Thread Theory

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


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Studio Update: Refinishing the cork board and thread holders

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted anything about my ongoing studio ‘renovations’.  I have been working on the Thread Theory studio VERY slowly when time allows and the mood strikes so there are a couple projects which are in varying stages of completion that I have yet to show you.  This week I flew through two projects (instead of finishing the ongoing ones…oops) and love how they turned out!

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I stripped my cork board of the random business cards and boring lists that I had been pinning onto it over the last two or three months and made it into an inspiration board.  Now, whenever I am ironing I can look up at my inspiration board to be filled with the warm fuzzy feeling of looking at something beautiful (I think!).

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I painted the board using a paint sample jar from Home Depot (those little ones that are under $5).  I picked the dark greyish brown colour we have used in our Thread Theory logo.  I bought some brass brackets to decorate and reinforce the corners as the board I have is very flimsy.  The brass was shiny builders brass so I sanded off the laquer and oxidized them a little by soaking them in apple cider vinegar and salt and then baking them at 450F (I did this twice before much change began to occur…even now they are only a slightly richer golden brown.  Apparently if you do this process thoroughly enough they turn green!).

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Once the board was prepared, I gathered all the bits and bobs that I had around the house.  Really, that is the entire extent of things Matt and I own that are in some way pin-able and I was super lucky that they all happened to work together to suit the Thread Theory aesthetic!  I love the few pops of orange and yellow that match the colour of the Thread Theory logo.

My next project was to update the wonderful thread holders my Dad made for me several Christmases ago.  The serger thread holder didn’t really need any changes but I figured I would paint it since I had purchased some nice Thread Theory orange paint.

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The regular thread holder had a few updates planned for it.  My dad had made a huge amount of cross bars but only assembled about 2/3 of them when he originally made the thread rack since it was getting so large.  When it comes to thread racks, larger is better in my opinion so I decided to add a couple more cross bars to it.  I also decided to remove the rope system he had used and instead screw the cross bars to two vertical 1X2 pieces.  I painted the cross bars and stained the vertical pieces to match my ironing table.  I screwed them all together using brass screws to match the cork board brackets.

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Matt was in bed sick with the flu while I was working on this so I was a one-girl work crew and thus ended up with a slightly wonky thread rack.  I thought I measured well but apparently I am far less precise with a power drill and screw driver than I am with sewing scissors and a needle!  Nonetheless, I am proud of how it turned out and am glad that it doesn’t swing around on the wall any time I grab a spool or thread as it did before when it was joined together by rope.

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The best improvement I made to the thread rack stemmed, I am very pleased to announce, completely from the workings of my own brain and involved no Pinterest what-so-ever!  I stumbled upon a roll of sticky magnet tape at Home Depot when I was looking for screws and decided to apply strips of it to the underside of each cross bar (I ended up using hot glue gun because the tape part of the magnet wasn’t strong enough).  Now, whenever I have a partially full bobbin I can stick it to the magnet that corresponds with the thread colour above it!  Feel free to copy it if you are so inclined 😀 …I’m rather pleased with how it turned out and bet it would make a great addition to any sewing studio.  I’ve already added a strip to my ironing table as well so I can stick pins to it instead of bringing my pin cushion with me from the sewing machine.  I bet it would work well attached to a tin lid if you store your thread in a tin or you could even attach it to the underside of your sewing machine table.

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Here are links to other posts I have made about my sewing studio renovations…you can see how many months (and houses!) this project has been spread over…slow and steady wins the race:

First Post (The sewing studio in our old house.  You can see ‘Before’ photos of the thread racks and cork board in this post.)

Sewing Table (Check out the tutorial of how we made the cabinets my father-in-law built for me into an ironing and pinning table!)

What’s your most ingenious sewing space idea?  Want to share any fabric storage pointers or button organizing ideas with me?

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Goldstream Peacoat: Our Pattern Tester’s Versions

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We have for you, today, the gorgeous results of some of the Goldstream Peacoat pattern testers! The test sewers for this pattern had to put in a lot of work: not only did they have to sew quite a large project, they also had to provide a detailed review for us (and answer all of my emails!).  I am very pleased to finally be able to display all their hard work and stunning results.  These skilled and thorough testers were working on this project back in November and December so they have been very patient waiting for their grand reveal!

Since both variations of the Goldstream that I have made (see my father-in law’s here and Matt’s here) have been black and my mom is currently working on a black one for my Dad while my Grandma and I sew a black coat for my Grandad, I am glad that our test sewers were a little more adventurous in their fabric choices so you can see the variety of styles that the pattern can create.

Nicole’s coat, pictured above, is sewn in a chocolate brown wool melton with beautiful leather buttons.  She mixed and matched elements from both variations of the pattern to create the exact look that she wanted: a hood, flapped patch pockets and sleeve tabs.  Her colour choices and the fabric she placed behind her custom garment tag (see her blog post for all the interior photos!) led to a peacoat with a lovely earthy vibe, perfect for walking through a colourful fall forest.

Thea’s peacoat is a classic black version using the design details from Variation 1 but the classic fit (skipping the slimming dart) of Variation 2.  The length of the coat looks great with the jeans and shoes her stylish model, Andy is wearing (and the background is beautiful!).  Check out all of Thea’s photos and commentary over on her blog.

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The third version I have to show you today was sewn by the author of one of my favourite blogs, The Sew Convert.  I love how she always takes such crystal clear photos of her garments so that I can examine every detail.  Her post on the peacoat is no exception and is worth checking out.  The wool she chose is a really elegant and rich looking Italian wool melton coating from Gorgeous Fabrics.  I love the look that it gave the peacoat – to me it looks very English and so I was thrilled to read that it will be heading to England to keep her husband warm and dry during a work/school trip this coming year!

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Thank you test sewers (both those pictured in this post and those not pictured) for all of your invaluable advice and support!  We hope you are resting up and are eager to volunteer for the next pattern!

The PDF version of  the peacoat has been flying off the ‘shelf’ (so to speak) so I imagine we will be seeing some of your versions popping up amid all the other projects on the sewing corner of the internet soon.  Have you bought your peacoat fabric yet?  What have you chosen?


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Goldstream Peacoat PDF: We couldn’t keep you waiting any longer!

Yes, you read that title correctly…the Goldstream Peacoat PDF sewing pattern is officially available in our pattern store!

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We are so thrilled to finally be able to offer you this pattern, especially since it is the pattern we have received the most requests and comments about.  To reward you for your patience and enthusiasm, purchase the Goldstream PDF now until noon (PST) tomorrow for 15% off!  Enter the code HURRAH at checkout to help us celebrate the launch and to receive your discount! For those of you who are holding out for the printed version of our pattern, it is currently at our printers and we swear, you won’t have to wait much longer!

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The Goldstream Peacoat is a large PDF file so we recommend taking it to the printers to save yourself printer ink, tape and time.  If you have a Staples near by or a similar roll feed printer, it is quite affordable and very quick to have it printed.  At Staples, ask for their cheap Engineer Prints. If you don’t have a roll feed print shop available to you, it is still, of course, completely possible to print it at home and tape it together.  I did so myself when I sewed Matt’s Christmas peacoat.  I always collect the paper we have printed things onto and re-use the second side of the paper for PDF patterns, that way it feels like I’m not ‘wasting’ quite so many resources.  Despite the pattern being quite large I was able to get into the rhythm of things and finish the taping and cutting out of the paper pattern pieces in one marathon evening.  I think PDF assembly is my cat Jazzy’s favourite thing in the whole wide world so her paper-hunting antics greatly add to my enjoyment of the process!

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Now, excuse us as we head off to celebrate the launch of our BIGGEST AND BEST pattern yet with a home-made pizza night (that’s the best way to celebrate any sort of momentous occasion). Yummm…

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We are so proud of this pattern – we think it really is the perfect foray into outerwear for an intermediate sewer and hope that you will agree! For a thorough description of what the pattern has to offer, check out this post which highlights my father-in-law’s Goldstream Peacoat.  And, for your viewing pleasure, here is a gallery of photos so you can thoroughly examine Matt’s Christmas Goldstream Peacoat while you begin planning your own version:

Now go make yours – we can’t wait to see your perfect peacoat!  Happy Sewing!


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Giveaway – TwoRandomWords

A quick heads up to let you know that there is a giveaway going on over at TwoRandomWords in celebration of Sophie-Lee’s 50th blog follower!

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She will be giving away one Thread Theory PDF pattern and one Thread Theory paper pattern (the paper pattern is courtesy of one of our new stockists, Sew Squirrel) of the winner’s choice!  Make sure you head on over to Sophie’s blog before this Sunday to read her hilarious celebratory post and to comment for a chance to win! Why not follow her blog while you’re at it? 🙂


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This Friday: Our Official Paper Pattern Launch Day!

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As of 8:00am (PST) Friday, January 10th you will be able to head over to our pattern store and buy Thread Theory paper sewing patterns!  You will also be able to visit our Stockist page to see if there is an online or brick and mortar store near you that carries our paper patterns.  If there isn’t, be sure to drop a hint or two at your local fabric store and tell them to send us an email (info@threadtheory.ca) to set up a wholesale account.

To get you excited for our launch day, here is an indepth photo tour of our (we think!) beautifully designed envelopes and instructions.

The envelopes are not your traditional top entry narrow paper envelope that has a tendency to rip the first time you try to stuff all your tissue pieces back into it.  Instead, they are sturdy folders made out of recycled chip board with scored folding panels that will easily accommodate your less than tidily folded tissue each and every time you use and then put away a Thread Theory pattern.

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We have numbered each of our designs based on the order they were released as PDF patterns.  They happen, by the way, to fit perfectly in the average 12 bottle beer box and perch upright in such a way that it is easy to sort through each number.  I might have to do a ‘beer box to pattern storage’ upcycle tutorial in the near future!

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Each pattern includes two circles: the first displays the available sizes, while the second is a difficulty scale of five needles.  We came up with a five point scale because there is so much grey area between the standard beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels.  With a five needle scale beginners might feel brave enough to attempt something with two needles and thus advance their skills while intermediates might do the same with a four needle pattern.

The envelope includes an elegant string closure with a bit of bling in the form of brass eyelets:

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And each pattern is sorted into the collection it belongs to, complete with a graphic logo!

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On the back of the envelope you can find all the usual information in an easy to read format:

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The sizing charts are really simple and clear – I think our designer did an excellent job using black bars and spacing to the full advantage!

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When you open up your pattern envelope you will be greeted by atmospheric tree silhouettes (to suit the theme of our Parkland Collection) and a beautiful embroidered garment tag.

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The inside of the envelope has an inventory of our other patterns such as you might find in the back of a paperback novel.

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The pattern you have chosen is highlighted in black.  Also notice the awesome needle pattern that covers all the interior surfaces of the envelope!

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The instruction booklet is a 6X9″ staple bound paper booklet with a cover page that we hope will get you pumped to start sewing:

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The paper we chose is 100% recycled but is a nice clear white so that all the illustrations and text are very easy to see and read.

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Inside the booklet you will find a version of the photos you see all over our blog and website to give you an idea of what your final garment will look like.  We stuck to black and white and bumped up the contrast so that your fabric and design choices are not influenced by the fabrics and colours we chose.  When you see the pattern in the fabric store you will be seeing only the technical illustration on the front cover so that your mind is completely free to imagine all the different fabric and styling possibilities!

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We made sure to include lots of information on each page so that you are not forever flipping pages and sewing without a sense of steps and processes ahead of you.  Our designer used the needle from our logo to highlight sewing tips.  The booklet easily lays flat and open on the page that you need so that you can leave it by your sewing machine while you sew to refer to as much as you need (but without taking up very much space!).  Here is a taste of the straightforward layout of our instruction booklet:

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We hope that you will love our printed patterns as much as we do!  Mark your calendars and head on over to our pattern store at 8:00am (PST) this Friday!


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A Newcastle Jacket

Happy New Year everyone!  Matt and I are really looking forward to 2014.  To get ready for the coming year we have cleaned off our erasable marker calendar and filled it with new dates and goals for Thread Theory.  I’ve cleaned out my sewing studio as well so it is ready for new projects.

I even went fabric shopping with my mom to re-fill my cleaned and surprisingly empty fabric closet.  Fabricland notified us both of their annual New Year sale which takes place on January 1st and consists of the whole store being AT LEAST 50% OFF!!!!  As soon as we were notified we started carefully laying out our plans.  Fabric shopping with my mom is no laughing matter, indeed it is a carefully planned tactical operation designed to yield maximum results – complete with a Dec. 30th reconnaissance mission and a stream-lined 30 minute raid of the fabric store right as the doors opened at 10am.

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Our motive was to get in and get out before the crowds so as to have enough time and energy to still enjoy our holiday away from frenzied shopping madness.  We were very successful and the Fabricland employees had a laugh at our organization level.  My mom was in charge of the master cutting list and was the first to the cutting table despite the store being absolutely packed with shoppers.  We piled the table high with our fabrics and I headed off with our notions list.  Despite the huge amount of fabric we were buying, we somehow also made it to the checkout first!  The line up quickly grew behind us but my mom clicked open her trunk from the till and we were out the door with enough time to spare in our 30 minute slot to carefully check over our receipts.

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Our careful planning led to a total of zero impulse purchases, a great pile of co-coordinating fabrics ready for pattern samples throughout the next year, and one treat for myself in the form of super bright and summery kimono fabric for a summer dress!  Mission accomplished!

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In other sewing news, my mother-in-law, Sue, has just sent me photos of a Christmas project she has been working on.  She adapted the Newcastle Cardigan pattern to become a woven and lined jacket which she sewed in a beautiful plaid wool.  She amazed Matt and I with her sewing skills.  Her only other sewing project since high school has been to skilfully sew this pair of Jedediah Pants.

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She is intimidated by nothing and with one project under her belt went right on to drafting a full lining and perfectly matching the plaid – two projects that would instil fear in many sewer’s hearts I am sure!  Her jacket turned out really well but unfortunately didn’t quite fit it’s recipient.  I guess that is one of the dangers of guessing someone’s measurements and not being able to try on the garment during the sewing process.  I hope, with a small adjustment or two such as shortening the sleeves, the cardigan might nicely fit Sue herself!

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In order to make the knit cardigan pattern work with a woven fabric (with absolutely no stretch) Sue chose a size larger than the recipient would likely need (she guessed he was between sizes).  She also used smaller seam allowances in some areas to provide a little extra room in the shoulders and the waist.  I think she did an excellent job and that the Newcastle makes a very cozy and elegant plaid wool jacket!  If you want to try sewing the Newcastle with a woven I would highly recommend making a woven mock-up first as the pattern is designed for stretch fabrics and is quite close fitting in areas such as the shoulders, the biceps and the waist/trunk.  Seeing how nice Sue’s looks really makes me want to give it a try!

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