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Conversational Threads

Missing the “old” Threads

TerryG | Posted in Feedback on Threads on

I miss the “old” Threads magazine. I wrote about it on my blog today. http://www.andsewitgoes.blogspot.com/

I’m glad so many people love the new format and subject matter. I just feel like something really wonderful existed for awhile and new subscribers don’t even know what they missed.

I won’t re-subscribe.



  1. smr | | #1

    I know...I feel the same way.  My only problem is that Threads is better than other publications I've looked at.   Until I find a substitute I am going to hang in.

    I viewed your blog....very nice! That's the one thing that I still enjoy, occasionally there is someone out there doing really great things.

  2. midnitesewer | | #2

    I've only been subscibing for 10 years. I really miss the old Threads. I really don't understand why the focus is so narrow now. I used to be inspired by articles featuring projects and techniques beyond my skill level. I was amazed to see the things that talented, creative designers and fiber artists could achieve. Why can't the editors have a mix of how-to and inspirational articles. They don't even dicuss textile exhibits or do detailed book reviews anymore.

     I used to get really eaxcited when a new issuse arrived. I read them  cover to cover. I haven't finished reading the last 5 or 6. The new one came a couple of days ago. I haven't even opened it. I figure that I can wait to read it. Maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised -  or disappointed again.

  3. solosmocker | | #3

    First of all, Terry, your blog is wonderful and you clearly are very talented. I agree with you on Threads. Yes I still buy it and there are certainly things in there I don't know. But this is what I call the "WalMartization of America" also known as appealing to the lowest common denominator. It makes sense. By appealing to the broadest range of subscribers you can generate more ad revenue.

    I have many early issues as well and often pull them out to read. I particularly liked the couteriers whose garments were taken apart and explained. Threads should have gotten an award for the articles on Kleibacker (sp) and Madame Vionet. They were so in depth. The pin weaving article you showed in your blog hit a real cord with me. I made three different garments just with that wonderful technique.

    So, yes, I still buy it. Yes, it still is the best out there. But---is it as good as it used to be? I don't think so. I feel like if I miss an issue it is no big deal. In the past I couldn't live without each

    I just wanted to add that I miss the old, really old Sew News. It was like a newspaper and had very in depth articles on the sewing industry and designers. We know where that magazine is today.

    Edited 3/9/2006 5:25 pm ET by solosmocker

    1. woggy | | #8

      Your response has really struck a cord with me. I keep telling my husband that women's clothes today are being made to mimick what is being sold in Wal Mart's! What use to be "moderate price" is now Wal "Wal Mart" price and so cheap, cheap, cheap! I was so surprised to see White Stag being sold in Wal Marts - that was such a wonderful product line when I was growing up in the 50's and 60's.You mentioned the old Sew News, I too remember the newspaper format and have saved articles from various issues. It too was a great magazine at one time.Maybe the owners of these magazines don't feel there is enough time in our lives anymore to sit, read and study these articles. Plus, the staff is getting younger and I suspect they are more tuned into techmoloyg - "if you need the info, just go on line!"Ah, the good ole' days, eh?

      1. fabriclover007 | | #9

        I've been sewing a lot of years and I've found that over the years, my sewing has changed.  I have tons and tons of fabric collected in my travels.  I weeded out much  the last time I moved and weeded again when prepping my home for sale.  Yet I still have about 20  heavy paper lawn/leaf composting bags full.  I have 100's of patterns.  And still continue to buy.  I would rather almost look at fabric than finished clothing.  The struggle for me has always been fitting so I've invested more time in fitting classes than sewing; I'd say my sewing is medium to advanced.  Sewing has been a big part of my life for many years.

        However, my sewing has evolved.  Advancing age, family commitments have combined to a point where I'm not able to sit in front of a sewing machine for 8-10 hours.  And just maybe more time put into each individual garment when I am able to sew.  Clothing has changed.  I have lots of beautiful silks, yet little to no use for them as my preferred garb these days is sweaters.  And I work in an office and wear a jacket and pants every day.  And so as my sewing has changed, my needs in a sewing magazine have changed.  I was never into the couture thing anyway, could care less about tatting, knitting, upholstery, etc., but I continue to be interested in fitting articles (bodies continue to change as you age), and other articles that will help me sew clothing better.   

        Sew News, while never at the Threads level, is not worth even looking at anymore.  And so I just don't buy it which is my remedy.   I also no longer have a subscription to Threads, but only because with the JoAnn's coupon I can buy it for less at the store.  I still purchase every magazine and can usually find at least one worthwhile article.  The fitting challenge or problem I don't  have today will undoubtedly crop up tomorrow.   

        There's a similar magazine, Australian Stitches that believe it or not is struggling with these very same issues right now.  Readers are sending in what they call "brickbats" about the magazine's new format and articles.  Other readers love it.  It's not possible to please everyone and everything has to change and evolve or cease existence.  It's not the Threads of yesterday but still worthwhile to me. 



        1. user-122474 | | #10

          To add to what we miss of the old Threads, I even miss the old paper covers that came on them and protected them from damage in the USA mail.  I have had more damaged ones since they discontinued that part.   I'm agreeing with you on the Walmart of America, in fact I wont go there anymore.. - Im still hanging onto Threads as I bought a 3 year subscription..

  4. stitcher | | #4

    TerryG, you said it for me. I too have collected Threads for many years and love to browse them. I made the string woven vest--it's beautiful.
    Like you, I am uninspired by the make-up of the current magazine. Each month I read the letters to the editor and noticed in the current issue that the letters are all in support of the new format. I don't believe we've been heard.
    The articles that appear now could easily be taken from a How to Sew 101 book found on the hobby shelf in any bookstore.
    Like so many things in the "dumbing down" of America our beloved magazine has become a victim. In November when my subscription is up, I will not renew---unless the editors see the light.

  5. woodruff | | #5

    Not too long ago, there was a long discussion here of this very subject, with Threads staff adding comments.

    I am of the generation that grew up sewing and adored the challenge of near-couture work, but we are a very small portion of American business now. Few women sew, and those who do, or are interested in learning, work at a pretty basic level. Economics is the bottom line for any enterprise, and if your magazine is heavily slanted to advanced sewing techniques, you are going to watch your sales slip away relative to other publications which are geared to basic skills. I think it's a case of adapt or die, and although I found the old Threads much more interesting, I'm glad the new one exists, because it's so much better than anything else out there.

    1. TerryG | | #6

      Yes, I'm sure you are right that the changes are economic responses to what the percieved market for the magazine is.

      The changes that I am talking about are not just from "advanced sewing techniques" to a more elementary approach, but the whole, longer term move from a diversity of fiber arts in the beginning to a narrower, and narrower focus. And I really wonder if there *is* economic wisdom in that. 

      My circle of collegues is fiber artists, not necessarily clothing sewers, and I know that we have all already dropped our Threads subscriptions, or are in the process of doing so. It now has nothing of interest to me or my friends. And no, from my point of view it is NOT  "so much better than anything else out there". There are other fiber art magazines, none done so well as Threads used to be, but still better than Threads is now. So I am supposing there is a new and bigger market for the sewing basics than the fiber arts market that they have lost. Seems like it would be a smaller market, but what do I know?

      So Threads will do what they think they have to do to stay competitive. I'm just mourning the loss of something I really used to love.


      1. woodruff | | #7

        There may not be philosophical wisdom in narrowing the focus of the magazine, but that is a separate issue from economic wisdom. Scholars can and will freely debate among themselves how relevant or valuable one or the other is to society, and it may be worth considering that, from Plato's days onward, the grownups have complained that things have gone to hell in a handbasket with the younger generation, and that the virtues of the previous culture have been lost.I remember with fondness the wide range of subjects the old Threads offered, among them quilting, flower-pounding. pattern-drafting, knitting techiniques in detail, and analyses of couture garments, just to mention a little of what was covered. It was a wonderland, to be sure. That happened during a special era, a narrow and lovely window in time, when the profit margins you could satisfy your investors with were very different from what is demanded now.Using surveys, Threads sampled the opinions of their readers, and they have chosen to concentrate on garment sewing. Among the existing sewing mags, I know of no other that offers, as the current issue does, for example, a discussion of different kinds of lace and fairly detailed help on using them in garment construction, or the techniques illustrated on the pages devoted to tailored lapels and hymo interfacing. This is pretty rare stuff, all in all.Of its kind, I do believe this magazine is better than anything else out there.

  6. autumn | | #11

    I subscribed to Threads from the very first issue and took it for a number of years. I always read it cover to cover the minute it arrived.  I saved every issue and even moved them with me to another state!  I would put sticky labels on the front to guide me to articles I especially liked or wanted to try. When the new format came out I hung in for a few months, but decided it was not worth the price. I have not subscribed for at least 5 years now, maybe more. I finally culled the collection to the ones I really wanted and gave the rest of them to a thrift store.

    Even though I am primarily just a sewer, I found many very interesting articles, and even a few that I tried although they were not garments.  Now I don't even bother to look at the magazine when I'm in a book store.

  7. SewNancy | | #12

    I went to your blog and I loved your work. As to threads, well, I kind of wondered at the length of the How to pin article and realized that Kenneth Kings article wasn't much longer. I too miss the old Threads.
    When they try to be creative now it is just clunky and so far from fashion as to be laughable.
    as to be laughable. I am a garment sewer and I want complexity and or articles that really tell how to do what they are proposing. Kenneth Kings article was really not clear and seams so unnecessary. I use an article from Threads from years back to do a collar and lapel It is easy and perfect every time. It works. The article on purses really didn't tell you how to do anything but what is available and how to find it. Wow. As Michael Kors said on many an occasion in the recent Project Runway, I am undrwhelmed.

    1. stitchintime | | #13

      Alas and alack, I am also letting my subscription end.  My mother-in-law has generously been renewing my subscription as a birthday gift since I began receiving Threads in 1996 but I told her not to bother this year.

      I have not been impressed by the new threads and actually find the "reader's closet" the most inspiring article in the magazine. Good for you, all those sewers, who manage so nicely to continue to find something inspiring from the newest issues. I'm finding the articles rather repetitive but more simplistic than previous ones. For example,  compare Kenneth King's article "How to Read and Fix a Wrinkle" on fitting a muslin  (Threads 102) and Jennifer Sauer's recent article "How to Make a Muslin" (Threads 121). Both articles involve making a jacket. I'm curious as to which article is more inspiring to beginners.

      I also like to knit, crotchet, quilt and do other things with fabric aside from sew clothes. Like TerryG, I realize that Threads doesn't inspire me like it used to; so farewell and I wish Threads good luck with it's new subscribers.


      ps. Enjoyed your blog Terry. I'll be checking back to see more of your work.

      1. queenoid | | #14

        I was pretty offended at the letters to the editor section this time, all praising the magazine. I am quite sure that most of the letters they receive have been complaints.

        I live in Denver. In the last six months, D'Leas, a wonderful fabric/button/classes store closed; its rival, Denver Fabrics, reduced the scope and quality of their offerings (competing with Joann and Hancock now, I think, instead of D'Leas); our Bernina of Denver store went out of business; and Threads dumbed itself down.

        My wonder is why, if there isn't enough of a market for a higher-level sewing magazine, they dropped all of the other fiber arts - knitting, felting, embellishment, etc. I wish they had broadened their "more creative" stuff instead of "appealing to sewers of all levels." Come on - an article on pinning? Next thing you know it will be how to read a tape measure!

        I miss the pattern review, the really fabulously creative articles by the likes of Marcy Tilton and Lois Erikson and Diane Erikson and Loes Hinse, etc etc etc. Weren't they great? I am an advanced seamstress, but I am not the best in the whole world, and I always learned something. And I saved my back issues and refer to them when I have a question.  Plus I loved the "quick to make."

        Life as a dedicated sewer has just gotten a little more lonely.

        Edited 3/16/2006 5:19 pm ET by queenoid

  8. oliver | | #15

    I am also a fan of the old issues.  I remember my first issue I came across in 1987, that I found by accident at a bookstore.  I read and reread that issue until the new issue came out, then I was hooked.  I subscribed and resubscribed for 16 years.  Then I found some of the articles were repeated.  Then the format changed. Then the articles started becoming too basic, and much of the information I could find in my sewing books. Then I started comparing the price vs. the articles and decided that the subscription was not worth it.  I did not renew my subscription.  I have purchased 3 issues from the new format ( the one with the Chanel jacket on the cover) with a coupon at JoAnn's, and I found it to be a disappointment. 

    My local library carries the Threads magazine, so I sat down to read the latest issue, and I think it took me about 20 minutes to read cover to cover.  I put it back on the shelf and walked away laughing, thinking that this is what they are now passing as a newsworthy and informative sewing magazine.   Sorry, Threads, but your are not what you used to be.

    Edited 3/15/2006 9:04 pm ET by oliver

    1. Josefly | | #16

      Loved your blog. How I wish I had discovered Threads in its early days!

  9. Bobbie | | #17

    I strongly agree.  I just renewed my subscription after a years absence and now after two magazines I am sitting here wondering "what happened"?  Where is the magic, where is the zip, where are the exciting projects?  I looked forward to those magazines and saved each one to be read over and over again.  The last one I read is now laid aside after perusing for 15 min.  Ho, Hum.


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