Thread Theory

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


3 Comments

It’s A Holiday Sale!

Holiday Banner

Matt and I are moving Thread Theory and ourselves to a new studio and home this Sunday.  We’ve decided to enjoy settling in by giving ourselves a week-long staycation!  We will be turning off the computer (and deleting Instagram from my phone…eek) this evening at 5pm PST.  It will remain off until Monday morning, July 6th.  Needless to say, we won’t be answering emails or fulfilling your orders until we have turned the computer back on, so thank you for your patience!

In the meantime, I’ve created a 25% discount code to our shop so that you can celebrate with us!  Just remember, you’re order won’t be shipping until we get back, so don’t order any time sensitive birthday presents!  The discount code to enter upon checkout is: JOLLYHOLIDAY


 

Ever since we began developing ideas for Thread Theory in the early winter of 2012, we haven’t been away from updating the website, posting on the blog/social media or, most importantly, answering emails for more than 2 1/2 days!  Don’t get me wrong, we haven’t just been slaving behind the computer incessantly, we’ve certainly enjoyed some amazing camping trips, some great weddings and excellent family visits!  For instance, that’s us in the photos above enjoying my family’s sailboat just a month and a half ago.  We have just tailored our commitment to these vacations based on the availability of post offices to fulfill orders and plug-ins for our laptop.

It will be so nice to unplug and focus on other interests in our lives for a week!  We have big plans to build a fence, build a raised bed garden, have long afternoon naps, take Luki on some woodland walks, and generally just live an internet/screenless life.  I might even squeeze in a bit of sewing time (but only if it is completely unrelated to work!).


 

Well…this is it… I’ll be back to catch up on all of your blogs and emails in just over a week.  I hope that you enjoy the discount code to our shop and thank you for your patience with order fulfillment and email replies!


21 Comments

Spring Wardrobe – End Result!

Spring Wardrobe - dresses and skirtsSpring Wardrobe 2015

Spring Wardrobe - pants, underwear, shirts

With the first day of summer (and my birthday!) arriving on Sunday, now is the time for me to wrap up my spring wardrobe project.  I first posted about my spring sewing plans on January 1st when I was dreaming of warmer weather.  I included some patterns I hoped to sew and a couple of different color themes that I planned to choose from:

Mood boards

I ended up sticking with the blue and off-white color scheme and added in black and grey as neutral colors.  I’m glad I used this color scheme rather than the green and pink one I had been considering because until I sewed up these garments my closet contained only earthy browns and olive greens.  It feels much fresher and brighter now with bold blues and clean blacks smattered here and there!

I didn’t get all of my sewing plans finished this spring but I came pretty close.  Here were the key pieces I hoped to create for this wardrobe along with which patterns and fabrics I ended up using for them:

Two blouses: Complete

Two sweaters: Halfway done

  • The Coppelia Cardigan: Sewn in an off-white linen knit (so dreamy to wear!!!) using Variation 1 which is a wrap sweater.  Fabric sourced locally.  Blogged with my Ginger Jeans here!
  • The Coppelia Cardigan: I also sewed version two in a beautiful forest green wool knit but it ended up not fitting me very nicely and all my adjustments to try to fix this sadly led to a sweater that is considerably too small.  I’ll have to try again!

Two to three basic tops: Incomplete

  • The Nettie Bodysuit: Despite the fact that basic tops are what I most lack in my wardrobe, I never got around to making a few Netties because I haven’t found the perfect fabric yet.  I would like something with a bit of body that won’t stretch out throughout the day.  I have my eye on a really interesting compression fabric from the fabric wholesaler that we get our Comox Trunk kit fabric and Bag Making Supplies kit canvas from.  I’ll be working on these tops fairly soon!

Two trousers: Complete (but not fully photographed)

  • The Ginger Jeans:  Sewn in a thick and soft black denim that I purchased during a winter trip to Vancouver.  These have been a big success and I have plans to make a second pair soon.  Blogged here!
  • The Lazo Trousers:  I’ve sewn a couple samples of our upcoming Lazo Trousers pattern but all our photographs of them are featuring our model rather than me.  I’ll probably blog about these when the pattern is finally ready to release :).

Two skirts (one dressy and one casual): Complete

  • The Cascade Skirt: Sewn in a rich purple faux suede with a brass button.  Fabric sourced locally.  I wore this occasionally in late winter and early spring but it is quite fancy (and warm) so I’ll be bringing it back out in the Fall.  Blogged here!
  • The Brumby Skirt: I had originally planned to sew a second Cascade Skirt in a more casual fabric but then Megan Nielsen switched up my plans by releasing her Brumby Skirt pattern.  I’m glad I ended up sewing this skirt since the wide, shaped waistband is incredibly comfortable I love the pockets and top stitching!  Tencel Denim from Blackbird Fabrics.  Scroll down for more photos of this!

Two bras and six underwear: Complete

  • The Watson Set: Sewn using kits from Blackbird Fabrics (there are new kits in the shop today!!!).  I went a bit nuts in January and February sewing loads of bras and underwear.  I’ve shown my favorite ones in the collage above.  Blogged here!

Two sundresses: Complete

Scroll down for more photos of these!

  • The Kim Dress: Sewn using a limited edition floral print from By Hand London.  The stiff cotton paired with the full skirt and pin tucks really makes this into the perfect sundress for wandering through meadows of wild flowers…I just needed a big straw hat to complete the picture!  I love the shaping of the bodice on this pattern.  The straps are set quite far apart and so they fit my wide shoulders far more nicely than most sleeveless dress patterns do.  I look forward to sewing up the second variation of this pattern (with a slim petal-like skirt) this winter…maybe in velvet?
  • The “Have it your way” Dress: This is a dress from Lauren Guthrie’s book (Learn to Sew with Lauren) but I found this pattern in the first issue of Simply Sewing and it was called “Two Ways Dress” within this magazine.  This style, with its high neckline and peter pan collar, is something I have never worn before.  I have always admired this look (it seems very sophisticated and French to me) but was nervous it would make me look like a toddler with a round face!  In the end, I really love it and am not sure why I’ve avoided high necklines for so long.  I was able to skip the back zipper completely since the dress has quite a loose fit at the waist.  Next time (there will be a next time!) I will be cutting the back skirt and bodice on the fold to eliminate the center back seam.  This dress was sewn in a very soft rayon from Blackbird Fabrics.

 

Matt did a really nice photoshoot of my latest unblogged outfits on Wednesday.  We were walking Luki at a park called “Wildwood Forest” that was completely filled with beautiful tall grasses and daisies.  It made an excellent backdrop and Luki enjoyed exploring while we ignored him for half an hour :P.  It was a quiet enough location that changing into new outfits wasn’t too nerve wracking!

ThreadTheorySpringWardrobe-8-2 ThreadTheorySpringWardrobe-7-2ThreadTheorySpringWardrobe-6-2 ThreadTheorySpringWardrobe-4-2ThreadTheorySpringWardrobe-11-2ThreadTheorySpringWardrobe-2ThreadTheorySpringWardrobe-5 ThreadTheorySpringWardrobe-12-2ThreadTheorySpringWardrobe-19ThreadTheorySpringWardrobe-11ThreadTheorySpringWardrobe-18ThreadTheorySpringWardrobe-17

Well…I must say, that feels pretty satisfying to have most of my personal sewing projects from the last 6 months gathered into one place to examine!  It hasn’t really felt like I’ve been doing much sewing lately since I’ve been so focused on computer work for Thread Theory, on packing boxes for moving (in one week!) and on gardening.  Here is an example of how going slow and steady can pretty much winn the race (or at least mostly complete the race).  A few of these projects haven’t had much wear throughout the Spring seeing as I only finished them a week or two ago but at least they were completed while it is still technically Spring.  I never had more than one personal project on my sewing table at a time and sometimes went up to half a month without working on my wardrobe items.  I like this style of sewing – there was no rushing or stress involved and I got to enjoy some new items in my closet as the weather warmed up.  Now I’ll have a complete capsule wardrobe waiting for me next Spring (though, reality is, in our temperate climate I will be wearing these garments most of the year!).

Now it is time to welcome the Summer – it is going to be a long and wonderful one!


7 Comments

Silk Tie Sewing Tutorial

Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 1

Would you like to try your hand at tie-making this Father’s Day?  It isn’t difficult to make your Dad a tie since the internet abounds with beautiful tutorials and even free patterns for all skill levels!  Since a quick search for “tie tutorials” can lead to fairly overwhelming results, I decided to compile the fruits of my research into one handy blog post and a tutorial that brings together all of my favorite elements from the instructions already available on the web!  Britex has a wealth of tie making supplies that can be very difficult to find elsewhere.  For my tie I used this sunshine yellow Italian silk faille featuring nothing less than hot pink embroidered crabs!  Since ties are cut on the bias, this silk was ideal for my purposes – the crabs run 45 degrees to the selvage!  The silk is from Britex Fabrics and is currently sold out – there are all sorts of other gorgeous silks in their online shop though!

Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 2

I consulted Matt (the prospective wearer) on the direction of the crabs – he elected to point them downwards so they wouldn’t be aggressively pinching at his neck.Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 3

While you will find my tutorial below, first (or afterwards) you might like to read all of the tutorials and other resources that I found so that you can truly immerse yourself in the world of tie-making.  Here are all ofthe links sorted into the various categories that I researched:

The Anatomy of a Tie:

Tutorials geared towards the average home sewer:

Tutorials geared towards the advanced home sewer/menswear enthusiast:

Videos on Tie-making:

Particular Tie-Making Techniques:

Pattern Options:

Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 6

Now that we’re prepped, let’s move on to my tutorial!  For this project you will need:

  • 1 yard silk of medium weight.  This may seem like a lot of fabric but remember that your tie must be cut on the bias!  You may be able to squeeze a tie out of less if you are careful.
  • 1 yard interlining (described below).  This will also be cut on the bias.

Most ties are created with a sewn in (rather than fusible) interlining comprised of wool or a wool/nylon blend.  This interlining gives the tie body (a good tie shouldn’t be flat, it should be lightly pressed so it maintains a three dimensional quality) and also a bit of rigidity.  It is important to match the interlining with the fabric otherwise you run the risk of making your tie too stiff and negating the point of cutting your tie on the bias!  You want your tie to look fluid and smooth…achieving this is probably the trickiest aspect of tie-making.
Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 8

Since this silk faille was quite stiff I decided to use a loose wool interlining.  In retrospect, I wish I had chosen an option with a touch more rigidity such as this classic wool interlining.  Aside from the lack of rigidity, the color black was not the best pairing with the yellow silk – it shows through ever so slightly on the finished tie.  All the same, the amount of body this wool gives the tie is ideal and I am happy that the tie ended up fluid enough to allow it to hang nicely (though I worry it might become misshapen over time).Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 9

Since there is quite a bit of hand sewing involved in tie-making, it’s a good idea to use fine silk thread to avoid knots.

Once you’ve gathered your materials, establish the exact bias on both your silk and interlining.  Some tie patterns represent the entire tie so they must be cut on one layer of fabric while other tie patterns require that you cut them out on the fold (making it easy to fold your fabric on a 45 degree angle).

Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 10

A tie shell is comprised of three main pieces (pictured below from left to right): The blade (the wide front), the neck (the middle), and the tail (the narrower back).  The interlining is usually cut from one piece but I joined two pieces of fabric for mine by abutting the seams and zig-zagging them together so as to avoid adding extra bulk.  On the right hand side of the photo below you can see my two “tipping” pieces – the tie I have made is “self-tipped” rather than “decorative-tipped” because I used the same silk rather than a contrast material as the lining.  I also added a garment tag and a little strip of fabric to create a keeper loop.  A man can choose to feed his tie tail through it if he desires (though some fashion blogs say this is not currently fashionable…who knew?!).Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 11

I chose to start making my tie by sewing the tips.  Some people like to join the three main tie segments together before embarking on the tip but I wanted to avoid handling the tie as a long strip too much since the weight of the tips could cause the bias cut fabric to stretch out of shape.  Here is an example (of a store bought tie) so you can see what we are aiming for when sewing a tie tip:
Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 13

It is not easy to achieve something this precise (as you will soon see!).  While all the sewing involved in tie-making is basic, the precision and skill employed is key to a high-end tie.  I think I have a long ways to go before I could consider calling my version a ‘luxury’ tie!

If your tie pattern came with two pattern pieces for the tips, they will likely be the same size as the blade and tail tips.  Trim them down 1/4″ on all four sides (not along the top).

Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 14

Starting at the top edge, sew the tie and tie tip together with right sides together and a 1/4″ seam allowance (you can see my stitching on the right hand side of the photo below).  Stop sewing 1/4″ from the end of the tie tip.Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 15

Here is a detailed photo showing you where to stop sewing:Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 16

Pull the tie tip over to the other side of the tie so raw edges meet and sew the other side of the tie tip in the same manner.  You should sew up to but not over the previous stitching to form a precise point.  Be careful to push the excess tie blade fabric out of the way (it will form a bubble).
Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 17Here is a close up of the tie tip with the bubbled tie blade below:
Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 18

And here is a photo of the bubble from the wrong side of the tie blade:Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 19

And a close up of this bubble:Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 20

Finish the tie point by folding the blade in half and stitching across the point from the center of the blade to the raw edge.  This stitching will be perpendicular to your stitched point and within the seam allowance  it should not cross your previous stitching.Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 21

When you turn the tip right side out, try pinching the point seam allowance to stop it from crunching up and becoming misshapen as you fold.  The goal is to have your point seam allowance fold neatly within the tie.  I wouldn’t advise trimming the point when you are working with silks since the danger of fraying drastically is very great!Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 22

My point did not turn out perfectly but stitch ripping was only an option once due to the amount of fraying I was experiencing!  The point is not 100% angular but it is certainly passable from the distance most will be viewing it.  From the underside you can see why it did not end up appearing precise:Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 23

Practice will hopefully make perfect!

 

Now it is time to sew the three tie segments together.  Carefully press open the seam allowances (don’t push the iron along the fabric as this will cause your bias cut fabric to stretch out of shape, instead, just lift the iron up and move it to the next position).Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 24

Now that the points are assembled and the tie segments are joined, it is time to insert the interlining and prepare to hand stitch the final seam!Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 25

Turn under the seam allowances 1/4″ along the entire length of the tie (again, make sure to press instead of iron!).Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 26

Press the tie edges inwards to meet in the middle.  As you can see in the store-bought tie below, sometimes this seam can be slightly overlapped – depending on how you like to slip stitch, you can either abut the seam or overlap!  You can also see how the keeper loop is inserted into this seam prior to stitching it down.  We will do this now:Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 27

Create your keeper loop using a scrap of the silk.  Ideally you would create a tube and turn it right side out.  You could also avoid the frustration by simply creating binding and top stitching the open edge closed (keep in mind this makes the keeper loop a little stiff).

 

Stitch the loop to the seam allowance on the tie blade:Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 28

You can see the positioning of the keeper loop below:Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 29

Pin the entire seam together and prepare your thread for hand stitching!  It is a good idea to run your thread through beeswax because you will likely be working with a very long piece of thread if you are trying to stitch the entire seam in one go.  While it is possible to stitch the seam using several shorter lengths of thread, this is not ideal due to the nature of the slip stitch you are about to sew.  Adding too many anchored points will cause the thread to restrict the natural fluidity of the tie (you will see what I mean in a moment!).Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 30

Begin stitching by anchoring the thread at one end of the tie:Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 31

Create a large and loose slip stitch all the way along the seam (I allowed the thread to travel up the silk 1/2″ between each stitch).  See the list of tutorials above to learn how to slip stitch.  Be very careful when stitching to avoid stitching into the front of the tie!Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 32

To end your stitching you will be creating another anchor/tack – but this time, the first loop of the anchor will not be pulled tight.  Leave a loop of thread (as pictured below but about half the size) that you can tuck into the tie.  This loop will allow your slip stitch to adjust in tension as the tie is worn and rolled over time – it will seem strange to leave your hand stitching so loose and seemingly fragile, but it is very necessary when trying to achieve a fluid tie.Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 33

Now it is just the finishing touches left!  Press the keeper loop flat and tack each side to the back of the tie.Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 34

Bring your thread and needle down through the inside of the tie to stitch on the garment tag.  Make tiny stitches along either short edge of the tag.Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 35

Your tie is complete!  Give it a final gentle press and examine your work:Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 36 Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 37

Before giving it to the wearer, fold the tie in half and roll it gently – this will allow the bias cut fabric to settle smoothly so that it is not stretched in any off-kilter sort of way.  Your loose stitching and anchored loop of thread will have a chance to work while you do this!
Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 38

I hope this tutorial saves you a lot of time researching before you embark on tie-making!  Have you tried making a tie in the past?  What resource or tutorial did you find most helpful?  Did I miss any key resources during my research?


4 Comments

Sewing Blog Heaven: Follow us on Bloglovin!

NewMMProducts-78

Have you heard?  There is a brand new category on Bloglovin just for sewing blogs!  Most of our blog followers read our posts through Bloglovin (if you haven’t heard about it, it is a convenient system that allows you to read all the newest posts from the blogs that you follow in one continuous scrolling feed).  If you don’t follow us through Bloglovin yet, be sure to click on the link below so you can add us to your wonderful, sewing-specific feed of awesomeness!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin


4 Comments

DIY Manly Gift Guide – Father’s Day Edition

2015 is a special year because Father’s Day, the first day of summer and my birthday all land on the same day – so many reasons to celebrate!  I’ve been brainstorming homemade gifts for my dad this year and have come up with a few intriguing ideas featuring various supplies from our shop.  If you would like to explore more ideas, I made a post for Christmas 2013 with all sorts of neat DIY gift ideas for men – be sure to check this out too!

Resized-2

My dad, our best model, in his Jutland Pants

Here is my collection of ideas sorted into categories based on the supplies they use from our store:

Using Otterwax and/or Canvas:

You could make this ‘DIY’ gift so easy on yourself it might feel like cheating – just buy your dad a new version of his favorite cap (or steal his old one!) and cover it in Otter Wax!  Both the large and regular size bars are in stock in our shop right now.

If you’re feeling more ambitious, make or buy a canvas work apron or jacket and give it a rugged treatment of wax to make it water resistant, windproof and long lasting.  If you’re looking inspiration when it comes to waxing, you need look no further than the Otterwax Facebook page (the source for all the photos below) and Instagram feed!

 

Using our Patterns:

Embark on a manly sewing project!  If you don’t need your present to be a surprise, a pair of Jutland Shorts might be exactly what your Dad needs as the weather warms up.  If you and your dad are pretty close, why not sew him some new undies or long underwear using our Comox Trunk pattern?  Warning, this will likely bring your father/offspring relationship to the next level – be prepared for your Dad’s regular reports on how comfortable his new underwear are!  My mom made my dad seven pairs not long ago and we received regular reports on how they were wearing in for quite some time!  The Finlayson Sweater is a great choice if you plan to sew in secret – it is loose fitting so all you need to do is compare the garment measurements to your dad’s hoodies or sweaters to choose your size.

Photo sources (clockwise) : 1. Cookin’ & Craftin (Jutland Shorts) 2. The Japanese Pattern Challenge/Mainely Dad (Finlayson Sweater) 3. Par Issy (Comox Trunks)

Using the Bag Making Supplies Kit:

Last Father’s Day we launched our Bag Making Supplies Kit in time for Father’s Day gift giving.  It includes a variety of supplies useful in most bag making pursuits but it is meant to be versatile enough that you can use it for all manner of creative projects!  1 m of beautifully smooth cotton canvas is included as well as a whole bar of Otter Wax.  You could use these supplies to make your Dad one of the waxed aprons photographed above or you could use these materials as part of a Grainline Studio Portside Duffle Bag as I did for a tutorial I made last winter.  There is enough fabric to make a heavy duty tote bag with leather handles which you could fill with your dad’s favorite beer or treats or you could get really fancy and use the material to make a custom laptop bag.  And, of course, the Dopp Kit tutorial that I originally launched with the kit would make a great Father’s Day gift.

Using the FREE Arrowsmith Undershirt Pattern:

Last, but not least, I know that MANY of you have already downloaded our free Arrowsmith Undershirt pattern since it is our most popular PDF pattern.  I have been so eager to see how your undershirts have turned out but can’t seem to find much in the way of photos anywhere!  I would LOVE to see some Dads in Arrowsmith Undershirts this Father’s Day!

First ever make for hubby @keepfitwithyass. It is the #arrowsmithundershirt by @thread_theory #sewing #isew

A photo posted by sanderijn (@sahellara) on

Image from Sahellara’s Instagram feed.

 

What are your plans for Father’s Day?  Have you given your dad a handmade gift in the past – any big successes?  Any hilarious failures?

 


2 Comments

New in our store! More dreamy sewing tools

NewMMProducts-83

We have a huge selection of new Merchant & Mills tools in our shop!  I went on a shopping spree for this order and not only re-stocked any sold out tools but also purchased a whole bunch of new ones that have been on my wishlist for the last couple of years.  Let me introduce you to the newest tools in our supply shop:

NewMMProducts-32

First off, meet these beautiful polished steel buttonhole scissors hailing from Sheffield, England (home of quality scissors and traditional scissor makers).  I’ve been coveting these for quite some time due to their short blades which make for really precise snipping capabilities.  I have a pair in my studio now that I have been using for everything from snipping exact notches, to grading and clipping seams, to actual buttonhole slicing.NewMMProducts-37

They operate incredibly smoothly (they are the smoothest out of all the Merchant & Mills scissors that we carry) and are a nice practical size that makes them convenient to grab – not too heavy but not too small.  Above you can see them in Matt’s hand and below you can see the wide bow scissors that we carry for size comparison.NewMMProducts-11

I decided to increase our stock of pins and needles as well.  Personally, I love my glass head pins (a best seller in our shop) as an all purpose pinning solution but, since every sewer has their preferred pin type, and since menswear fabrics can really fluctuate in weights, having a variety of pins on hand can be useful.
NewMMProducts-15This box of dressmaking pins is absolutely crammed full of classic metal-headed pins that are excellent for medium weight fabrics.  You won’t have to worry about running out of these pins while pinning multiple projects since you will have a whole ounce at your disposal (that doesn’t sound like that many, but believe me it is!).
NewMMProducts-17

I’m very excited about this next pin option which I think is particularly suited for menswear projects:

NewMMProducts-24

Toilet pins are especially large and strong pins that were traditionally used as closures on garments long before the invention of zippers.  Women (and their maids) would pin themselves into their clothing for the day!  Don’t worry, I’m not suggesting you skip zipper installation on your Jedediah Pants!  Instead, use these pins when you are working with heavy, rugged menswear materials.  They would do particularly well pinning cargo pockets on heavy canvas Jutland Pants and would easily pin thick denim waistbands and belt loops in place.  You won’t ever need to worry about bending these pins!NewMMProducts-26

Here is a photo for size comparison (the dressmaking pin is on the left, my favorite glass head pin is in the middle and the toilet pin is on the right):NewMMProducts-28

I’ve been researching visible mending lately using Sashiko stitch so this next addition to our shop is with this sort of sewing in mind – darning needles!

NewMMProducts-72

Each wooden case comes with 10 needles of assorted sizes.  All include long heads that would work nicely with Sashiko or pearl cotton thread.

I also added the best thing since sliced bread to our shop:

NewMMProducts-65

Easy-thread needles!  These will save you loads of frustration if you are short of sight (or patience).  All you needed to do is press the thread down into the groove at the top of the needle head and it will lock into place with a tiny spring action!
NewMMProducts-40

To store all of your hand sewing and machine needles, we are now carrying Merchant & Mills beautiful hand crafted leather needle wallet sets.  Each needle wallet comes in a rustic embossed cardboard box and is made from “happy English cows.”  The wallet comes full of essential hand sewing tools:

NewMMProducts-42

How cute are these baby bow scissors?!  They measure only 3″ in length!  You will find the scissors tucked into the left pocket and a complete set of hand sewing needles and threader perfectly slotted into the right pocket.  The needle wallet includes two felt pages to store all of your needles.  I think I will pack the first page with hand sewing needles and the second with partially used machine needles (such as my ball point and twin needles).

While I was happily shopping away, I also added a few little essential notions to our Merchant & Mills order.
NewMMProducts-50

This tiny seam ripper is perfect for travelling to sewing meet-ups or for packing in your sewing machine’s tool cupboard.  It would also make the perfect insert for hand carved or lathe turned seam ripper handles!  At one point a couple of summers ago, Matt started carving me a seam ripper handle while we were camping.  He was on the lookout for a seam ripper like this to complete it but never got around to it – maybe I can convince him to finish it now!

NewMMProducts-73

Do you know what a bodkin is?  I didn’t either.  But now I do!  It is a handy little tool that helps to thread elastic, cord, yarn (or even shoelaces!) through narrow channels.

NewMMProducts-77

The one on the left includes a tapered hole that can lock your cord in place while the one on the right has an especially wide head for heavy elastics and a handy capped tip.  I’ve already used the one on the right to save me immense frustration while trying to re-lace my hiking boots!  The laces don’t have plastic coated tips and I was just about to cave and buy new laces when I remembered my bodkin.  It worked a charm.

Now, last, but certainly not least, meet my absolute favorite purchase from this Merchant & Mills order – the thimble.

NewMMProducts-61

This stunning thimble is solid brass that has been lacquer coated so it won’t tarnish over time.  It features the Merchant & Mills logo engraved along its base and handy divets that keep the needle head in place as you push through layers of fabric.  The best feature of all is that the top of the thimble is completely open which allows it to slip down on to the finger for a custom snug fit.  It also keeps the finger tip free to manipulate fabric.
NewMMProducts-60

I’ve never found a thimble that I’ve wanted to wear until this one!  It feels secure on my finger (it is pictured above on Matt’s finger; on my smaller finger it sits slightly lower) and I feel so uninhibited by it that I can even wear it while pinning a hem and even while typing (I didn’t want to take off my pretty thimble once I first tried it on lol!).

Head to our shop to check out many more photos and thorough descriptions for all of these tools!  If you have any questions, please feel free to comment or email so I can add the answers to our product descriptions.  I hope some of these tools will fill a hole in your sewing tool box!


11 Comments

My first screenprinting attempt…not too shabby!

Screen printing results | Thread Theory

As some of you have been wondering, the screenprinting evening last week went very well!  Three women came over to learn how to apply the emulsion to the screen.  We set up my tiny little bathroom as a dark room with trash bags over the window and the provided dark room light in the light fixture.  It wasn’t a 100% light safe environment so next time I think I will stock up on heavier trash bags (or wait until we move at the end of June and can create a more permanent dark room set up).

Of course, I forgot to take photos of the fun evening because we were all so focused on screenprinting (and chatting and drinking wine)!  Instead, I’ve taken photos of the actual printing process for you to look at instead :).

Screen printing set up | Thread Theory

 

The screen required four hours of drying time after applying the emulsion so everyone went home and I set the alarm for the wee hours of Saturday morning so I could wake up before it became light out to pack the dry screen away in it’s trash bag.

DSC03815

Flooding the screen | Thread Theory

 

After getting the screen ready to expose, the next step in the printing process was to create a “positive” of the eventual print on clear transfer paper.  This held me up for a while because the transfer paper provided is for ink jet printers and we only have a laser printer in the Thread Theory studio.  My parents have an ink jet but I kept forgetting one element or another each time I went to their place to print the transfer!  I ended up just printing it on our laser printer which lead to okay results.  I think the text would have been darker (and would have exposed better on the screen) if I had used the correct printer.

Screen printing for the first time! | Thread Theory

Last night I exposed the screen which was actually one of the easiest steps.  I waited until it got dark and made my kitchen into a semi dark room by putting down all the blinds and installing the dark room light in here rather than the bathroom.  The kit comes with a 500W bulb that installs onto the press so that the screen can be placed directly under it to expose.  Easy peasy!  My text didn’t end up perfectly clear of emulsion but I’m pretty happy with how it turned out based on all the iffy circumstances the screen had to go through (thin trash bag protection from light, not-very-dark dark rooms, time between applying the emulsion and exposing it…etc.).

First Screen Print | Thread Theory

This morning I made my first prints with mixed success.  I’m glad that I didn’t invite the other ladies back for this first experience because, while my first print went wonderfully, my second and third became increasingly fuzzy.  I would hate for this to have happened on their t-shirts or bags!

Printing comparisons | Thread Theory

What ended up causing this fuzziness was that ink from the first application seeped through the clear text and onto the underside of the screen.

The first print (left) compared to the second (right):

Fuzzy text while screen printing | Thread Theory

The second print (left) compared to the third (right):

Super fuzzy text while screen printing | Thread Theory

Any idea what could have caused this to happen?  I think it could be due to several factors.  I may have used too much ink, I may have pushed down too hard with my squeegee, or I may have run my squeegee over the screen too many times during each printing session (I was nervous about my imperfectly exposed text and how much ink it would allow to pass through the screen).  I’d love to hear what your thoughts are on this problem!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,447 other followers