Magazine review — Threads, February/March 2010

Yes, this is being posted in the middle of January 2010. I only just now looked at the actual date of the magazine — seems they’re publishing a bit in advance.

Anyway, with the start of the new year, I’m going to try and write a bit more. I figured one way to do that would be to make some notes about the magazines I read.

So what did I find interesting or useful in this issue of Taunton’s Threads?

Well, right in the very front there’s an advertisement for a sewing and stitchery expo in Puyallup, Washington at the end of this year. I should ask around and see if anyone else is interested in going to that.

Starting on page 22, there’s a nice article about hem support and different types of interfacing for different types of clothing and fabrics.

Some interesting patterns in there Pattern Review section (a regular feature), including a nice vest pattern, Simplicity 2556.

An article about felting wool jersey starting on page 32.

And then starting on page 40 a very interesting article about Madeleine Vionnet, a dress and clothing designer who lived from 1876 to 1975 and who was especially popular during the 1920s and 1930s and the Art Deco and Craftsman movements. She’s considered to be a very influential clothing designer, and a lot of the design they showcased are stunning.

Some of the more interesting points about Ms. Vionnet is that she became very interested in fabrics and would use the properties and drape of a fabric when considering a design. Also, she frequently designed on half-scale models to study how fabric would drape. Instead of darts, she liked to use pintucks to gather or release fullness in fabric. Hand-rolled hems and picot hems were also a couple of her specialties (and the article explains how to create those today).

And a quote that really caught my eye (pg. 42):

But fueled by her ambition, she came to understand that successful design and creation requires more self-mastery than actual education.

I think that’s where I trip myself up a lot of times, spending so much time learning about something I never get around to actually trying it.

Page 46 has an article about using Japanese tailoring techniques for bulk-free collars and lapels. The technique has a lot to do with cutting pieces so there’s slightly more fabric on one piece than the matching piece, and using this to encourage the seam to roll a certain way.

And then (!!!) there’s a long article, starting on page 52, about fabric shopping on the internet. What to expect, how to get swatches, etc. And a whole page’s worth of online fabric stores. This is perfect, because I’ve been considering (and dreading) trying to browse online fabric stores.

After that — and article about a new approach to fitting, using muslins. Very nice, very informative. Starts on page 56. The basic rules are get the muslin to hang straight, either by net loss, net gain, or redistribution. One of those concepts that sounds very simple and self-evident when said, but the application isn’t quite so obvious. Also, a nice way to figure out how to adjust seams when you need to alter the drape but don’t want to make a dart.

There’s still other stuff too — pin weaving, embroidery machines, sweater knits, etc. But the articles about Madeleine Vionnet and the fabric shopping on the internet are the ones that still stick in my mind after I close the magazine.

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