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Conversational Threads

So what do you like?

karen_morris_ | Posted in Feedback on Threads on

What do you like or dislike in the current issue of Threads, the one with the pale grey lace jacket on the cover? I just read the piece in the back, Closures–I like the “Diary of a Dark Green Sweater”.

Shouldn’t we be more playful with our clothes? Is this why I prefer to wear pajamas?


  1. Shannon_Gifford | | #1

    I agree. I think we all take our wardrobes too seriously:) I like clothing with "movement" or "design interest" just for this very reason. Probably a very selfish need for attention....:)

    1. karen_morris_ | | #2

      *no, it could just be a very selfish need to entertain yourself (or i think that's often my reason for making playful clothes....)

      1. Shannon_Gifford | | #3

        *Yeah, I thought about that, too. I love to play with the fringe on my shirt, or the cool buttons on my jackets. Great for eliminating boredom when standing in long lines!As for the current issue, I enjoyed reading every article in it. I loved the garment attached with embroidery stitches in the "seam allowance" area...that was truly innovative, IMO. Usually I skim through everything when I first get my copy, and then camp out on what is interesting at the moment. Later, I'll remember that article about such-and-such which applies to what is in the current project pile; as a result, I do not throw any copies of Threads away. Even the book reviews have been used for reference! You know, I wonder if I'm alone in that...Threads is one of the two magazines I will not toss. Is there anyone who doesn't keep copies?

        1. karen_morris_ | | #4

          *I have met a very few people at sewing shows who say that they tear up their copy of Threads, file the articles they want, and throw the rest away. This usually stops me in my tracks--i'm speechless--because i just can't imagine tearing up the mag. I never know which part i'm going to need, or when. But i was hooked on Threads for many years before i started working there, so i'm really not at all objective.When i started work there, i had every issue except no. 4. Everyone at Threads said, 'no, there are no more copies of no. 4; we haven't had them for years'. And then when moving into a new office, i found a lone copy of no. 4 in the bottom of a drawer, abandoned! It didn't belong in anyone's set (each editor has a set at their desk). That was a very lucky day.

          1. Shannon_Gifford | | #5

            *Wow, what a find! I was able recently to purchase a person's collection for postage...I really bought the set to get the issues I did not have. I now need about 6 to have a complete set. Interesting to see how, when a subject is reintroduced after a few years, the technology of sewing has changed so dramatically and the "new" article reflects that change. I like reading through the knitting articles, too, as I knit on occasion.You know, one think I really appreciate about Threads is that they don't assume we want a simplified project! Even the simplest item, like a home dec pillow or napkin, is given a "twist" to challenge us, many times to challenge us to excellence. I like reading about the thought processes that take place in designing the projects showcased, too; that helps me direct my thoughts in new ways to develop my own ideas.

          2. silkscape_ | | #6

            *Threads has no equal in the market obviously. I'm a bit concerned lately about the broadening scope though. I am amazed by what quilters produce and I really love to see what is being done in that arena, but I'm not sure that I want it to take up space in "my" Threads. I was thinking....quilting is so popular now, and I haven't really seen much for quality available in quilting magazines out there. Couldn't Taunton do a whole magazine on quilting alone? There is nothing available really that I've seen. I don't really know what is available for home dec. but I feel the same way about the inclusion of home dec in every issue. And I really don't know many people who sew both garments and home dec. At least not passionately. Maybe its just me. But hey, I'll take my Threads no matter what, as long as they don't start putting diets (along with pictures of chocolate cakes) on the covers.

          3. karen_morris_ | | #7

            *Dawn, the plan for Threads has always included one quilting article in each issue, for years and years. Yes, the official home dec articles are new, but I always used to hide home dec stuff in the Quick to Make dept.; that's the only place I could get away with it. I always want to know how to make gorgeous pillows; a pillow is just such a beautiful little package.I'm primarily a garment sewer, but I'll do anything that 'needs' to be sewn, which sometimes does include home dec. Again, it's just one article an issue; hopefully there'll be some things there that you love. You're creative; you'll steal the ideas and use 'em in your garments, anyway....

          4. silkscape_ | | #8

            *Now, what makes you think I'm creative???? If I were, I'd be able to apply those nice home dec and quilting details to garments, but alas.... In any case, like I said, I will certainly continue to buy Threads.... just not thrilled about sharing "my" space with curtains and pillows, no matter how luxurious they are! (The think that comes to mind is the sofa covers they did awhile ago, they were gorgeous). You can't please everyone all the time, and I'm not one to keep my opinions to myself. And, plan though I may, I just can never make myself sew anything for the house.As for this issue, that lace top is just too much! Wow, that is the kind of cover garment that I won't forget. Others that come to mind are the lattice vest made with bias strips and the hand-picked zipper with the pearls (now why didn't I ever think of that?)

          5. Shannon_Gifford | | #9

            *I loved those, too....and the Bird Ross jacket cover. I find myself going back most often to the "technical" articles, like the one on Oxxford jackets, and all the different articles dealing with welt pockets. Sometimes I just thumb through them for the eye candy....I like the way you refer to it as "my" Threads; I guess that's the way we all feel.

          6. Sarah_Kayla | | #10

            *What I love about Threads is that it assumes a certain level of smarts on the part of its readers. The other magazines out there seems to divide into two big catagories. There are the magazines for folks who see the making of stuff by hand as an extension of working from a kit. The magazines will present an object and then give you directions about how to copy it.Then there are the magazines like Fiberarts and Surface design . I like looking at what is in there but there approach is much more art-schooley and intellectual. Their approach is about the object as a finished piece of art. In threads you are part of the mechanical process - the how but also the thought behind the choices made. So if you are inspired by an article in Threads you probably won't make a slavish copy but might use the technique you learned in a new way. Bird Ross's wonderful edging ended up not on a jacket but rather as the edging of a sheer challa cover. That beautiful beaded zipper ended up embellishing a tallit bag rather than a red silk sheath. And I think that is the intent of the articles.I think that in Threads we the readers are not seen as too stupid to come up with our own ideas like so many of those crap Craft magazines but rather as artisans constantly solving problems.The craft as art magzines are pretty but not quite useful enough. My guess is that they are aimed more at collectors than at the artists themselves. I keep looking for new things to read, and new inspirtations. I don't always love every article or every issue of Threads but it has it has consistantly nourished my soul.Thanks..Sarah

          7. silkscape_ | | #11

            *Sarah is right, one of Threads' best virtues is that it has some faith in its subscribers to be able to achieve what it showcases and doesnt' stop short of the most challenging techniques and skills.On the other hand, I for one and extremely happy that Threads has added the "basics" column as well. That makes the magazine more "accessible" to less experienced sewers and encourages everyone to practice and improve the art of sewing in general. And don't we all want that?! I think its better than just saying, "this is what beautiful craftsmanship looks like but you'll have to figure how to get here on your own." In any case, one never knows it all, and I usually learn something, or remind myself of something, with that column.

          8. marie_bucuvalas | | #12

            *I have a complete set, though prior to e-bay, I despaired of ever aquiring number 3. And when I die - and when I'm gone - sorry, late night musical digression - my husband will probably just chuck 'em. Funny that dawnj finds the quilting and home dec an incursion, since I wrote a crabby letter to Threads some years ago when the spinning, knitting, weaving, dyeing - and some really strange stuff like portraits done in dryer lint (I'm not kidding dawn) disappeared in the interest of focus. At the time, I hadn't even stretched out personally into spinning, weaving, quilting and dyeing. I still don't do dryer lint. But I do have to subscribe to about six fiber related magazines now. Well, "have to" is an overstatement, but it's a relatively cheap vice. And I refer to those back issues often. Or sometimes just pick out a few at random and reaquaint myself with old ads and tips I didn't know I needed at the time. Or chuckle over preposterous shoulder pads. And hair. As long as Threads continues to present quality workpersonship, I'll be a subscriber. Descend into glue guns, and I'm a goner. I've always liked the articals on how certain designers construct their garments, couture, historical or bordering on "wearable art", and I've always been more interested in construction than embellishment. I find the embroidery craze boring. I love the little design details column. And I like interesting eye candy, like wedding and inaugural gowns and kimono. I'm very appreciative of the seasonal pattern overview, and find it interesting that the small company patterns can be used year in and year out, because they don't scream their runway ripoff year. I like book reviews, but I think machine reviews ought to be on the website - and sorted out from the chaff of Gatherings. It's been a long time since Threads has done anything on sewing space, and I'd like to see where other people work, what they use for organization, and how they manage more than one interest. Because I know a lot of people who sew, and I don't know anybody who only sews. And if the industry doesn't get a grip on itself and figure out how to attract more young sewers, we're surely the last generation. And Threads could help with that, I should think. Why don't pattern companies advertise patterns anymore? Why don't they have more than three junior size patterns? If any? And they're ugly. O.K., you don't have to really change the prom and wedding dress patterns, but take new pictures with new hair and accessories. I swear the dress I made my bridesmaids 19 years ago is still out there, and the picture's the same. (princess bodice, puff sleeves, ball skirt, large flat bows on the shoulders. betcha know the one.) And one of these days I'll get around to making that Bonnie Cashin coat.

          9. Sarah_Kayla | | #13

            *Dear Marie -I think you are so right about attracting younger sewers. I learned as an adult. I came to sewing though working with paper and wood. Because I didn't have the voice of a prissy sewing teacher in my head I felt comfortable coming up with solutions that worked for me rather than worring about standard operating procedure. When I teach ( No I haven't done a ton of teaching but about four or five classes over the past 5 years) I encourage my students to think through solutions. It makes for what I call wild-woman sewing. I think that it may relate more to carpentry - perhaps because so many of the sewing skills I have I learned through helping to rebuild an old house in Maine using only hand tools. Sometimes it makes sense to follow the rules, and at other times you just have to try what works. I think if you approach sewing that way it is much more approachable - rather than a bunch of fussy rules. My kids (including my ten year old son ) learned sewing skills to complete objects they wanted to own, Barbie pillows and quilt done when my daughter was three and four, a bolster when she was nine (done on a sewing machine) ultra suede marble bags for both my son & daughter when they were five and seven.... various halloween costumes over the years. I have also taught basic sewing to teenaged girls. Mind you this is in the least crafty place on the planet --- New York City where Joanne's is far away and most people just order in supper rather than cook. This is the land where DIY is dead and girls still find great fabric that they want to make into something wonderful with their own hands. The very analytical six year old daughter of a friend wanted to make a hat for her baby sister. I gave her a rectangle of polar fleece and instructions. She figured it out and made a hat that her sister wears. I will set her up for other projects as she requests them. She wants to make a fancier hat for herself and I wil work with her when she is ready. . I imagine that I will be her sewing resource as she grows up. it is the same as teaching kids cooking. You start with scrambled eggs and vanilla pudding and move up to cookies and harder stuff as their interest grows. We just have to make the path easy. s

          10. silkscape_ | | #14

            *That's another thing I like about Threads...there is no "right" way to do things. Always, different approaches are presented. As for young people sewing....sometimes I actually think it would be helpful to do away with home ec sewing! What I have seen of it is so brief and non-inclusive that it could barely be anything but frustrating. B/c people are led to believe now they can sew, but all they can do is make a pillow. and not even with appropriate stitch length, tension, or fabrics grained up. Not that it's teachers' faults, there's no time or money for it. Also, home ec sewing feeds seems to me to feed teh old-fashioned idea that sewing is frugal, a domestic chore, a necessity, boring, very uncool. and hardly anyone sews for those reasons today. We are sewing for creativity and expression. Sewing should be a luxury hobby for kids, just like dancing, or painting, or soccer.

          11. Sarah_Kayla | | #15

            *Dawn -I totally agree - If I were given a job teaching littlekids how to sew I would have them start with making silly polarfleece hats - Two seams and silly decorations. Yes -the fleece is expensive but it is so much fun and so forgiving. I think that the figuring out process that you do when you sew, not simply following directions, but by problem solving at eachstep is so helpful for kids (And all of us for that matter) not just for teaching them how to sew but how to deal with life. I think I probably would have failed home ec had I had to take it in school. Thank goodness I learned on my own, making thousands of errors along the way.Sarah

          12. karen_morris_ | | #16

            *Wow, this is an interesting discussion. Going way back to agree with Dawn, i ALWAYS learn something in the Basics department and basic articles, like those on needles, interfacing, etc. And every time i have to replace a zipper in fly-front pants, i drag out that old issue and follow the step-by-step pix (yes, i edited it, but i just don't do this job often enough to remember how, or else i'm just 'slow').My daughter has never shown much interest in sewing, although she's creative, and makes beautiful stuff in ceramics at high school (she's 15). my 13 y.o. son, though, will sit down at the sewing machine to make a bag for his pocket knife or a wild halloween costume. This year he and his friend went to the halloween dance as bananas, wearing unbelievable costumes made from 8 (yes, EIGHT) tacky yellow-gold zip-front sweatshirts that they bought by the pound at the cheap used clothing store in cambridge. and they didn't want any help from me, even with the matching shoe-, hand-, and face-covers. the very minute they finished the costumes, they had to walk down to the grocery store to show off and see people's reactions; they couldn't wait for the dance. i've never taught him to use a pattern, at least not yet. i don't see any reason to spoil or limit his wild creative urges, or risk imposing my 'perfectionist' tendencies on him.Because i did learn sewing with a prissy teacher with lots of rules, at a Singer sewing course at age 12, i still slow myself down by checking and rechecking my work---i hate to make mistakes. tonight i'm finishing (i hope) a gorgeous random-patchwork tree skirt made from a bunch of necktie silks, and backed with a mossy-green cotton cut-velvet upholstery remnant. i started it last year after trying to buy an interesting xmas tree skirt and giving up, and we used it last year, half finished. i'm determined to get it under the tree later tonight.Last night i browsed around the web site at SewFastSewEasy.com, which is a very interesting place. At this NYC store, young women are making edgy, nice-looking, easy garments and accessories, and paying real bucks for classes and beautiful fabrics. It's encouraging---maybe there is another generation out there that wants to sew fashion and play with us.Sarah, have you ever been to this store?

          13. Sarah_Kayla | | #17

            *Yes, I have been to Sew Fast Sew Easy. I have been several times. The focus of the store is classes although they sell fabric, notions,patterns and machines. Elissa who owns the stor has written for Threads, although not recently. I hate to say anything negative about fellow travelers... but I went in with the intention of buying a serger. She demonstrated (very reluctantly) one serger, and refused to let me touch the machine. I bought some fabric to show the seiousness of my intent but still -- No touching of the machine allowed. No I did not by the serger from her (she was rushing me out the door "I have no time to work with you. People pay $100 an hour for my time." The people who take her classes do produce lovely work . She made sure that I looked at several books of photos. Will I go back??? Yes, to amuse my peverse sense of humor. Will I purchase there again?? Probably not. Sarah

          14. karen_morris_ | | #18

            *Sarah, that doesn't sound like a pleasant experience. How could you possibly buy a serger without trying it? From the website, it does look as if they focus on classes. I am glad that someone is teaching sewing with this much style, in this fashion-conscious city. I didn't realize that's the same Elissa who wrote for Threads! I remember her article on the bias skirt.

          15. kiwa | | #19

            *I recently purchased my first issue at out local Barnes and Noble. Excellent magazine! Cant' say enought about it. I've decided to subscribe. I love everything about it---the look and feel, the inviting format, the tips (such as felling seams). It's not off-putting in any way. I even enjoy the ads! (Which encouraged me to upgrade my machine to a Brother PC 8500.) (I also went through the ads and put the ones with websites into my "favorites" file on my internet browser.)The graphics are superb! You can get the gist of the thing without even reading the accompanying article. And, unlike some of my patterns (specifically Simplicity), the directions are SO clear and precise. This is what I enjoy most about the magazine. I feel as if the writer were sitting there talking me through the thing. After an absence of many years, I've gotten back into sewing in a big way. Recently purchased a new serger. I was delighted to find that the magazine had a website where one could ask questions and "chat." (Noone I know sews, and it's wonderful to be able to ask questions or just read all the good advice and chit chat.) I love being able just to hear the "pros" on here talk about what kind of fabric they like or what they are currently working on. (That is one thread I especially enjoyed. It gave me lots of ideas.)Thanks for the super magazine! Kim

          16. Maxine_Bullimore | | #20

            *I had never heard of `Threads' until approx 4 yrs ago when I saw a copy in my local Newsagents shop and thought how wonderful it was. Since that first copy I have been a regular subscriber and I love everything about the magazine, including the adverts. I practically devour the magazine as soon as it arrives. In addition I have purchased many of the Threads books (particularly re fitting) direct from the States and from a wonderful fashion bookstore in London. All readers are so lucky to have such a wonderful sewing orientated mag like Threads to enjoy. I am so grateful to all the contributors who make this magazine so very exciting and am eagerly awaiting my next copy as I type!!!

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