Sunday, April 10, 2011

Stitches Magazine

Years ago when the magazine stand in the Pan Am/MetLife Building in NYC used to carry every sewing magazine under the sun ~ my special treat was to walk there at lunch time and peer through them all.  Then I would carefully select a few to take home with me.  One of those that regularly came home with me was Stitches magazine.


I loved the articles and how they developed wardrobes.  I loved how the editors interpreted the styles for their followers.  It was a different magazine than the American pattern companies' produced.  Back then all of the pattern companies published one (Butterick, Simplicity, McCalls & Vogue) as well as the Burda line (Easy Sewing, Blouses/Tops, Petites, Plus and the monthly Burda World of Fashion) or Threads and Sew News so I really enjoyed Stitches Magazines unique point of view.  As with how the world changes, the newsstand changed hands and stopped carrying as many sewing publications and I could no longer find Stitches Magazine.

After Audrey showed her latest copy of Stitches on her blog and so willing gave up the subscription information, I purchased a subscription for the magazine.  Just this week two new editions arrived in my mailbox.  And now I'm wondering if I was just feeling nostalgic for this magazine or if I was in a different learning curve when I use to buy it.  Because it is a good sewing magazine and it has interesting articles in it, but it didn't move me creatively like I thought it would.

It could just be these two issues - I mean I have 13 more to go! But I was wondering if anyone else subscribes to it and what do you think?  Help me out here...am I missing something?  Did I let my sentimental feelings for the magazine color my reality?  Or do I just need to settle into the groove?

Thanks in advance for any opinions...and as always, more later!

21 comments:

  1. I too used to get Stitches magazine and had a subscription for it. I loved that magazine! I also found it very different than the ones currently available in Canada. However, I let my subscription lapse. I recently saw it on a magazine shelf so I purchased it. It was not the same magazine that I remember either. I'm not sure what it was but it seemed more commercial than it used too. They now have a feature on a makeover every month which isn't interesting to me. So I agree and I no longer purchase Stitches magazine.

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  2. Initially, I was surprised to see Stitches as the subject of this post because you are an advanced sewista I wondered how you would consider the "new Stitches" blog worthy. But reading further it was obvious you felt the same sense of ........ disappointment? Like: What happened?! (God, I hate that kind of feeling.) I don't think it's you, but you're right about things changing/evolving and not being the same as what one was accustomed to. I guess a whole new generation of sewers are coming up and along with it a new generation of magazine editors/staff as well.
    While we're on the topic- are there any back issues of Threads that stand out for you? What patterns companies do you find to be the most helpful or instructive?

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  3. About five or six years ago I decided to splurge on a Stitches subscription just to make sure that I was able to get it regularly. I think I liked the idea of an English language magazine with more "realistic" photo shoots of the garments. (I love Burda whatevertheheckitis but come on, I want to see the garment, not the location or pose.) This was when the SWAP concept was going strong on the web and I thought I might join the crowd. But even within that year I found that my enthusiasm was waning. I liked several of the typical articles, particularly restyling a pattern, something that you are so very good at doing with TNT patterns. But the heavy advertiser based "stories" and things like crocheting and knitting and fashion design schools just wore me down and I didn't renew. I also found that when I did try to follow some specific directions from those articles that I had a hard time with the editing. So I still glance at it while waiting in line at Joann's but almost always resistt the temptation to buy an issue. New patterns in catalogs, that's a different story...

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  4. I haven't picked up a copy in ages. I used to order it regularly online and I loved the wardrobe articles and how everything was fresh and different from what was available here.

    But eventually it got stale and I stopped buying it. I know get Threads, Burda and Ottobre Woman. g

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  5. I have eight copies I've purchased over the last three years. For me Stitches does not warrant a subscription, so I just thumb through them while in Joann's and decide if I need it or not. I feel at times there is too much advertisement and not enough sewing content within the magazine.

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  6. I was very lucky to be given approx 5 years worth of this magazine by a local sewing shop that was closing down and couldn't remember how they had come to acquire them. They run from early 2000 and I found them an interesting read - there are a few articles re SWAP which was a new concept to me!! BUT there isn't anything particularly new, exciting or advanced with regard to patterns and skills.
    Publications change with time but I also think as you grow into a hobby and skills begin to excel it becomes difficult to find anything innovative. Of corse, we can alsways learn more, but once you become a proficient sewer you tend to pass on your skills more than have them passed to you.

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  7. Thank you I thought it was just me. I have purchased a one about six months ago and was really disappointed. It cost about $10.00 so I really felt let down. I felt the same way the last time i purchased Sew News and Threads. After the while the articles seem repetitive and old. I am currently trying Stitch and Vogue Patterns as they seem to have a fresh approach.

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  8. I don’t have a subscription to Stitches magazine; I bought several old copies (10 yrs old) from E-bay. I enjoyed the articles specially the ones on Swap. I think as your level of sewing improves and you go from beginner to advance, some magazines lose their appeal. Your sewing skills have improved (advance level) over time; therefore the magazines may not be meeting your sewing needs. Before it was easy for me to buy sewing books and patterns, but as my skills started to improve I developed the ability to look at a pattern including a vintage pattern style lines, and then will only buy the pattern if the design is unique or if it’s too much of a challenge for me to replicate; otherwise I copy the image of the pattern and save it.

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  9. I have never heard of that one, but don't have many readily available in rural Texas. I quit Threads, not because I am advanced, which I am not, but the tips became repetitive and were also in many other books I have. I couldn't justify the expense. Same with BWOF, patterns were minimally varied. Sew News is too crafty for me. I have purchased a few crochet ones but even those are on the spot, not subscriptions. The quilter ones are repetitive as well, so I also cut those off.

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  10. I used to see Stitches at my local Barnes and Noble, but I haven't seen it in a long time. I've NEVER seen it at Joann's. I have to agree that the last one I bought (maybe a year ago or two) wasn't as good as those I bought in the SWAP era. Maybe the editors changed? I still like Threads, and I think Vogue Patterns has improved a lot lately. And, of course, I love my Fashion Sewing Group Newsletter. I never see the Burda magazines here, either. I guess suburban San Diego is a sewing magazine wasteland!
    Linda

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  11. I do have a subscription to Stitches (every time I consider dropping it they come up with a super wonderful deal) as well as subscriptions to Threads and Ottobre. I like Stitches, and think that they have good articles, but I don't know that I find it particularly inspiring. I do think it's as you say - your sewing skills have advanced to another level. I do find however that I often refer back to previous issues of Stitches, so it must be useful! There are some regular items that I particularly enjoy. And it's an Australian publication, yay!
    I think it must be very difficult for editors to get the mix right to appeal to a broad readership. Particularly for an Australian based magazine where our population and therefore sewing-magazine-buying market is very small.
    If you have plenty of sewing reference books - which I do - you can often find similar articles there. But I still like the Stitches take on things and seeing what they do with patterns. I think it's worth the money (which for me is about the same as buying one coffee and slice of cake).

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  12. Sometimes I pick it up at the newsagent when they have 3 for 1 but I am always dissapointed. I think we have moved on with all the things we can get on the internet and they haven't.

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  13. I've been a subscriber for years and I find some issues are great and others not so. It's put together by two ladies with limited resources and simply can't match the content of a magazine like Threads. Australia is a small population with an even smaller sewing community and I think the shifts and changes in the magazine reflect the need of the editors to try and stay current so they can sell more magazines. I still hold a subscription because I find enough articles in there that are of benefit. I particularly like the articles where they take a pattern and show you how to get variations out of it. It's not perfect, I agree, but in Australia it's cheap (compared to Threads and Burda) and still worth adding to my library each month.

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  14. I love my Australian Stitches magazine. I cancelled my Burda one years ago because of the crowded pattern sheets and a year of designs that just didn't suit me. I was getting Ottobre, but I cut that one out and only get the occasional stand out issue. I get Vogue Patterns, which is alright for a bi-montly sewing news fix (I love their models and photography and couture sewing articles), but I really look forward to Stitches. As an Australian reader, I really like having a magazine just for our sewing industry. When I see an issue of Threads at the newsagents, I never get inspired enough to subscribe, although it is a very polished and professional magazine. The cost is also stopping me too. Sometimes the Aussie readers write in and bag Stitches in the Letters to the Editor pages, and then some people write in with glowing feed back. I guess you can't please everyone. A bonus for us Australian readers is that we can access the shops featured and advertised a lot more easily than you overseas gals.

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  15. I used to have a subscription and was a great promoter of Stitches when I ran Timmel Fabrics and had the SWAP contest going. But, like you, I find the magazine disappointing now. Far too many ads, as another commenter said I have no interest in the make-over which doesn't even include sewing in it, and there just aren't the same in-depth articles that it used to feature.
    Mind you, I find the same thing with Threads, the tips run on forever, and that means less articles by the pros.
    Perhaps they are all trying to appeal to a new readership, one that isn't as into sewing as the readers once were.
    As for Sew News, I quit that one cold turkey; I have no interest in making tote bags, and so many of the projects fall into the crafty category.
    I actually find some of the best stuff in Vogue Patterns home catalog now.

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  16. I buy Stitches, too. Its certainly not in the same league as Threads, but if I look at my collection as a whole, there are some interesting technical articles and inspirations for varying patterns. I like the fact that the trend/pattern info is in the right season (but I am in Australia and I guess for you it will lag behind!).

    The downside is that its quite ad-heavy and I tend to leaf straight past any non-sewing related material. I choose to keep buying the magazine, because I know it needs the ads and extras to stay in production. Rumour has it, that its produced out one of the editor's homes (and some of the photo-shoots do say "loungeroom" to me!)

    Compared to other stitch-based crafts - such as quilting, crochet and knitting - we garment sewers have such a limited selection of periodicals to choose from ... I would hate for one to disappear!

    PS. I buy off the newstand and always receive back copies, which I have kept. If you or any of your readers would like any of these issues, I am sure my long-suffering, space-deprived husband would be very happy if I sent them to new homes. I am happy to mail anywhere. :)

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  17. I just read your comment on Burda Plus, which I also subscribe to. I really like their patterns, but the other day, as I was tracing one off, my husband came in and saw what I was doing. His comment: "How big a brain tumor do those people have? Why don't they put all those patterns on a CD and include it with the magazine? The printer and software that lay out that multicolored large sheet are VERY expensive!" I have to agree.

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  18. I have bought Stitches for years on and off....but over the past couple of years it has disappointed me too. The best part of the mag, IMO, is Eddie Frantz's sketches of fashion, particularly how different ages can wear the same garment.

    I don't think it has anything to do with the size of the Australian sewing community, after all it is available worldwide (compared to NZ Quilter mag which comes from an even smaller population yet is a fantastic magazine), the make overs are getting samey and apart from the fact that they are done by someone who owns a fabric shop it doesn't show any sewing at all.

    I have also cancelled mine and won't go back there again - a shame.

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  19. I don't know a lot about Stitches, and I hate to mention it, but is it possible that the we sewing ladies are older and wiser and don't need the input of such a magazine? I find that of late years MOST magazines are a disappointment, as I have read it all before!

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  20. Hi Carolyn - can I ask a huge favour, please? In the issue on the left - there's an article about a draped top, and that article references a book on draped garments from various world cultures. (Atleast, this is my memory of it?) Could you look up what the name of that book was? I trying to avoid buying the magazine just for the book name... (Hope the unpacking is going well!)

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  21. I loved this magazine but have no idea what happened to it. First, I bought it at the local sewing machine store. When they closed, I got it through Erica's Crafts. Now, no one there even remembers it. The lasgt issue I have is Volume 17, #3. Can you please tell me what happened to it?

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