Thread Theory

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


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

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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.

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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.

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Waistcoats + Summer Weddings = ideal combo.  Photos from this Pinterest board.

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).

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Waistcoats – useful for all seasons and styles!  Photos from this Pinterest board.

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?

 


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The wonderful world of sewing magazines

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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.

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So of course, I was tickled to find out that Threads Magazine reviewed the Goldstream Peacoat in their current April/May 2017 issue!

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Canadian pattern companies are nicely represented in the review section of this issue since Victory Pattern’s Hazel dress was also tested and reviewed.

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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.

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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).

 

 


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Oldies but Goodies: Menswear Round-up

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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.

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Left: Starwhale Right: Tine & Tine L’Atelier

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Left: Trish Right: Sherry (sent by email)

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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).

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Lisa

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Left: Deanna Right: Kate

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Sara

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Thanks for sharing the amazing garments you have made with our Newcastle Cardigan and Jutland Pants patterns!


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Winter’s Last Hurrah: Knitting Sale

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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…

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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.

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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.

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Aren’t they stunning?

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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.

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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.

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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!) >

 


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Call for Vintage Menswear Sewing Patterns!

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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 🙂


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Fabric Sale!

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.


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Thimbles of many sizes

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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!

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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.

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These thimbles feature an indented top and divots that make it easy to hold your needle in place as you push through thick fabric.

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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.

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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).

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These thimbles also feature nice divots to hold your needle in place when you push with the side of your finger.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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They feature light and strong handles made from fibreglass reinforced resin and steel blades.

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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.

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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.