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Conversational Threads

Issue 123

smr | Posted in Feedback on Threads on

I truly am dimayed.  I have been a subscriber for years.  I’ve gone through the trasistions with Threads and have to say when I started I was an average sewer and Threads opened a whole new world to me.  I usually don’t jump on a band wagon, especially when comments are negative, as I believe it can be petty and mean spirited. Now, I just don’t know what to do. 

The Master Class is almost like an afterthought, like someone thought we need to add this in to keep old subscribers happy; but we really don’t know where to put it so let just stick it in the middle of the advertising section in the back. 

We go through notions, tips, basics,pattern review, feature article, jackets, fitting, sewing darts (is that not a basic?) sewing knits, making fabrics with thread, sewing double cloth, reader’s closet, embellishments, q&a…alas master class.  I really thought that the index was incorrect and that the article had been omitted. 

I used to be so excited when Threads came in the mail, relishing every great article.  Now hopes still high I get excited, only to have my hopes dashed.

The back cover change is extremely disappointing.  I so long for the beautiful garments that used to be shown, as they were a true inspiration.  I feel like it was a decision not to spend the time, effort, and money to make it really worthwhile.

It seems that in catering to whatever person you are trying to attract, you are losing those who come this far with you over the years.  Maybe you just want the “old timers” to leave.  Too bad there isn’t any competition at this time, maybe one of your subscribers will become just that.


  1. FitnessNut | | #1

    I totally agree. I've been subscribing since issue #21 and have seen all the changes over time. My subscription expired last spring and I haven't renewed because of disappointment with the direction the magazine is taking. I don't have the new issue as of yet, but am hesitating even looking for it in the store. I had decided to look at each issue and make my decision to purchase based on contents, but the last issue upset me so much that I'm not sure I even want to look. I was thoroughly disgusted with the samples presented in the welt pocket article - how dare Threads publish photographs of such poorly done welts? The quality of such a fine publication has eroded so much over time that I can't bear to even look at it.

    I'm not trying to be either petty or mean spirited. I so badly want this magazine to continue to speak to me - after so many years of discovery, I'm feeling hurt that it no longer does. I probably shouldn't take it so personally, but this magazine has been with me in my development from a novice seamster to an expert and I credit Threads with a significant part of that evolution. Without such a motivating publication available to inspire newcomers, I fear for the future of the craft.

    1. smr | | #2

      I know...it's been like losing a good friend.  Once my subscription ends, I will follow your lead and just buy it when I see somehting I like.  I guess it's like everything else, we are just "dumbing down" and accepting it.

      1. poo | | #3

        I had to cancel my subscription a few issues back and get a refund, I just couldn't see spending the money waiting for it to expire. It is a terrible shame, I have subscribed since issue 50 and am on an e-bay search of all the back issues I missed (and I got most of them!) but my collection is ended now, Tis a sad sad day.

      2. FitnessNut | | #4

        I'm so glad I'm not alone in feeling this way. I was beginning to wonder. Also, I was hoping that all the feedback we gave some time ago would filter through when the publishers revamped Threads. Post after post asked them to please not "dumb down" but, for whatever reason, that's what the've ultimately done.I'll continue to check in here regularly, though. There is always an interesting discussion to contribute to.

        1. MarieT | | #5

          While I don't disagree with you about missing the great articles on Balenciaga, St. Laurent, and co., I've seen a lot of magazines regurgitate old material instead of changing with the times.  There's a certain matriarch of housekeeping who shamelessly repackages articles, slaps a new cover on them and, voila! a new issue.  Now, that really bugs me.  But, like most of you, I've been brought along the sewing path by Threads; it seems it was always encouraging me to try new things and showing me better construction methods.  But there is only so much one can say about even the best designers and when a topic is covered thoroughly, as Threads has always done, you're sometimes left with very little new to say.  


          It took a non-sewing friend to change my mind about the New Threads:  I'm now helping her try her hand at making clothes and, I have to say, it was great to see her get excited about the Basics articles and the detailed illustrations. She's been borrowing my issues and devouring them (yes, the latest ones!) with gusto.  I can see where Threads is now reaching out to a new "generation" of beginning sewers and bringing them along gently -- just as it has done with us. 

          I miss the Old Threads too, but I honestly believe that there is a place for the new approach as well. 


  2. lovemycottons | | #6

    I doubt "Threads" wants the oldtimers to leave.

    I am sorry, but I have to disagree with you. Maybe I am one of the newcomers you think they are trying to attract. Who knows. I have been sewing for 20 years (?), first apparel, then quilting, then home dec, and now back to apparel. I don't find myself as a beginner nor advanced beginner sewer, but somewhere between intermediate and advanced.  Even though I have had lots of experience sewing, I can always find room to "grow" in my craft, and Threads will assist in that growth. Every time I sew, I find I have lots of questions in regards to that project, and believe me, many of those questions are quite elementary. Sometimes when you learn a new technique etc. you pay attention to the whole picture. Once you get it down pat, then you want to explore the many possibilities you can do with that technique and then you ask questions about the basic stitches, construction, fabric etc. So many of those "BASIC" articles you complain about may in turn do you a service.

    I have to admit, when I started receiving the magazine I was disappointed because it wasn't like it use to be (20 years ago) and also there seem to be less content versus the cost of the magazine. But the new format is growing on me and my views have changed. I found that I am finding useful information, whether in small tidbits or in the entire article and these pieces of information are definitely helpful in my growth and knowledge of the sewing field. And if you do get something out of a purchase then yes, it is worth it.

    I like the master class at the end of the magazine. It is like they are saving the best for last.  I also enjoy the fabric on the back cover. It would be nice though if the back cover rotated in their presentations, maybe one month a fabric, another a beautifully constructed garment, another month - who knows, something different and great to inspire us all.

    1. tcsewhat | | #7

      A friend wrote to express her feelings about the recent changes at Threads.  The staff indicated that there was a survey done and the changes are reflective of the survey results.  I belong to an on-line list and may of us have expressed our dismay at some of the changes. 

      I wonder if it would be possible for an on-line survey to take place?  So Threads can get a broader perspective on their subscribers.  I  like some things that were in the new issues and won't get rid of my subscription.  After all , what else is there out there for sewers?  But I certainly would love the chance to offer some positive feedback and helpful suggestions.  I think I have been subscribing for at least 10 years and i have never been surveyed. 

      I think the reason we react so vehemently to chnages is that we can be isolated somewhat as we sew.  Threads is our link to our sewers and we treasure it.  I have very few friends (locally) who sew and only one of them is my age. I will drive to far-away fabric shops and drive to sewing conferences for a "fix".  But THreads is the connection that comes to me. 

      I hope the editors would be willing to listen to all of us, not just a survey from a marketing firm.




      1. KarenW | | #9

        That's a good point about being isolated when you sew, particularly if you don't have a lot of sewing friends in the area.  I work for a machine dealer and while I get to be immersed in sewing topics a lot, there are still not as many garment sewers as there used to be (not news at all!).   But there are a lot of people coming in getting machines who are just learning to sew or wanting to learn, and I was so excited that for a couple or three weeks during/afer the holiday period it seemed like every single day I worked there was someone between the ages of 11-17 getting a new machine - some of these kids were counting out their own Christmas money to do it. 

        I am supposing that in order to keep circulation where it needs to be to be profitable Threads simply has to accomodate this market (newer, less experienced sewers, young or old) - they are the future sewers who'll keep the business alive.  I hate to see change too but do see the value, I can refer newer sewers to Threads articles now where once they may have been intimidating, and even if something's more basic, I usually find myself refreshed or that I've gotten some valuable review.  I would like to see the enticing garments on the back cover, I guess for fabric isolationists who don't have sources available to see and examine special fabrics up close the new back cover is of benefit.  And I think the Master's classes (wherever they're located in the magazine!) could be more text heavy and complex.  But otherwise I'll go with the updated Threads vs. no Threads.

        BTW, they did have an online survey last year or the year before, I think it was two or three months long with a different question each week. 



      2. Evita | | #10

        In Canada, the new Threads costs almost $11.00 with the taxes. What do I get now for that money ? An ultra-glamourous cover of..... three dress forms ! how exciting ! one step up from the pincushion cover of this summer ! (short-tempered, I know, but I felt insulted by that one). Now, let's go to my favourite, the back-cover. What ? samples of a flat fabric in neutral colours ? where has the creative work of days past gone ? is that supposed to be inspiring ? And there was no mention in the magazine where the interested can buy this fabric! Now the inside. Attractive design and artwork, but so much blank space.... I feel cheated.
        Fitting articles ? no more (they were the most useful to me, ever). Quick to make ? (another favourite). No. The article on dress-forms: I could have written it after an hour with Google, it is that superficial. The tissue-fitting article was not without merit, but why did they show Marcia Tilton without make-up ? she is an attractive mature woman, but I did not like seeing her look frumpy next to the well-groomed younger models.I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Almost every page irritated me in some way. Boring cover, boring content. I am going back to my collection (since 1995).Eve in Montreal

        1. FitnessNut | | #11

          You are so right...this issue isn't worth what it costs us here. Neither was the last one. I'm glad that I let my subscription expire, but sad that I feel this way about a magazine I was once so passionate about. Used to be that everything stopped when I received a new issue and I spent the afternoon with it. Nowadays, I look at it at the magazine rack in a store, put it back and walk away.Where has all the creativity gone?Sandy in Ottawa

  3. User avater
    susannah_sews | | #8

    I received my most recent issue of Threads the other day - and when I looked at the article on darts, I suppose I shared the same view of many readers, that this was a really basic technique, and why on earth would we need an article on it?

    However, as I was putting together the lining to complete a skirt I had half made a few months back, I thought I would try sewing the darts from the point to the edge, just to try it out (darts in the lining of a skirt being a fairly unimportant feature).  To my surprise, I actually found it much easier to get a really smooth line in the dart (and so the darts in the lining are superior to the darts in the skirt itself!).

    Now although I would not class myself an expert seamstress, I always thought I had a reasonably good grasp of the basics.  This short article, however, challenged my assumptions, and I am really glad I read it and had the opportunity to try it out while it was fresh in my mind. 

    Darts, in future, have a whole new direction for me! 


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