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Week 3: Threads sometimes publishes o…

carolfresia | Posted in Talk With Us on

Week 3: Threads sometimes publishes overviews of specific types of sewing equipment. Articles like these:

  • Help me understand the equipment
  • Help me use equipment I have
  • Help me purchase new equipment
  • Interest me even if I don’t use the equipment
  • Are not important to me

You will not be able to change your vote.


  1. tcsewhat | | #1

    I'll start off.  Other mags just publish a chart on machines and equipment and don't really try them out.  I don't like that.  It isn't very interesting and it just seems to be a sales pitch from the manufacturers.  Actually hundreds of sales pitches combined.  I want to know what a real garment sewer thinks of the equipment before I buy it.  And I want to learn if there is a better way to use what I already have. 

    I also like the reviews and think they are fair.  So often people have  a favorite machine and can't see that something else is good too.  Threads doesn't seem to have that bias.  I loved Judy's comments on the dream machines---she wants them all!

    I use the reviews to form a wish list.  when I get some $, I know just what i want!

    1. sueb | | #2

      I'd like to see a comparison of sewing machines that are the plain old straight stitches.  I just got rid of my viking rose embroidery machine because I never used the embroidery features and very rarely even used the decorative stitches.  I ended up with a juki tl98 e.  No bells no whistles, just a straight stitch machine and I love it.  I'd like to see some articles geared towards those of us who don't have built in stitches to embellish but only have a straight stitch available.  Eventually I will pick up another machine that will enable me to do buttonholes, zig zag stitches and the like again but where do I turn for a comparison on machines that will fit that description.  I certainly don't want a "dream machine"  just a workhorse to add to my studio that will get the job done for a reasonable price. 

      1. TJSEWS | | #11

        I enjoyed reading the article on the dream machines and I am amazed at how sewing machines have evolved with all of the latest technology.  But for me, these machines truly are just "dreams," at least for quite some time.  I do not make a lot of money and have a kid I'm putting through college, my own school loans to pay off, car payments, etc. and I know there are many other sewers like me out there! 

        I would therefore love to see an article comparing machines that are on the lower end of the price scale.  I know Brother, Singer and other sewing machine manufacturers still do make mechanical zig zag and straight stitch machines and it would be great for us who cannot afford a dream machine to have comparisons of the inexpensive machines as well. 


  2. lin327 | | #3

    Three of the above! The help me get interested in a new peice of equipment, help me understand the equipment, help me buy it, and help me to decide if I need need it or not.

  3. pitcheng | | #4

    I like the overview articles. I do read reviews in other mags (such as computer reviews), but often argue with them.

    I also like articles that tell me how to use my equipment. For instance, I'd like a lot of how-to-care-for articles. I seem to remember a sewing machine maintenance article (which I need to go find).

    Add my name to the list of people who would like occasional articles on men's clothing. My husband has to buy 17 or 17 1/2 size shirts to fit his neck. However, he's only 5-5, so the sleeves and the overall shirt hang much too long. Shirts are long enough to be dresses on him!


    Another comment: Taunton should offer multi-magazine discounts. I subscribe to Threads and pick up most issues of Fine Homebuilding on the newstand. But I would love to get more of the magazines if I could get really good deals for subscribing to more than one.

    1. Madeleine | | #5

      What a good idea to offer a discount to multi subscribers.   I subscribe to Fine Gardening and I pick up Fine Cooking and Threads when an issue appeals to me.  But if there were a discount to subscribe to more than one, I might consider subscribing to all three.

      1. carolfresia | | #6

        I just talked to our Customer Service dept., and confirmed that if you send in 5 or more subscriptions at once, you can get at 15% discount on your order. Even if you don't want to receive all five (OK, now six with Inspired House) Taunton magazines yourself, you might consider purchasing gift subscriptions for someone who shares your interest in one of the areas. You could also get together with a friend to come up with an order of 5 or more.

        Hope this helps,


        1. FitnessNut | | #7

          Hmmmm, I subscribe to Threads already, and pick up Fine Cooking and Inspired House with each issue. I also buy Fine Gardening periodically. You've given me food for thought.


        2. rjf | | #9

          "... just talked to our Customer Service dept., and confirmed that if you send in 5 or more subscriptions at once, you can get at 15% discount on your order..."

          Does it have to be five different titles?      rjf

          Edited 3/21/2004 8:30 am ET by rjf

          1. edgy | | #10

            I don't know if anyone else is feeling frustrated as I am, but I would really like to hear how the Threads editors are reacting to our feedback. There has been at least one issue where the commentary seems to be almost unanimous, and that is not pointing out problem areas w sewing machines in their reviews.

            Will the staff now do more balanced reviews, or has it really just been PR from the companies w/o any serious testing on the part of the staff?

            I think we are being extremely generous w our time and energy and I, for one, would like to know if that is time well spent or wasted. Do I renew or not?. Don't say it's too early to tell yet, because we have covered several issues and I think it would be only fair to give US some feedback.


          2. rjf | | #12

            "There has been at least one issue where the commentary seems to be almost unanimous, and that is not pointing out problem areas w sewing machines in their reviews. "

            Could it be that the people who don't comment don't feel that way?  rjf

          3. edgy | | #13

            Don't think so. Seems to me that the folks at this group speak their minds quite clearly.


          4. carolfresia | | #14

            Rjf asked:


            "... just talked to our Customer Service dept., and confirmed that if you send in 5 or more subscriptions at once, you can get at 15% discount on your order..."

            Does it have to be five different titles?      rjf

            No, it doesn't have to be five different titles. You could send in 5 subscriptions for Threads if you like. Does that sound like a shameless plug? I guess it is!


          5. sanderson | | #15

            I know this may seem like asking for too much but I'm a charter subscriber to both Threads and Fine Cooking.    My problem is that both come on the same day.  Talk about feast or famine!  It would be interesting to find out if I'm a lone only that this happens to or is it a common rotation.  To deal with the overload I often put whichever one is beneath the other in the mailbox aside for a week to give one my full attention.  Unfortunately that takes more will power than I can usually muster.

          6. carolfresia | | #16

            I think that's just bad (or is it good?) luck! The magazines don't all go out the same time; some publish during the months that Threads is not publishing, but I guess Cooking and Threads are on the same schedule. They're all printed at and shipped from the same location, so that's why they arrive simultaneously. I'm afraid there's not much we can do about it.


  4. ashleySeattle | | #8

    I wish you could have chosen multiple answers and ranked them!  I would have chosen the top four -- I find the long overview articles help me understand *all* of those things!  But I had to chose just one, so I did.

    Even if I'm not in the market for something, I like to know what capabilities are out there.  That sometimes convinces me that I should go ahead and invest in a new item -- it can show me that the new capabilities are really worth it now.  (Or at least help me rationalize it better!) 

    I may have a few of the features on my current equipment.  The articles always at least remind me to take advantage of it more. (For example, directional stitching has been around for perhaps a decade now.  My Bernina 1630 has it and I don't use it as often as I could.)  And sometimes the articles show me a new use for a feature I have.

    And even if I'm not in the market at all for something, I still love to read about the possibilities: it's kind of like fondling fabric -- reading about gadgets.

    However, I find the shorter, single product reviews to be just 'product announcements.'  I find them all generally pretty positive, and that makes me skeptical. (It's the researcher/engineer in me. <g> ) They seem to be more along the lines of P.R. than really reviewing the product.  They list the new and/or 'cool' features and seem to make every product sound just terrific.  But they don't seem to delve much more about what really works with the product and what doesn't. Not every product is a good one; sometimes a real dog is put out there in the market.  There may be some great features, but are there any problems?  Anything that is awkward or annoying to use?   I think that's important information to know.

    I'd like to be able to read about the negatives and annoyances as well as the dream features.  Sometimes a 'dream feature' sounds great, but doesn't really work as advertised or even doesn't turn out to be a good thing in the long run.    Or maybe the new features really are well thought out and executed, but there are still some problems with the product that need to be addressed.  After all, no product is perfect -- they all have room for improvement.  I like to know the good, the bad, and the ugly so I can chose the balance between them all the fits me best.

    I know that not everyone shares that view, and I do understand the complexities that magazines must face when they review the products that their advertisers showcase.  But I do think it'd be tremendously valuable to have an informed source for helping the sewing community separate the 'marketing fluff' from the 'real stuff.' (Other consumer magazines can evaluate sewing machines, but I don't think they understand the ins and outs of all types of sewing as well as Threads staff and writers do!)

    So -- keep those big comparisons coming!  They're helpful on all sorts of levels.  And please consider adding some balance to the shorter, single product reviews.  (Meanwhile, I'll just view them as good product announcements.)

     - ashley e. in Seattle

  5. Merryll | | #17

    Can I add my $.02 to this discussion?

    I must agree with the poster below who commented that the machine reveiws are  discussions of product features rather than the skinny behind which machines perform and which do not. Having said that, I do believe there is merit in a general knowledge of product features.

    I also recognize the magazine is walking that fine line of not offending advertisers.

    Which makes me think that this Gatherings forum is the perfect solution to getting to the truth.  Threads dosen't have to be the one giving any negative information about suppliers, yet experienced seamstresses can be candid about their preferences. I would believe comments here long before I would take as gospel any sales pitch from a dealer. The only thing I've ever encouraged someone who's in the market for a machine to do is to talk to as many sewers as possible, people who own fabric stores, those who do alterations or sew professionally.  Eventually, truths emerge.

    I would find an article about the market in used machines useful, since for many sewers, a good used machine is really the way to get more features and reliability for less investment at the beginning.


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