Recent issues a real disappointment
This message is to Carolfreesia or whomever has taken her place since I notice her name is no longer listed.
After all the sincere effort on the part of so many Threads readers giving feedback, with maybe not the majority, but a healthy slice begging the magazine to please not “dumb down”; to be the cutting edge of creativity — Threads has decided to try to please everyone. So those of us looking for “creativity-juice starters” for our sewing are left with what — Belle Armoir — a big advertisement for Stampington.
So, despite all the machine embroidery mags out there, there’s an article on machine embroidery. Then, there’s tailoring and How To. And for creativity, we get Marcy Tilton showing us how to make a neat bias collar. Like that, but need a whole lot more. Actually, I thought the best bit was on washing your stash. But, I already do just that to experiment with texture, so what did I get from this issue??
Zip. I’m outta here and outta buying your magazine. And I’m pissed that I wasted my energy trying to make it clear to you that us creatives have nothing out there. What happened — the almighty dollar??
Nancy I agree with you. I've been a subscriber for years and I am sick of the same old articles on tailoring and honestly one more embroidery article will make me scream. There are tons of embroidery magazines out there but threads apparently feels that they need to keep their hand in that market as well so they cheapen the magazine by continuing to cover the subject. I mean really, does threads really need to be covering "how to organize your embroidery designs". The front page of the web site is all about machine embroidery. And the article on large prints - who doesn't know better than to put a large motif over the bust or the behind? The only thing I saw new in this isse was the belt article but thought that was a bit light on content too.
I got my subscription renewal in the mail the other day and threw it away, I won't renew until the magazine stops trying to be a "generic good for everyone" magazine. From here on out I'll stick to belle amoire, quilting arts and cloth paper scissors from here on out for my creative inspiration. I know I won't have to flip past a machine embroidery article in one of those magazines.
I've been struggling with the direction of Threads as well. My subscription is about to expire and I'm really not sure if I'm going to renew it....sad, after 16 years. Under normal circumstances, I would just check it out at the store and then buy or not based on content. However, my life is about to change dramatically and I won't be around to do so. DH has been transferred overseas and so we will be moving to Norway this summer. This is making me rethink whether or not to renew.....after all, I'm unlikely to see an issue of Threads on a Norwegian newsstand. Is a "dumbed-down" version of Threads better than none at all?
Moving to Norway this summer? If you haven't been before you are in for a treat! Norway in the summer is amazing. I think of mountain walks full of blueberries, crisp water, strolling in Oslo at 10pm in twilight still with that slow summer sun. The whole country goes into vacation mode. Where in Norway are you going?
I haven't been there before and don't know anybody who has.....I'll have to pump you for information! I've got travel books from the library and have done some internet research, but it isn't the same as hearing about it on a one-to-one basis from someone who has visited.We are going to the city of Stavanger. My husband (Canadian military) will be taking a position for three years with the NATO centre there. So we'll be on the South-west coast, which we understand has a much more moderate climate than here in Edmonton. No more -45°C windchills! Hurrah! I can so live with that....I can run all winter! Not to mention cross-country skiing!So what can you tell me? Obviously you enjoyed Norway when you visited. Tell me more, tell me more!!!!
The west coast is the one place I have not been! I've been way north along the coast and in the Olso area south. I came to the US when I was five and most summers my brother and I would spend with my grandparents in their summer cabin on a mountainside overlooking the big lake Mjosa in the middle of Norway. It was so green and blissfully cool. We escaped the melting heat of Virginia. Stavanger is going to be a bit windier and wetter facing the open Atlantic. Bring your rain gear! But you are right, you won't be in a sub zero deep freeze. Norwegians really know how to make good bread and you can buy it everywhere, yum. And good potatoes and carrots, root veggies. Hope you like fish... And the strawberries are the best, raspberries, wow.
Getting back on topic a little for this forum, Norway has a rich history of hand work in fiber arts. The traditional dress, the bunad, is a work of art. There is so much to get inspiration from. Norwegians don't strike me as the most fashion forward people, more practical, but maybe Stavanger and its more cosmopolitan mix does better.I'm sure the books are telling you a lot of these things, but if you have any questions, ask away! If I don't know then my mom and her scandinavian ladies group surely will. Hmm, I think one of them might be from Stavanger. That would be interesting.
I spent a week in Norway a few years ago, and I just want to second your opinion about their rich textile history. The sweaters are particularly beautiful. I was happy to see that it is not just tradition or something for tourists. Norweigans still wear those beautiful clothes every day.
Ah, yes...Norwegian sweaters. They are so gorgeous! Its nice to know that the locals wear them too.
It sounds as if your childhood summers in Norway were wonderful.....good memories! I understand that Stavanger is quite wet, but I don't mind as long as I don't have to shovel it, LOL! I love fish (the teenager, OTOH, will have to learn to like it) and bread, berries....food in general, yum. I'm really looking forward to exploring another culture.I've visited the Dale of Norway website and discovered that the Stavanger area has five wool shops selling their yarn. I don't think we HAVE five wool shops in Edmonton! Guess I'll have to dust off the knitting needles! I don't know what the fabric availability is, but you can be sure I'll be looking when we go for our house hunting trip next month. The fiber arts history of the country interests me very much and I'm sure that learning about it will be inspirational. It is likely to influence my own work.....I'm eagerly anticipating the stimulation!
I couldn't agree more...I thought I was the only one who noitced the "dumbing down". I look so forward to receiving Threads and have been disappointed over the last couple of years. I learned so much from earlier issues and still pull out my stash for inspiration or direction, but I have to say that it's from the earlier issues and not from the current issues. Whatever happened to Claire Schaeffer articles?? No offense to Sandra Bettzina; but I want couture techniques and history. I hope that there will be an improvement with a new editor and also with the feedback that this discussion has sparked. There are plenty of basic magazines about sewing but I always considered Threads the premiere.
I would like to say to you, BRAVO. I too, think that Threads has 'dummied down'.
Threads editors: Please do more articles on couture technique and construction. The article on Hillary Clinton's ball gown was so informative, I'd love to see more like that. For what it's worth, I belong to the American Sewing Guild and am in awe of the vast talent in our group and most of them subscribe to Threads.
On a positive note, I continue to learn and really appreciate the two recent articles on sleeve fitting. Keep that up also.
That article on Ms. Clinton's ball gown was a standout, all right. I remember the details still!Anyhow, I went back to my Threads stash, and at random, pulled out an old issue. It turned out to be #26, from Jan 1990, and here's what was in it:A long and BEAUTIFULLY-illustrated and detailed article on Koos' techniques.How to make a copy of your favorite pants.A study of pioneer-style quilts.Swedish two-stranded mittens.How to string beads, illustrated.How to use a pleater to enhance ordinary flat patterns.How to make a Japanese quilt top.Machine buttonhole technques, with an illustrated comparison of buttonholes from various machines.Adding hand-knit details to sewn clothes.Gorgeous cross-stitch floral patterns from a collection.Pretty floral sweater made by adapting a cross-stitch chart to a knitting chart.Bright textiles (molas) and garments done by Kuna Indians.All this in 77 pages, plus advertisements.There was something for everyone--but I don't know if, in general, that helped or hurt sales of the magazine. In my particular case, it made me want to buy it, because I knew there would be at least one lovely thing I was interested in.
I would suggest further that those of you who are skilled and experienced start a newsletter with current couture techniques illustrated in detail, and put a price on it. I would certainly subscribe to it and perhaps it would be cheaper!
I'm not familiar with Belle Amoir. Please tell me more. What does it cover? Where can one buy it? Do they have a website, and if so, what is it?
Haven't the foggiest! I think you need to address this question to someone else.
It's Belle Armoire. http://www.bellearmoire.com/
We're trying to incorporate couture articles in our website, though it truly is an art form, and require a lot of research. I think the article on adding the canvas strip to the hemline was a great idea.
I have been a Threads reader and sugscriber since #13. What attracted me to the magazine (which I saved my pennies for) was the variety, knitting, included. I go back to the old issues frequently. I analized my "rereading" habits and realized that I was consistantly going back to issues pre #50. There have been occasional good articles, but not for delving into over and over. I just flip past the machine embroidery, I realize the sewing machine companies are trying to sell the high end embroider machines, and I am not about to pay the $ for them. I am also reaching the end of my subscription, and have made the decision to pick up the new issue at the store and look through before I buy. I am so sorry this has happened to what was an incredible magazine. Jody
Anyone need a new job? This from the website:
"CHIEF EDITOR- Threads magazine, the leading how-to publication for people who love to sew, is looking for an experienced journalist and avid garment sewer to lead its editorial team. Requires proven managerial experience, strong visual and editing skills, and knowledge of the sewing market."
Maybe they'll find someone who doesn't like machine embroidery...
I'm going to jump in here in defense of Threads. While I don't subscribe, I do have many (about 60) issues that I've purchased over the past 12 years. I've been sewing my own garments for about 30 years, so I'm not a beginner. Some issues are better than others, but I think its more a matter of personal interest, than the direction of the magazine itself.I also, am not interested in machine embroidery, nor am I interested in quilting (surely there are plenty of magazines and books on quilting), but I'll gobble up every article on tailoring, fitting, and couture techniques. I even find some of the articles on the basics interesting, you never know when you'll come across something new.I'm not about to give up on Threads. For my money, its still the best bet for good information. Just so long as it doesn't overdo the machine embroidery and quilting thing! ;)Marion
Well, I'm sticking with THREADS too even though I don't want to see another article on machine embroidery (& I have an embroidery machine!). I especially enjoy the articles on tailoring and garment construction as well as fitting. I can tell you my fitting has improved greatly since reading those articles! The article on invisible zippers('92, I think) changed my life--that foot the article spoke of plus the tips really made a difference. Invisible zips are all I use now and I don't know how many times I've told ladies about the article. I know the sewing world is changing much to my dismay and very few ladies I know still sew clothing; however, there are a lot that sew crafts or quilt. This mag is the only one that still gives good info and I have stopped all my other sewing mags.
>>many (about 60) issues that I've purchased over the past 12 years
Isn't the magazine bimonthly? Which means you cannot have bought more than 24 issues!
Perhaps she purchased back copies??
I got the sums wrong anyway. Marionnc probably had 60 as she writes.
That's funny. I never stopped to check the math. LOL
6 issues a year for 12 years that equals 72 issues....so buying 60 issues is not out of the question...
>>many (about 60) issues that I've purchased over the past 12 yearsIsn't the magazine bimonthly? Which means you cannot have bought more than 24 issues!Wow! I try to be pretty careful about what I say when I post but I never thought I'd be called on this one! ;) In fact, I have 56 issues so I just rounded up. When I saw your comment, I actually paused for a moment and doubted my own count! Too funny!Marion
I just picked up this thread as I was checking out where I was with my subscription.
Here in Australia, we have a fine sewing publication called 'Australian Stitches'.I have a long standing subscription to it.But it is nothing like Threads. Apart from that, we have nothing else for dedicated garment sewers(can't come at 'sewists'-VBG). As someone else mentioned, sewing is becoming a rapidly disappearing art amongst the general population. It gets harder and harder to find ANY fashion fabric/notion stores,even in our big cities. Like most clothes makers, I like to handle the fabric before I buy-mail order is not very big here, YET.
While I value Stitches for what it is, nothing gives me what I get from Threads (and the first issue I have is #18!!). I absolutely adore this high class magazine. The subscription has become my birthday present every single year.
On one point,however, I will agree. I too have no interest whatsoever in machine embroidery. I don't mind the occasional article, but even in a smaller town where I live, we have access to at least 7 magazines that cover this area of embellishment.
I read Threads because it shows me a world I never see - high class sewing.Count yourselves lucky that you have it. If it wasn't for Perpetual Patterns in Melbourne,we would only have the big 4 to choose from. Before PP, I could only drool over the adverts in the back of Threads for independent pattern makers.
No sewing publication can meet the exact needs of its readers, but, in my case, Threads comes very very close.
Just my 'two bobs worth'
Aless in Adelaide,S.A.
Edited 3/7/2005 5:26 pm ET by Aless
I do think that even in its current watered-down form, Threads is the best regular publication available for those who are interested in anything approaching couture work. It may not compare to the old Threads, but I cannot think of anything else that comes close.
I agree - even with its faults it is the best thing out there for those of us who want to create beautiful garments. I will also cast another vote for not having more embroidery articles (and I also have such a machine). I am not giving up my subscription - the ads alone give us lots of useful information.
Hi from Sydney!
I was thinking of cancelling my subscription. The contents of Elona's post about the contents of the old issues makes me just want to buy up all the back issues and depart. Like eveyone else I just live in hope that the magazine will recapture its old identity. Of particular interest to me were the master construction techniques from the couturier houses.
Are the contents of all the old issues listed as above somewhere, not just the titles of themselves?
Thank you to all who've logged in to voice your opinions on recent issues of Threads. Although I don't reply to all posts on Gatherings, I do read them all (not necessarily the day they're posted--sometimes I get a few days behind when I'm out of the office), and assure you that I've shared their contents with all the staff here.
Please remember that a magazine is always a work in progress, and we're constantly striving to understand how we can best serve our readers. However, the time frame for planning and producing a magazine is pretty lengthy--we work many, many months ahead--and involves a lot of people in different places, so no change can happen instantly. We've been developing a number of new ideas over the past few months, which will start to appear in the magazine itself some time in late fall.
We're very excited about the upcoming issues and hope you'll enjoy the material we've selected.
Glad you are still tuning in! Thanks for all the good stuff in the current issue. Yes, like many others here, I am craving more couture articles, but that doesn't mean I'm not gettig some ideas and new perspectives from what is in the magazine now. I get to read about sewing and even see lots of ads about sewing.Don't forget the young sewers. I'm an older sewer but I love the input of the younger people. Maybe an article by a student at FIT or RISD in fashion would be enlightening to us all. Maybe something specific that describes the process of an assigned project.
Sometimes what drives me nuts (and I do enjoy the magazine... it is so much better than another sewing magazine I ordered to support a kid's school) -- is that wonderful garments are shown as winners of various contests ---
Yet we never get to read how some of the effects were accomplished!!!
Especially last year with the coat that was strips that were kind of woven. I believe it was discussed in this forum... but there was no article written about it.
ALSO... there has been some interest in the Bravo program "Project Runway", http://www.bravotv.com/Project_Runway/ . This showed kind of how the designger works, and the competition --- but it did not go into much detail on how they created the looks. It would be nice to see exactly how some of the creations were done!
Maybe even an idea of how the Parson's School of Design works... and where to the graduates go.
But that is just "dream on" stuff for me.
I do like the articles on fit, and dealing with fabric. Also, the occasional machine embroidery article does not bother me. I do embroider, but not enough to buy a magazine dedicated to it.
By the way, I like the bias collar article. It looks like a nice option.
Large print placement is very important. I learned this the hard way when I got a large flower placed directly over each breast. Fixed that with some creative applique!
And it is a pity about the tailored hem... so much hand sewing. Since I am allergic to nickel, I try to avoid touching hand sewing needles. While there are straight needles available without a coating of nickel --- there are very few options for hand sewing needles (quilt betweens and tapestry, neither are good options of general hand sewing). So I do my handsewing wearing kid gloves. sigh
Did anyone else notice that there were no home-decoration articles? They were very common in early Threads issues. Perhaps this is how machine embroidery should be done also. A once in a while type of article.
Chris, I saw the mention that you are allergic to nickle, so am I, and I find that I can use the platinum sewing needles, that you can find in better quilt shops. They slide through the fabric like butter. Yes the cost more, but are worth it. I have a needle holder I keep mine in. Hope you can find them. Jody
Yes, I have used both the gold and platinum plated needles from quilt stores... they are quilt betweens. They are also, tiny, slim and tend to poke into ME. Also, they are completely USELESS when I am sewing many home dec or outdoor recreational fabrics. ALSO... you canNOT thread them with button thread (which I use to keep buttons from falling off).
In short.... a real pain in the neck.
What I do is wear kid gloves to do hand sewing. I bought them from Value Village and some at a school's fundraising rummage sale. The leather is very thin and soft so that I can feel what I am sewing.
Hi, What a great idea to use kid gloves. I have a latex allergy also, so cannot use the "rubber finger" that is used in office work. So I do sew buttons on by machine, and also the fringe foot will sew on the plastic rings or you can use a zigzag stitch with the tension a little loose. What is difficult for me is snaps or hooks and eyes. I love hand sewing, it is so portable, so the platinum needles work very well. Someone told me that there is an English firm that makes needles of steel. I haven't looked into yet, but they come in little tubes. I need to check that out. Jody
Haven't had any personal experience with a nickle reaction. Last summer I had a chance to talk with a group of sewers at the International Plowing Match in Meaford, ON. They provided plastic gloves to all who attended so that we could do a hands on inspection of anything on display. What a treat!
A few quilters in this area who are allergic to nickle, are using the fingers of latex or vinyl gloves (some were allergic to latex too!)- they cut them off just at the palm. They use the 'fingers' only on the fingers that actually touch the needle. Of course, they have special finger protection for pushing the needle through all those layers. They say that usually the extra fingers will protect enough for a day of quilting and they toss them out. A bonus is that it's much easier to hold onto the needle while threading-assuming that one can see the eye, of course. Others just used the whole glove, they come in 4 different sizes, so even my broad palms are comfortable in them. A few did not like using gloves but each to her own.
Perhaps you could buy a pair or two at the pharmacy to try before investing in a box. One lady got her first pair from her hair stylist who uses them when she's colouring hair.
Just a suggestion. Your kid gloves are probably more comfortable but may be hard to replace. Haven't seen any around for years. Good Luck!
Edited 4/7/2005 5:38 pm ET by stitchwiz
Vinyl gloves (I'm avoiding latex ones) cause the hands to sweat... the allergic reactions are all related to persperation. Problems with nickel occur in combination with persperation. If you wear vinyl/latex gloves you should also wear cotton gloves under them. Or just the cotton gloves.
Cotton gloves are readily available in places that sell archival supplies (esp. for photographs). Kid gloves are also available at a high price new... I go to rummage sales for mine (I have 4 pairs). There is a problem with old leather gloves I have recently learned... the possibility of being allergic to the chromium used in tanning. There are now leather gloves that are for those with allergies to chromium tanning methods.
So... if jewellry manufacturers can cater to those with nickel allergies... and glove manufacturers can cater to those with chromium allergies....
Why can't needle manufacturers have a larger selection of non-nickel coated needles? Something beyond quilt betweens (too tiny) and tapestry (too blunt) -- perhaps some nice basic sewing needles.
Which brings up other topics that can be included in Theads, health issues that affect people who sew. Things other than posture...hand cramps, sight (like specialized prescriptions for those of us with older eyes), ear protection, dust, other allergies (spray adhesives), etc.
I haven't done it, but i have heard that it's not too hard to learn to make leather gloves for yourself, you could choose a non-chromium tanned leather....
Here's my 2 cents... i still love getting my Threads magazine. However, I used to spend AT Least 3 sittings reading it. 1. to scan all the articles. 2. to read in depth and 3. to read in depth the things I missed at #2.
Sadly, the past few issues have yielded little in depth which I found useful.
I looked forward to the belt article. Lots of great pics, but almost no new information. Liked Shannon's international mag article - a couple I will have to look for!
Leave out the embroidery articles!!! Boring & done by others! I don't have an embroidery machine & doubt I would use one very often. I love fashion sewing & reading about couture sewing, even though my lifestyle is one for the more casual attire. I save my old Threads for great techniques and creative ideas.
I did like the wash your stash article! It seems I have been buying more than I've had time to sew in the past 4 years...no more money now...time to play!
On the bright side...my car broke down to the tune of $2000 on Friday ( and no car for a week)... but my issue of Threads was in the mail! Still can make a lousy day much better. I'm not ready to give up on it yet...but please listen to us - fashion sewing is starting to make a come-back! I have 3 friends who have been buying machines!
Hello All , Yes I agree that the present Threads is better than no Threads at all . I also live in Australia and even though I live in a capital city it is getting harder and harder to find good fabric.
I have recently been reading an old Tauton publication which is a collection of articles found in Threads magazine It is great reading the collection of articles would have been collected over alot of issues . I too would like to see more on on couture sewing and while I have an embroidery machine , I would like to see a change from the the rather fussy and realist embroidery which seems to inhabit the internet and alot of the articles I see in mags . I really appreciate the designs on the Threads website but would love to be able to buy them all on one CD. Any chance ??????
The other sort of articles I would like to see is an examination of the insides of some of the garments housed in museums.Articles on the dreeses worn by famous people at graet events like presidential inaugurations etc .
Until I just happened upon this discussion, I thought my disappointment with recent Threads issues was just me. I love this magazine and have learned so much from it, but I have to agree that past issues seem to have articles with more depth and exciting creativity, as well as just plain good useful information. I hope that management heeds these messages and doesn't dismiss them as so much carping.
Well, I just received my April/May Threads today, and I must say that I think it's a good issue. It has a useful article on print repeats and pattern layout, a subject you seldom see addressed, although it's important for a good-looking garment. Then there's an article on vigorously washing and drying your finer fabrics (not just woolens) to texturize them for different effects. There's one on how to analyze and produce a well-fitting sleeve cap, and I've certainly seen a lot of gripes about poorly drafted sleeve caps on the sewing BBs. There's an article about foreign sewing magazines, which often have beautiful things, and which are largely unknown to many sewists. Marcy Tilton has an article on how to make a truly lovely and unusual bias collar trim. There's a fairly detailed article on making your own belts, using novelty closures or hardware that wasn't available even ten years ago. Finally, there's a faster variant on the classic tailored jacket hem (the main photo for this one is not the best, though).All in all, Threads, I think this issue is a winner. But please, NO MORE big articles on machine embroidery. Enough already.
Edited 3/9/2005 1:50 pm ET by Elona
I concur that the April/May issue was more interesting to me than previous recent issues have been, and especially the articles you just cited.
Hi Mem, I agree with you, I would love to see the inside of the beautiful couture clothing worn at events for technic etc. The last article that I thoroughly read and reread was the article on Koos jackets. That was great. Also there was one on Dior, and Chanel, and the bias of (Ithink) Violett. They are wonderful. So inspiring, also the diagrams on the Myaki designs. Oh well, I do know the magazines work 6 mos in advance, any of our suggestions will take time to get on the market, but I cant believe they will be ignored. I really like your Australian Stitches mag, it is carried here in a local quilt store. It is fairly basic, but the instructions are so clearly written, better than most, and the models look like real people. Jody
Well here in Aus we complain about Stitches mag too as its seen as rather fussy and boring by some . I think its really important to have a range of aesthetic tastes in a magazine and I think that this is one thing that Threads does well . It also has very good standards in photography and seems to put some thought into what photographs well This is something that Stitches needs to learn.I would recommend Stitches however as I certainly have learned alot in the years I have been subscribing .
I'll put my 2 cents in to this discussion. The magazine is prettier and well designed but would that the article were better. I miss those articles on cutting edge designers. If I see one more article on machine embroidery I too will scream. Also, not interested in quilting. There are plenty of magazines on those topics. I also hate using those techniques in clothing. I have yet to see a flattering desing using either. There was an article on pieced clothing, last issue?, the most unflattering clothing I have seen in a long time. Creativity in clothing is great but people seem to forget we actually have to wear it, not put it on the wall!
Well, I have vented. I will not cancel my subscription, hope springs eternal and I keep hoping that it will get better.
I agree with you about the unflattering garment. The pieced one you metnion I found very unappealing. Most of the garments in the magazine pictures are pretty awful in my opinion. I hesitate to voice my opinion about it because there are other tastes than mine in the world and I think everyone should have what turns them on. I just wish that some of the time I could see pictures that I think are lovely. And the colors almost always seem to be colors I don't wear. Remember the color "seasons"? The people on the Threads staff must be Autumn and Spring, no one can possibly be Winter like me! And that is enough complaining from me today.
I too have hesitated to criticize the fashions, but they are never anything that I would wear.
Now for my 2 cents worth again on this subject. I think what has happened to Threads is that it has tried to become all things to all people and starting to do none of it very well. Here in Australia our largest fabric retailer has gone into liquidation in my opinion because it got too big, spread itself too thin and forgot about sewing garments and providinfg decent fabric. and started getting into crafty stuff which became overpriced. They forgot about those who love good fabric and started pandering those who like to do a bit of craft in front of the Telly! They lost the custom of people like me who want quality fabrics and the crafty folk got sick of their fiddling and bought their items from chain stores who source them very cheaply from China etc.
The fabric shop which I frequent is doing a booming trade in buying in beautiful and often unusual fabrics and then demonstarting how these items can be used in wys that I wouldnt necessarily think of straight away. . It is staffed by people who really know their stuff.
Threads needs to be careful that it doesnt just become like all the other information sources out there and disillusion its readership too much more . I recently aquired a book put out by Taunton in1991 called Great Sewn Clothes or something like that . It is a collection of articles which came out of the early issues of threads mag . What great reading . Now come on Threads lift the game and come back to your main fans!!!!
I think that you may be right. I have all of those early articles in the book and they are great. I have used the 2 on pants fitting in particular.
Many years ago I took couture sewing lessons at a fabric store that specialized in high end and designer fabrics. I learned not only how to sew well, but how to put fabric and pattern together. She died and there was no one to take over a great shop.
I have that book, Great Sewn Clothes, too and I was reading it last night. Reading about Kleibacker and hand sewing started thinking that maybe it is not the literal content of the magazine now that is unsatisfying but the spirit of the content. A different interpretation of couture or fine fiber arts. People like Kleibacker demonstrate so beautifully that sewing clothes is creating from the heart and having all the skills and knowledge of materials to make your very own creation. This kind of garment does not come from a pattern envelope from a big company. Purchased patterns are fun tools or "kits" to use but I don't think the big pattern companies are doing us any favors with the many poor patterns and confusing instructions. Why am I getting prefab patterns pushed on me by the magazine? All those articles on altering patterns. I'm being told that I need a pattern to alter.Why isn't knitting and crocheting considered couture? In the right application it is. Doesn't anyone knit cuffs for a woven sleeve anymore? Or crochet edging?We get excited about sources of designer ends of fabric. They are wonderful fabrics but sometimes I wonder why we only get leftovers. If designers have their fabrics woven for them why don't we have some custom fabrics? Weaving is part of couture. I recently met a woman that does custom weaving and she had some sweet chenille baby blankets. We talked a little bit about collaborating. I started thinking about how to sew chenille and then thought about all the other weavers in my area, lots of wool being spun around here in incredible colors.Is hand embroidery becoming a lost art? The Norwegian folk costume has a white linen blouse that is embroidered at the neck and cuffs with white linen thread. That white on white in a blouse is stunning. Looks couture to me.I could go on and on...which is unusual for me, I am generally not much of a talker. I think this is all hitting a nerve!
My sentiments exactly, Elizabeth. I'm a knitting fanatic and frequently combine sewing and knitting in the same garment. The possibilities with woven fabrics, ethnic fabrics are endless. I wish they'd do some articles along these lines. Oh, I do hope Threads is taking notes - I really can't cope with any more machine embroidery.
Well I agree and disagree. Patterns are great for people who are very busy and just dont have the time to become proficient at drafting a pattern. I have found the books on customizing and fitting commercial patterns to be very useful.
I would love to have an article on combineing knitting and wovens that is a really good idea.
I have run across several patterns for combining knitting and sewing in the Burda mag. and they are appealing, but I haven't knit in years and the instructions are so poor as to be useless, so there I would love to be able to turn to an article on how to do this. How do you plan cuffs or sleeves or collar and knit them for a pattern? That would be a useful artcile. I am glad that other people are speaking out about the strangeness of these quilted and embroidered garments. The beautiful garments that Chanel did last season with tweed running into sheer and embroidered bottoms are an example of how did they do this? They were beautiful and wearable. Well, if you have 5 grand or so. But the point is they were beautiful and exquisitely made.
I've been following this thread with interest since it was started, and it strikes me that while articles on machine embroidery are pretty much condemned by most posters, there is quite a diversity of opinion on which other areas of interest THREADS should focus on.In my opinion, I'd like to see THREADS focus strictly on fine sewing, couture techniques, fitting and tailoring. Others would like to see more articles on knitting, crocheting, quilting and the like. The way I see it, there are plenty of resources for knitting etc, but what else is there for high quality garment construction?? If there are any other magazines for fine sewing I'd love to hear about them.Perhaps one reason for the emphasis on machine embroidery articles in THREADS is because they derive most of their income from advertising, and a lot of the advertising is from sewing machine manufacturers who are all trying to push their high-end embroidery machines. On a side-rant, a couple of years ago I was looking for a new computerized sewing machine with good solid basic stitches and a good buttonhole feature including real keyhole buttonholes, but without a gazillion embroidery stitches. Good luck! And don't get me started on the trend of fabric stores to stock more quilting and crafty fabrics, and fewer and fewer good quality fine garment fabrics! I guess its a reflection of what the market wants, which brings me back to my original point. If quilting and machine embroidery is what the market wants, and therefore what the advertisers are pushing, can THREADS afford to buck the trend? I hope that THREADS decides to focus strictly on fine sewing, but if they are going extend their focus beyond fine sewing, should they include knitting? And if they include knitting, then why not quilting... and if they include quilting, then why not machine embroidery? Its a slippery slope!Marion
I agree with you about the fashions. I always thought that everyone has different tastes when it comes to fashion but many of the fashions in the magazine I think are just very unappealing and I would never wear them. I work for a major retailer in the fashion industry in New York City so many of the fashions featured in Threads just strike me as quite odd. My gut reaction is "Oh my God, that's so ugly! Who wears this?" None of the creative designers I have met wear fashions that are pieced, quilted or embroidered. They like to mix colors, shapes and textures.
I too thought the pieced garment was awful.
I did like the article on the tailored hem and would have liked the article to be more in depth. I also liked the jacket this article featured. I thought the article on fitting sleeves was useful.
I won't be canceling my subscription to Threads in the hope that things will get better and in the hope that Threads will stop having articles on machine embroidery.
Well, that's enough venting for me!
I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought those clothes were unflattering - in fact some of the design contest winners in recent issues were so ghastly I thought the editors of Threads had lost their collective minds. I, too, find Threads a quick read and wish they would get back on track. Carol, maybe you could let us know what the editors are planning rather than just hinting at changes.
I can't give details of upcoming issues, and definitely not here! What if spies are lurking?
Seriously, though, I can assure you that the changes we're working toward will be in response to feedback we've received from a variety of sources (including this discussion board), and research we've conducted over the past few years of publication, as well as our knowledge of the entire home-sewing audience. It's important to us to understand who's out there sewing, so we can provide information they need and want.
I've been following this thread and share the concern/ambivalence regarding trends in the mag over the last couple of years. I'll admit I only found Threads a few years ago and only subscribed two years ago. Right now, Threads strikes me as a publication that is either confused or trying to serve an audience that's too fractured to easily address. That is, where no one segment is broad/deep enough to attract circulation/ad numbers strong enough. Hence, perhaps an "all things to all people, but good at none of them" flavor. The departure, so close together of both a long-time senior editor (D. Coffin) and chief editor suggest turmoil/confusion. Here's to hoping this too shall pass. Without adding my personal laundry list of ideal content, I'd simply like to note that things lately seem increasingly fluffy. Whatever the subject, I'd like to see more meat in the editorial content. Too often, after reading an article I know just a bit or get an idea, but don't get any real suggestions or direction. It's like no one wants to take a stand and say "this is what I recommend or what works for me." Instead, there's lots of vague idea stuff. Judith Neukam's last two offered more meat, by comparison. At least after reading them I knew how she felt about it and some real "this works and this don't" notes. For a contrary example, the pattern mag article would have been more useful to me if more than just a list of them. Do it as a series (even if just one or two per issue), make up a similar garment from each (I have no idea what was made for this article), such as a medium-difficulty blouse, and, talk about strengths, differences, impressions, fit, directions, etc. I use and love Burda WOF, but after the article I don't know if I'm interested in any of the others or not! FWIW, I understand that much/most content choice is driven by ad revenue concerns, but the specific content and editorial vision shouldn't be. I'll be watching and hoping changes are more long-lived, consistent and durable than over last 6-8 issues.
Shannon Gifford, the author of the International Patterns article, did a tremendous amount of research for her article--some of which simply didn't fit into the alotted page count. She's a contributor to this forum upon occasion, and would, perhaps, be willing to answer specific questions you and other readers might have about the patterns. I'll ask her, and then maybe we can set up a discussion about that.
I don't doubt that a tremendous amount of work went into the article and research. My comment was more to lament that most of this work went unseen. The author mentions a garment was made from each, but we hear nothing, or at least nothing systematic, consistent, and meaningful about her experiences. I assume that the contributors/editors for Threads are chosen because of experience and expertise, the ability to write about it, and similar reasons. I acknowledge that different people will have different responses to, affinity for, and results from using a given pattern/resource. I'd have simply liked to have seen more information, even if abbreviated in a tabular format, that described the work, provided opinions or conclusions, and differentiated the publications. If I asked a friend for similar information, I would expect some opinions about which was liked better for what purposes and why. If he/she simply said, "these are the ones I know about, but I'm not going to tell you about my experiences because I don't want to bias you," I'd point out that Google provides lists.... I have opinions about each of the big 4, Kwik-Sew, independent pattern companies, Burda WOF, etc. based on the results and experiences I've had. I'd hope your authors do, too. To me, the page count, presentation format, and content as well as the subject are editorial choices, and therefore relevant to a discussion of perceived changes in the magazine's editorial approach and content. You are right to suggest that a discussion here could be a useful resource, or additional info on the website. That would be a great way of adding more value to almost any article. If that is true, reference it in the issue so it is effectively included. Thanks for the response and patience reading all this stuff.
I wanted to clarify something that seems to be misunderstood by some participants in this discussion. The content of Threads (nor of any Taunton magazine, for that matter), is not driven by advertisers or concern for ad revenue. Our editorial content is determined by the editors, who make decisions based on information we've gathered about what readers like, want, and need to see.
Of course the magazine includes advertisements, which are selected to be closely pertaining to sewing (you'll notice we don't have ads for cosmetics, laundry detergents, or shoes, even though all of those products would, demographically speaking, be of interest to our average reader). Our hope is that the advertisements, like the editorial content, will increase your knowledge about sewing, lead you in new directions, help you find products and services that you can't obtain locally, and generally foster enthusiasm and growth within the sewing community. When that happens, everyone benefits.
I have just caught up with this topic (haven't read Gatherings for awhile... was trying to do my own 12 step computer addiction program :-D ) --
I think it is definitely "dumbed down" in recent years in general (as someone said, what isn't?!), I picked up an older issue with Claire Shaeffer's Chanel skirt article and the first thing I noticed was how much more copy and how much less "airiness" there was - a lot of meat to the articles. More text, smaller text. But that's consistent with all publications in my opinion. But I think it's also "dumbed down" - not insultingly - but by having more basic instruction than say 7 or 8 years ago when I first found it. I think it was predictable that this would be happening by the survey questions posted here a year ago and discussion by Threads on how to get more new/beginning/returning sewers. I thought it was pretty easy to see that coming.
I'd still rather have Threads like this than no Threads, and without knowing Threads in its early days, I'd rather have it as is (though more fine sewing as suggested would be great!) than as it originally was, primarily because those other areas aren't of interest to me and it seems there are a wealth of other magazines available to needleworks other than general sewing. Just my $.02.
As for the advertising/editorial relationship, Carol I believe you when you say advertisers don't drive the selection of editorial content, but let's face it, if you cut out machine embroidery articles as many would like so that wasn't a part of the magazine and alienate some machine embroiderers, you can bet those embroidery machine manufacturers would seriously reassess their advertising expenditures. There are plenty of other places for them to advertise to get to these users. I don't think they'd go away but they'd surely cut back.I have heard that most magazines make more money off of advertising than actual magazine sales so Taunton's not about to abandon those ads. (I don't mind the ads, just don't buy that there's no influence between advertising/editorial).
Finally, while I will keep reading and loving Threads, and the instructional focus on it is ok, I think it's getting instructional in less challenging areas and focusing on less complicated "how to's" than on more complicated or innovative ones or than featuring more new techniques and ideas. In looking toward the "Inspired by Threasd" challenge for this year I realized in flipping through the last many issues, that, while I devoured the instructional - I really don't find nearly as much to be inspired by....
If you are going to publish articles on machine embroidery PLEASE tell us exactly what machines and software were used. Some articles have been virtually incomprehensible and some have hazy generalisations which suggest to me that the authors do not understand the full range of options available.
One article was illustrated with a photo of a Bernina, but the software illustrated was definitely not Bernina Artista.
I applaud your attempts to get the embroiderers to go beyond putting cartoon characters on towels, but it is no good if we cannot understand what is going on!
Ghillie (who has a Bernina plus its own software)
The quality of the current articles are fine for newer sewers, however the title says :
FOR PEOPLE WHO LOVE TO SEW
There is a big difference between love and like. Those who love to sew probably have been sewing for quite a while and therefore have better than average skills. Most of us have very extensive libraries that more than cover the basics. It's the couture techniques, more refined fitting techniques, advanced pattern drafting skills, etc., that we all seem to be looking for. ( I know that my grammer is poor today, but you know what I mean.)
Let's hope that the editorial staff and the rest of the management team will take a long, hard look at the direction they have taken. They need to look at how many subscribers are long-time subscribers, and particularly, how many have not renewed recently. Many of you have said that you are not going to renew. Have you told them?
Perhaps they should reach out to their readers, especially their subscribers who have been spending hard earned money to support them, and have us fill out a poll about the direction we want the magazine to take.
If they need answers quickly, use the computer!
We can use our computers. For those who don't have one of their own, they can probably get to a public library to complete a questionnaire online.
They could do a mini poll just by contacting all of us who use GATHERINGS. They could email us directly because they have our email addresses, and tell us where to go online to fill in an anonymous poll. I would have no problem if they know what I think. Send me the questionnaire and I'll complete it and email it back. It would be faster and they would have the answers they need - immediately.
If they value our business, then they will listen to us but we have to let them know what we want, and we have to let them know what we don't want.
We need to offer positive suggestions like:
Create yet another magazine dedicated to computerized embroidery if there is a large enough group who would like that. They certainly would have no trouble finding advertisers who are targetting this group.
Advertisers help pay the bills and help keep subscription costs down. There are a lot of other advertisers out there who have products that we need and use every day that we never see in their magazine. Suggest other companies, local to you, who may have never been approached about advertising in THREADS. There are many other countries with thriving businesses who can serve us...if only we knew about them...what about Canada, Australia, UK, Norway, Holland, Switzerland, South Africa (these are the ones I personally know about)...This magazine goes around the world! They need to bear in mind that every one has a budget to work within - they may need to wait 'til the next fiscal year before some smaller companies can come on board. But small companies grow into larger ones with more customers...
Approach up-and-coming fibre artists about writing articles for the magazine, I'm sure many of us know of someone who has special talents/knowledge who would be thrilled to share. Feature the leading designers in the industry and share their knowledge. Again, all they have to do is ask!
It is amazing what can happen when we just ask. Tell them what we do want.
We also need to tell them what we don't want as objectively as we can.
Since we don't know why they are changing the magazine, we can only speculate on what they need. We are all intelligent people. We may not all have a great deal of business experience, but we can all figure out what we want and need. And we are willing to pay for what we want by subscribing. They sell advertising based on the number of subscribers who will see the ads. This is not rocket science! We need to let them know.
If all else fails, then perhaps someone else or another company out there could give us what we want and are willing to buy...
After all, it's the squeaky wheel that gets the grease. We are willing to put our money out. Let's see if they will listen.
How about it folks? Are you willing to send the staff at Threads an email or a letter about what you want?
Taunton Press is the top of the chain, we also need to send the President a copy so that he/she knows what is happening directly from us. The president usually relies on the head of each division to report what is happening in their division. We need to make sure that all of the right information is getting to the right person.
I am sure everyone at THREADS is dedicated and loves what they do. Somehow our perception of what it should be doesn't match what we are getting.
NOW IT'S TIME TO BE PART OF THE SOLUTION!
I never thought I would send out something like this. It started out as a simple comment, and during the process of putting my thoughts on the screen it has evolved into an appeal to each and every one of you to work for what you want. So now that we know what we want, put your fingers on the keyboard and share what you want with the people who can make it happen.
We are all blessed to be able to do what we love and then share it with others.
Here's to a renewed and improved THREADS!
Happy Typing and Happy Stitching!
Edited 3/29/2005 10:27 pm ET by stitchwiz
Well put! But I have responded to the surveys which they sent me as a long-term subscriber; I have participated in the on-line discussions; I have written at least three letters to the editor which were never acknowledged, must less ever printed. It's therefore difficult for me to accept that they are listening - maybe sales are good enough that they feel they don't have to.
Me too. I think there are pretty much 2 lines here, those of us who have been sewing for years and those of us who are b eginners. I will say that when I first started reading Threads I was not any where as accomplished as I am today and I think that Threads had a lot to do with that. I found the challenging artcles to be inspirational; a quality I could strive to reach. It has been a while that I found an article that inspired me to reach.
I want to join the chorus yelling "dumbed down". Even the beautiful, inspiring back cover has been changed on recent issues to show some weird, egotistical far-out "current name" art garment. Formerly, there was a museum garment with suggestions on how to use the featured technique in current construction.
The recent article on 25 expert's tips was a total joke. I have to believe that something went wrong at deadline, and the editors were forced to substitute that weak little article for an intended feature. If that was NOT the case, no wonder you folks are looking for a new editor!!
My name will not show up on the subscribers list, because I purchase every issue of Threads in the sole surviving quality fabric store in my city, as a way of supporting that business.
Yes, I can understand that there is a demographic dilemma facing publishers and advertisers and fabric stores -- the older generation of best customers (age 70+) are becoming inactive or even dying. The answer is not to push hardware, like top of the line sewing machines (or even embroidery machines).
Instead, can I suggest targeting a neglected demographic? What, exactly, does a 50+ year old woman wear to look nice, polished and professional but not in a business suit? She won't find it in ANY major retailer (who are chasing the exposed navel crowd, and ignoring a LOT of disposable income). Therefore, she may NEED to sew more than other demographic segments.
May I suggest a targeted issue of Threads:
- Start off with fitting/alteration experts summarizing in one article the most common pattern tweaks and adjustments needed for "standard size range" older bodies. Here on this website, summarize similar books & get a link to Amazon or similar booksellers. You folks would get click-through revenues, right?
- Let there be a "pattern review" of readily available patterns, featuring a few photos with gray-haired models of various body types, in garments from those patterns. Let there be a "fashion show" here on the website showing lots of photos, with details. Include links to smaller pattern publishers, like Silhouette. Arrange for click-through revenues or advertising commitments based on resulting web traffic.
- Let there be an article on suitable fabrics, even giving some plugs to advertisers who do full-service mail order. Let there be a BIG section here on the website, with some photos of example swatches and links to EVERY advertiser's website, and their telephone # and physical address (send your advertising staff out ahead of time, so businesses who are not current advertisers are on board for this issue!) Arrange for click-through revenues or advertising commitments based on resulting web traffic.
- Let there be an article on machine embroidery about how to incorporate such details on sophisticated women's clothes -- yes, the topline ready-to-wear do some of this. Let there be a BIG section here on the website, with examples from software publishers of embroidery patterns, with photos of example swatches and links to EVERY advertiser's website, and their telephone # and physical address (send your advertising staff out ahead of time, so businesses who are not current advertisers are on board for this issue!) Arrange for click-through revenues or advertising commitments based on resulting web traffic.
- Let there be articles and similar web resources for faux versions of top designers -- for example, I would LOVE suggestions about duplicating St John Knits, because $700 suits just aren't in my budget...
THEN -- DO SIMILAR TARGETED ISSUES FOR PLUS SIZES, PETITES, HANDICAPPED PERSONS, etc etc.
How about Hispanic tradition clothes? Oriental? African-inspired??
All of this seems so obvious, but as has been stated elsewhere, the magazine seems to have lost its way. Working toward themes, with all resources functioning together, seems like a good fix.
Thanks for all the GOOD PARTS of Threads for so many years.
Carol in Denver
Thanks for your suggestions, in particular your ideas on how we can use our web presence better. At this time, Threads doesn't have a dedicated web editor; all material on our website must be prepared by the magazine editors. Unfortunately, if we are to get our bimonthly issues out, we can't devote as much time to creating the web content you recommend. There are just four of us editors here--would that we had four more to work on the website!
Our policy is not to "plug" any particular advertiser in the editorial part of the magazine, although we don't hesitate to provide sources or recommendations for products that our readers might otherwise have difficulty locating. On the Threads website, if you go to "Advertiser Index" (look in the left column of the homepage), you'll find links to all current advertisers who have websites. Because we assume that anyone clicking on the links to the advertiser has access to the web and is perfectly web-savvy, we don't provide phone numbers or mailing addresses--those will appear in the specific website itself.
I'd like to invite you and all the other Gatherings contributors who feel the magazine is "dumbed down" (personal aside: this phrase makes me very uncomfortable; whether it's intentionally insulting or not, it has a patronizing ring to my ears) to send in proposals for articles that will pique your interest and challenge you as sewers. We request a one-paragraph summary of the topic, a tentative outline of the article, and any photos, drawings or swatch samples necessary to help us better understand the technique you'd like to write about. Threads has traditionally been reader-written, and we continue to believe that our readers include precisely the kind of experts we like to have as authors.
I'm going to jump in here with a big "please!!!" and hope I won't step on any toes...
No matter what else has been said about how the magazine has changed and whether I like it or not (I love the magazine, I mean whether I like a change or not), going to targeted, nearly single focus issues would be a dealbreaker for me.
Carol from Denver has some excellent suggestions for content of a targeted issue, but I think it can be a challenge to take a single focus like that and make sure the included articles have enough general instruction/inspiration/etc. to accomodate the bulk or readership and not alienate them. Single focused issues are one of THE main reasons I cancelled my subscription to The Creative Machine Newsletter when it was in print. It came only 4 times a year and when two issues were dedicated to sewing areas I had no interest in whatsoever I felt like I'd wasted half the cost of the sub. Threads is only 6 times a year and I think this would be living dangerously. That said, I think special issues that feature a single focus that come out in addition to the regular 6 can add value to a subscription, perhaps increase the number of people interested in subscribing, increase newsstand sales, and be advertised as a product for sale on their own. Several magazines I've worked with have done this quite successfully.
I love your suggestions. I too am a 50 something woman who likes to dress well but I don't need to wear suits and the clothes I like at the stores are well above my means.
I originally received Threads as a gift subscription. It seemed to me the idea then was advanced sewing skills AND creativity. That's what I kept subscribing for. The person who gifted me dropped her subscription when she fell in love with quilting. I stayed.I agree that the machine embroidery articles could go unless they are connected with creative sewing. I don't object some quilting IF it is connected with creative sewing.But I also understand that a magazine has to appeal to a wider audience to survive. Face it. Accomplished sewers, creative sewers, even clothing sewers are become a rare breed. Creativity is big. Witness the number of embroidery machine owners and quilters. Threads should continue to be creative in other directions - why reinvent the wheel? Maybe each issue should contain an article for beginners [that isn't patronizing] as well as those for beginners and intermediates to aspire to.
Carolfresia - you say the content isn't decided by the advertisers, but take the articles on new machines, for example. They always tell what the machine CAN do, but never mention any problems encountered. Since it's just a re-write of a selling pitch, I'd vote for omitting those articles altogether.Also, this "survey" of your readership began on this forum at least a year ago. It's the same stuff over and over -- both complaints and suggestions. When is there going to be a change!!!!! You were very coy and cute in your suggestion that you couldn't expose future content to future spies. I, for one, would like to know that you all really have listened to the hearfelt comments on this forum.Can you tell how pissed off and fed up I am with this whole thing??nancy
Nancy, as I have commented elsewhere in this forum, the surveys began a LONG time ago. I was sent a questionnaire after they'd dropped knitting (way back) and their readership presumably fell. In fact, my local quilt store owner stopped carrying it in her store a few months later. She's never picked up a knitting needle in her life but she was adamant that there was no inspiration in the magazine anymore. I do little more than skim each issue now and sadly, don't have that eager anticipation of the next copy.
I stumbled onto this discussion researching something else and feel that I need to add my comments.
First to this day, I look forward to receiving my Threads and stop whatever I am doing to read then and there. There is no waiting until the end of the day. First thing I look at is the back cover - to me that is the highlight of the magazine, simple as a single page is.
I have noticed the change in the content of the magazine as well. Sewing in general has changed over time. Garment sewers are becoming fewer and fewer - in fact seamstresses as a rule of thumb are shrinking. I am a professional seamstress and so desparately need help but cannot find someone who cares about quality or even knows basic techniques to fine sewing. So we more experienced sewers must realize the Threads audience is shrinking. We live in a time where few have time to make a garment - it is easier to buy ready made, even for that special occasion.
So how does that change Threads? Catering to different level of readers. I cannot imagine how hard it is to balance keeping the interest of experienced sewers like this group is to those who found a love of sewing but are just starting to migrate from major pattern companies to experimenting and learning the finer, couture finishing touches to creating a wonderful sewn product.
I get so much from the magazine that I don't think I would ever cancel my subscription. I have to say I don't do a lot of garment sewing these days (no time) but I use the same techniques in making custom bedding, window treatments and slipcovers and what I learned from garment sewing has enhanced my work.
How does machine embroidery or quilting enhance or detract from the quality of Threads? It challenges you on ways to incorporate new techniques and methods into what you are creating. Personally I don't care for machine embroidery but I can see how it could enhance a jacket, causing me to then search out someone who could add that finishing touch. For me, I ask myself "how can I improve my skills with what the article is about? How else can I use this information?" A lot of times I have an "Aha!" moment after reading an article. Now I know how to accomplish something that I have been pondering over for quite some time.
The latest craze is machine embroidery. Knitting is experiencing a renewed interest again. It's amazing how many people are quilting but have no clue how to sew. Threads is following the trend and incorporating that into their magazine - reaching out to potential new readers as well as educating the more experienced, long terms readers. Soon it will pass and the magazine will carry articles on the next newest trend - as well as our tips, tricks and techniques in the couture / fine sewing that we all look forward to each month. Someone earlier said Threads used to have articles on knitting. Wow! How does that fit in and why did people not sqwack back then?
Cancelling your Threads subscription and only buying the occasional magazine off the shelf will only speed up the death of the magazine. Be supportive. Continue to provide feedback and don't give up on the one magazine that has been worth our hard earned dollars. I know I'm here to stay thru it all
Edited 4/30/2005 2:29 pm ET by Jeanne
I agree that canceling your subscription is counter productive. I actually like this issue. But, I still think that it lacks the meat and detail of the early issues. The invisible zipper article was good as far as it went, but what about treating the neckline or waist finish?
I just finished using the "Invisible Zipper" article, and it saved my daughter's "big dance" dress, so I am very appreciative of it. However, I'd like to echo Nancy's comment that more information on finishing the neckline/hem would be helpful, perhaps for a future article. In my case, I was altering a two-tone dress with an established neckline and back seam, so I had my own set of challenges (am I the only one who would rather make a dress from scratch than alter ready-made?), but I did benefit from the large pictures and the colored thread that made the stitching easy to see.
HC, I'm glad Helen Metrakos's article helped you tackle that zipper. I learned from it, too, and my zippers look a whole lot better than they used to--and now I don't have to mess with that wonky little plastic foot I used to use!
We didn't include information on how to finish necklines and such because that went beyond the scope of the article. There are so many different types of neckline finishes that we didn't have space to cover them all. However, I agree that that would make a good article on its own--clean, neat, easy ways to work that juncture between the neckline and the zipper top. I will certainly keep that in mind!
Really, that little plastic foot and the zipper pack instructions seem to always say to use that foot and that you must buy one! A sewer once told me she used a pintuck or such type foot instead and it worked fine. I found the raised seam foot that came with my machine works perfectly. Next zipper I think I will try Helen's technique though, it looks interesting.
Dear AllI also agree in THEORY that cancelling your subscription is counter productive and there is no other "fine sewing" publication out "there". However this is exactly what I am going to do. I have subscribed or picked up issues almost from day 1 as well.I always look at the back page first and devour it with my eyes for quite a while. Then I scan through the magazine to see if they have highlighted one of the back page details in an article. No luck there. I have been disappointed in Threads for a few years, but then an issue will pop up which gives me hope. This year I have consistently read the magazine in about 15 minutes. There is NOTHING in this magazine for an advanced sewer anymore. There have been two if not three cover articles on scarves this year alone! Really, if you can thread a needle you can make a scarf! The "advanced" aspect of many feature articles is the use of an expensive embroidery machine on a basic garment. The rare article about advanced tailoring promises a follow-up or a series. This never materializes. Lately, questions I have asked about problems a very advanced seamstress would find have been referred to the forum.. Lovely but I don't have time to sit and trawl pages of comments to maybe find a solution. The overall lowering of content qualtiy can be immediately noticed by the questions asked in the Question section, The majority of them are beginner level questions. Look back a few years and you will see what I mean. I thought Threads, according to their "billing" was the place to go for information on dying thread arts. At this point they are contributing to the death of couture sewing. And killing a lot of trees needlessly.I have, as a result started to acquire every couture sewing book I can find. Threads also used to hightlight books of interest to the advanced sewer, this no longer happens. Books are generally about general sewing tips, embroidery by machine (doesn't anyone use their hands anymore?), quilting, or colour grouping. I now have a "tame" bookseller who keeps an eye out for advanced sewing titles. So the money I spend on Threads will be redirected to books that actually address my needs.This magazine is a fantastic resource - for the beginner/intermediate. Keep up the good work, but please stop trying to include advanced seamstresses. I feel the content, quality and editorial skill level has declined dramatically over the last five years, this year being the worst of all. Echoing the comment of another disenchanted reader, I have hung on to my subscription because the editors/"designers"/fabric arts specialists replying to questions "coyly suggest meatier articles are coming. Where's the beef? I have also filled out surveys, enthused that people were listening and changes would happen, because the survey would at some point show the profile of "change request" types and generally the surveys would indicate demand for advanced articles. So far this seems to have been and exercise in table and chart creation for some neophyte computer type. I am now convinced that nobody at Threads is listening.I acknowledge that this is a harsh review indeed, but this is no longer a magazine that delivers the quality implied by the back page or in their article titles. Sadly,
LouiseP.S. Those of you who will howl with dismay, please spare me your witicisms. If you need to know how to apply an invisible zipper, or a patch pocket, you are no advanced seamstress - and this magazine is indeed for you and it does it well. Those of us across North America, who aspire to Haute couture standards in our work have been abandoned.
Edited 6/29/2005 10:25 am ET by Louise
I can understand the dismay some feel at the idea of Threads lowering the level of their content. But I think that everyone needs to realize that Taunton Press is running a business and there are many more people out there who are beginner/intermediate sewers who don't aspire to coutour sewing than there are coutour seamstresses. Most people sew for their own enjoyment and for the creative outlet it affords. They would probably be dismayed if Threads offered subjects above their skill level. Sewers who are expert seamstresses, or who really want to master coutour techniques, have other resources such as books with those specific subjects. A magazine needs to appeal to as many people as it can in order to survive.
I personally enjoy Threads. I think it's the highest quality sewing magazine on the newsstand. Some issues have several articles that interest me and some issues don't have any. But I find most magazines are that way. I don't do a lot of machine embroidery (I'm one who does do a lot of hand work). But machine embroidery is hot right now so it follows that there will be articles on that subject. I would like that space devoted to other things, but then I was disappointed when they decided not to include knitting in the magazine. But I realize there are several very good magazines out there that are strictly knitting. So I understand the decision. As business the publisher needs to pick it's audience. And I still think if you compare Threads to the other magazines available it comes out on top.
Not really there is an Australian Weekley version of threads that is far superior and will feature sewing and knitting and crafting
Noticed your mention of an Australian magazine that you thought to be superior to Threads (and that it was a weekly publication). Any more details? I am only aware of one Australian publication - "Stitches", which is a monthly, and not quite in the same league. Am I missing out on something?
Dear Sue M
The magazine I was referring to (from memory) was indeed Australian Stitches. I thought it was published by Australian Weekly. The issue I bought a while ago and those that I have trawled since is still, in my estimation superior to Threads at this time. Now just to be fair I will go to the book store in the next week or two and see if it continues to provide more info and detail for advanced sewers than Threads. The issue I bought featured a vintage garment and then (gasp) there was an article about the garment and its details with a photo spread of all the important details of said garment. From that article one could do a reasonable job of recreating the garment (or a particular detail for use in another style of garment) with just one's advanced sewing skills.I'll let you know if the issue I bought was their version of the Threads Fluke Issue.Not a patch pocket in sight!Sorry if I misdirected you.
Edited 6/30/2005 2:30 pm ET by Louise
I agree with Cathy's comment - Australian Stitches generally has a lower standard than Threads (although it is useful listings of Australian mail order suppliers). I regularly bought earlier copies of Stitches, and it used to have quite informative articles on techniques, plus some design ideas. The style elements seem to have become less imaginative, and there are fewer articles on techniques in recent times. Perhaps it has had the same downward trend that some readers have noticed in Threads, but having started from a lower base, it really isn't a serious competitor. I have also noticed that a lot of the articles are based on commercial products, and are sometimes little more than slightly editorialised advertisements.
Not having been a regular reader of Threads in its early years (although I have purchased quite a number of the back copies, some of the earlier issues are well and truely sold out) I don't feel qualified to respond to some of the criticisms, but in defence, I still await the arrival of my copy each second month, and mostly I find information that is very useful, as well as inspirational. I can't call myself a couture seamstress by any means, and being largely self taught, I find Threads to be a wonderful resource. I have intermittently enrolled for classes on garment sewing and pattern alteration, and have at times been bitterly disappointed to discover that I already knew more than the instructor. Unfortunately I don't have access to the more professional courses in garment construction, which are taught in a city some distance from me, and not accessible for the enthusiastic amateur.
The info on the website for the latest issue looks as if there will be a few articles that I will enjoy. I will be checking my letterbox eagerly over the next week or so.
As a final point, the commitment of the magazine to supporting genuine discussion and sharing of ideas, via the website and this forum, is to be commended. A publisher that is open to facilitating the sharing of criticism as much as praise is certainly to be commended.
regards, and happy sewing
Dear Sue MThank you for your comments. I guess the best way to reply would be for me to say that I no longer anticipate the next Issue. I now think of how much longer my subscription has to run and how much money I have wasted. It is a pity isn't it? Those of you who enjoy read on and look forward to each issue. I remember when
We have all taken the time to list what we want in the magazine and it is pretty similar. The editors of Threads profess to want our input but so far its same old same old. I haven't gotten the new issue yet, but the table of contents on the website does not bode well. I feel as if the editorial staff has decided that we are too stupid to really read anymore. Pictures can take the place of a well written article. Well, they don't. The article are so abreviated that they just are not useful or interesting. I keep hoping for more and get less.Nnacy
Dear Sue M
I find the articles always look good on the website, but when the magazine comes, the articles are a complete disappointment.Re the facilitation of this forum. Yes it is to be commended that they create the space, that is more to the credit of Taunton than Threads. It would be more creditable if they actually paid attention.
Have you seen the August/September issue? While it is actually a lovely magazine with good articles it is not a magazine that an advanced sewer would pick up. I think my daughter might enjoy this issue. My daughter is a beginner sewer.I think I've just given it up, Threads is what it is, and I look elsewhere for advanced sewing reading. I do like this forum, though. Most days I have breakfast with my fellow sewers here and what good company all of you are! My subscription is supporting this forum and that is a good thing. I believe Threads is listening in here. I also suspect many other individuals and businesses are "lurking" here. Innovation is not just having information, it is what you do with the information.
I've been a long time subscriber to Threads and I've been watching this thread on feedback since it started a few months ago. I was hugely dissapointed with this last issue. A few weeks back the acting editor (anybody else find it interesting that they still have not filled this position yet) replied to a message that Threads had dumbed down to the beginner sewer that they had not. Well then the latest issue arrives and we get an article on pins, how to sew a straight line and turn a corner, what 12 notions every beginner needs (how does even a beginning sewer not know that they'd need a tape measure?). Instead of the dreaded machine embroidery article we get a few quick to make projects that belong in a Joanne's craft magazine - really, how to make a purse from a folded handbag - is this really suited to a magazine that labels itself under a "fiber arts" link?
I'm kicking myself for bothering to extend my subscription and once this email is written I'll be cancelling it and spending the money on more fabric instead. From here on out I'll stick to publications that actually cater to the "fiber art" and artist such as belle airmore, quilting arts and cloth paper scissors. At least with those publications I know that I'll find at least a few things in each issue to inspire me.
Oh my! Pins and how to sew a straight line? Ye Gads, now I am dreading the next issue! All I can add to your comments is I am with you sister!It is indeed interesting that they cannot fill the editor's position. It would seem we are at a crossroads, everything is fast fast fast and "crafty". There is no-one to take up the torch of the advance seamstress who loves to sew, and spend time with their fabrics and threads. All we can do is wait and hope. That is the advantage of being able to pick up an issue at the newsstands. Sew long and prosper
I agree, the "fast cute and crafty" is really getting to me. I don't know how things are going in the USA, but in Aust. I find that beginners want to do everything in the first five minutes and will not spend the time it takes to develop any skills. Then, having done five minutes worth they feel that they have the knowledge to criticise and devalue the work of skilled crsftspeople.
I have been watching with interest the way that the fashion shows of the past couple of months show that we are heading back toward "eighties" designs. It will be intersting to see if the detail that was eveident the first time round is still there as it requires skill to do. Or if it will be a simplified version of the period more suited to the need for everything to take five minutes now.
It's the same here in Canada. Yuk!
After reading the posts about the September issue (# 120), I was not at all looking forward to receiving it. It popped into my mailbox yesterday and ... it's much better than these recent posts led me to believe!
Sure, there are several articles with basic information (from which I still learnt something). But there's also the article on piping by Susan Khalje which isn't exactly beginner's stuff. The skirt from fabric strips was a creative touch I enjoyed as well, especially since I'm working on something similar!
All in all, I thought the issue shows that Threads is trying to combine attractively presented information for beginners with articles for more advanced sewers.
Frankly, we need an attractive magazine that caters to beginners if we are to keep this craft alive. (I really dislike the almost exclusive focus on quilting and crafty stuff at JoAnn's and othe local stores. But unless sewing offers something different and more creative than the inexpensive clothes that fill the stores, most won't bogther to sew their own anymore!) The skirt from fabric strips would be something a beginner could make and be trendy wearing!
I called Threads today to see when my subscription expired, I guess I just re-newed it because it doesn't expire until May of 2008 - Well, I cancelled my subscription and am getting a refund, I did tell the very nice woman that took my call my reasons for canceling and that I wished I didn't have to, but its just not worth my money anymore, ESPECIALLY after Carol Fresias post today in this thread, she made it very clear that this is the way the magazine is going to continue. I have the last 70 issues and this is my last one. I will remain on this forum, since there is some good that comes from this list, if I ever pick up another copy of the magazine, it will be at Joanns with my 50% off coupon the magazine is not worth more than that to me
Judy - in Houston.
So true! I must agree that Threads is no longer for the advanced sewer, if they continue as they are they will indeed provide a resource for the beginner/intermediate seamtress and that is something. I too have looked elsewhere for inspiration and my public library is a great help there. Being in a large city, the library has an inter-library loan system so I have acess to most of Ontario really. Having the Main Reference library is also a big plus and I am promising myself a day in the "stacks" drooling over volumes that are too expensive to release into general circulation. The internet is also a great help in locating obscure materials or books. I lack you enthusiasm for the forum because it is difficult for me to sit at the computer for lengthy periods, but it is nice to drop in from time to time and see how others of us are getting along.Thanks for the note and happy sewing!
Any publication that wants to meet the needs of its audience will listen . . . and some of us may just have to admit we're not part of the target audience for Threads . . . It seems fewer and fewer people are sewing . . . if the audience of sewers is declining, it may be more important to attract new sewers for while . . . Those of us interested in couture and more advanced sewing techniques are a relatively small group of people.When I went to SewExpo in Puyallup, WA this past March . . . quilting and embroidery seem to be hot topics . . . but, I did have an opportunity to take a fabulous seminar from Sandra Betzina on "Inside a Chanel Jacket" . . . one of the best 45 minutes of learning I've ever had. I just wish I others to share with . . . the American Sewing Guild chapters seems to be focusing on quilting and the Professional Association of Custom Clothiers seems to deal more with those that do embroidery, clothing repair, wedding gowns, etc.As far as what is posted here and the articles that appear in Threads, there is a possibility wheels are in motion . . . we may just need to be patient . . . I don't know how far in advance issues are planned and what the leadtime/deadline for articles are . . . but, for most publications that rely heavily on advertising to offset the cost, issue "themes" are planned quite a ways out . . . The publications I write for are out over two years . . . I was asked to write an article last fall, with the deadline this coming September, for a publication that won't come out until early next year . . . Other articles I'm writing now may not appear until later next year . . . and even well into 2007 . . . Planning out that far helps companies plan how to leverage their products and advertising into specific issues.In the meantime, is there any way we can use this forum as an opportunity to discuss more advanced/couture techniques . . . even if it's pointing each other in the direction of great resources e.g., articles, books, websites, etc.) . . . or chatting about specific designers of the past (e.g., Schiaparelli, Chanel, Dior), present (e.g., Armani, Versace, Wang), or future?
maybe we need a subheading of Couture or Fine sewing, or perhaps Lost Arts?
I don't need to know what kind of pins to use, but I would like to know all the little dressmakers secrets to a well crafted article of clothing.
Yup, My issue came in the mail today, it took all of maybe 3 minutes (and thats pushing it) to glance through it and drop it so I could look at my Burda WOF that came today as well.
But, now I'm going to complain a bit about Burda too - They really need to do a better job of sewing and photography on it, this is not the first time I found glaring problems with the garments they pictured. pg 12 - the armhole seam is way down her arm - when you look at the line drawings of the style, it is a regular armhole. pg 15 the shoulder is doing a funky thing on the jacket (which I like) the same jacket also looks very ill fitted on pg 7. the dress on pg 27 just looks uncomfortable to wear. and, pg 29 the bust darts - rocket bras are back??? - the rocket bra shows up again on pg 72. ah well..
My issue just arrived today and true enough there is not a lot to offer. The article on piping was excellent, though it was covered at least as well a couple of years ago when a Tom and Linda Platt were featured. I ran through the magazine in about 3 minutes too. Carolfresia's comments make it clear that the magazine will continue to be dumbed down and it is a great great pity as there is a WEALTH of material out there for the beginner. My subscription will expire soon and that will be it for me. At almost $10 Cdn it is just too expensive to keep. As I said before, I will turn that money into texts I find here and there instead.
4036.6 in reply to 4036.5
I submitted a message in the thread about the new issue, but I think I will add it here since I comment on this ongoing debate. I have been sewing for more than 40 years, and I have done some sewing professionally, but I don't consider myself an expert. I probably wouldn't read a magazine that was purely for experts - it would be too far beyond my skill level. I can certainly understand why some of you would like an expert-level magazine, but I assume you can appreciate the economic pressures that Threads is up against. Just as Threads probably understands that the price of the magazine is such that some readers can't afford it if it doesn't closely match their needs.
Regarding other topics debated here, I am not interested in machine embroidery, for example, but I don't mind seeing the articles. Regarding the articles about basic information, I occasionally find information about simple topics that adds to my knowledge. I am often suprised by what I didn't know I didn't know!
And I too lament the decline in sewing as a common practice, a routine skill. It's not all about money - as many have said, you can buy stuff cheaper than you can make it, if you don't have high standards. Cheap stuff, or ill-fitting stuff, keeps the overloaded consumer engine going. How many of you know people who discard an item when the hem falls, a button disappears, a zipper spilts and they don't have the most rudimentary ability to fix it! (Well, maybe none of you have friends like that, but I do.)
My message in the new issue thread was as follows:
"I haven't received the latest issue yet (mail to Alaska is a little slow sometimes) but I can't wait to see it: I am the owner of the dress that was worn on the maiden voyage of the Queen Mary that is featured on the back cover. I am anxious to see how it photographed and what they had to say about it.
I wish to extend my thanks to Carol Fresia for her attention and care to this family heirloom, which has had a busy few months traveling from Alaska to Connecticut to Kansas to California and back to Alaska. It was worn as a wedding dress in California just after it was photographed for Threads, and now I am trying to finalize the arrangements to send it to the Queen Mary for permanent display.
The Threads experience is a wonderful part of its history . . . . and I appreciate the magazine for giving it a showing!
P.S. I have been reading the debate and discussion about the target audience for Threads with interest. I subscribe, and I like the magazine even when it has articles about topics that don't interest me or that are above (or below) my skill level. I find it's useful to see all that variety. Sometimes I am surprised by what I see, read, or learn from a topic that I would otherwise never have come into contact with."
Good for you! It is pleasant to hear from people who still enjoy Threads. While I understand the aspect of economic pressure affecting content, I still feel cheated by each issue. Those of us who are less than thrilled with the current trend are also exercising our right to exert an economic impact by withdrawing our subscriptions. While our impact may be small we hope it is noticeable. What else is there to say that has not been said? I too have been sewing about as long as you have, and there are little things that one is still able to pick up, but these things are not significant to one's development as an advanced seamstress, they're just nice little extras that can be done without. None justify the cost of the magazine or the monthly frustration with articles dealing with how to sew a seam or install a plain (no less) patch pocket.Those of you who still enjoy - Godspeed. I will be spending my information dollars elsewhere.Cool item about your dress! What a fun item to own and show!Happy sewing
P.S. to all - now I truly am going to radio silence on this. See you in the funnies
I find this whole discussion concerning recent issues to quite interestiung. Threads is not the only magazine to be less-exciting over the years as it seeks to appeal to the general public. This discussion might be about Women's Day, Family Circle, Good Housekeeping or numerous other magazines. The only magazines demonstrating sophisticated, new, modern, complicated ideas are the ones about machine embroidery unless you are into hand work. There are some excellent American, British, and Austrailian - New Zealand magazines on the market for hand-work.
However, to continue my point, I am in no way one of you expert seamstresses, but I have always been absolutely fascinated with the couture articles in Threads and, yes, there are fewer of them. However, the trend seems to be toward all magazines assum ing we want a quick read about emotional and physical issues and don't forget the celebritys and their lives between work, TV, and the kids. To actually take time on a project is not something that many do today because they don't have time. Most of the ones commenting here, I believe are not that young anymore. I know that I'm not. How many serious knitting and sewing projects have you seen in the above mentioned magazines in the last 2 years? Almost none to my knowledge.
You know that old bit about the dumbing down of America? Well, I think its true. How many of your young friends have you encouraged to sew and find the joy of making something that looks nice and fits? Is sewing and cooking still offered in public schools? I doubt it. How many are participating in 4-H?
So, my suggestion to Threads is to have at least one truly advanced article in each issue to appeal to the super-duper talented ones and inspire the rest of us. And, continue with some of the other simpler things - but continue to emphasize the building of skills. Those young beginning sewers need to develop their skills if the clothes they make will continue to be a pleasure - so much so that they encourage their friends to start sewing also. And, I agree - most of the embroidery stuff (machine and hand) should be left to those other magazines. In the last several years - after knitting, etc, was dropped, I'd hoped to consider Threads to be a magazine of beauty that teaches and encourages us to do one thing well - sewing of clothing that fits well and looks good on us.
By the way, I have every Threads, Sew News, Knitters since the beginning and I truly do not believe that it would hurt anything to go back to some of those earlier articles and republish them in the magazine as "Threads Best Revisited.
I agree with you completely on every point. I am one of those "advanced" sewers and I don't have as much time to sew as I used to, which is why when I do make something I want it to be of ultra-high quality. I also find the solitude of making things good therapy after a tough day at the office--I'm sure that's true whether you knit, weave, crochet, embroider, bead, or like me, sew. I started sewing out of necessity, and now I do it for love and creative fulfillment.
I like your idea of re-visiting old articles in back issues--maybe with an update on new tools and products as well as newer pattern styles.
I was unaware of an Australian weekly. Is it available here? Many imported magazines aren't readily available in all parts of the country. I would love to have a magazine like the one you mention available weekly. Our local fabric shop carries Stitches but I really don't see that it is much different than Threads.
I copied my reply to SueM since sometimes it is very time consuming to flip about to find a reply referred to somewhere else. It is not that I respect your communication any less but the information in my reply would be the same.
CheersThe magazine I was referring to (from memory) was indeed Australian Stitches. I thought it was published by Australian Weekly. The issue I bought a while ago and those that I have trawled since is still, in my estimation superior to Threads certainly at this time. Now just to be fair I will go to the book store in the next week or two and see if it continues to provide more info and detail for advanced sewers than Threads. The issue I bought featured a vintage garment and then (gasp) there was an article about the garment and its details with a photo spread of all the important details of said garment. From that article one could do a reasonable job of recreating the garment (or a particular detail for use in another style of garment) with just one's advanced sewing skills.I'll let you know if the issue I bought was their version of the Threads Fluke Issue.Not a patch pocket in sight!Sorry if I misdirected you.
What gores my ox is that the staff asked us for feedback here, and very obviously hasn't listened. I don't have time to waste on folks who pretend they want my advice or opinion.nancy
I just read your reply about Threads asking for info and not listening. I love the expression "gores my ox"! Besides neatly summing up the emphasis in your comments it is just hilarious on its own. It was the best laugh I have had all week! I hope you don't mind if I incorporate it into my vocabulary of declaratives?What with gored oxen, blown gaskets and rants one would have hoped to see a comment from the editors. This silence indicates one of about four things: they haven't viewed the site in a while (i.e. shorthanded/busy/ don't really care); their overall talent pool has deteriorated in skills quality; they don't really want our opinion or they don't really care. Hmmmmm
Australian Stitches .... better than Threads ... I don't think so. Whilst Threads has, of late become somewhat less that it was, as a professional Textiles Artist, dressmaker and teacher I never found Australian Stitches to be any more than a way for the publishers to push which ever product is paying the most at the time.
The articles are suitable only for beginner sewers, and repeated so regularly that half the time you have read the whole edition before you buy it!
Threads may have "dumbed down" but it still streets ahead fo Australian Stitches.
Good to know, as I mentioned I picked up one issue a while ago, based on that issue I was impressed. Having subscribed to Threads, I didn't as a rule look at other sewing magazines, when one could find them, but that particular issue impressed me.Re your other "arguments" much the same can now be said for Threads. Thanks for the info
I'm with you on this, I have alwasy re-newed for 3 yrs at a time, so I don't really knkow when my subscription will run out, but I don't plan on spending any more money on it either
thanks for the support. The other article that caused me to blow a gasket was the recent one on belts. I thought Yipeeeeee Hallellujah! because the one thing I am insecure about is making a stiff backed belt. There were more detailed instructions for the two ring secured style, which is basically two lengths of fabric sewn together and slung through two round rings. There was zip zero nada niente nitch nothing in the way of tips, tricks or heaven forfend, designer tricks to help with making a knockout belt to go with a knockout outfit. Oh yeah, there was the mention that you can buy buckles with shiny stones in them.Sorry to vent but that article was the last straw. It was a glossy photo spread of all the styles of belts. Well if you don't know virtually all of them already you have no right to call yourself a sewer.Phew!
Love your rant. And doesn't anyone use their hands anymore? I agree! While hand sewing/work isn't for everyone I wish it wasn't assumed that we hand sewers don't exist or really are hoping for ways to automate. I wonder why the Vogue Patterns magazine got Claire Shaeffer's article this month. Do they pay more? Isn't it interesting that the Burda World of Fashion magazine believes we know the basics or at least believes we can look them up? Burda's purpose is, of course, in another category than Threads but the feeling of how I am thought of is different.
Dear ElisabethStrangely enough I was trawling the Vogue site and noticed that Claire Shaeffer was writing for them and I wondered the same thing! They likely pay more or she has some sort of exclusive contract because Vogue patterns carries Claire Shaeffer designs. It is interesting that Burda assumes one can look up the basics, this has been the basis of my main complaint to Threads for some time and I had a long looooooooooonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnngggggggggggggggggg debate with some fabric store owner in San Fran who insists Threads should cater to novice level even though she admits that she herself carries magazines such as Sew News and the Singer series which are designed for the novice! I ask you!Thanks for the support
Please post the names of the books you find useful as I am interested in same.
I will be happy to but I will have to get back to you, today or tomorrow since they are not in the room where our computer is.In the meantime if your library system is large, either because you are in a big city or because they have a book sharing system with other libraries, search by specific designer, couture sewing, designer fashions, garment type (lingerie, sportswear, serger fashions etc.) and you should find a relative wealth of information. Many of the books I have purchased are ones that I have "vetted" via my library first.
Edited 7/1/2005 8:46 pm ET by Louise
Dear Gatherings members,
I assure you, we're still reading and paying attention to your posts, and are always grateful for any constructive criticism you have to offer. In addition to listening to the opinions shared on this forum, we've done quite a bit of research into the makeup of the current home sewing market, the interests of sewers at all levels, and the availability of sewing information in a variety of media. We make our decisions regarding the content, and style, of the magazine based on this research.
Sometimes, even if the data point in one direction (e.g., telling us that home decor sewing and quilting are by far the largest sectors in the market), we follow our own beliefs about what the magazine should be. Also, based on our experiences as sewers, we editors know that even experts can learn from what appear to be relatively basic articles. I personally don't expect every bit of information in the magazine to be new to me, but in this issue alone I learned that there's no consistent naming convention for pins' thickness; that I could really use a clamp and bird set (I always thought it was too specialized for my sewing); why some collar points come out sharper than others (I confess I never before believed that sewing that little shortcut across the point could work, but it does); why it pays to do all the steps in making and applying piping (I'll still skip some when I'm not in a perfectionist mood); how to make some really cute garments without patterns; a new, easier way to make a pattern from my favorite pants, and more. Plus, I made a dynamite strip-pieced skirt!
Our goal isn't to be the definitive source for couture sewers--although if there were a magazine devoted to that audience (and it could survive), you can believe I'd subscribe!--but to provide information that helps make this art satisfying and enjoyable to a wide range of sewers. We certainly respect those in our audience who, over the years, have become expert sewers through experience, training and (we hope!) reading Threads, and we consider them important to the sewing community. At the same time, we'd like to be inclusive, rather than exclusive, of the up-and-coming sewer, who brings enthusiasm and excitement to the community. The bigger the mix, the better for all of us.
Thank you for your input, Carol! I've been reading this discussion for a while. What I've noticed is that we are only a few people. You certainly can't support a magazine with just us!! Personally, I did not find much inspiration in the newest issue (Sept). But I'm not cancelling my subscription. I actually did enjoy many of the articles and loved the skirt. Too much quick to make, though!
Also, I truly believe that sewing is making a come-back with the younger generation. I've seen sewing camps and classes pop up all over our area. Knitting took off first and now people are looking for the next thing. I think more people are learning the joy of creating unique garments. And I do still sew to save money! To buy a pair of well-fitting pants, I have to spend over $150 for designer pants. I can make them better for under $40!
So, I liked the last issue better than this one...and I'm hoping that the next issue will be more my liking. But I'm keeping my subscription! karin
Interestingly, we tried at one point to stop publishing Quick to Make--the projects tended to be fairly popular, but not universally so. That's always the case with something as specific as a project--it'll appeal wildly to some people and not at all to others. But when we left the department out of a couple of issues, we had a large influx of letters and emails, asking for us to bring it back.
It seems that many people use those projects to entice beginning sewers into the field. Most the of projects are, indeed, pretty quickly completed, which makes them ideal for an afternoon class. Whenever possible, we try to present them in such a way that the reader learns a skill, or walks away understanding how easy it is to adapt the project to her own tastes (e.g., the shrug in the current issue--you can change the proportions or shape and create your own look). And when possible, we try to present examples that are whimsical, elegant, sophisticated or otherwise slightly less "quick 'n' crafty" than some of the craft magazines show.
While I, too, admire the technical skill and patience required to sew a complex garment, I also understand that immediate success can make the art of sewing seem worthwhile and exciting to a novice who lacks experience and confidence. If whipping up a little bag or peasant blouse in an afternoon gets someone hooked on sewing, I'm delighted. Yeah, we want people to read Threads, but what we really want is for them to grab some fabric and have fun sewing something.
Interesting point! Since I'm going to be starting to do some teaching..I'm going to look at those Quick to Makes very differently. I could definitely see someone whipping up a unique handbag from a placemat in an afternoon class.
Yep, those quick to make projects do make great classes. My local Viking dealer has done a placemat to handbag class over and over for the last year and it's always wildly popular. They construct the bag a little differently and they embellish it with machine embroidery (gasp!) but it's still just an afternoon class that is continually popular. I've seen some really cute bags come out of that class and people like them for themselves and also as quick, but unique, gifts. That applies to all the quick to make projects.
Hi, Carol. I'm a bit late in responding to your posting about quick to make projects. I just wanted to say that I loved the instructions for the peasant blouse in the most recent issue of THREADS. As with many of the quick to make instructions, I found it inspiring. Every time I look at that article, I think of more garments it can be adapted for -- with a minimum of time and, because of its wonderful simplicity, a minimum of opportunities for things to go wrong.I might not necessarily want to wear a peasant blouse (it's really not me), but how about a nightgown or lounger in cotton or flannel, or ####sheer and sparkly overblouse for evening wear? I'm sure I'll think of more.I subsubscribe to THREADS for inspiration -- whether it is a quick to make project or something loaded with details. One of my favorites was the article by Barbara Randle on her beautiful crazy quilt totes. Inspired by the article, I've made several handbags from scratch -- patchwork, embroidery, couching, piping -- and added batting, ####zipper closure, a lining and an inside zippered pocket. I've gotten loads of compliments.I don't own an embroidery machine. The mind-boggling prices don't seem worth the use I'd get out of one. So, personally (and I guess, selfishly) I'm pleased that THREADS has dropped the machine embroidery articles.Barbara
I got to visit Barbara Randle when I was editing that article, and it was one of the best trips I've ever taken. Besides being endlessly creative, she's a wonderful teacher and loads of fun to be around. I think she might have some patterns out with one of the major pattern companies--I'm not sure which.
The peasant blouse is nifty not just because it's so adaptable, but also because it's so cleverly and simply put together. You can learn a lot about garment construction by making something as basic as this--and have lots of fun turning it into something else.
As for machine embroidery, we do anticipate including it occasionally in the future--either as a feature article or in a department. There are people out there doing some wonderful, inspiring, and innovative things with it--and readers/subscribers who look forward to learning about them. Often, it's possible to emulate the look of machine embroidered embellishment with either hand embroidery, decorative stitches, or free-motion work, so we hope even readers who don't have embroidery machines will read and be stimulated to experiment on their own. Ready-to-wear fashion has so much more embellishment these days that I find it hard not to crave a little fancy surface decoration on my clothes!
I popped back in to see why, after all of the input we gave months ago, Threads seems to be going more and more basic. I have used your basic articles in my teaching new sewers, but that is NOT why I subscribe to Threads. I'm looking for meaty, deep, rich articles full of inspiration. I want to learn something really new, not add insignificant details about things I already know. I used to comb the magazine and go away full....now I'm starving!
Will Threads ever be what it used to be?
If not, I just cannot justify the hefty subsciption cost. I did look up the Belle Armoire site---art clothing---hmmmmm....That's the kind of ideas we used to be able to get from Threads. If the next few mags aren't any different, I am so so sad to say, I won't be renewing.
Did you see the corset on the cover of the recent Belle Amorie? its made from copper mesh (wire) fabric. I found the stuff at an art supply store, its very intriguing, I'm going to have to play with it soon
Thank you for introducing me to "Belle Armoire." I hadn't heard of the magazine before you mentioned it. It looks like it's right up my alley!
Tsews you might also want to check out quilting arts magazine or cloth paper scissors (http://www.quiltingarts.com) . These are two of my favorite magazines for inspiration and the discovery of new inovative techniques to add to my wearables and wall hangings.
I'd like to start with the comment that I love Threads Magazine. It and Burda, are the only two mags that I buy every month. I guess what I want to say is that I've noticed the last few months the lack of "Masterclass" type articles and articles on how designers acheive their signature looks.
THe reason that I buy threads is to learn and grow in my skills. I have to say that Threads has taught me more than any other book read or class I have ever taken. The fact that some of the articles were beyond my skill level inspired me to grow. They gave me the belief that, despite my failures,-the garments that ended up never finished and thrown in the back of the closet- I could learn to make and fit a beautiful garment. And Threads would show me the way.
And You did!!!! I'm not sure I would be sewing today without you. I guess the point that I want to make is that even beginners need articles that inspire them. And the articles need to be in enough depth that they are truely helpful.
I think a perfect case in point was the article on Pant fitting a couple of issues back. I was immediately drawn to the concept that you needed to put on the waistband first, before you fit the pants. It was a lightbulb moment for me. But then there was no follow up or detail in the article. There were no steps to get from the before to the after. I found this incredibly frustrating.
Take sew news for example, I will sometimes browse through it in the store or the library. But I don't buy it. The reason - there is no meat to the articles. There are lots of pretty pictures but really nothing to learn. I cherish my back issues of Threads like the great reference materials that they are. I was inspired by one of the letters and have been going back and re-reading my collection. And the information is just as useful today as in 1992!!!!
I'm not saying that Threads shouldn't address the needs of beginning sewers. And I too often learn gems from the most basic of articles. But I'm also saying don't underestimate new sewers. Inspire them. It worked for me!
Thank you, Pamela
In the past year or two, we've avoided labelling even more advanced topics "Master Class," in the hopes that the name itself wouldn't intimidate newer sewers. But we've realized that even beginners who read Threads aren't easily intimidated! So starting in issue No. 121, we'll be introducing a new department called "Master Class," which will present more complex or involved techniques. The department is edited by Judy Neukam, who is one of the most accomplished sewers I've ever met, and she has a wonderful knack for making even scary, "hard" techniques seem doable. She's also got an excellent eye for picking out interesting details from designer clothes, both current and vintage, and figuring out how to do them.
Speaking of which: on Judy's behalf, I invite all of you to submit ideas of "Master Class" topics you'd like to see covered in Threads. Judy, with her extensive experience, has already drawn up a list of subjects that could take us up to about 2010, but if there's anything special you're dying to learn about, let us know. We'll see what we can do about it.
Thank you Carol.
I appreciate you listening to me and taking my concerns seriously. Threads is far and away the best sewing magazine available and I desperately want it to remain the valuable resource that it is.
In response to your asking about the issue that I'm struggling with right now is silk organza or other interfacing and giving invisible structure to lightweight sheer fabrics i.e. silk chiffon. - without completely underlinging the garment and changing it's drape. I know it has to be possible but I cannot find any articles in the back issues. There is one article on using a skin toned underlining, but the colour/texture change of the facing still shows thropugh on the garment front. I've tried using a stabilizer just on the seams, but this hasn't been totally successful.
I'd also like more fitting articles by Kenneth King - he inspires me.
And on the basics (or would this be intermediate?) side I'd like more info on measuring and fitting yourself. I have an old book written in 1973, (my issue is from '81), Called How to Make Sewing Pattens by Donald H. McCunn. That gives a method using a string tied to the measuring tape and a couple of mirrors that I've found increadibly useful.
I also have some tips for you:
You can find incredibly valuable old sewing books and notions for next to nothing at The Salvation Army and other thrift stores. For example: I love my old singer buttonholer that uses cams to size the buttonholes. They make easy, one step, identical buttonholes.- even keyholes. All you need is a zigzag machine where you can drop the feed dogs (some of the older buttonholers come with coverplates). I gave one to a sewing friend a while back who was complaining about the buttonholes her late 90's higher end machine made. - (especially the fact that they were too complicated) - she loved it! I found one for her for less than $3.00 within days. Note: they are often in the show case. (don't expect the clerk to know what you are talking about.) Just make sure that the model matches the shank type on your machine. (as with any buttonhole test on interfaced fashion fabric fabric scraps to check thread type and tension. and whether a stablizer would help.)
I am in the process fo teaching as many of my friends to sew who will come when I invite them. I ususally have them over about once a month - there are usually about 4 of us. (I'm lucky, one of my friends is a returning sewer, but even then don't expect toget anything done for yourself.) There will be mistakes - remind people that it's okay to screw up - no one is good at anything the first time they try it. I found starting them off making a muslim to be an excellent idea. They quickly pick up the point that patterns are not made to fit them perfectly out of the envelope. But that they could be with fairly minor adgustments. Seeing this visually really helps. It also reinforces that alterations are just part of the sewing process. Using cotton broadcloth (in pretty colours) that is easly to sew also helps. I found flannel, sleeveless PJ's are a good first project. Even if they are less than perfect, they're proud to wear their creations at home.
If you can't talk your friends into it - I found most to be thrilled with the opportunity to socialize doing something creative - offer to teach a beginning class at your local community center. It's a great way to make new friends.
Please give my thanks to Judy for taking on this project, and I wish her all the best. I'm sure we'll all do whatever we can to make this a success!!!!!
I discovered Threads magazine fresh out of fashion college, early enough in it's history that I was able to get almost all the back issues (15 magazines at once for Christmas from my Mum - no-one saw me all day! ) I feel that I've learnt more from Threads than I could have ever hoped to get from college. They have pride of place on my bookshelf, and I reread them all regularly. Even when I was disappointed with an issue, I still get something from it. I remember hating one issue with Donna Karan wardrobing ideas, only to find years later as my body changed, that the pants fitting article showed a figure just like mine. Still am pretty much disinterested in the rest of the magazine, though. (issue 54)
The articles I've appreciated the most are, as others have also found, the in depth analysis of a quality garment. I loved the inaugural gown article, and I refer to the Armani articles frequently. Anything by Kenneth King is also treasured, especially his fitting techniques. I also loved the jeans article in issue 28 because they explained about how the legs apart changes the fit. I hated Sandra Betzina's jeans article in issue 111 because it was so info-lite and seemed to be promoting her own pattern rather heavily, and they didn't look like jeans, just denim trousers. (BTW I tried her pattern and it seriously didn't work for my under 40 year old figure.)
As an idea for an article, I would love to see something about the process Vogue patterns use to turn a designer garment into a pattern. I have a Vogue Givenchy pattern, with a tricky collar and underarm panels, and a copy of French Vogue with the same jacket on the cover. The original has beautiful sharp shoulders and looks very dramatic, whereas the pattern has softened shoulders and looks much more conservative. Both nice, but I want to make one that looks more like the original. Maybe even just a shoulder shaping article.
I would like to see more advanced stuff, but I also enjoy seeing how others approach more basic problems. eg I've traced off many patterns from finished garments in my time, a job I loathe and won't do now I'm self employed, but I'd never thought to use tape to make a copy, as in issue120, and may even try it one day. Also, now I'm teaching sewing, the simple stuff is so well explained in Threads that I now often refer my students to Threads articles.Edited 7/10/2005 11:02 am ET by sandra
Edited 7/10/2005 11:13 am ET by sandra
I am so tired of complaining about Threads, but I couldn't agree more. Sandras pattern didn't fit my over 50 body either. As to the article on piecing a skirt as well as last month's scarf, there seem to be a lot left out, like yardage, did they lay it out with the grain or across. Did they sew it together right sides together or wrong? The pictures and layout are great but the content leaves a great deal to be desired.
NancyPS If I could find rtw that fits I would love to use that tape method of copying.
I've sewed for 35 years and sometimes get paid for it. So, call me an enthusiastic amateur. I go to the CSNF every year and about the only person that I can still learn something new with is Kenneth King, and honestly I don't care what he's making I just like to hear him talk. I liked those pieced organza scarves. I didn't really read the article. What I took from that was the inspiration. Oooh, strips of fabric sewed together and it's not quilts, and doesn't even look like a quilt. (I'm definitely not a quilter) What else can I do with this? And off I drifted with ideas. I didn't make the scarf, I'm not a scarf person, but I have a serger with a rolled edge and work with a lot of chiffon, so it led me to spend a considerable amount of time dreaming in my fabric closet. That technique is probably going to show up in my next dance dress. Lo and behold in the next issue# 120, strips of fabric, in a skirt. Now some might complain, oh it's just the same old thing, nothing new (whine), but I saw the connection. AHa! Take that article in the same issue on how to make a shrug, but piece the fabric first like for the scarves, and what an awesome outfit. I sew for fit and to have something that no one else does. I also buy t-shirts from Old Navy because they're cheap. I don't sew everything I wear, I don't have time for that, and I also don't have the time to put 40-50 hours into a fitted suit jacket. I don't wear those in my lifestyle anymore even though I still work for the conservative bank industry and have sewn them in the past. So somewhere inbetween I make things I like. Not every article in Threads appeals to me. For instance, looking at #120, I will never have the patience to pipe a jacket, but think, hmmm, is piping back?, I found the article on pins extremely informative, sewing for weight loss or gain sort of in between (I've lost in the last while and believe in wrap skirts and stretch fabrics which weren't mentioned) and figured I'd save the issue in case I ever needed to refer to it for the other things in it. So I got three things out of it, that's worthwhile to me. Not every issue can be packed with things "all for me", because how and what I sew is unique from everyone else, which is exactly why I sew. To be different. Threads is a magazine for illumination and inspiration.
Edited 7/17/2005 7:44 pm ET by popmum
I don't think that I read every artcile in any magazine and I also found several articles that I enjoyed. I also don't have to use everytning in the magazine. I am tired of the huge number of complaints about every issue taking up so much of this forum. Lets hear about what everyone is sewing instead.
Amen. I agree that Threads is not what it used to be but nothing is. I think the complaint party has gone on long enough. People are just repeating themselves. If the editorial staff doesn't have the message by now they never will. Time to move on to discussions of sewing.
I so look forward to issue 121 and reading the Master class article! I'm glad Threads will have such a column. I don't think beginning sewers would have a problem with such an article in Threads. It will give them something to aspire to - besides, Threads also has basic articles that would appeal to novice sewers anyway.
How about an occasional interview of a well respected designer? Such as Kenneth King. That would be fascinating...how did he get to where he is today? What inspires him? What advice does he have for those of us who want to achieve excellence?
I enjoyed your recent issue and especially the article on piping. The article on making skirts out of fabric strips was a lot of fun. Now if only I could find the time!!
It's always a special treat to find a Threads issue in my mailbox. Thanks so much.
I started sewing in 1965 out of necessity--I was 10 years old and 5'8" tall and could find nothing to fit. My mother (who couldn't thread a needle) took me to her dressmaker for custom clothes, and soon I thought "I can do this." The dressmaker had a daughter who couldn't care less about sewing, so she took me on as a student. I still have my 1967 Touch and Sew, and still use it for buttonholes.
Over the 20 years that I've been reading Threads--yes, I have every issue from 1 through 120--I've been thrilled with some issues and disappointed in others. 15-20 years ago there was a much greater emphasis on hand weaving, fabric dyeing, painting, and quilting, none of which I do or ever plan to do. But I enjoy reading about techniques because sometimes they inspire me to try new things in the projects I make. I love reading the design challenges although usually I think at least one of the outfits made is ghastly and rarely like the fabrics or designs, but it's a good way to learn and get ideas---how many times at work in my "day job" have I been given a project, deadline, and not enough information to work with? That's kind of what the design challenges are, and they always inspire me.
I think the latest issue has a decent mix of articles for beginners and experienced sewing---piping is pretty advanced, I think. And I learned from the pin article. No, I won't make the strip skirt and probably won't do the handbags from placemats, but who knows, there may be ideas or techniques in those articles that I can apply down the road! Maybe not having a permanent editor is part of the "problem," but I think the changes may be more of a reaction to changes in the marketplace, in styles and fabrics and tools.
I share the concerns of many on this board that fine sewing is becoming scarce. Here in Houston there's a dearth of fabric stores catering to clothiers--most are into decor and crafts and quilting. I think it's a chicken and egg thing---people who look down on home sewing have only been exposed to the stuff in the "cheaper" craft shops. If they could see the beautiful fabrics and patterns and what can be made from them they might have more respect for our art--but as long as home sewing declines, we will see fewer fine fabric stores, not more. I am concerned that some of the "feed sack" clothes emphasized in the magazine are giving home sewing a bad image, but I also hope that any new sewer out there can find a mentor like I had to supplement what they read in publications like Threads.
I don't know where in Houston you are but go downtown to High Fashion Fabric its on Louisiana at Elgin and you will be in fabric heaven, and if thats not enough go across the street to their 4 floors of home dec fabrics - gorgeous silks, brocades etc. I unfortunatly will be leaving Houston in 2 or 3 more yrs and am already in mouring over losing that store. There is also Universal Fabrics in Rice Village, but I can't reccomend you go there since I have been cheated there.and most of the fabrics still smell of mold/mildew when the stor flooded a few yrs ago at their old location.
I've been going to High Fashion Fabrics since it was in it's original location in an old grocery store. After I move to Dallas I'll probably come back to shop there. Remember Southern Fabrics in the Galleria? Amazing place, and the staff there really knew how to sew--you could bring something in and get help. They sold only high-end, couture style fabrics there.
A store called Hire's Fabrics used to be in Rice Village, and they went out of business about the same time Southern Fabrics did---it was on a par with them and also had the best button selection anywhere. Universal Fabrics went in to their location, but I agree, it's not the same quality.
I've run into Tina Knowles--fashion designer and Beyonce's mom--at High Fashion Fabrics. Great store.
My sewing machine dealer gives after school classes for kids and has a summer camp sewing program. I was in the other day and the class was full of young girls and boys busy and happily sewing. They were making a ruffled edge pillow and had made a tote bag. I hope that they progress to clothing. She marketed the class well and the kids were well behaved and busy. Hopefully they will progress to clothing.
I am a new comer to this forum. I thoroughly enjoy reading what people are doing and looking for. I also enjoy commenting, I've been teaching for 27 years at the high school level and hope that I will be able to constructively share my experiences. What disturbs me is the negative comments regarding the Threads Mag. I live in Ontario and pay close to $10.00 per issue. I am a Family Studies teacher and have taught sewing for many many years. When I pick up the mag. I always find something of interest to read. Sometimes I use things immediately or I store an idea. What I do is photo copy the index page, and make notes regarding little points as I read or just browse. I store these and have them readily available when I'm curious, face a problem, interest etc. For those of you who are bored or feel you've 'out grown' the mag. you are missing out. Think of the mere pleasure of picking up an issue and becoming intrigued by something new, or stimulated to try something. For someone like me who took textiles and sewing at University for four years it's nice to know that there is a magazine that stimulates and updates my well used techniques. My thanks and hats off to all those who put Threads together. My only wish would be that our dollar value wouldn't force the high price. Karen
Hi Louise. Since I posted a question, I decided to add my voice to this issue. Where I somewhat agree with you, I do not consider myself an advanced seamstress or tailor though I aspire to be same, and on that note: I too have been disappointed with the magazine of late ( I have all but the first few issues and am looking always for them), but I am keeping my subscription because I' not sure where they will go. They were cutting edge for a home sewer as myself when I first saw the magazine; they have changed format before and I thought they would lose me then but I waited and I was enthused. I am going to keep my subscription but I have become like you and am always looking for books on couture sewing and techniques. (Yes, they used to have a very substantial book review section available for purchase - I have several of them).
On this end note, have you come across anything that details techniques for bias tape application and manipulation?
I had to become a member of this chat group because I feel very strongly about this publication.
Thank you for your opinions of Threads. I agree with you on all points! I have subscribed since Issue #1, have sewn my own clothes since the age of 12 (a loooonnnng time ago), ventured into selling my own creations, and still devour each page of every issue. And learn at least one new skill every time. One of the reasons I love Threads is that the layout hasn't changed much and is still uncluttered and easy to understand. (I'm one of those people who like familiarity.) At the same time, keeps up with current trends and technology.
Prior to the publication of Threads, I was very familiar with Fine Woodworking and was tickled that Taunton decided to use the back cover for a special feature, just as is done on all their other publications.
Well, I could prattle on without anything new to say. I just hope the editors value the opinions of those who have supported Threads long-term!!
I share many of the same sentiment with many of you . . . I use to think I wasn't getting as much out of Threads as I use to because my skills and experience had evolved . . . but, there's so much more to learn.I'm a weaver first . . . and a sewer second . . . there's a real advantage to being able to make your own fabric when designing garments. Couture and other fine sewing techniques are very high on my topics of interest . . . and the books I have by Clarie Shaeffer are some of my favorites.As a former marketing executive, I would imagine that Threads is going through some real challenges right now about understanding the demographics of their subscribers and readers . . . and how it's changing. One of the most important groups that many companies are trying to figure out are 35-55 year old women . . . the rules are changing . . . they're finding it acceptable (and even fun) to find their own sense of style. They want to be fashionable, yet comfortable . . . and they don't want to look like everybody else . . . they want to express themselves as individuals. Chico's and Anthropolgie have targeted this gender/age group and it's catching on.Unfortunately, some of what I see in Threads look "dowdy" . . . we don't always want couture-like clothing . . . but, the garments often look dated and like something "home-made" rather than "hand-made" . . . Sewing, like weaving, may continue to struggle to attract new people . . . especially, younger people . . . if we can't make it more contemporary and fun.Something I'd really like to see in Threads is "How-to" of some tricky garment construction techniques . . . I'm still trying to get a good look at the back of the dress Terri Hatcher wore to the Golden Globes . . . Is was a Donna Karan (I think) and it looked as though the front of the skirt portion of the dress was sewn in pieces and then the pieces were braided together in the back . . . It look fascinating . . . The same goes for the black velvet vintage Valentino gown Julia Roberts word when she won her Oscar . . . I guess I just like it when the back of a garment has been given some thought and consideration. Also, being a fabric geek . . . I'd love to see a fabric interpreted into different ways, using different techniques (with explanations) . . . They've had articles about interpreting patterns in different ways . . . but, for those of us with ever-increasing fabric collections, it might be more inspiring. Heck, I'd even provide Threads with the fabric.
Funny you should mention the Valentino dress Julia Roberts wore to collect her Academy Award. I just saw it the other day at the FIT museum in NYC! It's stunning in real life, as you can imagine. The white strips are basically fabric tubes joined to a horizontal band in back; they then are attached to a tulle (I think it was tulle--some sort of sheer black netting) train thing that hangs down the back. I didn't get a chance to skim the catalogue that I believe accompanies the exhibition, but I'd guess it's illustrated there.
The exhibition focuses on Hollywood-type glamour gowns, some from films, some from movie stars past and present, and some contemporary glamourous dresses. All were amazing; what surprised me most was how small some of the garments looked. Even dresses from actresses I think of as statuesque looked to be about a size 4! I'm not sure what sort of illusion was created in the exhibit display or in the filming of the original wearers, but the discrepancy kind of threw me.
If anyone can get into NYC in the next few weeks (I don't remember exactly when the show closes), I highly recommend visiting FIT to see this.
Here is a fabulous article we are all drooling to read! I'm not going to NYC anytime soon and I am sure many other readers aren't either and possibly never will. I seem to remember you love museums. Please spend some time studying a few of those gowns and writing about them for those of us that will never see them! For an article for a well known magazine (and by an editor too) wouldn't the museum let you carefully inspect these garments and spend some fun quality time with them?
Sounds like a wonderful idea!
Boy, I'd love to spend some time trawling the collections at FIT and the Met, just for my own edification and enjoyment. I wish we could all do that. There's so much to learn and be inspired by there.
One reason we don't routinely feature designer gowns in the magazine is that we try to gear the garments we show to the genres our readers tell us (in surveys and in other forms of communication) they actually sew. I know from responses here on Gatherings in the past year that many of you do sew formal/evening clothes when you need them, but in general, our readers make many more casual or career clothes for themselves.
This doesn't mean we will never do an article on special occasion sewing, and we're always on the lookout for topics that provide technical information that's translatable to a variety of clothing styles.
..."we try to gear the garments we show to the genres our readers tell us (in surveys and in other forms of communication) they actually sew."Why?Judging by women's magazines on the racks we all love to look at extravagant evening wear on glamorous women, even though our life styles are quite different. Why not a few articles on how these garments are made?Cheers,Ghillie
Even though I don't make these types of gowns on a regular basis doesn't mean that I am not interested in reading HOW to do it. I once read a survey that said only 20% of the readers of Martha Stuart Living actually ever did anything shown in the magazine, they just liked reading about it and may be dreaming about planting 20,000 daffodils or making that special birthday cake! Same goes for designer gowns.
Also a technique we see might be applied to a day dress or a suit. Even casual clothes can benefit from desingner techniques. I want to know how to make those $1,500 Valentino pants I saw in the window in Paris last summer!
Like many here, I'm interested in improving my couture-level sewing skills and knowledge . . . If any of you are interested, Threads has an article on their website "Armani Jackets: The Inside Story" . . . I really learned a lot from this article. I added the url below for anyone that's interested./http://www.taunton.com/threads/pages/t00148.aspThere are also a number of other articles that I have really enjoyed such as "Taking Great Photos of Garments" . . . not a mainstream topic for most sewers . . . however, for someone like me that submits photos of garments to juries, a rather enlightening article . . . I also learned a couple of new things from "20 Ways to Improve Your Sewing" such as using longer zippers than a pattern specifies and learning the difference between topstitching and edgestitching I've also enjoyed some of the short videos, such as "All-in-One Piping and Facing" . . . and for anyone wanting to learn more about topstitching, there's an article "Tools for Topstitching"The next on-line article for me will be Sandra Betzina's "Power Sewing: Choices and Techniques for Binding" . . . I was able to take a Chanel jacket seminar from Sandra Betzina at the recent SewExpo and learned a lot . . . as usual.The on-line articles may not offer everything we want . . . but, it's a nice resource . . . I hope to get through everything by the end of the year.
That's what I was thinking. Why not learn a technique with the glamour of a gown to sweeten the lesson. I love looking at Vogue magazine, I always find some fascinating detail that inspires and it is done in a beautiful fabric and color. Can't say I am going to copy most of those garments any time soon, some are way overboard, but the detail or line goes into my creative process. I think Clair Shaeffer's book Couture Sewing is so popular because she shows the techniques on couture clothing.
Even if I don't make a ball gown or an historical outfit I may be interested in how a certain aspect was created and wish to incorporate that into a more modern garmet. It's the ideas as well as the knowhow that I look for.
Carol,Thank you for taking the time to respond . . . I would love to see the FIT exhibit . . . but, I'm 3,000 miles away . . . but, perhaps this could be the beginning of some really interesting articles. **hint hint**Thank you again!
I love Threads. I've subscribed since about 1990, and went to the library and copied articles out of issues from the 1980's, before I knew about the magazine. I don't do machine embroidery, and I don't do all the artsy creative stuff that many readers want. However, I'm willing to let the editors decide what articles will give them a large enough readership to support the main-stay clothing design and construction articles that interest me. I find something in every issue that makes it worth the price of the magazine. I'm making a linen jacket right now, and was planning silk bias piping for the edges. This month's magazine came yesterday, with a great article on bias piping. No one does this as well as Threads. The only magazine I like even more is Fine Gardening.
I subscribe to Australian Stitches magazine, over here in Canada, for the most part I like it. But, I'm getting a bit bored with the Wardrobe articles they keep featuring with the same woman, even if she is a fellow Canadian. The latest issues seem to latch on to one theme whereas the earlier ones had a variety of techniques and garments.
I purchase Machine Embroidery magazine, the Australian one, but it too seems to be leaning heavily toward computerized embroidery machines. Earlier issues had great articles on how to do embroidery with just a plain zig-zag and straight stitch. Oh, those were the days!
I have made a number of friends through the Letter to the Editor that I had sent in to Lynn Cook a couple of years ago, even got to meet one of them last May when my husband and I were in Las Vegas and Gwenda and her husband were there at the same time. What fun to get together with some one who shares an interest in sewing from another country.
Here in Australia we do have "Australian Stitches" ... and if you want to look at a DUMBED DOWN mag I would sugest a read .... or should I say giggle. The format, that has been used since the third issue of the mag is .... story about a sewer, ad, project from sewer, ad, story about sewer, ad, project from sewer repeat until all pages are full ...... The same publishers publish nealy all the locally produced craft magazies and for the format for all of the .... refer above.
Fortunatey a few indipendant mags still exist and if you want the ultimate in textile creativity, you need Textile Fibre Forum, published by The Australian Forum for Textile Arts.
Whilst I agree with some of the comments about recent issues of Threads, I always manage to get somthing form an issue, berhaps a style, or a tip from another sewer. As to is Threads being dumbed down .... well isn't everything these days?
I've subscribed to Threads since 1986 and have every issue. Twice during this period Threads wrote to me, as a long term subscriber, asking for my opinion on a number of points. I wrote very detailed replies. Nothing changed. I joined in the ongoing discussion that Carol initiated regarding newbies, but my post remains unread by her. I have to agree that our responses have counted for nothing. You used the expression "all things to all people" which pretty well sums it up. Threads seems to have lost direction; it doesn't know what it wants to be. Why is this so? It would be interesting to know how their core readership breaks down age-wise.
One point in their favour: I don't recollect that they were ever late with an issue and their distribution machine is very efficient - my copies have reached me in three countries.
...just to add my voice to all who are now disappointed with Threads.
Dummied down for sure!! No longer do I get the rush of happiness when I find Threads in my mailbox and read it cover-to-cover. Snce the last 6 or so issues, I scan and then drop it on the pile of "read sometime later, maybe".
Unfortunately, I renewed for 3 years just before the decline. I was ready to inquire about cancellation. Now that I see a new editor position advertised, I will wait a little while and hope he/she will guide THREADS back onto the creative track from which it derailed.
To all who are considering subscription/renewal: I agree with others who say don't. Buy it off the newstand, after you see if you find something useful in the issue.
I just recently renewed. Hope it wasn't a mistake.
Boy, do I agree with you. An article on sewing belts? Large prints? The old issues were so much more interesting. I looked at when my subscription expired, and don't think I'll renew it. I'm a long time subscriber (since issue #30), and Threads has been consistantly disappointing for the past couple of years.
I wanted to emphasize this earlier post:
"Threads editors: Please do more articles on couture technique and construction"
Please, A LOT more articles on technique and construction. Historical and costume techniques as well.
I am a new subscriber very experienced sewer in New Zealand. I love Threads, but I am also disappointed with all the articles on machine embroidery. What I would love to see is an article on what can be done on a more basic sewing machine (I have 2 sewing machines and an overlocker/serger), eg enjoyed the article using a wing needle. Most of the articles assume we all have top of the range machines.
I will still get the magazine and recently found a local shop that has back issues, so am buying one a week.
yes I think the articles on machine embroidery has something to do with all the advertising in the magazine for embroidery machines. I certainly can do without machine embroidery. I have three machines (one's a serger); none do embroidery. I would like to see less emphasis on sewing from patterns (again..advertising? I noticed that Threads has tamed up with Simplicity-this is bad) and more on drafting/draping.
I haven't received the latest issue of Threads in it's grey plastic bag, like Sandy who has mentioned this bag before, I'm Canadian, (wonder what the people in the Post Office think is in there?). I have all but the 2nd issue of Threads, and for the most part have enjoyed reading the contents. But-- as many have mentioned, the Embroidery machine articles are a bit too much. There are plenty of magazines that deal with this subject, I wish Threads wouldn't. Have you all seen the latest issue of Nancy's Notions catalog? I don't think there is one page that doesn't have some item that is Machine Embroidery related. I do have one sewing machine that has an embroidery unit, a Husqvarna Rose, so far I have just stitched out a couple of designs that came with the machine and I've had it for several years.
I wish Threads and all the other magazines would not have so many full page ads for sewing machines etc. they take up most of the magazine leaving few pages for what we think we are paying for when we subscribe.
The earlier Threads had articles on how the professionals did things, how they got their starts, even tours of their studios. This gives those of us who can't visit the Garment districts of large cities an idea of what it's like and what else is out there in the world. Articles about how fabric is made or woven in other countries is interesting, I think. I even remember there being an article on how to make shoes, and another on gloves. Those older issues are a goldmine of information, even if the styles and trends change.
Please Threads, give us more to read and to learn from, not just pretty pictures of new sewing machines.
Agreed--I only buy Threads on the newsstand once I see if there's anything in it I can use. I would appreciate more articles on fitting and couture techniques; clothing structure; shaping and fitting; crafting a garment; fabrics. Not quilting. Not machine embroidery. Not crafts. There are plenty of other magazines out there that address those issues.
That being said, since I work in the magazine business I understand the need to diversify in order to attract new advertisers. And advertising is the lifeblood of almost every magazine. The printing values are high in all the Taunton magazines--heavy, very white paper stock, excellent printing quality. The kind of a magazine that you just want to keep forever. I'm sure it costs a fortune to print. The costs of paper and postage have just skyrocketed in recent years. Would readers be willing to pay more for a Threads that carries fewer, but more endemic advertisements in order to support a magazine with more focus?
Another question for the readers and editors of Threads. It seems many longtime readers are waxing nostalgic for older articles. For those readers new to sewing (or who came back after a long hiatus), would you be interested in reprints of some of these older Threads magazines? Perhaps in an SIP (single issue publication or "annual")? I sure would be interested in reading some of the articles mentioned in these postings. The basics of fitting and sewing haven't changed. Besides, I love vintage!
I found the recent issue to be a disappointment as well. The articles seemed more like "snippets" of information rather than something indepth that I could learn something new from.
I also do not see the need for so many articles on machine embroidery and quilting. Those topics are covered thoroughly by other publications.
I had ordered a back issue from about 5 years ago and comparing that issue with the current one, I could definitely see how the magazine has "dumbed down." I would love to see more on tailoring, fitting and couture techniques.
I am a Threads subscriber, and I picked up the latest Belle Armoire in the bookstore. Seeing Belle Armoire list the latest museum shows with textile related exhibits was a bit of an epiphany for me. Threads used to list the textile related museum shows, and Threads had articles that would be of interest to the people who would attend, contribute to, and curate those museum shows. Nowadays it is "for those who love sewing" rather than "for those who love the fiber ARTS". I still find articles that interest me, but not articles that fascinate me...
It seems to me that Threads used to be part scholarly publication, part inspiration, part workbook. Nowadays, it is only a workbook. Originally it was aimed at scholars, artists and craftspeople, now only the craftsmanship articles remain.
If I were an assistant professor of costume history, or textile arts, and I were trying to get tenure, ten years ago, I would have proudly listed an article in Threads on my publication list, today, I would not.
Edited 3/15/2005 9:52 am ET by Barb
I must agreed with you in the current sad state of affairs for Threads. I am truly disappointed with the July 2005 issue.
Not only do I have all issues of Threads, but I also have ( Australian) Stitches. When time allows, I will quickly skim all issues for inspiration. What I find is a serious degradation in the quality of articles produced. What happen to the glimpses into the backrooms of famous designers and their techiniques?
Re: seeing yet another article on invisible zippers - perhaps the staff would benefit from reviewing the last time a specific topic was covered and see what (if any) positive responses were received from readers would be advisable. Or, what about a poll of readers (based on skill level) of what was their favorite issue/article and why would be interesting? Perhaps the staff has "turned over" so much, that no one has been there long enough to remember what has been published more than two or three years ago!
How about a review of accredited fiber arts schools and available degrees (for younger readers as a career choice), even those with continuing education classes (for those of us who are just a touch more mature and want to brush up on our skills!)?
How about a "how-to" inspiration articles on Hollywood movie clothing for the retro look? What influence did the studio designers have in the 30's, 40's, etc versus now? What amount of clothing is purchased versus specifically made? Opera companies?
With the growing trend of ballroom dancing, what are the different types of specific needs and design considerations? Who are some of the top people (designers, not dancers) in this field? Can this be carried over into evening wear and ballgowns? Who still has cotillions? What about the special clothes for this event? How can the "Red Hat" women sewers be featured? Regional highlights? Clothes for the Kentucky Derby?
What about other parts of our world, trends and sources? Let's emphasis the unusual not the common!
Come on Threads staff, try a little harder and please (as you urge the subscribers) be more creative!
Could it be that the editorial staff are reflecting their own tastes and preferences in their choice of content?
Dear VickiWell said. There are some fabulous books in the Toronto public library system reflecting the work of designers for movies, opera etc. They provide terrific information and one in particular by Betty Kirke (?) even gives scale patterns! Sadly, in many cases the circulating copies are "lost" (read stolen or destroyed} so one has to go to the Main Reference Library to view them. They are certainly worth the trip for inspiration and good illustration.F.Y.I. Toronto sewers, Ryerson University has some FABULOUS seminars and courses on sewing design and couture techniques etc. I share many of your complaints and questions. I hope someone from Threads is reading these postings, which indicate growing dissatisfaction with the publication. Like you, when I am sewing I review many to all of my back issues and this is where the deterioration of content quality shows most dramatically. It is such a pity.Regards
I have spent the last few days reviewing some of my back issues of threads magazine. And I too can see a steady decline in the meat of the articles.
When I first started reading Threads in the early 90's most of the articles were beyond my skill level. But I was inspired. I learned tricks, tips and techniques that raised my sewing skills exponentially. I got in over my head a few times and also had some wonderful successes. But I could see what was possible and I salivated to make the couture, organza lined, beautifully fitting clothing that was dangled in front of me like a carrot to a starving horse.
My point is that if all I was going to make was an ordinary pair of okay but not great fitting pants for myself I might as well go to the mall and buy a pair for a lot less time & effort and save myself the agrivation.
I want to be inspired. I too want more articles on couture techniques, and interviews of skilled designers. I want Threads to continue to be a resource that I can return to years latter and learn something new and exciting.
The reason that I sew today is to have unique, well fitting, high quality clothes. If a begininng sewer doesn't have the inspiration and example of what is possible, (complete with well illustrated steps please) THen why sew.
The majority of the articles in the last few issues had the potential to be great but they lacked enough substance to be truly useful.
I love Threads magazine for it's integrity. It has maintained its focus on it's readership in an industry that is becomeing increasingly one big advertisment. But I think the concept that Threads needs to become more focused on beginning sewers is fundamentally flawed.
In 1993, when I was young and poor and a beginning sewer, I did not fork out $5.95 cdn for a magazine that catered to my level. I paid the money for the skills to get me to the next level. I can honestly say that THreads has taught me more of the skills I have today that any other book I've written or class taken.
So thankyou threads, Please, please, please keep up the good work.
Brava lady! We who feel abandoned salute you. If there is nothing to aspire to, how can one improve or excel? You capsulized my sentiments exactly.I would spare them the "keep up the good work", as I feel they need to reach deep within their skills and talent pool and draw from it the giants of our craft and give them voice once more. Regards
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