Suggestion for next issues
I very much enjoy Threads and I thank you for your efforts to provide a fresh view on every sewing issue. I very much like asymmetrical garments (collars, sleeves, hems etc) and I would like to read an article on this issue in one of the next Threads. Would this be possible?
Thank you very much in advance!
I'm glad you raised this, Ellisavet. I also like asymmetrical details - in my knitting too. I read a knitting discussion somewhere recently where the respondents were NOT fond of such details though. What do other Gatherers think?
Edited 11/19/2008 1:17 am ET by Katina
Assymetry is often difficult for people to accept, especially in clothing because our clothing traditions throughout time has been for very symmetrical lines. Assymetry is very much a 20th century idea, first appearing in the 1920s and I think is often associated with radical thought and behavior. I personally like it--I think it adds a little surprise to a garment that would otherwise just follow the status quo. On a sweater, it can be as simple as a cable that only runs up one side or one sleeve.
Thanks, as always, for this. I wonder if others will be interested in this discussion.
Asymmetrical lines are very flattering for Rubanesque figure types. They accentuate the curves you want, and draw the eye away from those you do not want. For those who have few curves, they give the illusion of curves. What could be better! A one third/two thirds proportion is always more pleasing to the eye and begs for an asymmetric treatment. Crossover or surplice fronts are a perfect example, as is a double breasted style jacket. I would love to see some non traditional treatments for these! Cathy
Very good points, Cathy - thanks. What's your opinion of uneven lengths in garment pieces?
All the better! I often make up for shortages in fabulous fabrics by making the fronts or backs longer or shorter. It is also more flattering for longer or shorter people! I love the look of handkerchief hems on skirts and dresses for the summer and for evening wear. A Jacket or coat is easier to walk in if the front is a little shorter than the back, but you get that extra coverage in the back over the hip area if you need or want it. I like the peplum for the same reason. Look how elegant riding and cutaway coats are! I think even a left to right difference can be attractive. Look at the fab Issey Miyake (sp) . Cathy
I'm completely with you on all points! I often make my shirts with a longer back and side slits. I find these very comfortable; I do similar hems on knitwear too.
I have followed fashion and fashion trends for years. I am not as up on it as I was when I worked in the field, but I never lost my interest. What interests me now is how fashion has circled back to where it was when I first started studying styles. My old patterns are coming back, and not always in an updated form. One blouse that was in the link you posted was almost an exact copy of a pattern I have from the mid eighties! Too bad I do not fit it! It is very similar to an Anne Klein pattern that I bought way back when. Issey was au courant and all the rage then. Not my style exactly, but I appreciated where he was going with his style. I saw some of his influences in other garments and liked where it was going. I enjoy different looks, and enjoy putting it into my own clothes. Cathy
Absolutely - one of the reasons we sew
I have just looked at the readers closet, I love the long vest is there any one out there who is 50 plus i would just love to wear something like this do you think it would suit us over 50s and has any one made a similar item in that age group.
This is another reason i think threads should put older over 50's on the pages of their ideas etc and when explaining a new technique.
I live in Australia and we are now going in to summer last winter i saw a lot of young ones in another version of this same item more in a flimsy knit, that would not have suited, but this one in the closet section is so beautiful and could suit i think any age group. In the winter that is coming in the u.s. will this be worn do you think.
I'm very attracted to the photos of asymmetrical clothes, but haven't sewed any for myself, don't know why. I particularly like the jacket of Marfy F1712 pictured here:http://www.mccallpattern.com/item/F1711.htm?search=F1712&page=1I do own several patterns I haven't tried yet, which include some asymmetrical features, like the "Fun Jumper" from Fashion Patterns by Coni:http://www.fashionpatterns.com/pages/XS-L_Patterns/XS-L_vests-jumpers.htmland a couple of Marcy Tilton patterns, but haven't used these patterns yet. It seems to me that a lot of the independent pattern makers focus on asymmetry.I'm a little wary - I'm not sure where on my body an asymmetric feature would work, and I'd like some advice on that issue. I think an article which discussed this issue, considering different body types, would be of great interest to me.
Definitely of great interest to me too. Marcy Tilton writes for Threads - I wonder if she could write about this? Thanks for the links.
Marcy Tilton might be just right for the job.
Definitely - I love her style. Do you remember the wonderful article she did on a travel wardrobe?
Yes, thanks for the links. Those are great patterns, and very flattering feminine garments!
Have you ever tried draping scarves or fabric across your body to see what different angles and hems and lines look like in a mirror? I know it is hard to look at yourself with an unbiased eye, but if you can try and turn off the nasty little picky voices for a while and honestly try to look at the image as another person instead of yourself it can be really helpful (and fun) If you have a willing partner or friend, you can even draw lines on the mirror with a dry marker and move around to see where the lines look best on you! This is even helpful when pin fitting a pattern. Cathy
Edited 11/19/2008 1:29 pm ET by ThreadKoe
What a good idea, Cathy! I do sometimes drape fabric around me, and usually get so discouraged I just do something else - like get onto the computer! But it never occurred to me to draw lines on the mirror. I'll try it. A-HA! Maybe I can draw my patterns on the mirror and "try them on" that way - why waste time making a muslin just to discover whether a style does or doesn't suit me?I realize this is something akin to making a - oh the word has left my mind - you know, a drawing of your own shape, reducing it, and then drawing different styles onto it, something like a paper doll? Oh, drat. I can't remember the term. Well, another senior moment!
Croquis. Threads magazine quite a few years ago had an article of how to take a full length photo in tights, enlarge it and use the shape to try on garments. Overlay the shape with clothing drawn on tissue paper or flimsy and it is really quite easy to see how things will look. It really surprised me how accurate it is.Later on their was an article (not sure if it was Threads) on perfect body proportions. You can draw the proportions on your croquis and see first hand where your body deviates.....also a good help in knowing what to accent or hide.
YES! Croquis. Thank you. I learned about the idea from the Threads article you mentioned, but I never did anything with it. Maybe I'll go back to it. I was thinking a body outline was traced on a large piece of paper taped to the wall, and then somehow that tracing was reproduced and reduced to get to a manageable size. Lots of copies were then printed, so that styles could be drawn over the figure, to see how they look.I think Cathy's idea is a similar idea. If I can draw the basic lines on the mirror, then stand in front... hmmm.Thanks so much for the memory jog. I really needed it. :>)
I would think the photograph method would be easier to do. What you are looking for is a proportional image, the size doesn't matter. There are quite a number of pre-photo tasks: a dark tight-fitting garment, (I used tights and sport top), tape marking numerous points of the body, a light-coloured wall and four views: front, back, both sides.
Last but not least, a co-operative friend/partner/spouse who will go along with all this!I was surprised to see my "raw me" unadorned. It has made me more aware of my actual shape and has been a great help in designing clothing for myself.
I can see what you mean. It's difficult for me to know if I see myself accurately in the mirror, but that kind of photo would help with that.
Wow, you are brave! Rear and side views of oneself in a leotard?
I'm sure a photo croquis would be very accurate, but I'm equally sure I'm not quite ready for that, even if it would probably solve a lot of fitting problems! And I haven't worn a leotard in about thirty years...
As the chief photographer in the family and the one behind the lens, I've been able to maintain a mental self-image that is way more attractive than my actual one. While this overly optimistic self-image is great for my morale, it makes sewing for myself inefficient. Thanks for the tip!
Loved your comments about 'maintaining a mental self-image that is way more attractive than my actual one'. I seem to have the same problem - & reality is sometimes a shock! Hahaha! I try to avoid it, but is sometimes rears its ugly head.
A croquis? I love drawing them. Cathy
Yes. That's the word that completely escaped me.
I love seeing the new patterns that are made up by your 'sewers' but they are usually for younger figures. How about doing an fashion article for those of us who are over 50. We don't want to dress like our daughters or our mothers. It seems as though we are supposed to fit in one of those catagories; either too young or too old. Maybe it is not in the patterns/style but in the fabric choice, but I think it is the patterns/style. How about some help for us.
I second that!
I am not sure it is just for the age you suggest either Ocrafty. I think a lot is for body type also. A lot of patterns/styles are for the young and perky body types. The patterns for the Reubanesque body types are TENTS! What about something fashionable and fitted for us fuller figure types that still have curves, but have sagged a bit with age and babies. We are still good looking, and fit, and want something that is the same as what you want. I do not want to look like my 20 something daughters, but I do not want to wear something my mother would have worn. I want something fashionable for ME! I am not old yet! And I still feel I look pretty sexy, even if I need a plus size! Maybe show us how some of these patterns would look on mature and fuller figures! Cathy
Edited 11/28/2008 10:39 am ET by ThreadKoe
Perhaps an article by a knowledgeable designer discussing specifics would be good. For example, I know that just dropping the hemline a little can make a dress more appropriate for a mature figure, but too far and I look frumpy. How do I take a pattern I like and adjust the neckline to cover the wrinkles or accommodate the heavier jowls? Can I do that without throwing the whole design off kilter? They could discuss whether, as you mentioned, fabric, etc. makes a difference. I'd rather have the broad knowledge to adjust all things that just a few specific pattern numbers. There are frequent articles about adjustments for body types etc., but an in-depth article about how to keep plus sizes from looking dowdy, or if there are key structural things to avoid if you don't want to look like you've raided a teen's closet would be great.I'm talking about something with substance for sewers..not just "Don't wear Spandex, etc."
I think you used the perfect word-DOWDY! Matronly is another one! I have tried on RTW that has fit pretty well, the fabric choice was awful! Yet you look across the aisle at all the wonderful colours and fabrics in the smaller sizes and think Why Not Me?????? So I sew. But I need a better starting point. I find a pattern with the style lines I want, but it only goes up to maybe a 16 if I am lucky. So I have to grade the whole thing up.
Yes, Burda Plus has some great fitting patterns for plus sizes! Have sewn from them for years. But they even tend to recycle a few basic shapes over and over. I have over 10 years worth of the mags, and sew from them. They do not often have very fitted clothing styles either tho. I have a waist, and hips and a bosom that I would like to show off at times with a more fitted, age appropriate style. What I need to see is the style on a woman like me! I loved the articles that show one pattern on several body types! It shows better the possibilites than the one size shown in books and pattern drawings.
I agree totally that a broad range of knowledge about what can be done to flatter the ageing or plus figure is needed, not just adjustments. I have studied Barbra Deckert's Fitting for Plus Figures to death, but she did not really go into much in the choosing of pattern style specifics either. Cathy
Where are the designers for larger women?!! All of the young,new, up and coming designers seem to want to find a niche where they can make a name for themselves and earn lots of $$. None of them has figured out that the majority of mature women who can spend that $$ have figures that aren't gonna fit into a size 2 dress or pants. They are all so intelligent and creative....but not smart enough to go where the $$ and the REAL need is!!! Wish I could do it over again....I'd take classes in clothing design and business!
I was watching the Runway reruns a while back and noticed that a few of the designers seemed likely to be able to design for the larger/older shaped body, but were not given the opportunity. Maybe they should be given that as a challange for one of their masterpieces! Then give them some odd shaped forms to fit attractively for another! I would like to see how they would drape/fit something like a tractor tire or a waterheater or a chest of drawers in a dress. make them think outside the box. Cathy
In my opinion, the designers are where the money is - into young looking clothing - just because it pays off to offer garments to youngsters who have the money and love to spend, spend, spend.On the contrary, older women are likely to be more careful with their spending. I would think on the whole, the younger generation outspends the older by at least 100%. That is no excuse for the lines that cater to larger body types and age-appropriate styles to concentrate on polyester and horizontal stripes, ugly, ugly designs and not at all flattering to anyone
now with the down turn perhaps the younger ones will not spend as much on clothes, in australia they call us self funded retirees, although we have lost a lot of superannuation in the past weeks( private pension funds) we still are able to spend on nice clothes that we need anyway, gone are the days when we just bought for the sake of it. That happened a long time ago, i think we just like quality not quantity and when you retire you do not need as much in ones wardrobe.
i am always surprised that the magazines do not seem to pick up on this.
I just wish we could get the younger ones to sew. Perhaps there may be some good come out of this time in history we will have to wait and see.
I read an article on line re the British Times that there had been a big buy up of sewing machines and that all the sewing classes had filled up.
Having met Barbra Deckerts and having her fit one of her patterns on me I bet if you contacted you she would consider your idea and thousands would love you. If you ever get a chance to see or talk to her at a sewing expo be sure to meet her. Though, I must admit, I did find some of her fabric choices a little dowdy. She has wonderful colouring and is dressed very well herself (a definite winter) so perhaps doesn't understand other needs. But she is a savy business woman and would find out.
I have Barbra's book on fitting Plus Sizes. It is well written, Humorous and Sensible. But I agree with you on some of her fabric choices. For herself, with her shape and colour choices, she is incredibly and perfecly attired. For those of a different shape, she does have a problem translating things into more fitted stlying, as that is not her preferred style. But she does have some wonderful fitting and upsizing advice that works! I would love to see her in person! I think she would be a really fun person to work with. Cathy
Have you investigated Burda patterns? Burda also has a magazine called Burda Plus which has patterns in it. The styles are really up to date, in fact they are ahead of what is available in North America.
Do you know i had not seen your letter till i actually ask for this myself isnt that amazing we must all be on the same wave length.
Yes i am so sick of not seeing us girls in our middle years in magazines.
I think we even may have more money to spend on fabric and we have sewing machines, my daughter has one but says she is too busy, I just say well you know what so was I but I found the time.
As i said in another post perhaps this down turn will change the mind of a few of our daughters after all I say to her i am not going to be here for ever and you should pass crafts on to your daughters.
But getting back to the fashion if only someone would listen i have been saying this since i was probably in my late 40's now 60.
Candidly, I'm not 50 yet, but I'm looking forward to it if the Lord so blesses me.
HOWEVER, I agree with those who would like to see Threads show older models with more ample portions on their pages. Interestingly on Boston Legal last night there was a whole vignette where the law firm is suing the major broadcasters for failing to provide programing to those in the population over 50. What's interesting, is that in making a case for the action, the law firm quoted all kinds of facts and figures that advertisers and those that claim it's a business issue they have to skew younger. They indicated they have really missed the boat and that folk over 50 outnumber and outspend the young folk dramatically.
I would go further and hypothosize that this is even more the case in sewing... Threads should understand we were the last generation to have mothers/sisters/aunts who wore finely tailored clothing all the time.... (no matter what their financial means). And we grew up with those who distained cheap fabric, poorly made clothes. We also grew up with public figures with realistic proportions: i.e. curves. So seeing lush curves lovingly adorned in perfectly tailored closthing isn't a stretch for us. We evaluate the ensemble as either good or not, and not because the model isn't rail thin.
Let's be honest even a model older than 30 or one weighing more than 130 or one less than 5'10" would be a breath of fresh air. Threads should easily be able to accomodate this since they arent' forced to use RTW samples for their layouts.
ABSOLUTELY!!!!! If the gals at Threads read these posts, hopefully they'll put one up here to acknowledge what we've said. If they don't, then they aren't reading much and certainly have missed the boat! I'd be willing to bet that most of the gals/guys on Gatherings and who subscribe to Threads are not in their 20's...probably 35 and up. They should cater to US!
Hi Everyone, I haven't posted in quite sometime, not since Amber left the board.
I think I am likely what you would call at the tail end of the Baby Boomers as I was born in 1963. I turned 45 in September. I started sewing when I was about 38 then, had to take a break due to health concerns. I am back at sewing full swing.
I am one of these people whose mom sewed all my prom gowns and dress clothes. I also had my wedding dress made it was a Vogue Pattern. I wish I still had that pattern.
I just wanted to chime in that older, shorter too fuller figures would be great. I see so many gals like me 5ft 3inches and under that are over a size 12. There is no such thing as a Petite Plus line, thus one of the reasons I learned to sew.
Although, it isn't the only reason. The Petite Plus line is an open market for someone in the clothing and pattern industry. I attend and buy all I can to read up and view by DVD on how to do a certain techinques.
I am working on a coat and would love to see on U-Tube and the Thread Issue since it is winter "How to make a floating hem" for a coat. I am making a long melton wool coat and would greatly benefit from this lesson. Is there any other type of hem that would be substantial in a long heavy wool coat?
Michelle, actually, there is a website for petite plus patterns: http://www.petitepluspatterns.com . Check it out.
Michelle, when you ask about a "floating hem" are you referring to the kind of hem of a lined garment, where the lining is hemmed separately from the outer shell of the coat? Your use of the term "substantial hem" has me confused. I've always thought a floating hem was as I described, so that the lining can move freely on its own, and not be pulled down by the hem of the heavier coat fabric, or cause the hem of the outer fabric to turn in, or any number of other things that can happen when different-weight/weave fabrics are hemmed together.Louise Cutting has a wonderful way to hem, where she uses interfacing in the hem of the outer jacket, between the fabric layers, and doesn't have to actually stitch the edge of the hem to the outer garment fabric. This technique is described in the Threads DVD "Industry Insider Techniques," the first volume. It's a nice way to hem, reducing bulk and eliminating the necessity of finishing the raw edges of the hem. Then, if the lining is "floating", the lining fabric is hemmed a little longer than the top of the hem of the coat shell, so the lining covers up the top edge of the hem. The loose lining is tacked, using a chain of stitches, to the side seams, center back seam, etc. of the outer shell, holding the lining loosely in place so it can't twist and bunch up, or pull up revealing the inner seams of the coat.Cutting's method of hemming may not be suitable for melton wool, which may not adhere well to the fusible interfacing used in the technique. But perhaps there are fusible interfacings to which the wool would adhere. I don't know...Good luck with your coat. I'll bet you'll enjoy it for a long time.
Edited 12/5/2008 5:30 pm ET by Josefly
I think the type of hem I am talking about is one where you distribute the heavy wool in different areas of the coat as to not put all the weight in one area, thus pulling that area of the coat down.
I think I saw this technique in Roberta Carr's video Couture Sewing Techniques, which I rented.
I can't remember what it was that she interfaced the coat with, but then each stitch she made to hem the coat was taken higher or lower than the one prior. By not taking each hand stitch in the same area, the wool coat hem is more floating, or that is what she called it in the video. It may have just been interfacing that she was taking each hand stitch. Then the line was put in just like you would normally and hand stitched to the hem of the coat. The lining covers up the hem, so you can't see that a stitch is taken above or below distributing the heave weight of the melton wool. It was some kind of product that she just put in the lower 1/4 of the coat just for the purpose of the hem besides interfacing. I may just have to buy her book if I can find it in print. I just wish I could remember what the product was called-bummer.
Thank you for taking the time to try to help me I much appreciate it. I better go work on those Christmas projects.
Ah, that sounds interesting. You can probably tell I've never made a heavy coat. Thank you for taking the time to explain it to me. I hope someone here can help you find the instructions for that technique. Have fun with your Christmas gifts. I just finished an apron for a friend whose birthday is tomorrow. I didn't use a pattern for the bib apron, and so I had to re-invent the wheel, taking much more time than I thought it would.
Roberta Carr describes the float stitch in her book and if you can find one it is an excellent resource. She uses the float stitch to join two pieces of fabric together such as in hems. In the hem the stitch is made by folding down about 1/2 inch of the turned up hem portion and taking a small pick in it. Then move to the garment and take only a tiny thread or part of a thread then back to the hem. Sew right to left with the needle pointing left and keep the line of stitching as straight as possible. If the hem is deep do several rows of stitching by turning the hem back farther down in the hem and stitching then folding down higher up etc. till you get to the 1/2 inch from the edge. She says hems should always be interfaced. For jackets and heavy coats she suggests hair canvas but the interfacing should always work with the hem and could also be silk organza, 100% cotton or other woven interfacing. This and the stitching give weight to the edge of the garment and prevent stitching from showing on the right side. She also describes the technique for putting the interfacing in the hem.
I am sure glad someone understood the method I was talking about, and I appreciate the memory refresher.
It sounds like a copy of the book would be a good reference. I would imagine it is out of print especially since she passed away this year.
Maybe I can pick up a used copy on Ebay or Amazon.com. I will start looking.
I like her sleeve head method too.
I got mine from Palmer and Pletsch at the Sewing Expo in Washinton two years ago. Here is their website and it is shown there on the right down a bit. http://www.palmerpletsch.com/store/index.htm Couture The Art of Fine Sewing You can probably order it from them. Or your library might have it.
I would like to see Threads feature more of the articles they did in their first 50 issues - ex: sewing with handwovens, etc. Not those same re-tread article - new ones based on those topics.As the economy gets tight(er), people will also need alteration, repair, adaptation, and recycling types of articles to help them get the most of the RTW garments and fabric stashes they already have. Please feature "thrift" as an issue theme.VINTAGE, VINTAGE, VINTAGE! Everyone loves the special/featured garments portrayed on the back cover of so many Threads magazine. You could devote an entire issue to them and NO ONE would complain. V&A, the Smithsonian, regional specialty museums (Indian and other folk wear types) would love to have the publicity in these hard financial times to draw in more visitors. Open up all those dusty archives in the museums and show us the gems of all our heritage.You could feature apparel by country of origin for a few issues as well. Show us Saris as they are worn in India --- in all their manifestations and variety. Show us Thai silks and the processes that bring them into being! Feature more traditional and up-and-coming Japanese textile artists. How about Peruvian textiles? How about Indigenous clothing of Canada and other northern climes?If I may make one more suggestion - please don't rehash old articles like you did in the current issue. There are so many FRESH, NEW, VIBRANT ideas out there to explore and so many older traditional sewing techniques and styles that have never been detailed in print. Get us those things and we will adore you (once again).
Edited 12/10/2008 9:24 pm ET by cardoon
So eloquent, Cardoon! Thank you for bringing those ideas out ~ There are many, many of us who completely agree with you!
I hope you find lots of good information (sewing and otherwise) here! Welcome! Kharmin
Threads Magazine, in my estimation, should not go in the THRIFT direction. And there are millions of sources for historical costumes and ethnic costumes. I want new techniques, couture techniques, up-to-date fashions, new ideas in embellishments, a couple of articles on clothing for the "over 50s" would be welcome, how to stay stylish, comfortable and age-appropriate. Articles on body types and proportion of clothing is always an interesting topic.I'll have to admit to being the original conserver consumer so thrifty is my middle name, but not in my Threads. A slight veer in the direction of making something stylish from found garments might capture my attention but I don't think the majority of readers have those inclinations. I have almost every issue and never once have been disappointed or thought of cancelling my subscription. My grand-daughters consider my Threads as heirlooms, to be kept and not thrown out when Grandma no longer has a use for them. They also want my button collection and my many looseleaf binders full of notes on projects. Frankly, I was rather surprised at this!
I agree about the Thrift items not being in Threads. One of the reason's I subscribe to Threads it is richness. There are other sources for simple and thrifty sewing.
Yes, there are numerous sources for thrift sewing - magazines, books, internet, etc.
I agree completely with you!
Hear! Hear! I will second that motion on Styles from around the World, and Fashion History and techniques! Vintage garments!!!! Yes!!!! Please, no more second time round articles either, put them in books. I want to see more in depth fabric articles as well. A once over briefly on fabrics is not enough. You need more in depth info in order to truly understand a fabric in order to work with it effectively. Cathy
You've touched on something here, Cathy - 'in depth'. The articles are so skimpy these days. Why? Does Threads simply not have the writers? Yet it's clear from these discussions that we have the writers, we have the knowledge.
I whole heartedly agree that old articles should not be recycled. I cut the articles out and bind them and it is amazing how so many are so similar - Vogue Patterns also does this and I cancelled my subscription after 35 years. I agree with in depth. I suggested to Amber last year that perhaps the basic steps could be posted on line leaving the more complicated details in the magazine. It drives me nuts to read how to lay out a pattern and pin it when I want to see how the corners fit together and inside sections look.
I agree with you totally. Seems these issues will never be addressed
I was so disappointed in the fabric articles really. I wanted to know more about how they were made, where they were made. I want to be shown clear and up close what the difference between a georgette and a chiffon is. I know the difference, but many people do not. You cannot tell from a tiny sample pic the difference, you have to show a magnified pic. You have to show the twist in the thread. This is the type of info that needs to be shown. It is BASIC INFO. It is not taught anywhere else. This is the type of info that THREADS should be teaching. Can anyone else tell the right from wrong side of a twill fabric by the direction that the twill runs? Right to left???? This is the nitty gritty of good sewing technique and should be in a basic fabric information article!!!!!! Laundering and care information!!!!!! Special handling techniques, and pressing information!!!! That is what fabric articles should be full of. A copyable or saveable fabric information sheet would be an excellent resource. I would then be able to source my own sample piece to round out the information.
This is just an example of what COULD be done. An indepth study of one technique, like a squared set in sleeve like that shown in the sleeve in the last issue would be wonderful. Those are the interesting and challanging techniques I am interested in learning as well as the brushups on basic techniques. Cathy
Sorry to go on so long with the rant, my friends.
I would not call that a rant, Cathy - you simply stated the facts. Frankly, I'm at a loss. There's no real competitor to Threads, so I suppose the editors don't feel the need to make the extra effort. And yet, having said that, is such a great effort required? It's not as though we haven't stated over and over and over again what is that we want. Threads has run surveys a number of times, so where's the problem? None of us expects each issue to be perfectly tailored to our specific needs and interests, but we're all discerning readers and passionate about sewing and other needlework. We want depth and advanced info in the articles and not just a brief overview. It seems there really is nobody to hear us.
You stated it very succinctly Katina, we want "not just a brief overview." A lot of good information can be packed into a few good pictures and a few good words. There are a lot of talented people out there I would love to see and hear about their work and techniques. But an overview of technique is not enough to learn from. I understand a mag cannot be everything to everyone, in every issue, but it can tap into a little bit for everyone over the breadth of issues during the year.
Each facet of sewing and embellishment cannot be touched on in every issue, but an in depth article on style, or fit, or fabric, or embellishment, or other subject, can easily be surrounded by our other favorite standard regulars. It is like the serial novels printed in the old magazines...the part you look forward to each issue. Cathy
Let's keep our fingers crossed, Cathy!
Katina, I am wondering if these messages are being read like they were when Amber was here? I know that different editors have different styles and different ways of doing things. It is not fair to compare, but the silence is deafening. Cathy
In my reply to you yesterday, I had written that I really miss Amber but I deleted that before posting. I t's not a question of making comparisons - it would just be encouraging to know that someone's taking note. Do you recall Ogden Nash: "She was a good cook, as good cooks go, and as good cooks go, she went..." ? Reminds me of Amber.
Funny I almost wrote the same thing about missing how Amber participated......but I edited it to reflect that it was not fair to compare.....
A new staff on board the mag means they wish to make it their own new style of Threads. This always happens. Can not stop what is going to be inevitable, no sense in looking backwards, but it would be nice to know if what we are saying is heard. Cathy
Perhaps the new editor, being new at the job, does not know about these discussions. Anyone any idea how to prick her awareness and invite her to join in and a reply? Certainly, Amber listened, and changes where notices. Merry Christmas everyone!
Thanks for the noodge, Sancin - I did the (way too much) necessary digging to find this info: (It's at http://www.taunton.com/thetauntonpress/contact_us.asp, which is the Taunton Press home page, not the Threads home page.)
To contribute an article, give a tip, or ask a question, please write to Threads Editorial Department at 63 South Main Street., PO Box 5506
Newtown, CT 06470-5506 or
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I will be calling them tomorrow (I hope they aren't in the power-outage area!). I think you may be right about the "new people" not being aware of this conversation. There are so many pieces of any new job that must be picked up "by osmosis" (also known as On the Job Training)! I will attempt to be an "osmoser"(??!) and let you-all know what's up! Keep warm, everybody!Kharmin
I contacted Threads editorial staff and the following is the response.Dear Nancy,We have several staff members that review the Gatherings discussions on an ongoing basis. They respond when they can, but sometimes they don't have the time to respond. All article ideas, whether obtained from our discussion boards, emails, snail mail, or whatever, are filed. When we begin the planning stage for a new issue, that file is reviewed to see if any of the ideas are suitable for the chosen theme of that issue. If not the ideas are held for the next issue planning meeting.Thanks so much for taking the time to write and for your continued interest in our publications.April Mohr
Threads, CraftStylish and SewStylish
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800-926-8776 x3522-----Original Message-----
From: [email protected] [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Sunday, December 14, 2008 9:34 PM
To: TH Editorial Mailbox
Subject: General editorial inquiryOver on the Threads discussion list there has been more than a few comments on the latest and suggestions for future threads. It would be advisable to check this out and respond occasionally.
Thanks for starting this discussion. I second (third? fourth? giggle) the motion - asymmetry is fascinating!
I'd like to add a suggestion for Threads based on your theme. Issey Miyake pattern pieces are often unrecognizable as component parts (like a sleeve front, yoke, etc) and are sewn together often in an asymmetrically counter-intuitive order. I liken them to origami - you can't really see what you're making until the last couple of folds, and then, voila!
His patterns are also appealing because they flatter all body shapes and usually end up with symmetrical hems even while they have interesting "visual line breaks" up and down the body. Perhaps an article on the construction of one of his more "puzzle-like" designs might appeal to both the symmetry and asymmetry fans? I for one would be happy as a clam. Threads did lovely articles on him back in the 80s and 90s - I cherish those issues. I've also bought every Vogue pattern Issey Miyake ever designed.
Edited 11/30/2008 6:31 pm by Ckbklady
Edited 11/30/2008 7:03 pm by Ckbklady
Would it be possible in most issues to have a picture of an older person in some of the fashions. e.g. you could show the both with different accessories or perhaps slight differences in design. When one always sees such lovley young faces wearing a dress etc somtimes it does not translate back to us over 50's that we to could wear that pattern.
It seems there is also no fashion books out there to mirror our image either when i look at one now and again i only consenctrate on the fabric and what is in and wonder if i could to vary the idea.
Edited 11/30/2008 9:00 pm ET by denise
Have i missed something where is the letters to the editor section, for the magazine.
I would definitely like to see articles for the over 50 body types and plus figures. The series on fitting a plus size figure was a farce as there was nothing different in it than the same advice for fitting a slender figure such as where you go when the tummy is the biggest spot on the body, etc. Anyhow I thought it was lousy and I defintely would like to see some style and thought into us older women, stay at home women and disabled women who have difficulties dressing.
I would also like to see articles on how to assess old linens for whether they are hand done or not. I see articles where they say it was hand stitched or machined stitched yet they don't ever tell us what gives it away. I have some vintage hankies and vintage cutwork tablecloth (25 cents at a yard sale!) that I would dearly love to be able to know how to tell if it was exquisite hand work or machine done. I think it would be very interesting.
Now that just this week I completed my entire series of Threads magazines and am in the section of time that they features vintage fashion and details on the back cover, I see one of the things I truly miss. Bring that back as one picture is worth a 1000 words!
I would also like to see an article addressing the larger bustline that is asymmetrical --one boob higher than the other and one smaller than the other. How does one fit this anomaly that supposedly everyone has. Maybe it isn't noticeable in smaller breasted women, but when you get in the D cup range it is hard to ignore.
I would also like to see an in depth series on utility stitches and what they do and how to use them and what fun things you can do with presser feet. I know some presser feet have been covered in the past, but not sure all the fine details have been. Anything that helps us make full use of those pricey machines that we have with the 100 or more decorative stitches would be great. Even those of us with machine embroidery capabilities would like to use our machines for more than straight stitching. I'm determined to use my machine and its capacity to the fullest in the next year and any help along the way I would be glad for.
I have seen some lovely work done with the standard utility stitches and built in stitches on some older machines. It would be wonderful to be able to play with some of them! What a wonderful idea for an article. Not everyone has an embroidery machine, but even simple stitches can be useful for decorative stitching. Neat idea! Cathy
They have done some in the past using a utility stitch to make embroidery designs, and that is nice to see what they can do. I have a lot of utility stitches on my machine and I don't have a good idea of what they are supposed to be used for.
Funny, the sewing machine manual that I got with my machine just tells you how to use the machine, not why they included some stitches and when to use them. I have an instruction book to a 1950 Singer (not working currently) that explained the stitches, what they were for and when to use the different presser feet. I learned more about the stitches and feet from that manual than my current machine. I'd like to get that Singer running sometime as I think it was a 'top of the line' model in its day with lots of different stitch cams/presser feet. I think it would be neat to use a vintage pattern, vintage fabric, and the vintage machine (current thread though) to make an outfit using a vintage sewing book for reference if needed.
You may need to check some books for uses for the various stitches, utility as well as the decorative stitches. The stitches on my machine do include mystery stitches.
Some books which may help you:
Mimi's Machine Magic, (I have Book 3) by Mildred Turner, "Fully Illustrated Heirloom Sewing", Printed by Groves Printing Co., 1991
Decorative Machine Stitchery by Robbie Fanning, "Designs, Techniques, and Projects for Every Sewing Machine", Butterick Publishing, 1976
The Complete Book of Machine Embroidery by Robbie Fanning, Chilton Book Co, 1986 (this is an updated version of the book above)
Encyclopedia of Sewing Machine Techniques, Nancy Bednar & JoAnn Pugh-Gannon, Sterling Publishing Co, 1999
Decorative Machine Stitching, Singer Sewing Reference Library, Cy DeCosse, Inc, 1990
Fine Machine Sewing by Carol Laflin Ahles, "Easy Ways to Get the Look of Hand Finishing & Embellishing", The Taunton Press, 2001
These books include the use of the extra feet which come with machines or may have to be purchased. It is amazing just how many techniques are possible with even the most basic of machines. We just need to know about them, which isn't that easy if they are not included in the manuals.
Besides reading books I obtained a lot of information about stitches and feet from watching the sewing shows as well as taking classes, plus some plain ol' fiddling around with the stitches on the machine.
Thanks, I have a large sewing reference library, but there are a couple there that I hadn't heard of. Threads did an article, I think, last year on a quilt in a ditch presser foot right before I made a bunch of curtains. Reading the article showed me how to use it for curtains and they came out pretty professional looking. That was a foot I had had for several years sitting unused as I couldn't get it to work for me for quilting in the ditch, but it was great for edgestitching those curtains.
I think sometime I just have to be in the need for the info at the point I'm seeing the info for it to sink in. Currently, when Christmas sewing is done I'll be back to working on trying to sew knits that don't look homemade and I keep seeing conflicting advice for stitches to use and pressor feet. But I'm plugging away, if I don't have it figured out before I'm through with my current stash of knits, I will give up and go back to wovens that I don't have trouble with. One of the hardest things when sewing in a void without another knowlegable sewer close by who can see what you ar doing wrong. My MIL next door can sew, but without sounding nasty, she just doesn't take pride in her work. If she needs to mend something navy blue, if red thread is in the machine, that is what she uses. She isn't interested in learning new techniques and just was a sewer to keep the budget intact, not because she loves doing it. There is a difference and I would love to be around a garment sewer that was really good. Unfortunately I'm the best sewer I know and that isn't saying much I'm afraid, but I keep trying to learn.
I just checked your site. I now see why you have a lot of sewing books.
Sewing with knits can be tricky. Some people don't have any problems. I do on occasion. Not having a serger I just use my regular foot and a narrow zigzag stitch. On scrap knit fabric try all the suggestions you were given and determine which works best for that particular knit. Now whether my knits have that with-love-made-on-a-home-sewing-machine look or are more like OTR clothes I cannot answer. Like you I don't have anyone who can help me with my sewing up close.
I prefer OTR (Off the Rack) over RTW as I haven't found many OTR clothes which are RTW for me. When my mother bought the occasional store clothing, she had to "fix it" in some way.
I too find that it is easier to use a foot or utilize a stitch when it is necessary rather than have all the uses known beforehand. It gets even more confusing when several different feet can get the same job done.
The books on my site are the ones up for sale. The ones in my sewing room are a different matter! No one touches those till they pry them out of my dead cold fingers! I started selling on line when I was super sick and thought I was going to die so I started little by little selling my own books to make it 'easier' for my husband after I was gone. Well long story short, the very act of having to get up out of bed to see if anything has sold became great occupational therapy and has greatly expanded and somehow sewing patterns got in the mix. Anyhow it gives me something to do in between naps.
I'm always looking for great sewing books and Taunton Press has published several of them. I borrowed David Coffin's book on shirts out of the library and after reading the first couple pages, I put it on my list and found my own copy. It had some info that I had never heard of before like the direction to iron cotton fabric. Even though I use lots of cotton as a quilter, I hadn't realized that which direction you iron it initially was important.
The problem I seem to have with knits is the stretching out or shape especially at neck and arm lines. One T-shirt was so bad it became a cover for my dressmaker dummy because the lousy neckline didn't matter on "Annabelle". some people say to stretch gently when sewing knits and others say not to and when I see the mess I end up with it is frustrating. Of course, I'm using cheap knit and that could be part of the problem, but I don't have the money to buy good fabric only to have it be a cleaning rag in hubby's workshop!
Ah, "cheap knit". Bet that explains my problems also.
At least a dozen sources I have read say to slightly stretch knit if you are using a straight stitch. Sometimes the fabric doesn't want to cooperate and wants to go down into the needle hole (I'm sure there is a name for this but I can't think of it at the moment), so I use a single needle foot and straight stitch plate. Thus I would have to stretch the knit slightly.
However if using a narrow zigzag there is no need to stretch the fabric as the zz stitch allows for that.
I don't believe the "stretching" part includes the neckline or the armholes. If I am not correct, someone can post what it should be.
Sorry you were ill---that's never any fun. You did crack me up with your "something to do between naps". I love my naps so I enjoyed that line, although it certainly wouldn't have been funny when you were sick.
Well, still chronically ill so get to take naps daily and as needed. I just can't work out of the house as I don't know any employer that lets employees sleep on the job. I'm just thankful to have something to do that I enjoy as I am not a TV watcher and even though I read a lot, there gets to be a limit at that too.
I know exactly what you mean about the fabric going into the hole. I try to have a little piece of fabric just before my seam starts to take the initial stitches on, but even that doesn't always do the trick. I hate having to dig out those chunks of stuck fabric as it means taking everything apart and usually cutting the fabric--I can get things really stuck. I wonder if Sandra Betzina, Marchy Tilton and Claire Schaffer ever have fabric stuck in the needle plate? Somehow you never think of these ladies as ever having a problem sewing, but they had to learn sometime/somehow.
To prevent the fabric from being eaten (if you don't have a single-needle throat plate), stick some tape on both sides of the needle hole, thus making a smaller opening. This should help keep the fabric on top where it belongs. Just remember to not use the zigzag stitch, especially if you use a thick tape.
To allIs there any problem with using tape to stabilize seams on the inside of jersey or knits where it does not show???? . The problem of the material disappearing "down the plughole" is thus eliminated. I always used this when I had a straight stitch sewing machine.
It is a good idea to use tape to stabilize some seams, particularly the shoulder seams that you don't want to stretch. I don't think I would stabilize the side seams though.
I agree with Starzoe. You really wouldn't want the side seams stabilized; you want stretch in them. What you don't want stretched out is the shoulder seams, neckline, and armholes.
Hello again...........I just read the message about getting the needle stuck in the hole in the throatplate. What about putting a piece of writing paper under the fabric just at the beginning? Not enough to interfere with the feed dogs, but just to get the fabric going. dodey
I usually have a scrap of fabric that I start my sewing on, but many times as soon as I hit the knit I get a birdsnest. I think knits hate me, but I plan to win the battle! If I run out of knits before I figure it out, I will conceed, but I have a lot of knits in my stash.
I'm coming late to this discussion, and if it's already been suggested, I apologize for the duplication: I suggest using a ballpoint/stretch needle in your machine? They are often on sale for under $3 USA for a pack of 3-5. They would be well worth the investment if you sew with knits a lot.
Also, if you have differential feed on your machine that may help.
Gailete, have you prewashed your knits using fabric softener? Fabric softener can be the culprit for your knit woes. Because knits can be staticy, we often use dryer sheets or rinses on them by habit. When prewashing all fabrics, we are trying to preshrink and remove all fabric finishes to aid in the stitching. Fabric softeners and anti static finishes can really muck up your stitches, they tend to grab the needle and thread, making them "sticky" and more likely to pull into the hole. Cathy
Cathy, I don't ever use fabric softener at all. My clothes never even go through a dryer, but come to think of it, I didn't prewash the knits I have used. I think I was scared they would get all stretched out. Any hints for prewashing big chunks of knit fabric? We have a European type washer/dryer-it washes the clothes and then goes on to dry them in the same machine using very little water to wash and a dehumidifier type system for drying and takes about 3 hours a load--one of the reasons I hang my stuff. I have found my 'delicates' and all my clothes are holding up so much better when not being machine dried.
Yes, I do use the ball point needles to the other lady who asked. I have a Pfaff coming in the mail any day now as a secondary machine that I got for the decorative stitches, but it has the dual feed. Perhaps that will help. I have found I use my even feed foot a lot when sewing especially for things like corduroy.
Thanks for all the hints. As you can see, expect for the prewashing, I've been trying to do everything like I'm supposed to and still have trouble. I'll just attack it again.
Sorry not to have gotten back sooner to you. Prewashing alone will remove all of the finishes that can muck up your stitches. Even hanging to dry is ok. It is a matter of handling the large yardages. I just throw them in the washer, and treat them like sheets. It gives me a chance to move the fold if it is still tubular as well, as I can open up the fabric tube and feed it into the washer. Then I can handle the damp fabric ( your washer probably takes out more water than mine) and drape it to dry, turning it frequently to prevent folds and distortions. I actually have a very old X-shaped wooden drying rack that I can open up and hang the fabric over, moving the damp fabric along as it drys, supporting the dried and wet fabric on kitchen chairs to prevent twisting and pulling. It will support and dry several lengths at a time. I can wash about 10m or yards a length with little problem, have not tried longer. Knits are more resiliant than wovens, so will tolerate more manipulation, and bounce back.
I would try prewashing a piece of your knit (maybe even a scrap to play with) to see if it makes a difference. A lot of yardages have finishes to make them bolt pretty that can make stitches skip. Cathy
Thank you for the thoughts on prewashing. I wish someone would do a really detailed article on how to prewash fabric instead of just saying prewash. I'm always scared I'm going to ruin the fabric and have it come out in a tangled up knot. I have a dryer rack too and will use that after prewashing my knits as I know I won't run them through the dryer as I never do with my clothes. You have given me the confidence. I should probably do some prewashing today as tomorrow my sewing machine should be here although I suspect tomorrow will be devoted to trying out the stitches :) I have so rarely had 'new' bought clothes in my life that I have also been scared that prewashing will take away the new look of the fabric, but I guess if it makes the fabric look tacky it was going to look like that anyhow and better to know before I spend hours sewing with it.
So glad for all the help here. It is nice to be on a board where no one seems to have an 'agenda' other that talking about their hobby and helping others if needed.
" scared that prewashing will take away the new look of the fabric, but I guess if it makes the fabric look tacky it was going to look like that anyhow and better to know before I spend hours sewing with it."
Ummmm....kinda says it all right there Gailete, and in your own words. It is the Second most important reason to pretreat or pre wash all fabrics, and trims.
I can help you out with this prewash or pretreat thing if you like.
Simply put, treat the yardage as you would treat the finished garment. Use tepid water, not warm, hot or cold, unless you are trying to felt, or really shrink the piece. Finish the ends if you think it will fray in the washer, or sew(baste) the raw ends together. Handle carefully when wet, as wet yardages are usually more fragile when wet. The longer the yardage, the less manipulation the fabric will take before it distorts, so use less and gentler agitation. Use a minimum amount of cleaning agent(soap or detergent) that is suitable for the fibre. The fabric is not dirty, but you do want to wash away excess dye, and any finishes that will affect your stitches. Press your fabric before you store or use it again, as this will affect fit and handling. Use this time to square the grain, and refold the fabric ongrain, or on a different foldline if it is tubular. Washing does change the hand and drape of a fabric, and sometimes the finish. This you want to find out before. Trims can shrink and change as well, or the colours run. Even plunging a handful of lace in a tub of water, then towel squeezing , and laying out to dry can change the look and feel of it. It may soften more than you anticipate.
To determine how to pretreat the fabric is another story. Content is the key. That is something I would need to do a whole 'nother post on. And I will. so be patient and look for it in a couple of days. Cathy
Well I have plenty of time for pretreating since I can't sew anything for awhile. One machine needs to go in the shop--tomorrow if it is not blizzarding. The new (used ) Pfaff that was due today is a story. The UPS guy showed up at my door carrying the box in one hand which made me suspicious. He handed it to me and the box weighed less than my babies did. I looked at him and told him this is supposed to be a sewing machine and he looked at me like he didn't quite believe it. So I said, well I better go open it up and he went on his way. I opened up the box to find a very carefully packed sewing machine COVER and two instruction books. NO MACHINE!!! I wanted to cry. Hubby took over making phone calls and somehow in the 2 1/2 weeks it took for it to get here, the machine disappeared! It isn't at the store where I bought it from, so who knows where it is at. Now I have to wait for the investigation and insurance, etc. and then go looking for another one. The only good thing is I did get to take a good look at the manuals and I'm very impressed with what I saw. Not only just instructions, but ideas and projects for using the machine.
I still want to cry though. I've been without a working machine for close to 3 weeks now. There has been way too much ice and snow to safely carry the other machine out to the car to take it to the shop, but hubby understands that I'm going to blow if I don't have something soon.
Back to prewashing. Does it help to put the fabric in a pillowcase and pin it shut so it gets the benefit of the water temp and detergent without the chance of pulling out of alignment? Thanks for the other ideas!
Have you thought of going to a dealer of sewing machines and looking at the reconditioned ones, especially if you are looking for a used one? There are great bargains to be found, sometimes with a part warranty, sometimes with some lessons, and best of all, a real person who you can talk to. No shipping fee, no worries about non-delivery, and someone there to help you if you need it.BTW, did you look to see what the shipping charge was? And was it quite expensive for a heavy item, or a smaller amount that would cover basically just a box?
Edited 1/8/2009 9:33 pm ET by starzoe
We have a dealer close to me where I have gotten other machines and traded "up", but I was looking for a machine that made wider/longer decorative stitches and an abundance of them on a limited budget. Janome machines are stuck at 7mm wide and my machine, although, it has a bunch of decorative stitches, is missing my favorites such as a satin stitch heart. The Pfaff family of machines from the point in time for the machine I was supposed to get, fit all those 'wants' exactly. Now I have to go looking again, but can't buy anything until we are refunded our money. I'm very good at following manuals and due to poor health can't get to the classes I'm allowed to because of my other sewing machine purchases. Same problem with trying to travel to a closer dealer of other machines. My physical problems poop me out.
Thanks for thinking about me! I even managed to shovel a bit of snow so the UPS guy wouldn't have any excuse not to make the delivery. I was also estimating how much time I needed to let the poor thing warm up. By my calculations it would have been as fast as it took me to read the manual :). I have everything all packed back up to resend to the store (I bought it through ebay from an actual store that is also appalled). Reading the manuals did give me some ideas, but I never realized how much sewing machines can differ as I've only ever had Janome for most of the last 30 years.
One of the main reasons that I knew the Pfaff would do what I wanted is because most of Jenny Haskins machine quilting articles in older magazines used the Pfaff and I liked what she did. Somehow those stitches just look better when you can get them a bit wider.
You have my condolences on the loss of this dream. My wishes for a speedy resolution.
Oh, Gailete, I am so sorry! Today I was thinking that she got her machine today; I wonder how far she got in playing with the stitches. I was excited for you.
Someone knows where the machine is, and it would be nice if they would "cough it up".
I wish you the best in getting the situations with your sewing machines resolved.
Sorry about the loss of the machine! What a huge dissappointment! Go ahead with washing the fabric in a pillowcase. My machine makes an awful noise when I do that with heavy fabric, but works like a charm with the lighter stuff. The front loading machines do not have that problem of getting unbalanced, tee hee. Forgot about that trick, sorry! You can also just tub wash small stuff in the sink.
My Dr just cleared me of taking some nasty meds for these darn Kidney stones, so as my head and tummy clear, I am making up a short how to list on pre washing different fabric contents. There are some great sites that I have come across that are helpful as well, and hope to list them as well. I finally have my Mozilla up and running for Gatherings as well, Yay! so my bookmarks are back, Yay, and my resources, Yay! I will post this stuff under a new heading. Cathy
Thanks Cathy! ICK, kidney stones! I've had a few and find that heavy doese of narcotics and muscle relaxers at the first sign of one, really helps keep the pain down. Of course, those are meds I have for routine use for my arthritis, but that and a rice bag hot pack helps. My one son, we discovered when he was in his 20's when he had appendicitis, that he had only one kidney and wouldn't you know a few years later he got a kidney stone so big they had to do surgery to get it out! Scarey things.
Thanks for your help. I have a front loader machine but when I pre washed three chunks of corduroy once, two pieces came out well the other in shreds. I suppose it was way too old or something-I had picked it up at a yard sale. I wasn't sure if the machine had done it or it was just the fabric. Of course of the three pieces it was the one that would go with my other clothes if I had made a skirt out of it.
As to my missing machine, the seller has been wonderful and the UPS guy just picked up my empty box. Now I just have to find one of those again (after I get my money back). I'm looking for a Pfaff 1473 CD, 1475CD, 4550, or 4570 if anyone knows of a great one for sale, you can PM me.
I use rice bag hot pacs a lot anyways, and yes it has been a huge help. I am feeling better each day. I am surprised at how much it has taken the wind out of my sails tho. Oh well. On to better things.... Cathy
I was diagnosed with RA (rheumatoid arthritis about a year ago. I have hurt for about three years prior to it, but since I just had a high RA factor and no swelling they would not confirm the diagnosis.
About six months ago I started swelling and having a lot of trouble for 45. I just recently started the weekly Enbrel injections.
You mentioned arthritis, so I was wondering if you also have RA and how long you have had it? Some days I am so tired I can get absolutely nothing done.
You will find several of us on this site with RA. I have had it for 30+years (my tests for it are negative) and really have very few problems. I have been one of the very fortunate ones. Perhaps it takes awhile for your medicine to work. Just make sure that your doctor knows how tired you are. I am sure that there are others who can give you some hints and encouragement. You need to realize that you have limits now and don't try to clean the whole house, mow the yard, and have thirty people in for dinner all on the same day. Listen to your body.
Check out the discussion called Tips for sewing with arthritis in the general discussion list and feel free to add any you use. Personally I thing fatigue is the hardest thing to deal with.
To Sancin and miatamomma:
Thank you for speaking up and telling me about your illness. I think one of the best things is to know and realize that we are not alone.
I also have a severe case of TMJD, which may be related to the RA. I suffer with it greatly, but work in my spare time as a moderator on a yuku support group. I can feel fullfilled helping others make wise decisions in their treament.
The arthritis scares me, because I don't know what I would do if I couldn't sew or type.
I will be sure to check out these support threads related to sewing.
I too have RA along with OA and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and High Blood Pressure. It all keeps me on a merry go round of medications. It is quite a balancing act. My RA also doesn't show up on sed rate test, but my rheumatologist says I have it due to my response to meds. Although I have had symptoms since my early 20's I didn't go full blown, until I was around 45 too. I am on disablility, but try to keep busy on a daily basis as it hurts worse if you just sit around. I am actually doing better the last six months since I changed from oral methotrexate to injectiable. At this point I'm on Medicare and even with their drug program, I can't afford Enbrel, Humira and the like--way to expensive.
I have learned to plan to take a nap every day and if I need it 2 a day. Stay away from the Arthritis Today magazine and website if it discourages you--it did me. somehow seeing discussions of ladies moaning because they could only play tennis a couple of times a week was just too discouraging with my fake knees that are already getting ready for a redo, and the pain and tiredness I go through. The difference between mild and moderate to severe RA is huge!
What you have to do is have at least one reason to get up out of bed EVERY day. Whether it is to work for 10-15 minutes on a sewing project, or whatever. You will soon learn a rythym to your days of rest and activity. Don't be afraid to use 'convenience' food on the nights you can't seem to cook. But you Always need a reason to get up daily. ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS!!! Sewing is a great thing as you can plan small projects, or a large project broken down. Much sewing shopping can be done over the internet, so no need to shop till you drop. The fatigue will make you woozy headed so if you don't already, start making lists (at one point I had to put a post-it on the computer monitor to remind me to take wet clothes out of the washer!). On days you are just too tired to sew or do much of anything, fill your mind with sewing by going through your old sewing magazines and sewing books. The magazines weigh less most of the time and don't hurt your hands as much to hold them. If they do, prop a pillow on your lap to hold your books and magazines so your wrist don't get the strain.
Just some quick advice from someone who got the been there done that and got the T-shirt! Although I have been thinking of making an apron with lots of pockets to solve the problems of yard sales for when I try to carry a purse, a cane, a water bottle which then leaves me no hands to pick up stuff. I love yard saling when I'm up to it as most are small and you get to sit between sales and sometimes you find the best books and sewing supplies! Besides the prices are right for someone on a fixed income.
My aunt put me onto using small neck purses, like the kind used for travel and place to put passport. I have plans and fabrics to make some nicer fabric ones. I just put in my money and some kleenex. What is it about us old birds that we always need to blow our noses! I keep my bigger purse with all the paraphernalia in the car which I return to often. I hate, hate, hate, hate the big box stores we have around her and I have been known to ask a clerk in a grocery store to get me a chair. I only need to sit for a minute or two but if I can't I would sit on the floor and not be able to get up!! I have a water bottle carrier I can wear around my waist - I am hands free and on my way! BUT, invariably I find I have worn a skirt or pants with no pockets - should be banned. I had a very bad day today, so this is my up period! I call them my stone days and sing the song "some days are diamonds and some days are stone"
I know what you mean about a chair. I wish stores had a few more benches or something to sit on. Shopping is exhausting. One of the reasons I quit shopping for clothes and make them instead, order my underthings on line, etc.. I take my 25 year old son with me when grocery shopping so he can do all the heave ho kind of stuff. In exchange he gets a couple free meals off me.
I've had allergies all my life, so always need to hankies. I used to be able to handle everything, but once I had to start using a cane, I ran out of hands!
I spoke to the manager of our WalMart, a store I really don't like because it is huge and tends to have rude clientele, about chairs and benches. He defended that they did have them - at the front and the back of the store. I told him they needed them in the middle at which point he told me that the unruly children in the store, waiting for parents that don't seem to know where they are 'hog' the benches. I told him he wouldn't believe how fast a child will give up a chair for me!! He suggested I use a courtesy wheel chair, as if cane, basket, etc aren't enough to get around. Of course he was under 30 and probably never had more than a sprained wrist. I agree canes are a pain in the neck. I only use mine around the house. I have a walking stick which is much nicer and made by an wood artist (also have metal ones that fold down to fit in a suitcase). I find the taller stick, gives me more balance. I have osteoporosis as well as extensive degenerative joints and Fibromyalgia and am getting quite stooped, thus the stick. I never shop in a store unless I can find a buggy to lean on. It helps to have white hair, I think!Have you noticed that stores don't have fountains any more? Used to have fountains all over the place and a comfy chair in every department (for husbands, I think).I'll respond more in the Arthritis discussion group. I agree, there are lots of us. In some ways I wonder if our sewing my promote arthritis.
Edited 1/14/2009 1:15 am ET by Sancin
Thank you to all of you who shared your story with me in relation to your health. It helps to know there are others here with health problems. I have several problems such as recently diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
I was expecting it since I am Native American and had gestational diabetes at 23. I had a failed TMJD surgery in 2003 with nerve damage to my trigeminal nerve in my face. It feels like my face is on fire many times. The medication helps immensely, but still have pain during the days.
I have a low thyroid for about ten years. I found out for sure about the arthritis this year, but have had a Rheumatoid Factor off the wall like around 800 for the last ten years.
In my 20's they just told me I had fibromyalgia, so the symptoms have been around for quite some time. I am just tired a lot here lately and all the medication doesn't help.
I am trying to loose some excess weight and keep myself healthy. I think that is best I can do. I think I would go crazy if I couldn't sew.
It is super cold where I live right now in Southwest Missouri. I am not that young, but there are not a lot of people my age interested in sewing. My only connection with sewers is through the internet.
What is thread called related to RA called?
It would be interesting if Threads could do a notions section showing devices that help people with disabilities (RA, Vision, Back problems and etc.).
I got a pair of Fiskars made out of Titanium, so they are lighter. Also, they have a spring in them to open them back up after you press them closed to cut. They were a Christmas present from my mother.
Also, received a magnifying glass that attaches to my Ott Light to help thread needles. I am already farsighted. Hubby got that one 1/2 price at Joanne's.
Tips for Sewing and Quilting - Arthritis in the General Discussion list. You will have to click on the top of the general discussion list and scroll down. See you there.
Edited 1/14/2009 3:21 pm ET by Sancin
This is a really long thread so if this was already mentioned, I apologize. My suggestion is an article on darning w/ your machine. I purchased an issue a few months ago b/c of an article about repairing jeans. My favorite pair of jeans has a hole in it and I hate to let them go. Well, I thought the article would be more detailed, but it actually just turned out to be a small suggestion to fuse interfacing to the back and darn the hole using a wide zigzag stitch. And that really didn't help at all. I looked up in my sewing machine manual and they recommended darning using the setting for free machine embroidery. So in summary can you feature an article on darning that includes in detail:-machine settings for machines w/ a darining stitch and without
-illustrated step-by-step instructions
-pictures of a finished product
-and just basic helpful hintsAnd I really stress the word detail. I stopped subscribing to threads and I rarely purchase it, but if I saw that article, I would buy that issue.ThxAlso, if anyone on the boards has any ideas or helpful hints please let me know. My machine has free embroidery settings (dropped feed-dogs) but no darning stitch. Any info is appreciated.
When I darn jeans (often), I drop the feed dogs, attach a darning foot & just do free-motion stitching (like free motion quilting - even & in a rythm, so you don't have long stitches). I just use the regular thread length setting, as, when the feed dogs are down, you don't get even stitches. I don't have a 'darning stitch' on my machine, so I just use the regular straight stitch setting. (Zigzag mending looks terrible & is very noticeable)! If the hole needs a backing, I have denim patches of various colours from old jeans that were thrown out, & I put a piece under the hole. Use a thread just a tad lighter than your garment. Depending on the hole, if it's large, I sew around the patch on the right side of the garment, then close together stitches vertically (with the grain of the fabric) to cover the patch & the mend is barely noticeable. For a small hole, I put a smaller patch under the hole, if necessary, & again sew on the right side of the garment the same way. You can also sew horizontally to cover the hole first, then vertically after. I hope this makes sense to you.
Darning would be good! Both for woven and knitted fabrics. I have a lovely, expensive St. John knit jacket that has a small hole I'd love to know how to repair it. The suit is a "go to" outfit I love for travel and presentations-- it's kind to my curves. And I have another St. John camisole that is scalloped and has a small hole in the center.
Moths absolutely love St. John's knits. They are their second favorite "meal" to cashmere ...so do be super careful when storing them. I learned that the hard way, and it is so disappointing, considering their cost. I took mine to a re-weaving specialist and she did a great job. I doubt I could have matched her skill in this regard as she was a student of one of the best re-weavers around.
I just learned how much moths love cashmere. I rarely buy nice clothing for myself, as I don't work out of my home, and if I wear nice things here they get ruined while cooking or working outside. So when I got some $$ for Xmas, I decided to buy something nice. I found a cashmere hoodie that I just fell in love with and it was on sale. It was sooooo soft...I loved wearing it...with my jeans, of course! I wore it twice and hung it in my closet. When I took it out to wear last week, it was full of moth holes! I was devistated! Of course, I discovered it on a really bad menopause day...worst mood swings I've ever had...even on the meds dr. gave me to settle me down....(heck with saying that men should have to go through childbirth once...they should have to go through menopause!!!!! GRRRRRRRR) I've lived here for over 20 yrs. and have never had the first moth hole in anything. I guess it was a lesson that I'm not supposed to have anything that I can't really wear around the house. Back to jeans and cotton/poly hoodies for me!
I am so sorry to hear about your moth problem. Ironic, isn't it ...that we get something special and then it gets wrecked by something that we can barely even see!
The "nice" clothes that I have are ones that I wore for work over the years. I only had one moth hole when living in the city. But now ...living in the country ...they seem to be everywhere. It's nuts!
I bought a new coat with camel hair in it. It felt and looked a lot like cashmere. Well, we moved into a brand new house and the next year I took it out and the moths had a good time with this coat. I only wore it one season!
My daughter makes fun of me, because our closet smells like moth balls. No one that visits wants to put their coat in my closet after my daughter tells them "It is going to small like moth balls.
This summer my husband is suppose to take out the closet wrack and put in cedar wood lining the closet and redo it. As I have a wool coat I have worked very hard on for sure. I will just then hang my coat in the bedroom closet instead of the hallway one.
I'm sorry to hear about your camel hair coat. Those experiences are very disappointing. It's very thoughtful that your DH is going to make a new closet for you.
Some years ago, I used moth balls to store my sweaters in one of those "under the bed" zip boxes during off-seasons. I started getting very sick and went to my doctor for serious migraines. To make a long story short, he told me that moth balls are very toxic and to never store anything with moth balls in the house. And when taking the garments out of storage, have them either dry cleaned or washed before wearing it again.
My current solution is to store my off-season clothing in a cedar chest, until DH get my closet lined with cedar. The latter is the best, since most of my winter clothing doesn't fit into a chest, and then has to be steamed before wearing.
I learned the hard way that I cannot store anything for any length of time unless it is cleaned first.
Moths are especially drawn to garments that have even the tiniest remnants of human contact. When I store my off-season clothes, I have to launder or dryclean every single item first, even if it was just hanging next to something I had tried on that season. It's a lot of work, but otherwise, I might as well just throw out my wardrobe every year.
And, although the moth larvae are attracted by the traces of perspiration or skin oils which are usually concentrated in the underarm area, they always seem to settle in the folds and eat their way through the fabric in the most noticeable areas!
I was really shocked that I had moth holes! We've lived here, in the country, for over 20 yrs. I had hung the hoodie in my closet...the same place I've hung woolens and linens, and everything else since we moved here. This is the first time I've ever had any damage from any insect. DH wondered if those horrible yellow ladybugs could have been the culprit, or possibly spiders...we have lots of both of those... but I don't know. I've never had cashmere anything before, so this was a first in many ways. The holes weren't in any folds...they were on the upper shoulder, bust area in the front, and on the sleeves. I make sure that there are no folds in my garments when I hang them up...only along the side seams and sides of the sleeves. It is a true mystery. Nothing else in my closets, or any of the dresser drawers...and I have 3 dressers upstairs that I store clothes in, besides the one in my bedroom, and another closet upstairs (one of the perks of being an almost empty nester...just 1 son left)...have any damage whatsoever. I've just resigned myself to not owning anything cashmere (sigh) and it felt sooooo nice.....
Oh, Deb! Don't forever give up on cashmere just because of that one incident! It's possible that the little buggers came in *with* the hoodie. Items that have been purchased and returned (even unworn) may have picked up any number of "ride-alongs" - larvae, eggs, and even smells!Better luck next time, though!Bright Blessings ~Kharmin
My problem was not moths. I have lovely closet doors but they are not tight standard doors and I lost some things because I missed a grasshopper which took up residence in my closet. All wool is bagged now and stored upstairs for the summer (tight door up there) and I look for grasshoppers and other critturs which eat clothing. Living in the country, especially here, is always a constant challenge.
Thank you for your suggestions in this post! We are going into our planning phase and looking at article ideas for the upcoming year. I have printed out this thread and am bringing it to the meetings as we determine our issue menus. If there's anything that you haven't listed here, that you are just aching to see us cover, now's the time to tell us. I'll check back over the next few weeks for new additions. Also, don't forget that if you have an article idea that you'd like to write about, please send us a proposal. We are always loooking for new authors. Thanks again!!
Sorry to here you've been in pain and glad to hear that you are getting better. You are an essential part of us here. Stay well.
Thanks. I am going 4 wall stir crazy, and am not up to working on anything yet. Big day today, trip out to the grocery store. At least I have the chatter here to keep me company, tee hee! Cathy
I'm glad you will be getting out. Have fun!
May I suggest you try a 1/2" semi transparent "elastic" tape? (It looks almost like a soft vinyl.) This works wonders on knits at the shoulder seam lines and stabilizes the garment right away since, often, the shoulders are the first seams stitched in a knit garment. You can also use a 1/8" soft elastic in a neckline to keep it from gapping, especially if you are making one of the new surplice style necklines. You might also take a hint from better RTW knits which often have a soft, satin seam tape stitched into the back neck area to act as a stay. To stretch or not to stretch is kind of a zen thing. I've made nice neckline applications doing both. (It's kind of like making a flaky pie crust...ya gotta hold your tongue just right!)I've never had a problem with knits getting stuck in the needle hole but I use a Pfaff with a walking foot and always buy better quality cotton/poly interlock knits and look for those with a touch of lycra (maybe 3% to 10%). I haven't tried my fave techniques on silk knits or other more exotic blends, but have been very successful with Merino wool jerseys. There are some nice water soluble stabilizers on the market now that could also help if you get desperate! You can stitch right through them and when washed, they go away...you don't have to pick little tufts of paper out of your stitches. Try a stabilizer that is fairly crisp...the softer ones tend to move around a lot. It might be counter productive.Good luck! I'm sure you'll love your new Pfaff!
Thank you for your clearly articulated and helpful post. I like sewing knits, and this is good information. I've copied it for my notebook of "cheat notes".
You're welcome! Glad it was informative.
I did buy some of that clear elastic to try and use the next time. My first top attempt was a bateau neckline that after doing the shoulder seams, I couldn't turn the neckline under correctly. Next time I tried a V-neck and that worked a bit better and I made a piece of lace as an inset. Thanks for the tip. So far I haven't been sewing on real swanky knits and probably never will as they aren't a part of my lifestyle. But I do have some general decent knits and with the other lady's mention to prewash them and yours with the elestic, I'm hoping for some success.
I tried sewing the other night on my Kenmore that I picked up this summer as a second machine for when my Janome is in the shop. It cost $2 and the price of the cleaning. Well after playing with the tensions on Sunday night I decided the cleaning was a waste of money. The machine works, but I now understand why some woman get to love their machines for their 'perfect straight stitch'. If I got the top stitch right the bottom wasn't and if I got the bottom stitch right (which is what usually happened) the top was a mess and the quality of the stitch disintergrated as I sewed faster. That Kenmore machine is a waste. So basically until UPS delivers the Pfaff and the Janome can get to the repair shop for it's problem, I'm machineless! The Janome is technically working but since I know the part that goes up and down for the needle is out of alignment, I don't think it is a good idea to use it right know and with the holidays and bad weather trying to get the machine into the shop has been problematic. Hopefully this week. I guess I have been spoiled by machines with great straight stitches and I hope I'm not disappointed with the Pfaff machine.
I completely understand what you are saying about your Pfaff. I had such a hard time trying to sew rayon on my Janome Memory Craft that I bought a used Pfaff Creative Design off of Ebay. It gives such a nice straight stitch and the material NEVER gets stuck down in the feed dogs. I am afraid I am stuck on Pfaff forever. I like that even feed from the top and bottom all the time.
My even feed foot was a generic one on the Memory Craft 600 and kept hanging up. I tried to get one especially for Janome, but it didn't fit my machine. The hole in the shank was not right for the foot. That is when I decided to get the Pfaff CD. I didn't realize it had so many stitches and was an embroidery machine as well.
I still like my Memory Craft and I plan to keep it as my back up machine. I have no idea what the buttonhole on the Pfaff is like, but the Memory Craft was one step automatic. I loved that about it.
I looked at new prices of just simple Bernina's and saw I would have to spend at least $3000.00 for an Expression. I didn't have that money right now.
I concur about the Pfaff. I was told mine was the last year made in Germany, but I don't know if that is true or not.
I've found that just about everything I sew with the Janome, I have the even feed foot on! I quilt, make clothes and home decor items. When we were looking into buying me a machine with more and wider stitches, my hubby called my dealer and immediately she she told him I didn't want a Pfaff and wanted to sell us a used 9000 or 10000 but that isn't what I wanted. No Janome that I know of makes stitches wider than 7mm and the Pfaff makes regular decorative stitches up to 9mm and some of them make maxi stitches, although as I have an embroidery machine that isn't as important. Well for much of my life my mother would tell me I didn't want to do or buy something (I'm now 53) and she and my hubby got into it last spring and she hasn't talked to us since. If I don't let my mother tell me what I want or not I'm sure not going to let a sewing machine dealer tell me. Over the years I have heard good things about the Pfaff and I found the initial ads for it and it does make stitches up to 9mm which I look forward to for stitch stacking, etc. I had asked the seller about the stitch width, but they weren't sure so I was happy to run into the ad. In some magazines, I have seen machine embroidered quilts and projects with the wider 9mm stitch and those 2mm make a big difference in how the stitche looks especially from a distance.
Thanks for your help.
Whoa! I haven't made a bateau neckline since junior high...back in the dark mists of time! However, here's a tricky trick....(this works great on any other shape neckline so should work for bateau). Apply the clear elastic to both back shoulder seams. Stitch one shoulder seam together; apply a self-fabric binding starting at the open shoulder on the back and finishing at the open shoulder on the front. (I usually make my binding strip 4" to 6" longer than necessary just for safety's sake). Turn the garment right sides together with the binding strip opened out and also right sides together (as if though it was a continuation of the shoulder. Of course, the ends will extend beyond the shoulder seam allowance because I cut it longer.) Now, stitch the shoulder seam and binding. Trim off the excess binding length and turn the binding to the inside over the seam allowance. (Remember to make your seam allowance the width you want your binding to be when finished!) Stitch in the neckline ditch to finish off the neck edge.This makes a clean and easy finished neckline. Here's a photo of the tee shirt I put on this morning...pulled it off and tossed it in my scanner just for you! (The pattern is my own...called the "CityGirl Tee". I've made it a gazillion times with different necklines and different sleeves and different fabrics. Always a winner.)
Thanks for the idea and the picture! I think I was trying so hard to not only follow the instructions AND finish my seams correctly that I put common sense aside. The pattern I was using was a New Look and for the bateau neckline there was no extra piece or a recommendation for using a bias strip, etc. They just said to fold the fabric over (after both shoulder seams had been sewn) and then fold over again and sew it down. Sounded easy and I went with it. Currently that top is covering the padding on Isabella my dressmaker dummy that hubby got me for my birthday!
I will use your ideas next time. Thank you!
Hmph...for some reason the photo image didn't attach. Let's try again.
Thanks for the great list! There are some there I am unaware of. Cathy
I think that is why my resource and idea files are getting to be so large. I keep adding to them from all kinds of sources, for future reference. What was old becomes new again! When I find gems of information, I collect it into my personal reference books, or make notes in my book on where to find the info in my book collections. Some information on the sewing stitches and feet I have, I discovered from other resources, completely unrelated to my machine. But when I did find it, I sample it so I know what to do with it! I am finding that the Vintage information is often more thorough and exact than the modern stuff. I think the older authors assume that the people reading the instructions are self taught. Cathy
I think those older writers of sewing manuals and books also had the pride of wanting to do things correctly. Sewing has become this mystical thing for many people that so many think it is 'hard' to do and so will not even try. Kind of like how many young ladies don't know how to cook anymore. Cooking seems to be this elusive thing to do as they haven't been taught so it is easier to buy freezer meals or go out all the time. Cooking and sewing somewhere became things that were uncool for girls to do especially as it was so much cooler to climb a career ladder and ignore that old fashioned woman's work. Both cooking and sewing can be very creative, stress reducing endeavors and well worth learning how. And nothing wrong with learning how to do them right.
I love reading old books on how to sew, although I wish someone could take the text and incorporate the step-by-step photos that so many books use today. Many of the older books had so few illustrations. I have an old book on embroidery stitches and many had no illustrations just a written explaination. You have no clue what the stitch is supposed to look like!
Thanks so much for all of the great suggestions! We always love to hear what you all are eager to learn or have questions about.
Have a great holiday, everyone, and stay warm!
For future issues: I'd like to see some in-depth reviews of some of the vendors we like to visit. I live in a very rural area and don't have much opportunity to actually walk through the doors of many fabric stores.What about a review of some school Home Ec/Family & Consumer Sciences teachers who are really teaching some sewing?
I have to agree with you about seeing different vendors and where we can attend classes for a week or weekend. It would be nice to have the where, who, what and when in sewing "today" in a Threads issue.
The days of calling Grandmother up or Aunt Ellen up with a sewing question and driving over to her house are non existent. It makes me sad to even say it is the truth.
I wish the staff at Threads could divide the US up in sections and give us information on where to buy this material, supplies, and training local to our area.
For example the Midwest, where in Chicago, Kansas City, St. Louis, Dallas, Oklahoma City would be the best fabric stores? What do they carry? Where can you travel in the Midwest to get additional training on fitting and couture techniques? I am thinking a place that is within driving distance or by Amtrak.
It is really hard to find out this detailed information where I live. It is like a well hidden treasure.
I attended a Quilt and Sewing Expo and learned a lot from Peggy Sagers.
In May I am going to Beaver Dam, Wisconsin to the Sewing Week at Nancy's Notions. Sandra Betzina is suppose to be there and she sews clothing like Peggy. I am going to try to enroll in her classes as soon as I can get the brochure.
You really have to be dedicated to this hobby, or you will get no where. I wish you the best of luck.
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