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Conversational Threads

Sticking With It But…

barbchr | Posted in Feedback on Threads on

Hi, All. I’m new to the forum and have been reading the comments regarding THREADS Magazine. On the positive side, I’m sticking with it. I was happy to see an article by Susan Khalje in the most recent issue (No. 120). I’m an admirer of Susan’s from her TV sewing show on DIY Network.

On the negative side, the cover article on pins seemed low budget and an act of desperation on the part of the editors. Likewise, the article on basic sewing notions. The pins looked pretty on the cover, but an awful lot of magazine space was devoted to information for the most part easily obtainable from a good sewing notions catalog.


  1. karenb | | #1

    I think I'm with you on the pin article.  I'm going to make three guesses about how that one was hatched:

    1. A promised/expected piece failed to appear as promised.

    2.  The pins were nicely photographed and it was a good graphic display. Perhaps the article followed the graphics?

    3. At the editorial meeting, ideas were batted around about good articles for beginners. Being a little unsure, perhaps, of how little inexperienced sewers know, the pin idea was born.

    Of course, all the above are pure specualtion.

    I will say this, though: The writer of the article did a good job writing about something so mundane! I wrote fashion articles for a bit and one assignment was to expound on the subject of plaid for a 30-inch article! It was dreadful---I mean, how do you say that much about plaid? This writer deserves a solid round of applause in my book. She must have been having nightmares about pins as her deadline drew near!

    I didn't mind the list of sewing notions, since I had never laid eyes on a couple of them. But I can understand why more experienced sewers might a bit exasperated by the piece.

    The rest of the magazine was excellent in my (humble) opinion.


    1. HollyT | | #2

      I have to add my 2 cents worth--I love Threads, and Fine Gardening too.  They are my favorite special interest magazines.  I always find something useful in Threads and save all the back issues for reference.  I just finished a hot pink silk tweed jacket for my daughter by finding an old threads article on making perfect buttonholes.  I couldn't find that info anywhere else---not by doing a google search, not at G Street Fabrics, and not in the Bernina department.  Thanks, Threads.

      I'm willing to let the editors choose topics that don't appeal to me, because I want them to sell enough magazines to keep publishing Threads.  If it takes a cover story on pins to hook new sewers to the magazine, that's fine.  Just keep that magazine coming!

      1. Colombe | | #5

        I'm with you Holly.  I have all the back issues I can get and I stack them so I can read the contents on the spines.  I use them as references.  Granted there are articles that don't interest me now, but I may be interested in the future.  I might want to make something simple for or with a grand daughter.

        With regard to the pins, I must say that I have returned to sewing after about a 20 year hiatus and I have been amazed at all the different kinds of pins.  I used to have a big box of so-called silk pins and they were the best.  The selection now is amazing.   And I sewed the Vogue couture patterns way back when.  By the way I find that the current patterns are not nearly so good with regard to accuracy of drafting, details in instruction sheets and quality of design.  Things change.


      2. sewingkmulkey | | #11

        I love Threads too and wouldn't trade my collection (complete) for any other magazine.  I've been sewing professionally for 40+ years and always find something new or interesting.  Please, let's stop the negative talk and continue to give suggestions for articles.  Sewers need a quality magazine like Threads to thrive and encourage new readers - especially young people to keep the art of sewing alive and kicking.

        Karen in Houston


    2. barbchr | | #3

      Hi, Karen.I agree with all your reasons for the "pins" article. Also, the writer appears to be a staffer or freelancer and was, perhaps, paid less. She's not mentioned in the "Contributors" section. Putting pins on the mag cover also saved the magazine a modeling fee.The writer, Carol Laflin Ahles, did indeed do a terrific job.BarbaraP.S. Re your comment on the problem you experienced writing the plaids article. I once had to write an article on a parachute manufactuer (go figure!), and I know how hard it is to expand an article after the subject has been exhausted.

      1. karenb | | #4


        I feel your pain re: your article about a parachute manufacturer. Ouch. That really sounds miserable. I'm putting the finishing touches on an article about flu shots today (yep, it's nowhere near flu season), but at least it ended up being fairly interesting. There were some new studies, a little controversy, and a good person to interview.

        Oh, well, that is quite off the topic of sewing. Sorry.


        1. mimi | | #6

          karenb:  So, should we get flu shots this year?  Will be be able to get flu shots this year?


          1. karenb | | #7

            Mimi, I was told that there was no way to predict a flu shot shortage. The doctor did told me that more companies are attempting to get FDA approval.

            Health care professionals are predicting that flu shots will cost more this upcoming flu season. They're also going to encourage older children/teens and healthy adults to get the flu mist in hopes that it will keep at-risk populations healthier. Those populations (young children, pregnant women, seniors, and people with chronic health problems) will continue to get the flu shot.  -Karen

          2. mimi | | #8


            Thanks, that is good to know.  So far I have not had the flu for about 22 years and I want to keep that record going.  While I was in the classroom (15 plus years) the school district would provide shots after school for staff.  I loved all my little ones but 5 and 6 year olds are mini germ factories!


          3. karenb | | #9


            The "germ factory" comment about children was very close to what the health department doctor told me "off the record." She asked me not to repeat that as she felt sure that such a statement would incur a bit of angry mail.

            Amazing !~!!! that you haven't had the flu in so many years. I'm really impressed.


          4. mimi | | #10

            karenb:  I loved working with my kids, the kindergarten years are my favorite!  They are so trusting, affectionate and thirsty for knowledge at that age.  I hope to get back to the classroom as soon as my "feet" allow me to.

            Every year we start off with a week of "health manners":  cough into your elbow, use a tissue when you sneeze, always flush and wash your hands after you use the bathroom. etc.  I bless every parent who teaches these basics to their children before they reach kindergarten!  After the class leaves for the day I wash the tables down with a clorox solution to kill any germs that may be on the surface; I think that has helped me stay healthy!

            That and a good sense of humor.



  2. Ckbklady | | #12

    Hi there,

    I'm new to the forum but a twenty-year garment sewer. I was tooling about on the website looking for back issues and came across the discussion forum. I was a Threads subscriber back in the 80s (when I collected Issue #1 to that time) but lost the lot in a disastrous move across the country in the 90s. I was so discouraged that I stopped reading Threads and did not want to restart the hunt for issues.

    As the years passed and every fabric shop that once emphasized garment/couture fabrics went the way of the quilter, I remember the inspiration Threads provided and with the handy Internet, which would have made my first time collecting so much easier, I set off on a hunt to replace my old copies. Between online bookshops and eBay I've done reasonably well  - the hunt is fun!

    But to address your comment, I must say that when I picked up a copy of the latest issue I was baffled by very different feel of the magazine and particularly the article on pins (whatever happened to Madame Vionnet and Issey Miyake??). And my goodness, the enormous size of the print in the text of the magazine was a shock. I loved the quirky font and thick, meaty articles of the early days, and found the spare, sparse gaps and huge pictures on text pages in the most recent issue to be disappointing. White space and huge, 1" titles are not inspiring - words are inspiring! And pins? Really? I suppose I understand that Threads wants to be sure to reach the novice, but really, couldn't a new sewer get that info in the fabric store? I don't want a catalog, I want instruction and inspiration. I will collect the old issues but I am sadly ambivalent about reviving a subscription. I may decide to live in the past and read only the oldie goldie issues if huge-print articles on VERY basic items are indicative of the new norm.

    :) Mary

    1. MaryAnnG | | #13

      "And pins? Really? I suppose I understand that Threads wants to be sure to reach the novice, but really, couldn't a new sewer get that info in the fabric store?"

      Sadly Mary, no a new sewer would not get the information about pins in a fabric store.  A new sewer would see a lot of different kind of pins in the store, but the odds of there being any one there to provide advice on which pins to use for what purpose are slim to none.

      While I wasn't inspired by the cover eitiher, I did learn a few thingsI didn't already know by reading the article.

      Mary Ann D


      1. Ckbklady | | #14

        Well, I suppose that's true - most large chain craft/fabric stores don't have pin experts. It begs the question - why don't the notion manufacturers put the product purpose on the back of the package? Or offer a laminated chart for the shops to hook to the shelves? If they would do so, Threads would have to write about Madame Gres and Issey Miyake like the good old days...

        The more I mull it over, the more I realize that the pin article is to me only one aspect of the continental shift Threads has been making. While flipping through older back issues yesterday evening I noticed thick, meaty articles on, for example, Inuit coat sewing, and columns on textile and vintage garment museums. Now the content and ads more closely mirror those of Sew News and all of those staple-bound quilt magazines. The content today in Threads seems very "light". Someone in this forum (whether a Threads staffer or forum member I don't know) said that the rather stratified group who supported the meatier Threads of the past was much reduced, hence the necessity for the breezier content and much, much larger print. It still is a disappointment, although I will always be inspired and challenged by the content of the earlier issues.

        And come to think of it, I could do with some more pins, giggle.

        :) Mary

        1. mimi | | #15

          I was less than thrilled with the cover of Threads for September and almost did not buy it.  But I remended myself that not everyone grows up with access to this information and it was probably a good public service to provide  ;)

          I recently spent an hour in a fabric store going through all the sewing magazines and have come to the conclusion that while Threads does have its faults it is by far the best magazine aimed at the home sewer.  Now that we have suffered through the pins cover/article, could we please have some couture sewing?  The piped jacket article was awesome, more along that line would be great.

          I hate to bring this up, but could you have an article with tips on fit for the "plus size" sewer?  Most of America is a size 14 and up, but you would never know it to look in a fashion or sewing magazine!


          1. Ckbklady | | #16

            Hi Mimi,

            I agree - of all the magazines out there, Threads still is the best. I just wish that the field wasn't narrowing down so far.

            Plus-size articles are a great idea - I hope that the Threads staffers who read this board hear that one.

            :) Mary

          2. mommy123 | | #17

            I have been sewing, off and on, for 25 years.  I, too, found the pins article both interesting and thin.  But, after a year-long sewing break, due to a new baby, I really enjoyed reading Threads again.

            I could use some help with a fitting issue.  My older daughter, who is almost four, doesn't fit the standard pants sizes, either off the rack, or pattern sizes.  She is thin, and tall, with an extra-long torso, and slightly shorter than average legs.

            I need to increase the crotch length.  I have her measurement, and the pattern's measurement, but how much wearing ease is recomended for a child?  Threads had some wonderful fitting articles a while back that included some charts with rule-of-thumb minimum ease for various key body measurements, but these were all for adults.  Does anyone have this information for children?

          3. Ckbklady | | #18


            I don't know about children's pattern fitting, but just entering "fitting children" in the "Contains all of the words" field in the Advanced Search in this forum generated numerous threads (pardon the pun, giggle!) to read through. Maybe these would be of use? You might also wish to ask the question again in a new discussion to get it seen.

            Good luck!

            :) Mary

          4. Elisabeth | | #19

            You might call the pattern companies to ask them. They have technical help lines and the numbers are listed on their websites.

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