Comox Trunks Sew-Along: Photographing your Comox Trunks sans sexy model

IMGP7332 What's that?  You finished your Comox Trunks and really want to put your name in for our awesome prize pack but don't have a super willing and sexy model at your disposal?  Not to worry!  There are plenty of other ways to show us your Comox Trunks.  And even if you aren't very skilled with a camera, you still have a chance to win our prize because we're picking the winner at random and not based on how great your trunks (or your photos) look. Here are some options to show us your Comox Trunks: 1. Grab a clothes line or a pretty patch of grass/sofa/carpet and shoot your shorts in 2D.  Just because your shorts aren't filled in by a masculine body doesn't mean we can't appreciate your gorgeous fabric choice and careful top stitching! IMGP7343 2. If you're really set on showing us a 'filled in and rounded out' sample, why not have a look around the house for male models of the non-human variety?  Who is more loyal and helpful...Teddy? Dog?  We will soon find out!teddy in boxersdog in underwear   3. Recruit models from elsewhere!  I gave David Beckham a ring and he was more than happy to set aside some of his modelling time to help out in the Thread Theory studio: David in Comox Trunks

*** Photoshop skills are rather lacking but you get the idea...***

Now all you need to do is snap some pictures and upload them to an area of the internet of your choice (your blog, Facebook, Kollabora, Burdastyle, Thread & Needles, Pinterest, Flickr...etc.) and then add a link to them in the comments section of this post.  Alternatively, email your photo to  Do this by May 5th for a chance to be entered in the draw for our prize pack!  The winner will be drawn on May 8th.  Happy sewing and photographing!

Fashion Revolution Day

Today, April 24th, marks the one year anniversary of the collapse of the textile factory in Rana Plaza, Dhaka, Bangladesh.  In honour of this anniversary, and in the hope that action and awareness will create change in the way we regard clothing as a consumer good, Matt and I are marking this date by photographing some of our Thread Theory sample garments inside out.  Have you heard of Fashion Revolution Day?  Here is the website where you can read more information about this movement.Resized-1 Fashion Revolution day (today!) is being honoured by 140 bloggers who blog about sewing and fashion and many other organizations.  There are many ways to be involved in this movement but this is the basic concept: We are photographing our clothing worn inside out to demonstrate how much work, care and time is put into every garment that every human wears.   We are using social media to ask "Who made your clothes?"  If awareness over the skill and commitment needed to create fashion is increased, we hope that consumers will be less tolerant of the abysmal conditions that their cheap and fairly disposable garments are created in. Resized-3 Sewers and recipients of lovingly sewn garments are well aware of the hours, the thought, and the love that goes into every home sewn garment.  Each seam is carefully finished in anticipation of years of hard wear.  Each design detail is chosen to suit the wearer.  As sewers, we have chosen to take an active role in the creative process of visually displaying who we are through garments. Resized-4 I hope that Fashion Revolution Day has, and will for years to come, confirm to sewers and creators that they have chosen one of the most fulfilling and sustainable approach to clothing themselves and their families and friends.  I hope that Fashion Revolution Day will create awareness among consumers that there are other ways to creatively and beautifully clothe oneself than popping into the nearest or trendiest store. Resized-5 Fashion need not be instantaneous and disposable.  In fact, fashion gains more meaning and purpose in society if it is something that takes time, thought and skill to create and display as a lasting visual of an individual's personality. Resized-7 Matt and I just finished a 12 hour drive through the United States today on our way home from filming a Sew-It-All TV episode, so please excuse the tardiness of this post and the hurried nature of these photos!  Matt was wearing a full Thread Theory ensemble so he quickly whipped everything off and put it back on inside out when we got to our Anacortes hotel room. Resized-8 Despite this lack of planning and prepardeness, I am pleased with how tidy both the interior of Matt's Newcastle and Jedediah pants appear!  Matt was tempted to show you the inside of his Comox Trunks but I thought you might have had enough of the scantily clad men parading across our blog of late! Resized-9 Even though Fashion Revolution Day is almost over, don't hesitate to spread the message.  Clothing is not disposable and should not be created as such.  The creation of clothing is an art form and a trade that requires a high level of skill.  The creators of clothing should be treated and respected as the skilled workers that they are.  It is time for change to occur and it needs to start with the consumer.  Tweet, blog and facebook about Fashion Revolution Day.  Add the tags #InsideOut and @Fash_Rev.  Let's find out...who made your clothes?
April 24, 2014

We're home!

We're back from our U.S. road trip (we arrived home Friday afternoon) and I'm excited to tell you about all the sewing related adventures we had!  I've made a page on our blog that includes a photo diary of the entire trip (for those that are interested) but I won't subject you to dozens of scenery shots and the like unless you are interested.  The post that follows is specifically sewing related since I know that you are most certainly eager to read and see anything that belongs to that theme! Resized-32 Our first stop along the 3000 mile tour was Portland, Oregan.  We found it to be a beautiful, walkable city, even with the rain and chilly temperatures.  Our sewing related stops were numerous in this town because the arts and crafts community is thriving so thoroughly that there were too many fabric stores to choose from!  We went to the Mill End and feasted our eyes on the huge warehouse of every fabric I could imagine.  We enjoyed talking to the extremely friendly staff who were eager to take our pattern catalog to show to all their male customers.  We know that they did just that because only a few days later we received an email from a male sewer who had seen our catalog in their store! Our next place to visit was the Pendleton Woollen Mills store because I am a sucker for wool.  We wandered in and were greeted by a lovely riot of colours and textures.  The wools were gorgeously smooth and rich feeling and they also carried an eco-friendly wool that uses less water in production and can be washed without felting.  We were surprised to see indie pattern companies featured all over the store and had not even thought to bring our samples in to show the staff.  Matt raced out to grab them and we received a very warm welcome from the staff and managers.  Our Goldstream Peacoat and Jedediah Pants will now be stocked in their store - so if you are ever in Portland and hope to make the most sumptuous tailored peacoat in the world, pop by Pendleton to get your pattern and fabric! I thought it was neat that they sold all their scraps by the pound - one can imagine all the possibilities for those little colourful bits of wool! Resized-16 They also had an antique mechanical display that used to be featured in their Disneyland Pendleton outlet.  It was beautifully detailed and, when turned on, each wooden figure moved to demonstrate the entire manufacturing process!Resized-14 Of course, we couldn't go to Portland without visiting our wonderful stockist, Modern Domestic! Resized-17 We met Lupine and Meredith who were very welcoming and let us wander the store endlessly to pick out little prizes for future blog contests (I think you'll love them!) and ask all sorts of questions about Bernina feet for Sue's new sewing machine. Resized-18 The store had a wonderful selection of some of my very favourite things - a whole slew of Merchant & Mills products, a colourful selection of chambrays, pretty much every indie pattern you could imagine, and a huge selection of the best sewing-related books, including Colette's new book, The Colette Guide to Sewing Knits.  And these were only the things that stood out the most to me!  Aside from all the sewing goodies and beautiful fabrics, if you are a Bernina lover, then this is the place to go.  All the machines and attachments were beautifully displayed and Meredith, who helped Sue, seemed to know everything there was to know about each and every foot. After a couple days in Portland, we headed east to Boise for a night (no sewing stops there as our driving schedule was quite demanding!) and then to Salt Lake City.  In Salt Lake City, we popped in to see Sunni in her store, A Fashionable Stitch.  It was great to meet her as I must admit, she is categorized in my head as a "sewing and blogging celebrity" so I was a little nervous!  She was very friendly and jumped at the chance to stock our patterns (thanks, Sunni!).  We're really excited to have our patterns in her store as she has a really great thing going there.  Unfortunately we forgot to take photos with her :( but here is a shot from her website of the basement classroom area under her store to give you a taste of how lovingly organized her shop is: Sunni Her fabric selection is gorgeous (I especially loved all the interesting and unusual wools she had and couldn't help but admire the stunning laces).  Everything is meticulously organized, right down to her displays of colour coded zippers in pretty glass jars and prettily bundled ribbons.  I picked out, as another future give-away prize, some brightly striped knits that will make super funky Comox Trunks!  We met Sunni's husband downstairs overseeing some awesome fabric swap tables.  Matt left with a scrap of leather to make himself a wrist strap for his camera and I walked away with a burgundy ribbed knit to sew into a Newcastle Cardigan. I left Sunni's store on a sewing/creativity high after meeting one of my favourite bloggers and seeing just how awesome and beautiful a sewing store has the potential to be! Later that night we happened upon an altogether entirely different sewing related experience - we witnessed the tail end of Comic Con!  I've never read comics or, for that matter, really understood what Comic Con involves, but it was really neat to see all the lovingly created costumes being paraded about and to see how so many people, both male and female, had worked with fabric and all sorts of other mediums to create some pretty bizarre and amazing fashions. Resized-52 Resized-59 The conference building was almost deserted when we walked in and everything was being packed away.  We still got a kick out of seeing some of the straggling signs and people :). Resized-58 Resized-60 Resized-61 After a couple days in Salt Lake City (Easter weekend in fact), we moved on to the day that seemed to loom darker and scarier ahead of me the entire trip - the day we taped the Sew It All TV episode. You've probably figured out by various blog posts in the past that I am a pretty (read VERY) shy person.  Matt and I were, of course, absolutely thrilled to be offered a slot in the Sew It All TV season 8 but it only really dawned on me as we drove south-east that I had no idea what was involved in taping a tv episode and I had also spent my entire life, up until the taping date, avoiding unscripted public speaking like the plague!  I hid away in my hotel room the night before the taping to iron all our samples and steel myself for the day ahead of me while Matt and his parents went to explore Golden (Matt was nowhere near as nervous as I was, thank goodness!). The morning of the taping we headed to the Creative Crafts Group studio and spent a whirlwind couple hours meeting all the super people and filming the episode.  Our TV experience began by being made up for the camera (even Matt was powdered and prettied!): Resized-124 Resized-128 And then we were introduced to Ellen and the team.  Everyone was very friendly and incredibly professional and efficient.  I needn't have worried about my ironing quite so much because our step-outs were nicely ironed by staff.  We were very well taken care of - we were given water whenever we needed it (my mouth was permanently dry from fear haha!) and people joked around with us to calm us down.  We had microphones installed on our garments to suit our voices which was really nice.  Mine was installed hidden in my dress's collar (which, by the way, is Tilly's awesome Coco pattern!) to block out other peoples voices and more easily catch my quiet voice...this was a relief because I was worried I would be told to speak up the entire time! Resized-129 Ellen is currently pregnant with twins and was a total trooper.  I can't believe how hard she works and how tired she must have been!  She tapes three episodes a day (on top of doing a billion other things I am sure) and I was exhausted for days after taping only one episode... Resized-135 The studio wasn't equipped with male mannequins (those aren't something you find in most sewing studios I imagine!) and so the team got a bit creative and flipped the mannequins backwards to display the V-neck tank that we demonstrated how to sew.  The waists looked a little curvy and the poor guy's backs had two strange bumps :P but all in all, I think the you could tell the fit of the garment well enough.Resized-134 Some of our other samples and patterns were displayed throughout the studio and they took some shots of them after we taped our episode and were having lunch.  I look forward to seeing how the show looks once all the clips are put together!Resized-133 I was surprised by how big the studio was and by how many people were involved in the taping.  I made myself avoid looking at anyone for quite a while before the cameras started rolling because it was beginning to feel like I was embarking on the dreaded 'group project' presentation from university days...eek! Resized-132Matt ended up with very little to do during the actual episode.  He introduced our company but the main focus of the episode was explaining and showing how to sew the Thetis Tank - something that Matt confessed he didn't know anything about :P.  We had him help with ironing but then, as the camera rolled, I found myself correcting his ironing technique which Ellen found pretty funny! Resized-130 Rick and Sue got to sit and watch from the director's room.  They got some shots of the monitors as filming began.  See how nervous we look?Resized-136 Resized-140 Resized-138 Resized-137 Despite my fears and nerves it was still an amazing experience to be on Sew It All TV and we are so greatful to Ellen and Jessica and everyone at the studio for having us there!  The season airs later this year (our episode will likely be shown on PBS in November) and I can't wait to see how it turned out (though at the same time I am terrified to see what resulted from all my nervous babbling and shaky hands :P). Later that same day, we rushed to Denver to meet blogger and fellow sewist, Sara who's blog is An Elemental Life.  She met us for a Mexican dinner (it was very nice of her to take the time to show us one of her favourite restaurants and it was great to meet another fellow blogger!) and then the whole group of us went to the trunk show that our lovely stockists, Fancy Tiger Crafts, hosted for us.  I wasn't 100% sure of what to expect from a trunk show (or what we were expected to do) but I must say, it ended up being my favorite part of the trip and, despite being super tired from the show taping, I had a total blast! Jaime, Amber and all the staff at Fancy Tiger were really welcoming and wonderfully laid back (and beautifully clothed in an assortment of handmade pieces...I couldn't help but comment when I recognized certain patterns!). Resized-146 It was craft night, which meant that a huge group of enthusiastic crafters were enjoying chatting, crafting and a drink or two around a huge table at the back of the store.  The store doors were open until 9pm and a table, mannequin, a selection of our patterns and a garment rack were all carefully set up and waiting for us to fill with samples!  We brought garment tag packs to give away and I had tagged all of our samples with a story about who sewed it for whom and with what fabric.  People seemed to really enjoy reading them and both men and women happily tried on Newcastles and Goldstream Peacoats.Resized-143I had so much fun talking with all sorts of people who had exactly the same interests as me.  It seemed as though most people I talked to had already been to our website and knew about our pattern selection.  A few people had already sewn up some of our patterns!  It was especially exciting to talk to male sewers and knitters who were thrilled by the style and fit of our garments. The Fancy Tiger ladies generously provided us with a much welcomed glass of wine (and a craft brew for Matt).  Matt's dad got a kick out of the awesome wine 'glasses'! Resized-144 The whole evening was exactly as I had imagined the sewing world could be if I lived where all the other bloggers and sewers I follow happened to live.  I could seriously live in Fancy Tiger Crafts and would certainly never miss one of their Tuesday night craft nights! So that sums up the sewing-related portion of our trip!  The next few days were mostly endless driving (and beautiful scenery) to get back home in time for work obligations.  All four of us were pretty tired by the end of our whirlwind tour and were doing a lot of this: Resized-159 Where would you go if you could have a sewing-themed holiday?  What is your ideal 'business' trip?  I must say, travelling for our business certainly felt more like an awesome holiday than work to me :).
April 29, 2014

Sewing Indie Month is here!

button_300_sewingindie   Today marks the first day of Sewing Indie Month!  Haven't heard of this amazing, month long celebration of independent pattern designers yet?  That's because this is it's first year and it is going to be SPECTACULAR.  This month will include dozens of behind-the-scenes designer interviews, loads of tutorials relating to indie patterns, and most excitingly, the biggest sew-along that has ever existed complete with loads and loads of prizes! If you are in doubt of just how awesome may is going to be, have a quick look at how many indie companies are involved: banner_sewingindie Here are links to the websites of all of those companies so that you can easily check up on them to see what great things they are posting throughout the month: I will be posting tomorrow about the interviews, tutorials, and sew-alongs that I will be involved with so that you can look forward to what you will be seeing on this blog for Sewing Indie Month and where you will see tutorials and information about Thread Theory patterns popping up on other blogs. The mastermind behind this event is Mari from the indie sewing pattern company, Seamster.  She deserves a big round of applause and lots of appreciative emails and comments because she has worked incredibly hard planning this for months and I am sure it will go off without a hitch solely due to her high level of organization and her devotion to the project. So are you curious about how to get involved?  Apart from simply enjoying the many different articles and tutorials that will be all over the sewing corner of the internet, you can grab yourself a button for your blog:
Sewing Indie Month
<div align="center"><a href="" title="Sewing Indie Month"><img src="" alt="Sewing Indie Month" style="border:none;" /></a></div>
...AND...most excitingly, you can join in by sewing along!  Without further ado, here is the information all you sew-along and contest enthusiasts are waiting for:
sewing indie month sewalong rules The sew-along hosts to whom you will be submitting your entries are the following well known bloggers.  Check out their sew-along announcement pages: And now that you know how to enter, you'll probably be wondering, well what are the prizes?  Here, broken down into the four categories, is what you could win! indieloveaffair_banner_SIM_2014
  • 1 year subscription to SewNews magazine
  • A 2013 Threads Archive DVD from Threads Magazine
  • 1 class of your choice from Pattern Review
  • The Sassy Librarian Blouse Craftsy class by Sewing Indie Month designer Christine Haynes
  • The Sewing Indie Month designer prize pack: PDF pattern of your choice from Stepalica Patterns; PDF Nettie Dress & Bodysuit by Closet Case Files; PDF Twisty Top Pattern by Soma Patterns; paper pattern of your choice from Tilly and the Buttons
  •  1 year subscription to Sew News Magazine
  • 1 year subscription to Threads Magazine
  • $25 gift certificate from The Smuggler's Daughter
  • Sewing Vintage: The Flirty Day Dress Craftsy class by Sewing Indie Month designer Sew Chic
  • The Sewing Indie Month designer prize pack: PDF pattern of your choice from Lolita, Pauline Alice; paper pattern of your choice from By Hand London, Christine Haynes
  • 1 year subscription to Sew News Magazine
  • Sew Smarter, Better and Faster book from Threads Magazine
  • $30 gift certificate from Girl Charlee
  • $25 gift certificate from The Smuggler's Daughter
  • Comox Trunks Supplies Kit from Sewing Indie Month designer Thread Theory
  •  Sewing Indie Month designer prize pack: PDF pattern of your choice from Maria Denmark, Sew Caroline; PDF Duathlon Shorts by Fehr Trade; paper pattern of your choice from Sewn Square One
  • 1 year subscription to Sew News Magazine
  • 1 class of your choice from Craftsy
  • £20 gift certificate to Minerva Crafts
  • Hot Iron Transfer Embroidery Pack from Sewing Indie Month designer Kate & Rose
  • Sewing Indie Month designer prize pack: PDF pattern of your choice from Seamster Sewing Patterns, Sinbad & Sailor; PDF Movie in the Park Shorts by Dixie DIY; PDF or a paper pattern from Skinny Bitch Curvy Chick

Bonus Winner!

A Bonus Winner randomly drawn from all the sewalong participants will win the following prizes:

  • 1 year subscription to Sew News Magazine
  • $75 gift certificate from Britex Fabrics
  • 1 year Friends of PR membership from Pattern Review
  • Love at First Stitch signed book by Sewing Indie Month designer Tilly and the Buttons
  • Sewing Indie Month designer prize pack: PDF pattern of your choice from Waffle Patterns; PDF Wardrobe Builder Pack by Thready Theory; paper pattern of your choice from Kate & Rose, Sew Chic
  A pretty astounding list of prizes!  Thank you very much, on behalf of all the Sewing Indie Month pattern companies, to the amazing array of sponsors who have donated these prizes!  Here are their logos (as well as some of the prize images) so you can see just how many generous companies are involved (click on the logo or prize image to be taken to the company's website): 1 year subscription to Sew News Magazine 2013 Threads Archive DVD from Threads Magazine 1 class of your choice from Pattern Review Sassy Librarian Blouse Craftsy class by Sewing Indie Month designer Christine Haynes   Smugglers-Daughter-logo Sewing-Vintage-Craftsy-Class $30 gift certificate from Girl Charlee Comox Trunks Supplies Kit from Sewing Indie Month designer Thread Theory Craftsy-Logo Minerva-Gift-Certificate Kate and Rose Embroidery Pattern Pack Britex-logo Love at First Stitch signed book by Sewing Indie Month designer Tilly and the Buttons I know I am looking forward to May!  Are you?  Do you have plans to submit an entry to one of the sew-alongs?  I hope we will see some menswear garments as entries!

Looking for elastic for your Comox Trunks?

Happy Friday!  This post is going to be a little bit of an update on all sorts of things...our sew-along, an elastic shopping resource, and a look at what's on my sewing table right now! First off, remember to submit your entry to our Comox Trunks sew-along contest by May 5th for a chance to win this awesome kit of everything you need to sew an underwear drawer full of trunks!  You still have time (especially since it only takes a couple hours to sew these bad boys and the PDF download is instant.IMGP7128 Next on the agenda is something to further inspire you to sew those Comox Trunks: A source for awesome elastic!  I have noticed a lot of people mentioning that they have struggled to find nice elastics to add to their Comox Trunks.  Some people have even resorted to re-using elastic from old store bought trunks (an awesome idea but sometimes that's the part that wears out first on underwear so that idea may or may not help you out...).  If you can't find elastic locally, never fear, there are great online options!  And shipping is quite cheap too because elastic is so light and makes for a very small parcel. One of our stockists, Mrs. Bao recently let us know that they have just added a whole selection of Comox Trunk worthy elastics to their shop.  Just have a look at these interesting options - all are a far cry from boring white or black! 300-1516-thickbox 653-1607-thickbox 657-1621-thickbox 657-1624-thickbox 658-1626-thickbox All photos link to the product so just click on them to check out more information.  I'm thrilled by the width of these elastics, the quality of the photos (it is easy to see that they all look to be quite soft and appropriate for underwear) and the reasonable prices (both for the elastic and shipping).  Even with shipping, most of these elastics are still cheaper than I would pay at my local fabric store! Okay, now lets move on to the final update of the day - here is what is on my sewing agenda for Sewing Indie Month! I'm providing a tutorial for Tilly and the Buttons later this month so I've been busily searching for inspriration and sewing her Coco pattern. Coco_main_large I mentioned and showed you photos of my first version in yesterday's blog post: Resized-131 I've got two more in the works which are inspired by Antrhopologie tops.  Aren't these pretty? anthropologie2anthropologie1 My tutorial will be posted on Tilly's blog on May 19th, but in the meantime you can look forward to a tutorial by Mari, from Seamster, on this blog.  It will be posted on May 7th...not long now! Have a lovely weekend everyone - hopefully at least part of it will be spent sewing some Comox Trunks!

Tutorial and Video by Seamster Sewing Patterns - How to skip hemming the Comox Trunks

Sewing Indie Month Today, we have a guest tutorial for you, as part of Sewing Indie Month!  Mari, of Seamster Sewing Patterns, is not only the mastermind behind this month's cornucopia of events, tutorials, and contests, she has also kindly taken the time to contribute a tutorial of her own to our blog. trunks 2 She'll be walking you through how to dye fold-over elastic with food colouring and how to apply it to our Comox Trunks.  The tricks she will be showing you will allow you to avoid using the self-made binding for the fly and to skip the worry of using a twin needle or zig zag stitch while hemming the legs.  These are both of the steps that sewers found to be the most tricky during our Comox Trunk Sew-Along.  Thank you, Mari, for providing an alternative method to finishing these areas of the trunks! Now over to Mari, who you can thank for making your Comox Trunk sewing life just that much easier!:Seamster Sewing Patterns Hello Thread Theory readers! I’m Mari and I run Seamster Sewing Patterns. Today I’m going to show you how you can easily dye fold over elastic with simple ingredients you have at home, like food coloring. Then, I’ll walk you through attaching fold over elastic to the Comox Trunks. Why dye fold over elastic when you can get a lot of colors online? It’s fun! Seriously, I find it really excited to see what colors I can come up with. It’s like finding a spare $5 in your pocket when doing laundry; the color you get can be a total surprise, but a really good one. Dyeing is also a great way to quickly customize a project, make it extra special, and get fun colors you won't be able to find in your local fabric store. Image 1 Before we begin though, let’s go over a few dyeing basics.  In this tutorial we’ll be acid dyeing nylon fold over elastic. Acid dyes are one of the easiest dyes to get started with. They involve the use of acid (nothing scary dangerous, just vinegar for this tutorial!) and can be used to dye protein fibers like wool or silk and often nylon. They will not dye cotton or polyester. That is why it’s very important to make sure you’re using fold over elastic made from nylon. How to find out if your elastic is made from nylon? Ask your local or online shop. I bought the elastic I’m using in this tutorial from Peak Bloom. They told me their solid colored fold over elastics are made from nylon, while their patterned fold over elastics are made from polyester. Keep that in mind if you order from them. The reason why I’m not showing you how to dye polyester is because it’s difficult to do at home. It also necessitates constant, high heat, which would badly damage the spandex in your elastic. Acid dyeing with nylon also calls for heat, but is a little more forgiving. So, we must strike a balance between heating our dye bath (solution of water + dye) with maintaining a temperature below 105F (40.56C) so our elastic doesn’t degrade . One more thing to note before we get started, you’ll see I’ve been very specific in the list below by specifying the use of wooden, plastic, or stainless steel tools. That’s because certain metals act as mordants, which can change the color of your dye. Here is a quick reference "recipe card" that Mari made for you to refer to while dying.  She includes a detailed write-up and photos below, so keep reading before you begin your dyeing project! Graphic ...And now the full tutorial: Image 2 In order to dye we’ll need a few things:
  • crockpot (you could use a regular pot over a stove, but I find it’s easier to use a crockpot for consistent temperature and because it lets me walk away without worrying about burning the house down)
  • water
  • food coloring
  • distilled white vinegar
  • non-iodized salt (optional, it helps drive dye into fibers, but I only had himalayan salt on hand, so I didn’t use any in my experiments)
  • wood, stainless steel, or plastic stirring utensil
  • plastic gloves (optional, but great if you don’t want to scrub dye out of your hands)
  • glass or stainless steel bowl
  • plastic, glass, or stainless steel measuring cups and spoons
  • thermometer
  • dish soap or synthrapol (special soap used when dyeing)
Here’s my basic dyeing recipe:
  • 1 c water
  • 10 drops food coloring (you can use a couple drops less and still get a brilliant color; for a light color use just a few drops)
  • 1T distilled white vinegar
  • 1yd 5/8” fold over elastic or 2yd 3/8” fold over elastic
For the Comox Trunks I graded from a size 28 to a 34, for which I only needed about 30” of 5/8” fold over elastic to sew to the leg and cup openings. However, it’s best to give yourself a little extra, so instead of 30”, I dyed a full yard, although you may need to dye more. Because my local fabric store doesn't carry wide elastic made from nylon that's needed for the waistband, I dyed an extra yard of fold over elastic to sew on top of my polyester elastic waistband for purely decorative purposes (Morgan: Nice idea, Mari!  What a great way to customize boring waistband elastic by adding strips of colour!). In total, I dyed 2yd of fold over elastic, for which I doubled the basic dyeing recipe above. Image 3 Here’s how to dye nylon fold over elastic:
  1. Fill your crockpot about 3/4 full with water and turn it on. (I set mine to high, but each model cooks at a different temperature, so you’ll need to experiment)
  2. Fill your glass bowl with water (going by the recipe above) and mix in salt if you’re using it.
  3. Stir in your food coloring and let the mixture heat. This is your dye bath. Once it has fully heated, take its temperature. If it’s well below 105F (40.56C) you may be able to bump your crockpot up to medium or high. If it’s above 105F (40.56C) lower your crockpot to medium or low.
  4. While waiting for your dye bath to heat, wash your elastic. This will get out any chemical residues that could give you an uneven dying job.
  5. Submerse your still wet elastic in your dye bath. It’s important that the elastic be wet before putting it in so that the color will take up evenly.
  6. Pour vinegar around, but not on top of your elastic. Thoroughly stir it in. As you pour in your vinegar you’ll notice your elastic quickly chaining color.
  7. Let your elastic sit in your dye bath until you’ve reached your desired color or until your dye bath is exhausted. Periodically check on it and give it a little stir to make sure it’s as dark as you want it. I usually let mine site for about 1-1/2hrs. A dye bath has been exhausted when the fiber has soaked up all the dye that’s in the water. My recipe is a little heavy on the dye, so there’s usually some left over. Since food coloring is cheap I don’t mind that there’s some extra dye being thrown away at then end.
  8. Wash your elastic. If dyed at high enough of a temperature, there shouldn’t be much dye rinsing out of your elastic. If you’re concerned about more dye leaking out, toss it in a washing machine. Let your elastic air dry.
Image 4 Image 5Image 6 If you’d like to know more about dyeing, check out Paula Burch’s All About Hand Dyeing site. It’s a great wealth of information.  How to add fold-over elastic to the Comox Trunks:  Now that we have our custom dyed elastic, let's sew it to the cup and leg openings. Note that the Comox Trunk pattern calls for the leg openings to be hemmed at 5/8". By binding the openings with fold over elastic the legs will be 5/8" longer than if they were hemmed. (Morgan: You could simply trim off this extra 5/8" if you would like to keep your trunks the original length.) To show you how to sew fold over elastic to the Comox Trunks I made a video tutorial. The technique shown here can easily be used with other knit garments too, like my Yellow Tail Camisole. If you prefer reading over watching, below the video is a transcript with a few extra tips that didn't make it into the video.

Video Transcript: Hey everyone! This is Mari from Seamster Sewing Patterns. As a part of Sewing Indie Month, a month long sewalong and celebration, I’ve been working with fellow indie sewing pattern maker Thread Theory to bring you a tutorial on sewing with fold over elastic.  Fold over elastic is a great way to finish the edges of knit garments. Today I’m going to demonstrate how to do that with Thread Theory’s Comox Trunks sewing pattern.  For this tutorial I’m using less than a yard of 5/8” wide fold over elastic for the size 34 Trunks. Fold over elastic is like the knit version of bias tape. That means it will fold over on itself to encase the raw edge of your fabric. Before we begin, take a good look at your elastic. See the central groove running down the length of your fold over elastic? That’s the fold line where you’ll be folding your elastic in half.  Also see how one side is shiny and one is plush? You can use either side. For these trunks I want the plush side to be visible, which also means it will be directly touching the wearer’s skin, while the shiny side will be hidden.  I’m going to show you how to attach fold over elastic two ways. But if you’ve never sewn with fold over elastic before you’ll definitely want to practice first on a scrap of fabric!  To begin with, we’ll be attach the elastic to a flat edge, in this case the cup opening on the Comox Trunks. To figure out how much elastic you need, lay the elastic in a straight line alongside the curved part of the cup to which it will be sewn. Your cut piece should be long enough to reach from each end of the cup opening.  Now for the sewing! Use a wide zig zag stitch for this step. I like a stitch that’s 3 wide by 3.5 long. In this step we’ll be stitching the fold over elastic to the wrong side of your fabric, or what will be the inside of your garment. Remember that the side of the elastic you DON’T want visible will be the side that directly touches your fabric; in this tutorial that’s the shiny side. Line up the raw edge of the fabric with the central groove in your elastic. That means half of your elastic will be sticking past the edge of your fabric. It’s also easiest to get started if there’s a little extra fold over elastic hanging past the end of the cup opening. That helps prevent your fabric and elastic from getting sucked down into your sewing machine. For easiest visibility while sewing, your fabric should be on top of your elastic and your elastic should be directly touching the throat plate on your machine.  Once you have everything lined up, begin stitching the two together. Stop after you’ve sewn a few stitches, making sure your needle is still piercing your fabric and elastic. Now gently pull your fold over elastic. It is incredibly easy to stretch out your fabric as you attach your fold over elastic. Gently pulling your elastic helps prevent that and as long as you don’t pull too tightly it won’t gather your fabric. Keep stitching your fabric and elastic together, making sure the raw edge of the elastic aligns with the center groove in your elastic and that your elastic is slightly stretched out while your fabric is feeding through your machine at a normal rate. When you get to the more curved section of the cup opening you may wish to pull on your fold over elastic just a little bit more tightly.  Now we’ll stitch the front of your elastic to the right side of the fabric. Fold the remaining half of your elastic over the raw edge of your fabric. Stitch it to your fabric using a straight stitch or a very narrow zig zag stitch. When stitching 1/8” or closer to the edge it’s called edge stitching. If you’re using a contrasting colored thread like me, you may want to break out an edge stitch foot if your machine has one. That way you can more easily edge stitch a nice, straight line. And that’s all there is to it! Next, I’ll show you how to sew fold over elastic in the round to a garment’s opening, like a sleeve or neckline. In this case, we’ll be binding the leg openings of the Comox Trunks.  Before we begin, we’ll need to determine how much elastic to cut. Lay your assembled trunks on the table. Like we did when cutting elastic for the cup opening, we’ll lay our fold over elastic out in a straight line, from each edge of one of the leg openings. Double that length and cut your elastic. Next, fold your elastic in half, right sides together. Using a 3/8” seam allowance, straight stitch the raw ends of the elastic together. Do this for each leg’s elastic.  Your fold over elastic will be smaller in circumference than your leg openings. So, mark your leg openings and fold over elastic at four evenly spaced points. Then, pin the elastic to the leg openings at those marks. See how the leg openings are larger? It’s important to evenly pin the elastic and fabric together so that the elastic evenly stretches to meet the fabric.  Same as before, we’ll stitch the fold over elastic to the wrong side of our fabric. What we’ve got to watch out for here is that the raw edges of the elastic’s seam allowance don’t peek out. Now, stitch the elastic to your fabric using the same 3 x 3.5 wide zigzag stitch as we did when sewing the cup opening. After you’ve sewn a few stitches, stop with your needle piercing your fabric. Then grasp your fabric and elastic where the next pin is and pull until the elastic is the same length as your fabric. Sew the elastic and fabric together, remembering to align the raw edge of your fabric with the central groove of the elastic. Keep sewing like this until you’re back to where you started.  After that, switch to a straight or very narrow zig zag stitch. Fold your elastic over the raw edge of your fabric. I like to start stitching a little bit before the elastic’s seam allowance so that I’ve got a few stitches anchoring things down. Often when I get to this side the fold over elastic’s seam allowances will be peeking out. So, I’ll tuck them under. Using a seam ripper helps since the seam allowances are so small. Once your seam allowances are no longer visible, keep sewing around the garment’s opening until you’re back where you started.  That’s it! Simple, easy, fast, no annoying stretched out edges. To make your own Comox Trunks, go to, where you can also find another tutorial by me on how to dye your fold over elastic. To see what other great tutorials and hoopla is going on around Sewing Indie Month, head over to Thanks for watching and happy sewing!      Thanks Morgan and Matt for having me on your blog! And happy Sewing Indie Month everyone!

Comox Trunks Prize Announcement and Parade

sew along poster-01Drumroll please..... And the winner of our Comox Trunks Sew-Along Contest is: Catrinmanel of I'd Rather Sew! Congratulations!  I'll be sending her our Comox Trunks prize pack straight away :) I'd rather sew... Her entry was chosen at random by gathering all entries (both through email and through comments on the sew-along posts), using a random number generator, and then counting down the list of entries.  People who submitted multiple pairs of Comox Trunks were only counted once.  Here's proof of the randomness in case you need it! :P: random number I wish I could have given a prize to everyone as Matt and I were really pleased with how many entries there were and how enthusiastic you all were about the contest!  Now, for your viewing pleasure, here is a parade of the Comox Trunks you submitted!  The numbers correspond to links provided in a list at the bottom: Parade-graphics-1 Parade-graphics-2 Parade-graphics-3 Parade-graphics-4 Parade-graphics-5 Parade-graphics-6 Parade-graphics-7 Parade-graphics-8
  1. No More Heroes Anymore
  2. Sakiko Jones
  3. Mrs. Toad Sews
  4. Kaisa (sent entry through email)
  5. Mazzy Girl
  6. Dressing the Role
  7. Artisinal Expatriate
  8. Genevieve (sent entry through email)
  9. Marilyn Scott
  10. Deadlycraft
  11. Sew & Illustrate
  12. Drawing by Sew & Illustrate
  13. Renata (sent entry through email)
  14. Nicole at Home
  15. Lena
  16. Lena
  17. TwoRandomWords
  18. Cookin’ & Craftin’
  19. TwoRandomWords
  20. Nothing New Treasures
  21. Mazzy Girl
  22. Mazzy Girl
  23. I’d Rather Sew…
  24. Steven (sent entry through email)
  25. Steven (sent entry through email)
  26. Steven (sent entry through email)
  There were several other entries via flickr, Twitter and Instagram which included protected photos (they couldn't be saved and shared directly on this blog).  Even though I can't share these photos with you in this post, these trunks are totally worth checking out!  Follow these links to have a look:
  1. Fabri'cate
  2. Evergreen Living
  3. SoSewGirl
  4. susiemcdougs
  5. FennaB
  6. frau_fleur
  7. dan_grigg
  Thank you, everyone, for being so enthusiastic about this pattern!  It has been really exciting to watch peoples entries pile in over the last few weeks.  I've especially enjoyed being surprised by people's creativity - whether it be expressed through pretty unique modelling techniques or through pattern manipulation or fabric choice.  I hope to see lots more Comox Trunks in the future!  Even though the contest is over, I'd still love to see what you've sewn, so send us an email ( or post a link in the comments!  

Another Wool Peacoat!

Edited-1 One of our newest stockists, the Pendleton Woolen Mills Store, asked me to sew up a sample of the Goldstream Peacoat for display beside our patterns in their store.  They have a great selection of indie sewing patterns that are nicely curated so that all are compatable with Pendleton Wools.  Their walls are festooned with an inspiring selection of sewn up samples and I am proud that our Goldstream Peacoat will now join these ranks! Edited-2 Matt and I did a silly 'nautical' photo shoot at the park behind our house.  We had to squeeze it in before Matt headed off to work so we didn't have time to go to one of the beaches or forests that represent our usual photo shoot stomping grounds. Edited-3 This Goldstream is sewn up using Pendleton Eco-wise wool in a midnight black colour (slightly off-black with a hint of navy blue).  The Pendleton Woolen Mill Store carries this wool in a rainbow of colours.  In case you are wondering what Eco-wise means, staff told me that there is much less water used in the production of these wools.  They are also certified to be an environmentally friendly fabric option.  Here is what Pendleton has to say about this sumptious wool (it is SERIOUSLY soft and dense):
Pendleton Eco-Wise wool fabric has been Cradle to Cradle CertifiedCM by MBDC. Wool is an environmentally friendly and naturally renewable fiber. This fabric can be recycled or composted as a healthy additive to the soil. The ingredients and manufacturing process meet or exceed the sustainability criteria for this certification. Our goal is to manufacture wool in a way that leaves the smallest possible footprint on the earth.
You can order this fabric by phoning ((503) 535-5786) or emailing ( the store. EcoWise fabric I really like how stiff the collar turned out with this dense wool.  I didn't purchase any special horse hair canvas or even stiffer interfacing, I just used what I had on hand (medium weight fusible) and sewed the coat as per the directions. Edited-10 It was tempting to delve into all the tailoring techniques I learned during the Tailored Peacoat Series, but due to time constraints and the fact that this peacoat would likely never actually be worn since it was destined to become a store sample, I refrained!  As a result, I had a little trouble setting in the sleeves since I am used to much spongier (and cheaper quality) wools or wool blends and am sadly lacking a tailors ham in the sewing studio...something that clearly needs to be remedied soon!  I'm hoping they have a tailors ham at the Pendleton Woolen Mills store and imagine a thorough iron with the ham as an aid will set the rumpled sleeve heads straight! Edited-4 I sewed a size Small with the optional slim-fit darts.  I made the interior pocket the exact size of Matt's new wallet...just in case this jacket ever gets sent back across the border when Pendleton Woollen Mill Store doesn't need it any longer :P. Edited-6 As a finishing touch for this coat, I picked up some PERFECT fouled anchor buttons from another Portland based sewing store (and also one of our stockists), Modern Domestic.  They give the peacoat such a classic and refined look! Edited-7 Edited-8 I used simple dark grey buttons instead of gold for the epaulets and sleeve tabs for fear of turning the jacket into something too flashy and costume-like. Edited-9 After all these dark navy and black peacoats I've sewn, I'm really itching to sew up this pattern in something a little more adventurous.  Matt was feeling brave and inspired while we were walking around the Woollen Mills Store while in Portland (on our U.S. trip a couple weeks ago) and actually requested a peacoat made up in one of the Pendleton Jacquards.  Can you imagine how awesome the Goldstream would look in something like this?: Maize Spirit Charcoal 83114 This gorgeous wool is called Maize Spirit in the Charcoal colour-way.  Check it out and all the other amazing Jacquards on the Pendleton Woollen Mill Store website. Maybe one day... (complete with leather buttons or toggles and leather elbow patches)!  In the meantime, I love the classic British navy look that I seem to be producing at alarming rates...seriously, I've sewn so many now that it takes me 3 short evenings of sewing to finish a peacoat! Edited-5 Would you be brave enough to sew a Goldstream Peacoat in a print?  Or do you prefer the classic solid black or navy look?

Sewing Indie Month: Our interview by Dixie DIY

Dixie, of the pattern company, Dixie DIY, has posted the Q&A she did on us on her blog today!  If you are wanting to get to know Matt and I and our pattern company a little better, now is the time to get reading!  Thanks, Dixie, for the great (and funny!) questions (example: she wonders how Matt reacted to my Comox Trunk inspiration "research" :P). dixiediyheaderstore In other news, have you noticed things are [starting] to look a little different around the blog?  I've been inspired by some awesome blog re-decorating sprees around the web (have you seen Oonaballoona or Mokosha's new blog looks? pretty!) so I decided to give it a try myself.  I have a cold right now so a day in front of the computer is just the rest I need to get better! It's slow going because this is NOT my area of expertise by any stretch of the term.  I've managed so far to:
  • Update our header
  • Remove all the excess (and ugly) links from above and below the header
  • And, most importantly, use the "Image" widget to convert some of our links to pretty graphics.  I have no idea if that is how I was supposed to do this but, after too long hopelessly sifting through Google searches, I decided that it was the only way I could figure out and so it would have to do!
Are you familiar with Wordpress blogs?  I would love your suggestions about how to spruce this place up! I still have lots of work to do. For example, I want to:
  • Figure out how blog following services work (they are such a mystery to me!).  I am thinking of introducing Blog Lovin or Feedburner so that there are more ways than subscribing by email to follow our blog.  Is that something I can do with a Wordpress blog?  I hope so!
  • I'm going to clean up the actual pages that the side bar graphics link to so that you can find all sew-alongs, posts, photos and information about each pattern in one place).
  • I also somehow would love to make the header link back to our home page instead of having the link "Home" at the top right of the blog.  What do you this possible???
Thanks in advance for your help!  If you got through these boring blog update lists and my pleas for help, then I have a reward for you: Check back first thing tomorrow because we will be releasing a new pattern...FOR FREE!

Free Pattern: Download the Arrowsmith Undershirt today!

Some of you observant blog readers noticed that there was a certain v-neck top featuring prominently in our Comox Trunks photoshoot a couple months ago:Blog Edit-1 This top is called the Thetis Tank and will be available in several months through the Sew It All TV show and magazine!  The episode I filmed with the Sew It All team in Golden, Colorado, was all about how to sew this super quick and easy project. In the meantime, while you eagerly anticipate the magazine issue featuring this v-neck pattern, we have ANOTHER sleeveless top pattern for you to sew in time for summer! Introducing Thread Theory's first FREE sewing pattern: The Arrowsmith Undershirt. Banner-1 This pattern is available as a PDF download for free as a big THANK YOU to all you avid menswear sewers who have supported us and our business over the last year!  As of today, it has been one year since we launched our very first pattern - the PDF version of the Newcastle Cardigan. Banner-8 This tank is a super quick and easy project that can be sewn using all manner of knits.   The Arrowsmith Undershirt is the perfect sleeveless tank for layering or for hot summer days.  The enlarged armholes and deep crew neck give this shirt a very modern appearance and they also make it really easy to sew without a serger (you could even use a straight stitch if you wanted to because the head and arm openings are large enough that they don't really need to stretch when the shirt is put on or taken off).  There is an optional patch pocket that can be sewn in a knit or a woven fabric.  The pocket is a great way to add just a little bit of colour and intrigue against a basic background - especially if the recipient isn't very adventurous with their clothing colour/print choices! Banner-3 So, please, take our sincere thanks and our free pattern: Head on over to our website to download the Arrowsmith Undershirt and get sewing!  By the way, we'd love to see what you sew!  Add #Arrowsmith to your photos so we can find them and add them to our Pinterest page!