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Conversational Threads

Week 7: If you could buy on the newss…

carolfresia | Posted in Talk With Us on

Week 7: If you could buy on the newsstand a special issue of Threads devoted to a single topic, what would that topic be?

  • Tailoring and couture sewing
  • Bridal and special occasion sewing
  • Sewing for children
  • Beginning sewing
  • Home décor sewing
  • Quick-to-make projects
  • Quilting
  • Machine embroidery
  • Surface design and embellishment
  • Industry tips
  • Vintage details
  • Fitting
  • Other

You will not be able to change your vote.


  1. SewNancy | | #1

    I could only vote for  once, so I chose industry tips, but my second choice would have been a toss up between Couture and tailoring and fitting.  There are great books out there on fitting,  I think I have almost all of them!   FRom the voting fitting is a concern for a lot of us.  I love semi fitted clothing and fit is definitely more of a conscern than if I wore looser things.  There are also great books on couture and tailoring, but none of them have the clarity of your photos.  I have loved the articles you've published on industry tips and have used some of them.  So, basicly I'm saying do 3 special issues on each of the above!  That would be really fun and instructive.  When I didn't work outside the home I had more time to do hand tailoring.  Now, I want to know how to make it faster and have it look professional.  I just bought a Vogue pattern rated avaerage and was amazed that the instructions did not include faster industry techniques.  Using  the instructions, while in depth,  I would be hard pressed to sew a  finished garment that looked as good as high quality ready to wear. 

    1. GinnaS | | #2

      Nancy just said what I would have said.  Same selections desired and same selection chosen.  WOW!


  2. user-634825 | | #3

    You (the editors) have asked for opinions about your magazine.  Except for a few of the very first editions I have every magazine that you've published.  The reason why I voted for surface ebellishments is because it best describes what I've always loved about your magazine.....cutting edge "art-to-wear".  In the past I felt that waiting for your next issue to arrive was like a kid waiting for Christmas.  Unfortunately, I have to say that interest is waning.  It could be that you need to start a second magazine.  One for people interested in fitting, tailoring, sewing for the home, etc. and one for those that are more interested in sewing something that no one else will have....a sewn expression of one's creativity and individuality.  It seems to me that every issue I get now is containing more of the former and less of the latter.  I can see that the articles are well presented and valuable for the readers interested in those things, I just don't count myself among them.  I still consider myself a fan of your magazine, just not a rabid one any longer.  Please consider more articles in the spirit of your earlier years.     Thankyou for giving me the chance to give my opinion.

  3. FitnessNut | | #4

    I voted for Bridal and Special Occasion sewing, but in reality I would like to have been able to vote for several of these topics....namely, Tailoring/Couture, Surface design and Embellishment, Industry Tips, Fitting, Vintage Details, and Other. The "other" topics that I would like to see include patternmaking (from beginning to advanced) and draping. I think there is plenty of interest and scope in any of these topics to address both advanced sewists and those with less developed skills. As an advanced sewist with grown children, I am not particulary interested in either beginning sewing or sewing for children, but think that they would also make fine topics for a special issue of Threads (however, I will not be buying!). I'm less sure about the appeal of quilting and machine embroidery. A quick scan of the magazine rack at my local Chapters store revealed 3 or 4 magazines primarily devoted to machine embroidery and a total of 15 on quilting (there are doubtless more out there, since I live in a smaller city in Canada). I think that's quite enough!


    1. dregan | | #5

      I think just the last 3-4 posts shows we all have our own areas that we want to see in the magazine, but the biggest issue is diversity, it seems. I chose industry tips, but was vacilating between tailoring/courture sewing(although I'm not to that level yet, really.; and fitting, surface design and embellishment, etc., and am not interested in machine embroidery, or quilting.  The people I hear that say they don't think the magazine isn't up to the high end caliber it use to be, could it be they have learned so much following Threads magazine so many yrs. that they now are much better sewers, and no longer interested in a lot of things many of us others are?  They've already seen just about all there is?  I have returned to average sewing after a 30 yr hiatus. My life has changed greatly and so need new interests and have greatly enjoyed your magazine. Although, I still think of myself as a beginner, I wouldn't want the basics covered-I can find that elsewhere, but enjoy the medium ground some of us haven't learned or seen yet, and also the courture, embellishing clothes, industrial tips,etc. I go back to the magazines and can read them over and over. It's the only magazine I do that to. Keep up the good work and remember that you can't please everyone. Maybe some of these who seem to know it all, should start their own magazine with only high-end courture sewing in it.??  We could get both magazines then. Just a thought. Ha!


      1. carolspier | | #6

        Your feedback is both valuable and very interesting to us. I'm amazed by how many of you are looking for couture and tailoring information at a time when we're all so busy that complex projects can seem so time consuming that we are a bit shy about actually finishing them. Let me ask you to look at this special issue question a little differently:

        Special issues (of any sort of magazine) are generally sold only on the newsstand and thus must appeal to a large audience that shops for information about the given topic in that venue. Do you browse the newsstand regularly for sewing magazines? Do you think there are a lot of sewing enthusiasts looking for couture how-to's on the newsstand? I have a feeling that most of you who are participating in these discussions are subscribers. If we were to alert you to the existence of a special issue of Threads, am I correct that you'd go to the newsstand to purchase it? Would you be more inclined to order such an issue from us directly (which would mean paying a shipping and handling charge as well as the cover price)? Would you purchase a book on tailoring and couture techniques if it came out with a Threads imprint--bearing in mind such a book would be considerably more expensive than a magazine issue? (A book might include more information than a magazine). Would you purchase a CD on this topic?

        Another question for you: Have any of you ever received and answered a survey about one of our issues? We send a survey to a random group of subscribers for every issue. Just curious.


        1. FitnessNut | | #7

          I would answer "yes" to almost all of your questions. I do browse the newsstands regularly for all manner of magazines, including sewing. I rarely buy a sewing magazine these days unless it has something in it that I really want to reference. This is because most other publications (other than Threads, that is) are quite elementary for my skill level. But I always look...you just never know when you will find a gem. I know many other sewists who have stopped looking because they feel that there is nothing out there for them now that they've graduated beyond the beginner stage. All of my sewing these days is of a complex nature....I rarely bang out t-shirts or the like any more. It bores me to tears.

          So, to the remainder of your questions......Yes, I subscribe to Threads and have for more than 10 years. Yes, I would go to the newsstand to buy a special issue. If this issue was only available from you directly and if it was something I was interested in, I would definitely order it (although I would prefer to buy it in a store because of the increased costs to ship to Canada). And I would absolutely purchase a book on tailoring/couture techniques to add to my library. Same for a CD, although I tend to prefer books. I have never received a survey, but would gladly complete one if asked.

          I'm so glad that the editors are interested in hearing our feedback. I started reading Threads way back in 1989 as an "advanced beginner" who never strayed from the pattern instructions. I owe so much to your publication....it has given me the inspiration and courage to do my own thing. It eventually led me to attend fashion design school and to work as a patternmaker in the industry, I currently operate a home-based business, specializing in custom-designed women's wear, mostly formal/wedding and business attire. I constantly go through my collection of back issues for technique information and inspiration. As I have stated earlier during these polls, I firmly believe that reading above my skill level has given me much to aspire to. There is so much more to learn. And it simply isn't available anywhere else than Threads.


          1. carolspier | | #8


            What a wonderful testimonial. When we put together an issue of Threads we aim to provide the kind of information the readers find most valuable, and to present it in a manner that is both inspirational and usable. We have readers of all skill levels, with all degrees of confidence, and while we know we can't please everyone all the time, we hope that everything we publish will spark an idea, inspire an action, reinforce knowledge, or build a skill--now or in the future--for each reader, depending on her experience and area of interest.


        2. Hansi | | #9

          Hi Carol,

          Regarding your questions:

          1.  I do browse the newstand looking for sewing magazines and there's not much out there.  I have bought several Better Homes & Gardens (I think) special issues that included sewing projects, though they also have other things.

          2.  I don't know if there are readers looking for couture techniques.  I'm a novice sewer and don't feel my skills are advanced enough yet.

          3.  I would go to the newstand and take a look at any special issue magazine published by Threads and probably purchase it.  I love Threads.  I would be less likely to order the magazine because of the shipping & handling charges.  (Though I did spring once for a back issue with a topic I was interested in--totally worth it.)

          4.  I don't think I would buy a book on couture sewing, because as I said, I'm not ready yet.  A CD on some of the other topics in your poll would interest me.

          5.  I have never received one of your surveys (I've been a subscriber for about a year.)


        3. dregan | | #10

          I have not been asked to fill out a survey from your magazine before.  I guess I really only want maybe one or two articles on actual couture sewing or tailoring.  I sometimes don't even understand all of it, and no, I would never take that much time to make a jacket like the one in Threads.  Maybe someday, but I just don't have the patience to be that technical, and it would take me a long time to complete it.  When I said that I don't want to see the basics because I could find that info elsewhere, I was talking about the laying out, and biying fabric, and straightening the grain, what edgestitching is, etc.  I realize what I want to see may be called basics to an experienced  sewer. I really enjoyed the articles on different neckline finishes on knits-all new to me until I read it.  I am interested in Sandra Betzina's articles and techniques, because they are usually quicker, easier ways to sew, but look just as well as any others. I would probably buy a book on couture sewing and almost have several times. For myself, Threads seems perfect, interesting, and also has many articles that are beyond my capabilities, but as someone else said, it gives me something to aspire to, and to try as I improve. But , I am just one person's opinion.  I also like to see different embellishments or different looks to a same pattern, but don't really like clothes that are pieced.  Again, just one sewer's opinion.


        4. Beth | | #11

          I have been following these discussions with interest and agree with many of the points made by others. I am a subscriber since issue 98 andhave not received a survey. I don't browse the magazine racks at the supermarket very often and would not be likely to purchase an extra issue on couture or tailoring. I have Claire Schaeffer's book and refer to it regularily. I keep all back issues of Threads and refer to them often. My small library of reference books includes publications by Taunton Press.

          This week's project is learning to make knit shirts using issue number 65 to improve the fit of a basic pattern. Yes, I have some early issues found at a garage sale. Yeah!

          Besides subscribing to Threads, I am a member of the American Sewing Guild. As a slightly advanced beginner, both help improve my knowledge and skills.

        5. SewNancy | | #12

          I would definitely buy a book on couture and tailoring with your inprint.  No one else has the fabulous pictures to accompany their info.  Claire Schaeffer's book is good, but it lacks good color photos.  Also, I'd love to see it reflect more modern design as well as classic clothing.  My skill leval is a bit rusty, but I havedone couture type sewing in the past.  I have been reading Threads since 1988 and regularly use your techniques to make my clothes.  Before I start a project I look through my collection of Threads for the appropriate technique.

          I would buy a special edition at the newsstand.  And, yes I look for other magazines that have sewing interest, but except for Burda Pattern Mag. I don't find anything of interest.  I don't quilt or embroider and most of whats out there is really about traditional quilting which really doesn't interest me!  I have a BFA in painting and am a landscape designer, so my interest  in quilts or embroidery  is more as an art form and how far outside the mainstream people are taking it, but looking is all I am interested in.  I know this probably sounds a bit elitist, but I really hate kitschy, cute and overdone anything!  I don't see the appeal of all these embroidery designs for machines.  I don't find them creative at all.  I am much more interested in originality and how people are using traditional needle arts to create art or original fashion.

          No I have never received a survey from Threads burt I would love to fill one out.


          Edited 4/17/2004 10:30 am ET by Nancy

        6. stitchmd | | #13

          I do regularly look through sewing magazines at the bookstore, but very rarely buy any because they are too basic or cover specialized topics that don't interest me. I would definitely buy a Threads special on a topic of interest, which includes almost all of the topics in this survey.

          I have subscribed since issue#15 but never gotten a survey. I do complete and return surveys, especially emailed ones. Sometimes the snail mailed ones languish a while in a pile of To-do papers, but the email ones are an instant reply.

          I have no idea if sewists are looking in bookstores, but I'm sure your special issue would sell well in fabric and craft stores.

        7. xstpenguin | | #14

          I chose Tailoring Couture because I already have umpteen books on fitting and have found that is the sort of thing you really need someone to SHOW you.

          I'd definitely buy a Threads book on Couture and Tailoring, in fact I was a bit disappointed in the existing book on Jackets and Coats, the styles were so out of date as to be useless (the late 80s early 90s unstructured style isn't what I'm looking for).

          I can't say I'd be pleased to have a special issue Newsstand only though, because here in the UK such things are impossible to find.  Borders gets stuff in, but at random and in small quantities - when it's gone it's gone.

          I would always respond to a survey and have done 1 in the past.

          If a CD had video clips of techniques - I'd be very interested.  That said I have the Shirtmaking video and the quality is a bit ropey!  Better video quality for your demos would be great.

          I think it would be good to have some stuff on wardrobe planning around core patterns (ie once you have the 'perfect' jacket, pants, skirt and a range of tops how one could use fabric and unusual techniques to combine them into a really sharp wardrobe).  Since that would mean influence from current fashion a magazine would be better than a book.

          Quite a lot of people have posted here saying they don't want novice sewing in Threads, I agree for VERY basic stuff, but mostly I'm still learning and don't find your Basics all that basic!  So how about a once a year issue for Novices, separate from the usual issue?


          1. SewNancy | | #15

            Creating a core wardrobe  that is stylish and sharp, as opposed to simple, such as Vogue patterns sell, they are not very good, would be very useful.  The article on changing one pattern 3 ways was interesting, but something more on the lines of the Donna Karan article you did years ago would be great.


          2. MarshaK | | #16

            Like many others I have never received a survey from Threads. I have been buying/subscribing ever since the beginning of Threads, have every issue except No. 2. I also have many, many books on sewing, my interest in a special issue would be on Embellishing techniques. If you could get Lois and Diane Ericson, Rachel Clark, Dana Bontrager, Sandy Scrivano, Rosemary Eichorn etc. etc. to each contribute an article about their specialties in sewing and giving a garment that 'extra twist' I'd definately be interested. Jewelry and Beadwork magazines produce extra 'special' issues of magazines, some have new material, others are just a collection of articles that have already appeared in their regular magazines. Please don't do that.

            It would be nice if Threads could produce a 'special issue' every quarter, covering a different topic each time. I would buy it at a bookstore or where ever I could find it, advance notice of it would be a help. Ordering it would be more expensive, I'm in Canada as other readers are, and have already mentioned shipping is higher here.


          3. Polly1 | | #17

            I read ALL parts of your magazine, but my favorite parts are the fitting, design ideas (i.e. pattern design-not embellishments), and the intermediate to advance sewing techniques. I like the basics, too; they serve as a good review. Yours is one of only a few "sewing" magazines; there are plenty of other magazines dealing with embellishments and embroidery.

          4. MarshaK | | #18

            Oops!  Polly, I think you meant to send your message to Carolspier, or Carol Fresia, they're the ones in charge of this disscussion.


        8. sewingkmulkey | | #19


          I would definitely purchase specialty books/magazines by Taunton Press on the newsstand, notification through Threads or your website because your quality is unmatched by any other!  I'm lucky enough to have every issue of Threads and nearly all your sewing related books.  My main interest at the moment is design/embellishment but I also have a long-time interest in couture/tailoring.  I consider myself an advance seamstress.  I have quilting friends but no one who shares my consuming love/addition of sewing so I read all that I can get my hands on.

          I would dearly love to complete a survey but have never been asked.  Online surveys would be easiest.

          Question - are Canadians more interested in sewing than Americans?  I seem to be seeing them in abundance here!

          Karen in Texas

  4. mabon | | #20

    I enjoy reading Treads.  At times some of the articles are over my head.  My sewing experience is limited but growing so please don't forget the new comer.  I would love to see a series article for just the new sewer to help us get to be better and more knowledgeable with some of the sewing terms and techniques.  I know there are many very experienced sewers out there that may enjoy sharing some of the sewing tech. and short cuts.  I would not want you to take up the whole mag. with the new sewer because I love seeing what I may be able to get to soon.  With two new grandchildren sewing for them is what  started me sewing.


  5. mem1 | | #21

    I agree with Nancy. I would also like some stuff on using the stitches on my machine . I have a computrised machine but it doent do the highly complex embroidery which is often dealt with in the magazine .I am sure that there is alot more that i could be doing.

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