Thread Theory

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


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New: Large Otter Wax! (Plus an examination of Matt’s waxed Jutlands two months later)

Otter-Wax-New-12 Blog  The Otter Wax bars that we carry in the ‘Supplies‘ section of our shop are constantly on the verge of selling out – so, with our most recent order from Portland, Oregon, we decided to branch out and add a new Otter Wax bar to our inventory!  We now stock both the regular size of Otter Wax and the new-to-us large Otter Wax bar.

Otter-Wax-New-13 Blog If you are interested in waxing large projects such as a pair of Ginger Jeans or a Cascade Duffle Coat, the large Otter Wax bar, weighing in at 5 oz, is the bar for you!  To give you an indication of how much you can wax with this new, larger bar, I have thoroughly waxed a pair of Jutland Pants for Matt using two regular Otter Wax bars (and had a little nugget of wax left over ready for touch ups).  Since the large Otter Wax bar weighs just over double the regular bar, you should easily be able to wax a pair of jeans with a single bar!  If you are planning to wax a smaller project (shoes, for instance), the regular size bar will still be your best choice – you will be able to wax two to three pairs of shoes with a single regular bar.

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In case you have been wondering, here is a bit of an update on how Matt’s Otter Waxed Jutland Pants (originally posted here) are faring.  With all the early Spring rains we’ve been having lately, Matt has been getting a lot of wear out of them.  Despite walking our dog, Luki, through many mud puddles, splitting wood, going on a number of hikes, and generally wearing the Jutlands like a second skin, Matt’s pants still look like new.

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The dirt that he invariably covers them with on each outing brushes off on it’s own.  Apparently a quick once-over with a stiff bristled brush will remove any stubborn mud from Otter Waxed fabric but, as of yet, we have not needed to do this as the mud sloughs off on its own.  The way it self cleans like this kind of reminds me of a dog’s coat – as the mud dries the fur switches from a muddy/sandy mess to a nice clean coat – though I couldn’t say the same for the floor around the dog!  Because we haven’t needed to hand wash the pants yet, there has been no need to touch them up with a light coat of wax.  I imagine, over time, it might be a good idea to re-coat the hems and possibly the fly area as these are the sections of the pants that receive the most wear.

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Matt finds his waxed pants very comfortable to wear because they are heavier and warmer than nylon rain pants and, of course, don’t make an annoying swishing sound as he walks (as rain pants are prone to do).  They also dress up nicely and he has received compliments on his ‘trendy’ and ‘stylish’ waxed pants in more posh atmospheres (which is pretty funny since I am used to thinking of them as his rugged work pants and chide him for refusing to dress up when going out for dinner!).  As he’s worn the pants, the wax has sunk further into the weave of the fabric and so they feel softer than they originally did when I waxed them just over two months ago.

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They don’t bead the water quite as much as they did when they were originally waxed but, like I said, the wax is still very effectively protecting the fabric and, despite the lack of beading, Matt reports that they keep him dry quite a bit longer than un-waxed canvas pants or jeans do when he is walking in the rain.

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This Spring I have plans to use Otter Wax on a number of new projects – some that involve sewing and some that feature existing clothing.  I’d like to wax a ball cap for my Dad and some Carhartt coveralls for Matt (they were pretty expensive so waxing them should help them last longer).  For myself, I plan to wax the black denim Ginger Jeans that I’ve had in progress for quite some time now!

In the meantime, here is a bit of waxing inspiration:

  • A thorough documentation of Otter Waxing a canvas computer bag.  Two coats of wax are applied – the first with a hair dryer so it sinks into the fabric, the second without heat so that it sits on the surface.  Water is applied after each coat as a ‘beading’ test.
  • A waxed canvas vest that beads water and looks pleasantly ‘worn in’.
  • Are you craving an outdoor adventure?  Here’s a pretty little video featuring an Otter Waxed hat and fly fishing in the rain.


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A Stretch Cotton Camas – with little anchor buttons!

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Let me introduce to you our newest model – my Mom! I can’t believe that this is my Mom’s first time modelling for Thread Theory!  My Dad is such an old hand at modelling now that we can whip off a photo shoot with him in mere minutes.  He casually cycles through a variety of poses without prompting as Matt snaps the shutter – just like a professional model!  Now, with our first women’s pattern up on our site, it’s my Mom’s time to shine!

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I recently sewed a nautical themed Camas Blouse for her in a lovely soft stretch cotton from Blackbird Fabrics.  The tiny anchor motif is very subtle and so the blouse has a professional pin stripe and polka dot appearance from a distance.  I completed the anchor theme by using gold and navy shank buttons decked out with small anchors.

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Since stretch cotton does not have the weight and drape best suited to this pattern, I decided to replace all the gathers with a series of pleats.  By ironing these pleats flat, I hoped they would encourage the fabric to sit smoothly against the body.  While I like how the two small front pleats worked out, I wish I had done an inverted box pleat for the back of the blouse.  Even with the help of ironing (which a trip to the marina completely eradicated!), my mom finds the back pleats billow a little too much so I think this blouse would look best tucked into trousers or a pencil skirt.

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I keep suggesting to my mom that the blouse would look really cute with a thin belt circled around the waist – maybe a skinny red belt for a pop of color?  As it is though (un-tucked and untamed), it makes a lovely semi-dressy top that pairs well with my mom’s blazers and cardigans for work.  I like how she wears it with the navy blue tank top underneath for modesty (the white cotton is a touch transparent).

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Have you considered sewing the Camas in a woven fabric?  I’ve been spotting quite a few woven versions, many with no spandex content at all, popping up on Instagram and blogs.  Here are a few to inspire you!

Sources: 1. El ropero de mi tia 2. Neues vom Sonnenfels 3. New Model Lamé


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7 Ways to Customize Pants Pockets for Men

In case you do not know her already, I’d like to introduce you to a talented seamstress and one of the very first supportive sewists that Matt and I digitally ‘met’ when we started our big Thread Theory adventure: Meg of the blog Made by Meg!  Meg has been a test sewer for us several times in the past and has sewn up many inspiring versions of our patterns.  Her blog has been one of my favorites for a number of years now.  Combine all of these elements and you can see how thrilled I am to tell you that Meg has written a guest post for our blog today and has plans to write many more in the future!

Now let me pass you over to her – enjoy the post!

PIc ThumbnailHi I’m Meg! Making clothes is my creative outlet, and I started sewing and knitting in school when I realized I couldn’t wear a thesis or embellish my reports. Along the way, my sewing adventures have led me to knit scarves in the Peruvian Andes and refashion traditional dresses in Mexico City. I love to make things up as I go, mixing patterns and making changes on the fly. Professionally, I’m a researcher who loves presenting data visually in formats that are easy to understand. I hope you’ll follow along as I present inspiration and tutorials from Thread Theory patterns! You can also find me at megmadethis.blogspot.com.

Customize Pants Pockets

In men’s clothing, the details are everything. While womenswear tends to plays with dramatic silhouettes and design elements, menswear is all about classic tailoring with special touches. On the Jedediah and Jutland pants, one place to add that special touch is the back pocket. Below is some inspiration for back pocket embroidery to suit a variety of styles.

1. Abstract

Abstract

Source: Diesel Jeans & Boots, Jeans & Leather

These pockets have a fun, modern look, and are easy to sew!

2. Topstitching

Topstitching

Source: Stronghold & Pronto Denim

Sometimes something as simple as a line of topstitching can create an interesting effect. These pockets play with the unique shape of the pocket and elements such as rivets.

3. Nature Inspired

Nature Inspired

Source: Prima Jeans & Two Random Words

For the outdoorsy guy, I love nature-inspired pockets, especially for a rugged pattern like the Jutland Pants. You can allude to nature with an organic shape like waves, or do what fellow blogger Sophie-Lee did and embroider a landscape.

4. Embroidered Shapes

Embroidered Shapes

Source: Vintage Sergio Valente & Japan X Lee

If you are handy with your sewing machine or have an embroidery function, shapes are really fun. Perfect for the playful guy!

5. Embellishments

Embellishments

Source: Phable Jeans & Vintage Jacket

These subtle embellishments prove once again how small details can enhance a design. On the left, scraps from the selvedge edge have been stitched down to the pocket. On the right, small pieces of leather decorate and strengthen the pocket.

6. Fabric

Fabric

Source: Apliiq Jeans & Pinterest

This technique can be either loud or subtle, depending on the fabrics you choose. While I love the flower look on these jeans, more conservative dressers might appreciate the subtle variation of a similarly-colored fabric with a bit of texture.

7. Special Touches (1)

Special Touches

Source: Pinterest & Kings of Indigo

Sometimes plain and simple pockets are the best. But even then you can have some fun with it. Initials in the corner are a simple way to go. Or, do what denim company Kings of Indigo does and embroider a design inside the pocket where only the wearer can see it.


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Secret Weapon: How to sew perfect buttonholes on to delicate fabrics

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I recently sewed an extremely delicate and drapey silk Camas Blouse as a guest blogger contribution to the Britex blog.  It featured a very soft silk jersey knit and I added a contrast panel to the back of the blouse using a floaty grey silk chiffon.  The result was a blouse almost as light as air!  To tell you the truth, it feels a bit disconcerting to wear – almost like I’m wearing nothing!  It was also quite disconcerting to sew – I had to employ some creative thinking and secret weapons to ensure the delicate fabric wasn’t destroyed by my sewing machine.  Apart from experimenting with a variety of needles (I chose a thin and sharp needle) and using fine silk thread (thoughtfully provided by Britex for my project), I also used my favorite trick for sewing buttonholes which I will share with you today:

Let me introduce to you my secret weapon for perfect buttonholes (even on the lightest, stretchiest or unruly of fabrics): Tear-away embroidery stabilizer!

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The stabilizer I chose features a very lightly sticky side that adheres to your project just enough to prevent slipping and doesn’t stretch or tear even the most delicate knit when it is removed.untitled-19When I was ready to stitch my buttonholes I cut a strip of tear-away stabilizer slightly wider than the button placket.
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I peeled off the backing (the half with blue markings on it) and applied it to the wrong side of the button placket (the inside of the shirt).untitled-23

This is what it looks like from the right side of the shirt:untitled-25

This is what it looks like from the wrong side of the shirt:untitled-26

Then I went ahead and stitched the buttonholes on my machine as per normal.  I placed the stabilizer/wrong side of the shirt against the bed of my sewing machine – this prevents the knit fabric from being sucked down into the bobbin chamber.untitled-27

And look at how beautifully the button hole turned out!untitled-29

From the wrong side you can see that the act of stitching the buttonhole has pretty much torn the stabilizer off of the placket.untitled-30

It takes hardly any effort to rip off the stabilizer from the placket:untitled-33

And voila!  A perfect placket of buttonholes!
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I hope you find this to be a useful trick when sewing your next buttonholed Camas Blouse!  It would be useful for all manner of detailed sewing tasks paired with delicate fabrics.  I’d like to try it out when sewing bras, I bet it would really help when top-stitching along the cradle of the Watson Bra!
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Have you tried sewing with tear-away stabilizer?  Do you have any tricks and tips to add to this tutorial?


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A Tale of Two Trousers: The fit and style differences between the Jeds and the Jutlands

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Due to popular demand, here is an in-depth discussion about the differences between our two men’s pants patterns: The Jedediah Pants and the Jutland Pants!  Let’s delve right in:

The Jedediah Pants are a slim fit trouser with several distinctive features: Slash pockets, a back yoke and pointed back pockets.  They are part of our Parkland Collection which features casual clothing suited to slim bodies and daily wear (while strolling through B.C.’s provincial parks!).

The Jutland Pants, on the other hand, are a relaxed fit trouser with these distinctive features: Curved front pockets, shaping back darts and the choice between welt pockets and squared patch pockets.  They are part of our Alpine Collection which includes rugged clothing designs meant to perform purposeful tasks (hiking mountains or working in a mechanic shop!).

These two pants patterns fit differently in every area – they feature different crotch curves, different hip shapes and different leg widths.  A few people have asked me whether they could skip mocking up the Jutland Pants by simply transferring the fit adjustments that they made on the Jedediah Pants pattern to the Jutland Pants pattern.  Since the Jutland Pants were drafted to fit a different body type than the Jedediah Pants, it is very necessary to mock up the Jutland Pants even if you have already sewn the Jedediah Pants.

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The Jedediah Pants feature roomy chino-style hips and very slim legs.  This shape is a modern, slim fit that is trendy and very well suited to the slim, lanky bodies of young men.IMGP1247

The Jedediah Pants pattern includes two variations – the first is a full length pair of trousers and the second is a knee length pair of shorts with rolled cuffs.Edited-3

Where the Jeds are roomy the Jutlands are slim and where the Jeds are slim the Jutlands are roomy (that sounds like a riddle!).  The Jutland Pants feature straight, narrow hips and wide legs for a classic, conservative fit.  The fit of these trousers make them suited to a wider age range and body type than the Jedediah Pants.

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Aside from fit, there are many differences in style between these two patterns.  The Jedediah Pants, as I mentioned earlier, can be made as shorts or pants and they include stylish jeans-style patch pockets (pointed and slightly angled.

The Jutland Pants do not include a shorts variation (though you could easily slash the pattern at you desired length to create shorts!).  There are many interchangeable design features included in the Jutland Pants pattern – you have the option to create welt pockets, big patch pockets, flat cargo pockets, reinforced knees and hems, and even a full lining.
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Now that I’ve discussed all the fit and styling differences between these two patterns, let’s discuss one similarity:  Both the Jedediah and Jutlands Pants are mid-rise pants.  They are not designed to be dress trousers that sit at the natural waist and they are not designed to be low rise pants that require a belt to keep them resting over the hips.  Both pairs of pants will likely sit snugly on the body without a belt (if you choose to style them this way) and will not be prone to exposing underwear!  They are drafted as mid-rise based on my personal preference (I find this rise to be more flattering to men’s proportions than low rise) but I am sure, as we continue to develop more menswear patterns that we will eventually offer a rise and style to suit just about everyone!

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I hope this analysis of the two patterns will help you decide which pattern best suits you or your recipient’s preferences!  Are there any other questions you might have about these two patterns?  I’d lover to answer them!

You can find both of these patterns, along with their body and garment measurements, in our online shop.


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Lingerie for your Valentine

IMGP3167 Gift your sweetie some hand-made unmentionables this Valentine’s Day!IMGP3169

The Comox Trunks sewing pattern and supplies kits are 25% off until February 14th.  These trunks only take a couple of hours to sew so you can still make at least one pair before the big day!

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* Note that the PDF, paper patterns and kits are all on sale.  The PDF is an instant download so you will have plenty of time to sew your shorts before Valentine’s Day.  On the other hand, you likely won’t receive your paper pattern or kit by Valentine’s Day (though late Valentine’s lingerie is better than no lingerie!).


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Every Day Uniform

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If I had to wear the same outfit every day, this is probably what you would find me wearing – a Camas Blouse made from a thick, sturdy cotton knit and some form of stretch denim pant.  It’s practical (for walking our dog, Luki, a million times a day in all manner of weather!), presentable, and super comfortable.StrathCamasCascade-14

This cotton knit is from Girl Charlee.  While it is listed as black with a pink tie dye wash, the fabric I received is definitely navy blue with no sign of pink on it!  The fabric is listed as a cotton spandex blend with a 40% stretch but, in my experience, this fabric isn’t very stretchy and it is a bit heavier than your average t-shirt fabric.  It feels like 100% cotton to me.  I purchased this fabric quite some time ago and was confused when it arrived since it differed so greatly from the description.  All the same, I was happier with the fabric I received than the fabric I had ordered (I wasn’t keen on the subtle tie dye wash) so it was a lucky discrepancy!StrathCamasCascade-10

I realize you can’t actually see much of the blouse in the above photos – Luki really wanted in on the photo shoot and who am I to say no?  Below is a clearer photo of the blouse though.  This was one of the first photos we took and I had forgotten to remove my toque so I look a bit goofy in a winter toque with only a light blouse on!  Ah well :).
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If you are planning to sew a Camas Blouse but are a little nervous to tackle the details while battling with a thin jersey, I’d highly recommend using a thick t-shirt knit such as this one.  It was very easy to work with – it stretched and shifted so little and it ironed easily…it was almost as easy as working with quilting cotton!  The all over print makes hemming and top-stitching a breeze too.

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