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Conversational Threads

Week 1: Both these photos were shown …

carolfresia | Posted in Talk With Us on

Week 1: Both these photos were shown in an article Threads recently featured on creative ways to felt wool jersey. How does seeing a technique demonstrated on both a child’s and adult’s garment affect the appeal of the technique?

  • Makes the technique more appealing
  • Makes the technique less appealing
  • Has no effect on the appeal of the technique
  • Seeing only the child’s garment would make the technique less appealing

You will not be able to change your vote.


  1. carolfresia | | #1

    Welcome to "Talk with us." I just returned from the sewing expo in Puyallup, Washington, and had hoped to see some discussion here...but I wanted to point out that, due to the constraints of the forum format, we can't post the photos referred to in the poll questions as actual images. If you read the question, then scroll down, you'll find two attachments you can open up to view the pictures. I'm afraid that those of you who are happening onto this discussion from within Gatherings (rather than from the Threads home page) will not realize that the pictures are even there--and be quite confused by the question!

    How do you all feel about seeing children's garments in the magazine? Until the past year or two, we had moved away from showing examples of techniques on kids' clothes, but knowing that many of our readers sew for the younger set, it seemed like a good idea to bring back some children's things.

    Personally, I sew for my 3-year-old daughter and, less frequently, my 7-year-old son, but much of my sewing for them has been "survival" style: whipping up 8 t-shirts and coordinating shorts in a weekend, for example. I love seeing the special garments our authors make, and thinking about putting a little extra time to make my own kids' clothes unique. I figure this is one way to raise good, Threads-reading people--by getting them interested in clothing as a way of expressing themselves early on. I just wish I had a little more time to do all the sewing!


    1. ediebell | | #2

      Oh - I thought we were just supposed to vote!I think the child's jacket shown is very cute and I do sew for my kids (though not nearly as much as for myself), but personally I prefer to see items for adults. I think it's because there are so many cute inspirations for kids' things out there that I know I could knock off, whether I learn the techniques in Threads or elsewhere, and I think a special technique/trick/method like the felting would be done differently on an adult item than a childs (as shown by the photos and articles  you've had on this), I really don't want to use my Threads $ to learn to do kids stuff.  Hope I haven't offended anyone!  Just my preference....

      1. carolfresia | | #3

        Hi, Ediebell,

        I suspected that the layout of the poll and the discussion made it unclear that we'd love to hear our respondants' opinions about the topic of the poll--or about any other topic related to Threads' content and presentation. We appreciate hearing what you think about the magazine and, no, you haven't offended us!

        We conduct surveys with each issue we publish about our readers' preferences in subjects covered, garments shown, etc., etc., but those tend to be mostly multiple-choice-type questions. We've set up this online discussion for the next 2 months to give you all an opportunity to tell us what you think at more length--nuanced explanations of your opinions will be helpful to us in our future planning.



      2. KarenW | | #5

        I'd thought we were just supposed to vote as well!Personally I'd prefer  to see just the adult garments.  Perhaps suggestions could be made in text as to how to incorporate techniques into children's clothes.  While I do some sewing for my kids, I'm inclined to put more design/special technique into my own garments (ya never know if it's going to be a hit or a time burner with the kids' stuff!).  There are so few inspirational sources for trendy yet classy, uniquely designed garments for women to make that I savor every inch of page space dedicated to that, and like others, can find other sources for children's items.  It may be interesting to know how much of the time spent sewing is for kids vs. adults of those readers who do sew for kids, and whether it's for production type stuff (I'm thinking when I have a "boxerthon" making boxers for my son, or pajamas) vs. unique wearables or special occasion wear.


    2. FitnessNut | | #4

      Hi, Carol. Since you asked, I don't sew for children anymore. My two are well into their teens (boys) and wouldn't dare be seen in something Mom had made, regardless of the fact that many people pay her good money to design and sew for them. As the previous writer stated so well, most ideas for kids' clothes are fairly easy to replicate for the imaginative home sewer. I don't object to seeing techniques illustrated on children's clothes (or men's for that matter), but I am primarily interested in learning new and innovative methods for women's wear.

      FYI, I'm glad that Threads is asking for our opinions. I know that your readers encompass skill levels all over the spectrum.....I was a reasonably inexperienced sewist when I started reading the magazine many years ago and have learned so much from it. I just don't want to see Threads "dumbed down"....there really isn't that much out there that addresses the needs of those at an advanced level.


    3. SEWSERIOU1 | | #6

      Although I sew for my DGD and 2 DDs, one of whom is still home, I prefer seeing adult clothing.  It is sew easy to come up with ideas for kid's clothing and there is a plethora of "kids fabric" out there.  As for teenagers, they like 'trendy' stuff and are therefore hard to sew for IMHO (having now sewn for 2) mainly because their tastes seem to change from day to day. 

      I sew mostly basics for DGD and mostly special occasion stuff for both DDs.  I also would not like to see Threads "dumbed down".  There is enough of that stuff out there already.  I am striving to improve my sewing skills to couture (or at least a very advanced) level and Threads is a great resource for that.  I appreciate the fact that there is usually something in the magazine that is specifically for beginniners, although I don't want to see more than there already is.  I also teach sewing and recommend the magazine to my students who are really serious about learning to sew. 

      1. sueb | | #8

        I've been a threads subscriber for many years.  I don't have kids so I'm personally not interested in things I can do to embelish kids clothing however I'm very interested in general techniques associated with the embelishment ideas that I could translate to either an adult garment or accessory.  I don't do much garment sewing these days as most of my sewing is related to home dec, accessory sewing, art quilting and textile and surface design but still count Threads among my first reference materials for learning a new technique or idea that I can expand on and incorporate into the type of sewing that I do. 



    4. rjf | | #7

      This discussion seems to be falling into two different groups: "We don't want to put a lot of effort into children's clothing" and "Give us sophisticated techniques".  That certainly presents you editors with problems, I should think.  If a faithful reader has been sewing for 15 or 20 years, they've seen most of the major things one needs to produce good work.  How you can revamp and expand those subjects can't be an easy task.  But I like to see an occasional child in the magazine, even if the article is not about children's clothing, but about a technique.     rjf  

      1. carolfresia | | #9

        It sounds as if most of you would rather have us focus on garments that might be something you'd like to wear, and that your most creative sewing is primarily for yourselves. I'm delighted that you all seem enthusiastic about learning new, sophisticated techniques. What do you think about the skill level that's assumed in the magazine? Advanced sewers seem to find the content very manageable, but how about beginning/intermediate/rusty sewers? We make a great effort to present the material in a way that's accessible even to less experienced sewers, but we'd love to hear whether you think this is working.

        One reason to show children's clothes is to demonstrate a technique on a smaller scale. For example, we did an article on making combined piping and bias binding, and showed this as a trim/edge finish on a little girl's velveteen jacket. A small kid's garment is a great place to test a technique like that, see if you like the way it works on a particular fabric, and then you can adapt it for your own clothes.

        Incidentally, rjf has reason to say she likes seeing the occasional child in the magazine--sometimes it's her granddaughter modeling the clothes!


        1. SisterT | | #10

          Ahhhh! The truth come out!

          I started to subscribe the Threads when I had absolutely no time to sew.  It was a gift from my community (they have a vested interest in my sanity) and I have read every issue from cover to cover, fascinated by what people are doing.  It gave my imagination a good break.

          I would consider myself to be a rusty sewer who never got past the basics, but now that I am finding more time to sew it is easy for me to apply the techniques that I see and I find that I have learned a lot just from the reading I did for fun.

          The instructions are clear and the photos that accompany them, so that we can see what it is "supposed" to look like, help an awful lot.

          And the occasional photo of rjf's grandchild is fine with me!  :)

          Sr. Tracey

          1. carolfresia | | #11

            Well, three cheers for your community! I know there are women out there who receive a Threads subscription as an annual gift from their spouses...probably on the "A happy wife is a happy life" principle. My parents used to give me Threads for Christmas--now that's reversed, and they have to read it, like it or not!!

            I agree with you that simply reading about sewing can make quite a difference in your willingness to try new things. When I got back into sewing after many years away from it, and discovered that there were loads of books out there (in addition to Threads), I became a real sewing book junkie. I still am, although my library is pretty full these days, and of course I have the use of the Threads library. And while there are plenty of techniques I haven't tried yet, I know just where to find the directions that make the most sense to me. As we all know, there's more than one way to do just about anything, so we don't hestitate to cover the same topic (say, welt pockets, inserting a zipper, installing an elastic waistband) more than once, if we can provide a new approach that might work better for someone.

            This is a good opportunity for you all to suggest topics that you'd like to see covered. I can't promise that we'll do them right away, but we always want to know what you're interested in reading about.


          2. FitnessNut | | #12

            Oh, boy! What an invitation....you may be sorry you asked! I have to think long and hard before I hand in my list of topics ;-)

            I totally agree with you regarding reading as a prelude to trying new things. I started reading Threads around issue 18 or so and I remember several articles about various aspects of patternmaking. It all sounded so foreign to me, and yet so fascinating. One day, I promised myself. Well, several years later I took my first pattern course. And then another, and another. I ended up in design school where I excelled and finished at the top of my class. You never know where you might be led when an interest is sparked by reading! (And that, in a nutshell, is my central objection to "dumbing down". Reading above your level is truly inspirational, not to mention motivational!)


          3. rjf | | #13

            "Reading above your level is truly inspirational, not to mention motivational!"

            And it's very good for the brain muscle.  I think you learn more than you realize when reading above your sewing ability and it somehow sticks so that when you see an article on a similar topic, it suddenly makes sense.  The "oh-ho!" syndrome.  Always a pleasant surprise.        rjf

          4. SisterT | | #14

            I'll add my vote for keeping things at a higher level.  When I teach, I find that students conform to my lowest expectations; the challenge for me is to keep the expectations high and fight like heck to help them meet them. (So, if it is a tough concept in a Threads article, make sure you have included those step by step diagrams and photos!)


          5. carolfresia | | #15

            This is clearly a group that likes a challenge! I do too, and I've always liked to read about things that were beyond my abilities...at a certain point, you suddenly realize, "Hey, I bet I could do that now!" and off you go.

            Is anyone interested in tailoring, either the traditional, hand-pad-stitched way, or the speedy, fusible-interfacing way? What about heirloom sewing? These are areas we haven't ventured into lately. Do you miss them or wish for more?


          6. KarenW | | #16

            Re: trying a new technique/method in a child's size because it's smaller - I'm not inclined to do that to test out a technique... even when my kids were as small as those shown in the magazine... whether the technique appealed to me for a child's or adult garment I'd test it using swatches/samples/scraps etc. various ways then go for the garment in which I envisioned using it - wouldn't bother with a small size to test. 

            <<<Is anyone interested in tailoring, either the traditional, hand-pad-stitched way, or the speedy, fusible-interfacing way? What about heirloom sewing? These are areas we haven't ventured into lately. Do you miss them or wish for more?>>>

            Tailoring - I think an article  a year on more traditional tailoring would be plenty... the "speedy, fusible-interfacing way" may have more application.  I think there have been some good tailoring articles in Threads which I keep, the three part one on - was it an Armani style jacket? And another by two gentlemen in a business? Sorry, memory's failing me!  But I really do enjoy the "tailoring-lite" articles such as those by Fred Bloebaum on shortcut jacket linings, Shannon Gifford on underlining/lining in one step, or Sarah Veblen on sewing knit jackets... these may be applicable to "tailored look" garments rather than actual tailoring but are SO useful!

            Heirloom - I would not like to see more heirloom style pieces, wearables or other.  While I appreciate the talent and skill that goes into creating these works, it seems there are excellent and plentiful resources for learning to sew this style elsewhere.

            I will agree with all those who've said to keep the reading/comprehension level high.  It's great to include the Basics section, and the Tips and Questions sections are also a good resource for those with less as well as more experience.   The Masters sections may be advanced for the beginner but so many other sections are well clarified with photos, illustrations, etc.  Perhaps adding  a sidebar with a little more basic detail/background one must know first in order to master the technique being taught would aid the less experienced sewer and keep them from thinking of Threads as over their head without alienating the more advanced. 

            How do others feel about Home Dec material?


          7. JaneInKC | | #20

            Just want to say that I agree completely with KarenW's post: I don't try out samples of techniques, as a rule; I think one tailoring article a year is plenty; I enjoy heirloom, but don't buy Threads for that; I hope the upward level of communication and instruction will continue.

            I would like to add that I am SO grateful for the online magazine index.  I'm also one who thinks of something I saw in Threads years ago that I want to apply to a current project.  (I've been a purchaser/subscriber since Issue 3!  How I would love to get my hands on those first two issues!  In moving around, I have misplaced some of my magazines, but I know I have them somewhere.)  Anyway, this week I had the bright idea of making new, sheer curtains and remember the article about the technique of Windowpane Patchwork, which I thought would be beautiful for the curtains.  Thanks to your index, I found it in Issue 90.

            So I want to encourage you to do whatever it takes to produce a CD of all the back issues.  I remember this subject came up before and you, Carol, or perhaps someone else at Threads, commented on the long list of things that was holding this up.  Surely it is not an unsurmountable matter to produce the CD, though.  I would certainly purchase it if available and hope you will persevere.

          8. Pam2 | | #45

            yes! Please revisit the avaliblity of the past issues on CD.  I love computers and I would be very interested in having ALL MY COPYS on rom.  I have subscribed for over decade and keeping all these  magazines  around is becoming a problem. Thanks PAM2

          9. Sashita | | #22

            Hi.  If I want to do home dec. I would rather buy a book on that topic than see it in Threads.

            I would like to see an occasional article on tailoring, especially if there are new ways of doing things.


          10. rmiller | | #38

            It is interesting that readers do not want the magazine dumbed down.  I agree.  Yet when asked the question about tailoring articles, there was not much interest except for, as one reader put it, "tailoring-lite".  As I teach custom tailoring, I do realize that it is advanced and also that it is becoming a lost art.  I would definitely like to see more articles on it along with more articles on couture. The two are inter-connected, as much of custom tailoring involves couture sewing, which in turn can be used to improve all of our sewing projects.  Do you remember many years ago your article on Stanley Hostek?  I would love to see more articles on some of these great tailors and their methods.

            I've subscribed to your magazine since your first issue, which was how long ago??  It is still the best sewing magazine on the market, and I hope it remains so and doesn't get bogged down in quilting, machine embroidery, etc.  As someone put it, there are plenty of magazines on the market for these skills, but very little for the intermediate and advanced sewer. Here I will add that I always enjoy any articles by Claire Schaeffer.


          11. KarenW | | #39

            <<Yet when asked the question about tailoring articles, there was not much interest except for, as one reader put it, "tailoring-lite".  >>

            I'm the one who mentioned "tailoring-lite"..... my own opinion is that some of the faster, less traditional techniques that produce tailored style clothing may have more appeal simply because they can be accomplished more easily with today's very busy lifestyles... I didn't mean to put down traditional tailoring in any way, was just thinking of what I and those I know would be more likely to do.  That said, I would prefer a more traditional tailoring article over another on home dec or machine embroidery or quilting.

            What about some articles on textiles/fibers?  Their history of use?  Variations created by the same fibers and how the same raw materials produce very different fabrics appropriate for very different uses and clothing examples showing those variations?


          12. edgy | | #40

            I think of the "tailoring lite" as being similar to the recent article that showed how to do pad stitching by machine as well as by hand. Then, we can choose how much time/effort to put into any one project.

            Designer techiques, techniques, techniques!!! I hear everyone saying they want those. Whatever you can do -- beg, borrow or steal (well, maybe not the last), they are precious gold. When one of your contributors can get their hands on a couture garment and de-construct it for us, it's incredible.

            It's the only magazine I keep. I'm a clean out kind of person and don't keep any magazines around, but Threads -- which I re-read whenever I have the urge.

            Thanks for a terrific magazine,


          13. Iris_Colo | | #41

            I just received my latest subscription copy [112] of Threads and spent some time reading it last night. 

            My request to the editors is to concentrate on:   

            high-level, technical skills, absolutely NO dumbing down as mentioned earlier

            inspirational ideas and concept pieces of clothing

            showing/telling us about what others are sewing out there - designers and home sewers

            concentration on one type of fabric for an issue perhaps (all silk, all velvet, all suede, all leather); these issues would become a complete reference for that topic when one decides to try it out (instead of having to dig through years of back issues for the one golden nugget pertaining to that particular fabric)

            MOST OF ALL.... I want lots more of the "Delicious Details" type articles, exploring all the unique ways to adapt the standard, vanilla type patterns were seeing from the pattern makers these days.  (It seems they don't think we're up to sewing all the intricate and fabulous details that make a handmade, custom outfit and sets it apart from what's a Wal-Mart or Lord and Taylor.)  In these "Details" articles, I'd like to see actual fabric versions of the details made up side-by-side with the color, line drawings we presently get. (reference the "Draping Necklines on Commercial Patterns" article - page 55)  You could expand this topic in particular into an entire issue a year and I think you would get astoundingly favorable responses.

            One other section of the magazine I would like to see expanded on is the unique, special garments featured on the back cover.  Those alone could be made into an entire issue as well.  Bringing back the way people used to make clothing and featuring what makes them so special is one of the most commendable parts of the magazine.

          14. PattiB | | #42

            Amen to all of the previous messages. I credit stumbling across a copy of Threads with getting me back into sewing several years ago -- each issue is an inspiration. And I think that's the key to its appeal; we all need inspiration to keep us creative and excited about sewing. I am an intermediate sewer and love the techniques that challenge my skills (not too hard to do!). Reading about designers and their approaches is fascinating -- things I will never attempt but nevertheless enjoy reading about. I still recall the article about the Miami designer who used the new-to-me technique of creating fabric with scraps between layers of tulle and then created fabulous gowns. It's a technique that I will use someday but, even if I don't, I learned from it. Threads is my "class in my mailbox." Like others, I save every copy.

            The inclusion of quilting in garments doesn't bother me (the Maia jacket in partly quilted dupioni is gorgeous) but as others have said, there are numerous quilting and machine embroidery magazines. Your inclusion of these articles as they pertain to garments is fine; I would not want to see an emphasis on them.

            Keep the level high. The magazine is a visual delight: so well illustrated both with drawings and photos. More more!


          15. tcsewhat | | #44

            Yes!  I would love to see more Delicious Details with real examples of how to do it yourself.  I am still drooling over a cocktail dress from the 20's that was on the back cover more than 5 years ago.  I loved the simple pleats at the hips and the fabric roses.  If I could copy that dress or even apply that technique to something...

            I often see bits and pieces that I like it the details section.  A collar, a cuff, or some other detail.  A suggestion on how to draft it myself would be great.  A list of patterns that have a similar detail would be good too. With pictures of actual wearable , modern clothes.

            Vintage details are great.  But not many of us have the time to search out vintage patterns, resize them and sew them with directions we may not be used to.  Tips on how to copy what we see would be perfect.

          16. rjf | | #46

            I learned tailoring the old way and enjoyed all the hand work involved but I do see that it's harder these days for working mothers to find the time to get anything done.   But I'm really responding to to your message to ask for a definition of "couture sewing".  It just occurred to me that I couldn't really define it for myself so would you tell me how you define it?  Is there a standard definition?      rjf 

          17. rmiller | | #53

            I refer you to a book by Claire Shaeffer called Couture Sewing.  She defines couture very nicely and gives a history of it's beginnings.  Attention is given to every detail of the garment from the pattern to the finish.  My experience is with tailoring, but the sewing involved carries over into all construction.  Basically, it is spending the time to insure that each step in the process is done with as much perfection as possible. 

            When I teach, I begin by teaching several hand sewing stitches, including buttonholes.  Much of the sewing on a jacket, for example, is done by hand.  Even the sleeves are first hand basted to insure a proper hang before they are stitched by machine.  On a man's jacket, the entire collar is sewn by hand. Buttons are never sewn on by machine, the lining is put in by hand, etc, etc.  I hope this very limited explanation is of help to you.

            I do agree with you that it is harder today on working mothers to find the time to do this.  But hopefully if they find the time to learn a little of couture, it will help them achieve more professional garments. 


          18. sarahkayla | | #17

            What I'm always looking for is a new take on things... I want to see articles that take my head, unscrew it and then set it back in an entirely new way.. some threads articles that have done that in the past.... the article on pre-piecing fabric to make bias cut clothing, the ancient bird ross article on using her edging with squares techniqu, the articles on making fabric buttons, the atrticle on crocheting and knitting with metal, the article on making gold leafed fimo buttons, some of the indepth articles on designers.. like the toledos, and adrien ( I would ove an article on madame gres aka alix).

            I loved the puzzle coat article, I loved the long piece on how to maintain and fix your machine.

            What I want is an article to make me thing  "OH!!! I never thought of that!" I don't own an embroidery machine and likely never will. I'm a lousy tailor but I learn from the tailoring articles... although I don't love them.  I know much more now than i did when I started reading threads... and although I will probably never make myself a rugmaking loom with old crutches.. I like knowing about people who do.  I have found many of the issues during the past couple of years less compelling. I'm sorry that the magazine has narrowed it's focus.  I think the fact that I know more ...makes me more difficult to impress.

            But I'm so glad that you guys are there showing up in my mailbox every month...

            sarah in nyc

          19. carolfresia | | #18

            Sarah, you must have a special subscription. We send out magazines to everyone else just every OTHER month!! Gosh, I wish Threads were monthly, although it's tough enough getting it out just six times a year.


          20. ShannonG4d | | #23

            Had to chime in on this one:)

            I think by showing a technique ONLY on a child's garment, the viewer will at least subconsciously associate that technique with being appropriate only for children's styles.  If you do show a child's garment, I think it would be wise to show the same technique on an adult garment or some other application. 

            Heirloom?  Only if it is something that hasn't been done to death in the "heirloom" magazines.  How about doing an article on using heirloom techniques in couture-level adult garments?  For instance, Chanel had a linen blouse a few years ago covered in tiny pintucks, french lace, entredeux, and hand-sewn pearls.  It was not child-like at all, and very beautiful.  De La Renta had an evening ensemble last year done in silks where the bodice was comprised of rows of puffing joined with something akin to a beading lace with ribbon....very much an adult application of what is often considered only appropriate for children.  These would be the types of articles I would think appropriate to Threads' investigation of heirloom techniques. 

            I'd like to see more articles about designers, as well, and what is particular to their workrooms.  I liked reading about Geoffrey Beene's use of channel-stitching, for instance, and Scassi's under-pinnings.  Those are techniques I might not use entirely, but I can learn from the principles involved.  I'd love to learn about Ralph Rucci's use of doublecloth (those incredible intersections!), how Versace keeps those amazing gowns from falling down, and how to tell the difference between an Italian tailor's cut and an American factory cut.  I would like Threads to look behind the doors that I'll never enter.

            Skill level?  Keep it high!  You don't learn to jump high fences by building the fences low:) 

            Shannon Gifford

          21. carolfresia | | #26

            Thanks to you all for the great input. Shannon, I have the same feeling about heirloom sewing: I think there are ways to present some of the techniques in sophisticated garments for women, and indeed, there's really no reason that most of us (if our taste is such) can't wear pintucks and lace, as long as it's well-integrated into an elegant garment. Just switching from white to a richly saturated color can take heirloom in a whole different direction.

            Re: offering Threads back issues on CD: this topic comes up at least once a month here and when we're on the road. Obviously, this is a very popular idea!! It would be for us, too, but for the moment it's on the way-back burner. Taunton issued "The Best of Fine Woodworking" on CD a couple of Christmases ago, and it was a huge hit (even at $150), but it's hard to describe the incredible effort that went into preparing it. From dealing with copyrights dating back a lot of years, to converting old, old files, it took a lot of man- and woman-power to get it together. At the moment, Threads wants to use its resources for other things, but we haven't dropped the CD idea altogether.

            As you might have noticed, we're cutting back on our coverage of home decor topics, mainly because you all made it clear that garment/fashion sewing is your great interest. We will, however, keep our eyes open for home decor articles that are unusual or particularly inspiring.


          22. KarenW | | #28

            <<As you might have noticed, we're cutting back on our coverage of home decor topics,>>

            Thank you!  Though I will admit one of the articles compelled me to buy Linda Lee's Sewing Edges & Corners...  if HD articles could also provide suggestions on how to use the techniques presented in garments that would be more pallatable.

            I'm going to add my support to what Shannon offered about including designer history/details... and ask to feature how to adapt the designer's techniques - whether construction or embellishment - to our own creations, based on what's available to the home sewer.... for example.... last night the Fashion Design class at the jr. college had a guest speaker, a designer from Thierry Mugler.  Students from the other classes were invited to attend.  What a treat!   Among her comments about his suits in particular was the notion that it's made for a certain type of posture, erect stance (she compared it to a dancer's), and you can't NOT conform to that stance when you put one on.  Well why is that?  How does the design/construction make that happen and how can I make my Vogue suit pattern do the same thing?   Or the fact that all of his suits will create the hourglass womanly shape.... and the details on some of the samples she brought were exquisite - understated enough to wear to the office but clearly couture - a flange along an armscye which disappeared into a princess seam but gave the shoulder the squared shape, or another (couldn't get close enough to this) with what appeared to be pintucks or stitching in large scallop shapes - could have been pieced - that aided in the hourglass illusion.  A knit dress that almost looked like it had a bustier built in to support the bust and maintain the shape (without buying shaping foundation garments!).    How do we take those details and incorporate them using the patterns available to us?    Inquiring minds....


          23. carolfresia | | #29

            Interestingly, the "designer profile" articles we've done in the past haven't been highly rated in our regular reader surveys, although from talking to readers at the Puyallup show, and hearing what you are saying here, I can see that my own interest in them (hey, how could you not want to know what the top designers do and how they do it?) is reflected by at least this subgroup of readers. I'll be sure to pass this information on within the company.

            We do have a new-ish author who works for Chado Ralph Rucci, by the way, and while she can't reveal his techniques, she's got quite a few marvelous ones of her own up her sleeve. I'm trying to keep her busy coming up with article ideas in which she can share her knowledge of couture sewing. Even though I tend to use a lot of quick/efficient industry-style techniques, sometimes a classic couture approach will solve a little problem so much better--and be relatively fast, too.


          24. ediebell | | #30

            I wonder if the designer articles didn't rate as high because they are (at least to me) more of a profile/bio/report on the designer and his/her works, and while it may show how they do something, i.e. the photo of a draped bias dress with a million pins around the neckline - they don't necessarily show how we can do that at home like other articles?

          25. carolfresia | | #31

            We were thinking the same. The question we ask in the survey is "how valuable" was the article--so it might be that survey respondents are thinking they weren't actually useful as far as explaining a process goes. Even if you find an article very inspiring, you might not answer "valuable" if you didn't learn a new technique from it.


          26. FitnessNut | | #32

            Chado Ralph Rucci.....I'm positively drooling.....I can't wait to see what she will pass on to Threads readers!

            I'm with Shannon and Karen re the articles on various designers. These are absolutely inspiring. What I want to know is the techniques they actually use, so that I can apply them selectively to my own work, rather than a biography. I also like seeing how designers adapt their inspiration/ideas into a collection (an article about Louis Feraud springs to mind).

            I'd love to see more on aspects of patternmaking, developing designs/patterns for bias garments, draping. Original and imaginative clothes and construction techniques. I'm not keen on home dec and don't always bother to read those articles (one of the few things I don't read!). While I do have an embroidery machine, I'm not sure how many articles you can reasonably write on the topic without getting repetitive. There are some magazines out there completely devoted to embroidery by machine. And quilting.....ditto, in my opinion. I don't mind the occasional article, particularly if it applies to garments, but if I want to read about quilting, there are other resources to go to.


          27. winter | | #33

            In regards to the content of threads and our suggestions, I agree with many of the posts. I want high quality, technical info, tailoring would be great, really all aspects of apparel. A few years back (I've subscribbed since the first issue) the content seemed to become simplified, more and more like the competitors magazine. i am not in favor of the proliferation of machine embroidery articles- it appears as a cheap ruse to advertise that aspect of the industry.

            Threads has really been a resource for me over the years. It's my most frequent reference for technique and inspiration. As editors have changed the magazine has shifted emphasis -sometimes towards my preferences and sometimes away. It always seems to come back around though and I have only overall praise for your work.


          28. pdclose | | #50

            > Heirloom?  Only if it is something that hasn't been done to death in the "heirloom" magazines. 

            I agree.  I can grab "Sew Beautiful" mag if I want to check out heirloom techniques, and it's not exactly something that's going to be in my regular wardrobe.  Ditto with quilting imho.

            >I'd like to see more articles about designers, as well, and what is particular to their workrooms. 

            I agree.  And I'd like to see more articles on serger techniques.  Machine embroidery is done to death, but advanced serging techniques rate, what, one article a year?  I enjoy and reference the "specifics" articles too, like comparison interfacings, needle types, thread types and such.  They are dry and boring but articles like that keep me up to date on what's out there and open up sewing possibilities that I wouldn't have thought of.

            I'd rather see sewing articles addressing specifics on sewing for and by men than ones on children.  I just don't spend that much time on something that's going to be outgrown quickly.  An article focusing on older teens (things like prom dresses) might be of interest.

            I'd REALLY like to see an article on sewing stylish chemo hats (something sorely lacking in the marketplace), and I've submitted that request to Threads in the past with no response.  Other sewing magazines have covered the basics -- I look to Threads to push the boundaries!  I look to Threads to help me with challenges (fitting for breast cancer victims, working with specialized threads, etc.) and introduce me to advanced ways of sewing AND serging.

          29. JMW | | #47


            On March 4th, you asked if people would be interested in tailoring techniques. I hope it isn't too late to reply.

            I would definatley be interested in more traditional and speed tailoring articles (with lots of pictures :) of course). The joy of home sewing is to be able to pick and choose. I am free to use a  technique or comination there of, depending on my schedule or inclination.

             One of my favorite issues of THREADS is from Aug. 1990 NO.30.  This back issue containes detailed drawings AND pictures of a couture waistband, the outside and inside of several Armani jackets, techniques of theater costumers, basic hand beading techniques, adding pleats to straight skirts,  all with photos, detailed illustrations, instructions and a little history about the topic. It is so jam packed with  info that this one issue is stored with my sewing reference books.

            I would like to see more tailoring and couture techniques covered in THREADS.


        2. Sashita | | #21

          Hello,   I mostly enjoy the articles on womens clothing.  I have 16 grandchildren but most are at the age where it is difficult to sew for them--they live far away and I don't see them often enough to see how they have grown and what their tastes are. 

          Even though I have been sewing for over 60 years, I still like to see the new techniques and, since my body has changed over time, I like the articles on altering patterns.  I still sew for myself and, just this last summer, and after studying all the 'how to fit pants' articles I had collected, I finally got a pair of pants that actually fit and are flattering.

          Keep the fashion articles coming.  I realize that many people are interested in home dec and crafts, but please keep Threads for those of us who are serious about fashion sewing.  There are many, many magazines devoted to the rest.  

          I don't mind children's sewing articles or photos.  When my grands were small, I looked for things like that. 

          Thank you for a great magazine!  Keep up the good work.


        3. kkf | | #43

          On the issue of the right level, I wanted to chime in. I discovered Threads as I was teaching myself to sew in the mid-90s. It was over my head, certainly, but it inspired me like no other resource and made me want to improve my skills. What I particularly liked were the combinations-- an article on design, an article intensively focussing on a particular technique, the periodic pattern reviews, etc. I found that the "how to" articles broke things down into steps that I could follow, even at a basic level, and are still useful today even as my skills have improved. You can't say that for many other publications. Threads became my favorite magazine and I began beating the bushes for back issues. I still refer to Threads more than any other source, and it continues to inspire and inform my sewing. Please keep the focus on excellence without "dumbing down" your content!


    5. SewNancy | | #19

      I also participated in the poll and didn't realize that you welcomed written responses.  I don't sew for children and when my daughter was small I made the occasional party dress, but most of my sewing has always been for me as it was economically a better deal! 

      I would love to see more articles on up and comming designers doing cutting edge clothing.  I loved the article on Brooke de Lorme(sp)  I was amused at the anger the article generated.  I love reading articles that spur my creativity.  I am too old to wear her clothing, but not too old to still want to wear original, personal clothing.  I am frustrated by the lack of avant garde patterns available and would love the skills to change what is available.  I never know when something I saw in Threads years ago will find its way into my sewing.  On the whole I like the direction that Threads has taken over the last few years.  I use Burda maganzine patterns but their directions are pretty useless.  If the design is more complicated than my skills, Iknow where to look to find the best technique.


      Edited 3/4/2004 3:29:23 PM ET by Nancy

      1. MIRANDA | | #37

        I was so glad to hear someone ask for more articles about imaginative designers (both past and present) and their innovative, inspiring techniques.  I'd like to see some articles that take the wonderful "In Detail" back pages and use them as springboards for modern fashion.  I hope Threads won't be too timid to take an occasional dip into really cutting edge clothes.  These garment construction ideas are applicable to many of us.  I love seeing children's clothes and often find ideas in their color and trim.  I think many people are more willing to take a color or style leap when sewing for the younger set!  I am less interested in "Heirloom" articles, but am entirely fascinated by vintage clothing and ways to recreate it.

        I would welcome articles about mail-order fabrics, or tips about shopping on-line.  I enjoy the quilting articles, because Threads is careful to choose really beautiful and unusual examples that I don't find in my quilting-specific magazines.

        There is a growing interest in vintage machines, both treadle and electric.  I have really enjoyed the articles about people who use these in their work.

        I hope Threads will continue to create a magazine for the sophisticated, imaginative, and creative reader.


    6. rzgreen | | #25

      Now, I have nothing against adorable little red headed girls (still being a redhead and having been once small myself).

      But when I saw that magazine cover at my local sewing machine dealer's stand, I thought it was a women's magazine at first, and then realized it was Threads. 

      And btw, since I get a subscription to Threads, I very rarely see the covers anymore, just see whatever's on the material over the cover (don't know the technical name for it).

      I am not entranced with the home dec articles in Threads, and personally don't tailor, but I love to read about the techniques, anyway.  I always enjoyed reading the articles where someone deconstructed how designer garments were put together, wish there were more of those. 

      I may or may not sew for children, but I'm not especially interested in seeing articles in Threads about same.

      And while I have an embroidery machine, I don't want embroidery articles (and advertisers) to overwhelm the magazine.

      However, I do find that for the most part, I trust the judgement of the editors at Threads to find topics that will stretch the mind about sewing.








    7. pzmd1t | | #35

      A technique shouldn't loose it's appeal just because it is shown for either adults or children.  A technique is just that and can be adapted for many different types of sewing.  The felting technique could have been shown for home dec sewing as well.  I think the idea is to become aware of the technique and then adapt it for our own needs.  In this case I think the vibrant colors in the child's garment were more eye-catching.

      1. tcsewhat | | #36

        Now, I like the home dec stuff you have done.  But then I do that for customers, and I am always looking for ways to make my stuff look different.  I think what I like about Linda Lee and the slipcover article was that theyboth made the home dec stuff look rich and luscious.  I like the idea of dressmaker details for home dec.  And I do like the little "try it" side bars when they show an example in home dec.  I don't like a lot of home dec mags.  They are too "over the top" and most often don't give ideas on how to do it yourself.  The mags that do give instructions...their stuff looks home-made. With info from Threads, my home dec stuff looks great.

        I don't mind photos of kids.  I sew for my boys, 11 & 13. Fussy teens who want it their way or no way.  While I don't use the fancy details for their stuff...the outerwear and exercise clothes and info on knits has been invaluable for my kids sewing. I make coats and jackets and swimwear for my boys because I can get exactly what I want that way.  So the recent article on running clothes was great for me. 

        More stuff like the Armani series would be great.  How to do designer details yourself. And take us inside a workroom and show us a little-known technique.  Or just a way to do things easier or better.  I know on the Creative Machine list we have been discussing finding your personal style a lot lately.  Since your style greatly influences your fabric and pattern purchases, some articles in that direction would be helpful.

        You did an article on the mature figure and one on petites. I kept waiting for one one dressing for middle age!  How about one on moms?  Having kids influences the way you dress and your shape, fabric and pattern choices, etc. Moms of babies have different needs than moms of teens.  But none of us want being a mom to overshadow our sense of style.

        Thanks!  This is a great idea.  Is there going to be any on-line report on Pullyap this year?

        1. carolfresia | | #48


          Yes, there will be a report on the Puyallup show--Judy and I are digging our way out from the build-up that occurred while we were at the show, and will be putting it together. There are a number of new independent patterns to reveal to you, as well as an overall report on what we saw and did.

          We are thinking about "real life" dressing situations, including "middle age" (which seems to cover a lot of territory these days). And I'm in agreement about wardrobing for moms (which, in my case, seems to be coinciding with the middle age thing. How did that happen?!). I hear that things are very different when you outgrow the stage of always carrying that spare diaper in your purse, but I don't that from experience yet! No long, droopy coats or skirts that trail in the mud when you're loading your kids into their seats in the back of the station wagon, but skirts and pants can't be so close-fitting that you can't crouch down to tie shoes, zip snowsuits, pick up dropped...whatevers...while the child is also dangling from your neck. And then there's the washability factor....I could go on!

          I'm glad you find value in the home decor articles we've done. We do try to show samples that are above average, at least, and somewhat different from what's out there to buy or copy. We'll continue to include home decor as warranted--when we get proposals that are really outstanding and different from the usual.


          1. marijke | | #49

            Haven't checked the discussion for a while.  Surprised to see all this discussion, sparked by a question about kids' clothes.

            I do sew for my 3 and 4 year old daughters.   I could buy them stuff, and they certainly like clothes from the store, but their eyes REALLY light up when I make them something.  It's about making them feel special.  It's more about hoping they'll get curious enough to want to learn to sew.   (Not about making heirloom dresses.)  There are other applications of ideas from Threads as well:

            We spent a Saturday making crazy quilt pillow covers, inspired by the article about Barbara Randle's colorful crazy quilt bags.  The kids manipulated the fabric through the machine while I pushed the pedal and kept a very close eye on what they were doing. They cannot yet sew a straight line, but stitch-and-flip is VERY forgiving and they love the pillows they made.

            Our current project is a quilt with handprints -- I had my daughters use their hands as stamps, 'inked' them up with textile paint, and printed on squares of fabric which I had fused to freezer paper for printing ease.  The quilt will be a present for grandma.  This was not literally in Threads, but I would never have considered anything like this without reading the stuff on stencilling, brayers, and other creative 'printing' techniques.

            I don't think it's necessary to write specifically about kids clothes (or about sewing stuff one can do with kids), but showing an example of how one could use a technique for kids clothes is great.

            In addition to techniques to improve skill, I have always loved the articles about art-to-wear techniques such as quilted garments, stencilling, creative closures, etc.  I'd like to see more on that, maybe about techniques art-to-wear artists are using?


          2. tcsewhat | | #51


            I am past the diaper stage.  But I have 22 nieces and nephews, so I can't seem to get away from the little ones. 

             My boys are 11 & 13 and I need flexible but "cool" clothes.  Don't want to embarrass them, but I need to be able to do whatever at a moment's notice.  I have gone from a meeting a work to tossing around a lacrosse ball and then a quick change for a trip to the beach.  In a few weeks I will go straight from work to a cabin in the woods with no electricity.  So having older kids doesn't make their demands on your wardrobe any less. You are always a mom first.

            And just wait.  Now the doctors say that perimenopause-a big middle age thing- can last longer than 10 years.  So dressing for hot flashes and other symptoms can really change your view for a while.  I really have changed the way I look for fabrics and want to be comfortable foremost.  I don't need to do the layers thing yet.  But I now love wicking fabric!  I may become a jock so I can wear these comfortable fabrics all the time.

            I was also reading Rx for Quilters by Susan Delaney Mech, MD.  Have you ever thought about an article on health and sewing? More on ergonomics? Stretches for sewers? I think some articles on stuff to do for our health will keep us sewing longer. 

            BTW, I just got the latest Threads.  I loved the photo of the dad in the windbreaker holding the babyin the knit onesie and hat.  what a great example of the wide range of things we can sew.

            thanks for listening!  This forum is a great idea.

          3. tcsewhat | | #52

            In the new issue, I also liked Fabrications, with one pattern done 3 ways.  Sometimes we need a little prodding to get us to see patterns in a different light.  And other times we need to realize that a  pattern that looks very fashion forward or different can be modified to anyone.

            I never would have chose that Vogue pattern for myself.  I don't like orange and probably would have flipped right by it.  But now i see that it has lots of possibilities.  I may have to go get that one!

  2. larc | | #24

    I liked seeing the felting in both adult and children.  The child version caught my eye more so than the adult.

    Please do not do a lot about Home Dec.  You can find that in almost any magazine you pick up now days,  unless it is a really unique techinque, that would be OK.

    I really like getting ideas for adult clothing in the magazine and seeing the new fabrics that are available.

    I love the magazine and can hardly wait until my next issue comes in the mail.

  3. Elisabeth | | #27

    My man has a subscription to Fine Woodworking and when I see his magazine I wish that there was a Fine Dressmaking, a magazine devoted to fashion sewing.  I find a few wonderful articles in Threads on this topic with informative and inspiring techniques and ideas, but for me the magazine covers too many different interests.  I would love to see more articles about couture techniques and the people that use them to make truly amazing clothing.

  4. HeartFire | | #34


    Hi, I just got my new issue and have to sound off here.  I've only read some of the responses to the survey, but they have taken a wide range of issues.

    I don't mind seeing pictures of kids/babies in the magazine, I sort of like it, their cute to look at (the baby on pg 63 is so cute!) , I don't sew for children (I have 19 yo twin boys  who btw STILL like to have me sew for them!) but its nice to see how techniques can be applied for children.

    I DO have an embroidery machine and I love to do embroidery, BUT, I'd rather not see it in this magazine, there are others that are devoted to that. Lets keep Thread geared toward the expert (I'm not) sewer so that I can be continually challenged.

    I also like the models you use, they are not the 16yo skinny runway models, but real people.  p.s. I also like your jacket on pg33.


    Judy Gross

  5. becksnyc | | #54

    I don't have children or sew for them, so showing children's garments has no appeal to me.  Showing a less intimidating way to use the technique is fine--perhaps as an accessory or as an accent to a garment would have more appeal to me.

    I am all for keeping the level of the magazine high.  That is the main reason I've stuck with Threads, year after year.  No other magazine challenges me as yours does.  I do like the Basics column, as it is well done and useful for teaching or confirming what I think I already know.  Also, the occasional re-run of articles on pants fitting, zippers, machine care, etc.  But not too often, please!  Give us the cutting edge, inspirational, mouth-watering, mind-bending articles.  I loved the profiles of up and coming sewers.  Real people make good reading.

    I don't like articles that sound like a sales pitch for machines or products.  I'm not even that crazy about the pattern preview articles--I can look at pattern books at a fabric store, or browse online.  I don't feel bound by fashion trends, so a preview of popular colors or styles for the coming season don't rank high on my list of important articles.  I have a definitive sense of style that doesn't depend on what's "in".  (Not to be snooty, just honest...)

    Thanks for listening!


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