | | #85

            I have been totally underwhelmed with showcasing a particular fabric on the back cover.  I love to see the finished product with notes about the construction, who sewed it, who it was sewn for. 

            But how about a compromise.  Showcase the finished product on the back with the notations like was done in the past and then reference to the interior for vendors who can supply similiar fabrics used, and/or embellishments.  I think this could work out great!!!


            Edited 9/8/2006 3:50 pm by SherryG

          14. AmberE | | #134

            We are getting back to showcasing garments very soon! Thanks for the feedback.

          15. SewNancy | | #39

            Thanks for reading all our posts, it helps to know that you're listening. I really, unlike others have never considered canceling my subscription, after all there isn't anything else that even comes close. But, I will say that after all these years of sewing and collecting Threads I have really learned alot so that I can call myself an advanced sewer these days and of course, that is part of the problem. I know a lot now, certainly more than I did before Threads. That is not to say that I can't learn more! Several years ago you ran an article on a young designer who did unusual clothes and you got a lot of negative feedback. Well, I for one thing that that sewing outside the box kind of article is terrific and while I really want to see some more articles on high end designers and their clothes, these young interesting designers are fun too.

          16. sewingkmulkey | | #44

            I, too, well remember the young designer spread in Threads and thoroughly enjoyed seeing her new approach.  Let's see some more of this as I think we should all open our eyes to find out what young sewers are interested in so we can encourage them to join our fabulous hobby. 


            Advanced sewer and charter collector of Threads


          17. TJSEWS | | #53

            I remember the young designer article in Threads too.  It was issue 107!  I really enjoyed it and liked her different approach to designing and sewing.  Sadly, I remember reading tons of complaints about that article.  People were upset that she didn't follow rules, that her designs were outlandish, how could Threads publish something like this, on and on.  I wonder how that young designer felt about  Threads readers.

            I thought this kind of article should have received applause for its innovative subject matter.  And also, that kind of article was the kind of article that would attract new sewers. 

            I happen to like the new format and enjoy the clothing presented in the magazine.  They are clothes that I would actually wear and that inspires me.  I just looked through a few of the back issues from a couple of years ago and truly thought the clothing presented then was too boxy and shapeless.  The clothing presented now is fun and stylish but not outlandish.

            I think that no matter what Threads does, there will always be one group or another that complains.  I guess you just can't please everybody!


          18. User avater
            Little Pearl | | #54


            I'm new to all of these discussions, but certainly have been reading with interest all of the pro and con letters to Threads both here and in the mag. I too would hope that young designers continue to throw some of the rules to the wind or we won't  have any forward movement in what I consider as our "art".

            I have been thrilled with "Threads" since I first picked it up at a fabric shop in 2002. I have had a subscription ever since. I agree that it should never be for beginners, but would be extremely upset if it became for "pros" only. I have learned so much from Threads! I have been sewing since I was 7 and felt that I was reasonably adept at our craft. Boy, was I wrong! Once I began reading Threads my whole outlook on sewing changed. I can truly say I have learned from every Threads I received. Sometimes it's like they have been over my shoulder in the sewing room seeing what current projects and problems I am having. It is amazing!!!!

            I do believe that if anyone published a book for beginners only, it definitely should be the Threads group. That way they would start out right and not have to relearn so much as I did.

            Anyway, I don't mean to ramble, but you can't imagine how much I look forward to receiving my Threads (actually I'm sure you feel the same way about receiving yours!). Since I can no longer get out of the house on my own, it is my contact to the sewing world and I couldn't find a better sewing friend.


          19. Marionc032 | | #60

            OMG! I remember that designer, Brooke Delorme. If her stuff was innovative then I guess I was innovative when I started sewing too. Some of my stuff looked just like hers, but I called them wadders. Yes, I guess a lot of readers found the article pointless and why wouldn't we be astonished to see those clothes in a magazine we look to for inspiration in quality sewing, craftsmanship and meticulous detail. I think what I found most painful was the sense that young designers seem to equate being creative with being outlandish when in fact, its the lazy way out and is only appropriate for the art school classroom. It smacks of desperation. How did Brook feel about the comments from Threads readers? I suspect she was amazed that anyone was taking her seriously.Sorry, I just had to rant about thisMarion

          20. TJSEWS | | #61

            You are certainly entitled to your opinion.  And I am entitled to mine. 

            I take offense at the way you responded to me.  It felt like you were jumping down my throat for expressing my opinion and that you were belittling me.  How rude.  As you can see from other posts, others enjoyed that article as well.

            I am someone who is meticulous about finishing and details and my goal is always to have my garments look professionally made.  I have a certification in Ladies Tailoring from FIT in NYC and I am currently working on a certification in Draping and Patternmaking.  I also work in the industry for a major retailer.  I certainly do not take the lazy way out in my work or in my studies.  However, I also recognize that there is a certain value in experimenting and thinking outside of the box which I felt this designer did and I don't think this should be discouraged or labeled "lazy". 

            That designer's style is certainly not like mine, but at the same time, I am open-minded enough to appreciate the differences in others, instead of ridiculing them for those differences, like you did to me.

            Edited 7/25/2006 8:43 pm ET by TJSEWS

          21. Marionc032 | | #62

            Whoa! If I am entitled to my opinion, then why are you trying to call me on expressing it? I made no reference to you, your work or your abilities. Where did I say that you are lazy? My comments were strictly directed at Brook's work, but now you are implying that I am not open-minded because I think her work is sloppy. You found Brook's work innovative, I found it sloppy--as you said, we are each entitled to our opinions.I am sorry if you felt my comments were a personal attack, they were certainly not meant to be.Marion

            Edited 7/25/2006 10:42 pm ET by Marionc032

          22. TJSEWS | | #66

            I am not calling you on expressing your opinion.  I am calling you on the sarcasm and ridiculing tone that I felt you directed toward me which was very hurtful.  You say your comments were directed solely toward the designers' work but that post did not have that kind of tone.

            I did not say that you said I was lazy.  I established my credentials and work ethic to emphasize the differences between me and the designer and that I nevertheless appreciated what she was trying to do.

            It did seem to me that you were being narrowminded since I felt I was being attacked for expressing an opinion that contradicted yours.  However, since you are saying that that wasn't your intention, I will take your word for it so then I believe you are not narrowminded after all.  I am sorry as well for any hard feelings caused.

          23. AmberE | | #65

            i just registered yesterday for the second class in the FIT Draping Certificate! And I want to take that tailoring series at some point too!

          24. TJSEWS | | #67

            Really!  You will enjoy the class.  Draping II was a lot of work but I learned a lot.  We learned how to drape and draft different types of sleeves from scratch and different types of necklines (such as the cowl neck).  We also learned how to drape and draft pants.  I wish that we had spent more time on draping and drafting pants and how to change from let's say a trouser style to a jeans style as different rules on ease would apply.  But overall, it was a good course.

            This Fall 06 semester I am taking Draping III which is on a Wednesday night.  I know that Draping II is on Thursday nights....bummer, I would have loved to meet you in person!  Anyway, I will keep an eye out for you whenever I am on campus - you never know!  Maybe we will run into each other when we need to do homework outside of the class...

            Edited 7/26/2006 11:51 pm ET by TJSEWS

          25. AmberE | | #64

            This story ran before my time here, but the more specific the complaints the more info I have to follow up, investigate and adjust. So rant on---with respect and courtesy, of course!


            Thanks! Amber

          26. dotty | | #93

            this looks like a good place to enter an article idea. I was in Paris this summer and saw the new ethnographic/folk art museum(name of which is escaping me right now). The textiles and garments from around the world were STUNNING. It made me realize I missed some of those old articles about techniques from other cultures. I'd also be interested in seeing short articles for us armchair travelers about museums or special exhibitions here and abroad that we could learn from. Or places we should go out of our way to see. The museum in Paris was one of those!

          27. midnitesewer | | #94

            I totally agree. During the weekend while reading Threads, I started thinking about sewing in other parts of the world. I thought, "I should post an article suggestion on the website". It would be great to read about the techniques used and to see pictures of the fabrics and garments. I'd like to read about what the sewing experience is like for people around the world. What tools and notions do they use? Do they sew communially or mostly by them selves? How are sewing skills taught? How are they valued by their society?

            I also miss the reviews of books and  exhibitions that used to appear in the magazine. Articles featuring the exhibitions themselves would be great. It would help satisfy my craving to see the sort of beautiful garments that used to appear on the back cover. They were so inspiring.

          28. AmberE | | #140

            Thanks! Very helpful!

          29. AmberE | | #139

            I agree---I think that going beyond how-to and showing the history and evolution behind techniques and cultures is fascinating!

        3. stringlady | | #73

          I also miss those articles.  I still read the mag cover to cover, but I miss the technicle articles.  Clair Schaeffer used to write some wonderful articles.  The Armani article comes to miind and I also remember an article about an embroidery method used in the French design houses.  Maybe they could plug in one of this type of article once in a while for us.

  2. marijke | | #2


    Thank you for saying that.  I'm a little sick of all the criticism.

    My skills are pretty decent, but I find that the basic articles quite often still have something in them I find useful.  There are so many different perspectives on basics -- like the current issue's article on selecting the right pattern size.  She says to buy by high bust only is you have a C or D bust (since patterns are drafted for a B), and suggests that for a skirt you use either waist or hip, whichever is larger.  Previous stuff I'd read suggested to always go with the high bust (and add room at the bust) and to always pick a skirt pattern by the hip measurement. 

    I just think it's interesting to read different perspectives on this.  In my case, I already do as this author suggests and it works for me most of the time.  One thing that's a problem for me is that the hip curve on most skirt patterns gives me too little room at the high hip, so I need to adjust that for most styles.

    I thought this last issue had some good stuff in it.  I especially enjoyed the article on patchwork -- I want to try stitching scraps to a backing as soon as I can find the time!  I looked up the websites for the two featured designers for some more pictures of the wonderful garments they offer -- quite pricey, but great inspiration.


    1. JanF | | #4

      Hello - thanks for your agreement - often think I might be a little out of sinc with what others think!

      i dont think Ive had the latest mag. yet as i have to wait for it to come by post from Taunton. sounds as if patchwork is featured - Ive often used patches onto a background fabric for school as an intro to the sewing machine - quick and easy to do and can be creative - the boys manage this well too - cos' thay hate taking time usually over their work! I like to add on free embroidery too and the kids love this. i'm a fan of taking traditional crafts and developing them - usually with the machine!I like to use it as a background for pictorial art (this sounds pretentious but not meant to be - but the pupils use it to link to Arpilleras/their family/about themselves)

      i'm obviously a fan of working fast, easily and not too close - cos the eyesight isnt what it was!

      great to hear from you - Jan

  3. autumn | | #7

     I started subscribing to Threads at the very beginnng of their publication. There were so many interesting articles about things other than sewing -- bead work, jewelry making, etc.etc. The sewing articles were also great. There was one about making wedding dresses that helped a lot, just when I was making my daughter's wedding dress. I described very clearly how to put  boning in.  I used to sit down and read from cover to cover as soon as it arrived.

    So when Threads dropped all articles about anything other than sewing, it became much less interesting to me. Then it seems it became less oriented towards experienced sewers and more towards basics. I have saved all the copies that have something of interest to me, and have marked the articles so I can find them. I got rid of all the other issues.

    I'd much rather have an exciting magazine with lots of new and different ideas.  I dropped my subscription several years ago, because the magazine became boring to me.  And NO, I do NOT think I know everything. That is why I liked the new and different ideas that were in the old Threads.

    There are so many books on the basics of sewing that you can find in any fabric store. Threads has become irrelevant, as far as I'm concerned.


    1. JanF | | #9

      I think I must beware of giving a "tongue in cheek" answer to people's chats! Of course i dont for one minute think that you were meaning to sound "cocky" with your comments - O Heck! just remembered that to you that might be an offensive adjective - this trans atlantic divide might get me into trouble if I'm not explaining myself too well! - Perhaps the term "up yourself?"( I think I could have some fun here!)

      I just think that encouragement is what most people need - but equally I accept that the comments about content of mag. are probably more justified from someone who has been a long termer as opposed to any from me as a newcomer to the service.

      So I bow to your experience and hope that we can continue to exchange our views in a friendly attempt to bridge the gap tween us Brits (actually I'm Welsh) and you Yanks (oh heck - does this mean North or South?)

      Hope to chat - Janet

      1. SewNancy | | #10

        The magazine is now doing a section on advanced techniques, but the results are so not high fashion! Its so middle of the road. Nothing about new young excitng designers. No real inspiration. I still subscribe but the magazine seems so sterile now. That said, it is still the only one on the market that addresses sewing and not quilting! If I see another magaizine on quilting I may gag.

        1. JanF | | #11

          My sentiments entirely - it seems to be all the local craft group do - and then a lot still use pre-printed covers(ok for learners but i would expect them to advance after a while[thats the teacher in me!!] and a lot don't, - whilst some do great stuff but a little the same as each other) I stopped going cos I preferred to do different things and i think I probably outfaced the leader as we are in a small village and perhaps I give off teacher vibes without realising it!!!

          There are a few great shows over here - Harrogate have a good one in Autumn - but otherwise you really have to look around for inspiration. its the only time I regret not living close to where the action is re. galleries etc.

          anyway perhaps if enough of us give the right vibes Threads might take the criticism on board and do something about it! mind u if they sell the mag anyway - do they feel the need to do it? They do always sound quite busy, thrusting characters to me - so watch the space eh?

          Thanks for the comments Jan

          1. mygaley | | #12

            Oh, Jan--what a sweetie you are. "...give off teacher vibes" Not You! lol Galey

          2. JanF | | #13

             "Heaven forbid!" - looking forward to lots of chats! Jan

        2. SherryG | | #86

          I'm late to this discussion, but I agree.  I want to see a higher level of sewing skills, technique and inspiration.

          I remembered a show that use to come on Saturday mornings on CNN, "Style with Elsa Clensch (sp?)."  It was snap shots of what the designers were up to.  Sometimes they would interview the designers or do tours of the design houses.  Alas, it is no longer.  But in searching the internet, I discovered this website, http://www.style.com. Among many other things, they feature the runway shows of top designers.  This is great for folks like me, sitting out in the boonies.  Some of the designs are way too avant guarde for me, but I do still enjoy looking at them.  Even when I might not like the entire garment, often a detail will catch my eye, and I will think....Oooooo, I could do this with that!...wouldn't that look great if I did it with this?.., etc.  The inspiration is still there.  I have seen Bell Armoire referred too, but they are more crafty/artsy than I prefer myself, although I have seen some beautiful garments in their magazine.  What disappoints me is that so often the garment that gets the wonderful gorgeous embellishments, is a garment, that stripped of the embellishments, we would call a shapeless bag that is horribly ill fitting.  That's like putting lipstick on a pig, I think.  I want something constructed to flatter my figure, not just cover or camoflauge it.

          Oooops, I didn't mean to get on a soapbox.


          1. AmberE | | #135

            Sherry: I strongly encourage you to submit proposals and become an author yourself. Threads is "reader-written" and the advanced readers are some of the most important. You can send your proposals directly to my attention, and just remind me that we met online. Thanks for your feedback Sherry.

      2. autumn | | #15

        "Cocky" is a perfectly good word.  However, I have no idea what "Up yourself" means.  We are all Yanks nowadays, at least I think so. But I'm not from the south, so what do I know? I guess it depends on where you are and who is calling you a Yank. If you're an American overseas, I think you would be a Yank no matter what part of the US you are from.

        1. JanF | | #17

          In the interest of furthering international relations!!!

          "up yourself" is usually used by someone who's pissed of by a comment from someone who is trying to be a) posher than them - or more sophisticated should I say! b)to describe someone who thinks they know something you dont and c) to someone who's made you feel stupid by actually knowing more than you do ( usually used by disgruntled kids in my class, behind my back, when I have actually taught them something!!)

          sometimes accompanied by the speaker giving a well-known 2 finger salute when "Miss" has turned her back!

          feel free to use this anglicised expression whenever you like!


          1. autumn | | #20

            Thanks for the explanation. However, now I don't know what a "2-fingered" salute is. In the U.S. a "1-fingered" salute is sometimes given. I saw one just today when a woman was blocking traffic in front of a store and someone honked at her. She gave them "the finger", as we say.

          2. JanF | | #22

            It means the same - but with slightly more carnal knowledge involved!!

            Speak again Jan

        2. Tangent | | #88

          I was reading thru this thread, to acquaint myself with what's going on, and came across the comment "we are all yanks"....  sorry, must disagree with you. Threads has an international audience, and even if you're from the USA you're still not necessarily a "yank". 

          On the other hand, is there a person out there who has done sewing of any kind, who has not eventually had to remove --yank-- a thread or two out??  :-)

          To Threads staff: please bring back the Vintage garment detail on the back cover. Some were really amazing. The only complaint I had about those, was a lack of more in-depth information about them.

          A suggestion for future articles: fabric history.  How a type of cloth (or thread) was first made, when and where, for what, and by whom. What's the oldest known woven cloth?  When was the first machine-knit fabric made? And so on. Maybe also articles on tools of the trade, like dress-forms, or pinking-shears.

          What I like best about the Threads forums, is the helpfulness, and politeness, of the postings. And also the variety of discussions!

          Happy Sewing!   Tangent

          1. stringlady | | #89

            I love the idea of the fabric history! Perhaps also with details of how to sew and launder that fabric.  Sort of like the out of print Claire Schaeffer book on fabric. I have always found this to be an invaluiable reference.  We have so many new fabrics these days that more information about how to sew with them and perhaps ideas for garments to use them in would be a big help and very interesting.  I love to read articles on manufacturing details such as how thread is made or denim woven.

            I agree with you that this forum is very helpful and I also enjoy the politness of the members.


          2. SherryG | | #90

            I second that motion.

            I think that would be useful information for newbies and experienced sewers alike.  I constantly run into folks who don't know that satin, pique, twill, etc. are not the contents of fabrics, but the weave. 


          3. Tangent | | #91

            Since the Claire Schaeffer fabric book is out of print, would Threads consider publishing a book on identification, best uses, & care of fabrics, especially the new ones?  Or featuring a fabric type, or fiber,  in each issue of the magazine?  I mean useful information, not just a few lines to describe a photo.

            I love the idea of an international glossary of terms! It would not only be helpful, it would be fun to see what words folks "over there" use.  The batting/wadding example was a good one. Maybe this could be available on the website, and added to whenever a new word is found.

            Edited 9/11/2006 4:07 am by Tangent

            Edited 9/11/2006 4:08 am by Tangent

          4. jkimes | | #92

            Hi there,I subscribe to a professional discussion group, to which Claire Shaeffer also subsribes. I wanted to check with her before posting, since she is currently working on a new edition.

            From Claire:
            "It <Fabric Sewing Guide> isn't out of print, even though I am working on a revision. The current edition includes some info which will be deleted in the new Revision. When the update was published, I did not recommend buying it if you had the original. The Revision will be quite wonderful but the update has useful info."This book have proven invaluable, especially when working with more delicate fabrics that need special techniques (I'm currently working on a wedding gown in Silk Duchesse. Having good information on basting, sewing, etc, takes some of the pressure off when working with $40/yd fabric).Juliette

          5. Tangent | | #95

            That is good news about the book being revised and back on the shelves soon!

            Regarding the fabric museum, and techniques from other cultures, yes!!  I'll be looking forward to seeing articles on those subjects in future issues of Threads.

          6. mariadelicia | | #102

            You can read 20.00years of fashion by Francois Boucher.isbn0-8109-1693-2.With this book you have a whole year of reading ahead!Its worth its price.

          7. stringlady | | #98

            I have a 1989 edition of "Fabric Sewing Guide".  Somewhere I got the impression that it was out of print. Please apologize to Claire for me.  I have several of her books and have learned alot from them.  They are not only great reads, but also great reference books. 

            I still think this could make a good column in Threads, providing it can be done without violating copyright.  I also enjoyed the articles that Claire Shaffer used to write for the magazine.  They are so in depth.  Perhaps they could convince her to do some more.


          8. jjgg | | #99

            It seems that these days Claire is too elite-est for Threads Magazine, they want simpler, more basic articles, that why I dropped my subscription

          9. netizen | | #100

            Does that mean you don't read Threads at all just because it's not exactly what you want? There's 150,000 other subscribers who somehow are finding something in the magazine worthwhile enough to keep it coming in the mailbox. That's my point and I've said it months ago in this forum. Not every issue is going to be perfect for every reader every month. I think Threads is a magazine of inspiration and I use it to compliment what *I* want to create.Today, I would like an article on ideas for sewing tissue taffeta. Last night I would have liked an article on repairing zippers on the kid's backpack. Tomorrow, who knows? (actually, another organza scarf from issue #119)Maybe that's the crux of the debate here. Instruction vs. Inspiration?

          10. autumn | | #101

            Well, for the price of the subscription, it is not worth it to me to find maybe one thing I will be interested in. I subscribed to Threads for years and read it cover to cover as soon as it arrived. But I stopped getting it when it went to strictly sewing. The other articles were so much fun. I've saved a lot of them, but got rid of the boring issues. Some day I will go through them and let people know the kinds of things that used to be in the magazine. Even when I see it at the public library, free, there are very few things that are really interesting.

          11. mygaley | | #103

            I'm very pleased with some of the new items in Threads. I guess it's like turning a ship around--very, very, slow. I want to continue my support of Threads; besides the sewing tips and advertisements (very educational), it's worth the cost to me to have the resources of this forum. Without Threads, Gatherings would not exist. Galey

          12. AmberE | | #143

            You are right---it does take time as we test to get the sweet spot, but all of these contributions do help! Thanks for your patience.

          13. lovemycottons | | #107

            That would be wonderful if you had time to go through your older issues and post the the variety of articles that were in them. I have been a subscriber for only a year. Since I not only sew but do needlework, knit, weave, etc I am curious as to what Threads use to offer as articles for their readers. From what I understand by all the posts I have read, the magazine was a wealth of information for all types of needlework.

            To tell you the truth, I wish there was a magazine like that now. If anyone is aware of one, please pass that information along.

          14. antibelle | | #117

            In regards to other magazines that fill the "old Threads" void, I recently saw a new magazine "Selvedge" from the UK that looks interesting to me. Expensive, but interesting. It covers textiles in all kinds of conceptual ways, as well as "interior textiles". The visuals look inpiring and the photography looks cutting edge.

            the magazine url:


            and a U.S. site that sells it:


            The selvedge.org price was $25, and the purlsoho price is $20, additional shipping I assume. Earlier, purl had back issues, but now only the "Costume" issue is up.

            Sorry, Threads, I have almost all the back issues, and continue to subscribe, but I too find the magazine lacking today. I usually give it one or two look throughs, and file it away. Maybe a reader profile is in order. I have always felt the home sewing market (including Hancocks, JoAnns, the publishing industry) under estimate who we are and what we want. We are not all grandmas! And those of us that are, are darn cool grandmas! I think the market proves this buy the sell-out hit the Hot Patterns site became, as well as sites like Emma One Sock, selling high-end fabrics like you find in the New York Garment district. Those of us in the middle of the country have just as much access to what's in Vouge and on Style.com, and we're just crazy enough to want to make it ourselves.

            I will agree that the advanced and professional/semi-professional readers need to consider proposing articals, and researching and writing articals. Threads could pay us to see what we want to see! I will get right on that myself, after I finish the other 200 projects waiting on me. Yall go ahead, I'll catch up.

          15. lovemycottons | | #120

            Thank you for the websites. I am definitely going to check them out.

          16. AmberE | | #147

            You too the words right out of my mouth, antibelle! Looking forward to receving your proposals!

          17. ctirish | | #156

            Hi,  I recently purchased some old Threads at a book sale. They are wonderful with all sort of articles on knitting, crocheting, etc.  I no longer crochet or knit and I would have a problem paying for a magazine that covered so many topics.  Currently the magazine industry has gone to specialization and I am sure it is because there is so much new and innovative information.  They could not present all of it and do a good job.   When you look at the magazine section in a bookstore there are magazines for every detail of what you want to do. Think about it - in the early 90's there weren't sewing machines that also embroidered. There weren't home machines that imbellished or punched or auto threaded and sergers were not nearly as prevalent.  

            Sorry for the soapbox... remember, just complaining gets you nowhere, tell someone who cares.

          18. User avater
            bevaau | | #104

            There's 150,000 other subscribers who somehow are finding something in the magazine worthwhile enough to keep it coming in the mailbox.

            I would be happy if it kept coming into my mailbox - have not had one in ages and it has been in the shops, here, for weeks! My subscription is current but just not getting here!!

          19. jennys | | #105

            l agree, l would be happy to keep subscribing, but the last 2 issues have not arrived. l sent an email, which was answered reasonably promptly, and was sent a second copy of the issue before the current one. It has not arrived either - l also know several other melbourne subscriptions are not making it across the ocean
            This is a threads problem, as my other american subscriptions are getting here. I will be cancelling my subscription if things do not improve rapidly, as they do not seem interested in the australian market.

          20. Polly2 | | #108

            I have to agree with your comments about the problems of shipping to Australia.  I've been subscribing for a couple of years, and have always received my copy within about 2 weeks of it being available in the US.  But the last issue I received was #125 - issue #126 has been and gone in the shops here but never turned up to my or other subscribers' letterbox.  I emailed Threads Customer Service who said they will send another copy of #126, but now I'm wondering when I will ever get #127.  Was it a once off problem with shipping with #126, or as many of us suspect, has Tauntons changed their shipping methods to a cheaper and much slower method without telling us??? 

            Reading other regional sewing message forums, there are a lot of Aussie subscribers who are considering not renewing their subscriptions with Threads if we now have to wait longer for them to arrive to us than if we purchased them in the shops.  The whole point of subscribing is to get earlier.   Might be time to cancel my subscription, get a refund and simply buy them in the store in future.

          21. User avater
            Aless | | #109

            I am in exactly the same boat (where my 2 issues of Threads might be.....) as Polly2. I have exchanged numerous emails with Taunton re my non-arriving #126, #126 replacement and now my #127.

            How are we supposed to keep up with the web site information and the chat here if we are 'in the dark' as to what is being talked about?

            Yes, Threads is becoming quite a heated topic with Australian subscribers , on another forum....there's a reputation at stake.

             Hoping those who count are reading this and taking note.


          22. K1W1 | | #110

            I'm another Aussie based subscriber who has almost given up waiting for my issue #126 to arrive.    As it's now been FOUR (4) months since I received a new Threads magazine, maybe I can learn to live without it permanently. 

            I also got a renewal letter saying the next issue would be the last in my subscription, but as I have no idea whether it was sent before or after issue #127 (which might be delivered by Christmas, and I only wish I was joking).  I think I'll just start looking out for them in the newsagents.  If I see one I'll buy it, and if not well I'm way past cranky on this subject. 

            When online communities discuss the "latest" issue, those of us this side of the ditch now have to wait until after they've received their next before we can join in (if we remain subscribers).

          23. thurl | | #111

            Add me to the list of Aussies who are now 2 issues behind. 

            I also keep getting renewal letters.  Hah!  Why should I pay in advance for a service I'm not getting? 

            I enjoy the magazine but unless the delivery goes back to airmail I'll go back to browsing Threads when I come across it and only buying if there is an especially appealing article. 

          24. aliceb | | #112

            I am having a lazy moment so have read through this thread. :) My comments about Threads mag. are that this is still the best magazine focused on people who sew, in particular garments. Yes, sometimes details are left out of articles but if my interest is piqued I/we have access to resources to help with new techniques. I loved the inspiration of the back page when the vintage garments were featured, fabric-even beautiful fabric does not hold the same allure as there is no opportunity to recreate some detail. Threads is brain food for me, the internet provides me brain food as well. We all need to feed our creativity is whatever way best suits us. I am truly tired of all the 'bitchin' and complainin'' that goes on. It appears some would have the world or at least Threads stand still and maintain a private status quo, without the recruitment of new sewers we will gradually die out and there will no longer be a need for Threads or any of the other industries which support our beloved hobby/business/creative outlet. There is an old saying, "take what you like and leave the rest," this applies to Threads and any other resource in our lives. Lets celebrate what is good and allow inspiration to flow.

          25. Ralphetta | | #113

            I have been following this discussion and just have to join the people who've mourned the loss of the old back cover.  Many times it was truly a piece of art that brought me joy.  I would look at it and feel inspired to create something beautiful.  I think it excited many people in the same way that being surrounded by bolts of exquisite fabric does.  The addition of something most of us could never duplicate didn't make me feel inept, it made me want to become better.  That single feature made Threads stand apart from the ordinary crafts magazine.

            The current back cover just doesn't pack that kind of oomph.  It was an interesting subject, but visually tepid.  I found the smaller inside photo more arresting. When I think about it, I think the magic was that I always wanted to touch those vintage garments.  The inside photo had that effect, but not the cover.

          26. AmberE | | #146

            Look for a new vintage back cover soon!

          27. SewNancy | | #152

            Great, I really loved those back covers.

          28. AmberE | | #153

            Me too!

          29. K1W1 | | #114

            I agree that Threads needs to draw in the next generations of sewing enthusiasts, if we want it to still be around in the future.  I'm crossing my fingers that while that is happening, the aspirational high level articles will still be there, not only for current advanced sewing people but to inspire the beginners to reach that level.

            Pragmatically, it's also true that most people are resistent to change, so there will always be a certain amount of "bitching & moaning" when obvious changes happen. It's the amount of B&M that will indicate how many will avoid the change by avoiding the magazine and how many will adapt to the change once they've had a chance to vent. 

            I really, really yearn to see the vintage or couture garments on the back cover again.  They were a glimpse of something to aspire to or a detail to covet & intrigue.

          30. User avater
            bevaau | | #115

            I am truly tired of all the 'bitchin' and complainin'' that goes on.

            My "bitchin' and complainin" was about not receiving what I have paid for - it is now something like four months since my last delivery! Surely that is a reason to complain! I sent an email to Threads but have not received a reply (apart from the standard "you will hear from us" automatic answer).

            Yes, they must attract new customers but there seems to be precious little in the way of retaining old customers.

          31. ctirish | | #116

            I live  in the US so I can't comment on the delivery to Australia. I do have a thought - if everyone who posted this week about deivery grouped together and sent an email with all of your emails, names and addresses to Threads it may help them determine where the problem is  (if there is a delivery problem).  And I would hope they would answer the email directly.

          32. User avater
            susannah_sews | | #122


            from contact with other Australian subscribers, and piecing together the sometimes contradictory responses that each of us have got from Taunton, it appears that there has been some sort of major problem, and that no subscriptions to threads have arrived in Australia at all, except for a very few cases where subscribers have been persisitent (ie DAILY emails) enough to result in the two missing issues being sent airmail.  Others, like me, have had slightly fewer emails, with the big concession of issue 126 being sent surface mail (some time in august, with an 8 to 12 week shipping time anticipated).  Other subscribers have been told that all subscriptions are always sent surface mail, and that they have always taken 8 to 12 weeks from publication to arrive (which is most definitely not the case).  I anticipate that Taunton will be getting a lot more emails in the near future, as those of us with multiple missing copies will now not be satisfied until we all get copies sent in a more timely manner.

            there are quite a few postings here from disgruntled aussie subscribers, but even more so on the Pattern Review discussion boards.  I would hope that the problems will get a bit more attention than they seem to have been getting so far.


            Thanks for the suggestion



          33. User avater
            bevaau | | #123

            I was discussing this in my sewing group today (yes, Threads staff, it does go further than just the internet message boards!) and the suggestion was made that when there is a major promotion going on somewhere (at a sewing expo or the like, presumably in the US), the foreign destination issues are pulled back to give away as promotional material at the expo - leaving insufficient for the mailing required. And so, because we are too far away to complain in their ears, those for foreign subscribers lose out!! Well, that IS a very long sentence but I wonder if something like that is going on here. It has to be something more serious that a batch lost in the mail!!! If it were that easy, replacements would have been sent - and would have arrived - long ago.      BevA

          34. User avater
            susannah_sews | | #124

            Hi Bev - yes, there certainly seem to be a lot of us out here - I encountered someone at the newsagent today who was discussing subscription problems, and asking the newsagent about it, and he said that he had received quite a few comments from people who were talking about cancelling their subscriptions because of the problem.  One lady apparently has decided that she will cancel her subscription, and then buy used copies off ebay for the ones she wants - because it is quicker than waiting for then to arrive in the newsagents here, and much more reliable than a subscription!  (I've never heard that said about ebay before!)

            It would be nice to get a credible response from Taunton - I am still waiting for a response to the email I sent about issue 127 (and still waiting for the promised copy of issue 126, after about 5 or 6 emails).

            I still think the content of threads is great, a pity if the fine work of the editorial team is let down by the magazines not getting out.



          35. jatman | | #125

            This has gotten to be a very long discussion.  Did anyone ever think that maybe this topic might be deserving of it's own label, possibly under the 'Talk with us'  or 'Feedback on Threads' topics?  I've just read several comments about problems with circulation in Australia within several different topics and it occurred to me that maybe the complaint has gotten lost and overlooked.  Might be time to post something where it's obvious so you can be heard especially if customer service is not helping you.

            If it's there and I've overlooked it, sorry about that!


            Edited 9/28/2006 12:47 pm ET by jatman

          36. Susannah | | #126

            Hi JT

            you are right - postings under ambiguous titles can hide the significance.

            I initiated a discussion thread on the australian subscription problem, and one of the responses I got directed me to the plethora of complaints under the "Gosh..." thread.  It was an eyeopener for me - I had been under the impression (reinforced by the responses I had had from Taunton) that my case was an isolated example. 

            Sometimes the discussion threads just develop lives of their own!


          37. AmberE | | #148

            Hi Susannah: The response was posted Friday under "Problem with Austrailian" subscriptions. Let me know if you continue to have problems.

          38. ctirish | | #127

            Hi Susannah,

            I read through some more notes from women not getting their magazines in a reasonable amount of time.  So, because all of you are way over there and I am over here, I tried to call the people at Threads.  I live in Conecticut and Threads is in Connecticut so I really thought I would be able to get through and actually talk with someone.  I could not get in touch with anyone but I did leave a long message on Tuesday afternoon.  I had hoped I would here from someone on Wednesday and now it is Thursday night at 10 PM.  I will try to call them again in the morning. There are some people in this area that have written articles for Threads, I will try and get a direct number in the morning. 

            Have faith, If I have to put the baby in the car and drive down there next week and sit in there office we will get an answer from them. May I ask how much they charge for a subscription when you are in Australia? I am curious because some of the magazines I see that are published in Australia that I would like to get here and they are extremely expensive. 

            Talk to you soon,  jane

          39. User avater
            susannah_sews | | #128

            Jane - how amazing! In Australia we would call you either a top bloke, or a legend!

            The besieged staff of Taunton Customer Service are probably too busy to talk to you because it would appear that they are being completely swamped by emails from grumpy Aussies!

            I got a response today saying that they would be airmailing issue 126 and 127 to me, and that they have changed their contractors, so issue 128 should be back on track (I'm keeping my fingers crossed, which isn't actually helping with my current sewing project!)

            I think Taunton have a standard subscription rate for international buyers (and my current subscription is about 2 years into a three year subscription, so I can't remember exactly how much it was).  Fluctuations in the exchange rate between the American and Australian dollar mean that the newsstand price of Threads has varied a bit over time, as do the subscriptions.  My first subscription was when the australian dollar was down in comparison to the US dollar, so it ended up being a bit more expensive, whereas for my second subscription, the exchange rate treated me a bit better.  On the newsstands, Threads retails for nearly $16 australian.  Australian Stitches on the other hand, is $8.95 here, which makes it a lot more affordable.  It has a lot more local content of course, but I find Threads a bit more interesting, particularly in relation to design.  Australian Stitches holds its own in relation to technique, but it is nice to have both.  I gather that Australian Stitches has a reasonable penetration in the US market, but I am not sure what the costs would be.

            Thank you for your kind offer to get militant on behalf of all of us deprived Aussie subscribers - hopefully it won't be necessary - but we will keep you posted!  It is nice to know that the sisterhood of keen fabricaholics transends national boundaries!!

            best wishes



          40. User avater
            bevaau | | #129

            Jane, Good on yer mate!!   (Australian for 'thank you so much'!) I really appreciate your willingness to help - although I wonder if they will really listen to you and would not like you to waste your time on a fruitless journey. It seems that their customer relations people are starting to listen but we still have to wait and see if the missing issues actually ever get here.        BevA

          41. User avater
            Aless | | #130

            From another grateful Aussie.....you're a bonza sheila!

            What a kind offer.Hopefully,Threads will get their act together sooner rather than later.

            Aless(in Adelaide,South Australia)

          42. HeartFire2 | | #131

            What I find so amazing about this discussion, is that the editor "Amber" has not chimed in on this topic, she seems to respond to so many other posts in Gatherings.

          43. Susannah | | #132


            The editorial staff has put an announcement on the thread about Australian subscription problems.  It seems that having specific gripes buried within the "Gosh.." thread was a bit ambiguous. 

            It was pleasing to see a proper response, even if it was a bit slow coming.   No doubt the whole exercise has been frustrating for the staff at Threads/Taunton as well!


          44. AmberE | | #149

            Just want to thank everyone for alerting us to the shipping issue in Australia. Thanks for your posts!

          45. Susannah | | #150

            Hi Amber,

            Thanks for responding.

            I am both Susannah and Susannah_sews (for some reason my home computer and my work computer, in interacting with Gatherings, think that I am two separate people.)

            It is nice to get a response "from the top".  I think it is probably safe to assume that you and the rest of the editorial staff were blissfully unaware of the problems experienced by Australian subscribers.  The trickle of emails to customer service (which have no doubt been steadily growing to a fair deluge) wouldn't indicate the scope of the problem for a while.

            I am sure that the Australian subscribers (and I have no idea how many there are of us) will be very pleased to get their missing copies of issues 126 and 127, and are looking forward to the resumption of normal service for issue 128 in November.

            Has anyone at Taunton worked out what your deliver agents did with the copies of issues 126 and 127 that were supposed to go to Australian subscribers?  Even if they had been sent by surface freight, the normal dispatch of issue 126 should have been received, but I am not aware of anyone who has received it other than by special delivery after contacting Taunton directly.  The copies of issue 126 that arrived in Australia for sale at newsstands arrived with the normal delivery time (8 weeks or so).  

            best wishes,



            Edited 10/3/2006 7:57 am ET by Susannah

          46. AmberE | | #151

            Taunton Press is looking into what went awry in the delivery process. I'll keep you all posted as I hear news. In the meantime, so that we can i.d. problems like this faster I'm going to set up a separate discussion under the Feedback on Threads section called Talk with Amber. I will receive an alert anytime there is a posting on this discussion thread. Thanks again to our devoted readers in Australia who didn't give up until they got their Threads!



          47. AmberE | | #154

            <!----><!----> Dear Australian Readers: I have a memo update from customer service  While I don't mind answering questions on this, it would be more efficient if you direct your questions straight to customer service at [email protected]. This issue is a top priority for them and they are vigilantly checking emails for notes from Australian readers<!---->


            <!---->Now I can get back to finishing up 128! Thanks again for being so dedicated! Amber <!---->


            <!---->The memo from customer service is as follows:<!---->


            Dear Threads Readers: When we replaced issues via airmail, we thought the situation was an isolated late delivery incident.  We never intended to treat any subscriber differently than any other subscriber.  It takes weeks to identify that there is a problem with the general or mass delivery of our magazines.  Our international shipper did recognize that there was a problem with the subcontractor handling Australian deliveries and arrangements were made with a new company.  The new company is responsible for all future magazine deliveries beginning with THREADS issue # 128 and we have been advised that delivery times should be back to normal.<!----><!---->

            <!----> <!---->

            We are still investigating the problem and when we determine what happened, we will have a complete answer to all questions and we will address the needs of the subscribers affected by this situation. If you have further questions, the email address is [email protected]. For those of you who have purchased replacement issues, please write customer service at that address and we will extend your subscription accordingly. <!----><!---->

            <!----> <!---->

            Thank you for your patience and understanding while we work to resolve this issue.


            --Taunton Press Customer Service

          48. K1W1 | | #118

            Oh I hear you.  In fact I got so fed up on Monday with waiting for #126 , and my replacement #126 (apparently sent over two months ago) that I went out and bought a copy.  

            My ire was not helped by reading last week on another forum that someone who had only just that week realised that she hadn't got #126 was airmailed both 126 and 127. Now don't get me wrong, I'm really happy for her. I'm just more than a little narked for myself that it's been 4 months since I received something that has already been paid for.

            Bevau, I'd start emailing every second day until you get a non automated response.  I'd also start numbering the requests, ie subject line on 2nd email: Second request etc to make it clear how many times you've asked the same question

          49. User avater
            bevaau | | #119

            Brilliant idea - thanks! (I guess I am just basically polite. I must get over that!!)  BevA

          50. User avater
            susannah_sews | | #121

            ME TOO!!!!!!

            (i feel like making the font VERY LARGE!!)  Yes, I know that means I am shouting.  Because I am.

            I don't know how many subscribers to Threads are in Australia, but if the current perfomance of Taunton is any indication, there are likely to be a lot fewer in the very near future, irrespective of any complaint about content.  I know that some readers are less than happy, but some of us still find that the content of Threads meets our needs, particularly in a world of vanishing fabric shops and the diminishing numbers of people who know how to sew.

            Issue 126 has been on the newstands in Hobart for a number of weeks.  It taunts me as I walk past on my way to work.  It calls out to me to read the articles and look at the pictures.  I have sneaked the occasional peek, earning the sternly disapproving glare of the newsagent, who mutters, not very quietly, "this is a shop, not a library!".  And now, to rub salt into the wound, There are teasers on the website for issue 127, and  feedback comments on how useful, interesting or otherwise my fellow readers found the articles.

            As with some of the other contributors, my emails to Taunton haven't produced entirely satisfactory replies.  Perhaps someone from the editorial side of Threads (and I know you read these postings) will be able to provide a sensible response.

            Question   -  Has Taunton changed its practise about mailing subscription copies of Threads to Australia?  Why are copies of Threads appearing on the newsstands before subscription copies?  And how do I cancel my subscription for a refund, so that I can buy the copy that is on the newstands, in case my subscription copy of the issue before last never arrives?

          51. AmberE | | #145

            We've resolved this issue, but if you have any problems like this in the future, let me know asap. Thanks! Amber

          52. netizen | | #106

            I'm in Canada, so still in North America and the latest issue came about two weeks late. I gauge this based on the when the discussion starts here about the most recent issue. There is no one in town that carries it, so subscription is the only way.

          53. AmberE | | #144

            Keep me posted on this---it should be in home long before newsstands.

          54. AmberE | | #142

            And we want to do both: Instruct and Inspire!

          55. AmberE | | #141

            I hope we can win you back! Let me know what you want to see, or you may even consider becoming an author yourself!

          56. ctirish | | #155

            Amber Eden (Editor in Chief of Threads) has a new post for contacting her about information you would like to see in the magazine.  She has set it up so she is notified when someone posts a note there.   It is under Feedback..

            I am thrilled Amber and Threads have given us the opportunity to talk with the "top" person with ideas.

            Happy Sewing.

          57. AmberE | | #138

            I agree too about the fabric history---great idea. In fact, haven't heard a single bad idea yet!

          58. autumn | | #96

            If you want a good history of cloth and weaving, get the book "Women's Work: the First 20,000 Years.  Women, Cloth, and Society in Early Times"  by Elizabeth Wayland Barber, published by Norton. She also wrote a book called "Prehistoric Textiles", which I have not read.

          59. Tangent | | #97

            Thanks for the info, that sounds really interesting!

          60. AmberE | | #137

            Great ideas, all of them. And vintage is on it's way back!

  4. AmberE | | #14

    Hi: I'm the new-ish editor at Threads, and I've really enjoyed reading these posts. They do a lot to inform the decisions that I make about magazine content, and the intention is to definitely steer mostly toward intermediate and advanced content, with a smaller proportion of beginning material. Thanks again for the vigorous dicussions!

    1. JanF | | #16

      Hi (in reply to the Editor!)- it's good to know that you also join in the message facility - makes you seem a little less "faceless" and a lot more approachable - great. No doubt you are taking note of all peoples' gripes and surely that's got to be good for your readership! I can appreciate that working as an editor is a full time job, and I do see an improvement in the presentation of the mag etc. - but on a personal level I'm curious as to wether you do any textile work yourself or are you like the majority of us who are still working - forever putting things off "for when I retire"? I would imagine that you do have some interest - or else the content of the mag would be purely a commodity that you are marketing - which would be more difficult I think - bear with me if you have written anything about this in the mag - I obviously have missed it in the rush to get to the pictures!!! No offence meant but I do tend to get straight into the mag and skim over the pages in the front about Taunton etc! as I do with the majority of the adverts at the back!

      I'm beginning to get the hang of the message facility now and I own up to a little frisson of anticipation when I see that I've "got mail" - perhaps the more hardened message posters will think that it seems a little juvenile too - but there you go - if such a small thing helps me to behave a little less mature I'm all for it!

      Speak some more possibly,


      Edited 7/13/2006 6:12 am ET by JanF

      1. AmberE | | #18

        Thanks for your note, Jan! I'm an ardent sewer---that's how I spend my weekends. I definitely will be reading all the posts, as it does so much to inform me. I'm hoping that upcoming stories will do much to satisfy the advanced readers. Best to you, Amber

        1. JanF | | #23

          This is a thought - I love to see your design challenge pics to see what dressmakers do with the fabric etc. However, as I live in the UK it presumeably precludes my involvement - and actually at the moment I'm not sure I would have the time anyway!! Could you think around the the fact that people in other countries might want to be invoved if it was feasable? After saying that, I've a feeling it might just be an impossibilty from the simple logistics of getting the fabric!

          I haven't heard the word "sewist" before and it set me thinking about the use of different words to describe stitching skills /notions etc. As I am totally unaware of how large your subcription list is from other countries, it may not be a problem anyway, - but might there be mileage in a brief glossary sometime to link words to meanings to similar descriptions for others? A simple illustration is the word "batting" - I've sussed out that you refer to what we call "wadding" but just a thought!

          Thanks Janet

          1. AmberE | | #29

            As I understand it, we have a fair number of readers from "across the pond", as well as Canada. I love your idea of an international glossary!

          2. User avater
            Aless | | #55

            Hi Amber,

            I've only just checked Gatherings for the first time in a few weeks.

            I wanted to let you know that there are quite a few Australasians (Aussies / Kiwis / etc) who also buy/subscribe to Threads, despite it being almost costing its weight in gold over here  :-)

            I have some issues that go back into the #70s that I bought off the shelf when I could afford them. Over the last few years, I've requested a subscription for Christmas every year. Couldn't live without my regular dose of Threads!

            Aless (in Adelaide, South Australia)

          3. AmberE | | #56

            Thanks Aless---that's great news and I suspected as much!

          4. stringlady | | #74

            A glossary could be helpful.  I spent 4 years living in England and had to decipher the meanings of words for myself.  Fortunately people iin the fabric stores were all helpful and I survived.  As a result, I can always tell if a puplication is from England because of the words and spellings used.  It was a wonderful experience and I came home with some beautiful woll fabrics since we only lived a few miles from a woolen mill.

          5. AmberE | | #77

            Absolutely--the glossary is a great idea (it was in my job application proposal!) and also more technical articles such as those you mentioned. It's important to preserve and communicate great techniques! We will soon have a technical editor, so you can look forward to more, more, more technique!

          6. stringlady | | #78

            Thank you for your response.  I am enjoying this discussion and I am impressed with yiour interaction with the group.

          7. Ckbklady | | #79

            I just spent a wonderful week with the 21 back-issues of Threads I ordered a couple of weeks ago. The issues ranged from the mid-1990s to fairly recent ones. I now have almost every issue of Threads (eBay can surely help me with the remaining few), but I have never before had a chance to experience so many issues for the first time all at once, and to see the changes that everyone debates on the Gatherings board, laid out side by side.

            I am a devoted reader and user of Threads, and want you to know that I for one really like the direction the magazine is taking. The simpler articles (on such things as picking the right pin) might appear a bit too basic (that one was admittedly a bit of a shock), but they are surely a great help to experienced sewers who are teaching newbies. And goodness knows we need newbies, what with the continuing extinction of small independent fabric shops and home economics classes.....

            One can't be everything to everyone (and surely the knitters and weavers who loved the oldest Threads know that), and nothing can stay the same forever. But please stay the course - I'll keep reading and sewing and reading and sewing....

            :) Mary

          8. stringlady | | #80

            I have issues that date back to the early 80's.  These magazines have survived many moves and 1 divorce (my ex tried to hold them hostage).  Although I don't want to complain, I just miss some of the old content.  I have recently taken up knitting in addition to my sewing and have been meaning to dig out some of those old issues to reread the knitting articles.  I remember that Taunton took the knitting out to make room for more sewing since knitting was not popular at that time.  I would not ask them to include knitting again, but would like to see them publish a separate knitting magazine of the same quality. 

            I also miss some of the old types of articles.  I like to be able to take my skill up another notch.  Threads has always had some of the more basic articles also and I always learn something there, too.   I also subscribe to another major sewing magazine and learn from that also.

            I learned to sew 40 years ago at my Mother's feet and because of my thirst for knowledge, my Mother began asking me for advice.  She was my sewing buddy and I miss her very much.    


          9. AmberE | | #81

            This "thread" has been so educational for me. I am always looking for the articles that will thrill our longtime readers, and this is great fodder as I develop that content. Keep it up!

          10. stringlady | | #82

            Threads is such a great resource for all of us.  I just finished a jacket.  The pattern did not have a lining so I had to draft my own lining pattern.  The Threads article on bagging a lining was such a great help. If I hadn't found that article, I probably would have inserted my lining by hand the hard way.  Thankyou, thank you, thank you!

          11. AmberE | | #83

            Glad to hear it

    2. GreenApple | | #26

      It seems to me that the magazine hasn't just gone to simpler sewing - it also somehow seems to have lowered its own...production values, if that's the right phrase? When I look at recent issues, I get the feeling that the editors are perhaps afraid that looking too professional, too exciting, too rich and detailed and stylish, would intimidate the new sewer that's now a bigger part of their target market. The drawings, the garments in the photographs, and so on, don't have that "Oh, my goodness, how did they do/where did they get _that_?!" impact that they used to.There are some exceptions - for example, the patchwork article in issue 126 had some good stuff. But in general, it doesn't appear that the magazine is doing its best to demonstrate that simple, accessible techniques can make some wonderful things. And if they don't demonstrate that, then why would people be inspired to learn those techniques? An example of something that does do that is _The Essentials of Sewing_ by Sue Thompson. This book teaches some really basic techniques, but the photographs and sample projects are of gorgeous, rich things, worth gazing at. I can't imagine that those things would intimidate the new sewer - surely, instead, they would inspire them?As another example of the value of what's emphatically not simple, it was Claire Schaeffer's book on couture sewing that got me back into sewing after a decade or two of non-sewing. Of course the techniques were well beyond me (and in general, still are) but the gorgeous stuff, the craftsmanship, the goal, was inspiring. People don't usually learn to sew in order to make a few pillow covers, curtains, or inexpensive pajamas. Those things are all pretty cheap and easy to obtain these days without making them oneself. People sew now in order to create wonderful things that they either can't obtain or can't afford.Richness, style, and design that reaches for something new (even when it sometimes reaches so far that it falls down) is worthwhile even when discussing the basics. I don't demand that all of Threads' articles teach advanced techniques, but I'd like to see the delight, the richness and beauty, the pure glee in the gorgeous shiny thing, that used to be so much more a part of Threads.GreenApple

      1. AmberE | | #27

        I'm totally with you on all that you so eloquently expressed, Green Apple. The "shiny thing" is definitely the goal we are shooting for and your feedback helps us know if we are on the mark (specific is always better, i.e. what issue in particular, what shiny thing, tripped your trigger).




      2. autumn | | #34

        I agree totally. Thanks for stating it so well.

      3. JanF | | #41

        Hi, somehow I missed your message - occassionally I don't get how to access all the messages !!!- I felt I must just say that your message really cut to the chase - and so brilliantly written! I agree 100% with your comments about content.

        However I'm not sure I 100% agree with your comment about the look of the mag and pics etc. I think it does a good job at producing excellent illustrations on how to do certain skills, and after quite a few years of having to produce my own worksheets for others to follow, I think they are well done. How were they done previously that was so much better? (I'm fairly new to the mag) 

        I presume you mean that they are not easy to follow and understand now, but allowing for the fact that I do have to mentally adapt the "American -speak" and assume sometimes the meanings of things, on the whole I think this part of the mag works really well.

        It will certainly be something to watch out for in the coming mags, to see how the editor manages to incorporate all our ideas - or at least the ones that seem to be burning issues to a lot. It seems a pity to me that loyal subscribers feel the need to cancel, but the Libran side of me possibly thinks that some people genuinely don't feel the need for any more instruction. I suppose that's why they want an emphasis on inspiration. The inspiration is a large part of my interest in the mag. and I'm beginning to think what have I missed before I found this mag?



        1. GreenApple | | #42

          Oh, sorry, I didn't mean that the instructions are flawed, or not easy to follow. That's not the problem at all.I have no idea how the writing/editing process works, but some articles feel to me as if someone wanted the topic pared down to its absolute core, eliminating any extra embellishments or fancy touches, perhaps due to a belief that those embellishments would be a distraction, or perhaps due to a belief that they would intimidate beginning sewers? Alternatively, maybe since the topics are relatively simple, the authors sometimes don't feel inspired? I don't know why the fancy touches seem to be reduced, but I know I want them back. For example, the "snip and bedazzle" article in issue 122 shows extremely plain shirts. I could imagine a richer fantasy or night-time look - darkness, mystery, glittering jewels. That way, even though I probably wouldn't use the technique described, there would be something for me to stare at and perhaps be inspired by to create something using a different technique. Or maybe I'd be inspired to use that technique for a costume, even if I wouldn't use it for everyday clothes.With those added touches, the beginning sewers would get a new technique, and the more advanced sewers might get ideas that they could carry out with beading or some other technique. Adding that extra layer of content could give the less advanced articles some value for everyone, instead of having the advanced sewers just skim past those pages entirely. I'm not saying that there's no place for simplicity, and I feel bad picking out one specific article (maybe those shirts just aren't to my taste), but I felt the need to come up with an example. Simplicity has its place, but I think there's just too much of a trend in that direction in the recent issues of Threads.And I should add that _I'm_ essentially a beginner, or a re-beginner. It's been years since I did any serious sewing, and I'm going back to my basic books to re-learn various things. In spite of that, I'm not eager for lots of beginner articles in Threads. Threads has always been my source for something extra special to aim for, and I'll be sad to lose that.And (my, I'm rambling) I'm sure that the advanced sewers do feel the need for more instruction - the loss of that instruction is part of the problem, because there's only so much space and an increase in the number of less advanced articles will inevitably result in a decrease in the more advanced ones.GreenApple

          Edited 7/20/2006 5:36 am ET by GreenApple

          1. JanF | | #43

            Thanks for your reply. I went to get the copy you refer to and yes - the article about "snip and bedazzle" didn't exactly give much away!

            I suppose the idea was that people would then experiment on their own and come up with more ideas - this article surely would be a beginners content in my mind. Perhaps they do need to have a section for one basic idea - like this one - and then give added inspiration to others with the more exciting ideas.

            However, I must admit to my own prejudice here - I hate the idea of just cutting fabric and sticking stuff on - my pet hate is the way all items of ready - made clothing in this country uses the frayed edge as a way of getting around edging the item properly - in my mind just an excuse to produce something very cheaply in order to make yet even more profit! I've even seen a designer item in Liberty's of London with the edge of the outfit just left alone to come ondone as you wear it - fine on a cheap outfit - but i could never buy something that expensive with that edge and wear it comfortably. I'd feel unfinished!

            At least Threads produced an article that gave variations on the edge treatment - which I would use if appropriate, but a cut, untreated adge - NO!


          2. user-167104 | | #47

            100% agree. I don't like unfinished edges. It looks just like...it's not finished. If I did that to something I sewed, I would just know that people would be thinking I forgot (or got too lazy) to finish it.

            I love perfectly finished and tailored clothes that look well made. I don't understand a perfectly lovely skirt (I saw in church one day) that had a ragged, frayed hem. I pictured that lovely full pink skirt with a pleated hem, or with the pretty beaded trim they are putting on skirts. But no. A very pretty skirt didn't get finished and the fraying was awful! Though, do doubt totally intended.



          3. JanF | | #49

            You are so right - i did buy a cheap skirt from Primark at about Easter time - I bought it cos it was cheap and in a khaki colour which I wear, and had a low waist (in fact now I describe it, i think I thought I was 17)!but i thought i might just try it. I wore it twice and felt a twit both times - in fact mutton dressed as lamb came to mind! and the minute I washed it I just knew i couldn't wear it again.

            Both my daughters (27 and 24) said go for it Mum - its great and suits your shape - but I just could not get around the unfinished edge.

            So now I think I'll make a decent one in same style but with a fancy finished edge - and then saunter out feeling much better!

            Perhaps that points to the fact that as you get older you can still wear the uptodate fashions as long as they are quality items - and that does mean I'll have to do it myself and leave Primark to the kids!


          4. user-167104 | | #70

            :) it's hard sometimes to resist what you 'used' to wear and realize that you've outgown that style and time to look a little more 'mature'. I just finished a skirt with a bead trim at the bottom. Got lots of complements on it.

            Let us know when you copy your skirt in a more appropriate and sophisticated style. Now that's satisfaction!

          5. JanF | | #71

            Got to rethink it I suspect - hubby informs me the style doesn't do me any favours - infact Its all wrong one way or another!! my bum definitely looks big in this I think!
            Decided its the horizontal lines that join the 3 layers and now need to design one with the layers at an angle somehow - ...and rethink the fabric...and design a new fancy edge to each layer.....but...still like the khaki colour so 1 out of 4 aint bad!
            When I do finally make it - I'll get to grips with attaching a picture!
            Thanks for your comments jan

          6. AmberE | | #48

            I love this idea of "layering" content (as I do all the other ideas and feedback) and this one of layering is one that we have been tossing here as well. Thanks!

          7. midnitesewer | | #52

            I love the vintage garments on the back cover. I am inspired by these garments because of their clever designs, beautiful fabrics, and excellent workmanship.  I know that I may never make  many garments using advanced techniques, but I love looking at them and reading about the techniques. I would also like to see the "layering" of skill levels in a single article.

            I like talking to other sewers about their experiences. It would be nice to have occasional articles featuring people who have varied experience in the sewing or garment industry. They could be anyone from designers to people who have done piece work at home and anyone in between. Thanks for listening to our ideas.

          8. Josefly | | #51

            I've enjoyed your remarks on this topic. I'm sure it's difficult to decide what is a good balance between the too-complex, I-could-never-accomplish-that, and the too-easy, I'm-not-interested, to come up with Wow!-and-I-can-DO-that! But agree that even beginning sewists would be far more inspired by garments that look well-made and creatively put-together. The Threads article featuring the young designer mentioned in a couple of earlier posts tickled me: she was bringing some new freedom and fun to the idea of sewing, even though I doubt anyone my age would actually wear the clothes shown. I love seeing things done with fabric that I mightn't think of - not just construction techniques, but fabric enhancements like tucking and shirring and pleating used for fitting as well as decoration. That's what appeals to me about vintage clothing, and what used to make the back-page photos of Threads so interesting. Then those ideas can be adapted to either simpler or more-complex designs, depending on the level of experience and skill. (It's a plus if the stitchery doesn't require buying a new machine!)I didn't discover Threads until the year 2000, so I don't go far enough back to judge, maybe, but I loved the back covers of Numbers 88, 97, 100, 105, and 106. I think the fabrics, because we can't feel them or even really see them adequately, are only interesting when shown in a finished product.Thanks for keeping the topic going, and for describing so well what some of us miss in the more recent issues of a magazine that's given so much pleasure.

          9. GreenApple | | #84

            Opinionated rambling:After looking over issue 127, I wanted to respond to my own previous post and note that, IMO, it's visually much better. I haven't really absorbed the content enough to have an opinion about that yet, but it does feel as if there's more depth than in some recent issues.The "One-seam poncho" article has very rich fabrics, to give non-beginner sewers something to look at - exactly what I was suggesting for the simpler articles. The pattern review has more detail and interest in the photos than some articles in recent magazines, as does Sewing Zen and, in a different way, so does Handle Your Hands. Sheer Prints has lots of material for fascinated gawking - it got the "wow" award for this issue. While Denim Details isn't aimed at my demographic, I think, it looks like it's having fun and it does have that richness that I was harping about.With enough to look at in those articles, I'm less bothered by the simple lines and solid fabrics of the garments in the remaining articles. They do seem to be the articles that most benefit from a lack of visual clutter, and while I would have voted for a little more elaboration, I don't feel disappointed.However, I do think that the Deconstructed Seams article would have been good with more garments, using the techniques presented in the "Take it a step further" section. The same garments were shown three times, and while I can understand the photo to introduce the garments and photos for the sections on making them, it seems to me that the third set of photos could have shown more ideas. On the other hand, when I try to think of why I want something else from the topstitching article, I realize that it's because I, personally, don't like the yellow. :) So there's no grounds for complaint there - the simple solid fabric is, I think, really necessary to show the topstitching, and if the fabric happened to be one of my favorite colors I probably wouldn't even be classing it in the "visually simple" category - there is a lot of richness in the topstitching pattern.GreenApple

            Edited 9/5/2006 1:54 pm ET by GreenApple

          10. AmberE | | #133

            Thanks, GreenApple! As always appreciated!

    3. JanF | | #50

      Sorry Amber - dont know how to send a message to you (really a basic question) apart from the message board (tried putting your name in to send you this but it wouldn't let me! so did a reply to a message to me

      I might be totally stupid but I'm trying to access the photos of people's stuff. I've been into archives etc, but can you direct me to the correct method (I notice someone else was asking the same thing a while ago!

      Thanks - just wanted to see what people have been making!


      1. AmberE | | #58

        To post your own, click on my forums and then "my profile" on the left. To see others, click on thier screen name and the profile should pop up

        1. Bernie1 | | #59

          I would like to see articles by a greater variety of people - edited by people who actually sew. I was glad to see Marla from Project Runway weigh in and it would be fun to see a lot more of that.  How do those PR designers fit the clothes so quickly? What equipment are they using on the show this year? How has the show raised interest in sewing?

          I think in the past there have been editors who didn't understand sewing so some of the important directions were edited out, which led to incredible frustration. And with all the outpouring of support for returning the back cover to vintage clothing, when is it going to actually happen? Or will we be on the boards next year voicing the same opinions? I've been a subscriber for nearly 10 years and while I'm certainly not a know-it-all I am happy to see Threads heading back toward the more intermediate/advanced sewist because there are tons of magazines out there for beading, embroidery, needlework and beginning sewists.

          1. AmberE | | #63

            We are definitely actively looking at ways to incorporate the vintage clothing---but it may be an evolution rather than going back to exactly the way it was. Maybe you'll even like it better! Only time will tell, right!



          2. loomchick | | #68

            First, I applaud you and think you're a brave person to come and respond to posts that may not be the most favorable . . . I think it demonstrates the active interest by the people at Threads to create a publication that meets the needs and desires of its readers.


            Second, incorporating vintage textiles would be inspiring . . . I get some of my greatest inspiration from http://www.vintagetextile.com . . . a remarkable website with vintage textiles for sale and a gallery of former items offered for sale that provide me with countless hours of learning and entertainment from the regency period through Victorian and Edwardwardian fashions to more contemporary designers . . . It's a real treat to have such an accessible sight that offers everything from Worth ballgowns to Bob Mackie glitz. 

          3. AmberE | | #69

            And the reader's posts demonstrate an active interest as well and are very much appreciated! I have worked at many magazines, but none that had such an engaged and caring audience. It's quite rewarding to experience as an editor!

            That's a great idea on the vintage textiles. I will pass on to the editor! 

  5. TJSEWS | | #24

    Thanks for your thoughts.  I actually have been pretty tired of reading all of the constant complaints. 

    I am an intermediate sewer and do not mind reading the basics articles.  I always find some slightly different way of doing something.  The article in the current issue on pressing is very basic but I never would have thought of ironing a long seam on a muslin covered roll - how clever! 

    In today's climate where schools have cut out home ec courses, new learners need to have somewhere to go for these articles.  Why not Threads?  It is a good idea for the magazine to reach out to as many sewers as possible, including new learners.

    I like what the magazine is trying to do (and I also like the improvements to the format as well).  It is trying to have basics articles, intermediate articles and advanced articles.  I personally would like to see more intermediate and advanced articles.  I think we need to give the magazine time to find the right balance among the three categories.  They just got a new editor and I see from the posts that she herself has added to this discussion that they are paying attention and are trying to find that balance. 

    1. JanF | | #25

      The more I get replies - the more I realise that there a lot of us out there who know quite a lot of stuff - but still are aware that you can easily pick up little tricks/ideas that you may not have thought of - particularly if you like to keep learning! Thanks for agreeing with me that some input to the mag. in varying degrees of difficulty seem to be what a lot of readers want.

      Makes me really look forward to seeing what the future issues are going to be like - from replies received, the editor is obviously "on the case" . I would be highly surprised if a lot of our comments aren't being taken on board and hopefully being used in forward planning.

      Happy sewing - Janet

      1. AmberE | | #30

        We are definitely "all ears"!

  6. Sirrah | | #35

    I have read the back issues that I purchased off of Ebay and have been getting Threads pretty regularly for about a year.  I'm a Intermediate sewer, and I have to say, I'm tired of reading the complaints in the magazine and here and other sewing boards.

    I do not have anyone that I know who is a big sewer and have had no place to go other than books and the internet and sometimes someone in a fabric shop to teach me anything - so I do feel that there are a lot of know it all's out there but are any of them is stepping up to the plate and sending in their ideas to Threads? Not at least that I see?  If you're so Advanced that you are bored and have thought of every idea possible then it's your turn to contribute, imho.

    I just purchased a new sewing machine that is loads above where I was with my old one and I'm learning new things and different ways of doing things because of it.  When you feel you have no more room to grow, then you should go.  Let the people who have questions read and produce.  If they have the right attitude then they will instill their ambition into others.  

    I feel that Threads is trying to get more people interested in sewing and trying to get those who are Beginner and still very basic, a good way to learn and increase their audience.  It makes good business sense. 

    I say to you Advanced sewers who feel very confident that you can't learn anything new or get any inspiration anywhere -- write up all of your Advanced projects and send them in to Threads and see if anything good becomes of it.  Who knows, you may learn something new!



    1. JanF | | #36

      Sorry Sirrah - if you look back further - you will see it was me that started the issue of "know it alls!" - as this was the heading from my original letter, and I have been suitable chastised from a few members for my original criticism, which was similar to yours.

      I certainly would never be an advocate of not having the basics in - I think they are invaluable - indeed to go over what I have been saying all along "you are never to old to learn". As an experienced stitcher though, I understand others' criticism of what they see as "dumming down" and am asking for a more realistic mix of basics and the things that will stretch, interest and inspire everyone. I think this is a tall order for the mag. to address but after a few messages from the editor I fully expect that it will be addressed in the coming issues.

      Personally I cant wait to see how she does it!

      Thanks - Janet 

      1. TJSEWS | | #37

        I am glad that you started this discussion and believe that your critique is as valid as anyone else's.  I don't believe anyone should chastise you for stating your honest opinion. 

        1. AmberE | | #38

          Everyone's opinions are valued, (respectfully expressed, of course!) and we are always looking for great story ideas! Thanks to all of you for caring enough to speak honestly, no matter your position. It's the loyal readers who make Threads!

        2. JanF | | #40

          Thank You - I appreciate your reply. No doubt you are looking forward to some interesting stuff in the coming issues -as I am! Now Ive just got to find something that I can contribute!


      2. AmberE | | #57

        Jan--I can't wait to see how I do it, too! ;-)

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