Which sewing magazines do you enjoy?

27 Feb

Over the last couple of years, since I started sewing, I’ve read a fair few sewing magazines, and I thought I’d take some time to share my views on some of the different ones I’ve read, and see which ones you all like.

IMG_9108 The sewing magazines that I most commonly see on shelves are Sewing World and Sew magazine. Occasionally I see a copy of Threads, and Burdastyle is sometimes available as well. For a while, when I first started sewing, I read both Sew and Sewing World semi-regularly. At the time, I just wanted to absorb anything sewing-related I could find, and it was before I really discovered the world of sewing blogs.

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Sew was tempting as it often came with a free pattern, which was very exciting (in the days before I had a pretty sizable pattern stash). Sewing World I think I first discovered when I saw a version of Tilly’s Marielle skirt somewhere, which is a pattern she released in an issue of Sewing World. I liked the skirt so much that I tracked down a back issue of the magazine so that I could get it. (Have I made it yet? Erm…)

While I enjoyed reading both of these magazines, I’d find that I’d flick through them, skip over a lot of the articles that weren’t particularly interesting to me, and have read the whole thing (well, the bits of interest anyway) in about 20 mins. At about £6 each, that was a pretty expensive 20 minutes, and I started to think that I’d rather spend that money on a pattern I really wanted, or put it towards a sewing book that I know I would get a lot of use out of. I did used to buy them occasionally – it was a nice treat when I was in Tesco doing the weekly shopping, to be able to pick myself up something sewing-related as well.

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I had a subscription to Sewing World for 6 months, and while I enjoyed them (and even won a pack of Fat Quarters from one of their competitions I entered), I didn’t extend it after that time. The issue I had with these magazines is that they were a bit too general – they covered so many different kinds of sewing, that it was unlikely to ever all be of interest to me. Every issue there’d be a number of home dec projects/ideas for sewn gifts, probably a couple of patterns or things to sew for kids, maybe a men’s pattern, and a ladies’ pattern or two. While I’m not averse to doing a bit of home dec sewing (I’ve got a number of blinds and curtains that I need to sew up pretty soon), it’s not really my main interest. Similarly kids, I don’t have any, and although I may occasionally sew something for a friend’s baby, that is a rarity. Sewing for men – it’s something I’ll probably do at some point (once Marcus lets me know something that he’d like that isn’t a coat!), but again, not my main interest. That leaves a very small proportion of the magazine that is actually about what I am really interested in.

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It’s cute, but I’m just not sure it’s me…

The same applies to more general crafty magazines like Mollie Makes – there just isn’t enough in it than I’m interested in to make it worth me buying it. I do still occasionally pick up Burda Style, but that’s a different class of magazine – more just a collection of patterns rather than having general magazine content as well.

Love Sewing is one I haven’t tried yet – I won a subscription to it at the SewBrum meet up, but haven’t yet received any issues, so I’ll hold judgement on that (and maybe chase them up)!

A few months ago I picked up a copy of Threads at the airport when I was flying to Sicily. I figured it would give me something to flick through on the flight. That magazine kept me entertained for the whole flight – I basically read it cover to cover, and there were a couple of articles in particular that I found especially interesting, and I’m now keen to try out those techniques.

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I love the clear step-by-step instructions of techniques in Threads

I think the main difference that makes Threads so much more enjoyable, is it’s focus primarily on dressmaking. It means that pretty much the entire magazine is of interest to me, and makes it much more worth the money (it also happens to be cheaper than most of the ones I’ve already mentioned. Marcus gave me a subscription to Threads for Christmas, so I’ve now got my fix for the next year – and I don’t have to worry about tracking it down in the shops, which is an issue I had – Threads and Burdastyle don’t seem to be as widely available.

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Yes! This was something I needed!

I would love it (and I know I’m not the only one) if there was a UK equivalent to Threads, although I guess the advantage of reading a US magazine is that all the advertising is lost on me and can’t persuade me to buy anything ;) I noticed this week there is a new sewing magazine on the block – Simply Sewing, which is produced by the same people as Mollie Makes. It will be interesting to see if it fills this current hole in the UK sewing magazine market – I’m sceptical to be honest  – their description seems to imply it includes home dec and embroidery as well, and the sewing special that Mollie Makes produced around Christmas did not seem to be particularly well received – I had a flick through it in the shop and decided it wasn’t worth buying, and I know some people who bought it and wished they hadn’t bothered! But I’ll have a look at Simply Sewing if I come across it in a shop, and see what I think.

So, which sewing magazine you read and enjoy? Do you think there’s still a gap in the market? Do you think there is still a place for sewing magazines given the number of websites and blogs dedicated to the subject? While I could probably find most of what is in a magazine on the internet, I quite like being able to sit down and flick through, and maybe come across something that I wouldn’t have done if I had to look for it on the internet. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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17 Responses to “Which sewing magazines do you enjoy?”

  1. Rebecca February 27, 2015 at 11:53 #

    I’m in the US and it seems like they’re are so many specialty sewing mags, which I love. I did have Sew on my kindle at one point but it was too craft based for me. I have subscriptions to Threads and Vogue Patterns Magazine. I love them both and always read cover to cover. My other favs are Belle Armoire (artistic clothing) and Where Women Create Business mags both by Stamptington. Those ones are much pricier($15US) so they’re my occasional splurge.

    • Kelly February 27, 2015 at 13:52 #

      That’s interesting to hear! Almost all the ones we can get over here seem to be pretty craft based, and it’s a shame! I haven’t heard of those other two – I’ll have to check them out if I ever make it to the US!

  2. Lauren February 27, 2015 at 14:55 #

    I’ve found the same thing, and I’d rather spend the money on a book (which will take me a couple of hours to read) or a sewing pattern/ fabric. I definitely see where you’re coming from about the lack of dressmaking magazines in the UK. I’m going to have to try and track down a copy of threads!

    • Kelly February 27, 2015 at 14:59 #

      It’s such a shame, as sometimes a magazine is nice just to curl up and flick through! I never really sit down and read my sewing books – I tend to use them more as reference, but maybe I should try that! You can generally find Threads in the bigger branches of WH Smith, sometimes they will order it in for you if they don’t stock it. I’ve also managed to get it at airports and train stations, which is handy for long journeys!

  3. Rachel February 27, 2015 at 18:36 #

    You’ve really hit the nail on the head for me – sewing magazines in the UK are too general, or are dominated by adverts rather than any interesting articles and so I’ve only got a couple that I bought when I first started sewing. I’ve been tempted to get myself a subscription to Threads in the past, but I’ve wondered whether it would offer anything more than what I get from sewing blogs. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with Simply Sewing – if it gets good reviews, I might treat myself to an issue!

    • Kelly February 28, 2015 at 17:59 #

      I do like Threads – you could probably get the info from blogs, but as Nicole said below, if you don’t know what you’re looking for, magazines can be a good way of being inspired. By the sounds of it, Simply Sewing is going to be much of the same, which is a shame!

  4. Nicole February 28, 2015 at 13:21 #

    I agree with everything you said. To add, I’ve found that the UK in general is more geared towards craft sewing. I’ve noticed this when searching for dress fabrics and haberdashery. Most stores are stocked with craft material and very little inspiring fashion options. But staying on the topic of magazines, Threads Magazine is by far my favorite one of all. While blogs do help with basic beginner skills, you have to know exactly what it is you want to learn. If you don’t know about a certain technique you can’t search for it. Threads Magazine is great for introducing more advanced techniques I wouldn’t know about. Now I sound like they should be paying me for the advertisement …or free subscription? No?! Oh well 😄

    • Kelly February 28, 2015 at 18:02 #

      Yes, I agree completely about magazines showing you something that you might not have even known you were looking for! And although blogs may sort of do the same, unless it’s something you know you’re interested in, it’s easy to skip past that post, as there are so many to read, but if it’s in the magazine in your hand, you’re more likely to take a look I think! I agree about the craft sewing in general, hopefully now that sewing (clothes) has really taken off, businesses will start to catch up and we’ll find more dressmaking focussed places!

  5. seamsoddlouise February 28, 2015 at 17:41 #

    I have never even seen a burdastyle mag. I have enjoyed the odd copy of sew and homemaker. But I agree just a bit to home dec and quilting for me to read them often. I’ve always enjoyed a magazine curled up on the sofa. But sewing mags are elusive to me.

    • Kelly February 28, 2015 at 18:03 #

      I have found Burdastyle is large WHS shops before, but not every branch. It can be a little hard to come by!

  6. Ruth March 1, 2015 at 22:55 #

    I agree with you – there does seem to be a bit of a gap in the market for a dressmaking magazine in the UK market, but at the same time I increasingly think that reading blogs is replacing the need for magazines for me. I’m coming to the end of a Love Sewing subscription at the moment – I don’t want to disappoint you about your prize but I won’t be renewing the subscription. They’ve had some free patterns that have the potential to be nice, but the samples shown in the magazine always seem to have odd fitting issues that put me off making them!

    • Kelly March 6, 2015 at 11:31 #

      Haha, I promise not to be disappointed! I figured it was actually quite a nice prize, because I wouldn’t have bought it myself, for all the reasons above, but I’ll probably quite enjoy reading some of them. Yeah, I’ve seen some of their patterns in the shop, I wonder how they turn out…we’ll see!

  7. Alice Craftland March 2, 2015 at 06:11 #

    I always buy La Maison Victor since the first number, they have nice pattern.

    Sometimes I bought BurdaStyle, but I am not so much a fan of they pattern, too much alteration to be done to fit my body. And they’re explanation…. well I find them confusing. For the price, 7€, I prefer buying myself an indie pattern.

    And when I have the chance to find a copy of a foreigner magazine, I read Mollie Makes (french version is awfull and I think has been stopped) and Threads.

    • Kelly March 6, 2015 at 11:34 #

      I’ve yet to try a Burdastyle pattern…having to trace the overlapping patterns and add seam allowances always puts me off! I agree with the price – I’d rather buy something that I know I am going to like and use!

  8. Cinderellis March 2, 2015 at 11:58 #

    I got a 3 month trial of Love Sewing for £6, and I have to say that though they’re fun to look through, it’s all rather basic – I think they’re really focussing on content for beginners, which is great, but I don’t feel like I’m in the target audience anymore! I don’t need to have a Q&A page which explains pre-washing or grainlines, though I can imagine it would be really useful if you’re just starting out.
    I did pick up a copy of Threads a few weeks ago, and was so pleased with the content- details of how to pattern match plaids, and getting a couture finish on your handmade clothes… that’s what I want to read! I guess it’s the same argument that’s been doing the blog rounds recently, that there’s an awful lot of patterns and books available for beginner sewists and not as much for a more advanced level.

    • Kelly March 6, 2015 at 11:36 #

      Yes, good point Hannah! I hadn’t really thought of it in terms of skill level, but you’re completely right -I guess they feel like they have a bigger potential audience if they’re aimed at beginners’ rather than more advanced sewists. Maybe as time goes on (and the beginner sewists become more advanced), publishers will decide there is enough of a market for them to produced a more advanced sewing magazine! Fingers crossed!

  9. Nikki April 19, 2015 at 21:57 #

    Hi Kelly, Threads definitely gets my vote. The magazine is great on its own, but they also have a really good website. Having a subscription gives you access to all sorts of archive material and tutorials too.

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