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Conversational Threads

Things I have learned from Threads.

GailAnn | Posted in Feedback on Threads on

I hope the Editors are “reading in”…………….

There has been a bit of negativity, from us ‘long-timers’, here at Threads since , for me at least, the “jeans” issue.

To continue my subscription or cancel?  To continue reading the ‘gatherings’ or stop?  Does reading sewing magazine stiffle or enrich my own dressmaking abilities?  Pondering these and other questions, this morning, while doing the laundry, another one popped into my head………..WHAT HAVE I LEARNED FROM READING THREADS??

1)  Clothing manufacturerers frequently use lining to hide poor quality workmanship.

2)  Truely worthwhile garments are more frequently under-lined than lined.

3)  Making a hand worked buttonhole is not so very difficult.

4)  The “off the peg” look, is not my goal.

5)  If I intend to tuck in the blouse, it is best to stitch and pink the bottom, rather than to hem it.

Well, ladies, that is probably my top 5.  What’s yours?????   Gail



  1. starzoe | | #1

    On the subject of continuing to read THREADS, I would say this: I have been a subscriber for almost all issues (and found the missing ones, luckily), and although not every issue grabbed me, I would continue to subscribe. Not every issue can please everyone and the magazine is a continuing and valuable source of information.I have been sewing since I was six, I am now in my mid-70s, still sewing, still buying fabric, still interested in fashion but now it takes me longer to finish a project. There's no list long enough to list what I have learned from THREADS; mostly techniques and finishing details, the basics I learned decades ago. There's always something new out there, no matter what the subject and one should always be learning, right through life.

  2. Teaf5 | | #2

    With the demise of print media, we may not have a choice of subscribing to magazines for much longer, so I vote for continuing!From the magazine, I get far more than information and instruction; I get pleasant news, inspiration, and a sense that others my passion for fabric and value the craft. And, in a world where bad news bombards us daily, it's nice to open a treasure trove of wonderful ideas and beauty every so often.Will have to think about the "Top 5 Things I've learned"....a great topic!

    1. MaryinColorado | | #16

      Well said!

  3. Ocrafty1 | | #3

    Great topic!  I've been sewing for over 40 yrs. and these are my top 5:

    1. Always make a muslin!  Paper pattern fittings just don't 'get it' for most garments. Garments made from a muslin fitting always look more 'couture.'

    2. Underlining makes a huge difference in the way fabric handles, drapes, and makes the final garment look.  l learned the true value of this when working on the 'couture gown.'  :)

    3. When measuring for a pattern size; use the upper bust measurement.  Since patterns are made for B cup sizes, using the full bust measurement will never work!

    4. There are more to good sewing techniques than knowing the old basics. The Master classes have shown us the hidden or couture secrets that those Masters use..and those secrets make the difference between a professional and homemade look.

    5. Even though I'd learned this, and heard it over and over...it cannot be stressed enough.  Spend at least as much time at your pressing station as you do at the sewing machine...and use a press cloth.

    I have to add 

    #6....Gatherings is one of the best features of Threads!  What an unbelievable resource! Not only can we find information that is not in the magazine....most times very quickly; (Thank all of you who have responded to me so very quickly); we meet absolutely amazing and wonderful people who are more than willing to share their knowledge, expertise, encouragement, and friendship with everyone who comes here!  There are plenty of projects that I wouldn't have had the courage to attempt or complete without the help and encouragement from all at this site! 

    Thank you all, especially the people who thought of and implemented Gatherings!!

    I came late to finding Threads and have only been a 2 yr. subscriber....but due to the generosity of one of our members, was able to purchase most of the back issues. I'll continue to subscribe as long as I can afford it! Like most of you....getting the latest issue is like Christmas...can't wait to absorb everything in it.  DH knows to let me be until I'm finished....dinner can and will wait!


  4. Tatsy | | #4

    Things I've learned from Threads1)Carefully chosen embellishments can eliminate or hide construction problems: seed beads to hold jacket facings in place, buttons or beads to turn a waist dart into a decorative fold, seed beads to pick a zipper or a hem.2)More than one fabric in a garment can make it pop.3)Commercial patterns fit only a lucky few.4)Welt pockets aren't that difficult.5)Computerized sewing machines are magic carpets to Fairyland.

  5. gailete | | #5

    I couldn't begin to count what I have learned from Threads, but for me the main thing is the inspiration to work harder at taking my time to do it right so that the finished product looks the best I can personally produce and at the same time sew efficiently enough so that I'm not wasting my time on fabric that isn't worth the fuss.

    I also have learned to try out patterns with a so-called muslin that I can wear as a garment if it fits right so that my hard work won't go to waste.

    Although I have plenty of sewing books, the infusion of ideas and well made garments, helps me learn so much. I guess that is why the last issue with the poorly made striped blouse was such a let down--I expect MORE from Threads!


    1. User avater
      rodezzy2 | | #6

      I love to get my Threads magazine, and even though I will never do all of the sewing, I love reading it from cover to cover, and then some; and then again.  Sometimes I take them out and read them again if I haven't read them in a long time.  I love reading the instructions and marvel at how things are made.

      I love the Gatherings site, I've met some really wonderful talented women/men.  I have been able to share my love of fiber and fabric in a way I've never been able to.  When I want to say "see what I made", I turn to Gatherings.  I lurk around Gatherings and read lots of good advice and instruction.  I'm thrilled that I found Threads magazine and Gatherings and ALL OF YOU!

      1. gailete | | #7

        I do the same thing with my Threads. I go through one every night before bed which gives me pleasant thoughts to think on while I try to go to sleep. It is amazing how many times I see something that is now pertinent to my sewing that wasn't the previous time I looked through them. Like this weekend at a yard sale I got one of those wooden point pressers pounders things for ironing/pressing your garment while making it ($1.50!). Since I never had one before I don't know what to do with it, but next time I see an article about them, I will pay attention.


        1. User avater
          rodezzy2 | | #8

          Wow that was a great price for those things.  Lucky girl. 

        2. User avater
          Deana | | #9

          Thanks Gail, for starting this post. And, thanks for everyone's comments. It's always good to know what you don't like, but it's also always great to hear what you DO like and have learned. And, Gail, you're in luck. There's an article on the fundamentals of pressing coming up in the next issue and we talk about how to use the pressing tools, including the point presser you scored!

          1. gailete | | #10

            Oh good, I'll be looking forward to reading that. I do love the magazine, even though I use it as a 'sleep aid' which I'm sure you won't be advertising! LOL


          2. MaryinColorado | | #17

            Thanks to all the staff at Threads, through many years of providing the best sewing publication available!!! 

            As a mostly self taught seamstress for over 40 years, Threads has been the best teacher since Miss Haines, my high school sewing instructor.  I owe my abilities and my love of fiber arts to both, and cannot express my appreciation enough.  THANKS!

            I can't even imagine how to list the top 5 though as there are too many to narrow it down.  Mary

        3. Palady | | #18

          >> ... yard sale ... wooden point pressers pounders things for ironing/pressing your garment while making it ($1.50!). ... <<

          A very good buy indeed!!!  All the many aides I owned since the early 1960's have been passed along to my daughter who uses each & everyone at some point in her sewing efforts.  The ham & sleeve roll in particular.  Both of these are much firmer and larger/longer than anything on the market today.

          As you await the Threads article maybe this URL will be of interest.


          Scroll to Pressing ... and go from there.


          1. gailete | | #19

            Thank you!

          2. Palady | | #20

            You're very welcome.  Dare say you'll find the point presser useful.  Though of course there are sewists who would say the piece is of little use to them.


        4. gingerink | | #21

          Oh, Gail--You will *love* your point-presser/clapper when you get into it!  Of all my more technical sewing tools, that's the one I actually use the most.  Even for pressing my husband's trousers, after steaming the crease I "pound" out the steam with the cooler, absorbent wood of the clapper (the "point-presser" part works as a nice handle), which makes the crease more crisp. 

          And when sewing a collar or a vest or anything that will be turned, the point-presser allows me to press the seam *open* before turning the sewn piece right-side-out, which then makes it *possible* to press the seam with the stitching centered between front and back.

          So glad you found one at such a good price.  Mine was $9.00 back in the 70s.  But I wouldn't want to be without it!


  6. User avater
    ThreadKoe | | #11

    Wow GailAnn, narrow it down to only the top 5? Tough choice!1. There are always more than one way to approach a technique! Test sew a few samples before you decide.2. If you are stuck, or frustrated, you are NEVER ALONE! Thank you friends on Gatherings, I don't know how I ever got along without you before!3. I always learn something new. Or I learn a better understanding of why I do what I know.4. Textile arts encompasses and crosses over many boundarys. Threads has introduced me to many new ways of looking at and using them in my garments. Embellishment and fine finishing are as important as fit.5. I think I finally understand the how and why darts work. Must have missed that somewhere along the way.... Not afraid to play with them or change them at whim anymore.6. I have to add this...Without examples of fine workmanship, from the inside out, the closeup examples, and techniques to try, how else do I get to expand my knowledge? Every two months, I get a new lesson. Cathy

    1. sewfar | | #12

      I learned from Threads that hand sewing is not a " homemade option of necessity " but a fine finish and that in many cases it adds immeasurably to our project. Many times I got the impression that if I did not have the latest in automatic machine stitching or know how to to finish edges, embellish or otherwise be able to emulate store finishes I was lacking. Threads showed me over and over that hand stitching and sometimes even the lowly pinked edge can rival and surpass machine work.

      Edited 5/23/2009 10:39 am ET by sewfar

      1. GailAnn | | #13

        Amen three times over!  Hand stitching is a blessing not a curse!  The Hallmark of a caring seamstress.  Gail

      2. User avater
        ThreadKoe | | #15

        Fantastic Point! Cathy

  7. sewelegant | | #14

    It is hard to look back and think of what I have learned from Threads, but it must be A LOT because I still look forward to each new issue.  I have seldom been disappointed in the whole magazine at one time.  There was always something to read and re-read later on.  How many other magazines do we thumb through and lay aside, never to pick up again, feeling like we've already seen all it had to offer?  I include many sewing magazines in that observation as well as the general interest ones.

    Because I never had any formal lessons on it, I think fitting techniques have helped me the most.  Then I treasure all the "couture" techniques I have picked up through many informative articles.  My favorite site has always been input from the readers and professional advice on how to tackle a problem.  The next lesson I have learned is how to get creative with my sewing... like using color blocking, embellishing, textile painting, etc.  I've enjoyed it all and I know my garments got better over the years because I was inspired to mimic the fine sewing I would see in Threads.

    I personally prefer the every other month publication because I think it gives the staff more time to do it well.  Please don't try too hard to make the magazine better, sometimes it doesn't work.

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