Thursday, March 12, 2015

Book Review: Techniques for Casual Clothes from Threads

Title: Techniques for Casual Clothes from Threads
Author: Threads magazine writers

Threads web site:
Date: 1994
Publisher: Taunton Press
ISBN: 1-56158-071-6
Length: 95 pages including many graphics and index; subscription card sheet
Quote: “Comfortable, casual clothes...are what we wear most of the time. There’s no better reason to sew than to make such personalized favorites.”
For serious crafters, this book needed an announcement more than a review. Threads is a magazine that’s always packed with informative articles about all the textile crafts. Each article explains a technique and gives a few examples of how to use that technique. Usually the magazine avoids full-sized pattern pages or stitch-by-stitch instructions; writers assume that you’re familiar with the basic techniques of the craft and can figure out how to copy the example piece, or make something different with the same technique, with just a thumbnail sketch of a shape to fold and stitch, an embroidery stitch method or knitting or crocheting stitch pattern.
This book is a collection of articles reprinted from Threads in the 1980s and 1990s. The articles reprinted are “Straight Line Design,” “Marvelous Melton,” “Making Great Strides: how to put a perfect pleat into a straight skirt,” “Buttoning Up,” “Making a Kilt,” “Hand-Felted Jackets for Kids,” “Sophisticated Stenciling:a simple way to print on fabric and clothing,” “The Embellished Vest,” “Clothes to Live one flat-fell swoop,” “Sew Yourself a Sweater: sewing machine solutions for handling textured knit yardage,” “Who Needs Calvin Klein: how to draft and construct a pair of authentic jeans,” “Sewing Workout: fabrics and techniques for constructing stretchy activewear,” “Tips for the perfect Shirt,” “Embroidery with Texture,” “Two Jackets in One: reversibility,” “A Surprising Turn of the Pleat,” and “Sewing the All-Weather Raincoat.”

If you’re not a regular reader of Threads, you may be wondering, “Yes, but can I use these articles?” Some of them, like “Straight Line Design,” in which you tack squares and rectangles together to make drapey shirts, unfitted jackets, and baggy britches, should be easy enough for anyone who can hem a skirt and sew on a button. Sewing a raincoat will be more of a challenge. The explanations will help. If you have not done much sewing you'll probably need help to use the articles.

Collections from magazine archives, like this one, don't qualify as Fair Trade Books. However, Techniques for Casual Clothes is slim enough to fit into the same package with a Fair Trade Book, with no extra shipping charge. To buy it here, send $5 for the book + $5 for shipping to salolianigodagewi @