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Threads 113 – what I loved/didn’t love

Sue2000 | Posted in General Discussion on

Though it wasn’t a style that I think would look good on everyone, I loved the article by Anna Mazur. Her suit, like all her work is impeccable.  It’s probably one of the most perfect examples of why I read threads.  I love the designer challenge as well, it really helps to think about what I might do with fabric that I wouldn’t have thought about… I think (uh oh, how many times have I used that word?!) maybe I’ll throw some pieces together from my stash and come up with some parameters for my own personal challenge to see how creative I can be.  I did mention on another topic that I missed seeing some photos (if they were there) from the challenge, i.e. the halter to bag garment/item, I’d like to see more detail/up close photos on things like this.  It seems in most challenges we see different views/conversions/inside/outside or other close up detail of the designers’ work and in this issue most were smaller photos and all looked to me like we were seeing a person in jackets out of great fabric, except for the back view of one…. somehow it seemed to miss some of the unique detail of other issues’ challenges.  As mentioned I’ve only gotten to flip through the issue briefly so these are some first thoughts without careful reading yet.

I may step on some toes here but I thought the fabric insertion article, while I suppose will be useful in the technique it features, featured a dress that was, well, unflattering at best… everyone doesn’t have to look like a slim trim 5’11” model, but the word garish came to mind… when I read it I will try and focus on technique only and not design of the example shown.  I mention this only because, while I looked forward to the article featuring multiple ways to use the same pattern (was it called “fabrications” again? LOVED the first one!), I, frankly, found the “fabrications” of the dress to be Sew News style clothes – SO not Threads… it was probably just coincidental that these and the insertion dress appeared in the same issue, but if it were the first time I were looking at Threads on the newsstand  and just flipping through it quickly – I’d have put it back. 


  1. carolfresia | | #1

    Please do keep the insertion technique in mind, even if you didn't care for the dress we showed. This process can be used an all sorts of interesting ways--we specifically asked Pamela Ptak to use colors with a fair amount of contrast so that the insertions would be easily discernible in the photo, and to invent a design that both wrapped around the body, and used the insertions to take the place of shaping darts in the design. Insertions that use only textural contrast, or much closer colors (say, black and dark gray), can be very subtle and incredibly elegant in a sleek, figure-skimming dress. It's a somewhat time-consuming technique (which is why it's reserved for haute couture in most cases), but if you enjoy doing handwork, it's not fundamentally very difficult. It's simply a very refined way to combine fabrics while maintaining maximum drape and flow with minimal bulk.


    1. RParrill | | #2

      I loved the article on fabric insertions. Actually, after I was done reading it I showed it to my sister who loved it as well. The model and the dress are totally secondary for me. I feel the information in the article is what matters. The pictures of the (finished) technique are informative on their own, but with a technique like this, I am more likely to readily apply it to my own sewing style.

    2. SewNancy | | #3

      I didn't love the dress in fabric insertions, but I did love the little top, which to be frank is about my speed for something that time consuming.  It is an interesting technique to keep in mind when I have more time.  I loved Anna Mazur's article there is also a coat that Prada made in same style that I would love to make. Hmm.


      Edited 5/13/2004 2:08 pm ET by Nancy

    3. sueb | | #4

      I admit I was totally turned off at first to the article when I flipped to that page because that dress was at best unflattering in both color and style.  I appreciate you wanted to use high contrasting fabrics but maybe using black/white or red/white would have made the technique look more flattering and provided the contrast that you needed.    My opinion - none of the dresses in the shirt dress article looked very flattering or wearable either.

      I usually love Threads and I've been a long time subscriber but I have to say I wasn't impressed with this issue, it seemed to me to be more of the same old same old.   Haven't we seen the "how to copy or make a pattern from an original" several times already?  I think three pages of how to "hand embroidery by machine"could have been better served with book or product reviews.

      All that said, I did enjoy the article on the chinese brocade and I always enjoy the pattern reviews.


      1. callie1 | | #5

             I disagree totally!  I thought the dress and top were fantastic.  Seeing such a different technique was very inspiring to me.  I am already thinking about how I might use it.  I think that dress is a piece of art and was very impressed.  Much better than the last issue which I found quite dull. 

        1. Scooter1 | | #6

          I love every inch of every issue of Threads. I always manage to learn something that I can apply to what I want to do.

          1. carobanano | | #7

            Just another opinion on #113....

            I was intrigued by the insertion article. I don't know if I'll ever use that method, but it's a possibility. I didn't really understand the random shapes the insertions had in the dress, and that's why I wasn't a big fan of it. But I love the linen tank top!

            I'm also in love with Fabrications. I may not be a fan of the designs, but so far they've all shown me different ways to be creative with a pattern and mix it up a bit! I liked of the last two dresses- I thought the third one was quite unique and not too frumpy at all. If it was a different fabric rather than the red noil and the Japanese print, then it could have been, easily. I was inspired to try the sheer-shirtdress-over-a-slip combo after reading #113- I have a lovely vintage sheer print that I wouldn't have really known what to do with, had I not seen that article.

            Anna Mazur's article was interesting- but nothing new in the slightest. I felt irritated whenever she kept saying "my method of pattern alteration," "my process of design," etc., because scores of sewers do it and it's far from unique. I thought it was cool that she copied a Prada jacket, but I wasn't a fan of the jacket itself. Personal preferences, though! Now if someone had copied her gorgeous tourist-print circle skirts.......

            I like seeing articles highlighting different fabrics and how to use them, and the one on Chinese brocade was no exception. I love how Sarah Veblen made into a jean jacket- unexpected, but very stylish.

            And since I don't machine-embroider, I skipped over the Machine Embroidery column.....but I'd love to see an article/articles on hand embroidery! It's someething I'd like to learn more about.

          2. SewNancy | | #8

            How about how Prada  does the layered dyeing on the skirts, blouses and sweaters.  Does anyone know if you can use cold dye on wool jersey to copy the sweaters?  I get the impression that this is done after construction perhaps. 


          3. zarina | | #9

            I absolutely loved the article on brocade fabric. That is one of those fabics I have lots of in my stash and am not quite sure what to do with. Now I know! But I do have one question, what pattern was that WONDERFUL shirt/jacket in the blue brocade? I would love to use that pattern.

            Maybe if you use a commercial pattern in an article you could list it? About once an issue I try to figure out where I can find a pattern for a garment I have seen in the magazine.

            Threads is great stuff!

          4. carolfresia | | #10

            Hi, Zarina,

            We usually do try to list the pattern info. for any garments shown in an article, esp. if they're a "featured" article. I'm not sure why this was not done for the brocade story. In any case, I'm trying to reach the author to get the pattern company and number for you. That is a wonderful jacket. I'll get back to you with any specifics I can get.


          5. carolfresia | | #11


            Our editorial assistant, April, was one step ahead of me, and already had the pattern information: it's McCall's 9695, and, unfortunately, a discontinued style. You might find it on eBay, or if it's recently been discontinued, in the drawers at your local fabric store. Otherwise, you'll need to look around for something similar. Sorry! We all run into this frustration at one time or another... I'm still wishing I could get the pattern for the dress on the cover of Susan Khalje's "Linen and Cotton" book.


          6. zarina | | #12

            Thank you so much! I now have a starting place to look. You guys are wonderfully helpful as always.

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