Mary Corbet

writer and founder


I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Needle ‘n Thread in Threads!


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What I mean is, you’ll find a little bit of Needle ‘n Thread in Threads this month!

Besides writing here on Needle ‘n Thread (which is where you get to witness my most prolific babble!), I’ve been writing in other places recently, too.

One of those places is Threads Magazine, a popular sewing magazine published by Taunton Press for people who love to sew.

In the current issue of Threads (January, 2015), you’ll find a feature article by yours truly, on beetle wing embroidery.

Threads Magazine: Embellishing with Beetle Wings

Threads is a great magazine for people serious about sewing, and especially about sewing clothes. Their patterns, tutorials, and articles make beautiful, professional sewing accessible to the non-professional.

You may have realized already, if you’ve been reading Needle ‘n Thread for any amount of time, that I’m not really a machine sewer. To all of you who are, you are my heroes!

I can handle simple seams for finish work, and I use the machine for preparing fabrics for embroidery, but I don’t use it for much else.

Still, I was quite happy to oblige when the editors of Threads contacted me to write an article on beetle wing embroidery.

Threads Magazine: Embellishing with Beetle Wings

I mean, heck! It’s embroidery! And you know me – I have this Thing for embroidery.

The article in Threads, “Embellish with Beetle Wings,” focuses on the history of beetle wings in art and as embellishment on garments, and brings that history up to date with the modern use of beetle wings in couture clothing and fashion.

Following the article is a tutorial for applying beetle wings with shisha stitch.

Threads Magazine: Embellishing with Beetle Wings

The model in the magazine is wearing a gorgeous (I want it!) flared tunic in silk faille, that’s been embellished around the neckline with beetle wings attached with DMC Diamant embroidery thread.

Threads Magazine: Embellishing with Beetle Wings

And, incidentally, in the same issue, you’ll find another article that I think is really good and really useful – “Preserve Your Precious Fabrics.” It offers tips on taking care of the fabrics in your fabric stash, with tips on how to handle textiles, how to store them, the ideal storage conditions, and what to do with your fabric when the conditions aren’t ideal. Definitely worth reading if you have a collection of good fabric in your cupboard!

I really enjoyed writing for Threads and the folks at Taunton Press. They were kind, helpful, organized, professional. It was a great experience!

If you want a copy of the magazine, you can find it pretty much anywhere that sells magazines – news agencies, Barnes & Noble, Walmart, your favorite sewing store.

So that was my recent publishing adventure. You’ll find Needle ‘n Thread popping up in some other places in the near future, too. I’ll tell you about that a little later on. But don’t worry! I’m not abandoning you – just branching out a bit.

After all, any opportunity to spread the love, right?


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(36) Comments

  1. Congratulations on your article! I look forward to reading it. I, too, like that sassy flared tunic!

    I don’t comment often, but I’m still a faithful reader – love having coffee each morning with you. Thank you again for all you do for us!

  2. Congratulations on your article being published in Threads. Although I am not a “machine sewer, I have always admired the magazine. It is beautiful to look at and well filled with interesting information. I have sent subscriptions to my sewing relatives.
    Thanks again for all you do for us!
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. Congratulations, Mary, you more than deserve some additional fame! And, additionally, embroiderers all around can only benefit by you spreading your wings – beetle or otherwise.

  4. Hi,
    I get Threads online through a Threads Insider subscription and I saw your article yesterday… haven’t read it or anything else in the magazine yet. But I thought, “Hey, way to go Mary!”
    The garment is really classy with those embellishments.

  5. That’s terrific, Mary! You are indeed a recognized embroidery ace! Spread the love all around – maybe the next generation will yearn to learn!

  6. Nice article, Mary! I was smiling because years and years ago (yes, I’m old!) i got all crazy about an article similar to yours — by Wilana Bristow that was sewing with wings, too. She was plasticizing actual cicada wings (dipping them in some plastic-type substance) and sewing them onto garments. They were GORGEOUS! I actually went out and collected a pile of wings, but never figured out the plastic-thing. AND eventually was able to take a class from Wilana about French Couteriere embroidery.

    1. Thanks, Bobbi. Oh my goodness, cicada wings! I would have never thought of that, that’s for sure. The kids go around the house and collect all the shells from when they molt, that are clinging to trees, walls, walkways, you name it, and they hook the empty shells onto their clothes and cover each other in cicada shells. I think it’s turned me off cicadas for life. But I suppose embroidering with beetle wings isn’t that far removed from the same concept…!

  7. You’re right about that, Mrs. Corbet! Any opportunity to spread the love.
    Well done on getting your article published in Threads!
    I sew clothing on the machine. It depends on what I’m doing whether I like it or not, though. I more so just enjoy getting to wear whatever I’ve made when it’s done, not the actual process of making it. Currently I need to get started on a dress I’m going to make to wear to a Christmas tea in December.

    Sarah 🙂

  8. Congratulations! Isn’t it so exciting to get into a major magazine like that? Yesterday one of my handkerchiefs was photographed for US Weekly – I can’t wait to see it when it comes out! Did they send you a copy early?

  9. Congratulations Mary! You were also the star at the Nov. meeting of Canton, OH EGA where your article was touted. One of our members has a stash of beetle wings so a program may ensue!

  10. Congratulations, Mary!! I’m glad you are able to branch out. It shows good management on the part of the magazines 🙂 You are a great writer and I use your tutorials for stitch guidance a lot. I completed your survey a week or so ago, and am looking forward to what you will do next year. Hope the holidays are peaceful and happy for you.

  11. I was thrilled to see your article in Threads and have mentioned it to several people. Reactions have ranged from “Wow!” to “Ick.”
    Beetle wing embroidery is moving up the must-try list.

  12. I was astonished to read that it is actually real beetle wings that are used! Where do they come from? ( Holding my breathe that no insects are actually killed to produce them!) We don’t have any insect in the UK that could be used like this, so I can’t envisage the situation. I can see that the iridescence would be beautiful.

    1. Hi, Carol – I get mine on eBay, and sometimes on Etsy. But on eBay, I’ve gotten good deals on bulk numbers (200, 1000, etc.) You’ll want to search with the word “elytra”. Hope that helps! ~MC

  13. Congratulations, Mary. I’ve just told my dogs and we agree: It’s nice that after so many giveaways to us something splendid comes your way and you surely deserve it.

  14. Dear Mary

    Missed yesterday as I was babysitting had a great time with my Godchild. Congratulations on having your article on Beetle Wings published, like you I’m not a sewing machine user as I’m quite scared of them, I have a little one but it’s not very good quality, it was cheap so you get what you pay for. I’ve not read Threads Magazine can you buy it here in the Uk? I love the Flared Tunic very sleek. Thanks for letting us know about the article and congratulations again for having your article published very exciting for you and for us.

    Regards Anita Simmance

    1. Hi, Anita – thanks! I’m pretty sure you can find Threads in the UK through news agents, etc. It’s a fairly prominent magazine in the sewing world. -MC

  15. Mary – I received my Threads magazine earlier this week, read through your article, and thought to myself that they couldn’t have asked a better expert to write on this topic.

    I actually consider myself a crocheter first, knitter second, and machine sewer third – only peripherally an embroiderer. I read your blog because you give me ideas that apply to these fiber arts as well.

    Congratulations on your article and thank you for all you bring to the fiber arts community!

  16. Congratulations on being published in Threads, Mary! Threads is a very highly renowned magazine in the sewing world – I’m so glad that your expertise is being recognized – well done!

    Tomi Jane in MN

  17. Congratulations Mary. I read and share threads magazine routinely at the American Sewing Guild group. It is usually full of great tips and stories.

  18. Mary, You had an article recently about the standing hoop verses the sit on hoop. I thought I had saved it but I just can’t find it now that I am ready to buy one. I already have a stretcher frame but I need a better hoop that will allow both hand free. Can you give me the date of your article or perhaps send me a reprint?
    I know this is a lot to ask of you but I will say “Please and thank you” forever, if you can find the time.
    Sincerely yours
    Nelda Wagner

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