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Conversational Threads

Reader’s Closet anyone?

agfreedm | Posted in General Discussion on

Hello from Threads!  I wanted to introduce myself to you fantastic Gatherings ladies and gents. I am the assistant editor of Threads here in Newtown, CT. I left my designer job in New York City where I was the designer of Bandolino at Jones Apparel Group and joined the Threads staff which I absolutely love. I wanted to put myself out there for those of you who love our magazine and want to chat with me about our magazine or upcoming topics in the sewing world.

We would love your ideas for our Reader’s Closet section.  It is after all, about the readers and your designs.  If you have any great ideas or garments you want to share with us, please send me your photos and a description about what inspired you and information about your designs.  You can send them right to my attention in the Newtown office. I’ll be waiting!

I thought I would throw out a Jacket contest as well.  Using Simplicity pattern 4032-come up with your own design and show us what you got. You can alter the pattern, embellish it, add trim, etc.  I would love to see your ideas.

Looking forward to chatting!




  1. GailAnn | | #1


    By Jones Apparel Group, would that be what we know as Jones New York?  Always a favorite of mine, in ready to wear.


    1. User avater
      agfreedm | | #2

      Thank you!  Yes, Jones New York is one of the brands under the Jones Apparel umbrella. They also own Nine West, Anne Klein, and former owners of Evan Picone, 9 and co, etc. So we were in 4 buildings in the garment district.  A big operation! 

  2. katina | | #3


    1. User avater
      agfreedm | | #4

      thanks! I've been with Threads since December-just wanted to get to know everyone on gatherings. Have a great holiday weekend!

  3. sewslow67 | | #5

    Welcome, Ariel.  I checked out that jacket pattern and think I might take the challenge.  It will depend a lot though, on the deadline date.  We are right in the middle of several planned vacations; (we don't take long ons, but several shorter ones during the summer and fall).  I'd also like to know if there are any limitations as to how far we can go when it comes to altering the basic jacket design.

    As for Reader's Closet:  I really enjoy seeing what other readers are doing.  It wouldn't necessarily need to be a contest section either, rather focus on a particular garment (tops, blouses, skirts, pants, dresses, suits, dressy, casual, formal, holiday, vacation ...you get the drift). 

    You could also focus on a particular fabric content, i.e. cotton, linen, wool, tencel, etc. to see what gals and guys come up with, or ...fabric design, i.e. plain fabric that has been embellished, prints, stripes ...and pattern choice for that particular fabric design.  Perhaps that's what you've done already though, and I just didn't pick up on it.

    Anyway, these are just some thoughts you that your staff might be able to use as a spring board as you make plans for future issues.

    1. katina | | #6

      Good suggestions; I'm going to try that jacket if I can get the pattern.

    2. User avater
      agfreedm | | #16

      There are no limitation in my book for the this challenge. I agree, fabric choice plays a big part in a look. The right fabric can make or break a pattern, and the same goes for trim and embellishments. The deadline will be October 15th so I hope that works for you!

  4. jjgg | | #7

    is this contest just for Gatherings?

    1. User avater
      agfreedm | | #17

      No, this can be for anyone who is interested.

  5. Teaf5 | | #8

    Simplicity 4032, I thought that sounded familiar! 

    I made up a twill version of the ruffle-hemmed view and was very excited by the lovely detailing and the many fitting options.  Unfortunately, it was exceedingly unflattering for a curvy, mature woman, so it languished in my closet for months until I finally donated it to charity.

    I kept the pattern, though, as the fit was wonderful and have thought about making View A, the longer, plainer version.  Perhaps this summer is a good time to try it out!

    I, too, like the fit and quality of the Jones group rtw, so I'm looking forward to your input in the magazine and on the forum.

    1. GailAnn | | #9

      Did you make the 'shawl' collar version?????  Sometimes 'shawl' collars can be fluffifying and aging even on the youngest and slimist of the Sweet Young Things.  Gail

      1. Teaf5 | | #28

        I made version D, which has a slim shawl collar.  The problem for me was the flounce at the lower edge; it was almost like a ruffle, it was so full.  With a small ribcage but full bust and average hips, I really don't need any extra curves!

        The bodice, shoulders, and sleeves fit especially well, though, so I'm considering the A version next.

        1. GailAnn | | #29

          I looked at the pattern again, today at JoAnn's.  Still didn't buy it. 

          Liked the big collar pretty well.  I had a "Maxi-coat" with a collar like that "back in the day"...........  Spent the entire first pay cheque of my very first 'real' job on it.   I wore that coat for nearly a decade!

          Shawl collars can be adjusted to be a little less aging by the cutting (and of course sewing) of a notch in the collar, to break up the line a little.  Gail


          1. DONNAKAYE | | #33

            Actually, it's not a shawl collar at all, but, rather, a very large Peter Pan collar.

          2. GailAnn | | #34

            Hi Miss DonnaKaye, I agree with you about the very large Peter Pan collar.  I've always adored that look.  It is the other view, the shawl collars, I find to be a bit aging on many ladies.  Gail

          3. DONNAKAYE | | #35

            I could be wrong, but I've opened up and traced the collars on View D and the body on View C for my project.  The collars are attached just like a peter pan collar, is probably the way I should have stated it.  Perhaps we're simply in a language quandry.  Perhaps you meant that the big collar in View C looks like a shawl collar.  In any event, the technique for attaching the collar is that used in the peter pan collar, not the shawl collar.  Maybe it's a fine point, but for the benefit of the readers I thought I'd make this clarification.

            I agree.  I can't wear that big collar either.  I'm too short and have a long torso and short stubby legs.

          4. Cherrypops | | #36

            Thanks for the clarification on the collars.. and are you making progress?

          5. katina | | #37

            Cherrypops, are you going to try this one? I'm hesitant because I think I'd look like an overstuffed ottoman in it.


          6. Cherrypops | | #38

            I thought about it, but it won't get finished for Readers Closet. It would be for my next winter too. Never know, I might get the pattern and stash it.

          7. katina | | #39

            Yes, me too. By the time I get the pattern and send the item to Threads....you know how it goes.


          8. sewslow67 | | #40

            Thanks for the clarification on that collar, DonnaKaye; it would engulf my figure and I would just get lost in all that fabric.  I had wanted to participate in this one, but would have to do too much alteration on the jacket, including eliminating the collar altogether.  Still, the pattern looked "ripe" for surface designs, but there is no way I could get it done in time, considering other projects that have tight deadlines.

          9. DONNAKAYE | | #41

            I hear you loud and clear on the time bit....Refer to my new posting on the fusible underlinings I've been pursuing.  Well worth the time and effort....d.

          10. sewslow67 | | #42

            Super information, DonnaKaye; I'll be sure and bookmark that ...or better yet, copy and paste for my info binder.  Thanks for sharing that with us and pointing it out to me.  I appreciate it.

    2. katina | | #10

      Thanks for that info, Teaf5 - sounds like it's not for me then!

  6. DONNAKAYE | | #11

    Ariel, I am thrilled you are with us.  I plan on trying my hand at the Reader's Closet.

    By way of background, I am the daughter of famed Bishop Method Master Teacher Trainer Audrey Childress.  During her lifetime (she passed away in '96), she taught and fitted over 30,000 students and traveled to all 48 continental states to present her Audrey Childress Fashion Sewing seminars.  I learned to sew from her beginning at age 4.  I am now 53 years-old and still sewing strong.  Matter of fact, I recently purchased an old back issue of Threads at a local sewing store, and when I opened the issue, to my surprise, there was my mother's ad for her summer couture workshop, which she gave every year in New Orleans (my hometown).

    As a child, Edna Bryte Bishop was a visitor to our home.  It has always saddened me that Threads has never recognized this remarkable woman.

    Edna B. was the FIRST person ever to bring industrial sewing methods to the home sewer.  She revolutionized home sewing, and that is no exaggeration.  With every Threads issue I see techniques that Edna B. brought to the home sewer.

    Well, anyway, just a suggestion.  I think the history of bringing industrial techniques to the home sewer is one that should not be lost.  The Bishop Method Council disbanded, it is my understanding, in 2002 or so.  Very, very sad.

    We are very happy to have you with us, and we look forward to lots of juicy chats.



    1. katina | | #12

      Donna, thanks for this info - fascinating.

    2. User avater
      ThreadKoe | | #13

      DonnaKaye, are you going to submit an article? Hint Hint Cathy

      1. DONNAKAYE | | #14

        I didn't know I could....Where should I inquire about that?

        1. User avater
          agfreedm | | #18

          We love getting proposals! There is a form for a proposal on our threads site. The more proposals we get, the better off we are!

          1. DONNAKAYE | | #19

            Do we get the garment back after submitting it for Reader's Closet?

            P.S.  JNY is one of my very favorites too....I'm not so familiar with Bandolino, other than the shoes.  How are their stylings characterized?

          2. User avater
            agfreedm | | #20

            Of course! If you make the garment and pay for the materials we send it back to you the day after our photoshoot. Bandolino was a little more fashion forward-geared towards a 20's -30's market. Unfortunately the brand is no longer in existence but the accessories and shoes are still going strong!

            Edited 7/7/2008 2:54 pm ET by agfreedm

    3. User avater
      agfreedm | | #15

      Hi Donna,
      Thank you so much for the warm welcome. The methods you mention below sound really interesting. It is great to hear where you got your skills from and all that Edna B. brought to the sewing world. I look forward to chatting as well!

      1. GailAnn | | #21

        I am a huge fan of both Edna Bryte Bishops' teachings and of Miss DonnaKaye's postings.    I wouldn't be sewing today if my aunt hadn't taken M. Bishop's course and passed her knowlege on to me. 

        I own 2 copies of the Bishop Method of Clothing construction copywrites 1959 and 1966.  They are among my prized possessions.

        How wonderful it would be if Threads were to republish some of those wonderful old works.

        Would love to read an artical in Threads about DonnaKaye's Mother.

        I wish those 'sewing schools' still existed.  Gail

        1. User avater
          ThreadKoe | | #22

          I finally found where I had tucked away my 1966 issue of The Bishop Method of Clothing Construction. :) I think it was the best $3.00 I have spent in a long time, (it was a yard sale find). I really must unpack all my sewing books, except then I would spend all my time reading my dear old friends....Cathy

          1. DONNAKAYE | | #24

            Cathy, can you share with us some great technique or tip from your 1966 version?

          2. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #25

            DonnaKaye, I certainly will, when I have finished reading through it again. It has been a while since I looked in it. Supposed to rain today, hot and muggy, a great day to read and sew. Cathy

        2. DONNAKAYE | | #23

          Thanks for the kudos to Mrs. Bishop.  I did submit a short story about growing up with mom and Edna B. and the many other teachers who came and went from mother's sewing room.  I suppose it wouldn't hurt to let Ariel Price know that you'd really like to see it published.  Maybe it'll start a trend.  Thanks again, GailAnn.  You are the greatest....d.

  7. DONNAKAYE | | #26

    Ariel threw out a Reader's Closet challenge which I have decided to take on.  I think it would be a lot of fun to collaborate with an experienced seamstress on the project.  WANTED:  Experienced seamstress.  Need someone with a eye for color, and especially fabric, underlining and lining selections, and garment understructure.  Hint:  I have everything already picked out but need some advice on weight/hand of underlinings, adapting style for fabric, etc.

    Any takers?

    1. User avater
      ThreadKoe | | #27

      What do you need to know?
      ask away Cathy

  8. Cherrypops | | #30

    have any of you talented ladies started this Jacket contest using Simplicity pattern 4032?

    if so, how's it going? . . without sharing too many secrets.

    1. katina | | #31

      Hi CP

      I was intending to, but the pattern will do nothing for my shape!

    2. DONNAKAYE | | #32

      Yes.  I am still in the planning stages -- fit, details, balance, structure and understructure.  I've finally acquired all of the necessary top fabrics and linings.  Still waiting for Touch o' Gold to come in so I can try it on a sample to see if I like it for the underlining.  One of our Gatherings friends and I have been collaborating on the project.  I wanted a fresh set of eyes to help me plan the details.  I am so happy with the results of our brainstorming.  She is very, very good with line, balance, color, etc., and has come up with some really terrific ideas.

      I'm planning the jacket, a straight skirt, a camisole top, and a handbag.

    3. Teaf5 | | #43

      I'm much more of an impulse sewer than directed one, so I may get around to that pattern again in the next five years, if ever.  I'm interested in what everyone else does with it, though. 

      Meanwhile, I'll be working on my custom "folding camp table super duper tablecloth with handy pockets" invention in time for our trip the day after tomorrow!  Looking forward to all your creativity

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