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Conversational Threads

Threads #87 (latest issue)… What ha…

Darlette | Posted in The Archives on

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Have you seen that skirt on p.57? Does it scream “home-made?” Whatz’ up with the awful hem? Did the photographer show up before the hem was ready & that’s why such a POOR job was done? I KNOW Ms. Khalje didn’t produce that hem! Whatz’ up with the skirts on p.45? You can’t really see the gores for all the wrinkles. Most un-flattering! When you pay $6 for a magazine, you expect BETTER preparation for the photo shoots than what you see on these pages. Threads editors… do you have a Photography Director? If so… shame on ’em. If not… get one.

Replies

  1. Caroline_G. | | #1

    *
    There has been a great deal of uncomplimentary discussion on the SewCouture mailing list (an email list devoted to Couture techniques and design) about Threads #87. Most comments agree with Darlette, that the photographs are ill-prepared (wrinkles) and not complimentary, and that the sewing level is substandard, at best. Comments were made about photos on pages 28 (is that supposed to be a peek-a-boo gap?), 31 (wrinkled pants leg, or is it static cling?), 44 (Cupping under the derriere of the left model, unflattering on both models, and wrinkles or static cling on both models, as well as unflattering and ill-fitting tops, and the lighting and dark fabric make it nearly impossible to see the gores), and page 57 (the horizontal design tucks/peats are lost to the cross-wise wrinkles at upper thigh; perhaps the skirt is a tad too tight, and that horrible, horrible hem!)

    Another comment was regarding a rumor that Threads is going to take a home-dec route. Please say it isn't so! There are innumerable sources for home-decorating ideas and methods, and a very limited number of high-level garment sewing and design sources. Please stick to design, fitting, clothing history, couture techniques, etc. If I want to cover a chair, I'll get one of several _hundred_ books and magazines devoted to that subject.

    Do I have to switch to "Australian Stitches"? It's been getting excellent reviews.

    1. Jean_ | | #2

      *ITA. My DH picked this one up for me, I probably would have left it on the stand. I wouldn't be caught dead in any of the outfits that were pictured.

      1. Ginna | | #3

        *I also was not impressed with the fit of the clothing in the photographs in the latest issue of Threads. One of the posters on the Quiltropolis SewCouture list stated that the article writers make the items in the size they want and then the garments are sent somewhere to be photographed on models the sewer never saw or fitted. If this is correct why not have the sewers/writers be photographed wearing the items they created. Personally, I don't need to see a professional model wearing garments not made for them. I want to see the clothing and the things that make it special enough to be in Threads. That includes being photographed on the person for whom the garment was made.There has been speculation on the same email list regarding the direction Threads is taking. Some say that you are going to turn the magazine into a decorating magazine. Please say it isn't so. Threads is the only high quality magazine that I know of in the US that deals with garment sewing almost exclusively. I would prefer that it stay that way. There are many quilting and decorating magazines on the market but very few fashion garment sewing magazines. Threads is the best of all of them. Please do not change your direction from garment sewing. Thank you.

        1. sheri_post | | #4

          *I personally enjoyed the outfits. I thinkmost everyone was really nitpicking.Again, Threads is here to show us varioustechniques and experiments. I loved the home dec project and now canapproach my zillion chairs and sofas witha more relaxed mind set...I was literallyafraid to measure and do the upholstering,but with the "muslin and measure"mind set,its just another dress. : )There's nothing said that Threads justhas to be about one type of sewing...sewing is universal around the world, andI want to know it all and share in it.Hurrah for everyone who sews and enjoys it,no matter if their efforts are not perfectto others eyes. We can all be a little lesscritical and perhaps the world can grow abit in gentleness from this.Thank youSheri PostBridals by SheriBattle Creek,MI 49017

          1. KDana | | #5

            *I look forward to the arrival of my Threads magazine every other month. Since my primary interest is couture sewing, I enjoy the articles on techniques, fitting, fabrics, etc. I hope the article in this month's issue on slipcovering a side chair doesn't indicate a trend to home decorating features since this isn't why I subscribe to Threads. And while I frequently learn something new in the "Basics" column, this month's topic (A trip to the fabric store) seems too basic.Since I'm always looking for flattering clothes, I eagerly turned to the Gores Galore article. Based on those photos, I don't think anyone would ever choose a multiple-gore skirt, which is too bad since they can be very flattering. If you're going to include photos, I think it's important that they support the content of the article, not refute it.I hope you'll keep these issues in mind as you select future content. Thanks.

          2. Julie_Culshaw | | #6

            *In the same vein as the previous posts, I too am disappointed with the recent content in Threads. There seems to be less and less of the real sewing information that I used to find there. If I look back through old issues, I find much more useful and interesting sewing info than there has been in the last few Threads. Personally, I buy the magazine for garment sewing and if it continues to cover quilting and home dec, I will cease to purchase it. I am finding the magazine Stitches much more to my liking. It has wonderful photographs of garments superbly made, with details such as rouleau trim, Chanel details from Claire Schaeffer, handling certain fabrics by Sandra Betzina. If Threads needs ideas on what to feature, I would be happy to give you some. There are many splendid people out there with knowledge that I would like to read. Please start finding them. Or you will have lost another subscriber. Julie Culshaw, Timmel Fabrics

          3. chris_allen | | #7

            *I have to admit, I liked the chair dresses. I have to be able to use my sewing skills in all levels, not just high-end couture techniques. A sewer with middling skills can improve those skills by practicing some of them on a chair, improve their skills and gain confidence! (What a concept, making clothes for something that won't wriggle, whine, or scream when you stick a pin in it! More fun than Barbie!). As for Stitches, I like and admire that magazine, but I won't buy it, because Threads does it better! As regards clothing not fitting on the models, if you want to see a really good example of something that doesn't fit, look at Stitches recent article about how to make a pair of jeans. The pictures (on the maker of said jeans) show extremely poor fit, especially from the back. And some of Stitches articles were done better in earlier versions of Threads (especially the Chanel article by Claire Schaeffer). My one problem with this issue of Threads is that the gored skirts article never mentioned (or I missed it) how much fabric a bias cut gored skirt will consume. Something like 4+ yards of 60" fabric!

          4. Chris_Timmons | | #8

            *In reply to the comments on some of the photography in the current issue (No. 87), you’re right, there were some problems, and we’re working on resolving them for future issues. Concerning Darlette’s remarks about the hem of Susan Khalje’s skirt on p. 57, it appears that the model was a little heavy for the garment and pulled down the hem allowance when she slipped the skirt on, exposing the understitching. This was an unfortunate oversight during photography since the couture hem is beautifully constructed and completes an elegant garment. In hopes of serving up lemonade from a lemon, I spoke with Susan Khalje, who graciously agreed to explain how to construct this hem. Her comments follow.Chris TimmonsEditor/ThreadsSusan Khalje writes:Before I explain how I did the hem, let me offer a few words about the design and fabric of this particular skirt. From my preliminary steps in draping muslin on a mannequin, I knew that the front panel would need to be cut on the bias in order for the pleats along the side seams to form as I wanted them to. I also knew that a front bias panel would give a pretty, soft fold along the hemline. I fell in love with the fabric the minute I saw it--it'sAlaskine, which I always associate with those wonderful tailored suits of the 1940s and is a fairly bodied, medium-weight combination of wool and silk. This particular piece was somewhat shiny--almost luminous--on one side, with a nice amount of texture, and I knew that using it on the biaswould compliment its slubs. I underlined it with silk organza, knowing that a firm underlining would help fill out the pleats, would stabilize the front panel, and would provide an inner layer to which I could apply my hemstitches. Once I had determined the length of the skirt, the fashion fabric and underlining were loosely basted together right along the hemline to eliminate any shifting. (It's those stitches that are visible in the photograph). The layers were then turned up, favored slightly to the inside so that the basting stitches would be invisible on the garnent’s right side, and the hem allowance was catchstitched to the organza underlining. I didn't press the hemline, rather I very gently steamed it. Finally, I folded the silk lining along the hemline to form a jump pleat, then stitched it into place.A word or two about the Threads photograph on p. 57: Sample garments are usually created to a set of measurements, which, unfortunately, sometimes don't match those ofthe models. Certainly, a carefully draped and fitted garment like this one would have benefited from being custom-fitted to the specific model who would wear it, but one doesn't always have that luxury (in Threads case, I understand that the models long ago signed up for a photo shoot are sometimes pulled off the assignment the day before if a bigger--hence better-paying--client requests those models). This is a tricky skirt to fit, and the model was a little bigger than expected. Therefore, the skirt was pulled, and the hem wasn't able to fall as intended.

          5. Chris_Timmons | | #9

            *In reply to the comments on some of the photography in the current issue (No. 87), you’re right, there were some problems, and we’re working on resolving them for future issues. Concerning Darlette’s remarks about the hem of Susan Khalje’s skirt on p. 57, it appears that the model was a little heavy for the garment and pulled down the hem allowance when she slipped the skirt on, exposing the understitching. This was an unfortunate oversight during photography since the couture hem is beautifully constructed and completes an elegant garment. In hopes of serving up lemonade from a lemon, I spoke with Susan Khalje, who graciously agreed to explain how to construct this hem. Her comments follow.Chris TimmonsEditor/ThreadsSusan Khalje writes:Before I explain how I did the hem, let me offer a few words about the design and fabric of this particular skirt. From my preliminary steps in draping muslin on a mannequin, I knew that the front panel would need to be cut on the bias in order for the pleats along the side seams to form as I wanted them to. I also knew that a front bias panel would give a pretty, soft fold along the hemline. I fell in love with the fabric the minute I saw it--it'sAlaskine, which I always associate with those wonderful tailored suits of the 1940s and is a fairly bodied, medium-weight combination of wool and silk. This particular piece was somewhat shiny--almost luminous--on one side, with a nice amount of texture, and I knew that using it on the biaswould compliment its slubs. I underlined it with silk organza, knowing that a firm underlining would help fill out the pleats, would stabilize the front panel, and would provide an inner layer to which I could apply my hemstitches. Once I had determined the length of the skirt, the fashion fabric and underlining were loosely basted together right along the hemline to eliminate any shifting. (It's those stitches that are visible in the photograph). The layers were then turned up, favored slightly to the inside so that the basting stitches would be invisible on the garnent’s right side, and the hem allowance was catchstitched to the organza underlining. I didn't press the hemline, rather I very gently steamed it. Finally, I folded the silk lining along the hemline to form a jump pleat, then stitched it into place.A word or two about the Threads photograph on p. 57: Sample garments are usually created to a set of measurements, which, unfortunately, sometimes don't match those ofthe models. Certainly, a carefully draped and fitted garment like this one would have benefited from being custom-fitted to the specific model who would wear it, but one doesn't always have that luxury (in Threads case, I understand that the models long ago signed up for a photo shoot are sometimes pulled off the assignment the day before if a bigger--hence better-paying--client requests those models). This is a tricky skirt to fit, and the model was a little bigger than expected. Therefore, the skirt was pulled, and the hem wasn't able to fall as intended.

          6. Kathryn_ | | #10

            *My stomach would have to be concave before I'd wear a skirt with horizontal pleats puffed out across the front. And you'd have to stand on your head to brush off the donut crumbs after your coffee break (obviously the reason my stomach is not concave).

          7. Susan_J._H. | | #11

            *I have to admit, folks...not your best effort.When I saw the front cover advertising about the side chair article, I expected something interesting. Not an article that could have been adapted from "Martha's" pretentious magazine (okay, she has some cute stuff in there, but since my mother actually taught me how to cook, sew, etc.. it doesn't hold the fascination for me as it might for some.) Had the article been about using such a simple project to refine one's various dressmaking skills (welts, cording,applique, quilting etc.) on a low-pressure project, I'd understand. But THIS???? Forgive me, but simplify the language and you're practically in "Good Housekeeping"'s realm. PLease keep the standards up....and if you make "Threads" another dumbed down decorating rag...I'm outta here!!

          8. Darlene_ | | #12

            *I live in a rural area and eagerly await each new issue of Threads and read it cover to cover. I learn something from each article even when I initially thought it may not interest me. I have looked through past issues often searching for techniques and ideas that I could suddenly use. I have sewn for 30 plus years, but am still learning and perfecting and it is nice to see diverse areas of sewing covered. Since I sew everything from formal wear to ski-wear to home dec I am glad not just one area of sewing is covered. I can overlook the occasional flaw in photography to continue to add a great magazine to my collection.

          9. wp | | #13

            *I hope that Threads remains a garment magazine and does not go down the road of home dec. Here in the UK we have nothing that approaches Threads in terms of information on clothes construction and new ideas. There is 'Sewing World' which in my opinion is usually very basic in content and its photos are never in focus so I rely on Threads and can forgive the odd dodgy hemline and wrinkle so long as it keeps to its couture format!

          10. MJean | | #14

            *This has been an interesting topic for me to read through. I am returning to sewing after a couple of decades away from the machine, and now am equipped with a computer machine and other necessaries. Threads is utterly fascinating to me, for I would certainly hope to attain such fine dressmaking skills for my own wardrobe. I would greatly enjoy Threads as a monthly magazine, and then I could better tolerate the kind of home decorating article that appeared in this last issue. There are many good, detailed books in the stores about home decorating and perhaps not much of a need for OUR ONE SOURCE to devote such precious, scarce space to this kind of thing.I am overwhelmed by the quilting junk in the mass market fabric stores ---- there is so little out there for me, a serious sewer who wants fine fabrics for professional clothing. What I need is: a weekly Threads magazine, a dedicated garment sewing TV show (like Sew Perfect on HGTV), and more and more opportunities and inspiration and instruction.Ms. Timmons (Threads Editor), please give me more garment instruction and less of everything else. In our town I often visit Maud Jones, a 95-year-old friend in the nursing home who has been a couture sewer out here in the middle of nowhere on the Great Plains ----- her garments are exquisite and I need all the help you can give me to achieve what she has done with so little. She has never left the state of Kansas. Help me, please, to be able to carry on her legacy.That is what I value Threads for. In so many ways, you are so very wonderful. Please, please, don't fail Maud Jones.

          11. vcarlson_ | | #15

            *It sounds like Maude Jones is an unsung sewing hero. I hope that you are documenting some of her tales. I see history leaving us with so little documentation. Or, at least I haven't seen much written or exhibited except for fashion designers and some quilts. Where are the old wool coats and suits that our grandmothers made? (Seriously, I know that they usually were worn out or cut up to make something for a smaller family member.)I have a quilt of grandma's and I vaguely remember my mother having some of her patterns out of newspapers. My mother certainly didn't have my grandmother's expertise to pass on to me. I vaguely remember picking out certain sacks of feed for the fabric. I would be thrilled to read some of the techniques used and experiences of seamstresses, other than those used at designer houses. Are there books out there and I have missed them? Are there sewing museums where someone has delved into what is inside the Kansas farm wife's winter coat or dress suit? Anyone else have experiences to share or suggest?

          12. TJ | | #16

            *A word in defense of #87. I either didn't notice or ignored the photo flaws others have identified. In fact, I felt that this was one of the more interesting and entertaining issues Threads has put out lately, with lots of different ideas I could imagine using. Perhaps I just didn't bother looking closely at that fancy boned skirt because I knew I would never make something like that (unless my skinny niece outgrows her tomboy wardrobe), or perhaps I was more interested in the "how-to" drawings and photos than the particular skirt on display. There was plenty more to enjoy in this issue.A few years ago, after 2 decades away from sewing, I walked into a giant fabric store on a mission to help a friend put together a wedding veil. There I first encountered the magazine, when I saw the "Threads" book "Great Sewn Clothes". I credit this book with making me fall in love with sewing again. THESE are the articles I would like to see more of: great construction details from innovative and knowledgeable couturiers of the past and present. What I would love to see are more articles like the classic articles in that book about Gres and Vionnet (bias and draping), Chanel (the design, construction, and fitting techniques that explain her enduring popularity), Schiaparelli (what a wit!), and Norell (more neat tricks). These are endlessly inspiring, rich "mines" of ideas, techniques, and history. I can't get enough of this.I have little patience for the junky designs on the runways now; for most designers, it seems to be some kind of MTV entertainment business and has little to do with sophisticated and inspired design and construction of CLOTHING. I'm coming to think that the postwar years were the acme of design -- even though as a kid in the 60's I HATED those 50s silhouettes! but the 40s, now, especially when designers were able to get their hands on some good materials after the war.... Surely Threads can introduce us to more of the modern designers who know the history of their field and are using the skills and techniques that the 20th century has developed to make great clothes. That photo aside, the Susan Khalje article on boning is a great example of applying a traditional technique in new ways. Give us more! --TJP.S. If that photo made us readers twitchy, think how the author, Susan Khalje, must have felt! but what a gracious reply she gave Chris Timmons, the Threads editor, to post here! Threads is truly a class act.

          13. B._Shupe | | #17

            *Threads is the greatest sewing magazine on the market!!! This last issue was good in that there is always something to learn in order to better your sewing techniques. I have been sewing for many years; made my first dress when I was in the 8th grade (and am now 60 years old). I did dressmaking in my home for about 16 years, owned a fabric store with dressmaking service, opened a dressmaking shop outside my home when I sold the store, moved to California and opened a children's clothing manufacturing business (doing all the sewing myself), and am now just sewing for my grandchildren. As you can see I have much experience but am always excited to learn more - and I always do from the Threads magazine. I agree that the skirt on page 57 looks very "home-made" but I just figured there was a slipup somewhere along the line. I also agree that the gored skirts looked pretty wrinkled but learning techniques is what is important in this magazine, not how pretty the pictures are. I, too, would like to see less home dec in the magazine; there are many good books and magazines on the market for that. Would like to see Threads stay with dressmaking. No matter, it is still the best magazine on the market for anyone who sews! I love it!!!

          14. Jacqui_Hooper | | #18

            *It is with interest I have read all the discussion on this subject. Living in New Zealand has meant' that I have waited until the issue finally made it onto our Library shelves. While I have to agree that the photo(I) and garment construction do not live up to previous standard it was good to see these as so many photos in fashion magazines and patterns are touched up or pulled and pinned to get the "look". How many of you have bought a pattern or tried on a garment only to have it look nothing like the original (your own figure notwithstanding)!!!!!! this of course does not excuse the hemming which maybe init self in it generate an article on apprioate methods for hemming and perhaps and article by a fashion photographer on photography for fashion.Threads magazine is a lifeline for me New Zealand has a history of dressmaking but there are no other magazines similar. I inherited all my grandmothers Threads which were well used, keep up the good work and thank you Threads team for a wonderful magazine.

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