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kathyc | Posted in General Discussion on

I saw that we are invited to introduce ourselves. Is there a special intro board or is this the place? I didn’t see any other introductions so I don’t want to be forward and do it in the wrong place.


  1. carolfresia | | #1

    Kathy, this is the place! Or anywhere else in the forum. I'm the forum moderator, more or less, and sometimes I move a discussion from one folder to another to keep it with its kin, but general stuff like this works fine in this folder. Welcome!


  2. kathyc | | #2

    Oh, I guess this is the place. Well, I had a terrible start in sewing. I flunked sewing in junior high. My mom didn't sew or have a sewing machine and the teacher of course didn't have time to help and would tell us to take our projects home and have our moms help us. I bought myself a (Kenmore) sewing machine 25 years ago and proceeded to teach myself to learn to sew with lots of mistakes and frustrations over the years but with the joy of completed projects too.  Now, my daughters are interested in sewing. In fact, at 11 and 12, I think they probably sew better than I do. I am relearning along with them. I never learned how to do any handwork as a girl. A great aunt taught us all how to sew simple projects by hand and to crochet a few years ago and an elderly neighbor taught us together how to embroider. The girls are in sewing for 4H now. Wow! What wonderful projects they have nowadays. Short, simple and fun. No agonizingly difficult projects.  I recently helped at a 4H clothing camp. Dozens of kids were in the beginning projects and made rice bag warmers, polar fleece neck warmers, polar fleece footballs, chatelaines and wrist pin cushions. All in one day. I was amazed.

    A local quilt store has been offering classes for kids and the girls have been taking them with a group of friends and have made the cutest things and had fun too. That's what I can't get over. They actually think its fun rather than an exercise in futility and frustration. My oldest feels ready to tackle a quilt.

    I let them use my reliable Kenmore but they both want to sew at once so we are fixing up my husband's grandma's old black Singer which has resided uselessly in our house for many years waiting for such an occasion. It is a combo treadle/electric machine but we'll just use it electrically. First my husband has to replace the wiring because its all frayed.

    I haven't been doing much actual sewing myself lately. Just helping the kids with their projects.

    But I am a busy farm wife, homeschooling mom, virtual editor, amateur musician, 4H volunteer, girls club leader, etc. When I have any time to relax I don't want to make a big sewing mess but just read something.  

    1. carolfresia | | #3

      Congratulations on being willing to get beyond your miserable experience in Home Ec and realize that sewing can be creative and gratifying, and bravo for setting an example that's helped your daughters get hooked on the hobby. We love to hear about the new generation of sewers.

      If you or your daughters have questions--general or specific to a project--feel free to post them here. There are a lot of experts with lots of know-how who can steer you where you need to go.


      1. Susannah | | #4

        I suppose I should introduce myself as well.  I have posted a few times, but a bit of background info won't go astray.

        I learnt to sew with scraps from my mother's dressmaking, so my dolls often had clothing in fabric that matched my clothes.  When I did home economics at high school, I found it extremely frustrating.  My mother was a practical sewer, and I followed in her footsteps.  My teacher was horrified when I attempted to pin, and then sew a seam without first tacking the seam together.  The frustration of doing each step, and lining up in a queue to present it for inspection before proceeding to the next step, was just awful.  It took me a year to do the zip, side seams and darts on a sleeveless dress (which my mother finished off one afternoon).  We also weren't allowed to take our work home to finish (or for our mothers to finish!).  Despite this, I did manage to rekindle my enthusiasm for sewing later in my teens, and when I left home to go to university, my mother bought me my own sewing machine, which gave over 20 years' good service.  I have since replaced it with a Janome which has some built in embroidery stitches, and a better automatic buttonhole feature.

        I discovered Threads a few years ago, and have since subscribed, as well as ordering a selection of back issues.  I love reading them, and have enjoyed using some of the ideas and techniques in my sewing.  Being a subscriber, I get my copy about 6 weeks before it arrives in the shops (subscriptions must be airmailed, with the copies in the shops arriving as freight i think).  My copy usually arrives  about a week after it is up on the web, so I am looking forward to the April/May issue, to see if I agree or disagree with the recent postings about content.

        I also really like Threads on-line.  I used an invisible zip for the first time a few months ago, and found the instructions on the threads website really useful.

        Keep up the enthusiasm and the good work, and thanks to all the contributors to "gatherings" for their ideas and views

        Sue from Tasmania

        1. rjf | | #5

          I had similar experiences with sewing in school.  After awhile, I decided class was a social event and did my sewing at home.  I did learn something and was encouraged to try things I might not have on my own....at least, at that time.  After I married and had started a family, I worked for a costume designer and the things I learned from her!!!  She didn't even pin!  Except the cap of a sleeve at the shoulder seam.  We put the zippers in before doing anything else and fit around it.  You could get away with a lot of things but never a dangling thread.  She said the spotlights always picked them up.  It was fun and a lot of what I learned could be used at home.   But I also took tailoring classes which was very picky and I didn't mind that at all.  Isn't it a case of knowing when to do what?  And welcome!        rjf 

          1. Susannah | | #8

            Thanks for the welcome.  Yes, I eventually tended to regard home ec classes as social events (and I found cooking classes even worse than sewing, and I really love cooking!).  I think I was unfortunate to have teachers who did not actually have a passion for their subject.  In more recent years I have discovered a few friends with a keen interest in sewing (not so much a matter of fashion as style).  We have also found a lovely fabric shop.  It is small, so the choice is not vast, but the owner has a wonderful eye for colour.  I have trouble calling in for zips, threads etc, because I invariably end up with a few metres of fabric that has been identified as just right for me!  She also encourages interesting techniques, and courageous use of colour.

            Sue fom Tasmania

          2. becksnyc | | #9


            It's so exciting to be part of a world sewing community.  Tasmania!  Wow! A world away from NYC.  But then again, NYC is a world away from the Appalachian mountain state in the US where I grew up.

            I wanted to say a word of appreciation for the Home Ec/Sewing teacher I had.  Mom taught me to sew, so that by 8th grade (age 14) when we had Sewing in school, I was already way beyond my fellow students.  My teacher did have me cover the basics, but did not make me slog through the boring, basic circle skirt the rest of the class made.  She let me choose my own fabric and pattern.  So, in 8th grade, I was making a navy courdoroy blazer with lapels---AND LOVING IT!  Thanks to all those teachers with the courage and insight to tailor their classes to the needs of their students.  She kept my passion for sewing going, rather than dousing the flames with sheer boredom!


          3. Susannah | | #10

            Sounds as though you had a lucky run with teachers.  I am envious!  One of the things I have enjoyed about Threads is getting a better understanding of techniques.  Because my mother was largely self taught, and because my home ec class was so tedious, there were a lot of technical things I didn't pick up.  Threads is helping to fill the gap, as well as giving some new and exciting challenges.  And making contact with enthusiastic sewers elsewhere is great.  

            When I was growing up, it seemed that everyone's mother and big sister could sew.  In the past decade or so, however, fabric shops have closed down, and it really seems to be a declining art, which is sad.  Not many of my friends and acquaintances sew, which makes the Threads community extra valuable.

            Sue in Tasmania

  3. Walt19 | | #6

    Friends and readers of Threads:

    I'm Anna's other, and just a rare once in a while will you hear from me in this forum.  I doubt that I will be doing anything personally, Threads-wise, except that I get called upon to keep the machinery running.  This time I spent a goodly portion of the day helping Anna set up her desks, cabinets, and the connections to power and interconnctions to the computer's peripherals.  I have noticed that she starts her month by the arrival of THREADS in the mail.  We are both seniors plus, but not so ancient so far as to spend our days idly watching TV.  Anna loves sewing and embroidery and I am in over my head with computer broadband and the internet --thus, we have found an ideal complement of activities.  From what I have read "over her shoulder" in Threads, and in the forums herewith, and from what I have seen of the amazing machinery she is working with, I'd say you-all have a grand thing going.  Enjoy! 

    1. carolfresia | | #11

      Walt, why don't you sit down at the machine and give it a try? You never know, you might like it! Just don't get in Anna's way. I know I don't like to see someone else at my machine when I'm headed in that direction. (Of course the people in my chair tend to be about three years old, so there are other reasons to want to keep them away from the machinery).


      1. Bernie1 | | #13

        I agree with Carol, Walt. My husband has become quite the sewist - he's made bathrobes and bunnies and stuffed lambs and even a skirt for my sister from a Vogue pattern. He helps me decipher some of the more complex instructions that seem to come up whenever I'm at a crucial point in the project. He's gotten quite handy with the machine and could probably figure out the embroidery unit better than I can.

  4. Thea | | #7

    Alright, here we go then!

    I'm a student in the University of Amsterdam (26 years old), and I have been sewing for quite a number of years, but never very intensively until about three years ago.

    We don't get Home Economics classes around here, so I never learned to sew in school. The fact that I'm such an enthusiast now, is thanks to my mother, who has sewn all clothes for herself, my brother and me for years. She stopped when she started working again when we grew up. The sewing machine sat in a corner of the attic, gathering dust.

    Years later, in my adolescence, I grew frustrated with what was available in the stores and asked my mother to help me make stuff that I liked. As it turned out, I loved to sew! Quite to the surprise of all who knew me, including myself. I was very much a tomboy, and an impatient one at that. I still don't understand where I get the patience to finish a garment, when other, much simpler tasks, frustrate me intensely.

    I just started a course in sewing lingerie, and I love it! I look forward to creating a bra in my own size, and since I never created my own patterns before, there is lots to learn.


    P.s. Reading posts from others, I feel more and more fortunate that Burda magazine is so easy to find here! I subscribe to a Dutch mag very much like Burda, and buy Burda every month in the supermarket with my everyday groceries. I know of no supermarket or bookshop that doesn't have Burda. It's a very cheap way of getting a lot of patterns. If anyone is in doubt whether to check the magazine out, don't hesitate anymore! Unless you don't like the styles, because it can be a little bit 'out there' sometimes, in my opinion.

    Edited 3/14/2004 11:52 am ET by Thea

    1. carolfresia | | #12

      Hi, Thea,

      Do you use Knip Mode? I've seen a couple of issues of that, and liked it. Not as fashion forward as Burda, but it had good, basic styles, sometimes with a twist, and I thought the instructions seemed fine. I recall that one issue had a special section for tall women, and one for "petite" women (which in NLD seems to be those under 175 cm!).


      1. Bernie1 | | #14

        I'm so jealous. There are few resources here (DC) for finding Burda and I subscribed to the Burda Petite magazine because that is impossible to find. Haven't gotten the first issue yet.

        1. stitchmd | | #15

          When you say few, does that mean there are some? I'm interested in seeing a Burda magazine after repeatedly reading about it in online sewing forums. I'm in MD and close to G Street, but haven't seen it there.

          1. Bernie1 | | #18

            I did buy a copy of the Burda magazine somewhere in No. Va. but I could never remember where I got it. Every now and then they appear and I suspect they get snapped up very quickly. Call G Street and see when they get them in. That is why I subscribed. I just could not get my hands them and they are the best pattern magazines.

          2. MarshaK | | #24

            If you check out the Advertizer Index/Web Directory at the back of Threads, Burda World of Fashion is the one you might want to check off on the Reader Service Card and send it in. They send out a free sample issue of the magazine, not a current one, but it's still good, as well you get info on subscribing to Burda World of Fashion and other magazines that are in the same family of publishers.


      2. Thea | | #16

        Hi Carol,

        Yes, that's the one! How funny that the mag travels so far... ;-)

        Actually, the patterns in Knip are not as good as Burda (and they tend to do 'variations on a theme', sometimes a bit on the safe side, for my taste) but it's OK. And when your parents have run out of ideas on what to give you for your birthday, like mine, it's an easy choice. And the instructions are quite clear, I agree (although I understand from articles in Threads that American patterns are far more detailed in the instructions. I noticed you have seam allowances! Brilliant!). Just out of curiosity: do you read Dutch?

        Once every issue, it has a pattern that is availabe in three 'lengths', and some for bigger sizes.

        By the way, I think the normal patterns assume that you are about 168 cm, petite patterns are 160 and the taller ones are 180. So we're not as tall as you might fear. ;-)


        1. carolfresia | | #17

          Hi, Thea,

          Yes, I do read Dutch...or at least I did. I lived in A'dam for a couple of years when I was doing some graduate research. I think I've forgotten a lot by now though, and of course it's hard to really learn to speak Dutch because everyone in NLD is so polite about speaking English!

          I'm an average height person in the US (5'6", which is just under 168 cm), but in NLD people kept referring to me as "very small"! It was kind of amusing, actually--and better than when I lived in Paris and was considered "un peu ronde" (at 110 lbs/50 kg). 

          I wasn't much of a sewer at all during that phase of my life, so I missed out an any interesting offerings there might have been for fabric shopping and such. I wish I were able to come over to The Hague for the quilt festival next month...if you go, please report back to let us know how it was.


          1. Thea | | #19

            Yikes! If 110 lbs is 'un peu ronde', I'm never setting foot in Paris!

            I actually think that 168 cm is a bit short for a lot of women here, especially the younger women. I'm a little over 170 and I feel short sometimes.

            Then again, clothes are often too long for people. If I had a dime for every time I shortened the pants for friends of mine...

            I'm not into quilting, unfortunately, sorry! I'll ask my co-worker, she loves that sort of thing and I bet she'll go.

            Anyway, if you ever come back here, let me know and we'll do a little tour. ;-)


          2. carolfresia | | #20

            Well, I'm significantly "ronder" now than I was back then, but have a more realistic view of what size and shape is acceptable for my height!

            One thing that I believe will be at the International Quilt Festival is the Bernina Fashion show--50 examples of incredible wearable art. This is always a lot of fun to see. If the quilt fest is anything like the version they do in Houston, it's a blast even for people (like me) who don't make quilts. I've found wonderful textiles, great yarns (but you don't knit, so that might not entice you), and cool things like antique buttons and trims. And even though I don't make quilts, I'm awestruck by some of the pieces shown. Two years ago the top winner was a Dutch woman who made this wonderful quilt inspired by black Delft ceramics--very striking and unusual.


          3. Thea | | #21

            That sounds really good... maybe I'll convince myself to go after all. Thanks for the tip!


          4. Bernie1 | | #22

            "un peu rond?" A guy I knew once referred to me as "Rubenesque." I'm 5 feet tall and at the time I weighed 100 lbs. Some people are just jerks.

          5. carolfresia | | #23

            That hardly qualifies for Rubenesque! Maybe he didn't know what Rubens's women looked like?


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