Facebook Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram Tiktok Icon YouTube Icon Headphones Icon Favorite Navigation Search Icon Forum Search Icon Main Search Icon Close Icon Video Play Icon Indicator Arrow Icon Close Icon Hamburger/Search Icon Plus Icon Arrow Down Icon Video Guide Icon Article Guide Icon Modal Close Icon Guide Search Icon

Conversational Threads

Welcome to “Talk with us”

carolfresia | Posted in Talk With Us on

Welcome to the Threads “Talk with us” web poll and discussion. From March 1 through May 1, we’ll be posting weekly polls pertaining to the content and style of Threads magazine, and hope you’ll share your opinions with us, both by voting in the polls, and by joining in a discussion with us here on Gatherings. 


Although the poll questions are intended to spark discussion, you’re not limited to these topics, so please feel free to voice your thoughts about any aspect of the magazine. During this period, a Threads editor will be checking in regularly to answer questions and to hear what you’ve got to say.


Bear in mind that if you’ve arrived here by clicking the “Guest” button on the Gatherings login page, you’ll be able to read the discussion, vote, and follow the poll results. If you’d like to post your own messages, you’ll need to register and log in as a member of Gatherings. We hope you’ll join us and let us know what you think about Threads.


Carol Fresia

Associate Editor, Threads


  1. carolfresia | | #1

    Hi, again,

    I'm just posting here to let people know that the discussion mentioned in the previous message is taking place within the discussions labelled "Week 1," "Week 2," etc. C'mon over and see what we're talking about there.


    1. TJSEWS | | #14

      I love Threads magazine and always am eager to receive the next issue.  I would like the magazine to continue its focus on garment making techniques.  I would like to see less quilting and embroidery articles except as they relate to garment making.  Quilting and embroidery generally don't appeal to me but I love sewing garments.  There are other magazines that cover quilting and embroidery in depth so I do not see a need for Threads to do so as well.


  2. Sally99 | | #2

    Hi - The type of articles that I read multiple times are those that nudge me beyond the skill  set I learned when I was twelve and seem to be caught at. If the articles are too advanced, I won't try the technique. For instance, I'd love learning how to drape a bias fabric for a fullish shirt or informal jacket...  helping me to understand how to turn over the knit edge for a collar on a tee-shirt so that it looks professionally done.  Taking a straight skirt pattern and doing wild things with it, or a full skirt pattern and fitting the top to my abdomen. How to make a tulip skirt pattern on my own? Thanks. I'm addicted to Threads.

    1. carolfresia | | #3

      Sounds like you're looking for some design/pattern adaptation/pattern drafting articles. As you probably know, these topics can get HUGE quickly, so we try to cover a smallish piece at a time. I'm not sure we can drape a jacket in 4-6 pp., but we could certainly drape a sleeve...

      As for how to turn under and stitch a T-shirt edge for a professional look? Boy, I'd like to know the secret of that, too! After numerous attempts, with mixed success (some great, others hopeless), I've concluded that the fabric is the factor that makes it work better or worse. But if I'm wrong here, I would love to learn a foolproof trick that works all the time, on every fabric.  

      How about quilting? We used to include a quilting-related story in each issue (could be patchwork techniques, quilted clothing, Hawaiian applique design, or even the story on boutis provencal, although that's not really quilting), but again, we suspect our readers would rather see that less frequently, and focus more on other garment-sewing subjects. Is there no interest in quilting, or should we keep looking for quilted clothing ideas?


      1. Sally99 | | #4

        Well, I like quilted clothing ideas.  I may be in the minority. Not sure. Thanks for the response.


      2. KarenW | | #5

        <<How about quilting?>>

        No thank you. 

         <<We used to include a quilting-related story in each issue (could be patchwork techniques, quilted clothing, Hawaiian applique design, or even the story on boutis provencal, although that's not really quilting), but again, we suspect our readers would rather see that less frequently, and focus more on other garment-sewing subjects. Is there no interest in quilting, or should we keep looking for quilted clothing ideas?>>

        I enjoyed the Hawaiian quilt design article, but primarily because I love the symmetry and color simplicity of Hawaiian quilts, not because I wanted to quilt anything.  However I wouldn't have missed it if it weren't there.  As with Home Dec, there are SO many other resources for unique and interesting quilting arts, wearables or not, where Threads provides high level garmentmaking techniques not readily available in other periodical publications.   Quilted clothing ideas would be ok (with me!) if the quilting was one of  multiple methods of making the featured item, perhaps one in an array of different treatments, i.e. taking the same pattern and creating it using quilted fabrics vs. a home dec type fabric vs. a sheer or texturized or other type fabric to show great contrast between styles using the same basic pattern/style format and thinking beyond the "recommended fabrics" on the pattern envelope.   I guess I see quilting as an art that I respect and admire, am not good at, will view and appreciate when in the mood but in its own context.... it's like music... I respect and admire the talent of those who perform opera, but I don't want any operatic pieces interjected on my jazz station... it's all still music... but I prefer to listen selectively!


      3. Susanne | | #26

        Include quilting articles? Yes, please. And include quilted clothing ideas, too.

      4. Constance | | #61

        I'm not interested in quilting, but embellishment - aaaaah, that's another story! I purchased Koos' book after seeing it reviewed in Threads and once I get my rusty skills back, will definitely be trying some of his techniques. But then, the strip-piecing story caught my eye too...


        1. Judygoeson | | #62

          Hi, Carol...

          Before I begin on the Topic of Discussion, I want to ask how you made out on the Halloween costumes.  I was making a Snow White dress for my Grandaughter.  It turned out so well that her mother had to hide it because she insisted on wearing it every day!  Her little brother and sister (Bam Bam and Pebbles) looked terrific...bones and all!  I want to thank you and all the other correspondents for you encouragement and helpful tips.

          Now to get down to business...I like to sew clothing primarily.  I also enjoy surface embroidering by hand, thank you.  Occasionally I will make a quilt if I feel the urge.  In addition, I do a lot of "Sacred Threads"  which combine a good many of the fibre techniques and am indebted to Sarahnyc and Shelly for their tips and inspiration...as well as many more of you.

          This leads into what I like in Threads...and would not mind seeing more of:

          Combing several techniques in a garment such as knitting and weaving; quilting all or part of the outfit, embellishing, and embroidery.  I like to do Yemeni style.  This combines simple conventional stitches in linear or spot motifs which is simple to execute and can be adapted not only to casual clothing but to business wear as well.

          Next...clothing for different body types and for children!  Many of you seem to write about sewing for your own children.  Boys as well as girls.

          And how about costumes?  Masquerade, theatrical, ethnic for example.  There are many construction and decorative techniques which could inspire or be adapted to regular clothing.  I enjoy using Folkwear Patterns and by a judicious editing and use of conventional fabrics have come up with clothing I could wear to the office.

          This leads to the multi-use of one pattern, as was done in the present issue.  Please!  Lets have more!  And, perhaps a way to adapt one pattern to different fabrics, as you did with a version of one blouse in silk, and yours, Carol, in a bulkier tweed. I liked that.

          Finally, the great appeal of Threads is its classy presentation and its ability to run the gamut from the tried and true (I am reminded of a featured very well-tailored jacket which I have used as a refence for many years) to the new and sometimes unconventional (Koos, YES!  Brooke DeLorme, uh, not quite).  Even though many of us jumped on her work product, I think we did so to send the message that we did not want this to become a (bad) habit. This is because the  Threads sewing community insists on techniques that end up in an impeccably finished garment. What do you think?

          I will add more comments as I think of them.

          Happy Sewing from JudyG 

        2. JulieP25 | | #63

          Hi Carol!

          What I love about Threads? Is, just about everything, hey even the stuff that I just  cannot do gets interesting. The articles on machine embroidery when you do not have that option are wonderful only to make me drool even more for one of those toys. I guess what I love the most is you teach, challenge and enlighten me on all aspects of sewing.  I love the high end and the quick tips too. Threads to me is still the best sewing magazine out there.  Jules

      5. SewNancy | | #65

        I am definitely not interested in quilting or in quilted clothing.  HIgh style applique intrigues me but I don't really have the time to experiment with it.  I also would love to know how to fold over edges and get it to look professional.  It is easier to just use a biding.


      6. Sashita | | #68

        Dear Carol,

        Please!  There are so many magaznes and books on quilting and home dec.  Let's keep Threads free of most of that.  I like to learn new techniques, fitting articles, new fabrics and how to manage them and so forth.  For quilting I will by a mag especially devoted to it--and also for home dec. 

        Thanks for letting me in on this,  Sasha

      7. betsy | | #70

        Carol, I may be several weeks late with this response, but have been trying to stay away from "qatherings" to finish a project, a sewing project!   About 'quilting' in threads, as an active quilter, I agree that quilt making is covered adequately in other publications, but I like to read about quilting incorporated in clothing from the Threads perspective:considering the fit of the garment, whether it is flattering to the wearer,how to handle construction details, etc. I don't like to look like I had a quilt and tried to figure out how to wear it.

    2. Sue2000 | | #6

      We must all have different perceptions of advanced or too hard. I consider myself an intermediate to advanced sewer, but using "draping" and "bias" and "jacket" in one sentence has me shaking in my boots!

      I'm ok with quilted clothing if the focus is more on the clothing, construction, alteration for the thicker quilted stuff, embellishment (i.e. different closures when buttonholes aren't practical because the quilting's too thick) but am not that interested in the quilting process.  Unless... maybe if it were unique and different fabrics other than quilting cottons and not crazy quilting them either....


  3. LindaG | | #7

    Threads has given me the incentive to try so many techniques for fashion sewing that I would not otherwise have figured out on my own.  I did indeed try a felted project and have made several of the the floaty shawl with sleeves that was featured on the cover several years ago.

    My preferences:  no home dec, no heirloom (except as an interesting embellishment technique), no quilting.

    The biggest challenge I face these days is buying quality fabric.  Here in the Boston area, the closing of North End Fabrics and then DiCarlo Fabrics means that there are no local stores featuring medium to high end goods.  I now purchase all my wools and really special fashion fabrics by mail order.  I am also gradually finding sources for all the basics that I need, such as sweatshirt fleece and all cotton knits for the occasional simple kids' outfit. 

    All this said, I'm wondering whether Threads could do more to cover the Fabric and mail order market.   Here are some of my questions:  What makes a fabric "high quality?"  How can a buyer use 2X2 swatches to make a good decision? An occasional fabric shopping trip to NYC is possible, but some of those stores are incredibly overwhelming.  Is the rayon/viscose blend on 40th Street the same thing that's offered through mail order by a different company?   Who produces high quality fabrics these days?  Are the only good wools imported from Italy?


    Linda Green

    1. Greythound | | #8

      Hi,  I just got my May Threads in the mail today and it turned a so-so day into a great day.  I was delighted to see this new section on the website, because I wanted to tell you what I think of this issue. 

      As I was cleaning the house this Saturday morning, I watched my neighbor wash all 3 of his Italian sportcars--wondering why on earth any sane person would spend that much money on cars he rarely drives--My old Ford gets me places in comfort and that is all I ask of a car.  Then I read your article about Dream Machines and I suddenly understood.  My old Elna (inherited from my grandmother) works great, but, oh, it would be marvelous to have one of these machines--maybe someday if I save my pennies.

      About quilting articles--there are enough quilting magazines out there that the only guilting info I want to see in Threads is how to use the techniques in garments, such as the article on striped quilted fabric.

      I absolutely love the article on the wrap front top, shown three ways.  I often try to make these types of changes with a favorite pattern.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.  I am delighted with getting ideas on how to do this and what the possiblities are.

      As to the level of sewing skill shown in the articles:  I think average to advanced--I want something to aim for and other magazines cover basic skills.  My least favorite article was the one on measuring patterns--to me it is just common sense.

      1. edgy | | #9

        i agree w most of what's been said. Definitely quilting only for garments. There are several quilting mags already doing a great job.

        And I think Linda's suggestion about how to tell if the fabric being sold online is good quality would be fantastic. All the websites list different info (or almost none) about the fabrics and it would be great if our questionning them could get them to fall in line (dream on!)

        Less home dec, would be my choice. And Sew News is basic -- that's why I get Threads. Just got the latest today -- it's always good for a "lost" afternoon. :=)


        1. npilotte | | #10

          Hmm.  Threads is the only sewing magazine I read, and I like the quilting articles.  In fact, I miss them when they are not there.  I have looked at some of the others out there on newstands, but I am not a fan of traditional patchwork, or sunbonnet sue or other kitschy things.  I like the art quilts and the quilted garments.  I would hate to see them disappear permanently.

          One thing I would like to be able to do would be to purchase a year's worth of Threads on CD, with clickable links, so that I could identify all of the articles on a single topic (like fitting sleeves or pants) without having to page through 10 years worth of paper.  I would take up a lot less room on my bookshelf!  Is there a chance that Threads will eventually be put onto CDs?

          1. Sue2000 | | #11

            I agree with you about the types of quilting I don't care for.  Though I am one who wouldn't mind not seeing quilted garments in Threads I find other publications like Quilting Arts and Belle Armoire have some beautiful quilted wearables, so does Fiberarts sometimes, or some books I've looked at that weren't specifically quilting oriented but included garments that used quilted fabrics/quilting techniques (there's one in particular on vests I'm thinking of). You might want to take a look at those sometime!Sue

          2. sueb | | #13

            I'd like to see less of the machine embroidery articles.  Isn't there already a magazine out there that covers this subject in depth?  I noticed that quick to make has dissapeared from the features and am sorry to see it go.

            How about some new product reviews and some new book reviews - there's a lot of new books for sewing techniques, textile and surface designs, costuming, pattern designing and couture sewing etc coming out all the time.  It would be nice to get a synopsis of these  new books occassionaly.

          3. carolfresia | | #19

            Based on survey feedback, we've realized that many of our readers would rather see feature pages devoted to sewing techniques and design/embellishment ideas, so we've decided to cover machine embroidery as a department instead. Some 40% of our readers own embroidery machines, and we want to continue to provide them with up-to-date information on getting the most out of their investment. This enables us to keep embroidery in the magazine but frees up some pages in the feature well (that big, advertisement-free section in the middle of the magazine) for other topics.

            We'll bring back Quick to Make on an intermittent basis--especially around the holidays. In general, we've found that our readers are less interested in specific projects and prefer to learn techniques they can use as they wish. What do you all think? Do you love the occasional project to jump-start some sewing action? Would you have an interest in a special issue of Threads (newsstand only) focusing on projects?


          4. KarenW | | #21

            <<We'll bring back Quick to Make on an intermittent basis--especially around the holidays. In general, we've found that our readers are less interested in specific projects and prefer to learn techniques they can use as they wish. What do you all think? >>

            I just realized I don't miss Quick to Make when it's not there but enjoy it when it is... one of the nice things about this "column" is that you do get a quick to make project for yourself or a gift but it's always something more elegant than "quick to make" type projects in other magazines. Keep it!

            << Would you have an interest in a special issue of Threads (newsstand only) focusing on projects?>>

            Yes.  Of course it would depend on the projects included, but I've bought these special issues from other magazines when I'd let my subscription lapse but found the special issue contained projects I wouldn't be embarrassed to make.


          5. Jean | | #22

            I would love it if Threads were available in a bound yearly volume like Fine Cooking is. I have all (or most) of the issues since #1 and each one was bought at the expense of a 100 mile round trip to the Big City. We don't have one magazine seller who carries it and the post office mangles the magazines so badly (I want them pristine, if I'm to save them) so that it's worth it to me to make the drive, but I'd gladly put off my reading to wait for a bound volume if you'd sell them that way.

            Please suggest this to the powers that be. I can't be the only one who would buy this.

          6. FitnessNut | | #23

            I would love to get my hands on issues that are missing from my extensive set of Threads. I really don't care if they are on paper, or CD or whatever, as long as I can read the missing issues. I imagine that I'm not alone. Even if I could buy the early issues only in sets which duplicate the ones I have prior to number 21, I would still buy them. Threads is such a valuable resource for me, both practical and inspirational. Any time I need to get my creative juices flowing, I reach into my collection, grab a few magazines and start reading. In no time, the ideas are flowing!


          7. sewingkmulkey | | #24

            Hi Carol!

            As a charter member of Threads (I have every single one) I enjoy and savor each issue and appreciate that Threads is interested in reader's opinions...thanks!

            I'm both a garment sewer and quilter so I like the quilted garment articles but perhaps having articles that show how quilting techniques can relate to garment sewing is the way to go as aptly demonstrated in your most recent issue.   Unlike the 40% of your readers I don't own an embroidery machine nor do I have an interest in purchasing one. 

            I prefer tailored clothes and appreciate hand finishing.  On the other hand I am open to new ideas and love to see new techniques and surface embellishments. 

            All in all, I am so pleased with Threads that (if forced) I would give up every other magazine I subscribe to and just keep Threads.  I appreciate your thoughtful, clear articles and drawings done so professionally.  My only concern is that younger readers/sewers need to be encouraged.  Anything that Threads can do to peak the interest of young people would be fantastic as I don't want garment sewing to become a lost art.

            Thank you, Threads, for years of enjoyment and education.

            Karen Mulkey

          8. JMW | | #32


            In response to the machine embroidery department. If I were not part of the 40% of THREADS subscribers who own an embroidery machine,  I would like to see this eliminated from the magazine, also. To date, the articles have been less than inspiring.

            I would like to offer a suggestion. Perhaps, THREADS could do an article featuring Cynthia Guffey. She is located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She designs patterns, creates custom clothing and teaches at various sewing expos. Her sewing techniques are impecable and her use of machine embroidery inspirational. Cynthia's suits (w/mach.embr.) can be worn in a business environment. They give new meaning to the phrase "power suit".

            I believe C. Guffey's techniques and creativity are just the challenge and inspiration that THREADS subscribers have come to exspect from your publication. WE can't seem to get enough. WE want more!

            Thanks for a great magazine and lisening to our input.


          9. KarenW | | #34

            I'm among those 40% who own an embroidery machine, two as a matter of fact, but I'd be ok without the embroidery articles... mainly because there are so many other embroidery resources, in print and online.  I'm thinking here more along the lines of the article in the last issues.... now one thing Threads could probably do more tastefully than some of the other resources (hope I'm not stepping on toes here!) is show how embroidery can be incorporated into elegant clothing.  It's been done before, and those articles I'm pleased with vs. those that are primarily software/combining designs, or more technologically oriented.

            And this is a perfect segue to Cynthia Guffey whom you mentioned... I love her stuff!My first exposure to her was at the Puyallup expo several years ago when she was mainly promoting embroidery on her custom garments.  She had a way of combining motifs, stitches, threads and fabric combinations that were atypical and very upscale compared to other idea sources that were out there at the time (or even that I've seen lately).  She completely changed my way of thinking of embroidery on clothing (I'd done little at that point except for kids').  With this new way of thinking I created a garment that won a dealer contest and made it to the finals in Martha Pullen's talent search (not heirloom style though) and they requested permission to keep a file for possible future publication (looks like that's not going to happen!).    Unless one's seen her books on embroidery at a Viking dealer I think a lot of people are missing out on how to make embroidered garments that are very upscale or elegant rather than cute.    Her teaching focus is now mainly on couture techniques, many of which I incorporate on a regular basis -- if she weren't inclined to write a full article a "tips" collection such as those published by Louise Cutting (Cynthia's are along these lines) would also be a great addition to the magazine.


          10. ahsparks | | #35

            Quick to Make was one of my favorite features--I'm sad it's going away. I'm one of those people who wishes Threads would go back to it's old format which included many of the textile arts. Yes, there are quilting and knitting mags out there, but Threads did a great job of covering them all with class. I'm interested in many types of sewing, not just garments, and I knit too. I ask you to keep more variety rather than less.

          11. sarahnyc | | #44

            I have been reading threads for more than 10 years...the focus of this issue seemed especially narrow and "in the box"...and unfortunately not so interesting... I guess i'm looking for  (I think this was a title of a book and a show on PBS) "the shock of the new"... a new way of looking at clothing, a new way to solve problems ..

            I know that what I'm asking for is a tall order... but what I want is the magazine to do is get me so excitred that I must try the new technique or new idea that minute...

            I want to see work that makes me look twice, work that makes me think, or work that makes me laugh...

            lately i have been looking at work done in art and fashion design schools around the world ( i love the web)for the past couple of weeks I have been haunted by a pair of shoes i saw on the bezalel art school website... it was a pair of chartruce boots that completely unwrap from around the foot - yes even the sole unwraps the whole shoe unwraps like an orange.. does the shoe relate directly to my work??/not at all .but it does get me to approach problems in a new way.

            some folks think in a straight line... some of us don't - the tangential often works to send me in important new directions... so I'm not going to bead a dress with sunflower seeds or make my own shoes or make a loom out of crutches... but it is really wonderful to read about people who do.

            I think the place of threads magazine is an important one.. i also think that although it may sound counterintuitive in this age of constant market surveys... don't worry so much about your center  ...I think that articles with stuff people may even hate generates more interest than articles that are just the bland middle - I'm still thinking about why people reacted so strongly to brooke delorme. ( yes I have ideas about that...but I think that it belongs in a different post)

            I for one would love to read an article about either the designer zoran... or about zelda. they both march to their own drummers and create clothing that is very flattering to a woman's body. ( or to different kinds of women's bodies)  They are also both houses that you don't see advertised or in the magazines..but the women who wear them are entirely devoted.

            BTW I have had to change my regisration due to cookie overload on my computer's part.. so I'm the person formerly known as sarah kayla but as always..i'm

            sarah in nyc

          12. SewNancy | | #67

            Some years back there was a fabulous article on Zoran and I made a small wardrobe based on it and clothes I saw at Saks.  I would love to see what the design school students are doing, thats a great idea.  Also other avant garde designers would be wonderful. 


          13. simonethecat | | #64

            I also want to see more sewing articles in Threads. It seems in the past year that the subject of embroidery has started to take over the magazine. I fell in love with Threads for the articles on sewing and fitting and couture methods.

            One thing I would like to see is in your discussion of new machines if you could do a follow up and let us know if these machines really held up or if the computerized parts of them ended up crashing. I am interested in a machine that stitches beautifully and is sturdy and will last. My last few modern plastic machines haven't held up as well as my vintage metal one that still sews like a dream.

            Also wanted to add that I have really enjoyed that section that you have on vintage details. I love vintage clothing for the attention to detail that was put into them that you rarely see these days and this section always makes me want to experiment.

            Edited 3/22/2004 10:03 pm ET by simonethecat

          14. SewNancy | | #66

            Hear hear.  No machine embroidery.  I know it is big, but it always seems so tacky on clothing and  I hate home dec where it is seems just as tacky!  Elegant  and original clothing and how to make them is why I read Threads. 


          15. SewSimple | | #12

            Like some of you, I don't mind seeing articles about quilting clothing and the techniques related to that, but I'm not keen on articles related to quilting. And although I am amazed at the capabilities of an embroidery machine, I'm not currently in the market for one and merely skim (or skip altogether) those articles. But, there are few articles to be found on free motion embroidery techniques which is something that interests me. I've done a little bit of experimenting, but would like more inspiration in that area.

            I am just about ready to replace my serger, so read everything on those, including the techniques I'm not familiar with. I still think I could use my serger more than I do and need to improve my skills there.  I like reading about the new top of the line sewing machines, but would like to see some of the entry level and mid-level machines written about.

            I like the articles on the more advanced techniques like tailoring, bound buttonholes, advanced alterations. But as a sewing teacher, I refer my students to the articles on the basics, encouraging my students to check out Threads.

          16. carolfresia | | #18

            Sorry to say there won't be a CD version of Threads in the near future, but it you want to research a topic in past issues easily, go to our online magazine index (go to the Threads home page, look in the right-hand column, and scroll down to "About the magazine," and then Magazine index). It's updated once a year, just after the printed annual index comes out, so you'll still have to search the current year by hand, but for past years, it will save you some time.


    2. carolfresia | | #17


      Thanks for the suggestions about fabric articles. I'll pass that on. Meanwhile, are you planning to attend the Original Sewing & Quilt Expo in Worcester, in mid-April? I went last year and came home with quite a haul of fabric from Vogue Fabrics (and others)--it's a good opportunity to purchase decent quality fabrics that you won't find at local chains, and the prices were very good.

      Look for silk brocade at Vogue Fabrics, then take it home and wash it and run it through the dryer. Threads editor Judy Neukam turned me on to this--it turns a rather stiff fabric (excellent for tailored and fitted garments, but tough to use in softer clothes with more ease) into a drapy, spongy fabric that has endless possibilities. It's only about 30" wide, though, so plan ahead!


  4. PLW1017 | | #15

    Thanks for the opportunity to voice an opinion!  I recently subscribed to "Threads" again -- first time in many years.  I dropped my previous subscription when I lost interest in garment sewing and got into quilting.  After making many many quilts in the past few years though and becoming disillusioned by RTW, I'm ready to sew clothing for me again.  If I want quilting information there are dozens of good quilting magazines available, including some that cover quilted clothing and wearable art clothing in depth.  Same for embroidery machines.  I have one and I enjoy learning new things with it but that's not why I subscribed to "Threads"! 

    To my knowledge the only other general "sewing" magazines are "Sewing Savvy" and "Sew News" (to me "Sew Beautiful" and others like it are specialty sewing magazines).  "Sewing Savvy" is, in my opinion, not very well done with projects that scream "homemade" and their photo samples appear, to me, to be poor quality in both workmanship and fabric choices. "Sew News" is a fairly professional looking magazine but they seem to be trying to be all things to all people and hit on so many different topics that they don't do any of them justice or thoroughly enough to suit me.

    I want "Threads" articles that cover various sewing applications and details so that I can learn something new about sewing!  I liked the article in the May issue where several people made the same pattern with so many great but different results.  I loved the article in the last issue on adding godets to skirts! I like information on patterns designers and lines available other than the "big 4", as they're frequently called. I need articles on fabric and how to select the correct fabric to match the pattern and the best places to find that fabric!  An occasional home dec article won't run me off but I'd hate to see a steady diet of it! 

    My vote: Stick to the sewing articles that "Threads" has become famous for and leave the quilting and embroidery information to the magazines devoted to those subjects. 



  5. rzgreen | | #16

    Hi Carol:

    It's nice that Threads is soliciting our opinions, but since this is the first time I've seen such a flurry of interest, can you let us know why our voices are so important now, as opposed to any other time?

    Also, is Taunton publishing any more new sewing books? 







    1. carolfresia | | #20

      Hi, Robin.

      We're always interested in knowing what our readers think, which is why we've always sent out a survey to a random selection of subscribers after each issue goes out. In the past couple of years, Taunton has increased its marketing initiatives, and this is part of that effort. You probably can guess that the typical Threads reader is not really like the typical sewer who's out there on the market, and we're trying to understand in more detail just exactly how you all differ from that person (who is much more interested in home decor sewing, quilting, and craft sewing). The surveys tell us a lot, actually, but because multiple-choice questions can sort of put words into people's mouths, we're hoping to get some new insights by giving you all a chance to articulate in greater depth what you like or dislike about the magazine.

      Interestingly, some of the comments I've been reading here contradict the usual survey results, and thus will help us make future decisions about the content of the magazine.


      1. rzgreen | | #25

        Thanks for the speedy response, Carol. It's good to know that Threads wants to more closely determine both the demographics and the personal styles of their readers.

        And the Taunton sewing books?






        1. carolfresia | | #28

          Sorry, Robin, I didn't answer that part of the question. I'm afraid we don't have a lot of sewing books in the works at the moment. The problem is not in our interest, nor in lack of excellent proposals (we have had some wonderful books proposed by trusted Threads authors), but in the sewing books distribution system. These books are extremely costly to publish, and hard to distribute profitably. Books in other of Taunton's interest areas (primarily woodworking and homebuilding) are much easier to market, and hence are where our Books group is directing its focus for the moment.


          1. rjf | | #29

            Has Threads ever put out a book on sewing like the ones they've done for knitting?  Like "Knitting around the world" and "Knitting techniques"?  I recognized some of those articles from older issues of Threads and it's nice to have them all in one place because they reinforce some of the ideas.  Maybe this is exactly what everyone else is saying????       rjf      

          2. carolfresia | | #30

            Threads has put out a number of compilation books, with selected articles on a single topic (often broadly defined, though). I haven't checked to see if they're still available on the Taunton website, but they're very good--excellent resources for folks who don't own all the back issues.

            We're more likely to do this type of treatment in a special magazine issue than in a book, but hopefully the content would be equally valuable.


          3. ShannonG4d | | #31

            Oooooooo........a special magazine issue!  Like the "cookies" issue of Fine Cooking?  What a great idea!  Make the first one on tailoring, please:)


          4. becksnyc | | #56

            Amen on the tailoring issue!!!!  A decor issue!!!  A quilting issue!!!  A fiber artists issue!!!


          5. becksnyc | | #54

            A good place to get the older Threads compilations is Edwardrhamilton.com.  I am not advertising for them, but they seem to carry a large number of Taunton books at an excellent discount, after they are impossible to find anywhere else.

            I am VERY, very sorry Taunton Press isn't focusing on sewing books.  Even paperback books of lesser quality (paper/binding) but with high quality content would be better than nothing.  It is so difficult to find sewing books with any depth these days...  I will be honest, I could never understand the high price of Taunton sewing books, at least when marketed in the pages of your magazines.  I always waited to get them at a discount for that very reason.

            I would be interested in a CD or CD set with all of your magazine articles scanned and indexed.  That would make a more portable reference than my Threads collection, and would be lots easier to search.


          6. edgy | | #38


            You say that abt 40% of your readers have embroidery machines, but almost 100% of these responses have asked for NO machine embroidery. That does certainly seem to be a contradictions as you indicated.

            Perhaps those who are emroidering are getting the machine embroidery magazines in addition to Threads?


          7. FitnessNut | | #39

            Dearborn (and Carol),

            I'm one of those 40% who has an embroidery machine and also responded that I am not interested machine embroidery articles. After reading tonight's posts, I may have to rethink that one....If someone is making embroidered suits that can be worn in a business setting, I am interested. Generally speaking though, I find much of the embroidery too cutesy for my tastes and tend to go my own way. (Mind you, I haven't used the embroidery on my machine very much at this point in time because I haven't invested in the software yet.) There are so many other resources for machine embroidery that I don't want my valuable Threads cluttered up with repetitious stuff that I can get elsewhere.

            However, I also have to agree with several others that Threads of late has been rather uninspiring. At the risk of offending others, I found the jeans article to be somewhat boring. It seems that there has been little in the past couple of years that really reaches out and grabs me. Don't get me wrong, I still think that Threads is the best magazine out there. But the creative spark that I loved doesn't seem to be there anymore. I really enjoyed the articles way back that covered many other textile arts. They were stimulating and inspiring and I always read them all, regardless of the fact that I don't and will never do many of those arts. I'd love to see a return to that, at least a little bit.


          8. carolfresia | | #42

            Nancy wrote:

            "You say that abt 40% of your readers have embroidery machines, but almost 100% of these responses have asked for NO machine embroidery. That does certainly seem to be a contradictions as you indicated.

            Perhaps those who are emroidering are getting the machine embroidery magazines in addition to Threads? "

            Nancy, I'm beginning to think that's the case!!


          9. rjf | | #45

            I liked the article about the three different versions from one pattern and I especially liked the one you designed.  Too bad you can't wear it!  Did you know that beforehand?  Then I checked out the article on the home page and saw your drawings for your version.  Those sleeves looked interesting...how come they turned out bell-shaped?  Seeing the home page version, I could see the interesting panel that went from bottom of the jacket to bottom of the sleeve.  Do you think that was just for looks or was there some structural issue?  You guys have really opened the flood gates with this (these?) discussions.  It's great.      rjf

          10. carolfresia | | #46

            The side panel from hem to sleeve hem was to build shape and volume through the torso and sleeve--those cut-on sleeves can be kind of restricting without a gusset or panel like this. But what happened with my sleeves was the once we lengthened the original pattern (resulting in the flare you see in the photo--it's more prominent in my version because the sleeve is longer, and the fabric more drapy on the bias), and then tucked out the width in the sleeve hem to narrow it down, was that we got a strange bulge rather than just a straight sleeve (my original intent). I guess an experienced patternmaker might have forseen that, but I didn't! I ended up really liking the flared sleeve anyway--it gave this otherwise pretty classic jacket a slightly different look.

            I had hoped that "my" version would end up fitting me, and indeed, the jacket's just about right (and it's wonderful to wear--very soft and almost sweaterlike), but the skirt, well, I think I'd have to hold my stomach in pretty firmly!


          11. rjf | | #47

            " the jacket's just about right (and it's wonderful to wear--very soft and almost sweaterlike)"

            So you did get to keep it?   Terrific!     rjf

          12. carolfresia | | #48

            Nope, I don't get to keep it (I wish that were one of the perks of working here), but that doesn't mean I haven't tried it on! This spring it will be making the rounds to a variety of sewing expos, where all the Fabrications pieces will be on display. The clothes for the next issue's installment have recently arrived in the office, and they're great, too. This new feature is turning out to be one of the most inspiring we've done for all of us in the office. Well, I'm not sure David Coffin draws his wardrobe inspiration from it, but he seems to be enjoying the general idea.


          13. rzgreen | | #40

            Books in other of Taunton's interest areas (primarily woodworking and homebuilding) are much easier to market, and hence are where our Books group is directing its focus for the moment.

            Hi Carol:  Having sold special interest books (and also done pr) for academic and trade publishing lines, I can say that's probably true.

            The books need to be distributed and sold in a different way, since they are not going to move through traditional distribution venues.  Not impossible, but to keep the sewing going we have to have books, too.  The Taunton books in my sewing library are well thumbed through.

            Your book marketing dept. should be paying attention to the information you are accumulating here--I'm sure many Threads subscribers also spend serious money on their sewing libraries (I know at least one).

            Talking about the kinds of books that are the quality equivalent of Threads articles--I can't see how they are more expensive to produce than other kinds of books of this caliber. 

            If that truly is the case, then we are certainly do for an industry wide shake up so that we can continue to have sewing books for our edification and pleasure.  How are we going to hand down knowledge to the would be sewers and the sewers in training today?

            Thanks for your candid answer, Carol, I am off my soapbox now and into reading the new issue of Threads.


          14. becksnyc | | #58


            I agree that Threads may need to consider how they market these books.  I am also a polymer clay artist, and some of the most respected artists in that field have been turned down flat by the larger publishing companies.  So...they have gone to smaller book makers and marketed thier books on the Internet, in Polymer Clay magazines and through word of mouth, very successfully.

            A book with quality content is NEVER unmarketable.  The interest is out here and so is the money.  The industry just needs to reevaluate the market and methods of reaching it.  This is also true of the big pattern companies, who seem really out of touch with the consumers needs.  But my tiny tirade of that subject is found elsewhere on Gatherings.


      2. Bernie1 | | #43

        Carol: as I mentioned in a previous post, I would like to see more attention to special fitting details, such as more on fitting for petites showing what alterations actual petite models made to their patterns and how alterations may differ among pattern companies. I would also like to see more on couture techniques including hand sewing. I think there are at least a gazillion magazines on embroidery out there and although I own a machine that embroiders I don't think Threads needs to devote space to this, and the same goes for quilting. I, too, would like to see some articles by Cynthia Guffey that explains some of her couture fitting, sewing and special garment techniques.   

  6. EileenB5 | | #27


    Thanks for the easy way to send you my thoughts.  I have been a subscriber for many years and in fact have all of the back issues except for the ones no longer available.  Have you ever given any thought to making them available on CD?  or electonically on your web site?  I often wonder what pearls of wisdom I have missed by not being able to read them.  :>)

    What I like most about you magazine are the articles on fitting and high end construction techniques.  Yours is the only publication that fills this void.  I fear too, that as couture houses find it more difficult to stay in business, these techniques may be lost.  Even though I don't use all of them in my every day sewing, it challenges me to a higher standard.

    Keep up the good work!


    1. callie1 | | #55

      I enjoy the quilting articles.  There are many quilting techniques that can be applied to clothing.  I don't care for the embroidery segments much, but I would like to see an article on free motion embroidery.  I love the varied sizes of models that you use. 

      It seems like the articles are becoming shorter and less in depth.  I would rather see fewer, more thorough articles rather than many articles that just skim a topic.  I'm always dissappointed by the two page short segments that appear. 

      I most enjoy articles about coture techniques.  I would also like to see an article about corset making.  I think this would be very interesting.  I also like the suggestions about theatre costuming articles.  They must have many great embellishment suggestions.

      Thanks for listening.

      1. becksnyc | | #59

        I like your point about the two page spreads.  No time to get meaty in 2 pages--it's just a snack.

        Gimme meat!  :-)

        From reading these posts, it's obvious that Threads readers are well educated and broad minded, creative people.  Dumbing-down to cutsie projects and TV Guide style quickie articles isn't going to work for this demanding group of fiber-nuts!  :-))


        1. FitnessNut | | #60

          Amen! I think you've hit the nail on the head ;-)


  7. TerryG | | #33

    I just got my May 04 issue and immediately saw your request to “tell us what you think about Threads…” You asked, so I’m going to tell you--both the good news and the bad news.


    First, let me say that I am a longtime subscriber and even longer-time reader of Threads. I own every single issue that has been published. My shelf full of Threads magazines is a treasure to me. (I have told my husband that if I die before he does, don’t throw those old magazines away—they are worth a lot of money on e-bay!) For many years I have viewed Threads as the nearly perfect magazine—beautifully designed, intelligently written and the very definition of inspiring.


    Over the years I have loved the articles and found great information and inspiration in them. The pizzazz and creativity have been refreshing and so different from run of the mill sewing and quilting magazines. But over the past couple of years I have seen that sparkling creativity fade into pedantic Home Ec fare. The new issue is the dullest yet. Top-stitching, measuring your patterns, hidden button plackets—yawwwwwn. The pieced striped fabric was the only thing even reminiscent of that old flair, and it was pretty tame.


    It seems that the recent content of Threads is confined to what can be done on a sewing machine. Don’t get me wrong, I love my sewing machine, but I miss, so much, the weaving; the funky crochet, the dyeing; the spinning; the handmade buttons; the myriad ways of printing, stamping, painting fabrics; the clever accessories; the art quilters that you never saw in the mainstream quilting magazines and the ethnic textiles. I felt from the beginning that Threads was designed for those of us who love textiles in all their manifestations. Lately I think it is aiming more directly at tailors and dressmakers and edging the rest of us out. Even though clothing construction has always been a part of the magazine, I see even that aspect becoming more conservative, more classic and less and less creative.


    In reading the other posts, I see that I seem to be in the minority--or maybe I am just speaking for a group that has drifted away from Threads. Maybe it is time for me to move on--but I have honestly never seen another magazine like the old Threads that I loved for so long.

    Terry in Portland, Oregon

    1. becksnyc | | #57

      You took the words right out of my mouth!  The old Threads was the best Threads!


  8. BrendaB | | #36

    I want to congratulate you on an awesome publication.  I find it interesting, inspiring, and educational.  My only complaint is that my subscription arrives too late in Canada.

    The jeans article was fabulous.  My friend and I measured ourselves and ran out and bought the patterns and fabric to make them up.  My friend loved the models and show everyone the picture and says "see she's just like me."  Very nice idea to show real people and not models. I like the fact that both patterns listed are currently in print.  I wish you had given some instruction on how to convert to the capris pants that Sandra was wearing.  Maybe that could be a question to answer "what changes do I need to make to change regular length pants to capri or crop pants."

    Things I'd like to see more of are articles on different sewing machine feet.   I enjoyed the ones you have included in the past but would like a regular column on them.

    I'd also like to see something on:

    -making uniforms (ie for nurses)

    -making fabric bowls (the latest and greatest)

    -making scarfs  (ie with thread or couching yarn.)

    I also enjoy the articles on new patterns for the upcoming season.

    Thread is my favorite sewing magazine and the only one that I subscribe to.  I love it and think you guys do a wonderful job each month.



    1. BrendaB | | #37

      Ok now I've read the other posts and realize most others are interested in tailoring and fine garment construction.  I guess I'm in the majority too because most of it is over my head at this point in time and I only skim those articles.

      As for quilting - I am an avid quilter but don't want to see it in threads unless it is a new technique.

      I also own an embroidery machine but I would rather it was kept to a minimum.  I find lots of the embroidery magazines either "tacky" or "too elaborate" for my taste so I think these articles probably don't appeal to a wide audience.

      My favorite article so far was the one on jeans!!

  9. WendyS | | #41

    Thank you for having the chance to contribute to Threads!  I love your magazine and often get lost looking through back issues while searching for a specific article or topic.

    My favorite articles are on designing your own clothing either by starting from scratch or adapting an existing pattern (good examples are Sarah Veblen articles and the how-to drape a neckline in the current issue).  I also enjoy information on handwork (something I'd like to do more of). I'm least interested in quilting, machine embroidery and home decorating.

    Another thought - would Threads ever have an "Open House" where we could meet staff and contributing writers and go to seminars and workshops? Just an idea...

    Thank you!

  10. HelenH | | #49


    I've been reading with interest many of the comments about Threads.  I particularly enjoy that you cover all areas of sewing (ok...I do sometimes tire of embroidery articles, even though I do have an embroidery machine). There are numerous magazines that just focus on one area of sewing that I hope you will stay a broad-based publication.

    Some articles I skim...others I read and re-read, but even in those I don't think I'll be interested in, I often find just one valuable tip. I am the editor of a quarterly publication with a circulation of more than 40,000 so I know you can't please all of the people all of the time.  I just hope that you'll continue to publish a wide variety of articles related to sewing.  I consider Threads the "top of the line" sewing publication. 

    1. Jean | | #50

      No interest in a Year Book eh?

      1. MarshaK | | #51

        Hi Carol,

        Threads is the best magazine I've found that deals with sewing in all it's forms. I've been a reader since the first issue, and have almost all in my collection. I missed Issue No. 2, anyone out there have an extra copy they'd like to trade? Like many others that have posted their opinions, I'd prefer not to see quilting articles, unless there was a new technique that could be used on garments, I'm into crazy quilting and embellishments, there are more quilting magazines on the newstands than sewing ones. Also, home decor should be kept to a minimum, almost half the channels on TV have a home dec show, and Sew News magazine seems to be moving over to more decorator style articles. Machine embroidery has it's own flurry of magazines and web-sites, I do have an embroidery machine, the Viking Rose, but have barely used it, not for lack of information, but lack of time, there are too many garments I want in my wardrobe that I don't want embroidery on. The article on Manuel and his embroidered garments was excellent, this is what made Threads such a good magazine all these years, information on how the professionals do things, and articles on how we can do these things ourselves. As someone mentioned in a previous post, the articles on how to make buttons, or how fabric is woven or dyed were interesting to read, anything we learn about a new technique of how it's done is a bonus.

        I learned how to sew in the long-ago Home Ec classes, a very strict teacher, for whom a garment with out proper facings just didn't pass muster, now it's difficult to sew a top that has a bias binding at the neck edge or just folded over and sewn down. It's nice to see the techniques that tell us it's Okay to forget what was drummed into us and do it different.

        Finally, Threads on the Road --- Wonderful! I just wish more garments were brought to the show. It's so nice to be able to see how the featured garments from the magazine actually look, and to have a peak at the inner seams and all. The big red bags that are given out are a lovely bonus, wonder if that's a reason we all tend to buy more stuff from the vendor booths? I still haven't received issue 111 or 112, so I'll ask here. Will Threads be in Edmonton at the Creative Stitches and Crafts Alive Show April 2-3?


        1. carolfresia | | #52

          Hi, Marsha,

          Before I forget to mention it, have you seen the video of Manuel's staff embroidering and making the "smile" pocket? If not, go to the Threads homepage, and scroll down the left side--click on "Video tips" to see a listing of the various videos. Most of them aren't more than 5 minutes or so, but the Manuel ones are among my favorites for sheer inspiration.

          I don't see Edmonton listed on this year's shows for Threads, I'm sorry to say, so bring along your bag from last year. I've personally tested these bags on a number of occasions, and can assure you all that they hold a LOT!


          1. MarshaK | | #53

            Hi Carol,

            Yes, I've watched the Manuel videos, those boys are amazing in the way they do the embroidery. I love his line of garments, to the point of buying the occasional copy of the magazine called 'Cowboys and Indians' that have ads for Manuel's jackets, just to be inspired.  

            Thanks for the info that Threads won't be at the Edmonton sewing show, saves me wandering around looking for the booth, although one does find other things of interest while looking.


  11. Merryll | | #69

    Carol, I'm so appreciative of finding this forum, which allows me to pass along a few of my thoughts about Threads.

    The day my magazine arrives is always special--I can't wait to dive into it.  I read it on the treadmill, over dinner, at bedtime and then do it again. It walks around the house with me for a week. When I lived in Tokyo, the arrival of Threads was the highlight of my week.

    My favorite articles are on couture sewing techniques, anything on new products and how they can improve my finished garments, the seasonal pattern reviews, and reviews of how a single technique can be adapted many ways, such as the welt pocket feature you did two years ago. I love high-end clothing and would love to be good enough to produce convincing knockoffs. Armani and Valentino are my favorites, along with Bill Blass. I loved the book reviews, since I need inspiration in whatever forms it comes in. I also appreciate the wonderful illustrations accompanying features.

    I am not intrigued by articles on embroidery or quilting, perhaps because I'm still simmering over HGTV removing its last sewing show, yet there remain many programs on crafts and quilting. Ditto many jazzy publications on these topics. Machine embroidery has its fans, but it's not something which appeals to me. I appreciate the need of artists and others who love all the fiber arts articles and thread dying features you used to run; I know they need inspiration as much as I do, but I get little out of those stories.

    I would love an occasional article on high-end home dec, such as a piece on constructing draperies using heavy bump interlining. Or adapting designer techniques on draperies. Also, since I live in New England, an article on making coats using/adapting couture patterns.

    What I am reminded of as I read this thread was the many hours of pleasure your magazine has given me and others. Tonight over dinner I'm going back to read the first Threads I bought twelve years ago; I'm betting that feature on Chanel skirts is as timely now as it was then. Thanks for trying to feed the differing passions of your readers, and please keep up the good work.


This post is archived.

Threads Insider

Get instant access to hundreds of videos, tutorials, projects, and more.

Start Your Free Trial

Already an Insider? Log in

Conversational Threads

Recent Posts and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |

Threads Insider Exclusives

View All
View All


Shop the Store

View All
View More