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Conversational Threads

May 04 Issue

juliej | Posted in General Discussion on

I have always looked forward to each and every issue of Threads.  My ultimate goal when sewing is to have a finished garment which could only be found in a “high end” department store.  I absolutely do NOT want it to shout “home made”.  With that in mind, your previous articles ie Inside an Armani Jacket etc. are just what I am looking for.  I too, have no interest in embroidering designs on my blouses or jackets, and frankly don’t know anyone who does. I also do not know anybody who would wear the knit separates shown on page 60 of the May 04 issue “Four Fast Serger Finishes…”   I understand “comfy, yet professional…” but c’mon.  As Clotilde used to say… We don’t want that “loving hands at home” look!


  1. becksnyc | | #1

    While I appreciate that there are a huge variety of tastes among Threads readers, I have to agree with Julie.  I am not interested in embroideryor in profiles of $6000 sewing machines!  Am I the only one who cannot even dream of purchasing one of these machines???

    I'm all for more creative articles using basic machine stitches and new twists on traditional techniques available to all economic levels.  The emphasis on items created with outrageously expensive machines curls my toes.

    Maybe I'm just jealous?? :-)


    1. Madeleine | | #2

      I'm a new reader of Threads, but I agree with both of the previous postings.  One of those expensive machines is definitely out of my reach, and I prefer projects that I can create with a basic machine.  Just bought the May issue and I'm planning to sit down with it after I log off.

      1. ShannonG4d | | #3

        I understand completely what you are all saying about the reviews of top-of-the-line machines, but want to throw in a comment. 

        Remember when digital watches were over $200?  They were new, and the newest toys cost a lot....until they are no longer new ideas.  The price came down, and now you can find digital watches for less than $5.

        I think this is what will happen with some of the features being currently reviewed in these expensive machines.  Right now, the technology is new, and pricey.  As demand grows, we'll see some of those same (expensive) features appearing in more moderately priced machines.  As an example, I remember when free-arms were only in really pricey models.  Now they are on the bargain basement models!

        So I think a look at what is coming.....is interesting.  I won't be in the market for a new machine for several years, but it's nice to know what may be out there when I do go shopping again.


        1. KarenW | | #4

          Re: the dream machines... I completely understand the "out of my price range" perspective, Threads has done  reviews of "reality priced" machines as well, guess it's just what you're interested in when.

          I was surprised that no one mentioned the article by Sarah Veblen on waistline embellishments.  My first thought was who wants to emphasize their waist????!!!!But I'm sure there are those who can do so and carry it off well. Then remembering the drawerful of belts I have I decided it may not be so awful and found some really cute offerings.  Not sure I'd want them around my waist, so I'm trying to think of ways to incorporate the ideas into other areas.  Once I saw the article was by Sarah I knew it would have ingredients I'd savor!

          The serging and topstitching articles reminded me of articles I'd think I would be more likely to find in other publications but offered a few useful tips nonetheless.  Often with Threads I find there are the "lighter" articles which I can read with the radio on, distractions around me, in bits and pieces, etc., and those which are more involved, requiring more skill and my more undivided attention.  This issue, while a keeper as always, seemed to be more the former than the latter.

          BTW, is that the editor on the cover?


          1. carolfresia | | #6

            "BTW, is that the editor on the cover?"

            Nope, that's a regular ol' NYC model. But now that you mention it, it DOES look like the editor!


          2. dawn | | #7

            I loved the cover photo, and I thought it was the editor, too.  I was surprised and very pleased to see you used a model who looks like a real person (and sort of around my age, too).


          3. Thea | | #8

            Hi all,

            This is my first post. Lovely to meet you all. :-)

            As much as I would love to comment on the May issue, there is one problem: I haven't recieved it yet.

            I live in Europe (Amsterdam, to be exact) so it takes longer than for most people, but i've had problems in this department before so I'd like to ask: when did it arrive for the US subscribers? That will give me an idea if I should be worried yet...

            In general I do agree that a Threads Lite would not be what I'm looking for - even though I'm not a very experienced sewer. I do see the charm of embroidery though. I just can't afford a machine that does it. A lot of women here in Holland embroider the children's clothes they make.


          4. FitnessNut | | #9

            Welcome to Gatherings! You will find that we are a helpful bunch....and we just love to chat.

            No, you shouldn't be too worried that you haven't received your May issue of Threads just yet. I live in Canada and haven't received mine. I expect it will arrive sometime next week. I remember reading that overseas subscribers often receive theirs a couple of weeks after I do, so just be patient ;-)


          5. Thea | | #10

            Thank you Sandy!

            Helpful indeed. And so fast too! ;-)

          6. MarshaK | | #11

            Hi Thea,

            Just like Sandy, I'm from Canada too, and I haven't received my May issue of Threads. Actually due to a problem with my subscription, (I hadn't been informed it was running out until I called them about not having received issue 111 when everyone else was disscussing it), I still haven't received that one either. I called Customer Service and was told it had been sent out more than a month earlier. Another one is supposed to be on it's way to me, hope this one doesn't get lost too. Guess we just have to be patient and wait.


          7. Thea | | #12

            Hi Marsha,

            I called Customer Service a couple of times now, because I never got the issues through my subscription. As it turned out, it was a mistake with my payment, because I had wired the money, which apparently is quite unusual.

            They kept sending me the issues seperately because I kept calling. So what I mean is: they usually send you the issue if you didn't get it. Maybe you should call again.

            I'm quite optimistic that this time things will run smoothly with my issue. ;-) I just have no idea what the usual shipping time is, but we'll see.


          8. MarshaK | | #14

            Hi Thea

            Customer Service did tell me a new magazine would be sent out, (issue 111) so that has added another 2-3 week wait to the month + I'd already waited. I have the date of my last call to them written down, so if another month passes, I will be calling again. I had thought I should buy that issue from the newstand, but Customer Service assured me there was no need, I would receive it. That was when I first renewed my subscription, now it is too late as the next issue is out.


          9. Thea | | #15

            Hi Marsha,

            That's a real shame! If it's any help at all: they sent me two issues at once, because I missed an issue, just like you did. I emailed and the person handling the email was very nice.

            RJF, I'm glad you liked it here! I totally relate to what you're saying. I will be in NYC next month, and I expect to have my own problem like that very soon. ;-)

            I will be taking that NYC shopping map and an extra suitcase with me, that's for sure! I'm very excited, I've never been to the US before...


          10. MarshaK | | #32

            Hi Thea,

            I received issue 111 the day after my last post to you, then another copy arrived in the next day's mail. The May issue came in on Friday, I just had a chance to glance through it as we were preparing to go down to Great Falls, Montana for the weekend. I still haven't read through it thoroughly, but what I did see has me agreeing with the rest of the gals, it doesn't have the oomph past issues had.

            Sending an e-mail to customer service is the way to go if there is no toll-free number you can use.


          11. Thea | | #34

            Hi Marsha,

            I'm glad you got it finally!

            The thing with email is, that they have misunderstood my question many times in the past, and it took a while before I had an answer. So calling has payed off more so far.

            But I'll just give it a try now, an email will not hurt.

            Thanks for the advice everyone.


          12. MarshaK | | #38

            I hope it works for you, it's awfully frustrating to read what others have seen in the magazine that you're still waiting for, isn't it. Even seeing a copy on the newstand is irritating, I am now waiting for Quilting Arts, it's in the stores. I had to call about the last issue, that one had gone missing, fortunately it only took two weeks for the replacement to arrive.


          13. Merryll | | #35

            Thea, I hope you enjoy your upcoming fabric-shopping trip to New York (and remember that B&J Fabrics, probably the best of the lot, has moved to the corner of 525 7th Ave. [at W. 38th Street], 2nd floor). It may not be listed there on your fabric map.

            When you mentioned bringing an empty suitcase for all your fabric purchases, it reminded me of something.  Although I live just outside New York now, for several years I lived in Tokyo.  My husband and I often stopped in NY for business reasons  on our way back to Asia.

            I would shop for fabric while my husband worked, and of course I would end up with too much fabric to shove into my already bulging suitcases.  At the urging of one of the employees at a fabric store who saw my predicament, I raced down the street a few blocks to an art supply house (and literally bumped into Tony Bennett buying canvas, but that's another story).  I purchased  two appropriately sized collapsed boxes (heavy duty) and returned to the store, where they helped me pack my booty and seal the boxes. They were kind enough to wrap heavy string around them so I could grasp them, and put me into a cab back to my hotel.

            When we got to the airport for the long flight home, I checked the labeled boxes with the rest of my luggage, and they arrived in fine shape. Since we flew Business Class, there was no extra charge for including the two boxes as part of our luggage.  As I write this, I'm not certain how this suggestion would play today given the luggage-inspection issues, but it is a thought in case you find your purchases exceed your available space.  I think you'll find store clerks in NY are accustomed to working with people from all over the world, and I'm certain the suggestion that I use boxes to cart home my overflow goodies was not the first time they made it.  Enjoy your visit and good luck!


          14. Thea | | #36

            Hi Merryll,

            Your story made me laugh! :-) I hope I will not get carried away like that, because my credit card has its limits... Maybe I will simply not eat while I'm there. :-)

            Thanks for the tips! I'm glad that my friend, who I'm staying with, has to work during the day, which gives me plenty of time for fabric shopping without boring anyone.


          15. KarenW | | #39

            Thea, your credit card may limit the $ amount you spend, but you could find such great deals that the volume may still be great!  With that in mind, you might consider a couple things ... call ahead to the airlines first about the boxes, maybe you could bring some tape and string to the airport in case they need to open/inspect.  But most NY fabric shops of any size will ship for you - but I'm not sure about overseas or cost thereof.   That's something else to ask about.  And the reason I bring up these points is that the weight limit on luggage decreased in the last few years, it's now 50 lbs.  You could stay in budget but end up with a lot of fabric but depending on what it is you could have a weight problem (well, no pun  intended, your luggage will be overweight!).  This happened to me when I got a couple rather lengthy pieces of high quality wool double knit at an expo - that stuff was so heavy it threw me over the limit and I had to carry it on (and it WAS heavy!).... but the excess weight charge would have been HUGE!  Can't recall the $ amount but I'd definitely have shipped had I known that!   Also see how many bags you can take, if you can fit all in one but get two per person, you can use the 2nd to pack fabric!Karen

          16. carolfresia | | #41

            Like Karen, I bought a lot of fabric at the Puyallup expo, and couldn't fit it all into my suitcase (though I'd deliberately packed light and brought a large suitcase!). I adopted a discarded carton from one of the other vendors, and packed it full. Another editor did the same, and we both taped and tied up the cartons with string. When we arrived home, mine was just as I had left it, but Judy's had been opened for inspection. The inspectors had resealed it carefully with tape, and marked "Inspection" or something like that on it.

            I don' t know what the weight limit is--I'd bet my suitcase and carton together were way over 50 lbs., though, and I didn't have to pay for any overweight baggage.


          17. KarenW | | #42

            Remarkably, this year I bought only two pieces of fabric and not a lot else!

            It was a couple years ago that I had the issue with the weight limit, though it was last year that they told me the limit was 50 lbs. -- but I got the impression that it was 50 lbs. per PIECE - so even if your combination did weigh more than that, that's why you were probably safe from excess weight charges!

            At least the package they opened and inspected was put back in order properly. Wonder why Judy's fabric was more suspicious than yours?  ;-)


          18. carolfresia | | #43

            I wondered the same thing! She didn't have anything else in there, like scissors or long metal awls.

            I'm usually slightly more restrained about shopping there, but this year I guess I was feeling a little more inspired than usual, and was egged on by various companions. We are all the worst enablers when it comes to the fabric habit. We're planning a small trip to our local fabric store tomorrow a.m., for the MAGAZINE, not personal reasons, and yet I can already feel myself, in the back of my mind, thinking..."I wonder if I'll see something really great that I just have to have." Very Very bad!


          19. rjf | | #13

            Loved visiting your city!  I still have some pearl buttons I bought there and I don't think I'll use them because everytime I open the button box, they remind me of what a good time we had there.

            It isn't so much that Threads arrives late...it's that the people who get it earlier talk about what's in it so it isn't a surprise when our own arrives.  Still, better late than never?          rjf

          20. GhillieC | | #22

            I would like to congratulate Threads on their fast deliveries to the UK. While it used to take weeks for a copy to show up the last two have arrived within a few days of the cover appearing on the website.

            It appears that they are being shipped in bulk to somewhere in Europe (Switzerland?) and then posted on. It has become a first class service.



          21. FitnessNut | | #24

            GRRRR.... I still don't have mine and I'm not that far, comparatively speaking....It has appeared in the stores, though, so maybe today????


          22. Thea | | #25

            OK, now I'm officially worried. :-) If you've gotten it so early, there must be something wrong with my copy.

            I'll wait this week and call if it doesn't arrive. It's getting a bit of a drag, though, having to make an international call every two months to get the magazine you really should be getting automatically. I've been telling the same story so many times before and every time they tell me the problem is really solved this time.

            I'm getting really curious about the issue too, since it evokes such strong reactions.


          23. FitnessNut | | #26

            Don't panic yet, Thea. I'm in Canada (much closer than you) and I received my copy of the May issue only yesterday. It is just appearing in the stores locally as well.

            I, too, have been really curious about the strong response to this issue. I've only had a few minutes to flip through it and it does seem to be a bit lighter on content than I expect from Threads. And I saw one glaring mistake in the Questions column that I will write to the editors about (and it surprised the heck out of me!). But I'll keep my mouth shut until I've had a chance to go through the magazine more thoroughly.


          24. GhillieC | | #27

            If it does not show up, sending an e-mail is cheaper and it works. I did this once and a copy arrived prontissimo.

            Another copy arrived a few months later. It had taken the scenic route via Bermuda!



          25. FitnessNut | | #28

            When my magazine arrived damaged in late January, I posted a note to Threads which was passed on to customer service. I received a lovely email that day and a replacement magazine within a couple of weeks. I'd email before phoning.....cheaper and more likely to get prompt action.

            Let us know when it arrives.


          26. Oopsidaisy | | #23

            Well, I never thought I'd see the day, but it's come. This must be the first time ever that I've been disappointed by the latest issue of Threads. I don't know, maybe it was the front cover which usually bowls me over, but seemed rather ho-hum compared to what you've always presented, a springboard for inspiration. And the coat on the back cover, well, that was well below the standard of delicious details we're usually treated to. Maybe that tainted my view of what was inside the magazine.

          27. Constance | | #17

            Karen - I enjoyed the waistline embellishment article myself, but since I no longer have a waist, am thinking of other places to use the ideas. Probably on jackets or even on hems. I found a box of those 80s belt buckles in my trunk, some are mother of pearl and one is a butterfly, so I'm thinking maybe jacket closures. Just that one article sent me in other directions.


          28. MarshaK | | #18

            Lois Ericson's book Opening and Closing has wonderful ways of incorporating almost anything as a closure on a garment, and neat ways of attaching odd and weird items. Before looking through this book I'd never have thought a bangle bracelet could be used as a 'button'. That led me to buying a big bagful of bracelets at an auction sale. It's fun to read a book that has ideas like that, it changes the way you look at things, always with the thought, how can I use something like this? I may have strayed off the subject here.


          29. carolfresia | | #19

            Lois is amazing, isn't she? She can see just about anything in a new light. She's starting to work with machine embroidery, as well, and has contributed to the Mach. Embroidery department in an upcoming issue. Her take is refreshing and sophisticated, as you'd expect from her.


          30. MarshaK | | #29

            Hi Carol,

            I'm delighted to read that more of Lois's work will be featured in Threads. I like the creative ways she stamps designs on fabric, then incorporates it into a garment, in ways that make it look like the fabric started out like that.


          31. KarenW | | #20

            Lois is definitely one for using the unexpected isn't she? I can no longer give away old bracelets ( the chunky link styles are great for "Lois" type closures also!), coins, the big earrings from the 90s or some other beads and items I have had from old now out of style jewelry - it all has potential new life thanks to inspiration from designers such as Lois!   Glad to hear she'll be contributing to Threads.  Her daughter DIane is quite the wearables artist as well.

          32. MarshaK | | #30

            Another good source of 'funky, chunky' items is the belt dept. of stores like JC Penney, last fall when we were down across the border in Montana, I bought a batch of belts that had metal links, some had dangles from the links, all could be taken apart and used separately. Other belts were made of wooden pieces with designs carved or burned on them, suede strips had designs punched out, the cowrie shell belts remind me of the western style jackets that have the bone hair pipe beads sewn on down the fronts. These belts were marked down from $24.95 to an unbelievable $.77. Yep, I bought most of what they had, 14 in all. Everyone at the sales counter had to know what I planned to do with them. It's added fun when you go shopping and look at items you would normally pass by with new plans for their use. Of course I'm something of a squirrel and will buy all sorts of things to add to my collections of 'Stuff'.


          33. Constance | | #21

            Thanks, Marsha - I now have that LE book on my "wish list." I have some of those 80s fancy belt buckle that were on the wide elastic, but they would make great closures as well. Just got back from the quilt shop's crazy quilt dept., with many cards of embellishments & beads. Oh my, but their St. Paddy sale was a good one, that's my story & I'm sticking to it.


          34. MarshaK | | #31

            Constance, read the message I posted to karenw, it's all about belts and where to find some goodies. Seems like the styles that were popular in the 60's and 70's are back again, I have some of those buckles you mentioned.


          35. Constance | | #33

            Marsha, you must have been reading my mind about the belts - I found a few at Target, plus raided my mother's attic this weekend. Her attic is also a good source for buttons from old coats, now if I could only find my platform shoes - I remember a purple pair with red hearts, and peach & blue Navajo weave...

            the clothes will never fit me again, but the shoes might.

            Thanks for your tips!


          36. MarshaK | | #37

            As they say, what goes around, comes around, but--- I doubt that I'd be wearing platform shoes again, and I do still have a pair or two stuck away in a closet. Another place for finding odds and ends that can be given new life is auction sales and garage sales/yard sales, (same thing). Actually a lot of stuff that I find there is used for other 'crafts', like mosaics. I do collect old jewelry, even if it's broken pieces, they work for crazy quilt embellishments.


          37. Constance | | #40

            Marsha, I swear we must be related somehow. I inherited my favorite aunt's house with all her belongings, and in the attic were some boxes with pieces of broken jewelry in them, and my first thought was: "Hey, I can put these on a jacket or something." So far I haven't had to hit any yard sales - between my attic & my mother's, there is treasure waiting to be discovered.

            As for the platform shoes, I did pick up a pair of platform Birki's. I hated the pattern on them, so painted a new one on with my waterproof markers. So that's as far as it will go - orthopedic platforms.


          38. MarshaK | | #44

            Aren't you the lucky one, getting all the treasures from your aunt's attic. Not having any attics in my life, that's why I go to auction sales as often as I do. If you work with polymer clay, some of the broken bits can be used with the clay to make unique one of a kind buttons, buckles, and jewelry.


        2. Bernie1 | | #5

          I paid $4,500 for the D1 and that was almost three years ago - the prices aren't going down, they seem to be going up as manufacturers figure out more bells and whistles. That is why they're called "dream" machines, I guess.

    2. Constance | | #16


      I agree with you - I cannot even afford to dream about these machines! My machine is about 15 years old, one of the first computerized ones, and it fits my needs perfectly. It has 100 stitch choices (of course several of them are an alphabet & numbers), so I would love to see more articles about making use of a "non-techy" machine. As far as embroidery, I still like the feel of doing it all myself...could that be a flashback to the old hippie days?


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