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Subject: Textiles FAQ Part 1 of 2
This article was archived around: 27 Mar 1998 13:02:44 -0800
Last-modified: 27 Feb 1998
Part 1 of 2 of the Textiles FAQ
The following is the first of three lists of Frequently Asked Questions for
the alt.sewing and rec.crafts.textiles.* groups. I plan to use the same FAQs
for all newsgroups as long as most of the questions remain pertinent to both
Like most of us, I don't know all the answers, I've just collected the wisdom
of the net. Many of these answers have been culled for postings over the last
year or so. Many regular posters have contributed to this list through their
postings and e-mail. Any additions or comments are appreciated and can be
mailed to me.
firstname.lastname@example.org (Lara Fabans)
(c) All the material in these faqs are copyrighted by the owner
of the FAQs (which may change). Free use is encouraged. These
FAQs are not to be reused for profit. This copyright must be
kept with the FAQ used in it's entirety.
The first list concentrates on general sewing questions and supply information
and restoring antique sewing machines. The second list concentrates on
costuming and historical clothing. The third posting contains a list of books
that cover sewing, fitting and pattern drafting.
Some of these answers are fairly lengthy so I have used "ctrl-L" between the
different questions in this FAQ. Note: within the "rn" news reader you can
at the "More --##%--" prompt to go directly to question 1).
Questions addressed in Part 1:
1) Where can I discuss xyzzy (weaving, spinning, flower arrangements,
2) Where can I get material for Outdoor Gear or Activewear?
3) What's the best brand of sewing machine or serger?
4) What are the addresses of various places? (i.e. mailorder catalogs, etc.)
Questions addressed in Part 2:
5) What are the best periodicals and sources for Heirloom Sewing (also known
as French Hand Sewing) projects?
6) Where can I get natural fabrics by mail order?
7) I've just been given my Great Grandmother's sewing machine.
Can anyone help me fix it or restore it?
8) Where can I hook up with people to exchange quilt blocks?
9) How do I hem jeans?
10) What are available for children's sewing? (ie patterns, fabric, etc)
11) What are the various patterns available? (paper, computer, services, other)
12) What are the best scissors? What are the rotary cutters? What
are the electric cutters?
13) What are Dress Forms and how do I get them?
14) Where can I get an up to date copy of this FAQ?
1) Where can I discuss xyzzy (weaving, spinning, flower arrangements, dyeing
There are nine newsgroups for various handcrafts. The original group
alt.sewing Sewing: clothes, furnishings, costumes,etc.
rec.crafts.textiles.yarn Yarn making & use: spin, dye, knit, weave etc.
rec.crafts.textiles.needlework Any form of decorative stitching done by hand.
rec.crafts.textiles.sewing Sewing: clothes, furnishings, costumes, etc.
rec.crafts.textiles.quilting All about quilts and other quilted items.
rec.crafts.textiles.misc Fiber and textile crafts not covered elsewhere.
rec.crafts.marketplace Small-scale ads for craft products of all kinds.
rec.crafts.textiles. marketplace Small-scale ads for textile products.
rec.woodworking Woodworking of all sorts
rec.crafts.jewelry Jewelry making
rec.arts.theatre.stagecraft Costume making, set making, lighting, etc.
rec.org.sca Period costume making, period culture
Below are the charters for the groups that have charters && ones that
I actually have. If someone could forward me the charters for the other
groups, I'd really appreciate it.
CHARTER: This group will be for discussions about all aspects of yarn
production and use not covered by other newsgroups. This would cover
selection and preparation of different fibers, their properties, and
what to do next such as dye, card, spin, felt, knit, crochet,
nalbinding, weave, some kinds of rug hooking etc....
Discussions might cover color theory and other aspects of
design, pattern drafting, fit, specific finishing techniques,
supplies and equipment, historical aspects etc.
CHARTER: This group will be for discussions about needlework, as defined by
'any form of decorative stitching done by hand'.
Included will be all variations of stitchery: stamped embroidery,
counted thread stitching, and canvas work, including needlepoint.
Discussion might cover different kinds of canvases and fabric grounds,
flosses, needles and other supplies, pattern design, marking,
and finishing etc.
CHARTER: This group will be for discussions about all aspects of sewing,
not covered by other newsgroups, whether for for clothes, home
furnishings, outdoor equipment, costumes, etc. Technical aspects
include pattern drafting and fitting, different fabrics, notions,
useful books, workshops and shows, inspiration, sewing machines,
sergers and other hardware, etc.
CHARTER: [unchanged] This newsgroup is for discussing anything related to
quilting. That includes piecing, applique, and tyeing and quilting
by hand or machine. Discussions may cover techniques, supplies,
equipment, drafting of patterns, templates, dyeing materials,
artistic approaches, exhibitions, shows, books and other
references, mail order resources, dating quilts and appraising quilts.
Discussions may include quilts and quilting both past (historical
quilting) and present, ethnic quilting, quilts to be used in a
home, quilted clothing to be worn, as well as quilts created
for display and any other piecing or quilting applications.
CHARTER: [list of appropriate crafts deleted, as this changes too much]
This newsgroup is for discussing all fiber and textile related
interests that are not covered by another rec.crafts.textiles
group. Discussions may cover techniques, supplies and
equipment, drafting of patterns, artistic approaches, exhibitions
or shows, books or other references. Textiles includes both
textiles to be worn or used in the home or textiles created
CHARTER: This group will get all the ads for fiber, fabric, crafts supplies
and so on that otherwise would clutter the other rec.crafts groups.
This should preferably be restricted to individuals or very
small companies who really can't afford other advertising.
CHARTER: This group is for selling, buying, trading, and "jobs offered/sought"
postings related to textiles and any of the textile arts.
Announcements of textile and textile arts business's web pages are also
welcome. Individual, one-time transactions are welcome in this group,
as are commercial advertisements.
"Continuing" or repeat advertisements are subject to the following
1. Continuing/repeat ads must not be posted more often than once
per two week period.
2. Continuing/repeat ads must contain a Subject: line which is
identical to the original.
3. Continuing/repeat ads should include an expiration date which
must be no more than two weeks after the date of posting, and/or
or make use of the supercedes header.
Advertisers and ads which require lots of space, multiple postings for
individual products, or repeated postings, are strongly urged to
consider shorter, less frequently reposted, combination ads directing
further respondents to email, web pages, mail, telephone, FAX, etc.,
instead, for further information. Postings about non-textile and
non-textile-arts related products, services and jobs are not welcome
in this group.
End of Charter Stuff
Fibernet is a bulletin board run by Ron Parker in Henning, Minnesota. It's a
pretty active boards--there's usually 30-50 messages a week posted, mostly on
spinning, weaving, knitting and dyeing. The phone number is 218-583-4337; the
modems handle 1200-14,400 baud, 8N1. There are no charges for using the
bulletin board and there is a program to allow you to upload and download
files to read at your leisure for maximum efficiency. In addition to the
bulletin board Fibernet provides access to several Usenet newsgroups as well
as lots of fiber-related software available for downloading - includinf
freeware, shareware and demos of commercial products.
For a packet of information about FiberNet send a SASE to Ron Parker, Rt. 1,
Box 153, Henning, MN. If you send him $5.00 and the details about which
computer you use, he'll send you a disc with the off-line reader and other
good stuff on it. If you have any questions, his voice line is (218)
583-2419, between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. central time.
Fibernet is echoed on two satellite nodes: Alaksa Pirate Society in
Anchorage, AK at 907-248-9364 and 9365, sysop Patti Johnson; and
Some Sunny Day BBS in Connersville, IN at 317-825-5044, sysop Steve
Read. Both BBSs accept calles at up to 14,400 bps
Fibernet BBS is happy to announce a new node in the San Francisco Bay
Area. It is The Kitchen Table BBS, Rachel Holmen, sysop, and can
be called at 510-547-7747. The Fibernet messages are in message
areas 21 and 22.
Fibernet has a mailing list
Send email to email@example.com
In the subject and/or the body of the mail, put
The Kitchen Table joins the following net nodes:
The Alaska Pirate Society BBS, Anchorage, AK at 907-562-9364 and 93565
Some Sunny Day BBS, Connersville, IN at 317-825-5044
The Funny Farm BBS, Lake Villa, IL at 708-548-2576
The above nodes and Fibernet at 218-583-4337 have to be dialed direct
via modem. Sorry, no Internet access.
There is a BBS called Arachne's Web in Alexandria, VA. They are under
new management. The phone number is 703-425-7748. Arachne's Web is free.
The Seattle Textile Computer Users Group publishes a newsletter called
"Fiberbits", where they review software available for all types of textile
work - sewing, cross stitch, knitting, quilting, weaving, you name it. As of
1994, the subscription price may be $18/year.
P. O. Box 17506
Seattle, WA 98107
Also, I just got email about the Global Textile Network, Inc. at
Jeffrey Silver firstname.lastname@example.org
Robert Cox, Jr. email@example.com
New York, NY (212) 244-2050
Maurice Ephrati firstname.lastname@example.org
Also, there is a weaving list that discusses dyeing, spinning and (of course)
weaving. Subscribe through listserv at email@example.com
with the word subscribe in subject/body of your email.
There is a listserv maillist called CRAFTS-L available from BIGVAX.ALFRED.EDU.
For more information you can send the command "HELP" in the *body* of a mail
message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ashford-Spinners (mostly Ashford wheels) - e-mail to email@example.com
with anything in Subject: and either 'subscribe ashford-spinners' or
'subscribe ashford-spinners-digest' as the message, or subscribe on line
at www.bolis.com Susan Druding owner, firstname.lastname@example.org or
A Thing for String (fibers, beads) A moderated newsletter from user
submissions, which will include personal ads. e-mail to
Shopper@craftwolf.com to be placed on the mailing list. Include the
following in your message.
Your Full name:
Business Name :
E-Mail Address where to send ATFS:
Where did you learn about A THING FOR STRING:
Indicate your choices to be on the list for:
All subjects, Fiber & Yarns, Spinning & Weaving, Supplies: Beads & Jewelry,
Spinning & Weaving, Machine Knitting, Sewing & Serging, OTHER CRAFTS:
(list), YOUR PERSONAL WISH LIST includes: (like a bridal registry list of
gift to you things)
Beads (beading, beadmaking) e-mail to BeadInfo@craftwolf.com
indicating your preference for the Beads-list or Beads digest format.
Wheat Carr owner, WanderingWolf@Craftwolf.com, Wheat@craftwolf.com
Cards-L (tablet weaving list, with an SCA emphasis) - e-mail to
email@example.com with 'SUB CARDS-L YOUR_FIRST_NAME YOUR_LAST_NAME'
as the message or on line at http://www.mtsu.edu/~kgregg/SCA/cards.html
Kendall Gregg owner, AKA Ronane Blackwell, firstname.lastname@example.org or
Crochet-L (crochet list) e-mail to email@example.com
with 'subscribe crochet' as the message. Deb Arrowood owner,
CrochetPartners-L (crochet list) e-mail to Majordomo@lists.teleport.com
with 'subscribe crochetpartners-l Your Real Name and Email Address' or
'subscribe crochetpartners-l-digest Your Real Name and Email Address' as
the message. Rae French owner, firstname.lastname@example.org
Feltmakers (felting list) e-mail to majordomo@maillist.PEAK.ORG with
'subscribe feltmakers' as the message. Patricia Spark owner,
Knitting (more off-topic chatty than KnitList) e-mail to
email@example.com with 'subscribe knitting' as the message. Rob
McKenzie owner, firstname.lastname@example.org
Knit (the big knitting list) e-mail to email@example.com with
'subscribe knit' as the message. Amy B. Detjen owner, firstname.lastname@example.org
KnitDesign (knit sizing and design, fairly technical) Teri Pittman is
the owner. At present, it is an automated list for mailing, but Teri manually
adds and unsubscribes people. Anyone interested in being added to the
list should write to Teri at email@example.com." Important Note: post messages
to KnitDesign@xws.com - the uppercase K and D are needed.
Lace (lacemaking) e-mail to Majordomo@panix.com with 'subscribe lace Your
Real Name and Email Address' or 'subscribe lace-digest Your Real Name and
Email Address' as the message. firstname.lastname@example.org
Machine-Knit (machine knitting) e-mail to email@example.com
or, for the digest version, firstname.lastname@example.org, with the word
'subscribe' as the Subject: Amy Stinson owner, email@example.com
Plastic Canvas (P-C needle arts) e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with
subscribe plastic-canvas or subscribe plastic-canvas-digest as the
Cheryl Perkins owner, email@example.com.
Quiltart (quilting) e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with
subscribe quiltart or subscribe quiltart-digest as the message.
Judy Smith owner, email@example.com
Rabbits (lots of show, but some fiber) The rabbit email newsletter is
Showbunny@aol.com Subscribers just email to there and ask to be added
on. A large number of Angora Rabbit folks are on the list.
Sewing (all sew topics) e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with 'subscribe
sewinglist' or 'subscribe sewinglist-digest' as the message. Julie Page
owner, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
sheep-L (sheep husbandry, health, wool, etc.) e-mail to
email@example.com with 'subscribe sheep-L' as the message.
Torbjorn Wictorin owner, Torbjorn.firstname.lastname@example.org or
Tabletweaving (tablet weaving) e-mail to email@example.com with
'subscribe tabletweaving' or 'subscribe tabletweaving-digest' as the
message or on line at www.bolis.com Ron Parker owner - on behalf of
TWIST (Tablet Weavers International Studies and Techniques), formerly called
TWINE. firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
TechKnit (on-topic knitting and spinning discussion) e-mail to
firstname.lastname@example.org with 'subscribe techknit' or 'subscribe
techknit-digest' as the message. Lois Baker owner, email@example.com
Weaving (mostly weaving) e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with 'subscribe
weaving' or 'subscribe weaving-digest' as the
messsage. Amy Norris manager AmyFibre@aol.com
The knitters is a hand knitting list and full of very nice people.
It's address is email@example.com The list person is Vivienne Shen at
Historic Costume Maillist:
Send an email to the above contact with
subscribe h-costume your-first-name your-last-name
in the body of the message.
Purpose: This list concentrates on recreating period clothing, from
the Bronze age to the mid-20th Century. Its emphasis is on accurate
historical reproduction of clothing, historical techniques for
garment construction, and the application of those techniques in
modern clothing design. Other topics appropriate for discussion
include adapting historical clothing for the modern figure, clothing
evolution, theatrical costumes, patterns, materials, books, and
sources for supplies.
Vintage Clothing And Costume Jewelry Maillist:
Purpose: The purpose of this list is to discuss existing vintage
clothing and vintage costume jewelry, of all eras. "Existing" is
the key word here, and conversations concentrate on how to find such
clothing and jewelry, where to buy it, how to judge its quality, how
much to pay for it, how to wear it, etc. Some restoration topics,
such as how to use parts of damaged goods in other garments or jewelry
settings are suitable topics, too. Announcements for estate sales,
advertisements for sale or wanted, and pointers to shops are all
welcome on this list.
Subscribing to vintage:
Mail firstname.lastname@example.org with the following message in the body:
subscribe vintage <firstname> <lastname>
Vintage page on the WWW:
The main purpose is to make the old archives publicly available, but
there are links to lists of vintage clothing stores, resources, etc.
Wearable Art Clothing Maillist:
Purpose: The Wearable Art Clothing mailing list discusses the design,
motivation and execution of wearable art and designer-type original
clothing. Create your own unique look or use existing patterns.
Your imagination is your only limitation! The emphasis is on the
Fantasy Costume Maillist:
Purpose: This list concentrates on the creation of fantasy costume
of all eras: past, present and future. The imagination is your only
limitation. Discussions concentrate on design, motivation and
execution of fantasy clothing, costume, or wearable art. Suitable
topics include techniques of abstraction, theatrical costumes,
serious Halloween and Mardi Gras costumes, mythological and other
non-factual historic-type costumes, incorporating mixed media,
creative and motivational forces, using and finding patterns,
materials, books, and other sources for supplies.
2) Where can I get material for Outdoor Gear or Activewear?
The Rain Shed
707 NW 11th
Corvallis, OR 97330
- Also carries reflective fabric and patterns for windsocks.
The Green Pepper
3918 West First Avenue
Eugene, OR 97402
- Also carries neoprene fabric.
2525 River Rd.
Grand Junction, CO 81505
- Also carries down, and down kits.
Outdoor Wilderness Fabrics
2511 Latah Drive
Nampa, ID 83651
- Will do wholesale prices if large purchase.
- No additional information.
N&M Custom Zips
South Norwalk, CT 06856
- No phone number was listed. They have 3' zippers. Send a self-addressed stamped
envelope for price info and order form.
Rose City Textiles
- Lots of active & outerwear fabrics
3878 Bridge Way N
- canvas, gor-tex, polarplus, etc.
134 NW 8th
800-234-6688 or 503-222-3817; FAX 503-222-9120.
$2.00 for nursery/craft catalogue.
Mastercard, Visa, UPS an Fed Ex.
- They sell outdoor fabrics and also patterns. They
do sell by mail order.
Sewing Sampler Productions
PO Box 39
Springfield, MN 56087
(800) 772-5011 or (507) 723-5011
- Nylon Supplex
Sew Natural Fabrics by Mail
521 N. Essex Drive
Lexington Park, MD 20653-1652
They provide regular mailings of catelogs. To subscribe, send $2.
NOTE: I just got off the phone with Pam (the owner) who will be sending
yours truly (the faq-keeper) a sample catelog! I'll update this when I
UPDATE: The fabrics are WONDERFUL. Quite a wide variety between "adult"
fabrics and children's fabrics. I highly recommend getting a mailer. She
has a brochure that describes the fabrics and then has two sets of swatches
stapled together. I haven't ordered anything yet since my husband put me
on a budget (sigh).
Narain's Outdoor Equipment
- They are in Berkeley next door to REI. They carry Gore-tex,
but they are not mail order.
- Near Mass/NH border. Factory outlet store with large
discounts on PolorPlus (Synchilla) and PolarLite.
New Hours as of 10/30/96:
Mon - Wed - Thurs. 10-5
Tues. - Fri. 10-3
not open on the weekends.
As far as I know, they still don't do mail order.
Pennine Outdoor Tel: 01484689100
Yew Tree Mills Fax: 01484681783
They also export cloth, etc; export price list available on request.
They also sell a few patterns for outdoor clothing, zips and other sewing
Tor Outdoor Pursuits
3 Fryer Sreeet
They are both good and the service is rapid. Pennine have slightly more
variety and are somewhat more expensive.
Textile Outfitters Inc.
(see question 6 below)
Linda's Speciality Fabrics
24 Mail Street
- We sell Ultra Suede products. We have over 60 colours of UltraSuede in
regular and light, and leather and related products. Swatches are $5.00
refundable. We accept mastercard and visa.
MD Textile Services
Phone and Fax 1-403-473-2587
Cell Phone 1-403-975-0381
-> Free catelog. Supplies sold at wholesale anywhere in the world.
Volume Discounts. Specializing in outdoor materials:
Plastic buckles and hardware, Metal buckles and hardware, Webbing consisting
of Polypropelene, Nylon,and Cotton, Seatbelt Webbing, Canvas, Clear and
Tinted Platic, Industrial Vinyl, Industrial Nylons for making sports bags,
There are two locations in Edmonton:
4455 - 99 Street
13704 - 113A Street
- Carries an excellent selection of fleeces, outerlayer fabrics (including
windproof, downproof, and water-resistant fabrics), and all the accessories
you could imagine to complement them. These include: two-way zippers in
many lengths, cords for waist, hood, or jacket bottoms, all manner of
closures, and much more. As well, they carry their own line of specially
designed outerwear, and fleece patterns. I have found the staff to be
knowledgable and helpful.
Also, here is from the horse's mouth:
"We design two complete lines of outerwear garments each year and show these
designs across Canada and the United States at various sxewing trade shows. We
also give sewing classes in our designs across the country. For the more avid
sewer we give sewing retreats several times throughout the year in Edmonton,
As well, there is a wholesale office; the phone number for which is:
(403)973-3516, or fax: (403)973-6216. In the US, use 1-800-311-7433
And you can email email@example.com
And a new WWW site:
Books and Articles:
Article by Rochelle Harper in Threads #25 (Oct/Nov 1989) on making a copy of a
Article in Threads #19 about different water resistant fabrics. Also
discusses copying a London Fog raincoat.
Artile in Threads #46 about making a mid-weight raincoat with a zip-out lining.
_Sew and Repair Your Outdoor Gear_ by Louise Lindgren Sumner, published by the
Mountaineers, copyright 1988, $14.95 (paper) ISBN 0-89886-057-1.
An article in Sew News July 1991 about sewing boat covers mentions three
books: _Big Boat of Boat Canvas_, _Complete Canvas Workers Guide_, _Canvas and
Rope Craft_. Available from:
For making windsocks the following is also available from Daisy Kingdom:
Let's Make Windsocks
By Valerie J. Lund
Copyright date 1989
Central Coast Creations
P.O. Box 3643
San Luis Obispo, Ca. 93403
Fabric for kite making from the FAQ for rec.kites.
Into the Wind, 1408 Pearl Street, Boulder, CO 80302
Go Fly a Kite, P.O. Box AA, East Haddam, CT 06423
Hang-Em High Fabrics, 1420 Yale Avenue, Richmond, VA 23224
See the FAQ in rec.kites for many more recommendations about books and sources.
3) What's the best brand of sewing machines or sergers?
This question comes up frequently and there are many many answers. This
summary mentions some of the names that have come up repeatedly, it is not an
For sewing machines, Bernina, Pfaff and Elna are all considered top of the
line sewing machines. However the top of the line new machines start in the
$1500+ range (with list prices typically more) which puts them out of reach of
Note that many high-end dealers are willing to "bargain" with prospective
buyers so it can be helpful to shop around and carefully compare packages,
particularly in large cities that have substantial competition. (The process
is often compared with the sort of "dealing" that is typical when purchasing a
new car.) Because the margins can be very high, sales or special deals may
have discounts as high as 50%.
For people with a much lower budget a number of people have recommended the
Bernette or Pfaff Hobbymatic. In the medium range Viking/Husquevarna has been
recommended several times. Also a number of people have spoken highly of the
New Home machines (e.g. the Memory Craft 5000 and 9000) which tend to be as
much as $600 cheaper than the comparable Bernina, Pfaff and Elna models yet
have almost as many features.
Sew News has a regular column that includes reports about different sewing
machines and sergers. The June/July 1991 issue of Threads includes an article
discussing a reader's survey. This article discusses the best machines
available under $300 and buying a used machine. The Novemeber / December 1991
issue of Vogue Patterns lists many of the features of the high end
computerized sewing machines, including machines from Baby Lock, Bernina,
Necchi, New Home, Pfaff, Singer, Viking and White. This article is a good
place to start when comparing the high-end machines. The October / November
1992 issue of Threads includes an article explaining the differences between
mechanical, electronic and computerized sewing machines.
Many people favor buying a high end used sewing machine, particularly the
1950's and 1960's Singers (model 400 and 500 series) or a used Bernina, Pfaff
or Elna. You can often purchase these from dealers in any reasonably large
city. For example, I purchased a Singer Model 400 from the early 1960's for
about $150 in Seattle in 1990. The older machines usually don't have
specialty embroidery stitches, but they often are extremely well made and sew
well with a wide variety of material. Machines made in the 50's and 60's may
not have a stretch stitch; you may need to use a zig-zag when sewing knit
materials or activewear. If you sew alot of clothing, pay particular
attention to the buttonholer on the used sewing machine.
A serger is a machine that produces a number of special stitches. Some people
use the name "overlock machine" instead of "serger"; they are equivilent. If
you look at the inside leg seam on a pair of commercial pants you will
usually find a seam that has been finished with a zig-zag like stitch that
binds the edges of the seams. This seam was produced with a serger.
A serger is useful for many tasks, including a) sewing and finishing a seam in
one step, b) sewing knits (sergers naturally produce stretch stitches), c)
making a small, neat, rolled edge on items like table cloths, napkins, or
simple curtains and d) sewing *very* *very* quickly! People who have sergers
often swear by them. You cannot *replace* a sewing machine with a serger
since a serger can never do things like buttonholes and is not really
appropriate for tasks like topstitching or tailoring.
Home sergers are a fairly new invention; they've been available since the mid
1970's and have gained popularity rapidly since the mid-80's. There have been
many changes in home sergers in the past few years. In addition to the
high-end brands mentioned for sewing machines, many people have been happy
with Babylock, Hobbylock, or White sergers.
>From the April 1995 issue of Sew News magazine:
Update Newsletters and Sew News magazine have teamed up to offer
you companion references: "Serger Update: What to Buy and Why?"
and "Sewing Update: What to Buy and Why? A Generic Guide to Buying
Or Upgrading" and the "1994/1995 Serger Comparison Chart" and the
"1995/1996 Sewing Machine Comparison Chart". These unbiased
references provide everything you need to know - from basic serger
and sewing information checklists to model/brand sepecifications
and accessory options - for making the correct serger and sewing
machine choices for you.
To order, send $5, plus a business-size, self-addressed, stamped
envelope with 64 cents postage for each packet (specify serger or
sewing machine); or send $3 for each buying guide or $2 for each
comparison chart, plus a business-size, self-addressed, stamped
envelope to Sew News Machine Offer, Box 1790, Peoria, IL 61656.
Please make your check or money order payable to Sew News.
The charts are somewhat limited. They list a few sewing machines
for each brand. Same for the serger chart. Just a checklist of
features, no recommendations. You have to decide what's best for
your sewing/serging needs.
The "What to Buy and Why?" newsletters are very helpful in explaining
different features and options. It also trys to help you identify
what type of sewer you are (simple, just mending all the way up to
curious experimenter). Included in the newsletter is a very useful
checklist for you to use when you go hunting for the best machine for
you (copy the checklist for every machine you look at). There is also
a rating system on the checklist, "how important is this feature to your
4) What are the addresses of various places?
Note: Unless noted otherwise, all addresses and phone numbers are in the USA.
Threads & Folkwear Patterns
63 South Main Street
Newtown, CT 06470-9959
(203) 426-8171 (front desk: ask for ordering or subscription;
for problems ask for customer service)
$24/year in Jan 1992 for Threads, 6 issues per year; $2 for a Folkwear
catalog. Taunton publishes quite a few books, including several books that are
collections of Threads articles.
NOTE: BIG NOTE!!! Big disclaimer. Big latebreaking newstory:
The Tauton Press has decided to sell their Folkwear pattern business.
They say that, for now, they'll continue to sell Folkwear patterns to the
public (they're just not going to develop any new ones, or reprint any old
that sell out.) Once (or if) the business is sold, they'll announce the
new ownership in Threads Magazine.
Ars Textrina: The Art of Weaving
Charles Babbage Research Centre
P.O .Box 272, St Norbert Postal Station
CANADA R3V 1L6
Research journal of white papers pertaining to textiles including history of
textiles, study of textile machines, economics in the textile industry,
anthropological studies, aesthetics, the use of textiles in the theature or
as a substitute for paintings, and textile conservation.
(for more information, you can email Craig_Swistun@MBnet.MB.CA)
PO Box 2349
San Marcos, CA 92079-9806
$25/year, 4 issues per year; $40 for 2 years
Piecework & Handwoven
201 East Fourth Street
Loveland, CO 80537
(303) 669-7672 8-5 Mountain time
- Piecework magazine, Handwoven magazine and another spinning magazine
(Spin-Off?). Publishes quite a few books for weavers, spinners and dyers.
PO Box 3134
Harlan, IA 51537-3134
Subscription or problem with subscription: 515-247-7569; FAX: 515-246-1020
Advertising or other concerns: 309-682-6626
$17.83/year in Jan 1992, 12 issues per year (no longer in newspaper style)
Textile Fibre Forum
The Australian Forum for Textile Arts
PO Box 38
Queensland, Australia, 4061
Three times a year; Basketry, Papermaking, Knitting, Weaving etc. as well as
teaching and making a living in the crafts.
153 So.Dean St.
Englewood, NJ 07631
Burda: $60/year, 12 issues; $6/sample issue. A number of other Burda
magazines for sewing and knitting (including kids, full figure, etc). Each
issue of Burda contains many (20+) patterns that you can trace and make. The
pattern sheets were re-designed in summer 1992 for better layout and more
consistant sizes (e.g. each pattern available in 4 or 5 sizes; several
patterns on a special "snip and sew" sheet, etc). The sewing directions are
somewhat terse with minimal illustrations; patterns do not include seam
allowances. Send for a sample issue to see if you like the format.
Altoona, PA 16603
Approx $14 for 6 issues; each issue includes a 2-for-the-price-of-1 pattern
coupon (plus $2 for shipping and handling)
PO Box 569
Altoona, PA 16603
Approx $9 for 4 issues; each issue includes a 2-for-the-price-of-1 pattern
coupon (plus $2 for shipping and handling)
PO Box 3325
Manhattan, KS 66502-9917
Approx $10 for 4 issues; each issues includes a free pattern coupon ($1.50 for
shipping and handling).
- Simplicity Pattern company is now offering two auxilliary catalogs for sale
through the fabric stores - Childrens and Home Dec. Later this spring, they
hope they will be taking information for home catalog subscriptions which they
hope to deliver in the Fall of 1996.
Sewing related notions:
PO Box 683-BK5
Beaver Dam, WI 53916
Business Line: 414-887-0391
- Free catalog. Runs specials on prices and shipping several times a year.
Check the order form and read the catalog to be sure to find the discounts.
Excellent, thick catalog. Also sells and rents sewing videos.
1909 SW First Ave.
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33315-2100
(800) 772-2891; M-F 8:30 - 5:00 EST
- Catalog costs $2, but they offer it free during certain times of the year.
Great place to find tailoring notions. Most prices are discounted 10-20%
under retail prices.
The Craft King
PO Box 90637
Lakeland, FL 33804
- Free catelog. Contains craft supplies. (ie paint, fimo, canvas, yarn)
MicroComputer Accessories, Inc.
Los Angeles CA 90066
(A Rubbermaid Company)
-These folk sell those wonderful vacuum cleaner attatchments that are
so very useful for cleaning out sewing machines and sergers. There is no
name, just Vacuum Cleaner. It is electric, and comes with a long nozzle,
a nozzle tip brush and a general cleaning brush. It has a small collection
chamber lined with a filter, which collects the dust.
The Perfect Notion
566 Hoyt Street
Darien, CT 06820
- Catalog costs $1. Has a good collection of helpful and hard to find
notions. [As of April 1993, Perfect Notion may be for wholesalers only. Call
before you order.]
Atlanta Thread and Supply Co.
695 Red Oak Road
Stockbridge, GA 30281
- Catalog is free. Great supply of threads, especially of large serger cones.
Offers professional/industrial pressing equipment and sewing machines. Hard
to find drapery notions. Great if you sew for the home.
K. Gottfried, Inc.
959 North Main St
Providence, RI 02904,
-Ask for Emily. They specialize in Imitation jewelry stones. They have chez
and Swarofski crystals, findings for the backs, flat and regular. Sell pearls,
beads, square, oval, heart, pendants, etc.
Thread Discount Sales
10222 Paramount Blvd.
Downey, CA 90241
Fax (310) 928-1064
- No catalog, but offers free info sheets on heavily discounted sewing
machines, sergers and threads. As of 1/92, machines are available only for
Calif residents (sorry!). Thread available nationwide. Great if you want a
bargain. Some industrial sewing machines available. They also have a
few discounted Singer Sewing Reference Library books (Sewing with an
Overlock and Sewing Projects for the Home). They also have a serger
carrying case and a mini vacuum attachment kit.
The Thread Shed
P. O. Box 898
Horse Shoe, NC 28742-0898
- cotton thread in large cones for quilting. Many colors, 2000 and 6000 yard
1079 Third Avenue
Chula Vista, CA 92010
- Charges for their very thick catalog, but they'll sometimes send it
out free anyway (just ask!). Excellent place to get all kinds of
pressor feet for your sewing machine. They'll design and make any
pressor foot you can imagine. Reasonable prices. They also offer a
unique, giant cutting board set-up. Catalog costs $4.95 (Dec '93) and
contains a wealth of hints and tips on sewing. The Sewing Emporium is a
source of large cutting mats at reasonable prices (they make their own)
and a source for just about any type of sewing machine foot and serger
foot. Also has many, many sewing machine replacement parts and some
Stitch N Craft Supply
5634 W. MEadowbrook
Phoenix, Az. 85031
If you want the catalog, you must join the Club. It is $25.00 the
first year, less after that. The catalog is a looseleaf notebook that is
chock full of goodies at discount prices. I have yet to hear of anyone who
did not save the membership on the first order. Please let them know you
saw them on the internet.
P.O. Box 397
Bedford Park, IL 60499
(800) 547-4739 (order line)
- various sewing supplies, including many pressure feet.
P.O. Box 4099
Bethlehem, PA 18018-0099
Good source of general supplies and notions. Send 50 cents for their Sample
Club card. Carries some inexpensive entredeux and embroideries.
PO Box 3472
Port Charlotte, FL 33952
- Catalog costs $3 and it hasn't been reprinted since 1989. An excellent
source for machine embroidery products, though.
Home-Sew Canada Inc.
St Hubert, Quebec
Tel: (514) 462-9173
- They have tons of laces, notions, some books, craft supplies. Worth it if
you buy in large quantities. They also have bargain assortments.
Canadian Serging & Sewing Notions
11 Mayfield Ave.
Tel: (416) 769-4135
- Missing information
Greenberg & Hammer Inc.
24 West 57th St.
New York, NY 10019
- From a helpful reader:
I believe they have a catalog which they charge for. They carry all sorts
of notions including buttons, interfacings - including top quality hair
canvas, French canvas, interlining, rayon seam binding, zippers, weights
etc. One the ladies in my apartment building who has a business making
bridal and fancy dresses for places like Bergdorf's buys her stuff there.
Their store, if you get to New York, if fairly upscale compared to the
garment district places.
Steinlauf & Stoller, Inc.
239 West 39th Street
New York, NY 10018
- From the same helpful reader:
They are good for shoulder pads, muslin, threads etc. I don't know if they
have a catalog. They cater to the trade as well as walk-in business.
The two places have slightly different stock so if I can't find it in one,
I try the other. Both carry good stuff for tailoring which can be hard to
find in a suburban mall store.
San Francisco CA 94108
- LARGE collection of fabrics; will send swatches for mail order for
NOTE: I love this place. The people are great & will answer questions
if they're not too busy. And the remnant section is amazing. A few times
a year, they have a 50% off remnants sale. I haven't made one yet, but I
hear it's like a zoo. But hey, 50% off!!
P.O. Box 767670
Roswell, Ga. 30076
No charge for samples, and no catalog. Just let them know where to send the samples
and you'll get a nice fat envelope in the mail.
11854 Rockville Pike
Rockville, MD 20852
Phone: (301) 231-8998
or their new location in Virginia:
5077 Westfields Blvd
Centreville VA 22020
Phone: (703) 818-8090
- LARGE collection of fabrics; will send swatches for mail order.
Field's Fabrics by Mail
1695 44th St SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49508
- $4 for catelog refundable with first order. Large selection of knit
and woven fabrics for uniforms.
Foxglove Fabric Finders
Tel: (604) 266-5635
$20 for lots of fabric samples delivered 6 times/year. Some fabric is a
little expensive, they usually have a sale on selected fabrics. They also
sell limited notions.
Grasshopper Hill Fabrics
224 Wellington St.
Kingston, ON K7K 2Y8
1 800 361 8275
They will send you swatches twice a year.
Kiyo Design, Inc
11 Annapolis St.
Annapolis, Md, 21401
Fax (410) 280-2793
-Kiyo Design is a retail fabric store specializing in designer, couture, heirloom, and
smocking fabrics. Kiyo stocks hundreds of exquisite ribbons, buttons, laces, books
and magazines, patterns, notions, specialty threads, and the hard to find sewing
Kiyo offers a large mail order catalog ($15 includes a discount coupon) and a free sewing
newsletter. The newsletter is on the webpage.
2982 Adeline Street
Berkeley, CA 94703
- supplies for lace and bobbin lace
NOTE: This place is just gorgeous. If you're ever in the area, stop by.
But call first as they have odd hours. They have an enormous book selection.
Excellent for historical costuming.
- Fake furs designed to be almost as nice as traditional furs. Also faux
leather and faux suede. The faux leather is so supple and has a bit of
stretch to it. I'm considering making a bikini out of it.
Linda's Silver Needle
- visa, MC carries Pullen and Read 16 row pleaters, Sally Stanley and Amanda
Jane 24 row pleaters and a Read 32 Row Pleater. Prices range from $95 - 159
with free shipping and handling.
Mother Nurture Apperal and Patterns
Resources for Breastfeeding and Beyond
916 Royal Blackheath Court
Naperville, IL 60563-2304
- Catalog cost is $3.00 lots of info to help new moms too. Nursing and breast
Elizabeth Lee Designs
Patterns for the Breastfeeding Mother
PO Box 696
Bluebell, Utah, 84007
- Also lots of info and if you buy three, get one free
Great Fit Patterns-SN
2229 NE Burnside, Suite 305
Gresham, OR 97030
- Catalog $1, sizes 38-60
675 Dell Rd.
Carlstadt, NJ 07072
- gridded pattern paper, the kind used in the garment industry. In summer '92,
$39 +s/h for a 600 foot roll of 45" wide gridded paper. Split a roll with your
The Sewing Room
320 Harmon Drive
Lubbock, TX 79416
- $2 catelog. Advertised Disney, OshKosh fabrics.
Champaign, IL 61826
firstname.lastname@example.org (Noel Brodsky)
- $2 catalog refundable with first order. Buy four, get fifth one free.
Includes apparel, home decor, stuffed toys, nursing garment, and children's
accessories. Now featuring children's fabric! They stock hard to find stretch
terry and K.P. Kids fabric. Check out the homepage at
Canadian Mail Order Supplies:
Fabric Magic Creations - beading supplies
10846 - 132A Street - they also have a video on how you can apply
Surrey, BC beads using your sewing machine
A Great Notion Sewing Supply Ltd.
#101-5630 Landmark Way
Surrey, BC V3S 7H1
Phone (in Canada) 1-800-309-2829
(oustside Canada) 604-533-2891
Fax (Canada) 1-800-204-4117
(Outside Canada) 604-533-7563
We have a 112 page catalogue filled with all kinds of sewing & quilting notions,
tools, books, etc. The catalogue is free within Canada, $2 for all others. We
are happy to ship anywhere in the world.
Textile Outfitters Inc. - outerwear patterns, fabrics, and notions
1240 Kensington Road NW
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
NOTE: Textile Outfitters sales no natural fabrics exceept very few items such
as canvas and Drover Coat fabrics. They specialize in technical outdoor
fabrics, notions, hardware and patterns. It is the kind of store that you can
find everything you need to make a back-pack, a technical jacket, gators, mits,
tuques and much more. They carry such fabrics as Goretex, Ultrex, Supermicroft,
Polortec and they have a knowledgable staff that can answer questions about
They have a complete catalogue that can be requested from their
home page. http://www.enviro.net/textile .
If you need more information about their store you can contact the manager
Karen Parker at email@example.com
Sundrop Outerwear Textiles Inc.
#140 1140 Austin Ave
The MacPhee Workshop - inovative outerwear patterns/fabrics/notions
- several locations, they're into painting, appliques, furs, etc
head office address is:
403-973-3516 ; FAX 403-973-6216
Naturebound - they sell outerwear/packs/sleeping bag kits with the
PO 1299 pieces cut out for you
Mary Maxim - needlework, knitting, crochet, plastic canvas,
75 Scott Ave rug hooking, kits
519-442-2266; FAX 519-442-4520
Canadian Knitting Club - yarns (yearly fee gets you all the latest samples)
427 Carnegie St
Campbell River, BC
Briggs & Little Woolen Mills Ltd.
York Mills, Harvey Station, NB
1-800-561-YARN (in canada); phone & fax 506-366-5438
Supplies for Dyeing Fabric:
Pro Chemical and Dye
P.O. Box 14
Somerset MASS 02726
- Catalog is free. Dyes for cottons, wools, silks, marbling, painting,
silkscreen, batik, etc. Batik wax and fabric.
Rupert, Gibbon and Spider, Inc.
P.O. Box 425
Healdsburg, CA 95448
- free catalog. Scarf blanks, dyes, equipment, paints.
Dharma Trading Company
Offers a wide selection of fabric dyes and paints for cotton, silk and wool.
Also, ready-to-dye natural fabrics, blank clothing for infants thru adults,
and tools & suppies for all the textile crafts. A free 120 page catalog is
yours for the asking.
33 Haywood St.,
Asheville, NC 28801
- almost all dye supplies, including Lanaset dyes. Competitive prices.
Catalog has useful information.
PO Box 420
Middlesex, NJ 08846
- very wide selection of prewashed fabrics with no dyes or finishes. Very nice
fabric, but somewhat expensive.
252 State St.
Los Altos, CA 94022
(800) 722-7455 (in CA 800-221-7455)
- Large selection of silk scarves for dyeing. Also other types of (colored)
silk fabric for sewing! Just amazingly gorgeous. I bought some beautiful black
silk gabardine and black silk charmeuse to make a nice cocktail dress. Anyway,
they charge $20 for a 400 sample set (can use as credit or get a refund)
plus another $18 due in 30 days.
1959 Leghorn Street
Mountain View, CA 94043
415-965-7760; FAX: 415-965-0712
- Low prices; discounts for orders over 15 yards of a single fabric. Some
(all?) orders require a $100 minimum per order.
Richard Brooke Fabrics
6131 Luther Lane, Suite 200
- I have no idea what type of fabrics they carry. Can someone send me a
Sources For Books, including Out of Print Needlework Books:
96 Roundwood Rd.
Newton MA 02164
- Used books in a wide range of textile subjects. Some remaindered books, but
most of the books are used. Sewing, quilting, embroidery, knitting, etc.
Catalogs for specific crafts are available one or two times a year.
Wooden Porch Books
RT1 Box 262
Middlebourne, WV 26149
- Charges $3 for next 3 catalogs. Used books I believe.
Mendocino, CA 95460
- 1990-91 catalog has 1000 items. $2.50 catalog. Books, magazines and
reprints. Books related to the costume and textile arts, including out of
print and hard to find books. Shep has also reprinted a number of older
clothing books, including a couple of books of patterns for Victorian and
Edwardian clothing. Catalog warns that Shep is sometimes slow at shipping; I
believe it suggests 4-6 weeks to fill orders.
1338 Ross St
Petaluma, CA 94954-6502
707-762-3362; FAX: 707-762-0335;
Hours (as of 3/93): 9am - 5pm Pacific Std Time, Mon - Fri
- Includes basketry, business of crafts, color, costume, dyeing, embroidery,
fabric decoration, fashion, history, ethnic, hand and machine knitting, lace
making, quilting, spinning and weaving, tailoring, pattern drafting, plus even
other stuff. A 48 page catalog of closely-typeset descriptions (newspaper
style), all of fiber-related books. As of 1992 there appear to be separate
catalogs one each for sewing- and weaving- related crafts. Unicorn has
reasonable return policies, cheap shipping, and extensive descriptions. Most
(all?) of the books are new, but many of the books are no longer listed in
Books In Print and are difficult to find elsewhere. There are rarely discounts
Purchase for Less
Portola Valley, CA 94028
- $2 for catalog. Current sewing and textile books heavily discounted.
31 East 2nd St
Mineola, NY 11501
- Dover reprints older books that are no longer covered by the original
copyright. Most of Dover's books are low-priced paperbacks. You may wish to
request the Needlework Catalog and the Pictorial Archive Catalog.
(see address above)
(see address above)
Sandra Betzina notes that most pattern companies retain copies of their
patterns for about a year. You can check with your fabric store or call the
pattern companies to check their discontinued stock.
Vogue and Butterick 814-943-5281
Simplicity, Style and New Look 1-800-223-1664
Burda discontinued patterns are not available
118 Florence Ave
Evanston IL 60602
See comments in "Questions" column in June/July 1992 Threads (#40). EZ
Patterns buys and sells discontinued patterns. Send them the pattern number,
company name, sizes and a brief description or sketch. Note that pattern
numbers are reused, so you'll need to include the name, number AND
description! If you know the year of issue and/or original price this will
help. EZ Patterns discourages sending in a request without a pattern number.
Several people have mentioned checking Thrift Stores and estate sales for
For out of print Folkwear patterns, Taunton Press recommends that you call or
P.O. Box 912
Ketchem, Idaho 83340
Two Bobbins Full
323 Main Street
Polson, Montana 59860
and include pattern info. Apparently both places say they have a "drawer
full" of old Folkwear patterns.
The New Fiberworks Sourcebook by Bobbi A. McRae. copyright 1993 by
Fiberworks Publications. ISBN 0-944577-06-7 320p. $15.95 + shipping
Available from Unicorn Books, 1-800-BUY-YARN
Mail order sources for all types of fibers and crafts, including weaving,
spinning, dyeing, knitting, basketry, quilting, basketry, sewing, paper
The Quilter's Catalog by Vicki Brooks and Linda Stokes. Copyright 1987 by The
Main Street Press. ISBN 1-55562-003-5 $12.95
- Often available as a remaindered book. This book contains lots of sources
for quilters, but the info in it is getting a bit dated.
Designer Source Listing: $19.95 (ppd) from:
227 E. Ontario St
Chicago, IL 60611-0771
Sections include Beads, Books, Buttons and fasteners, Feather fur and leather,
Notions, Labels and tags, Laces and lacemaking equipment, Millinery supplies,
Paints and dyes, Patterns, Services, Software, Threads and yarns, Video,
Workshops and seminars. I have not personally reviewed this book and I do not
know when the current edition (Vol IV) was published.
Look through the ads in Sew News or the back of Threads.
End of Part 1
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