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Conversational Threads

Quick to Make

Simply2Dev | Posted in Talk With Us on

What happened? One month it was there, the next two, it was gone. Have we run out of ideas for things which are quick to make? I lived for this section.

And sure sign of advancing age – I didn’t like the new layout in the May 2004 issue. Have you become an embroidery mag? Who wears these things and where do they wear them? Not to my office or to most any place I go.

You have always been my favorite sewing mag, but something has gone amiss…



  1. emkay | | #1

    You are absolutely right. I see embroidered stuff in the stores; I don't see any body wearing it. The last time I embroidered a garment was for my daughter when she was 3 - she's now 32 - and I did it by hand. The ads for the embroidery machines are not appealing and I could never ever justify spending that kind of money on a sewing machibne!


    1. sueb | | #2

      I noticed the changes in the magazine this issue as well.  I went looking for the quick to make and it was gone and I agree there's too much machine embroidery coverage going on.  Not all of us have an embroidery machine or are interested in machine embroidery and there's already magazines out there covering it in depth for those who are interested.  I'd love to see a section on new book reviews become a regular feature.

      1. pinkit | | #3

        I am new to this but am glad to see all the honest remarks about the magazine. I love the Threads Magazine but some issues have too many things outside my interest leve.  Personally I don't mind a little quilting if it involves garments or some other small project but like others who have written in I don't think everyone is interested in quilting and I have much the same feelings about embroidery.  I am thinking of buying a new machine but the vast array of what is available makes it almost impossibe to decide where to begin.

        1. carolfresia | | #4

          Hello, all,

          I moved this message from "Feedback" to the newer "Talk with us," since this is where a much more active and current discussion about the content and presentation of the magazine is taking place. I figured here more people would read and respond to your comments.

          I'd like to ask for clarification about a comment made on the current issue, May 2004: you seemed to find there were too many embroidered garments in the issue. Can you tell me which ones in particular you objected to? Aside from the hand-embroidered sashiko work in Nancy Shriber's article, I haven't found any--are you referring to the items shown in the ads, perhaps?


          1. edgy | | #5

            yes, the embroidery ads are too much, but there was also a semi-article on doing machine embroidery correctly so it wouldn't be too stiff.

            I'm not sure why, yet, but this newest issue has less than most of interest to me. The fitting the pattern article didn't have enough depth and it's been covered before -- and better.

            I think a lot of it was sort of "Threads-lite". At least, that's my thinking right now. Often, I have to go back to an issue when my skill level has improved or my creative juices are flowing in a different direction.


          2. becksnyc | | #14

            I agree with the postings that the last few Threads lacked the usual depth.  I usually clip or copy my favorite articles and sort into my notebooks.  I found nothing to save (I know, Blasphemy!) in the March Threads.  I enjoy an occasional article that uses quilt art and other sewing techniques to make clothing unique, and an occasional home dec article (the awesome slipcover articles, for example!).  Unique yet classic clothing is my main focus, so I'm not interested in Quik-Sew projects (for that you have Sew News and the like).  I want inspiration from Threads, but I also want depth drawn from experienced designers, alterers, and clothing artists.  More on altering RTW would be wonderful.  LESS on adding 10 different features to a certain part of a garment/pattern (embellishing the waistband---I just couldn't get into that segment).

            I mentioned in another posting that I don't have an interest or the BIG BUCKS for embroidery machines.  Therefore, I can't use the multiple embroidery articles, references.  Who wears this stuff?  It is not worn in my work environment or in my area, except by the Indian population--they do it justice with their amazing saris--but I wouldn't be able to pull that off in my conservative office.  I don't own even one embroidered garment, purchased or made.  Are you under pressure from your sponsors to write articles that feature their machines or embroidered projects? 

             Could your staff use their contacts with the sewing machine makers to suggest investing some of those amazing features into a NON-embroidery machine?  I will be in the market soon for a new machine.  I would spend up to $1500, but want superior features and NO embroidery capabilities.  (I've been using industrial Jukis (straight, zig-zag and sergers) and an old Kenmore for years).

            Can someone tell me why these machines cost $6000 each?  If my computer only cost $1200, and a sewing machine can be found for under $1000, why is it 3 times the total when you combine the two?  What is the markup on these babies?  Just curious.


          3. ccrresch | | #15

            I agree with the Threads-Lite. Also the first time I didn't clip a single article. I first subscribed in 1992, but have gotten almost all the back issues on ebay, and have clipped many, many articles from them.

            The sewing/embroidery machine discussion can go on forever but I also wonder about the extremely high cost and the markup. Why is there no machine for those of us who want to sew clothes! without flowers! I have no workplace constraints. being selfemployed, but do see patients all day, and the idea of embroidered clothing is, well, outre *and I'm someone who wears silk devore velvet kimonoes without a second thought.


          4. User avater
            Simply2Dev | | #6

            Good morning, Carol-

            I'm referring to both the ads and the article on choosing among $6,000 embroidery machines.  Having such an expensive piece of equipment would make sense if it were creating garments common for everyday use, but as I said earlier, I don't see heavily embroidered clothing at the office; at restaurants I go to, etc.  What I felt bad about, though, was that someone pulled the plug on "Quick to Make" which I would have sub-titled : "Great, Fun Projects for Busy Women with No Time To Sew." I REALLY will miss it.


          5. carolfresia | | #7

            I'm sorry about Quick to Make, too! I didn't always make the projects right away, but I loved knowing there was a library of cool and interesting gift ideas at my fingertips. We will be bringing QTM back occasionally, however, and will continue to try to include "Try it outs" in feature articles.

            It's interesting that you responded to the embroidery machine review this way. Judy Neukam, who researched and wrote the article, is an incredible sewer, who (as far as I know) owns NO embroidered clothing at all. She could get by with a straight stitch machine and a serger (and could even forego the serger with no trouble) and come up with the most amazing garments. However, she honestly fell in love with these machines, not because of the embroidery capabilities, but because they are, in some ways, the Rolls Royces of sewing machines. Beautifully built, with sewing features you'd hardly even imagine--all of which make sewing a great pleasure, even if you're not embroidering.

            I've spent some time in our studio looking at the machines, and, after years of sewing happily on BOL (bottom-of-the-line) or just marginally mid-range machines, I think I'll probably delve into my rainy day fund to buy one--and I've been saving those pennies for a long, long time! There are many wonderful, lower-priced machines available that would suit my needs right now, certainly, but these "dream machines" are magnificent to sew on, and feel like something that I will be able to grow into. Another factor for me is that I've worked with many of our machine embroidery authors, and have come to appreciate the possibilities of embroidery as embellishment. I'm at a point where I'd like to challenge myself to use embroidery so it suits my taste; like you, I don't want to walk around emblazoned with zillions of motifs, but there are beautiful embroidery designs out there, and some very creative, tasteful ways to use them.

            Now, I would very probably remain unconvinced that they're worth the expense if I hadn't had the opportunity to try them out myself, and if I hadn't been socking away the $$ for a while I know I could be quite happy with the machine I've got. After all, I'm sure you know as well as I do that it's not the equipment you use, but what you do with it, that really matters! We just wanted to give our readers an idea of what's out there and what they can do with it.


          6. User avater
            Simply2Dev | | #10

            Thanks for taking the time to respond. Your response highlights one of the aspects of THREADS I've always appreciated, which is that the editors and writers have always made their readers feel "co-invested" in the quality of the publication. All the more reason why I was saddened not to feel like we were part of the discussion when changes were being considered.

            I meant no disrespect to Judith Neukam. Her article on the top of the line machines was well researched and well written. - and well beyond my wildest dreams.

            A few positive thoughts - how about an update on the fabulous map and shopping planner for fabric shopping in NYC? I went last August on the very day BJ Fabrics was moving to their new 7th Avenue location, so missed out. How about an article on clothing and fabric choices which are office appropriate, but not black, grey or beige?

            Thanks again.

          7. carolfresia | | #11

            Good news (although too late to help you, I'm afraid): the NYC map has been updated, and it's available for download. Go to the Threads homepage, and look at the upper left--you should see a notice that it's there for you to access.

            I know what you mean about those machines being beyond your dreams. Even though I've decided to buy one, it's tough to accept that it will, indeed, cost more than my first car. I try to remind myself that that first car was a long time ago, and that I bought it, used, from my dad. And it wasn't nearly as much as fun as I'm sure this machine will be! But I will have to go on a very, very strict fabric diet.


          8. ceb1 | | #13

            I am pleased that other people brought up the topic of how Threads has changed. I have been sewing for over 40 years and own over 25 machines some of which are industrials. I also own a top of the line Pfaff that does it all. I bought my first embroidery machine in 1982 , a Janome 8000 and up traded a couple of times acquiring all the latest embroidery programs. A few years later I lost interest in using that feature as I like clasic sewing and traded in for other machines. I love to sew and enjoyed Threads immensely but lately it seems to have become Threads-Lite . My interest now falls more into couture sewing and improving my skills. More articles on " how it's done" and how people achived the level of skill wether they are amatuer or a profesional would be nice. It seems the focus is more on how make a "knock-off" rather than the real thing i.e. tailored garments rather than elastic wasted pants or skirts that are quickly made without shape.

  2. ChristineM | | #8

    I haven't had time to read the May issue yet, but wanted to comment on the embroidery discussion.

    A couple of years ago I wanted to get a new sewing machine. I make tailored slacks and the occasional fancy dress and jacket. I DO NOT embroider and have zero interest in it. Visiting three different sewing machine stores, I told the sales people that I wanted a SEWING machine. After spending about 5 minutes describing how well their machines sewed, each one started going into how great the machines' embroidery capabilities were. Even after I repeated my lack of interest, they persisted. I ended up sticking with my old machine (not really a sacrifice) because I could not justify spending a lot on a machine whose main improvement was ability to embroider.

    Some of the quilting articles are interesting if only for impressing me with the amazing creativity of many quilters! But machine embroidery is not for me.

  3. claudia | | #9

    I also was most disappointed in the last 2 issues of Threads. But my reason is different from what I've been reading from others. I used to be a garment sewer until the pattern companies totally gave up on good fit. I do not have fitting skills, nor do I want to spend the time to acquire them when the pattern companies should provide well-fitting patterns. So, 20 years ago, I switched to quilting and minimally fitted wearable art. I subscribed to Threads for quilting and embellishment articles, from the dressmaker and tailoring point of view, which is very different than the quiltmaker point of view.The last 2 issues have been very lean on those topics. I may not renew. It's sad. It's nice that there is such diversity in the sewing field. But I guess that means that no publication will satisfy everyone. Maybe Threads should pick a direction and stick to it and not dabble in other areas.

  4. Michelle | | #12

    I posted this reply to another thread, however, I thought it appropriate to mention this to you as well.

    http://www.wildginger.com/ has a small downloadable program, which is free of charge, called 'Wild Things' which has various simple, quick to make, patterns such as bags, wraps, hats etc.

    Good Luck,


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