Thread Theory

Welcome to the new era of menswear sewing. Go ahead and create something exceptional!

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Association of Sewing and Design Professionals Conference


This Sunday Matt and I will have a Thread Theory booth set up at the Westin Wall Center in Richmond (near Vancouver, B.C.) for the annual Association of Sewing and Design Professionals Conference.  The vendor area will be open noon until 6pm and the public is welcome (even if you aren’t attending the conference).  Will any of you be able to stop by to say hi in person?

You may have heard of the Association of Sewing and Design Professionals if you read Threads Magazine.  It is an North American organisation with a mission “to support individuals engaged in sewing and design related businesses, in both commercial and home-based settings.” (I pulled that right from their website – you can read all about it here.)  Every year Threads Magazine presents the approximately 400 members with a sewing related challenge and displays the winners in their magazine…this was my first introduction to the talented professionals that are part of this organisation.  Members include recognisable names such as Susan Khalje (couture specialist) and Connie Crawford (pattern designer).  I look forward to meeting many of these talented people in person at the vendor market!

Also, no less thrilling, I will be vending alongside some other very inspiring companies (Blackbird Fabrics!  Clotho! Farthingales! Fit for Art Patterns!).

Even though I enjoy working from home with the world at my fingertips online, it can be extremely refreshing to get out and engage with the sewing industry in person.  It has been just about a year since Matt and I did our last vendor market so it is high time to pack up the car, jump on the ferry, and set up our little booth.  I look forward to a weekend of sewing talk, putting faces to names, and spreading the word about Thread Theory!  Plus…we will be doing a detour to visit Science World like the couple of geeky kids that we are.😛

Aside from letting you know about the chance to meet face to face, I have two things to share with you today!

  1. You still have a 3 days left to email me with proof that your purchased the PDF Fairfield Button-up before the tissue pattern was released.  I will give you an $11 discount on the tissue pattern to thank you for supporting Thread Theory while you waited for us to send the design to print!  Email me at
  2. Speaking of the Fairfield, check out this amazing rendition!  Robynne sewed it for her husband (and also sewed her own shirt) for their anniversary photos.  Plus…their dogs are very cute in matching bandannas🙂



The Fairfield Button-up Tissue Pattern is here!


Well, the wait is over!  We’ve added the Fairfield Button-up Tissue Pattern to our shop.

I hope that you are as thrilled with it as I am!  It is the first printed pattern within our new Cityscape Collection.  I’m working on the next pattern for this collection right now!


As always, the tissue pattern comes in a chipboard envelope (very easy to stuff your pattern pieces back into), complete with an embroidered garment tag and an instruction booklet.


A few days ago I added a video to Instagram which I shot while opening up the Fairfield Button-up tissue pattern and flipping through the instruction booklet.  I thought you might like a little photographed peek inside in case you don’t use Instagram!


I love how minimalist and clear my sister-in-law (our graphic designer) has kept our instruction booklets.  My main goals for these booklets is to convey all of the tips, tricks and illustrations in as few pages as possible without them feeling squished.  I think that too many instruction pages can be just as overwhelming when you first examine your sewing project as too much tiny text on a page.  It’s a fine balance!


The Fairfield is the first pattern to include instructions on how to take menswear measurements.  We also included loads of garment measurements so that you can compare them to a favourite store bought button-up.


As is always the case when we launch a printed sewing pattern, we are offering a discount to people who bought the PDF but would prefer to work with the tissue version.  Email me at with proof that you purchased the PDF and I will give you a discount of $11.00 CAD on your tissue pattern.  This means you will have received the PDF for free!  Proof of purchase can be anything from your order confirmation email to your first and last name (so that I can look up your order history in our shop).  The discount offer lasts for one week (it ends Sunday night at midnight PST).

This discount is our way of saying thank you for financially supporting Thread Theory while we save up the funds to print our tissue patterns!


Buy the Fairfield Button-up >

Happy sewing!



Waterproof Anorak Sewing Project


I have a whopper of a sewing project to show you today!  I sewed Matt a waterproof, windproof and breathable anorak jacket and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out!


I used the Hot Patterns Hemmingway Windcheater pattern that we stock in our shop and modified it to be unlined as per Matt’s request.  He really wanted a light shell with lots of room for bulky sweaters underneath.  He chose the Pumpkin Dintex waterproof/windproof/breathable fabric from our shop because he wanted a jacket that would be very visible while hiking and hunting in the forest (safety first!).  Plus…he looks awesome in orange😀.  This fabric is comprised of three layers – a soft shell exterior, a waterproof film, and a mesh interior.

I was so thrilled with how easy the Dintex material was to work with.  I just used a regular old needle (probably quite dull) and I even did a bunch of stitch ripping with no bad results.  I just rubbed my finger over the needle holes and they disappeared completely.  The fabric is quite thin and very stable so it was basically like sewing quilting cotton…no stretching or slipping while I sewed.  It doesn’t fray at all so I could have left all of the seams unfinished if I had wanted to without the need for a serger or even pinking shears.


Matt went out into a rainstorm last night for the sole purpose of testing out the waterproof nature of this fabric.  We haven’t sprayed it with any waterproofing spray and I didn’t wash it before I sewed the jacket.  He stood in torrential rain for several minutes and then shook vigorously before coming back inside.  The majority of the raindrops shook right off of him leaving him with a few drops on his shoulders and the rest of the coat completely dry.  We noticed that the drops left on his shoulders slowly started to sink into the outer layer of fabric but they did not penetrate the middle layer (which is supposed to be the main waterproof layer within this material anyways).  I think a quick spray with something like Kiwi Protect-All would fully waterproof the outer soft-shell layer of fabric.

Based on my experience with the fabric after this project (and how pro the results look…if I do say so myself!), I plan to stock a few more colors when we order our winter collection of fabrics.  There is a gorgeous teal color called Ocean and a great muted blue called Storm that are high on my list.  I’ve received a request for the color Plum.  Do you have any specific colors in mind?


I have been steadily working on this jacket for a few weeks now with Matt eagerly awaiting it!  He has been drenched in several Fall rainstorms so far with no waterproof jacket in his closet.  He spends lots of time outdoors rain or shine while hiking with Luki, foraging for mushrooms or hunting so this garment is really an essential item for him.


Apparently, I’m not the only one who things sewing an anorak is a great idea this Fall!  Heather Lou from Closet Case Files just launched her spectacular Kelly Anorak on October 5th.  She basically read my mind with this pattern – it is unlined with all sorts of beautiful seam finishes.  Like I said before, I didn’t use the lining pattern pieces for Matt’s anorak and instead drafted facings and improvised seam finishes.  Now that the Kelly pattern is available it would be easy to sew a menswear anorak using the Hot Pattern pieces/menswear sizes and the instructions from the Kelly!  Maybe I’ll sew a matching Kelly for myself using our Navy Dintex now that I have all the details worked out.


Now, let’s talk a bit more about the Hemmingway Windcheater pattern.  I sewed the size Medium for Matt even though he usually wears a Small.  We chose to move up a size to ensure there was room for lots of layering.  I made a very quick and dirty mock up of the pattern to make sure that the shoulders were not too oversized (they weren’t) and, when I tried it on him, we decided to taper the side seams since Matt’s hips are very narrow and he is used to a slim fit.  I made no other fit adjustments.  Usually I would lengthen sleeves about 1-2″ when sewing for Matt but this was unnecessary because we went up a size.


I had fun working out all the details for this jacket.  The instructions are quite brief and I didn’t follow them very often because I was not constructing the lining.  This left me with lots of creative room to add cozy jersey facings:


…tonnes of flat felled seams and a facing on the hood:


…as well as a waistband casing:


I struggled finding hardware that I liked because Matt tends to like rustic or even old fashioned fastenings.  We also wanted everything to be heavy duty and hard wearing.  I bought brass snaps from Prym which I was very pleased with.  They come with a tool set that includes a plastic holder into which you place the hole punch and various applicators.


This was very nice to work with because it kept my fingers away from the hammer and lined the top and bottom applicators up for me.  Usually I feel as though I am all thumbs when working with the tiny tools that come with snaps…but not this time!


I like that these snaps are smaller in diameter than the ones that I usually see in fabric stores.  These little guys are 12mm in diameter.  I think this makes the jacket look more professional.


I’m considering stocking these sets in the shop.  Would you be interested in using them for your outerwear projects?

I did not find toggles or draw string stops that I liked…but these will be easy to find when I make an anorak for myself!  Closet Case Files released a kit yesterday that includes all of the (high quality) hardware that you need to sew an anorak.  Everything would be suited to menswear except for the draw string stops (which are a beautiful scalloped design).


For Matt’s drawstring toggles, I created circular leather disks from an old belt.  I traced a circle, cut it out, and then smoothed the edges with rough sand paper.  I used the punch from my snap kit to create two holes in the disk and then threaded the cord through them.  Hot Patterns suggested this as a solution for toggles and I love the vintage look!  They slide along the cord nicely too.  To finish the cord ends until I find a better solution, I just knotted the cord and melted the ends.


One of the things I really like about the design of this garment is the internal drawstring along the waist.  I think this results in a more masculine and streamline look than the usual drawstring that exits near center front through an exterior grommet.


I also find the pockets with box pleats to be very practical.  Matt can fit Luki’s leash in one of them no problem and they are more than large enough to keep his hands warm.  I lined Matt’s pockets with leftover ripstop fabric for a pop of hidden color.


I also really love the cuff design!  It includes a tab that cinches over a sleeve gusset.  The pattern suggests to apply two snaps so that the cuff can be cinched tight against the wind.


You can’t see the gusset well in these photos unfortunately but there is a handy close up illustration on the front of the pattern envelope.  The illustration really helped to make things clear while I sewed.  It’s basically a diamond shaped wedge of fabric that gets folded in half and sewn to the cuff and sleeve to create a flared sleeve.  The tab then cinches the cuff tight so that the sleeve, when done up, is no longer flared.  The flare will allow Matt to put on his jacket while wearing a sweater with bulky sleeves and even while he is wearing gloves.


The hem length is perfect.  There is nice coverage over the bum!



And the tall neckline is super cozy without being excessive.  Matt doesn’t have to push fabric away from his face but, if he wants to hide from the wind, he can sink behind the collar a bit like a turtle lol.


The shape of the neckline where the hood meets the yoke is very unique:


It provides an interesting seamline to decorate with all sorts of topstitching.  I fell a bit short here as, while I was constructing the jacket I thought this seam would usually be hidden by the hood and collar – it turns out Matt mostly wears the jacket zipped to the top leaving my one area of iffy topstitching fully exposed!  Woops!


The last design element that really makes this anorak seem like a high end store bought coat from Patagonia or Arc’teryx is the flap that snaps over the zipper to protect the wearer fully from the wind.  This was an essential design feature for us because I couldn’t source any of those fancy waterproof and windproof zippers that I see on expensive waterproof activewear (such as this).


Well, there you have it!  Matt’s Hemmingway Windcheater that will have him ready for anything this wet West Coast winter!

Before I sign off for today, I have a couple more things to add to this already super long post!

  • Have you seen the awesomely colorful Strath that Duncan Carter (a contestant on last season’s The Great British Sewing Bee) shared on the Minerva Crafts blog?
  • The tissue version of the Fairfield Button-up launches next Monday, Oct. 17th!  Make sure you are signed up for our newsletter because I will be sending out a special discount for newsletter recipients on Monday morning.

Have a lovely weekend!

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Paper patterns are back in stock!

The Jedediah Pants and Strathcona Henley are available as tissue patterns once again!  They are on their way to our stockists worldwide and are currently on our website.  Thanks for all of your enthusiasm for these two staple menswear garments!  They have been steady sellers in our shop ever since they were released as tissue patterns in January 2014.

You’ve probably guessed that we ordered more from the print shop than just our old favourites!  The brand new Fairfield Button-up tissue pattern arrived in the same shipment!   It’s release day in our shop and at retailers worldwide is Monday, Oct. 17th.


I have created a short video on Instagram during which I open up the brand new pattern so you can take a look inside.  Why not take a peek?


12 Menswear Sewing Projects + 2 Blouses

You guys are such an inspiration!  Each day I begin the work day by checking out what you’ve been making and sharing on Instagram, via email ( or on Facebook.  Be it the fabric choice, the creative hacks, or the skilled stitching, your projects always allow me to see our old designs from a new perspective.

I’ve created a gallery for each pattern that you guys have been sewing of late.  Above you can see a couple ofexcellent Fairfield Button-ups (along with some VERY elegant Jedediah trousers!).  The aqua colored Fairfield and black Jeds are part of matching father and son outfits in honor of father’s day.  They were sewn by Belgian seamstress and milliner, Jo Chapeau.  The chambray Fairfield Button-up was sewn by Georgia for her partner James.  The fabric is a Robert Kauffman chambray (have you ever seen and felt these in person?  I love the depth and texture of the fabric.  It is so luxurious feeling while giving the overall appearance of a casual fabric choice.)

These two Strathcona Henleys could not look more different but they were sewn by the same person!  Esther sewed one men’s version featuring the Henley placket and long sleeves and then modified the pattern to create a women’s version which she has dubbed the Mariner’s Tee.  It looks as though there is orange striped piping around the neckline.  I love the attention to detail and the way she played with the stripes.

The Jedediah Pants and Jutland Pants are excellent skill building projects.  I never fail to feel pride and amazement each time I complete a trouser fly.  I think these talented sewists felt the same (judging by their Facebook messages, Instagram comments and emails!).  From top to bottom, left to right: 1.Jedediah Pants by Lindsay (@designbylindsay) 2. Jutland Shorts by Ben 3. Jedediah Shorts by The Drapery 4. Jutland Shorts by Isis.

The Finlayson Sweater, on the other hand, is a very quick make and is forgiving of all manner of stitching and fitting imperfections.  There is very little topstitching and the fit is boxy enough that you don’t have to worry about tweaking it much for a variety of body shapes.  Even though it is a simple design, it can still be made special by making an unusual fabric choice.  I love the color blocked sleeves and collar in the top photo (sewn by @lafamillecreative).  The French Terry used by Khadetjes for the Finlayson in the lower photos looks extremely cozy.  You can see some close up photos of the texture on her blog – it looks perfect for a chilly day like today!

Photos of Comox Trunks are some of my favorite to stumble upon because I get such a kick out of the wild prints many people select!  You would be hard pressed to find such colorful and cheery underwear in the shops!  The top pair has been sewn by @theunknownstar and the bottom pair (along with the matching thong) have been sewn by @superlousew.  I may have shared this couple’s set of undies on Instagram or the blog before but I can’t find evidence and I can’t resist spreading the concept of matching undies throughout the sewing world!

This Camas Blouse caught my eye the other day – it was sewn using a woven fabric with a beautiful cotton lace yoke.  I like how the lace yoke shows peeks of the main fabric through the gaps.  This lovely blouse was sewn by @lamuseauplacard.

Lastly, let’s not forget the Goldstream Peacoat!  Near the end of each summer progress shots of Goldstream Peacoats never fail to pop up on my Instagram feed.  These images, by @timetosew caught my eye due to the very precise basting and padstitching she has completed.  I have had the pieces cut out for a Pendleton Wool Goldstream for over a year now.  Since I have made so many Goldstream Peacoats over the last few years, I thought I would veer from the sewing process which I detail within the instruction booklet.  This process features very easy yet effective methods that are approachable even if it is your first coat project.  This time I’m going to use some of the tailoring tips from our Tailored Peacoat Series!  Obviously, I am a tad intimidated (this is why the project has sat for over a year in my WIP bag) but I am thankful for the inspiration from sewists like @timetosew who just buckle down and get stitching!  It’s time for me to do the same so Matt can finally replace his old ratty Goldstream that I made him years ago as an early sample from very cheap faux wool.

If you have a Thread Theory project on you sewing table, I would love to hear about it!  Send your questions, your ideas, your photos, and your stories to, message me on Facebook, or use #threadtheorydesigns.


The Landgate Jacket (Unisex Pattern)


It’s chilly and the rain is pouring down this morning.  Time for pumpkins, hooded jackets and mushroom hunting!  Nicole (my sewing friend and proprietress of The Spool Sewing Studio) created this rain jacket with Fall weather in mind.  She used The Landgate pattern by Merchant & Mills and our burnt orange cotton canvas that we include in our Bag Making Kits.


Since I took these photos she has been working away at waxing this jacket with Otterwax in hopes of waterproofing the garment and creating the gorgeous patina that resulted when I waxed my Mom’s bag.  Of course, a jacket is a lot more work to wax than a bag so she hasn’t quite finished it yet.  She reports that she is struggling to work the wax into the fabric.  I remember, when I first finished my Mom’s bag it looked chalky, as though the wax had hardened on the surface.  I put the bag in the dryer with an old towel and was pleased with how the wax soaked in.  Nicole tried this without being satisfied with the results so we have some more experimenting to do!  Sometimes I think the best way to create a nice patina on waxed fabric is just to use the garment or bag for a while…kind of in the same way you would wear in new shoes or denim.  I will try to update you when we’ve finished the waxing process (I think I will step in and help her out since she so kindly modelled the Landgate for me!).


Now, let’s talk more about this awesome pattern!  It is a unisex design but I’ve only seen it on women in person (but Google “Landgate Pattern” to see some amazing menswear versions!).  I shall have to get Matt to try on Nicole’s Landgate once it is fully waxed.landgate-jacket-pattern-9

This pattern features a gorgeous yoke detail paired with raglan sleeves and a deep hood which includes a tall, built in collar.


The hood features draw strings.  The partial zip at centre front includes an insert to protect the chin and neck from the wind (and from the zipper!).  These details work together to provide ultimate protection from stormy weather. With the draw strings pulled tight and the neck zip done up you could walk into driving rain with only your eyes exposed!


The sleeves are quite long and wide and the body is boxy which makes the jacket an excellent shell.  There is a lot of room to layer a heavy wool sweater underneath.  Nicole made a size Medium I believe – correct me if I am wrong, Nicole! – to ensure an extra roomy fit.  She also wanted to make sure there was enough length for full bum coverage when biking.


Even though the jacket is boxy, it doesn’t need to look like a sack.  The waist drawstring can be cinched as tight as you would like.  I think it would be best kept loose or only slightly cinched if worn by a man but it looks quite flattering cinched on a woman!


The pockets are probably my favourite detail on this jacket. There are sneaky side pockets which are set forward from the side seam.  Side seam pockets can be a tad uncomfortable to use since they are set so far back.  These are far better!  On top of these pockets are very roomy patch pockets with flaps.  I like the two pocket options because your wallet and phone can be protected in the patch pockets leaving lots of room for your hands in the other pockets.landgate-jacket-pattern-13

The Landgate is unlined as you can see in the photo below.


Nicole did a lovely job of finishing all of the seams with her serger.  Just because a garment is unlined doesn’t mean it will  be ugly on the inside!  Check out her beautiful batik pocket linings.  The print reminds me of onions!😀


You did an excellent job sewing up this pattern, Nicole!  I hope your next version goes just as well (yes…she already has another one on her list of sewing project ideas!).


You can find the Landgate pattern in our shop >


The Perfect Menswear Sewing Pattern for Beginners


I sewed my dad a t-shirt made from woven fabric!  He was a bit skeptical of the idea at first but once he tried it on and got used to the feeling of cool, light hemp and no stretch, he realised it was very comfortable.


The pattern is designed by Merchant & Mills and is called The Tee.  It is available in our shop!

Menswear Patterns-5

The fabric is a hemp and organic cotton blend from the summer collection (also in our shop).  It is the only colorway remaining from the three colors that I used to have in stock.  I must say, I was surprised that this one didn’t sell out first (the pale blue was the most popular) since this charcoal grey is such a versatile color!


I find the idea of a woven tee to be very appealing because I receive many emails from beginner sewers who are looking for an easy menswear project.  A woven tee combines two elements that make it the perfect candidate for a beginner sewer: 1. It contains only four pattern pieces and 2. You can sew it up in a very stable fabric that does not stretch as you work with it.


Of course, because this pattern is designed for woven fabrics, it features a fairly roomy, loose fit.  The actual shape of the t-shirt is somewhat boxy (especially compared to our Strathcona Tee which includes curved side seams).  I like that The Tee fits as closely as possible though – for instance, the shoulder seams end at the shoulder bone as you can see in the photo below.  They are not ‘dropped’ shoulders as is often the case in loose, baggy t-shirts – these can easily look sloppy.  I think this nicely fitted sleeve cap gives the shirt a vintage vibe and an overall polished appearance.  The close fitting crew neck also adds to the vintage feel of this garment.  It is the only part of the t-shirt made in a knit (a ribbing in fact).  The instructions for applying the ribbing are excellent (the best I’ve come across in a t-shirt pattern) so, even though this could be a tricky step for a beginner sewer, you will be guided through it thoroughly.


As you can see in the next photo, the width across the shoulder blades is the perfect amount to allow for a full range of (mostly) unrestricted movement.  My dad commented that the sleeves felt a bit snug when he extended his arms in front of him but we both agreed that my Mom’s work blazers (for instance) are far more restricting.  He is just very used to a t-shirt stretching to suit any movement.


If I were to sew this t-shirt for my dad again I would likely lengthen the hem by 1″ to 2″ since it is currently a touch too short to tuck in without it pulling out of his waistband when he moves.  I would also play around with the fit at the waist and hips since my dad has a broad shoulder width and a narrow waist and hip circumference.  I would likely taper the side seams from the armpit to the hem by 1″ on each seam.  While this would be a proportionate adjustment for my Dad, I think many men would suit the straight side seams very well.  In fact, my Dad mentioned that he thought the combo of woven fabric and straight side seams would be very comfortable and flattering if he had a beer belly to hide.


My Dad just got home from an almost 3 month long sailing journey to Hawaii and back!  He lost quite a bit of weight in this time period (since the crew mostly survived on lentil soup and a horrifying lack of cookies).  I sewed the shirt using measurements I took before he left and thus did not account for his slim waist.  I might still take the side seams in if I can borrow the shirt from him in the future!


My dad’s new dashboard decor for his Ford F-100 ’53 (his only souvenir from Hawaii!).

Thanks, as always, for being such a cooperative model Dad!

Let’s finish off this post with a quick update on how the wedding dress turned out!  I blogged some progress photos a few weeks ago and wrote about how enjoyable the sewing process had been (and how nervous I was for the final fitting!).  Needless to say, the final fitting went so smoothly.  I hardly had to make any changes!

Mika looked absolutely stunning and the wedding was very romantic.  It was in the couple’s home and was wonderfully casual (as you can tell by the groom’s attire).  I felt very proud to see Mika excitedly try on the dress and comfortably wear it the entire evening.  Thanks for such a wonderful opportunity, Mika!  (The photos above were taken by Bayoush Mengesha.)  Congratulations Mika and Mitch!