These Threads Magazine Articles are the ones I turn to regularly for superior results.
My mother sewed clothes for us until we entered Junior High School. She never mastered pants. I have to say that was the only thing because everything else she made was stunning. I particularly remember a blue velvet dress with a lace collar that was the envy of my friends on photo day. She had one sewing book. That was the McCall’s book on the bottom of the stack. It’s okay but it teaches you home sewing.
I started sewing seriously in the 1980s when the fashion was for high waisted pants with short inseams. I hated them. I am a little short waisted with long legs. At the time I lived in Montreal. Wandering through Holt Renfrew I realised that the clothes I wanted to make were the clothes I couldn’t possibly afford. So I set about learning to do just that. I have LOTS of sewing books. All of them have made me a better seamstress and tailor.
Threads Magazine is an invaluable resource.
There are lots of good sewing books and newsletter available. I have found, though, that Threads Magazine is an invaluable resource. My collection goes back to the 1990 5th Anniversary edition. When I am stuck or looking for inspiration there is nothing better than pulling out a random stack and flipping through them.
There are several articles that I turn to again and again.
There are several articles that I turn to again and again. They are useful and/or pushed my sewing to a new level. I am sharing them with you.
In the February/March 1999 Edition 81 the article on 42 “Fabric Lovers Always Carry a Flame” is vital information on determining fabric content. Sometimes a bolt of desirable fabric will have the fabric content as “mixed’. Not helpful at all. You may get given fabric – I was recently given two big mystery bags. You may find a garment that you want to remake with no content information. Can I wash it? Can I dry it? Am I going to crisp it with the iron? What detergent can I use? This matters with silk and wool as the enzymes in laundry detergents designed to break down stains will also break down the proteins in wool and silk.
The burn test is the answer. The chart in this article is invaluable.
In the February/March 1997 Edition 69 the article on page 42 “Draft a Slim Skirt That Fits!” is such a great lesson on how flat fabric becomes a super fitting skirt with just a couple of your measurements. If I have gained or lost weight I draft a fresh pattern in minutes. I can adjust dart length, shape and placement. It’ a terrific sewing exercise and you will never buy another straight skirt pattern again.
In the June/July 2000 Edition 89 the article on page 45 “The Embellished Zipper” teaches you how to use handpicking a zipper to add design elements. My favorite is adding a seed bead to each pick stitch. The revelation was handpicking the zipper. All those years battling zipper insertion with the zipper foot and working to avoid lumps at the bottom, uneven stitching distance, feed dogs pulling the fabric unevenly. Ugh! The list goes on. A hand picked zipper is a thing of beauty. It seems to float with the fabric. It is couture all the way. A hand picked zipper is a thing of beauty. Click To Tweet
Handpicking zippers on a slim skirt is a bit tricky but a recent Threads edition addressed that. June/July 2016 Edition 185, page 72 “The pickstitched lapped zipper.” shows you how to do a pickstitched lapped zipper. We used to disdain hand stitching as homemade but these techniques elevate your garments far beyond the loving hands at home look. We used to disdain hand stitching as homemade but these techniques elevate your garments far beyond the loving hands at home look. Click To Tweet
The final Threads edition has two articles. Total bonus. February/March 1998 Edition 75 on page 64 “No Bulk Envelope Welts” show you how to make beautiful welts that are indeed no bulk and beautiful and gives an excellent tutorial on how to do a single welt pocket. I use this method exclusively for welts. The wool coat in my December 19, 2016 post and the men’s vest I am currently working on. It works with every kind of fabric.
I have saved the best for last. February/March 1998 Edition 75 on page 42 “Pants Pattern Upgrade” shows you how to upgrade your pants pattern and it is the best. The waistband zipper finish creates the most elegant professional results that you can imagine producing. The belt carriers are applied like ready to wear, not the awful sewn into the waistband seam of home sewing. every time I use these techniques I am floored by the beautiful results. A word of warning! The directions are for ladies pants. If you are doing men’s pants you need to flip everything to the other side. When the instructions say right you must do left.
If you have these magazines I recommend taking a look at these articles for easy techniques to upgrade your sewing. You don’t need to be an experienced sewer to use these. These Threads articles help you create the clothes you really want to wear. Click To Tweet Back issues are available from the Taunton Website in the Archives. http://www.threadsmagazine.com/onlinearchive. This isn’t to say that there are not many, many more valuable and useful articles in Threads Magazines. Explore them and find something that works for you. I enjoy the peeks into the couture houses and deconstructing historic garments.
Don’t forget to take a look at my Amazon Finds page for dressmaking and sewing tools that I recommend.