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Conversational Threads

Small Problems with Many Articles in Issue 163

Bobbie1 | Posted in Talk With Us on

I have been sewing and reading Threads for many, many years, and it seems that many articles have small errors, or at least could be greatly improved by some careful editing.  For example, in Issue 163 November 2012, I have the following issues:

1.  In Kenneth D. King’s otherwise excellent Peplum Perfection article, on page 31 he mentions “adding negative space”.  He doesn’t explain what this is, so I Googled it.  Wikipedia says “Negative space, in art, is the space around and between the subject(s) of an image. Negative space may be most evident when the space around a subject, and not the subject itself, forms an interesting or artistically relevant shape, and such space is occasionally used to artistic effect as the “real” subject of an image. The use of negative space is a key element of artistic composition.”   Even with this definition, I have no idea what Kenneth is trying to say when he says “adding negative space”.

2.  In Jim Jacobson’s otherwise excellent Sewing Machine Maintenance article, on page 37 he mentions “needle bar”.  In all my years sewing, taking many sewing classes and much reading about sewing, I never came across the term “needle bar”.  Again, I Googled it, and I did find a good explanation, but with many years of experience, I should not have to Google a term to understand a Threads article.  This could have easily been made clear by adding an arrow pointing to the needle bar with the term “needle bar” at the back end of the arrow.

3.  In Claire Shaeffer’s otherwise excellent Master the Backstitch article, on page 71, in Photo #3 is a “stitch” that she says is 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch in length.  In the caption of Photo #4 she says to make a 1/8-inch stitch.  But looking at both those photos (and Photos # 5 and 6), the stitches appear to be exactly the same size.  So are the photos wrong, or is a stitch 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch in length really the same size as a 1/8-inch stitch?

I realize that these are all minor issues, but they all detract from an otherwise excellent magazine.

I also want to add that, since many of the Threads readers have older eyes, the fractions would be a lot easier to read if they are written horizontally (and so the numerals are larger), such as 1/4, rather than vertically, as a single character (where the numerals are smaller), such as ¼.

Thanks for considering my comments.


  1. Pattiann42 | | #1

    Issue 163

    If you strive to learn something new each day, issue163 has put you two days ahead of schedule.

    I would google Clair Shaeffer and read from her publications as to the correct information.

    If more than one reader noticed the discrepancy, there may be a correction in issue 165,166, 200 who knows!  You need to call this to the attention of the editor.  Posting here does little good.

    1. Bobbie1 | | #2

      Thanks so much for the reply.  I have emailed my comments to two differnt email addresses at the Threads Magazine.  We'll see if I get a response!

  2. amm | | #3

    Reply from Threads

    Hi Bobbie,

    Thank you for your email. We always appreciate receiving mail from our readers. I’m sorry you have concerns with our recent issue. I’ll try to explain our thinking in each instance.

    1. In Kenneth King’s article Peplum Perfection the “negative space” he refers to is the space between the torso and the arm where there is nothing—no sleeve or bodice. A fitted bodice with tightly fitted sleeve would have more negative space while a person stands erect than when the same person, standing in the same manner wears a poufy sleeve and blousy bodice. It’s just the space filled with nothing—air. Look at the photo on pg. 30. You can see that the peplum on the red jacket pulls in at the waist thereby creating more negative space than would be apparent if the model wore a traditional-style jacket.  We felt the term was self-explanatory, but perhaps we should have defined it more clearly.

    2. The needle bar is the vertical metal bar that holds the needle in place and raises and lowers and you sew. It can collect bits of lint as it moves, and the author, Jim Jacobson, suggests keeping it clean. Perhaps the term isn’t as widely used as we had thought, but we didn’t feel it needed an explanation. You’re correct. A label would have eliminated your question, and in the future we’ll try to keep that in mind.

    3. In Claire Shaeffer’s article “Master the backstitch” I can see your confusion. Let me try to clarify. In photo 3 the distance from the waste knot to the location at which the needle emerges should be 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch (in our photo 1/4 inch). Note that the waste knot isn’t up tight with the place where the needle entered the fabric (and shouldn’t be). As indicated, the distance measures from the knot, not from the insertion point. In photo 4 the measurement is from the emerging point to the insertion point. You’ll note that the knot was pulled closer to the insertion point when the additional stitches were made. This sometimes happens, and isn’t a concern since the knot ultimately is cut off anyway. Note that these photos are all enlarged greatly to allow you to see clearly what is happening.

    Regarding the fractions, we are bound to the type style of our company. However, we do understand your concern. One advantage of our new digital issues is that you can zoom in or out as much as you would like, which may help with viewing small type. Digital editions for the iPad are available now and can be downloaded at http://www.ThreadsMagazine.com/apps. More platforms will soon follow. If you are a subscriber, there is no additional charge for the digital editions. Digital editions are also available as part of the Threads Insider Membership. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or would like further information about digital issues.  

    Thank you once again for taking the time to write and for your interest in our publications.

    Best regards,

    April Mohr

    Administrative Assistant

    Threadsand SewStylish magazines

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