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Conversational Threads

Suggestion for THREADS magazine articles

Stitchwitch | Posted in Feedback on Threads on

I love my THREADS Magazines. I always wait for it in anticipation. I would like to suggest some articles which I think us sewing enthusiasts will enjoy. What I would like to see most is more articles on the sewing of everyday clothing. For example Jeans. Yes, we can all sew a pair of pants but what about Jeans. I want to see a “class” on making Jeans so that it looks professional and not homemade. I’m especially talking about the kinds of threads here, the studs,the topstitched crotch seam, the coin pocket and the fly construction. What about more eveningwear sewing articles. I would love to see an article on choosing one of those advanced Vogue patterns and then showing us readers how to actually make the dress. In doing so we will also learn numerous techniques.  The only way people are going to start sewing more is if they were taught to make the type of clothes you buy in the shops these days. Constuction methods have changed over the years and that is what we should be focussing on, new updated ways on construction. Take a ready-to-wear outfit and disassemble it and show it how to replicate these techniques at home on out home sewing machines.


  1. jatman | | #1

    Good ideas Stitchwitch!  I would like to know how to make a pair of jeans, too.  I would particularly like to know if it's possible to do a flat felled seam on a home sewing machine (I can't even hem my jeans on my machine without breaking the needle).  I would also like to see a Marfy pattern sewn up.  I've never ordered a Marfy because I'm put off by the fact that there are no directions.


    1. Pattiann42 | | #5

      I can't hem jeans without one of these:



      Edited 11/24/2007 6:05 pm ET by spicegirl1

      1. jatman | | #7

        Hi Spicegirl1!  I never knew such a thing existed.  I can't imagine how it prevents broken needles since I always thought the thickness of the fabric was what did that.  I guess this is why we need an article on jean construction!  Thank you for the info!


        1. Tnuctip | | #18

          There is a easy way to stitch across thick jean seams without gadgets.

          Sew as normal to the last possible stitch before the bump.

          Lower needle and raise foot, then pleat the fabric to make a sort of platform behind the foot and tuck it under. Lower the foot and stitch across the thick part of the seam to the last possible stitch. The back 'platform' is released as you work forwards.

          When the toe of the foot begins to tip down, lower the needle, raise the foot and make another fabric platform/pleat this time in front of the foot. As you stitch forwards the foot remains level until the back clears the bump, and then the front platform can be released. 

          Just be careful not to stitch onto the front platform.

          The beauty of this method is that the foot is raised by exactly the same amount as the thickness of the seam bump, no matter how thick or thin your fabric is.


          1. jatman | | #19

            I would never have thought to try anything like that.  I can see me sewing the jean hem onto the 'platform' though!  Thank you for the information.


          2. Tnuctip | | #20

            Hey! There really is someone out there! I am in the UK so I do all my browsing while most of the US readers are asleep. Thanks for making me feel a useful part of this community.

          3. jatman | | #21

            Yes - I'm awake, too!  This message board is really quiet during our day, isn't it?

            I appreciate the suggestion on the jeans.  I'll have to give that a try.  Thank you for helping.


          4. AmberE | | #29

            This is an excellent discussion. I've moved it to Feedback on Threads so that others can find it as well. Keep it up!

          5. Pattiann42 | | #38

            Before the gadgets, I figured out that the presser foot had to be raised at the back of the foot to keep the foot level and to avoid breaking the needle.  I was propping the back of the foot up with my scissors.  Live and learn! 

            I am going to try an remember your tip the next time I hem jeans.

    2. MaryinColorado | | #12

      For jeans, have you used a jean a ma jig or hump jumper?  It raises the presser foot so that the machine can stitch over the thick side seams.  It works great for hems!  Mary

      1. jatman | | #13

        Hi Mary!  Spicegirl had suggested those, too.  I haven't tried them but I will look for them.  I'm a little puzzled as to how they keep me from breaking needles since I thought the fabric hardness/thickness was the cause of that but I'll give it try.

        Thank you,


        1. mygaley | | #14

          Take your big fat hammer out of your drawer and pound those seams and intersections flat. Then sew. If you think you might damage the fabric, use your press cloth under the hammer. God bless you Galey

          1. jatman | | #16

            I NEVER would have thought of that approach!  Thank you!


        2. MaryinColorado | | #15

          I thought the same thing.  Then I tried the device, it worked great with a denim 90 needle.  Seems that the problem is actually the tension gets messed up because the presser foot isn't sitting flat, even with the "floating foot" on my Vikings.  I used to hem jeans by machine, stopping before the side seams, then stitching those by hand.  I was so happy that the jean a ma jig resolved the problem.  I hope it will work for you too.  Mary

          1. jatman | | #17

            I need to find one of those.  Thank you for the explanation!


  2. katina | | #2

    Excellent suggestion! Sandra Betzina's good at deconstructing ready-to-wear.


  3. GailAnn | | #3

    My sister is an excellent seamstress who hates sewing! 

    She has to want something really badly that she either can't find or can't afford in the stores, to go to "the bother" of sewing.

    Back in the 1980's, Sis made a pair of Calvin Klien jeans from a Vogue pattern.  They fit her perfectly and I couldn't tell them from the store bought Calvins!  Sis did buy the exact fabric and notions called for on the pattern.  This was back in the day when Brooke Shield's advertised "Nothing  comes between me and my Calvins?.

    I wonder how many women (they'd all likely be over 50 now) are like Sis.  They CAN sew beautifully, because they were taught in school, (taught isn't exactly right  -- forced to learn puts it better)  but they have to be motivated to sew, by something they really, really want, but can't buy.

    Magazine Artical --  REMEMBERING HOME-EC CLASSES OF THE 1940's and 1950's!

    I really enjoyed the 1948 Sewing Movie, someone posted a few months back.


    1. katina | | #4

      Imagine if Threads did a whole series of articles - there must be many of us who could contribute an essay on learning to sew in school. At age 12 we did baby doll pyjamas - by hand!


      1. moira | | #22

        Your mention of the baby doll PJs sewn by hand brought memories flooding back! We also did this in Primary School. I can clearly remember seeing the shape of the pieces we cut out for the 'pants' part and wondering how on earth that shape related to the human body! We had to sew French seams by hand - it's a wonder I went on to love sewing as much as I do, because that really wasn't a lot of fun, and it took so long to get them finished! Then there was the gingham apron. . .

    2. sneezepac | | #6

      You are absolutely correct about the Calvin Klein jeans pattern by Vogue! I made ALL of my jeans for years from that pattern, including flatfelled seams. I used the correct rivets. The only hard spot was the crotch seam. I always use a needle case as my hump jumper and it works just fine. That pattern really fit well, and as I am an oversized petite person, that was a definite plus.An updated pattern and an article about constructing good jeans would be a great article!

    3. AmberE | | #25

      I love the home-ec idea---it would be perfect for our nostalgia column---you should submit a proposal!

      1. GailAnn | | #30

        What do you mean by "Proposal"?  I don't think I'm qualified to be a writer.

        What I appreciated MOST about my Home-Ec teacher was her consistant, extremely High Standards and her insistance that we all could meet those High Expectations!

        My most valuable lesson in Home-Ec was in time management.  In our one-hour class period, we had to take out our supplies, do our work, clean up our area, and put our supplies away.  Apron, Skirt, dress, jacket completed in two semesters.  Winter Coat and dressy dress or ball gown the next year.  Seldom did I have to come in after class, or take my project home, to work on anything.  It actually boggles my mind today as I seemed to have been better about that in 1962 than I am in 2007.

        Both of my two Home-Ec teachers (cooking was separate from sewing) were WONDERFUL!  They understood girls, women, homelife, children, family relationships, and the world in which we live better than anyone I've met since. 

        I appreciate them so much. 

        I've often said that I learned more USEFUL STUFF, (Things that actually have applied to my life.) in Home-Ec than in anyother class I ever took, except, of course, learning how to READ in the first place. 


        Edited 11/30/2007 11:26 am ET by GailAnn

        1. AmberE | | #31

          All of our writers started out as readers at one time or another! And you have a good idea and a nice way of telling a story, which is a really good start. Look on our website for writer's guidelines. We work hard to walk new writers through the process---so that it's almost painless! I really encourage you to send a proposal. It could also be a wonderful Closures...

          1. katina | | #32

            Amber, may one submit more than one essay to Closures? Is it policy to publish a writer only once?



          2. AmberE | | #33

            I would encourage you to submit more than one idea---it makes your chances of acceptance all the higher!

  4. GailAnn | | #8

    I'd like to address this to Amber, but I can't seem to do that.  If someone can figure out how to get this into her mailbox, please feel free to send it.

    I'd like to see a threads artical on how things, such as the nurses uniform, I mentioned in post # 7760.5  were constructed.  Very close fitting, neat, and attractive with gussets and pleats to add movement.  I know many things, professional womans blouses for instance, were made this way, before knits came into fashion.  Gail

    1. solosmocker | | #9

      These are great ideas so far. I would like to see some designer clothing torn apart and the construction shown. Threads used to do loads of this. It is fascinating to me to learn how the cream of the crop does their construction. Examples are the taking apart of an Armani suit but their were many others. I would like to see more of that. Claire Schaeffer has done wonderful articles such as I am describing. solo

      1. scrubble4 | | #23

        Hi:  I was just reading my Claire Shaeffer Couture Sewing Techniques book this week and thinking about how Threads used to carry so many detailed (photos and diagrams) for how to do unusual and useful things such as Armani suits.  Today browsing through the chats I came upon your comments.  Hear, hear.  We also get Fine Cooking, Fine Gardening, Fine Homebuilding as they hit our various interests.  These mags don't seem to have veered away from detailing how to do practical and unusual or classic things.  Hopefully the good folks at Threads occasionally dip into these discussions and will see the ideas folks have brought here. 

        I still really look forward to my Threads mag and like most of us skim through it in one sitting and then return to indulge in specific articles.  I know many of the topics considered in this discussion have been done before by Threads such as the boning, the jeans etc., but they were a long time ago.  Maybe all they need to do is have one article each time from an old, old issue and then update with current resources and techniques.  Thanks for making me feel part of a group by mirroring some of my own thoughts.  Scrubble4

        1. AmberE | | #28

          Hi: I'm always checking on this board, as time permits, and love the comments. They've done much to inform my work. You can always reach me at Talk with Amber as that alerts me in my email box. It's been pretty busy but I always read and answer all posts! Thanks scrubble 4!

      2. AmberE | | #27

        Yes, we've often talked about sort of inside-out article. The art director is particularly keen on the idea!

    2. katina | | #10

      Yes, good article idea. I believe that the jackets worn by orchestra conductors are very specially constructed so that they can move their arms freely.


      1. GailAnn | | #11

        Yes, yes!  That is exactly what I mean!  Looking neat and tidy while standing straight, still able to react up and take something off a top shelf or down to pick up the toilet paper roll that fell behind the toilet!  Gail

    3. AmberE | | #26

      Great idea GailAnn. FYI, you can always reach me at Talk with Amber. I've been a bit busy so I may not get back to you immediately, but I am alerted in my mailbox and answer every post!

  5. AmberE | | #24

    You're in luck---we have a jean story coming up in our April/May issue

  6. autumn | | #34

    I remember seeing an article in Threads about sewing jeans. Look in the index and maybe you can find it. I don't remember when it was.

  7. jjgg | | #35

    Unfortunatly, there are many 'industrial techniques' that just cannot be done on the home sewing machine. There are so many very specialized machines used in 'the industry' with absolutly no counter part in home sewing. There is a great video on youtube.com showing how a pair of jeans are made in 12 minutes.

    For instance, you know elastic waistbands that have a wide piece of elastic and several rows of machine stitching across it? that is done all in one step with a machine that has 4 or 5 needles. It is calculated as to how much to stretch the elastic to come out right. Now, I've seen many patterns that tell you to sew several rows of stitching, it just doesn't look good. But, by sewing several casings for 1/4 inch elastic you can get a nice look. It's not the same but for the home sewing mahine it will give a better finish.

    For pockets, they have a machine that slaps the fabric piece down, folds under the edges and stitches it in place all in one step. Without a lot of very tedious trimming and careful folding, you cna't do a nice industrial looking flat felled seam at home, again, they have very specialized machines that do that. The best you can do at home is a mock flat felled seam that will look decent.

    1. GailAnn | | #36

      Ever think that maybe "The Mass produced, Industial LOOK" is NOT the goal?  Gail

      1. jjgg | | #37

        EXACTLY!I don't want my things looking 'store bought' I want them looking custom made (and they are). Custom made is better than store bought, it is constructed with better techniques, fits better, and looks better.

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