Thread Theory

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


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Behind the Scenes: Spring 2015

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We got a big shipment this week (as many of you who follow our Instagram feed will know) and our entry hall is currently filled with dozens of big cardboard boxes as a result.  All of these boxes are filled with chipboard envelopes and instruction booklets.untitled-10-2

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We are now one big step closer to releasing the Finlayson Sweater, Jutland Pants and Camas Blouse as printed patterns!  The only element we are now waiting on is the actual patterns themselves – we expect big boxes of folded tissue patterns to arrive on our doorstep late next week.

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I couldn’t be happier with how the printed packaging turned out – especially the Camas Blouse.  We updated the design of the packaging slightly to easily distinguish our women’s pattern from our line of menswear.

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Matt has been in the ‘photography studio’ (my sewing table with some white broadcloth hung above it and draped onto it) taking fresh shots of our paper patterns and I’ve been working on our wholesale system with a website app developer.

We can’t wait to add these to the shop!


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Last Day for the Inventory Clearout Sale

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Just a quick note to let you know that I will be ending the big sale on the Parkland Collection tissue patterns as soon as our shipment of new printed patterns arrives (hopefully this afternoon!).  Thanks for all the enthusiasm over our biggest sale yet.  Our shelves are looking shockingly empty as they wait for the arrival of the Finlayson, Jutland and Camas tissue patterns.  I can’t wait to share photos of the huge pallets of printed patterns that will soon be sitting on our front lawn :).


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Way too much lingerie!

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Last February, shortly before Valentine’s Day and not long after my blog post about my Spring wardrobe plans, I caught the lingerie sewing bug.  I knew it was bound to get me eventually seeing as it has made it’s way through the blogosphere several times now!  The bug was passed to me by Caroline of Blackbird Fabrics and Tasia of Sewaholic during a trip to visit them in the winter.  They were stocking up on gorgeous lingerie elastics and laces at a local fabric shop and suddenly my shopping list looked so dismally colorless and lacking in frills!  It wasn’t long before I was in the checkout lineup with a shopping basket of pale pinks and nudes of my own.

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Of course, Caroline’s gorgeous Watson Bra Kits, which she released not long after my Vancouver trip, did nothing to help matters – my mailbox soon contained three of these beauties and I spent quite a few late winter evenings sewing up lingerie.  It was so much fun!

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In case you haven’t already read elsewhere, the Watson Bra is really quick to sew, very easy to fit and quite comfortable to wear.  It’s certainly a different silhouette than I am used to but I’m pleased with how many shirts I find myself happily wearing it under.  It suits my Camas Blouses very nicely and is great under cozy sweaters.  I don’t find myself inclined to wear it with thin t-shirts or sports clothing because I prefer something with padding and more coverage in these instances.

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The findings in the Blackbird Fabrics kits really make the bra – the hook and eye closures are very plush and comfortable and the jewelry quality sliders and rings make the bra feel very high quality compared to the plastic ones I have on most of my RTW lingerie.  The quality of the elastics is far superior to anything I have available locally.  I’ve been very frustrated with underwear sewing in the past because after a couple delicate washes (no dryer) the elastic already starts to break down!

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It drives me nuts…especially since I have found that the very cheap La Senza underwear that I used to purchase included elastic and lace that lasted longer than the fabric itself!  So far, all of the Blackbird elastics show no sign of wear.  The stretch lace that I purchased while in Vancouver (the peach lace on the blue bra) is looking brand new as well.

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On the other hand, the black stretch lace and black elastic that I purchased locally already features fraying portions and exposed inner elastic fibres.  To be fair, I find myself wearing my grey bamboo mock up Watson more often than my other two sets because it is so stretchy and comfortable so this might be contributing to the wear.untitled-33

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The pretty burgundy and blue sets that I made using Caroline’s kits offer much more support than my bamboo knit version and a tiny bit less comfort (but this is all relative – they are more comfortable than any of my RTW underwire bras).  I also view them as my ‘fancy’ sets so I only wear them if I am putting them on under something a bit dressy.

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I really enjoyed adding to the fabrics included in the kits with additional fabric from my stash, lace, bows and even a lace garter belt (using some of the indestructible lace from one of my old pairs of RTW underwear).  Due to the additional trims and fabrics I added, I was left with quite a bit of the kit materials – enough to sew a couple more pairs of underwear if I included additional lace and accent fabrics once again.

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The patterns that I used for these sets are: The Watson Bra (all are the longline version), The Watson Underwear (included with the bra pattern), and the Ladyshorts (a free pattern by Cloth Habit).

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I’m taking a break from lingerie sewing for a while now but I’m really happy with how this mini sewing obsession led to a completely updated and fresh lingerie drawer to go with my spring outfits!  Now its back to nice sturdy denims and rugged canvases for me :).


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In the Wild: Switching Seasons

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With the seasons changing both in the Northern and Southern Hemisphere, I think it’s the perfect time to show off some of the inspiring projects you have made with our two current top-selling patterns!  Since we launched our big inventory clear out sale earlier this week, the Strathcona Henley and the Goldstream Peacoat have been flying off the shelves faster than any other pattern.

The Strathcona Henley is a great option for Spring in the Northern hemisphere because it can be sewn into a breathable cotton tee to layer under sweaters or it can be made into a light Henley sweater to wear over its t-shirt variation.  Perfect for days that fluctuate between chilly rain showers and glorious sunshine!

1 & 2 The Monthly Stitch – Helen Cloke  | 3 Lily Sage & Co | 4 Wardrobe Ecology | 5 Le Papillon | 6 Wardrobe Histology

Right this moment is a great time for those of you in the Southern hemisphere to start on your winter Goldstream Peacoat.  There is still lots of time to perfect each tailoring step before you will need the cozy coat for the winter.  Sewing the Goldstream is a great way to challenge yourself a little if you have got stuck in a rut of sewing quick and easy projects.  Sometimes it is nice to slow down the pace and really enjoy the process of sewing!

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Thank you for sharing your sewing projects with us!  And thank you for the overwhelming response to our inventory clear out sale – our shelves are starting to look much more manageable.  Many Parkland Wardrobe Builders, individual sewing patterns and all sorts of tools are currently winging their way around the world to your sewing tables!


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Inventory Clear Out Sale

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Matt and I are anticipating the arrival of three new paper sewing patterns on our doorstep this week – we can’t wait to hold the tissue versions of the Finlayson Sweater, Jutland Pants and Camas Blouse in our hands at last!  In the meantime though, I’ve been looking around at our cramped little house/studio and have been wondering where pallet after pallet of cardboard boxes are going to fit.

So, to help clear some shelf space, we’ve put the entire selection of tissue Parkland Collection patterns on sale at a VERY discounted rate – they are currently 35% off making the tissue patterns almost as cheap to buy as the print at home PDFs!

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The Parkland Collection tissue patterns will be on sale until we’ve cleared enough shelf space for our new shipment of patterns.  Thanks for helping with the Spring cleaning!


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The comfiest jeans ever!

GingerJeans-42 I made Ginger Jeans!  For years I have maintained that I’m not a ‘jeans person’ and often wear dresses or leggings and tunics rather than some form of trousers.  This denim avoidance hasn’t been for style reasons but is instead based on comfort.  I’ve bought and sewn quite a selection of jeans over the last five years but have found every single pair to be horribly uncomfortable.  I get stuck at either end of the denim spectrum – too rigid and restricting or too stretchy and droopy.  It would way rather wear a comfortable dress with the waistband sitting at the natural waist than get a stomach ache and claustrophobia due to a low rise  denim waistband that digs in.  And I much prefer the maintenance free feeling of a tunic and leggings to constantly stopping to pull up saggy jeggings!

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Well, I am happy to report that I am now a convert to high-waist jeans thanks to Heather Lou and Variation B of the Ginger Jeans pattern!  Sallie- Oh’s version was a definite source of persuasion as well.    The waistband sits at my natural waist and doesn’t slip down or dig in – in fact, the waistband actually feels more comfortable than the elastic waistband on my favorite pair of leggings.  I was nervous that high-waist jeans might make me look like a mom from the 80s but in the end, I wear most of my tops untucked so it is impossible to tell that the pants underneath extend to the waist.

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Even if I were to wear a shorter top, I am pretty satisfied with how the high waist gives my short legs the illusion of length.

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Moving on from the waistband of these jeans, I am very happy with how they fit throughout the rest of the seat and legs.

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I made a lot of changes to the pattern to get this fit but expected I would be doing this due to the fact that my hips are pretty narrow and there is a big difference in measurement between the widest point of my hips and the narrowest point of my waist (I guess all of this difference is near the center back).  This meant I had to adjust the yoke by taking a very large wedge out of center back (Heather explains how to do this very clearly).  I ended up removing about 1 1/2″ from CB and am thrilled with how nicely the shape of the yoke matches my body!

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I also removed almost all of the curve at the hips, tapering down to the knees.  I made these changes directly to my fabric pieces after basting them together as drafted.  I knew all my changes would be to make the pants narrower and so I wasn’t worried about the inability to add fabric.

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The fabric itself is absolutely gorgeous and it was bought from the discount table at Atex Designer Fabrics in Vancouver.  I am not sure what weight this denim is but it is heavier than I have seen locally and it is extremely soft.  The spandex content is fairly low compared to denims that I have used for stretch jeans in the past (sorry I don’t have specific information, I didn’t keep the tag!).  I am hoping that the weight of this fabric paired with this pretty low spandex content will help the jeans retain their shape over time…I really dislike baggy knees!

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I used our gunmetal Jeans & Pants Essential Notions Kit to finish off the pants – the silver button and gunmetal rivets look really nice with the black denim.  I’ll be applying Otter Wax to these jeans now that ‘before’ photos are taken because who can resist black waxed skinny jeans!  One of our new large sized Otter Wax bars should be more than enough for this pair of pants (I bet I’ll have enough left over for a dopp kit or to touch up Matt’s waxed Jutlands).  I’ll show you the ‘after’ photos once they are ready!

 


 

Now that I have my first pair of Gingers complete, I’m getting closer to completing my spring wardrobe – I have more denim on order from Fancy Tiger for a pair of blue jeans and will then embark on a couple Archer Button-ups as well as the Chambray skirt that I have planned.  I am already happily wearing my Coppélia Cardigans regularly as you can see in all of the above photos – such a cute, quick and easy pattern to sew!

 

 

I’ve completed all the Watson bra and underwear sets that I had planned (will blog soon!) as well as a big load of Lazo Trousers that I will blog about when the pattern is released.  The last item on my list will be a Nettie or two for layering – though I may get distracted by some By Hand London floral Kim dresses for a while!

 

Time to sew spring dresses! Thank you @byhandlondon! The Charlie's Blooms fabric is gorgeous :).

A photo posted by Thread Theory (@thread_theory) on

 

Maintaining an impossibly long list of inspiring sewing projects puts me in such a creatively fulfilled state of mind.  I find that the emptier my project and ideas list is, the more ‘listless’ I feel! *pun intended*

 


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Spotlight on the humble tape measure

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While reading the much anticipated first issue of Simply Sewing recently (have you heard of this new magazine?), I came across a little note within an article on essential sewing tools.  The note mentions that it is worth spending a little extra on a good quality flexible tape measure so that it will not stretch out easily and render your measurements inaccurate.

This note reminded me of my orientation day when I began sewing for an interior designer a few years ago.  The very skilled and knowledgable seamstress that I was working with told me to handle our tape measures very carefully and to drape them softly over their hook on the wall each time I put them away.  This careful handling would prevent them from stretching out – something that is very important to someone who is sewing precise roman shades!  When she told me this I nodded quietly while guiltily visualizing my tightly rolled tape measure within it’s plastic case in my sewing box at home!  When I got home I inspected my tape measure closely – it was a cheap plastic blue one (rather than coated fabric or strong, reinforced plastic) and, after several years of use it featured visible stretch marks along it’s entire length!  Needless to say, when I compared it’s measurement markings to my metal pattern drafting rulers, they were quite off!

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Ever since this experience I have been much more careful with handling my tape measures and have now switched to using coated cloth measures that are far less prone to stretching.

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Aside from resistance to stretch, there are a couple other features I like my tape measures to include.  I prefer to use tape measures with very clear and simple markings – I find it annoying when inches and centimeters are crammed onto one side of the measure – the Merchant & Mills tape measures that we carry in our shop are particularly simple and clear to read since one side is black and one side is white making it very easy to refer to your desired unit of measurement instantly.  Lastly, I like to use tape measures that feature no blank space at the beginning or end of the measure.  I prefer tape measures to start at “0” exactly where the metal tip begins and to include measurements right up to the other metal tip.

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While I only own basic tape measures, I have seen some really useful specialized ones when working with other sewists at pattern drafting workshops and school that I would like to add to my tool box.  For instance, I have noticed drapery weighted tapes are a common tool within many seamstress’s sewing boxes.  They drape the chain over the body to measure various rounded areas (for instance, the front shoulder to waist measurement that extends over the bust).  They pinch the chain at either end point and then remove the chain to a flat surface where they measure its length.

Have you tried working with circumference tapes that feature a slider and locking button to measure the circumference of various areas of the body?  Or, have you attached an adhesive tape measure to your sewing table?  Or are you a fan of working with quilting rulers while garment sewing?

I’d love to hear your measuring tips and tricks!

If you are feeling the need to update your measuring tools like I am, our Merchant & Mills measuring tape is currently 25% off this weekend!

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