Facebook Email Pinterest Twitter X Instagram Tiktok Icon YouTube Icon Headphones Icon Favorite Navigation Search Icon Forum Search Icon Main Search Icon Close Icon Video Play Icon Indicator Arrow Icon Close Icon Hamburger/Search Icon Plus Icon Arrow Down Icon Video Guide Icon Article Guide Icon Modal Close Icon Guide Search Icon

Conversational Threads

How can we make Threads better?

sarahkayla | Posted in General Discussion on

I have been subscribing to Threads since the early ’90’s. In the early days Threads was my main teacher and inspiration. For the past couple of years  the issues have been for the most part, boring. I had with great difficulty and sadness decided not to renew.

My last issue arrived and it hardly seemed worth the effort of reading. There is so little content. The focus is so very narrow and the article topics seem to repeat over and over again every couple of issues.

I’m so sorry that the magazine has gone from being something extrordinary and wonderful , a place of fabulous creativity to being something small in scope and boring.


  1. HeartFire2 | | #1

    Many many of us share your sadness. I canceled my subscription rather than wait for it to end, it was just too depressing getting the magazine in the mail. It's really a shame, the editors surveyed us to no end about what we wanted, and we have certainly made it clear on this forum how unhappy we are now, they just don't listen.

    1. rsolish | | #2

      I think it has a lot to do with different generations or something like that.
      i read the new threads from cover to cover and can't get enough, and then my mother in law gave me a #18 or some thing along there, and it was sooo different!! there was a lot of knitting (I don't knit) and it was written in some way that didn't give me the urge to read it.
      so- "Yay for threads" and i hope every one will find it interesting as i do.

      1. user-51823 | | #3

        i'm in agreement with you-- Threads has been around a long time, and i think this is just similar to other times when the magazine has concentrated on different fads and fashions and various specialties which do cycle through mini-generations. some years had a higher concentration on fine tailoring and other years on artsier crafts, such as making patterned cut velvets, notions, knitting, etc.
        i remember an angry letter to the editor over a how-to article on Hillary Clinton's inauguration gown, which was a masterpiece of costumer's techniques. it was a very informative article, but the letter writer despised mrs clinton and lambasted the magazine for featuring her, and she cancelled her subscription.
        It may be wise for some folks to cancel there subscriptions until the magazine comes back around to their interests. you can't please all the people all the time.

        1. woodruff | | #4

          That's it exactly, I think: Things go in cycles, and your favorite subject or favorite technique will probably come back into vogue again someday. In the meantime, compare the current Threads magazine with any other sewing magazine on the market.

          1. violet_fairies | | #5

            There isn't anything out there that even comes close to what Thread's used to offer.  I'm sad too that I probably won't be renewing my subscription.  There are enough craft magazine out there to show me how to embellish my jeans (which I don't where) and to make crafts.  It's not what I want to see in a high end sewing magazine.

            And what's with the models?  Can't women stand gracefully anymore?

  2. Alexandra | | #6

    Me too, I can't believe it has come to my contemplating cancelling my subscription.  I have every issue from the beginning but this issue with the dorky flowers!  And the fabric jewellery, who but 20 year olds or younger would wear this junk and that Obi sash a few issues back, gak!  I am so chagrined.  The issue before this, with the checkered dress was too boring to even read.  8<((

    1. nani | | #7

      The change in editors seems to be when Threads changes. I am so disappointed that it is getting away from finer sewing and into Girl-scout troop projects like those fabric flowers. There are no other magazines out there for fine sewing that I know of, so I don't understand why Threads is following the ordinary, everyday trend of the other magazines.

  3. Elaray | | #8

    I've had a Threads subscription for several years and I've seen the changes the magazine has gone through. I agree; all of the changes haven't been for the better. But, the only other magazine I'm aware of that addresses garment sewing is Sew News. I feel like remaining a Threads subscriber is settling for the lesser of two evils. I don't like to feel that way about a service I'm paying for. I guess I love sewing more than I dislike Threads Magazine, so I will reluctantly keep my subscription.

    1. SewistKitty | | #9

      I purchased all of the "Threads" magazines from the beginning until now.
      I am in my mid-50s and have had many sewing courses in school as well as a mother who taught me many sewing techniques. What I have observed as a teacher and parent is that the sewing courses (if they are offered) have been so "dumbed-down" that the students learn very little. Often the parents are not able to reinforce sewing skills because of time constraints, lack of interest or lack of skill. When my son took sewing in 8th grade (he is 26 now) he was given a sweatshirt kit. There were 28 students, 1 teacher and 14 machines. My son was very shy and not getting to use a machine. I had him bring the sweatshirt home. I taught him to thread the machine, wind the bobbin and sew the sweatshirt on my Bernina. He hadn't learned these skills in school. As a 7th grader I made an apron and a skirt. In my class there was 1 teacher, a slightly smaller class and sewing machines we shared. The attitude of the students is so different than when I was growing up that it is much more difficult to teach a subject properly.
      The old "Threads" magazines do contain many more craft ideas and projects but I think that the readership was much more likely to be proficient and interested in those crafts. I am enjoying reading the older issues and have gathered many tips from them. At the same time the "Threads" magazine creators are writing for a sewing audience of people at very different ability levels. It is not an easy task.

      1. violet_fairies | | #11

        My impression of Threads has been that it was for the intermediate to experienced sewer.  It is changing to a beginner and younger sewer.  Are they gaining enough new subscriptions to justify losing the more advanced sewer?  Why does this magazine have to be dumbed down?

        1. SewistKitty | | #13

          I really don't know the answer to your question, "Why does it have to be dumbed down?" I hear about a lot of sewists who sewed for many years, worked in the workforce while raising children and are now returning to sewing after many years of not sewing. For some of us who stopped sewing for many years we lost some of our skills and needed to learn techniques and new technology. My sewing friends consider sewing as a hobby or as a way to get clothing to fit properly. My mother made clothes for our family to save money. Sewing clothing used to be an economic necessity. Now it is more expensive to sew than buying clothing since cheap oversea laborers are making the clothes in the stores. Combining the two trends of women in the workforce not having much time too sew and the availability of cheaper clothing in the stores (relatively speaking) many women are not as proficient as in the past. Many of us didn't have parents or grandparents to encourage us to sew and teach us new skills. As I said before, I think that "Threads" is trying to serve all but I agree that its focus seem to be less on the expert sewist than in the past.

          1. ctirish | | #14

            I understand a lot of people are pretty unhappy with the magazine these days.  Myself I kind of on the fence with it.  I had a subscription, let it lapse and then I missed the magazine immensly and couldn't find anything to replace it so I reupped.  Before you all cancel your subscriptions because you are unhappy with the way the magazine is headed why don't you write an email to AmberE - she has a letter to the Editor posting here and tell her exactly what kind of ariticle you want to see in the magazine.  If you think an article on how royal gowns are put together would be good ask for it.  If you want to see an article on what each designer uses as there trademark in a garment, ask for it.  If you want the magazine to not do any home dec tell them. If you go through the posts and email every person who is unhappy with the content of Threads you could get a group together and write to the editors as a group, there is strength in numbers. I am sure you would be heard then; I do think the editors care about what you are saying. I don't think they know specifically what you want in the magazine. I think in todays casual attire world it is difficult to write for the reader who wants everything to be competely couture and the people they are trying to help get to the point of advanced or expert. We all learned sewing at home or in school and kept sewing. That hasn't happened in a long time, a lot of readers are learning to improve the basics they learned years ago. Lest we forget we were all novices and intermediates at one time. My last thought is with your experience why don't you write an aritcle for Threads and send it in to be published. Then a lot of us will learn the methods you know and want to see in Threads.

            I have found when I talk to  unhappy subscribers they know they don't like what they are reading but they can't put into words what they do want to read in the magazine.

          2. Ralphetta | | #15

            Your last sentence made things clearer in my mind.  I want...what I don't already know, I want...surprises that excite me...I want, to be challenged.

          3. HeartFire2 | | #16

            For quite a few years now, the editors have done extensive surveys both here in this forum and via mail to Thread subscribers on what we want. People have been complaining to no end here on line about the magazine, Amber reads these posts (or at least some of them because she responds to them). We all understand that a magazine goes into production a good 6 months or more before it hits the stands, so there can't be instant change, but after 3 or 4 years of ignoring what we have been asking for, it seems they have no intention of going back to the fine magazine it once was.

          4. jatman | | #17


            I'm thinking about buying some really old issues of Threads from ebay so I can get a feel for what everyone says is missing.  I just started subscribing this year and have to say that I enjoy the magazine not only for the articles/projects that I will use today but also for the ability to be able to save the magazine as a reference for when I need information later.  Someone had mentioned the obi sash...I would never have thought to make one of those but when I saw it in the magazine I decided to try one.  I have to say it turned out really well - better than I thought it would.  I guess this just proves that you can't be everything to everyone - or in other words one person's 'gak' is another person's lovely!

            Any advice as to when you all think Threads was at it's best?  What years are the most worthy of trying to find?


          5. HeartFire2 | | #18

            it's usually pretty easy to get back issues of threads on e-bay, thats where I completed my collection. I started subscribing around issue 50, and canceled my subscription about a year ago, but got the first ones on ebay

          6. stitchintime | | #22

            I've been thinking about your query for many days now so I've been rereading my old issues of Threads trying to see what I can recommend. It's been educational, inspiring and great fun.

            I only started subscribing at issue 67 so I can't comment on anything previous to that. Someone in a recent letter to the editor mentioned older back issues with knitting and weaving.  Even though they wrote "how could anybody be interested in that anymore?", I'm sure there's a creative person or perhaps a few who could come up with a whole new twist on either subject and perhaps start a revival of both. I would certainly be interested. An article entitled  "The Incredible, Reversible, One Technique Jacket" by Bird Ross in issue 40 was voted one of the top 5 articles out of 100 in a poll Threads took on line here for it's 100th anniversary issue. I may have to get a hold of that myself!

            I happen to still like issue 67.  I was bowled over by the "stitch and slash" jacket on the front cover and thought the fabric manipulation very clever. The quilting article featured beautiful colours, an interesting technique and an attitude of hey, find your own creative energy and spirit. There's an article on sewing a simple skirt on the bias which I've gone back to, an article on hidden pockets I used on my daughter's clothes to hide her passport and wallet when she went backpacking in Central America, an article on decorative hemstitching which I will soon try now that I have a machine capable of doing such a thing, a lovely cut velvet (I see from a recent issue, that it's now called by it's French name devore velvet) scarf with a beaded fringe and an article on sewing cowboy style shirts which didn't appeal to me personally but read anyway to see what I could learn. There were also other in depth articles, questions, tips, basics, fitting and a non-sewing fabric project to learn from.

            You don't even have to go that far back. Issues 101 and 102 have a sampling of garment construction, fitting, quilting, home dec, machine embroidery, sewing by hand, pattern reviews, fabulous back covers etc.

            So, to those who don't want to hear me complain anymore, I won't. To those who don't understand our chagrin, what can I say?  Many readers have voiced their obvious disappointment with the new format and content. But there are those who are happy with the changes and find it appealing so go figure. I'll have to wait and see. In the meantime, I have all my back issues to keep me busy.

            Edited 11/25/2006 1:53 pm ET by stitchintime

          7. solosmocker | | #23

            I have a smile on my face. I can't tell you how many of those Bird Ross jackets I made. One I still wear a lot to this day, and I still get lots of compliments on it. Wonder what Bird Ross is doing today? Perhaps Threads could look up some of these fiber artists that were in such wonderful articles. Might be a way to appease the masses.

          8. AmberE | | #44

            Thanks for the tip!

          9. jatman | | #24

            Hi Stitchintime,

            Thank you so much for your very thoughtful response.  I appreciate you taking the time to look through your magazines and share your opinion.  As a new subscriber I probably just don't know what I missed so Threads as it stands today is a treat.  I've never subscribed to a sewing magazine and am just recently getting back to sewing.  I'm not a complete beginner but in some ways I suppose I am.  Maybe that's why I've liked my issues so far.  However, I have to say that whenever someone references an older article, the old back covers or any of the things that people seem to think are missing now I get really curious.  Not surprisingly, it seems that Threads magazines are hot items on Ebay .  Obviously the magazine had a lot going for it or those back issues wouldn't get snapped up the way they do.  I will continue my search for some older issues (I'll try to get the ones you suggested first) so I have something to compare my new ones against.

            Again, thank you!


          10. Maggietu | | #121

            I currently have every issue of Threads except #8 and wish to sell them as a total package. Anyone interested?

          11. jatman | | #122

            Hi Maggietu -

            Any idea how much you'd like for them?  My only problem just now is that I'm outside of the US and shipping here would probably be ridiculous, but maybe I could figure out an alternative.  I've also ordered quite a few from Taunton's website but haven't yet received them so I'd have a bunch of doubles if I did buy yours!  Are they in good shape? 

            You may want to check out this thread - someone was asking for back issues:

            (Having trouble getting the right link to post here - look under General Discussion - Threads Magazines (Past Issues)


            Oops!  I meant to reply via e-mail but can't change it now.  Sorry!


            Edited 1/11/2007 1:55 am ET by jatman

            Edited 1/11/2007 2:56 am ET by jatman

            Edited 1/11/2007 2:58 am ET by jatman

          12. Maggietu | | #123

            Hi. I truly am not sure what to ask for the magazines, which are in excellent shape. I am hoping someone can give me a few clues as to what the whole collection is worth. Help please. Thank you. Maggietu

          13. jatman | | #124

            Hi Maggietu!

            You might want to look on e-bay (there is a function there where you can watch an item without bidding on it).  That way you can tell how much Threads issues are going for.  I just bought 3 copies off of e-bay a couple of months ago and paid from $2.00 to $6.00 for each copy.  There are people selling whole years worth, etc.  It might help you to price your set.


          14. Maggietu | | #129

            Thanks Jatman, I shall do some more research and get back to you. Thanks for your interest. Maggietu

          15. AmberE | | #34

            Thanks so much for all of this feedback. I am always checking Gatherings as it's a wonderful mirror. Threads is an evolving magazine, and I constantly learn from these posts---it's keeps my finger on the audience pulse! For me, the more specific suggestions, the better. And of course, I encourage all of you to become authors!

          16. TJSEWS | | #35

            Hi Amber,

               I believe Claire Shaeffer has written articles for Threads in the past.  Since her expertise is in couture techniques, perhaps she could be approached with writing an article on the couture techniques of a particular designer's garment (Dior?  St. Laurent, there are so many to choose from)   She is very well respected in her field and I believe that an article by Claire would please many Threads readers who are thirsting for more advanced articles.

              Kenneth King is another author who is well known for being an expert in design and embellishment and he also has written for Threads in the past and received rave reviews from Threads readers.  Perhaps he could be approached with writing an article about a particular type of embellishment of his choosing?  Or design of his choosing?

              Those are my suggestions....thanks.

          17. AmberE | | #38

            And both are excellent! Thanks so much!

          18. solosmocker | | #93

            Amber, I have taken to rereading some older Threads over the past few nights. Truth is I just unpacked them after moving here one year ago. About time, don't you think? Anyway, I found one of the things I really enjoyed in these older issues that could possibly be revived was a page devoted to "events". These were major quilt shows, museum exhibits, travel opportunities sponsored by museums, etc. I am not talking every small quilt show in every church basement hall across the country here, But about textile related exhibits at the likes of FIT or the Textile Museum in DC. These are opportunities for us all to be inspired. It appeals to the more experience sewist and is a great venue for the less experienced to see what is achievable. I am so glad you are paying attention to all of this. I am a long longtime Threads devotee as many on this board are.

          19. AmberE | | #94

            Yes, we do have events list from time to time, but due to a leaner staff, the full calendar was probably one of the more time consuming pieces of edit that was eliminated. I agree that it's very useful and will investigate its revival. Thanks!

          20. meg | | #114


            I remember reading David Coffin's articles with enthusiasm.  His machine comparisons were fabulous; I liked his tone. 

          21. TJSEWS | | #128

            I miss David Coffin.  He is very talented and I enjoyed reading everything he wrote about.  His articles were always accurate and he obviously had a mastery of the techniques he wrote about.

            I would love to see articles by David Coffin in future issues.

          22. solosmocker | | #19

            I certainly know what I want - Inspiration! If there is one thing the older Threads provided consistently it was inspiration. I could not wait to make nearly everything I saw, and I did make a fair amount of it. I also learned, learning much that I could not learn elsewhere, whether from fiber artists or dissections of couture garments.

          23. katina | | #20

            Inspiration - absolutely! The articles were very informative;they often allowed you to journey into another world, so much so that some of my non-sewing friends had subscriptions in those days. Could it be that Threads just can't find authors willing to write these anymore?


          24. J_Eman | | #21

            I never thought I would decide to look at Threads in the store before deciding if I would purchase it, but this is what has happened.  In the past I had a subscription but I have let it expire.  I guess today we have to accept the more experienced sewist no longer matters, just as when they changed their format and dropped the knitters and other fiber artist.   

            When a person is able to sew well, without reading directions (just about everything including tailoring) the old Threads filled the void by not only giving inspiration but educating also. 

            As my subscription came to an end I would look at the magazines and just feel angry that such a wonderful magazine was something of the past.  Guess the bean counters told them they needed a younger market and to let the dinosaurs go because our marketing dollars no longer mattered.   I honestly feel frustrated there is nothing on the market for those who know how to sew well. 



          25. AmberE | | #43

            Hi Eman: I want to set the record straight, as there seems to be some misinformation about Threads and its strategy---we are very much serving the advanced reader and that is the place we want to bring all sewers to, not the other way around. I hope you will consider submitting article ideas to my attention and becoming an author, as Threads is and has always been reader-written. That's what makes this magazine great.

          26. J_Eman | | #50

            Hello Amber, 

                I would love to write an article, but my writing skills aren't that great.  Also I do not have any idea as to what would be an interesting article.  Currently I've started a sewing group for the ladies at my mosque.  I was surprised that I actually had to limit the classes to 14 students for there were so many ladies interested.  They are all shapes, sizes, ages and professions.    We have covered the basics related to patterns, cleaned sewing machines, covered a little about about the race and currently we are fitting skirts.  The group was started last month and I've learned a lots from the ladies.  It's a lot of work but worth it. 

                If you have any ideas as to what would be an interesting topic and I feel as though I'm able to contribute, then I will. 

                However, I can't help but to say the quality of Threads has changed.  I've been interested in couture sewing for years and over time I've added the bits of knowledge  glearned from past articles to my sewing.   My last issue of Threads left me feeling so frustrated I honestly felt angry.  I'm not saying I read each of the old Threads from cover to cover.  However, I knew if one issue didni't interest me that much the next one would.  I no longer feel this way about the magazine.   



          27. AmberE | | #51

            Well, if it's any encouragement, we are actively working to get that couture back in---just takes time. In fact, I'd like to see a whole issue devoted to this! Magazines are planned about a year in advance, sometimes more, so it takes time for changes to filter down. Since I've been here almost exactly one year (officially two days ago!)we are just getting to the new stuff. I really do appreciate your honest assessment!

          28. HeartFire2 | | #52

            Amber,Has the circulation of Threads increased over the past year or so to support the new format of the magazine? If not what other data do you have to show that your strategy is working? I know many people on this forum have canceled their subscriptions in the past year. I have subscribed to Threads since issue 50 and it really breaks my heart to see what has become of it.I know in the end it all comes down to dollars and cents, So, just how is the magazine doing? HeartFire

          29. AmberE | | #53

            The magazine is doing quite well and growing, and I'm sure that the resurgence in interest in sewing will add to this. This is all good news. But it is a niche market, so we have to both keep the dedicated readers enchanted and develop new readers. I do intend to get to the bottom of what exactly is it that the Threads devotees need to stay satisfied, as they are a critical piece of the component, but I don't think this is mutually exclusive from broadening the audience. As I mentioned earlier, I plan to reach out to Gatherings members and get more specific information. I do think that this is something that we can all work on together!It's interesting about 128 because we had received many letters requesting more Quick to Make and that issue was based on response to reader requests and survey info. With each issue, especially with the helpful response from Gatherings members, I am able to better hone the mix.As a sewer, I myself am particularly interested in couture techniques---and I think that drives all levels of sewers. We see beautiful designer garments and want to create them ourselves. So that is definitely part of the direction for Threads future.

          30. AmberE | | #54

            FYI---in the interest of keeping this discussion more positively focused, I've changed the name to "How can we make Threads better".

          31. katina | | #55

            Hi Amber

            You are a most hardworking editor, but I think you missed your calling - clearly you should be in the diplomatic corps! You handle all the debate very deftly; it can't be easy. Thanks.

          32. AmberE | | #62

            thanks! ;-)

          33. User avater
            Becky-book | | #56

            Dear Amber,

            After years of gift subscriptions to Craft mags (from well-intentioned in-laws) some how THREADS mag. offer showed up in my mailbox! I tried 1 year, and loved it, told hubby "I don't care about any of the other mags, but please keep my THREADS sub. paid up!!"  I have been mostly self taught (a few basics from mom and school), and appreciate THREADS mag to show me areas that I have yet to explore.  Since each life has its own history, my knowledge base will be slightly different than another's.  What is 'old hat' to some may be 'wow' to me even though I have been at the machine for 42 years!

            Things I like about THREADS:

            photos that show the stitch or technique up close and in contrasting thread

            Tips for easier or neater sewing (even if I already do it- confirmation of sanity!!)

            product reviews w/o lots of advert. verbiage - I do want to know about what's available

               I do agree with what someone said about photos of models in funny poses - not helpful, take up space that could be used to better purpose.

            The fitting series is a good idea, even though you have not yet addressed my major difficulties, I'll wait.

            Thanks for a good magazine, even if it isn't perfect in every issue,


          34. AmberE | | #63

            Thanks so much! What are your fitting issues?

          35. user-51823 | | #57

            ditto beckybook's list in the last post. good summary.
            i also really enjoyed the design challenges.threads has always come closer than any other mag to being of interest to me from cover to cover; pretty much every publication has a combo of articles i like and articles i pass.i'm not saying that experts necessarily hit a glass ceiling, but i do believe that as we serious types get better and better, there's less and less 'new under the sun' to learn, especially about the nuts and bolts of tailoring. it's a natural arc IMHO. I know i have plenty to learn still, but my back issues contain almost everything i need for any project. i will continue my subscrip tho as i still enjoy looking the mag. issues that hold nothing for me will should go to the library or a high school home ec dept. (note to self: follow thru with that~!)
            i come here to the site to ask questions partly because my mags are in storage, and primarily because to solve problems, i prefer group discussion to lonely reading :-)
            Bravo to Threads for trying to reach novices and give them projects that are less intimidating (to get them hooked, LOL). a new generation of sewers is what it will take to keep the industry suppliers open to home sewers. i would love it if the Fine fabric stores that have closed around here would find it feasible to open their doors again.ps- this thread got so big so fast, i didn't have time to read every post, so pardon me if i am echoing someone else without giving them credit

            Edited 12/1/2006 11:03 am ET by msm-s

          36. AmberE | | #64

            Thanks! I do think that there was a swing too far toward novice sewing for a while, even prior to my arrival, and we are moving the needle back, as we adjust, while still keeping content accessible. For an editor in the first year, you are mostly testing the temperature of the water, and it takes a while to get it just right! But I really do appreciate the continued participation of longtime subscribers in this ongoing discussion! I remain convinced that what advancer sewers want is not that far off from those new to the art: high quality garment construction.

          37. autumn | | #99

            I subscribed to Threads for years, until it was dumbed down. Now I glance at it in the bookstore or library, but rarely find anything interesting. However, I think it would be great if there were several articles, a series, about professional costuming. I live in Ashland, Oregon where we have the oldest Shakespeare Festival in the U.S., which runs from Feb. through October. The costume shop is fascinating, and whenever I go to a play I spend most of the time admiring the costumes and wondering "How did they do that?"

            I had a tour through the costume shop a couple of years ago and learned that they have designers, "cutters" (who don't cut), dyers, sewers, etc.etc. It is a very complicated business and would be extremely interesting to me, and I'll bet to a lot of sewers.

          38. woodruff | | #100

            The new Threads seems to me, a very longtime subscriber, to be getting somewhat more interesting again. There are articles I would consider generally quite useful, and not necessarily geared to total beginners or crafty enthusiasts. The recent articles attempting to show Chanel techniques come to mind. They were really pretty good, I thought.However, Amber, what I miss--and to judge from the many comments here, what many people miss--is "exquisiteness." Remember when there were articles on the techniques of Mme. Grès, for example? We want to see something that will knock our socks off and inspire us.I suspect (can't say for sure) that you'd hear a lot less fury from the posters here if you gave them a shot, each issue, at something perfectly stunning.

            Edited 12/30/2006 12:45 pm by woodruff

          39. fashionista | | #101

            Woodruff - I agree with everything you say.  I'd also like to add that I thought the  fashion photography in 128 had a much improved "current" feel to it -e.g the photos of the gorgeous Chanel type jackets.   The photos could sometimes be horribly "wooden"  in past  issues.


          40. Ramc | | #102

            lI agree with the last 4 or 5 posts... costume shop articles would be fascinating as the construction is often different, "exquisiteness" of design and execution, designer articles (new as well as historical). Perhaps not all in one issue, but keep those of us who are longtime subscribers and sewers in mind as you choose articles.  I have felt ignored a few times. Although I often find a review of techniques useful , I really am not interested in Learning to Sew articles... perhaps you could offer a learner's book to new subscribers?

          41. AmberE | | #140

            We do have Sew Stylish coming out in Feb./April/Aug./Oct and Threads will gear to more advanced sewers. Thanks!

          42. AmberE | | #139

            upgrading the photography is one of our goals, so i'm glad it's noticed!

          43. AmberE | | #138

            thanks! working on that!

          44. AmberE | | #137

            I've heard a lot of interest in this topic and definitely plan to pursue!

          45. GreenApple | | #59

            On the Quick To Make: I like the idea of Quick To Make, but I'd want sewn items. The beads and the fused flowers were, to me, crafts, not sewn items at all, and the ribbon flowers were just on the edge. The ribbon flowers could have worked for me if the article used a variety of fabulous fabric. Instead, the flowers were mostly plain red with slight texture differences. The introductory photo for this section could have shown a fabulous bouquet of flowers, but instead it showed four red flowers and one red-and-blue one.I don't have my Threads stash at hand here, but instead of crafts I seem to remember garments - sashes, scarves, shrugs, purses, shawls, and so on - in Quick To Make(?) I'm fairly sure that the silk lined velvet bag that I still use to carry my jewelry while travelling, for example, came from a Quick To Make article, or perhaps something similar from further in the past.I'm curious as to what other elements of Issue 128 resulted from reader feedback?On new readers, I wanted to comment: Even if the biggest pool of prospective readers is new sewers, new sewers can get basic information from many places, much of it inexpensively (I can get a stack of beginner's sewing guides at my used bookstore) or free (from websites). Trying to make money while competing with perfectly adequate cheap or free sources seems, to me, like a losing strategy, so I don't see how basic, bread-and-butter sewing instruction in a magazine format could ever work.The old Threads had almost no competition in print - no one provided the same kind of fabulous, gorgeous, inspiring material that Threads did. The fact that people still eagerly buy back issues testifies to the continuing value of that material.If Threads is going to survive, it seems to me that it must continue to provide uniquely valuable material. Perhaps that material will now need to appeal to both beginning and advanced sewers, but it _will_ need to be something that can't be obtained more easily and more cheaply from other sources. More material on current fashions? Costuming? In-depth treatments of fabric? Designer biographies? Lots more pattern reviews? Wardrobe planning? More product reviews? Design principles? Creative pattern alterations? I like some of these ideas and dislike others - I'm just listing them to illustrate the kind of material that could differentiate Threads from other information sources.On the other hand, is it possible that less advanced articles aren't even what new sewers want? I'm not an advanced sewer, and when I started reading Threads I was a beginner. I _loved_ the articles about techniques that I couldn't even begin to execute. Is it possible that there was never any need to change the advanced focus of Threads?Green Apple

          46. katina | | #61

            Hello Green Apple

            Thank you for expressing so clearly what many of us see as the problems. I completely agree with you that there was no need to change the advanced focus and have commented elsewhere in these forums that less experienced sewers found great inspiration, as did non-sewing friends.

            You refer to " uniquely valuable material " and this has an interesting counterpart in the knitting world. Knitters are tiring of project-oriented books, particularly those with a beginner focus, and are asking for books with an emphasis on technique and the knitting of other cultures; biographies and lifestyle of knitters and knitting communities are eagerly read.

            Amber has assured us that we will see changes, that couture will once again be a part of the magazine, so if Threads really is listening to us now, hopefully things will improve.


          47. AmberE | | #70

            I've seen that same trend in knitting, even in newer knitters---within a couple of years the truly zealous have outpaced any challenges that exist out there in publications---the "project-oriented"approach, as you call it---

            if you have any specific couturiers who interest you, let me know!

          48. katina | | #71

            Amber, thanks for taking the time and interest to address our concerns. I'd love to see more from Kenneth King, Issey Miyake, Jean Muir. As you know, I knit as well as sew, and love them both equally, often including details in my knitting that have come to me through sewing, and vice versa. Look what Chanel did with jersey fabric!




          49. AmberE | | #72

            Kenneth King is a must---we have a great relationship with him and he's a professor at FIT where I take classes

            I will work on  the others!

          50. katina | | #73

            Oh lucky, lucky you!

            Thanks again.

          51. katina | | #74

            Hi Amber

            A question about a winter coat elsewhere in the Forums reminded me of Bonnie Cashin. Her classic designs are timeless - perhaps you can add her to the list.


          52. AmberE | | #75


          53. fashionista | | #76

            You may not be aware that Jean Muir died a number of years ago, although the company name carries on.

            I'm being really negative here i know but i too am another subsriber (from Scotland) who has just let her subscription lapse after 6 years.  I am so sad at the way Threads has changed.  If there is a market out there for it then that is great - but for me, I'll have to look elsewhere.  I'll keep an eye out for it in Borders to see how it changes over the next year and hopefullly one day may feel inspired to subscribe again, if the developments that you describe come into being.

          54. HeartFire2 | | #77

            Are there any good sewing magazines in Scotland? Maybe those of us in the States could start subscribing there!

            Edited 12/5/2006 7:02 pm ET by HeartFire2

          55. AmberE | | #79

            Since this is Threads magazine site, constructive critique is appreciated, but we have to draw the line at promoting the competition on this site ;-)That being said, I think that one of the reasons that all the readers hang in here is that there just aren't many that sewing magazines--it's a small, special interest market.

          56. katina | | #80

            You're up early, Amber!

          57. fashionista | | #81

            HeartFire2 - your question made me laugh !  I'm  sorry to say that Scotland is not the place to look for anything good connected with sewing- certainly no magazines, very little in the way of out of the ordinary fabrics and notions !  we are looking across the atlantic to you folks all the time for inspiration !

            Amber, I don't think the question was intended to give  focus to supposed competitors. If you're anything like me you'll be of the mind that you can never have too many sewing magazines - (or sewing books) . And I WILL keep my eye on Threads to see how it develops.

          58. AmberE | | #78

            I am aware that Jean Muir is no long living. Yes do keep the faith--and let us know when we win you back!

          59. tcsewhat | | #103

            From recent issues, I really liked the article on altering pants to fit.  I have done alterations for years and I didn't know some of those tricks.  I have been losing weight and really needed to know how to take in pants in the back.  This was great advice. 

             Now can you do front pants fit?  Many women have a slanted waistline.  And a tummy adds to fitting troubles.

            I would love to see more articles on embellishment, especially ideas that can be used for every day or career wear.  And one on fabric sources, online and mail order.  Independent fabric stores are rapidly disappearing and we want to find some of the gorgeous fabrics we see in Threads. 

            How about an article on how to copy something you see in RTW?  How to copy details, combine patterns, etc.

            Any article on a type of fabric should include a list of sources.  I would have liked info on slinky and sources for it with the slinky article.

            BTW, the link to Linton Tweeds in the Chanel article didn't show much and you had to go to another site to order.  Would have liked to see lots more sources there. 

            While Threads is still not back to the quality of past years, it is still by far the best sewing magazine out there.  I won't buy the other US sewing magazines- too basic and just glorified ads turned into articles.  I do buy Australian Stiches and I love their info on wardrobe planning.  But their quality is not the best either.

          60. AmberE | | #141

            thanks! Great ideas

          61. AmberE | | #66

            It's funny that you mentioned that bouquet, because that was exactly our original cover concept---but it just didn't pan out in execution and did we ever try to make it work! (Ask Judy Neukam, if you ever meet her about making her "magic-flower" bouquet!).

            Unfortunately, there isn't much good information out there for beginners---much of it isn't really focused on teaching the underlying principles of garment construction. As a reader, I have never found anything better than Threads when it comes to advancing skills, whatever level you are at, which is one of the reasons I came to work here! Since many of the new sewers don't have the advantages of good sewing education that long-time readers have--many newbies are self-taught--part of the magazine mission is to bring them along, fill in those gaps in information, instruct and inspire. "Basic" need not be fluff: couture is its essence is often the most basic and elegantly simple solutions.  As Susan Khalje says, it's often just the way that our grandmothers and great-grandmothers sewed.


          62. sarahkayla | | #85

            I'm glad to see that you are responding to these messages of discontent...I disagree with your comment that there is not enough information out there for beginning sewers..tons of books are out there for rank beginners. what is missing is inspiration for folks willing to think and work out of the box.

            The articles in the last couple of years worth of threads have been very narrowly focused.."this is a nice way to make a hem" "this is how to work with this particular fabric" "this is how to use this tool"

            If you already know that method.. or know that fabric , the magazine isn't very interesting to read. Articles that share the vision of a person doing interesting stuff in fiber gets sparks going... I may not actually make clothing based on 17th century lay out diagrams...but it does make me think each and every time I make a garment after reading that article.

            Threads in the old days reading Threads was like reading an essay about food by MFK fisher - The current Threads is like following a recipe off canned soup. Both are writing about cooking...but one makes you think differently about the act of eating and cooking and changes what you do and how you do it for the rest of your life. the other simply puts something edible ( barely) on your plate.

            Several people have written that the old Threads was exciting because I knew next to nothing about sewing then and learned so much in the intervening years. I have learned a whole lot since 1991 and threads has ben one of my important teachers. but I just bought a load of old Threads from ebay..and while I may not ever do bobbin lace that is on an architectural scale..those older magazines got my heart racing and the wheels in my brain cranking...just like  Threads did in my earlier years of subscribing.

            My other real beef about the clothing shown in the magazine.. is that it frankly is pretty dowdy. Ok i live in new york city..but then again.. I'm a middle aged lady so i'm not totally cutting edge..the nifty tricks you are showing as new..working with boucle, raw edges...was hot a couple of years ago.. it is now the stuff I see on the sale racks..what inspiration is there from the current shows..not the stuff that is already looking tired in RTW.


            you need more articles written by folks obsesses ...middle of the road is a big snooze.


            so i will keep checking in to these pages to see if I should resubscribe...but I got tired of waiting .. I figured five years or so of being less than happy is enough of an investment in waiting.

          63. AmberE | | #88

            There is a lot of info, no doubt, but good info for moving sewers along to the level of core Threads is in short supply, in my opinion.I like that simile of the MFK Fisher---she's one of my favorites. There were absolutely some very talented writers on Threads in the past and I'd like to bring it back to that level. If you have an author to suggest or even want to consider being one yourself, I strongly encourage you to do both. (being a New Yorker myself, I appreciate the insights on garments!) It's concrete feedback like this that really helps--although it wouldn't hurt to hear if we are doing anything right in your opinion. Sometimes, hearing only the negatives can make the task a bit daunting!

          64. SewNancy | | #104

            I actually liked this months cover. The magazine is definitely better. I like Anna Mazur's articles on fashion and patterns. The faux fur article was good. But, that article on altering for a full bust, that is really awful and I hope that no one with a large bust follows the directions. I have a DD cup and I would never use any of the methods that were illustrated.
            The first one where she split up the front, ok what happens to the back shoulder? and if you are choosing the pattern by your upper bust size why on earth would you split and enlarge the whole front? Secondly, none of these methods take into account the extra fabric fold that would occur at the armskye with these methods. None of the fitting books that I have ( and I have quite a few, including the much reccomended Fit for Real People) use any of these methods. None of your old articles deal with an fba in any of these ways. She doesn't deal with the fact that a large bust needs length as well as width to cover a larger bust.

          65. gladragscouture | | #105

            I can't figure out how to send my own message, so I'm replying to last...

            This month had professional models which I think was an improvement over some of the photo's of late that had "empty clothing" spread out for photography.  Yes, it cost a lot for models, but sure makes a difference. 

            But, the back cover still leaves me scratching my head...photo's were not inspiring and would have probably been a more interesting article inside the issue.

            Yes, I'm being patient.  Happy New Year, everyone!



          66. AmberE | | #143

            thanks for your comments!

          67. Josefly | | #109

            I agree with your assessment of this article. The effects on the armscye and sleeve, the shoulder sleeve, were not explained. As for dart-lowering, I've found that cutting the dart from the pattern piece and sliding it down the required amount, then truing the side seam, is a better method. Just moving the dart point down and drawing new dart legs changes the grain line and the relative lengths of the two legs, making it difficult to match up the legs for stitching. Perhaps for a very minor change - less than half an inch? - this method would be okay? Also, in the same issue, the description on how to rotate a dart, included in "Cut Up Patterns and Add Seams" is sorely lacking important information. It seems to want to explain how to rotate a dart into princess seams, but I can't make sense of it.

          68. SewNancy | | #111

            I agree, I just thought that I had ranted enough. Considering that in my archives of Threads magazines I have fabulous and correct instructions for an FBA. Did anyone who sews edit this article? Shame on them.

          69. woodruff | | #112

            In the publishing business, it is not uncommon for an editor to know nothing about his/her subject when hired, with the expectation of "learning on the job." I suspect the learning part doesn't happen too often.

          70. ctirish | | #116

            I noticed that Amber has not read anything since December 17, 2006. Has anyone heard from her? I do hope she is off tracking down new talent or old talent. If anyone hears from her or if someone from her office knows she is OK; could you let us know? Thanks

          71. SewNancy | | #125

            Yep, just noticed that she has not bothered to reply to any of these on the blatant mistakes. I have always been loyal, but this article really has me doubting that I will renew my subscription. And her asking for good feedback. Well, do a good job and we will respond.

          72. ctirish | | #126

            Nancy, I am sorry if you mistook my concern for Amber to be anything but concern for her wellbeing. I hoped she had not been in an accident or was seriously ill. I think Amber has done a tremendous job in listening and trying to react to readers concerns as fast as possible. She left a posting that told us it takes one year to put an issue of a magazine together. I am sure Threads being more of a technical magazine has a lot to do with the length. They have people who sew test garments to find out all sorts of information prior to publication. I am sure some ideas are changed or dropped after that effort. Someone wrote that the complaints started over a year ago and now it looks like some things are changing to be more technical or advance oriented. Amber has been here just a year and she has worked tirelessly to change things. Hopefully the changes will continue with her at the helm.

          73. SewNancy | | #127

            well, she hasn't done a very good job as far as I'm concerned. I have never in all the years I've read the magazine had a basic article like the one on bust fitting have such incorrect information. Inspriation? Non existent.

          74. Susannah | | #131


            You mentioned that the article on fitting for a large bust was blatantly incorrect.  It actually looks a fair bit like others I have read both in books and other magazines (ie Australian Stitches).  I would appreciate it if you could elaborate on the mistakes (as I am about to alter a new pattern)



          75. SewNancy | | #133

            If you have a large bust, mine is DD, you choose your pattern by the upper bust measurement as the upper chest and shoulders, neck, back don't need the extra room and will be too big if you choose size by bust size unless you are a B cup.
            There are several ways to so an FBA, and the goal is not to change the armskye size. On one she slits the fromt from shoulder to waist which increases everything you didnt' increase by choosing the smaller size. Ie. the shoulder and this widened shoulder will not match the back. You don't want to move the angle of a dart to meet your bust point you want to cut a box around the dart and move the whole thing down or up as the case may be. Know where your bust point is. If your dart doesn't point to the bust point ther will be drag lines. The third way she wants to enlarge the bust does not take into account that the sleeve will be unbalanced and will not match. Also, same thing I said about first adjustment, you don't want to increase the circumfrence at bust and also increase the aremskye, which this does. Take a look at Fit for Any Bocy by Palmer Pletsch as it has some of the best instructions for fitting around. A must have book for anyone wanting good fit. I have been sewing seriously for 35 years and I cannot say that I have ever seen these instructions for an fba anywhere including here at Threads. I have a collection of the old fitting column which is where I finally learned how to fit my bust. This article will only make you curse.

          76. woodruff | | #134

            Ironically, an article in an old Threads issue pointed out that when fitting the bust, you are basically trying to cover beach balls, volleyballs, whatever, with fabric. If you imagine beach balls stuck to your chest, it will require a longer length of fabric to go over them--and keep the fabric the same level at the waistline--than it will if you are trying to cover tennis balls stuck to your chest. Hence the need for extra length when altering for a bull bust.

          77. SewNancy | | #135

            Forgot to mention that she didn't add any length to her alteration. They should just reprint the very excellent fitting archives.

          78. AmberE | | #161

            Just want to assure you that once we close issue 130, Judy will be on the case

          79. AmberE | | #159

            Yes, as I've said earlier, there are many ways to skin a cat and it's good to be open to alternative techniques.

          80. AmberE | | #157

            SewNancy, I need to warn you about the house rules here. I would like to let you have continued access to this forum, but will have to withdraw priviliges if you cannot be considerate, polite and constructive.

          81. fashionista | | #130

            Amber has been away from discussion board for quite a while now - or at any rate she is not reading or responding to messages. Having in the past made it clear that she wanted dialogue with readers on here  -  there has now been a LONG silence.   If the editor and staff now prefer communication by another means then it would be good if they could make that clear, but meanwhile I am certainly missing Amber's input.

          82. AmberE | | #158

            I'm here---we've just been busy putting magazines together, but I try to keep as close an eye on this as possible!

          83. katina | | #132

            I've also wondered about Amber. I've just today received the latest issue and notice that Carol Fresia's name is no longer there. Does this mean that maybe Amber too has moved on? Sincerely hope not!

          84. AmberE | | #160

            I'm here, but my primary obligation is putting out the magazine, but I do keep a close eye on the forums!

          85. katina | | #163

            Thanks, Amber - good to hear from you and that you're OK.


          86. AmberE | | #164

            yes, alive and kicking!

          87. AmberE | | #162

            P.S. Carol has "retired", to take time to spend with her family!

          88. AmberE | | #156

            Again, my primary job is to publish the magazine, but I always keep an eye on the forums.

          89. AmberE | | #151

            I'm here and well, but very, very busy. But don't worry---I see everything you post!

          90. AmberE | | #149

            I know a lot about sewing, so that's not the case here---have been sewing since I was 5. Thanks, but you're very wrong here.

          91. AmberE | | #148

            Again, getting really negative, let's try to stick to being constructive, not bashing. This is a place to discuss, not tear down. Thanks!

          92. AmberE | | #146

            More on this later---our technical editor Judy Neukam will be responding

          93. AmberE | | #142

            Judy Neukam worked on this article and she is working on a response, just so you know that comments have been noted! More on that soon....

          94. SewNancy | | #106

            You are so right! I was snoozing through this issue and it still took me very little time to read it cover to cover. I wrote an insensed letter about the really bad advice on enlarging for the well endowed. Besides being wrong, remember when fitting tips were just that and not filler for the magazine? And they were good. I have them. My favorite articles over the years have been those on great designers, not the very narrowly focused articles of recent years. I and many others have mentioned this when we are queried on how to make the magazine better and nary a one has appeared. I too am a middle aged woman and I think that the clothes shown are dowdy and unflattering. I want inspiration not how to.

          95. tcsewhat | | #107

            The article on full bust adjustments is very misleading.  I just got my issue today and am reading it now.  It doesn't talk at all about adjusting the size of the dart.  Patterns are cut for a B cup.  If you are well endowed, you certainly need to make dart adjustments for a larger cup size.  Anything bigger than a B cup means a larger dart. 

            And well endowed mean adding more length, not just width.  To go over and around "bumps" takes more fabric in every direction. 

            There are plenty of fit experts who can write on these topics.  Where are they?  I am very dissappointed at the  misleading info this article provides.  If I was a beginning sewer and used this to fit a pattern, I would be very discouraged.

            Sorry to be so negative.  But this article is really not up to standard.



          96. stitcher | | #108

            Is anyone familiar with a publication called Australian Stitches? I recently was sorting through some of my old magazines and came across a 2002 issue. It reminded me of the old Threads---a magazine for the experienced sewer who wants kto learn new things and expand her skills. Not a magazine for beginners. There are so m any books for beginners on the bookstore shelves. I'm so sad that my beloved threads has taken such a turn. When my subscription ends in November I will likely not renew. Perhaps I will be replaced by a newby.

          97. tcsewhat | | #115

            I use my 40% coupon at Joanns to buy Australian Stitches.  The price to subscribe here in the US is outrageous. 

            But their quality is not what it used to be.  They have  a lot of articles written by sewing machine companies or pattern companies that are just glorified ads.  They have also been dealing with a ton of complaints from their long-time readers about the decrease in quality.  They print the letters in the magazine and many are quite upset with the changes they see in that mag.  They do have a great series on SWAP and building a wardrobe. 

            I like Threads much better that what Aus. Stitches is right now.

          98. Susannah | | #118


            I was a regular reader of Australian Stitches before I discovered Threads.  Stitches still sometimes has good articles, but some recent issues have included a lot of very thinly disguised advertorials, that have had very little real information.  Also, the quality of the items made and photographed are often much less inspriational than Threads, with items that often look "home made" (in the worst sense of the word).  Repetition of earlier articles is more frequent than in Threads, and I wouldn't say that the technical articles are more informative on a reliable basis (although there have certainly been some fantastic articles in the past).  Generally, I browse through it at the newsagent, and only buy it if there is something in there that is really a stand out.  Easier to do in Australia than in the US, I suspect!

            What I find exciting about Threads is the way the technical information is presented, and how inspirational it is.  The article about introducing additional seams as a design feature has given me quite a few ideas, and I can't wait to wield the scissors at the weekend.  I do however agree with the point that has been made elsewhere that the title of the article doesn't do justice to the content. (but this would have to be a minor glitch!)



          99. AmberE | | #153

            Thanks Susannah!

          100. AmberE | | #150

            Again, this is not the forum to promote another magazine---this is about how we can make Threads better, in a constructive way

          101. AmberE | | #145

            Hi: Constructive criticism is always appreciated, but I would prefer that you not promote another magazine on Gatherings..... :-)

          102. GreenApple | | #110

            Oog. This really worries me. I had assumed that Threads was just choosing not to present moderate-to-advanced material, and that the expertise was there if they chose to use it. If they're actually presenting incorrect material, something is very, _very_ wrong.Green Apple

          103. AmberE | | #147

            It has not been established as incorrect, only different. Wait to get all info before leaping to judgements! Thanks!

          104. TJSEWS | | #119

            I am a big fan of Threads and enjoy the magazine.  However, I too was surprised at how misleading the article on the well endowed is.  I have a DD bust and agree with all of the comments other posters have made here.  The adjustments described not only leave out important information but they just would not work. 

            I too was wondering about whether the editor of this article understood or had any knowledge of the topic.

            Amber, if you read this, I have an idea:  I have read some of your posts where you encourage readers to write articles and share their knowledge.  If I had known Threads was looking for an article on fitting a large bust, I would have given it a shot. 

            How about putting out an alert on the website and in the magazine asking readers to write about a specific topic?   Attention readers:  We would like to feature an article on fitting a large bust and encourage readers knowledgeable about the topic to submit an article.  Who knows?  You may have your article published!   Something like that.....

          105. jenniferbabs | | #120

            I wanted to make some suggestions on somethings that might make Threads better. I was wondering if there is a possibility of articles being written on the history of textiles and the history of fashion? I think that it would be an interesting avenue to consider. It could be inspirational to see some new and different ideas for color combinations and design opportunites.Another possibility would be to contact textile designer firms or young up and coming designers, for interviews or to create a day in the life series. I realize that in the past, there have been occasional articles about established designers or textile designers.Thank you!

          106. AmberE | | #155

            I too have been thinking along these lines---thanks for the ideas---they echo my own!

          107. AmberE | | #154

            We can always do another, so send it on. However, our articles are well-researched and we stand behind them. This is a different technique. In sewing at Threads, we know that there are many, many ways to skin a cat!

          108. AmberE | | #144

            Thanks---working on a thoughtful response!

          109. Kathleen | | #117

            I loved the Kenneth King articles. I was inspired by Kayla Kennington's mini quilt patterns in 2002  to make a mini quilt of my own from batik and silk scraps - I had never done paper piecing before, but she made it look easy. I loved her articles about creating clothes too. I like articles about inspiration - like Diane Ericson's where she showed how she changed all the edges, and Marcy Tilton's articles on how she created t-shirts and cardigans. I like to see where they got inspiration and how they did the embellishment techniques. I also liked Jennifer Sauer's article on making the skirt with strips and the article about making the twisty scarf with organza.

            So I'd like to see - more articles by designers about inspiration, more articles showing vintage details - I miss those, more museum collections, and vintage fashion and how to modernize it for yourself And I liked the quick to make features - they are great to use to teach a young person to sew.




          110. AmberE | | #152

            Thanks Kathleen---this is an excellent example of how we can shape the magazine constructively, rather than just tearing it down. Very much appreciated.

          111. Teaf5 | | #83

            Perhaps there could be a more detailed description of the "becoming a Threads author" process in the magazine? Even as an experienced sewer and writer, I don't quite understand how one would go about authoring an article for Threads.From your post, I guessing that you collect article ideas or pitches, then give the go-ahead to write the article, then later decide whether to use/pay for/reject the finished piece? Do you have style sheets, guidelines, in-progress feedback, or length/layout restrictions? Do you ever have collaborative pieces with an expert sewer working with an experienced writer? What would be the first steps for an aspiring Threads author?

          112. AmberE | | #84

            I'm putting together a response for you, so I will post soon. Great question!

          113. gladragscouture | | #86

            Greetings!  My first post on this discussions board.  I have every issue since #1.  They are lovingly stored in my green "Threads" storage boxes.  Guess you'd call me a "loyal subscriber". 

            But I now represent a subscriber at risk.  While I wasn't into the early (now very quaint) "grow your sheep and wear them too" articles...I did learn about areas of our art unknown to me at that time.  I relished any article introducing a new artist and read repeatedly (until the info soaked into my hard head) all the detailed articles from Claire, David and others.

            I'm now looking at great expanses of white space (anyone in publishing knows about white space...it can be used as a positive and a negative)...but really, the USA Today style of "quick reads" leaves me listless, to say the least.

            I'm very willing to give the new editors time.  It's a difficult job and the entire staff deserves our support.  But why mess with success?  Why not build on the success and attract new readers with the "additional" markets you're trying to reach.

            Finally, I really don't understand the dumbing down of the back cover.  (Once a highlight of each issue).  I always respected the fact that Taunton didn't "sell" the back cover for what would be high advertising dollars.  But to compare fabric photos to artistic couture/heirloom/rare items is an insult to the reader.  (I won't even ask about the gentle referral to the "sources list" inside the magazine. 

            While I love fine fabrics as much as any other Threads reader, I find the current back page photos dull.  An article on the fabric would be great.  But eye candy, not quite.

            Please explain the back cover changes to me.  I'm willing to listen.  But, I'm not appreciating it on my own.  (One reader wrote a letter asking...a reply was given to see the "bohemian skirt" article in that issue to satisfy a desire for vintage.  I just don't get it...

            Still a subscriber, and still supportive.  But, very puzzled, especially over the back cover. 

            Please do more "investigative reporting"...ask for interviews with new designers (and praying for some of the older designers)...it's great our readers are willing to write, but let's get some "new Bird Ross's"...some "new Marcy Tilton's" and more "kenneth King's"....they are out there.  Somewhere.  (My favorite:  the Tom & Linda Platt technique article...informative, technical...and fashionable)



          114. Sancin | | #87

            This is my first time posting as well.  I agree with those who feel that Threads has 'dumbed down'.  I subscribe to several sewing magazines and have been thinking of stopping 2 of them.  One is Vogue pattern magazine (already have having subscribed since 1964) as while I like the fashion pictures the articles are largely repeat of previous ones.  The other is a bitty crafty but OK. I always liked Threads as it challenged my creativity and made me stretch.   I also agree there are lots of beginner and reference/technique magazines out there.  Actually some of the newer ones so basic I can't believe who would spend the money on them when most of the info can be found through the internet. I buy a lot of quilting magazines and I used to enjoy the quilting in Threads, but that is OK because I am quilting more now.  I have a space limitation so I only hang onto full magazines for 2 years after which I tear out what I want and put in binders.  If you were to go through my binders you would find more Threads articles than any other.  In the future there will be more Belle Armoire and Quilting Arts. Bring back the beauty, luxury and challenge.

            A small but real frustration I have with Threads is only giving volume and number when quoting or referring to previous articles.  It doesn't help those of us who think in terms of months and years.  Most magazines do use volume and numbers but also dates.  In fact I don't know of any other that doesn't also put in dates.

          115. AmberE | | #90

            I agree about the quantity of the beginning sewing info, and also about the quality. I think we can do better!Specifically pointing to what you think are good examples of "dumbing down" is helpful--let me know. Also, have you seen any articles you like? For instance, many readers speak highly of Kenneth King---and for good reason! He wrote a master class article on notched collars a few issues ago--what did you think of that?

            Edited 12/15/2006 9:07 am ET by AmberE

          116. cynthia2 | | #92

            All of Kenneth King's articles have been excellent.  I particularly liked an article he did a few years ago on embellishing with threads and beads.  In fact, an article on embellishing with beading would be great.  I'm not thinking all-over beading - it's easier to just buy beaded fabric for that type of look - rather how to bead a collar and cuffs, for example.

          117. AmberE | | #95

            You can look forward to seeing more of his work in the near future! ;-)

          118. ctirish | | #96

            Amber, I haven't been on this site lately and I see the discussion continues on.   I am glad to see people offering things they would like to see in future magazines. I am curious about  why it takes a year to do an issue. I come from an IT background and several years ago we were pushed to go to what is called RAD - Rapid Application Development.  I won't go into details but it fostered simplifying efforts with new technologies.  So my question is, has Threads or  Taunton looked into new technologies that would help to bring the length of time to produce a magazine down to a reasonable timeframe?

            The internet has brought so many people closer to the changes at the fashion centers of Paris, New York and Milan. It no longer takes 2-3 years for the fashion image to change country wide.  From my viewpoint it took 1-2 years for fashions to hit the small towns after they were seen in New York and Europe. I was stunned when I read a People Magazine about fashion and it said embroidered jeans were now passe.  It may be time to rethink how an issue is put together to see where in the  process you can implement time and space for brand new ideas and designers. 

            My other comment has to do with technique, I was watching a Cynthia Guffey video this morning - she has one on the eight hand stitches you should know. Some may consider the information basic and it is, but I know very few sewers who do handwork well. She hand sews her zippers and does lots of basting for good reason.  I don't know if the hand stitches would be a good article  but I do know the methods she uses produce remarkable garments. I would love to see her do an article on the button front blouse that she makes with the edge stitching and the topstitching. Obviously she does more couture garments too and maybe that would be the article to do. If you haven't heard her speak, try to next time she is in town, she has a dry sense of humor that is delightful.


          119. sewcrazed | | #97

            Back to the original question.  How can we make Threads better?

            For me, my sewing has evolved over the years.  As a teenager, my mother taught me all of the "short-cuts" and "quick fixes" but I always felt my garments turned out looking "home-made"- not professional.  Also, nothing ever really fit.  In my young adulthood, I picked up a copy of "Sew Beautiful" magazine and was hooked.  I learned heirloom sewing and smocking and even attended Martha Pullen school twice.  I made a lot of beautiful clothes for my daughter that I was very pleased with.  Now, my daughter is beyond heirloom, smocked dresses and I have gone back to wishing I could sew clothes that fit me correctly and that looked professional when done.  I have gone to what some might consider extremes to try to get it right.  I subscribe to Threads, I have attended Susan Khalje's Couture school (where we only worked on one garment and didn't even get it done while there), taken online classes and have even taken some private lessons in pattern making (drove > 100 miles weekly). 

            Bottom line is this, there are plenty of places for me to get artsy-crafty ideas and instruction (magazines, TV shows, sewing expo), but there is very little out there that teaches HOW TO DO IT RIGHT AND GET EXCELLENT RESULTS.  I am not into home dec, craft projects, quick scarves etc.  I am looking to learn couture sewing & even tayloring to get good fit and professional looking results.  I live in a rural area and there are few garment sewers here to learn from - mostly quilters. 

            Perhaps you should consider producing a basic sewing magazine and making Threads a couture magazine.  Or, if it is not your intention for me to be able to learn couture sewing from Threads, please advise me on a publication that is more in line with my needs.  This may not be what you wanted to hear, but you asked.  Thanks for  listening.

          120. Sancin | | #98

            Amber - I am afraid I am tied up right now and can't access some of my Threads about 'dumbing down' - essentially I mean more beginning sewing than previously. I have found many of the tips are also fairly common place but I suppose there are only so many and I find the same thing on online tips pages. I agree with those who have commented that beginning sewers are challenged by challenging articles.  Threads certainly had that effect on me when I found I was not progressing in my sewing. I always, always read the last pages and covers first and even showed them to non sewing friends. I recently have been purchasing reference books for my personal library as I am having mobility problems.  I do have one of the fabric information books, but there seems to be more and different fabrics coming out and sales clerks often know nothing about them except what they read on the end of the bolt - I can read too. I have been given misinformation on occasion.  As someone who as 'one of those girls who wore a cashmere sweaters' in high school and college I am a little startled at how many are now available and the laize faire care instructions. I always like articles by experienced sewers who can critique the use and care of some of the newer, and luxury fabrics.  I agree with other writers here who talk about having expert designer articles.  I would like to see the opinions of younger and upcoming sewing experts and designers.  I am also always looking for articles that relate to sewing for different ages and lifestyles.  I like almost all the suggestions and comments that Green Apple has written and find myself nodding as I read her comment.

            Edited 12/29/2006 4:26 am ET by Sancin

          121. AmberE | | #136

            Thanks, Sancin!

          122. TJSEWS | | #113

            I have liked all of Kenneth King's articles.  How about an article by Claire Schaeffer as well? 

          123. AmberE | | #89

            Great help Catherine. And perhaps it will warm your heart to know that we are currently developing more vintage back covers! (and acting already on many of the suggestions). Because magazines have about a year of development ahead of each issue, it takes time to execute changes, which is good. If we could do it in an instant, it likely wouldn't be of good quality or well thought out. Thanks again for your input.

          124. Elisabeth | | #25

            We can ask for articles but where are the editors going to find the authors? Threads is a reader-written magazine and they never use freelance writers. Which means the editors do not sit in their offices looking over completed manuscripts submitted to them for possible articles. Articles are created by ideas from craftpersons who have done something in their hobby or profession that might be of interest to others. An article is then a collaborative effort between craftsperson and editors.

            More here http://www.taunton.com/threads/pages/th_authorguidelines.asp

            I'm not affiliated with Threads or Taunton, this is just something I think about occasionally. When I read the posts here on Gatherings I see so much knowledge. (I haven't visited Gatherings for quite a while and I have been missing lots!) I am sure that there is plenty of top notch article knowledge among forum members. How about sharing some of that in the magazine?

          125. stitchintime | | #26

            I'm somewhat baffled. How can Threads be a reader-written magazine?  

            From their description it sounds like they don't want the submittors to write anything at all. I understand that they don't want people to be afraid to submit their ideas because they can't write an article in a format that's needed for publishing. That's what they're there for. On the other hand maybe they should consider some freelance writers. I've read really well written articles in the New Yorker magazine on the fashion business, fashion history and famous designers that are informative, inspiring and a real pleasure to read. I don't know if these authors know how to sew but they sure know how to research and write.

            But what about all those recent articles by Judith Neukam, Carol Fresia, Jennifer Sauer, Susan Khalje etc. who are all editors at Threads, associate, contributing or otherwise titled? Did they each come up with their own ideas and then write and edit them themselves because they are editors and nobody else sent in ideas? 

            I find it hard to believe that a magazine can keep afloat if it waits for its readers to send in well developed ideas for articles. If people on the boards here are asking for a certain type of article or if by following the forum discussions and letters they receive they can sense a major interest in a topic, don't the editors have a long list of previous contributors and contacts to draw from and approach to ask to help develop that type of article? Seems rather odd to me that they don't.

            Edited 11/26/2006 5:19 pm ET by stitchintime

          126. Elisabeth | | #27

            I do wonder the same thing when I see the editor articles. Even the tips section has one recently by Judith N. Are they not receiving enough tips even?This quote from Taunton's About Us page gives a clue to the reader written choice. "Our authors are, first and foremost, leading experts in their crafts." The leading expert thing might seem intimidating but the word expert just means having lots of experience and skill, it's not a degree from an institution. A passionate and dedicated hobby sewist does become an expert in the craft. I like the idea that Taunton wants to find these people and provide a venue for sharing these gems of information.It might be interesting to get to know Taunton's history better, what the founders' intentions and values were, in a more detailed way than what the website describes. Maybe their idea was easier to work twenty years ago when people weren't overloaded with media options and resources at their fingertips around the clock.

          127. stitchintime | | #28

            It might be interesting to get to know Taunton's history better, what the founders' intentions and values were,"

            I was wondering about this myself when I wrote the last post. It occurred to me that Threads started as a grass roots kind of operation and they wanted to encourage craftspeople (as opposed to "experts" as you pointed out) with interesting ideas to submit them.

            "I like the idea that Taunton wants to find these people and provide a venue for sharing these gems of information."

            I agree completely. But now that the magazine has become a "garments only" publication, is the pool of craftspeople available getting smaller?

          128. AmberE | | #47

            Our editors and contributings editors do contribute, but the articles are largely produced by freelance writers, who are also readers and experts. That is the strength of Threads and all Taunton publications.

          129. AmberE | | #46

            You have some misinformation here---read my previous post

          130. AmberE | | #45

            Like all magazines, we encourage proposals, rather than completed manuscripts, as that is the most time- and cost-effective way for authors to work with editors, particularly for the authors. When I say that the magazine is reader-written, I mean that the authors are also readers. We are very reliant on our freelance stable to produce Thread. And I strongly encourage you to submit proposals. 

          131. janlorraine | | #29

            This discussion has been going on for years under various guises. I remember Carol Fresia starting a topic with the question, "What about novice sewers" back in 2004. Responses went to 200 some entries if my memory serves. It is obvious that the editors of Threads aren't going to do anything to restore the former focus, content and level of expertise of past issues of this magazine. I recommend that anyone who wishes to advance in this field buy up every available old copy of Threads especially the first few years. Personally, I have given up ever finding anything in current issues to excite my interest. The thing that really bugs me are the photographs of the models. They look so stupid and do nothing to enhance the content of the article. I want to see details of the garments and construction techniques, not attractive women cavorting in silly poses. I look to Pattern Review and Stitchers Guild for a sense of community now and new and better sewing techniques and design ideas.

          132. midnitesewer | | #30

            I spent part of my Thankgiving holiday weekend rereading old isues of Threads. It was bittersweet experience; however, I felt inspired and got some ideas for future projects. There was a such a great mix of articles. I read articles on making an ottoman, Hawaiian applique, constructing a sewing/cutting/ pressing station, the designer Adrian, and many other interesting topics. I am thankful that my collection goes back to issue #30. My subscription runs out in 2008, but I don't think that I can wait that long for the magazine to become more appealing. My sewing buddies and I meet once a month. We don't even discuss Threads anymore.

            I agree that the photography should show more sewing and construction details. Often steps are skipped. If the focus is to teach, why not show more steps and more detailed photos?

          133. stitchintime | | #31

            Thanks for the tip on Stitchers Guild. I hadn't come across them yet. I look forward to chatting with people who like to sew, knit, crotchet, quilt, hand embroider etc. like I do.

            Someone once told me that I was a "Jack of all trades" and I shouldn't spread myself so thin. That bothered me for the longest time and made me feel incompetent. I eventually got over it and decided that I'm happiest dabbling in a whole lot of things and experimenting with new things. I may never become an expert in anything but it doesn't really matter. I realize that my own focus has narrowed as I've been following the Threads trend.

            You may be right that Threads will not return to what it was. If so, I am grateful for the knowledge and inspiration I received. However, another magazine my husband and I were long time subscribers to changed direction about 10 years ago and many people dropped their subscriptions. Lo and behold, they eventually went back to the original format and subscriptions, including ours, were renewed.

            I'm really pleased that there is an increased demand for back issues. Without our complaining, new readers wouldn't know how wide the horizon really is.

            Now I have to get back to my machine to finish a "hanging pocket" my 15 yr. old son and I have designed for his new interest in rock-face climbing. More on that in a different post.

          134. katina | | #32


            You have put your finger exactly on the point when you speak of your focus narrowing. Yes, that's it precisely! Threads has turned more and more inward; it no longer brings us the world of fiber work, with the result that the well of inspiration is running dry. Oddly enough, I find the earlier issues to be more inspiring to less experienced sewers because of the "wow!" factor that fired you up to try some little detail of technique, or fabric, or embellishment. After all, you don't have to be a Cordon Bleu cook to prepare an interesting meal and present it well.

          135. Elisabeth | | #33

            It might be amazing that we have gotten regular issues at all over the past few years considering the upheavals in the editorial offices at Threads. They searched quite a while for a senior editor and for a time there Jefferson Kolle was the senior editor. Ummm, what does he know about sewing? You are more likely to find his name on the pages of Fine Woodworking. There could have been some very difficult and frustrating moments trying to keep a focus.I too enjoy the older issues of Threads more and find the current issues a quick read, but I am going to keep a postitive hope for now as Amber settles in. Editors get to retire or change careers like the rest of us and new ones will replace them. Amber has a passion for sewing even though she does not have the experience many of us have. And here I sort of go back to my original comments - how will she know what we know if we don't tell her?

          136. AmberE | | #49

            I can guarantee you that you will see Threads continue to improve. However, as we work to attract new sewers  to the craft---and we all do want this craft to continue---we need to expand the magazine's vision. Be assured that your words are read and heard and taken into consideration with every issue.

            I would like to request of all of you, please try to think of these new sewers as they turn to Gatherings for advice, information and mentoring and reach out to them in a positive way.

            In the same way, we want to create a constructive environment on this board that is about discussions on fiber arts. I want to remind the devoted users of the purpose of the board as follows. This is the landing page that each new user sees:

            Welcome to Gatherings, Threads magazine's online forum, where you can learn from the veterans, share your own secrets of success, and simply chat about all things fiber arts.View ImageNo matter how diverse our backgrounds, we have at least one thing in common: We're all interested in finding better ways to sew, quilt, embroider, or knit. Joining the Gatherings community is one of the most entertaining and enlightening ways to get there. Whether you're a beginner looking for help with your first garment or an expert eager to pass along time-savers, techniques, and tips, you'll find what you're looking for right here. Before you jump in, we have some simple requests that will keep the conversation zipping along:For beginners...Don't be afraid to ask questions. Our forum is teeming with great minds waiting to be tapped.Let us know how it went. We'll toast your hits and troubleshoot your misses.And...Remember us when you make it to the big leagues. When you're all out of questions, come back ready with answers.For veterans...Show new folks the ropes. The larger the community, the richer the discussion.Share your new ideas -- even if they're just hunches. Your hunch could fuel the next great sewing discovery.And...Be open to new ideas from others. Turning vintage curtains into an evening gown? Fantastic!For one and all...Introduce yourself. We love meeting new folks.Post in the appropriate folders. Housekeeping is not our strong suit.And...Read the House Rules. Courtesy, respect, and common sense are the keys to happiness.



            There is a discussion under Feedback on Threads called "Talk with Amber", where you can communicate all of these concerns directly with me.


            I am instantly alerted whenever there is a post in this sections and I plan to reach out to readers on an individual basis to see if we can gather and incorporate further feedback.


            In appreciation to all of you,

            Amber Eden, Editor, Threads




            Edited 11/30/2006 9:28 am ET by AmberE

            Edited 11/30/2006 9:33 am ET by AmberE

            Edited 11/30/2006 9:40 am ET by AmberE

          137. AmberE | | #48

            Again, we work to appeal to all levels of sewers, so I don't want this misinformation to continue to circulate on these chat boards. In every issue and in every story, we ask ourselves: What is here for the advanced sewer?

          138. woodruff | | #58

            Frankly, I adore articles on couturier techniques, and would be happy to see the magazine slanted in that direction. I wonder what percentage of readers feel the same way.

          139. AmberE | | #65

            I would also like to see more of that---and we are working to make it happen!

  4. stitchintime | | #10

    I also sadly stopped my subscription after 10 years. I guess I'm just 'out of sync' or whatever with what the new editors are trying to do. I hope they are successfully reaching whoever they are intending to reach. I will keep my eye on the forum and the magazine and will renew if I think it can rev up my creative juices like it used to.

  5. Ralphetta | | #12

    Last summer when I saw THREADS on the racks of my neighborhood grocery stores I was stunned.  I used to have to drive to specific book stores.  I should have realized that they were aiming for a different reader.  If it were just the addition of more crafty, beginner stuff, I wouldn't mind.  I'm just disappointed that they've chosen to remove what I liked in order to make room for the other.  If they pick up some of the "crafty" subscribers, maybe they will be able to expand the magazine and put the other stuff back in.

  6. HeartFire2 | | #36
    1. User avater
      Becky-book | | #37

      Thanks for the link.

    2. AmberE | | #39

      There is some other major media coverage coming up on the sewing resurgence, fyi. It' very exciting!

  7. ltcmom | | #40

    I feel really bad.  I used to subscribe to Threads.  I stopped when I became more focused on French Hand Sewing and Smocking, now Knitting.  I had been giving it to a friend every year for Christmas.  I'm wondering if I need to get her something else.  Now subscribing any more I didn't realize that it had become so bad.  Does anyone have a suggestion for another subscription gift?  She's a really picky sewer!

    1. solosmocker | | #41

      How about asking your friend what she would like? She may like to keep her Threads subscription. Yes, Threads is different but it is still the best sewing magazine out there. See what she would like.

      1. AmberE | | #42

        Yes, I beg to differ that Threads is "bad"---we are evolving and that takes time, but I also concur that it's the best one out there and is constantly improving---I would definitely support that you give keep the sub going another year---even if I'm not the most impartial opinion!

        Amber EdenEditor, Threads

        1. HeartFire2 | | #60

          How about articles on how to do alteration on RTW garments - such as how to alter the princess line to take it in, how to shorten a sleeve from the armscy, etc.

          1. AmberE | | #67

            Thanks! We do discuss RTW alterations in our recent fitting series, but we also plan to have more...

          2. Ralphetta | | #68

            It's really nice for the readers to have an opportunity to actually contact you about their feelings toward Threads.  It must be a mixed blessing to have  readers with such strong attachment to the magazine.

          3. AmberE | | #69

            Not a mixed blessing at all---just a blessing! I have worked at million-circulation magazines that barely received a letter, so this is a nice switch! The only other magazine that I've worked at that had such a highly engaged readership was American Girl---we received 10,000 letters every issue! But it's really the best part of being an editor---serving readers

  8. sewnutt1 | | #82

    It is sad that all of you are unhappy with the current format of Threads.  I find it wonderful that the magazine keeps evolving and changing!   I can remember early editions having articles on knitting---now you can find specialty magazines strictly for that and find them easily.      Threads is the only sewing related material I continually read and ALWAYS find something new in!   I continually check the ads for new sources of notions and equipment and love the fact that I can get the web address and get more details.    I am not going to try every technique that is illustrated but at some point in the future I may need to reference it so I index old copies by year and refer to the web for the index of articles---what a lifesaver!                  Just this week I was inspired to use some of the techniques mentioned for slinky knits on a woven double sided velour I had in my stash.  Had this article not appeared I would never have tried finishing an edge with a fusible but I tried a new (to me) product and a new technique I can adapt in my alterations business.                Should a technique illustrated be one you have seen before, so what.   There just may be something new you never thought of before.   You may not use it this month but you will be able to refer back to it later.

  9. Ramc | | #91

    I've been a subscriber since  nearly the beginning. I may have bought a few of the first issues before subscribing. Oddly enough, my reason for subscribing was the knitting and I thought I would let my subscription expire when Threads stopped covering knitting; however, I found that I enjoyed and was learning a lot from the sewing information, so kept the subscription.

    I sew clothing for my family, my friends and myself. I make or help to make costumes for a two theatres (one a professional-regional, the other a high school). I also make clothing from cloth that I weave.

    My main interest  now is in techniques for achieving a certain look (any look). I really enjoy the coverage of designer garments and designers, and the Master Class.  Even though I already use a certain technique (for example, bagging),  a review of it once in a while doesn't hurt. I like some of the "Quick to Make" articles, although I have rarely made them. The silly flowers on the cover of the most recent issue reminded me of the "flower power" days; I can't imagine wearing one except as part of a costume.

     I liked the article on elastics... Elastic File, maybe...A review of products available is sometimes helpful.

    There are a few things that I would suggest would be most useful. In all articles on machinery (sewing, serging, sharpening...), it would be very helpful to know how quick the manufacturer is at supplying parts to the repair people, and  also to know what the repair record  is on specific brands. Obviously, we can't know a repair record on a brand new model, but a manufacturer's past history is helpful.

    A magazine aimed at beginners or crafters will not hold my interest.




This post is archived.

Threads Insider

Get instant access to hundreds of videos, tutorials, projects, and more.

Start Your Free Trial

Already an Insider? Log in

Conversational Threads

Recent Posts and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |

Threads Insider Exclusives

View All
View All