Spruce up your sewing machine (and the 2nd contest winner!)

January always finds me in a frenzy of cleaning, revamping and generally refreshing.  This year Matt and I are taking that concept a step further by installing new floors in our house...it's been fun but it also makes me very pleased to walk in to my tidy studio and close the door on all the dust, piles of wood, and tools spread everywhere throughout the rest of the house. I'm keeping the new year frenzy to a minimum in my studio by simply giving my machines a good clean and the attention they deserve (yet rarely receive).  I thought you guys might like to do the same so I've added a few interesting tools and accessories to the shop to help you refresh and renew! First off, here is something extremely simple but beautiful: A lint brush.sewing-tools-thread-theory-45As you can see below, the only lint brush I had in my studio before acquiring this one was NOT doing a good job of removing lint.  It was poor quality to start with and was completely worn out.sewing-tools-thread-theory-44The fine and soft bristles on this brush do a much nicer job of getting in to tiny crevices and I think they are flexible enough to stand up to quite a lot of wear.  The beautiful twisted wire handle will allow the brush to hang nicely in a visible spot so that we are all more likely to give our machines a clean!sewing-tools-thread-theory-42 Once your machine is clean, it's time to add a few useful accessories.  I feel very lucky to have a handy measuring tape printed right on the work table on my industrial sewing machine.  It is useful to take quick measurements while I'm in the middle of sewing.  I'm excited that I've found a similar tape to add to your sewing table! sewing-tools-thread-theory-13 It is adhesive so you just need to peel off the backing and stick it on to your table.  It is 60" long features both metric and imperial. sewing-tools-thread-theory-14 Even if you have seam markings engraved on to your machine's throat plate, your sewing will likely benefit from the use of a magnetic seam guide.  Just place it on top of the metal throat plate so that the fence is positioned at your desired seam allowance.  That way you can't accidentally swerve if your attention lapses momentarily or if you lose your grip on the fabric. sewing-tools-thread-theory-15 Keep in mind that this little upgrade for your machine features a magnet so you might want to do some research before using it on a computerised machine.  The back of the package warns against use with computerised machines but I have read several articles which explain that you would need a VERY strong magnet to wipe a hard drive in a sewing machine (this is a great article which leads me to believe that any household magnet is safe to use) but I want you to be aware that some people worry about placing magnets near or on their machines. sewing-tools-thread-theory-16 The last upgrade you might want to make to your sewing table is a tool tray straight out of a mechanic shop!  If you live in fear of your toddler (or you) stepping on a stray pin, this is the pin dish for you: sewing-tools-thread-theory-52 If features a huge magnetic base and a large metal tray.  I have turned it upside down and given it a vigorous shake with good results...not a single pin shifted position or fell to the floor! sewing-tools-thread-theory-55 This tray is big enough that you could use it to store all sorts of metal items - use it to contain your thread snips and sewing needles while you are working on a hand sewing project or fill it with bobbins! sewing-tools-thread-theory-50 Ready to give your machine a spa day?  It deserves it!  Head to our tool shop >
Now, to finish up today's post, it's time to announce the second winner of our Lazo Hack contest.  This week's prize is your choice of three PDF Thread Theory patterns! And the winner is...@nique_et and her fabric inspiration post!  Yesss...that print would be awesome!  I can imagine those trousers worn rolled up casually with a beaded white gauze blouse and leather gladiator sandals. nique_et-lazo-hack-contest Thank you for posting a photo using #lazotrousers! Next week's prize will be a $25 (CAD) gift card to Blackbird Fabrics so you can pick up some of the gorgeous tencel twill or sweater knit that Caroline has in stock.

Lazo Hack: Elastic Waist Joggers

lazo-trousers-elastic-waistband-36 As promised, here is my contribution to the ongoing Lazo Hack contest.  I've made a few simple adjustments to the Lazo Trousers pattern to produce elastic waist joggers with a satin ribbon drawstring! lazo-trousers-elastic-waistband-52 While working on these joggers last night I snapped a few pictures to create a tutorial for you.  I'll show you how to adjust the front waistband so that it is one piece, switch the fly from functioning to a mock fly, and add elastic and buttonholes for a drawstring.  You can hem the trousers as per normal or you can add some narrow cuffs at the ankle as I did. anthropologie-joggers

(Velvet jogger inspiration from Anthropologie.  I love the tassel drawstring!)

Transforming the Lazos into joggers is a VERY simple hack that could work for both woven and knit fabrics.  Any woven fabric that you might choose for a regular pair of Lazos will work for these joggers (chambray tencel or velvet would be awesome!).  If you want some jogger inspiration, here is a good series of styled images.  I'm probably a bit late to the jogger trend (I think it began in 2014) but I've never really adhered to trends anyways, I just choose my clothing based on my current lifestyle and mood.
Ok, let's convert the Lazos to joggers: Begin by selecting and altering your pattern pieces.  The only pattern piece you do not need to use is the Zipper Shield. The only pattern piece you need to change is the Waistband Front - simply fold under the extension at the notches and cut the waistband on the fold (just like you cut the back waistband).  There is no need to cut interfacing pieces for the waistband or fly. lazo-trousers-elastic-waistband-1-2lazo-trousers-elastic-waistband-2-2 Assemble the trousers as per the instructions all the way up to the Fly Front section.  If you are working with a knit, you might like to use a stretch stitch or a serger so that your seams are not at risk of snapping when the fabric stretches. lazo-trousers-elastic-waistband-2 To create the mock fly finish the seat seam as instructed.  Next, sew the inseam, but instead of stopping just below the zipper placement notch, ignore the curved fly facing and stitch in a straight line all the way up to the fly facing notch (which is the centre front of the pants).  If you prefer to leave off the fly altogether (perhaps you would like to insert a side seam invisible zipper instead), you can trim off the fly facings.  To sew the mock fly, press the facings towards the right side of the trousers (if you were wearing them). lazo-trousers-elastic-waistband-3 On the right side of the trousers, topstitch as you would normally to give the illusion of a functioning fly. lazo-trousers-elastic-waistband-1 Now we are ready to assemble the waistband!  If you would like to add a drawstring later, now is the time to add buttonholes to your waistband front.  Apply a small square of interfacing to the centre of the waistband on the wrong side of the fabric.  This will help to stabilise the fabric when you sew your buttonholes and it will make your buttonholes less likely to become misshapen with use. lazo-trousers-elastic-waistband-7 To position your buttonholes, fold the waistband front in half and measure in from the fold 1/2".  Place a pin through both layers of fabric and then mark the pin's position with chalk (preferably on the wrong side of the fabric so that you don't have to wash out your chalk as I did!  Sorry for the wet waistband later on in the post...I was on a roll while I was sewing and didn't want to stop to wait for the fabric to dry!). lazo-trousers-elastic-waistband-8 I chose to add 1/2" buttonholes but you can add whatever size you prefer based on the drawstring that you choose. lazo-trousers-elastic-waistband-10 Now place the waistband front and back with right sides together and sew the side seams.  Repeat this step for the waistband facings (the second set of waistband pieces). lazo-trousers-elastic-waistband-11 You now have two waistband loops.  Place these with right sides together and sew along the entire top edge.  By the way, at this point it would be easy to make your waistband shorter by simply chopping off the top of the waistband before you sew the two loops together.  You could choose to match the width of elastic you plan to use for instance.  I left my waistband the full height because I wanted them to be high rise trousers.  Centring the 2" elastic within the waistband resulted in a bit of a paper-bag silhouette.  If your waistband does not extend above the elastic your trousers will not have a ruffled top edge as mine do. lazo-trousers-elastic-waistband-13 You might like to understitch along the top of the waistband to prevent the facing from rolling outwards. lazo-trousers-elastic-waistband-16 Attach the waistband to the trousers while keeping the waistband facing free.  Place the waistband and trousers with right sides together.  Make sure to centre your buttonholes over the seat seam and align your side seams. lazo-trousers-elastic-waistband-17 Press the seam allowances towards the waistband and then press the waistband facing downwards to enclose all of the raw edges.  You can either finish the waistband facing edge at this point or you can press under the seam allowance for a very tidy look.  I left my serged edge visible because my fabric is pretty bulky so I didn't want to add another layer of fabric. lazo-trousers-elastic-waistband-18 Pin the waistband facing in place carefully.  I would highly recommend basting it in place so that you don't have to worry about it shifting during the next step! lazo-trousers-elastic-waistband-20 From the right side of the trousers, start 1" away from one of the side seams and stitch in the ditch all the way around the waistband.  Finish your stitching 1" away from the same side seam so that you are left with a 2" opening at the bottom of the waistband facing.  You will use this opening to insert the elastic. Circle elastic around your waist to find the perfect fit.  I circled mine at my natural waist but if you have shortened your waistband to fit your elastic width, circle your elastic a couple of inches below your natural waist since the trousers will now sit lower.  Remember to include some extra elastic so that you can overlap the ends later to create a loop! lazo-trousers-elastic-waistband-21 Thread the elastic into the opening using a safety pin.  Once both ends are pulled out of the opening check that the elastic is not twisted within the waistband and then overlap the ends and stitch them together. lazo-trousers-elastic-waistband-22 Close the elastic within the waistband by stitching in the ditch over the 2" hole. Try on your Lazos to check the length of the hem (and to admire how they look!).  Hem them in the style that you choose (a regular hem, a wide cuff or a narrow ribbed cuff like mine). lazo-trousers-elastic-waistband-37 Now you have several options to prevent your elastic from shifting around in the waistband.  The simplest option is to distribute the fabric nicely around the elastic (while you are wearing the trousers) and then place a pin through the side seams and elastic.  Stitch in the ditch of the side seam to secure the elastic in place. To create the paper bag waist and more thoroughly secure your elastic in place, you can toptstitch along both the top and bottom of the elastic around the entire waistband. lazo-trousers-elastic-waistband-28 Now all you need to do is thread a drawstring through the buttonholes using the same safety pin technique is before and your joggers are complete! lazo-trousers-elastic-waistband-25 I hope you like my fresh interpretation of the Lazos Trousers!  Have you tried hacking them yet or do you prefer to sew them as is? Edit Jan 25th: Some of you asked me to model these Lazos for you - here I am in my jammies ;)  They look pretty cozy eh? lazo-pjs
To finish off Friday in a happy sort of way, let's do the third Lazo Hack contest draw!  Today's winner is Meg (@madebymegblog)!  Check out the awesome way she styled her Lazos. https://www.instagram.com/p/BPbCQnKD6LY/?taken-by=madebymegblog The rolled hems and boot combo is really wearable and cute!  Congrats Meg, your use of #lazotrousers has won you $25 to Blackbird Fabrics.  Thanks for sharing! studio-tour-and-gift-boxes-30 I will draw the last Lazo Hack prize on Friday, Jan. 27th.  The winner will get to choose which goodies (from our shop) they would like me to fill this sewing caddy with - up to a $100 value! You have 7 days to take a photo of your Lazos whether they are still a work in progress or finished and share them on Instagram or Facebook using #lazotrousers. Download your Lazo pattern >

Your Lazos and my Lazos (hacked or otherwise)

morgans-sewing-projects-12 Okay guys, I have a surplus of Lazo Trousers to show you.  This will likely be the last Lazo post for a while since it is the end of our Lazo Hack contest today!  Don't worry, the regular programming of menswear related sewing patterns and tools will be resuming shortly! morgans-sewing-projects-25 This week has been a great week for the Lazos - both in my wardrobe and throughout the online sewing community!  Matt and I finally got around to a modelled photo shoot for the activewear pair that I made approximately two years ago (can you tell how much I like modelling...thank goodness our pup Luki helped me out!). This pair is made in a complete mystery material that I suspect is mostly nylon.  It was from the 'activewear' section of my local fabric shop and I picked it with the intention of making hiking capris.  I liked that it had a bit of body while still being very light weight.  Plus it is quick dry and a rugged twill weave. morgans-sewing-projects-27 These Lazos are sewn in size 4 as is.  I had fun adding lots of topstitching to this pair similar to how I would approach sewing our Jedediah Pants or a pair of jeans.  I think this subtly changes the overall feel of the design from elegant to casual and rugged. morgans-sewing-projects-28 I added three heavy duty anorak snaps as a waistband closure and lined the pockets with a twill weave acetate lining (again, to be light and quick drying). morgans-sewing-projects-10 I look forward to some warmer weather so I can wear these hiking and boating again!  They were NOT the right choice for a frigid afternoon near the end of January :P morgans-sewing-projects-11 A few of you requested that I model the elastic waist Lazo Joggers from last week's tutorial so Matt and I photographed those the same day.  I added them to last week's blog post, but in case you missed this update, here are a couple of photos of me in my pjs for you to see! morgans-sewing-projects-21 As you can most certainly tell from these images, this pair is much cosier and better suited to January weather.  I really love them! morgans-sewing-projects-24 It wasn't only me who modelled Lazos this week - I am so thrilled with the flat elastic waist Lazos that Meg created. [gallery ids="13050,13051,13052" type="rectangular"] To my eye they retain the elegant simplicity of the original design while adding loads of comfort and convenience.  Being an enthusiastic wearer of elastic waist pants myself, I think this hack is perfection.  Plus, she went to the effort of making a tutorial to show us what she did!  Thank you so much Meg!  My next pair of Lazo Trousers will definitely include a flat elastic waist. Lastly, I have a beautiful un-hacked pair of tencel Lazos to share with you that even feature the pointed belt loops of the original design: https://www.instagram.com/p/BPqlBMVgpoM/ The olive tencel, crisp white blouse and tropical greenery are a match made in heaven!  I'm glad you love your Lazos and had a great holiday Kellene! Let's close off this Lazo overload by drawing the final winner of the Lazo Hack contest.  Thank you to all who entered your creative brainstorming, your WIP shots and your finished trousers.  The winner of the a Thread Theory sewing caddy filled with $100 of goodies is Orianne!  Orianne entered by email with these beautiful sketches: lazo-trousers-hack-contest I will be emailing you, Orianne, so that you can select the items you would like me to pack in your box! If you want to continue the conversation about Lazo hacks or perhaps pose a question to the Thread Theory sewing community, you will likely be interested to know that we now have a Thread Theory Sewing Community Facebook group!  The intention of this group is to allow sewists who are considering, working on, or finished sewing with Thread Theory patterns to share their questions, their opinions and their projects.  I hope it will be useful for you!  It will not really be curated by me so it is up to you how you would like to use this platform. Matt created it earlier this week but I must confess that I avoid Facebook as much as possible...so if you love Facebook groups and prefer ours to be structured in a more user friendly manner, just let me know and I will be happy to learn something about this! Have a great weekend, everyone.    

Thimbles of many sizes

sewing-tools-thread-theory-7 A well fitted thimble can make hand sewing much more comfortable.  Do you like to push the needle through your fabric with the tip of your finger as is done by most quilters or with the side of your finger as is commonly done by tailors?  There is no right or wrong way, just be sure to choose the thimble that matches your technique! sewing-tools-thread-theory-1 We've added a selection of thimbles to our shop so that you can choose the style that suits you best.  We've also included multiple sizes to ensure that even male sewists with large fingers can find a thimble that fits. These John James closed top thimbles, for example, come in size large, medium and small. I've measured the diameter at the base of each thimble and listed this on our website so that you can measure across the joint on your finger to compare. sewing-tools-thread-theory-5 These thimbles feature an indented top and divots that make it easy to hold your needle in place as you push through thick fabric. sewing-tools-thread-theory-6 We've also added to our open top thimble selection!  I personally prefer open top thimbles because they allow my finger to breath (I hate when the thimble slips around on a sweaty finger :P) and I can pull the thimble down on to my finger's joint so it rests very securely.  I have pretty bony hands so there isn't very much flesh on my finger tip to hold a thimble in place, thus, finding a snug fit on my joint is essential.  I also like that an open top allows me to use the tip of my finger to manipulate fabric. sewing-tools-thread-theory-8 I only added two sizes of open thimble because we already have the beautiful brass Merchant & Mills thimble in our shop.  The Merchant & Mills thimble is actually a size small thimble (when comparing it to the two nickel plated thimbles that are size medium and large). sewing-tools-thread-theory-9 These thimbles also feature nice divots to hold your needle in place when you push with the side of your finger. sewing-tools-thread-theory-10 While I was sourcing thimbles I decided to find a few other tools hand sewing tools to assist in sewing thick or unusual fabrics often used for menswear.  First off, we have these small rubber discs that you can use to grip your needle when pulling it through leather or thick layers of denim or canvas. sewing-tools-thread-theory-11 Each package comes with two discs to store in your hand sewing kit. I've also added my favourite unusual John James sewing needles to our shop.  There are a selection of three extra sharp and strong leather needles that you can use to sew on leather buckles or elbow patches: sewing-tools-thread-theory-40 And the most handy household repair kit.  You probably don't have these needles in your sewing box!  They include curved mattress needles, a darning needle and two sharp leather needles. sewing-tools-thread-theory-47 The mattress needles are especially handy for repairing upholstered furniture but I would also be interested to use them when hand stitching hard to reach areas (perhaps if you would like to repair a thick backpack or add a leather patch to a finished garment.  Use these curved needles whenever the fabric you are stitching can not be easily manipulated with a straight needle. The last secret weapon to add to your sewing kit are these serious little thread clippers. clover-thread-clipper-kuroha-2 They feature light and strong handles made from fibreglass reinforced resin and steel blades. clover-thread-clipper-kuroha Their handle-less design makes them very quick to grab and comfortable to use.  If you have never used this style of clipper before, you might find it takes a little bit to figure out the pinching technique since the way that you pinch the clippers closed effects the alignment of the blades.  Once you master the technique (you will have it figured out after a few snips!) you will choose these clippers over any other thread snips. clover-thread-clipper-kuroha-3 Do you have any menswear hand sewing projects on the go right now?  I frequently sew patches and medals on to the uniforms of Matt's firefighter co-workers so I really like to have a good quality and convenient hand sewing kit ready to go in my sewing room.
February 04, 2017

Fabric Sale!

fall-menswear-fabrics-14-of-16 Despite the knee high snow and driving icy rain outside, I know Spring will be on its way soon!  It's time to clear the studio shelves a little so that I have room to order our Spring Fabric Collection!  Our entire selection of fabric is currently 15% off - so if you have been tempted to order some Dintex rain jacket fabric or some beautiful merino wool, now is your final opportunity! Use the discount code WINTERFABRIC upon checkout to receive 15% off any fabric in your shopping cart.  The sale is for this weekend only! dintex-fabric Once most of these fabrics are sold out we won't be restocking them any time soon since I will be choosing a new selection of fabrics that work well with our sewing patterns each season.  We are already sold out of many of the Dintex colors...but there are still some great options available! morgans-sewing-projects-1 It isn't only the Fall and Winter fabrics that are on sale...all of our fabric is!  The very high quality Canadian-made knit fabrics that I have stocked since the launch of our menswear supply shop in Nov. 2015 are also 15% off right now! I just sewed Matt a new Finlayson Sweater using the black sweatshirt fleece.  As long as Matt stays well away from our white-haired pup, Luki, I think he looks really smart in this pure black fleece!  It's the warmest sweater in our closet so I've been wearing it quite a bit lately too. It makes me happy and reassured to think that no aspect of this sweater was created outside of Canada.  The people who manufactured this fabric work in excellent conditions with fair pay.  And the person who manufactured the sweater (me!) certainly works in great conditions and received a Matt-made hall table in trade for this garment...I'd say that's pretty fair pay too. morgans-sewing-projects-4 It's very difficult to convey how luxurious these Canadian-made fleece, interlock and ribbing fabrics are using photos since they are all solid colors that may just look like any other knit when photographed.  As soon as you feel the density of the interlock or the incredibly plush wrong side of the sweatshirt fleece, you will know what I mean!  I have been told by a number of sewists who have ordered these knits from us that they are reminiscent of the thickness and quality of pure cotton knits in the 1970s.  A t-shirt made in the interlock or a sweatshirt made in the fleece will last for MANY years of heavy wear. thread-theory-menswear-supply-shop-29 I hope this fabric sale has come at a good time for you!  Maybe you can squeeze in a couple more cozy winter projects before the weather warms? Peruse our fabric selection > Don't forget to use the 15% off discount code!  It's WINTERFABRIC.

Call for Vintage Menswear Sewing Patterns!

sewing-patterns-for-men-vintage Perhaps you've noticed how practical, well designed, and still relevant vintage menswear sewing patterns are - plus there are hundreds to choose from!  Whenever I receive an email asking for a particular menswear pattern that perhaps won't fit into our Thread Theory line, my thoughts drift towards vintage sewing patterns.  I know that the requested design exists as a sewing pattern somewhere! That is why I will be collecting a catalogue of vintage menswear sewing patterns to add to the Thread Theory shop.  Once the collection is large enough it will be a great way to find a pattern to suit all manner of menswear fit and styling criteria! vintage-menswear-patterns-for-sewing And I would for love you to help!  If you have a pile of old sewing patterns, have a look through them to see if there are any menswear designs that you don't want anymore.  If so, email me at info@threadtheory.ca and there is a good chance I would happily buy them from you! vintage-menswear-sewing-patterns Since I am new to this vintage pattern collecting hobby, I figure it is probably best to put some parameters in place:
  1. I would prefer to buy menswear patterns in groups of 5 or more (it doesn't have to be 5 of the same design or even the same company), this way it is more cost effective to pay for them to be shipped to me.
  2. The patterns should be uncut...but if you have a REALLY great design that has been cut to a common menswear size, I may still consider it so email me anyways!
  3. I hope to pay for groups of patterns as though they were 'bulk' or 'wholesale' so that I can offer them in our shop at a fair retail price for vintage patterns.  If you have a price in mind, don't be shy to tell me!  If you have no idea what to charge, I am happy to make and offer (and give you examples of patterns on Ebay or elsewhere so that you know the price is fair).
  4. I will pay you for the patterns and the cost of shipping using Paypal.  Please use the cheapest shipping method!
  5. There are lots of reasons why I may say 'no' to your offer to sell your patterns.  Please don't be offended if I do!  For instance, it might be too expensive for me to pay for the shipping from your location, or the design might not be something I think would suit the Thread Theory shop.
hard-to-find-sewing-patterns-for-men I will be setting up a section for Vintage Menswear Patterns in our shop once I have amassed a large enough collection for you to peruse (if I am, in fact, able to find enough patterns).  These vintage pattern listings will be 'one-offs' so I will just snap a quick picture and write a very quick description.  I plan to add new listings as soon as a pattern arrives on my doorstep! mens-sewing-patterns-old What do you think of this idea?  Does the idea of a catalogue of vintage menswear patterns (all in one place) sound like a useful resource for you?  Have you worked with vintage menswear patterns before?  Do you find that the sizing differs as much as women's vintage patterns or is it similar to modern day menswear sizing? I look forward to seeing what we can find! Thanks for your help :)

Winter's Last Hurrah: Knitting Sale

copper-stitch-markers-21 Snow was falling in the Comox Valley this morning (which is quite unusual for late February in our area) so Matt and I have been wearing lots of cosy wool.  I'm embracing the winter weather by knitting and trying my hand at needle felting for the first time since both activities are great for dark evenings by the fire.  This is what our house looked like a couple of weeks ago... copper-stitch-markers-20-2 Isn't that amazing?! (Think in the context of my location of course...some of you in Quebec or Ottawa or especially the east coast of Canada might think nothing of this!).  On days like that, we simply couldn't get enough wooly layers on to our bodies! Anyhow, whether you are warming yourself by a fire or nearing the end of a hot summer, you can still enjoy my cosy vibes by taking advantage of my wintery discount code:  Our entire knitting section is 15% off in the Thread Theory shop! Use the discount code: WINTERKNITTING The code is for this weekend only, it expires on Monday. copper-stitch-markers-knitting-4 We have a great selection of 100% wool yarn in stock and some classic menswear knitting patterns by British designer Erika Knight.  I've also just added a gorgeous copper stitch marker set to the shop.  They were crafted by James of Fire and Hammer Forgeworks right here in the Comox Valley! The five closed stitch markers are made from recycled copper and come threaded on to a hammered copper stitch holder. copper-stitch-markers-knitting-1 Aren't they stunning? copper-stitch-markers-knitting-2 While many of you have a passion for sewing (and obviously enjoy creating menswear), I don't often hear talk of menswear knitting on the sewing blogs or Instagram accounts that I follow.  Do you enjoy both knitting and sewing? I've really been enjoying knitting as sort of a 'complimentary skill set' to sewing...I wouldn't say that knitting is a passion of mine but it certainly helps me to pursue what is a true passion for me: DIY, living simply, and the creation of a lovingly handmade wardrobe for Matt and myself.  We wear our knit toques daily and my freshly finished chunky wool sweater sits at my office chair so that it is always ready to warm me up. hemmingway-windcheater-1 Knitted garments are a staple in our cold season wardrobe.  Take the toque above as an example.  I knit this one for Matt last Winter and have found, ever since I finished his Dintex anorak, that he has been wearing the two pieces as a single outfit.  If he is wearing his jacket I would bet anything that he is also wearing his toque!  I tend to wear sewn and knit pieces as permanent outfits as well.  Once I realise that a certain scarf and hat look nice with my winter coat, they are worn as one complete package for the whole season. Since I love to make our garments and we wear knit sweaters, toques, gloves, and scarves all Fall, Winter and some of Spring, knitting has really become an essential skill for me!  Sewing began as a hobby but I have started to learn knitting as a life skill. How about you? In case you are curious, I posted about Matt's knit toque last winter.  It was knit using the Erika Knight menswear pattern poster and three partial skeins of Vintage Wool. copper-stitch-markers-knitting-9 So tell me: How do you view knitting?  Is it a passion, a complimentary skill or a hassle? Shop all things wooly (don't forget to use the discount code: WINTERKNITTING to receive 15% off our knitting supplies!) >  
February 24, 2017

Oldies but Goodies: Menswear Round-up

menswear-sewing-patterns I got a bit distracted this morning delving deep into the archives of your inspiring Newcastle Cardigan and Jutland Pants projects!  I've compiled a few of them here in order to feature these two patterns as perfect menswear staples for early Spring.  Some of them are freshly made and some were sewn over a year ago...yes, the morning passed me by quickly!  It wasn't wasted time though since your photos have motivated me to no end and now I'm itching to get back to work developing our upcoming pattern this afternoon.  If you would like to see many more inspiring projects, have a look over at Pattern Review or search Instagram for #newcastlecardigan and #jutlandpants.  Or you can always join the Thread Theory Sewing Community Facebook group!

Newcastle Cardigan

The Newcastle Cardigan is a perfect choice to layer over a long sleeve t-shirt or button-up on a classic early Spring day - you will be ready to bundle up when the sun goes behind a cloud and it is suddenly cool and rainy!  Add a scarf and suddenly the Newcastle looks like outerwear. newcastle-cardigan-fabric-choice Left: Starwhale Right: Tine & Tine L'Atelier newcastle-cardigan-color-choices Left: Trish Right: Sherry (sent by email) sew-the-newcastle-cardigan Left: Beth Right: Linda

Jutland Pants

The Jutland Pants are ideal work pants - they can be customised endlessly to suit whatever task you are working on.  If you are gardening and need to kneel on cold, wet soil, why not add padding and waterproof fabric to your knee reinforcements.  Line your trousers with merino or hard wearing cotton flannel to stay wonderfully warm.  Wax the finished Jutlands with Otter Wax to make them water repellent (as Sara did in the third set of photos below). work-jutland-pants Lisa jutland-pants-details Left: Deanna Right: Kate otter-wax-jutland-pants Sara western-jutlands kristincarroll Thanks for sharing the amazing garments you have made with our Newcastle Cardigan and Jutland Pants patterns!

The wonderful world of sewing magazines

Studio Tour and Gift Boxes-1 Every year, as a child and young adult, I would receive a magazine subscription from my grandparents as a gift.  When I was very young the subscription was chosen for me but as I got older they asked me to pick which magazine I would like.  I remember that delicious feeling of infinite possibility as I set out to select my magazine for the year!  I always liked to choose a magazine that fit my newest skill or interest.  Thus, when I first began to sew, Threads magazine was my choice for the year.  I learned a lot while reading this magazine! I still have every issue saved despite moving many times and constantly purging my belongings.  In fact, they currently rest on my studio book shelve (that's them on the second wall shelf in the photo above!).  I often comb through the content descriptions printed on the spines to research construction techniques when developing our patterns. 0042f8b5 So of course, I was tickled to find out that Threads Magazine reviewed the Goldstream Peacoat in their current April/May 2017 issue! Threads magazine review   Canadian pattern companies are nicely represented in the review section of this issue since Victory Pattern's Hazel dress was also tested and reviewed. SN05.P01 UK RGB While the US-based Threads is the sewing magazine I read most frequently, those of you in the UK will probably have seen our feature in Sew Now Magazine instead!  Kate and Rachel from the online sewing community, The Fold Line, selected a number of "hot off the press" patterns including our newest pattern, The Lazo Trousers.  This feature is in the current Sew Now issue (Issue no. 5). While we are in the magazine due to one of our women's patterns, I'm excited to read that Sew Now also included an article about male sewers in this issue! Do you read sewing magazines?  Any recommendations for me?  A couple of women in my local fibre appreciation group recommended I stock Uppercase Magazine and Selvedge Magazine in our shop.  I have not looked in to this yet (I'm not sure if it is even possible to sell these magazines on our website) but I am curious to know if you have read either of these magazines. Uppercase Uppercase is a vibrant and beautifully printed Canadian publication that celebrates the process of making, the commitment to craft and the art of living creatively.  The magazine, publishing company and fabric line are all run by a husband and wife team in Alberta! Selvedge Selvedge is a British magazine that acknowledges the significance of textiles as a part of everyone’s story.  It is definitely the more textile oriented magazine of the two and the aesthetic is right up my alley.  I had a peruse of a few physical copies of this magazine since my friend brought them to an Eat, Make, Mend gathering that I attended.  They were beyond inspiring! As I said, I have not really properly read these magazines myself but, I must say, they look absolutely beautiful and I am curious to get to know them more.  If you have read them, I would love to know your opinions (as sewists and magazine lovers).    
March 10, 2017

Call for pattern testers! (Closed: 21/03/17)

studio-tour-and-gift-boxes-19 Update 21/03/17: Thank you for such an enthusiastic response to this call for testers!  The testers have all been selected now (from hundreds of responses!) and I look forward to hearing their feedback.  The details that you sent in your blog comments and emails were extremely helpful to me.  I can't wait to share the finished pattern with you! Yes, we have a new pattern coming this Spring!  The third draft of the instructions will be sent off to our graphic designer this afternoon so I am ready to hear your feedback. I haven't been keeping our upcoming pattern a secret from you and have mentioned it several times on the blog. Usually I strive to keep upcoming designs a secret simply for the fun of it!  Many other pattern companies do this and I think it adds a sense of fun and excitement to impending pattern releases for both the pattern designer and the eager sewists.  The menswear patterns I am trying to develop for Thread Theory are a bit different though; our patterns are predominantly classic designs that can be used as building blocks for any men's wardrobe.  I don't try to create garment designs that are innovative or unique, instead, my main goal is to create a comprehensive collection of well fitting staples that use quality construction techniques. Fairfield-Button-Up-10 So...if I think about my aims, it seems a bit silly to keep my designs a secret!  Instead, I could be sharing them with all of you as I create the pattern to receive as much feedback as possible!  When I did this with our Fairfield Button-up pattern I was beyond thrilled with the feedback that you guys generously gave me.  I tallied up all of your blog comments and was surprised to discover that many of you preferred the option for darts on a men's shirt pattern.  This is not a common feature on most menswear shirts where I live and so I likely would have left the pleated back as the only option...thanks to your feedback, Variation 2 of the Fairfield featuring back darts was born and has since been a favourite style for Matt and for many of you! Belvedere Waistcoat line drawings Our impending spring pattern release is a classic men's waistcoat pattern.  This is an important garment to add to our pattern line for several reasons:  It is a key layering piece for formal outfits (and I think the more men need to realise how comfortable and versatile a vest is for both casual and formal outfits!).  It is an approachable and very satisfying 'first piece of menswear' for novice sewists.  It is quick and profitable to sew - you can create a whole bridal party worth of vests with only a small investment of time and fabric.  It is an excellent introduction to tailoring before you launch into larger projects such as a suit jacket or coat. [caption id="attachment_13640" align="alignnone" width="850"]waistcoasts for weddings Waistcoats + Summer Weddings = ideal combo.  Photos from this Pinterest board.[/caption] With those characteristics in mind, I've designed our waistcoat pattern to include two variations - one for novice sewists and one for sewists who would like to try their hand at more involved techniques. I am looking for test sewers to try out my pattern and instructions that fall in to both those categories.  Please comment on this post or email me at info@threadtheory.ca if you match either of these categories:
  1. You are fairly new to sewing and have not sewn a lined garment before.  You are opinionated about menswear styles and would like to give me feedback on both the instructions (are they intimidating, easy to understand, too detailed, not detailed enough?) and the style of the vest.
  2. You are experienced sewing waistcoats.  You have tried at least one waistcoat sewing pattern in the past and are willing to give me your opinion on the construction techniques that I have used.  You would be willing to have a look at some of the resources I have been referring to as I write the instructions and discuss the nitty gritty of order of construction, understitching, the size of the lining in relation to the main garment and that sort of thing.  I am looking for some very particular feedback that I will discuss with you over email!
I value tester feedback highly and appreciate that it takes a lot of time and effort on your part!  Please, only volunteer if this is something that you enjoy doing and would like to spend time chatting with me over the next three to four weeks!  There is no need to have a blog or any form of social media and you do not need to sew a presentable final garment if you do not want to (but I would prefer if you follow all of the steps, from understitching to adding buttons, even if it is just in scrap fabric). [caption id="attachment_13643" align="alignnone" width="850"]Waistcoats for casual wear Waistcoats - useful for all seasons and styles!  Photos from this Pinterest board.[/caption] If you don't want to test sew but still have an opinion about waistcoats (be it construction or styling), comment on this post!  Here are some thoughts to get you started:
  1. Have or would you sew a vest?
  2. How many pockets do you like? None, 2, 3, 4?
  3. How many buttons do you like?
  4. Do you prefer vests with a back panel made from lining fabric or from the main wool fabric?
  5. A vest worn without a suit jacket...yay or nay?
  6. What do you call them: Waistcoats or vests?