Thread Theory

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


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Merry Christmas – Free Holiday Card Download

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Merry Christmas everyone!  As a small holiday gesture from Thread Theory, we’ve added a new free download to our shop – printable postcards!  Rather than send out a Christmas card full of thank yous and good wishes to every single one of you, Sonia (our graphic designer) and I decided to create some postcards so that you can print them out at home and send them to loved ones yourself!

TT_GiftCard-merryhappy

To download them, head here, add them to your cart and proceed to your checkout as if you were making a purchase.  After entering your contact info you will be given a link to download your card and an email will be sent to you with the same link for future use.
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Print off your postcard using the heaviest cardstock you can find, fancy colored paper or, even better, nice glossy photo paper.  The image is black and white so that you don’t need a color printer to use these cards.  You can print it double sided to have writing and address divisions on the back if you like:
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I hope that these cards will accompany your handmade and creative gifts this year!  They will be available in the ‘Gift’ section of our site permanently so you can use them in the future too.

 

Have a Merry Christmas and/or happy holidays!  See you in the New Year!


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Denali Vest sewn with Ripstop and Llama Insulation

The Quilted Vest - Thread Theory Menswear Sewing

When Seamwork came out with their Menswear Issue in October I filed away the Denali vest as a “must make” project and waited until I had a bit of spare time.  As it turned out, one day soon after adding the vest pattern to my sewing plans, an email came into my Thread Theory inbox from Wiphala.  I had never heard of this company before but it turns out that it is a start up run by two best friends that have created an insulation fabric comprised of llama fur- how fitting while insulated quilted vests were on my mind!

Llama fibre - perfect insulation

Thanks to llamas like this one who share their fur with us, we can all be warm and cozy 😛 Image courtesy of Wiphala.

The two friends (Jared and Elias) who developed this insulation with clothing manufacturers and outdoor enthusiasts in mind were curious to know if the DIY/sewing community would be interested in using their creation as a fabric for garment or quilting projects.  Of course, the Denali popped into my my mind as I read the email and I decided to test out the insulation by sewing up this pattern!

Jared and Elias kindly offered to send me some llama fibre insulation to play around with and sent me enough to make a vest and potentially a quilted hammock with Matt.  They did not ask me to write a blog post or publicly endorse their insulation in any way – they were just curious to hear my thoughts on it privately.  Since I can imagine many ways it might be a useful fabric for the sewing community, I chose to blog about it so I can hear your thoughts too!

Wiphala Insulated Vest-11

Before I talk about the sewing process, let’s put things into context a bit by telling more of the back story for this project.

Wiphala

First, here’s a little about Wiphala and the insulation: Jared and Elias are friends who share a passion for adventuring and competitive sports.  During their alpine adventures they often jokingly wished they could use polar bear fur to stay warm – they discovered that the hollow core of polar bear fur is the key to it’s insulating property.  Joking was set aside and they delved into finding an insulation with similar properties and a far better impact on the animal and the environment.  They were thrilled to discover that llama fur contains a hollow core too!  This hollow cores makes it very light and allows it to retain its insulating properties when damp (unlike down).  The harvest of llama fibers has a low environmental impact and a large economic impact for communities in the Andes.

Llama Insulation

The insulation fabric is comprised of matted llama fur. Image courtesy of Wiphala.

And now, a little bit about why I was so excited to sew a project like this: The motive for launching Wiphala really resonated with me because Matt has been very immersed in the hobby of hammock camping and sewing his own camping gear throughout the last year or two.  I obviously have been absorbing the information he has learned about winter camping, insulating a hammock and creating a super light and minimalist camping set up because I have been so thrilled that he has taken an interest in sewing!

FinishedHammock-002

Also, my little sister is an avid adventurer who has created an organization called Rad Girls.  She and her friend/co-founder aim to encourage women and girls to get outside and go on adventures (check them out on Instagram for loads of inspiration)!  She is constantly fulfilling her organization’s mission when she pushes me out the door despite my protests that I don’t have the correct clothing, gear or ability :P.

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I may not be an expert on extreme hiking adventures or on light-weight camping but I think my family and my experiences put me in a fairly relevant situation where I am constantly bridging the gap between the DIY/sewing community and the outdoor adventure community so, if I do say so myself, I think my opinion about llama insulation could be quite useful to Wiphala and to any sewers who are interested in creating an insulated or quilted project :P.

Wiphala Insulated Vest

Ok, with the backstory complete, let’s move on to the sewing project itself!

To create my Denali Vest I bought very high quality Ripstop from Ripstop by the Roll.  I’ve wasted a considerable amount of money in the past by purchasing low quality Ripstop for a back pack I tried to make.  The bolt of Ripstop that I found at the fabric store I was shopping in at the time didn’t contain any technical info on the material and I was disappointed to find out that the material simply shredded when I tried to sew it!  The good quality Ripstop material was glorious to work with – it didn’t suck into my sewing machine and seems to be very strong.  The biggest asset of this fabric is that it is sooooo soft and light!Wiphala Insulated Vest-7

I experimented with creating a sandwich of Ripstop, llama fibre and Ripstop while quilting and then tested out removing one Ripstop layer to create an even lighter (and more affordable) garment.  I sewed with the Ripstop on top and the llama fibre against my feed dogs.  I know that it seems crazy to sew with the loose hairs against my feed dogs (what if the feed dogs became packed with hair?  What if they shredded the insulation apart?) but I really wanted to test out just how easy the insulation was to work with – I had no problems with it and it sewed up just like a fleece fabric or synthetic insulation would.  Throughout the entire project I just treated it like a fabric rather than a matted selection of hairs (which is what it really is).  I found it to be very worry free and simple to sew with.

Wiphala Insulated Vest-10

Because the hairs are hollow and the insulation is quite thin, I felt that it wouldn’t lose too much of its insulating properties if I quilted it quite thoroughly (my dad requested square quilting rather than horizontal lines).  When working with down it is necessary to use baffles between the layers of fabric to avoid compressing the down and to stop the down from slipping down the garment until the bottom of your vest is extra puffy and the top of your vest is empty of insulation.  It is not necessary to do this with the llama insulation because it is matted together to create a fabric.

Jared and Elias recommended I use down-proof fabric for my main fabric and lining.  Down-proof fabric is either very dense (think fancy high thread count down filled pillows for instance) or has been treated so that the tiny feathers can not slip through the weave to escape your vest over time.  I ignored this advice purposely because my dad had a certain rip-stop color scheme in mind and I wanted to test the insulation by refusing to treat it special in any sort of way.  It turns out that their recommendation was good advice because my dad has been picking a few hairs from his vest as he wears it.  Matt and I think that it is only the thick and long hairs that will try to escape – once they have found freedom outside of the vest we think the finer and softer hairs will be happy to stay within the quilting.
Wiphala Insulated Vest-2

My dad requested some very particular styling elements for his vest (which is why, of all the people I sew for, my Dad’s projects are always the most fun, challenging and interesting to make!).  He preferred a taller collar so it created a softer look when zipped up.  He also wanted different pockets than the patch ones included in the Denali pattern.

Wiphala Insulated Vest-9

He requested somewhere safe to place his keys and wallet – he suggested zippered pockets on the front but I ended up creating single welt outer pockets so that the zippers wouldn’t rub against his wrists when he put his hands in his pockets.  Instead, I placed the zipper on the inside of the vest, along with a leather accent and Thread Theory tag:

Wiphala Insulated Vest-12

Now that my dad has had a chance to wear the vest in some pretty chilly weather, he reports that it is approximately as warm as his fleece ski vest – translated for those of you who haven’t seen the particular vest my dad is talking about, I would say that this llama insulated vest will make an excellent mid layer to wear underneath a shell style jacket (such as a ski jacket with no insulation) and on top of a merino wool base layer.  It is slightly less bulky than the fleece vest in question but it could have been far less bulky if I hadn’t lined it in cotton (I had debated lining it in Ripstop but chose style over function :P).

Wiphala Insulated Vest-8

The vest also works nicely as a thin and light layer to wear over a long sleeve shirt when feeling chilly inside the house.  It isn’t a puffy and extra warm vest that can be worn as the main layer of warmth in a snow storm, that’s for sure!  It would be easy to make a warmer garment by choosing a less boxy fit (since there is a lot of heat loss potential due to the cold air flowing between the vest and my dad…I probably could have chosen a smaller size).  It would also be much warmer if I had sewn with two layers of insulation and compressed it less with a different quilting style.  As the vest is, though, it is perfectly suited to the way my dad will wear it – as a layer that works for all manner of situations from sitting at the computer in his office to walking the dog.  He doesn’t have to worry about it losing its insulating value if he gets caught in the rain or gets sweaty while skiing some aggressive black diamond moguls.

Wiphala Insulated Vest-6

From the perspective of the creator rather than from the wearer, there are several things I would change next time:  I would learn to insert the zipper with far less rippling (it’s rather embarrassing but I couldn’t re-do it because Ripstop is next to impossible to stitch rip!).  I would select a less bulky zipper – I should have found the perfect zipper online when ordering my fabric but I forgot and had to settle for the small selection of the correct length at my local fabric shop.  I would choose down-proof Ripstop as my main fabric as discussed above.  And, lastly, I would choose a more fitted size.

All in all, I am fairly happy with how the vest turned out and very happy with how easy the insulation was to work with!  The only constructive criticism I had for Jared and Elias was that the narrow width of the fabric (30″) was a bit restricting and unusual.  I imagine this width would be very restricting for quilters who, I think, would otherwise LOVE this insulation for making light quilts composed of all natural fibres. ***Update: Elias replied to my feedback to tell me this good news – the insulation is now being manufactured at a standard 60″ wide!  The 30″ fabric that I received was from an earlier run of the insulation created specifically for the width of sleeping bags.***

Now that I’ve given my two cents, do you have an opinion about this fabric?  If you saw llama fibre insulation in the fabric shop, would you be excited?  What would you use it for?  Active wear? Camping or Ski Gear? Bedding? Quilts?  You are very welcome to add your feedback as sewers and DIY enthusiasts to help Jared and Elias find a market for the fabric they’ve created!

 


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Holiday Announcement

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The last day to order tissue patterns, tools, fabrics and kits from us so that they will arrive in time for Christmas is today!  Matt has stayed home from work today to help me pack all of your parcels and we will make sure they get to the post office before the end of the business day.

Now that Christmas is only two weeks away (yay!) it is time for me to announce that I will be on holiday from December 23rd until January 4th.  Any shippable orders placed in our shop during that time will be shipped when I turn my computer back on the first Monday of 2016.

I will keep an occasional eye on the email inbox to make sure that any of your questions or concerns are answered in a timely manner but will otherwise be taking a break from the office in order to spend time baking Christmas goodies, taking on the hosting duties for Christmas dinner (for the very first time!), and spending some time up our local mountain to snow shoe, toboggan and ski!

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Matt and I have invited my family over to join us around the fire tonight as we set up our Christmas Tree so I am full of the Christmas spirit today!  With that in mind, here is a small round up of Christmas-related blog posts that I have written in the past:

Gift Guide Photos


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Comox Trunks Supplies Kit – New Colors, New Packaging!

Comox Trunks Supplies Kit-2

One of my favorite sort of emails to receive is from a happy customer who bought our Comox Trunks Supplies Kit.  Some of you have emailed us in the past because you are thrilled with the fabric that is included within the package – you (and I) love how soft, strong, opaque and also stretchy the beautiful bamboo cotton jersey is.  It features 66% rayon from bamboo, 28% cotton and 6% spandex.  It wears incredibly well and is also really forgiving – I’ve sewn dresses and Comox Trunks out of it without taking the time to pre-wash the fabric.  I have never experienced any shrinkage.

Obviously, based on both my opinion and the feedback we’ve received from you guys, it is high time to expand our color range for the Comox Trunks kit.  We’ve added three new colors and have also decided to list the Bamboo Cotton Jersey by the meter so that you can use it for the myriad of other projects for which it is the perfect fabric!

Here are a few of the projects for which I think this fabric is the ideal choice:

Patterns for bamboo cotton jersey fabricThe Comox Trunks by Thread Theory | The Wren Dress by Colette Patterns | The Out and About Dress by Sew Caroline | The Camas Blouse by Thread Theory | The Virginia Leggings by Megan Nielson | The Coppelia Cardigan by Papercut Patterns (the version you see here was sewn by me) | The Summer Jazz Dress by Snapdragon Studios (this dress was sewn by me using the Charcoal Bamboo Cotto – it was blogged here.| The Agnes Top by Tilly and the Buttons

Along with the new color choices, we’ve made another change to the Comox Trunks Kit:  We re-branded the Comox Trunk Kit in a biodegradable and reusable plastic bag with a label that details the kit contents and provides some information about the project.  The Comox Trunks Kit is a great gift for new sewers so I wanted to make the contents and corresponding resources (such as our Comox Trunks sew-along) a little more clear and accessible.

Here are the three new colors of fabric that we now carry in our shop and in the kit!

A dark and mysterious Forest Green which I am currently sewing into an Out and About maxi dress to wear on Christmas Day:

Bamboo Cotton Jersey by Thread Theory-11

An earthy Olive Green which is Matt’s very favorite color choice due to it’s military vibe:

Bamboo Cotton Jersey by Thread Theory-5

And a beautiful Heathered Almond with such a lovely sheen – I can’t wait to sew this into a Camas Blouse or Coppelia Cardigan!

Bamboo Cotton Jersey by Thread Theory-2

We still carry the two original colors that have always been available in our Comox Trunks kits: Festive Burgundy…

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… and the ever popular and masculine Charcoal:Bamboo Cotton Jersey by Thread Theory-9

Head to the Comox Trunks Supplies Kit page or the Bamboo Cotton Jersey page to have a look at the fabrics in detail.


 

An important note about Christmas shipping:

If you would like to receive your order by Dec. 21st (so that you have time to sew the Comox Trunks before Christmas), I recommend that you place your last shippable orders from our shop by this Friday, Dec. 11th.  Our most common (and affordable) shipping method is Small Packet Air.  Using this method, Canada Post states that your parcel will take 4 to 6 business days to reach you but be aware that this shipping time is not guaranteed by Canada Post so please try to order earlier rather than later to be on the safe side!


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Gift Guide for Sewers

The Gift Guide for Sewers

As you could probably tell by my last blog post, I am always brimming with gift ideas around this time of year!  I just LOVE giving themed gifts because of the thoughtfulness required to compile all of the elements to create the theme.  Any person opening a themed gift knows that their interests and personality have been on the gift giver’s mind as they assembled their selections.  And thinking about the people you love is what gift giving is all about!  Plus, themed gifts can be creatively wrapped to suit the theme – so much fun!…As you may have suspected, I was voted “most likely to become Martha Stewart” in high school…it was quite embarrassing.
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With my love of themed gifts in mind, here is a large selection of ‘sewing themed’ gifts.  If you are a sewer who has family members that are unfamiliar with the world of sewing, direct them here and tell them they are very welcome to ask me questions if they are not quite sure what to choose.  Anyone is welcome to email me (Morgan) at info@threadtheory.ca!

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We also have digital Gift Cards in our shop!  You can have them emailed to yourself so that you can print them out and put them in a nice card under the Christmas Tree or you can have them emailed directly to a long distance sewing friend.

 


 

Themed Sewing Gift Ideas for 2015:

Under $25.00

Gifts for Sewers

The PDF Collection

Print these patterns off yourself (using our tutorial) or have your local print shop do it for you.  Roll the assembled patterns up and festoon them with ribbon to create an enticing package under the Christmas Tree.  Your favorite sewer will be delighted to skip assembly and get straight to sewing!

Cost of Gift: $22.00 (and no shipping fees!)

Gifts for Sewers-2

The Perfect Tote

Teach a friend or significant other to sew by giving them the Carry-All Bag Making Kit and the promise of a fun evening spent together during which they will finally learn to sew!

Cost of Gift: $17.00

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Inspiration to Create

If the person in your life prefers complete free reign when choosing their next project, encourage them to create without getting too specific!  Sewers, knitters and embroiderers would all love to receive this pretty little gift package:

Cost of Gift: $23.50

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Custom Trousers

Give the promise of perfect trousers by presenting all the notions and the pattern along with the promise of a trip to the fabric shop.

Cost of Gift: $23.95

Under $30.00

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Underwear  Sewing Session

This could be a fun gift for a significant other who doesn’t share your passion for sewing but enjoys the results of your efforts.  Invite them into your sewing space for an evening of sewing undies (they don’t necessarily need to do any actual sewing)!  You could even add a bottle of wine or beer to this gift to enjoy together.  You might like to remind them that sewing in the nude makes the fitting process much more convenient…

Cost of Gift: $28.00 + your booze budget 😉

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Holiday Relaxation

Encourage relaxation during the holiday by giving a book to peruse by the fire along with a set of needles that eliminate the need for clenched teeth and a magnifying glass (even after the Christmas Punch has been served).

Cost of Gift: $29.70

Under $50.00

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The Tools Every Sewer Needs

This gift is both beautiful and completely practical.  These would make an excellent addition to any sewer’s tool kit:

Cost of Gift: $45.75

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Bag Making Supplies Kit

If you are not really sure which patterns and tools your favorite sewer already owns, this kit is an excellent gift choice – it is like a goody bag of notions and materials that you wouldn’t find in most sewing shops!  The kit offers creative freedom with enough fabric and waterproofing wax to create any style of bag the recipient might like to make.  Plus, here’s a bonus – the gift is already wrapped!

Cost of Gift: $32.00

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The Luxury T-shirt

If you are a sewer and dream of creating a hand sewn gift for every person on your Christmas list, here is a way to save yourself some stress:  If you run out of sewing time in the lead up to Christmas, this t-shirt making kit is pretty enough to give unassembled with the promise of sewing it at a later date.

Cost of Gift ($45.00)

Under $75.00

Gifts for Sewers-11

A Cozy Winter Knitting Project and Tools

This is a great themed gift for anyone who knits or is interested in learning to knit – just add knitting needles!  The pattern poster includes four patterns and this gift includes the supplies to make the beanie hat which is a cozy hat that could be worn by men or women.

Cost of Gift: $62.50

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The Intro to Thread Theory Gift Set

If the sewer you are giving gifts to loves indie pattern companies but hasn’t tried out our patterns yet, this is a great way to introduce them to our designs!

Cost of Gift: $67.50

Under $100.00

Gifts for Sewers-13

The Luxe Wooden Tool Set

Imagine these stunning lathe-turned wooden sewing tools wrapped carefully in silk scarves (my favorite luxury wrapping paper – and if you buy them at the thrift shop, silk scarves are very cheap!) and tied up with a satin ribbon.  Such a unique and special gift!

Cost of Gift: $92.50

Gifts for Sewers-14

Jewelry for Sewers

If your significant other covets sewing tools rather than diamond earrings, compromise by giving the sparkling sewing equivalent to jewelry this Christmas.  You could even thread the pretty brass thimble on a chain to be worn around the neck!

Cost of Gift: $96.65

Gifts for Sewers-15

Menswear Fashion School

An excellent choice for a budding menswear enthusiast or fashion designer – introduce them to the elements of menswear with How to Tie a Tie.  After reading this during those relaxed, tree-side hours on Christmas Day they will be ready to delve into two of the very best textbooks on menswear fashion:

Cost of Gift: $96.90

Under $200.00

Gifts for Sewers-16

Tailor’s Paradise

Challenge the sewer in your life to embark on one of the biggest and most satisfying sewing projects – a tailored double breasted coat!  We have all sorts of tips and tricks available in the Tailored Peacoat Series on our website.  Show your admiration for their skill and your belief in their ability to stitch!

Cost of Gift: $184.60

Gifts for Sewers-17

For the Merchant & Mills Enthusiast

The most popular Merchant & Mills tools available in our shop along with the incredibly detailed and beautiful Merchant & Mills Sewing Book.

Cost of Gift: $172.10

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The Tissue Pattern Collection

Every single pattern in the Thread Theory Collection for under $150.00!  Give this to a sewer interested in making a menswear wardrobe or give it to the person you have big plans to sew for.  This pattern collection could keep someone clothed stylishly for a life time (plus, it includes one women’s pattern to sew for yourself or for someone special!).

Cost of Gift: $146.50

 

Do you have any sewing related gift ideas you would like to share?  Have you received such a gift in the past?  Please share!


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The Tote Bag for Makers

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Have you seen the tote bag that we now have in our supply shop?  It’s the Tote Bag for Makers!

I often carry around a tote bag wherever I go in place of a purse – it is usually filled with my wallet, our pup’s leash and a project of some sort (whether it be my new hobby of knitting or a part-way finished sewing project to transport to my friend Nicole’s sewing school, The Spool, for an evening).  I never seem to have my cloth bags on hand when stopping by the grocery store so using a tote bag as a purse has prevented me from using many unnecessary plastic bags.

Tote bag for makers-4

With my own affinity for tote bags in mind, I decided to design one for our shop that I, as a sewist, would like to carry around daily!  I was very excited to find a bag manufacturer within Canada – in fact, the Atlantic Bag Making Company hails from one of my very favorite cities (where Matt and I lived happily for a year): Halifax.  The Atlantic Bag Making Company is run by the Prescott Group, an organization that builds independence for adults with intellectual disabilities through the development of work skills and the opportunities to use them.  You can read more about the organization here.

These bags are beautifully sewn from cotton canvas.  They are a useful and attractive square shape measuring 16″ X 16″.  My favorite element is the soft and strong cotton webbing handles – I like these much more than the scratchy poly webbing one often finds as tote bag handles.

Tote bag for makers-2

I opted to screen print the totes myself because I have been learning to use the fancy screen printing press that I bought as a printing novice back in May.  I’ve practiced on everything from Bachelorette t-shirts to canvas patches and was pleased to feel quite confident by the time these bags arrived and were ready for me to print!  I should do an update post on screen printing on the blog so that I can share some of the techniques that I’ve learned (this won’t be until the new year since I currently have a backlog of blogging ideas).

The design printed on our tote was created by Sonia Bishop who is my sister-in-law and our talented graphic designer.  She originally created this design for the front of our Camas Blouse instruction booklet.  As soon as I saw it I imagined it as everything from wall art to tote bags – I just love the confidence and excitement this message conveys to me!  I also love that it is not sewing specific – we sewists can have the bag slung over our shoulder to spread the DIY vibe all around the world!
Tote bag for knitters
I’m currently using my bags with slightly ‘distressed’ prints (the bags that didn’t pass my quality control for clarity and crispness) as a knitting bag and a purse as you can see in the photo above.  But these bags aren’t just for sewers and knitters!  I have all sorts of ideas for customizing these totes.  For example, I plan to use a scrap of cotton to sew some pockets into one tote to carry a set of paintbrushes – I think this will make a lovely Christmas gift for my Granddad who attends a weekly painting class!  It would also be fun to doodle around the text with fabric markers to create a tote that is a little more colorful for children (I’ve bought some – now I just need to lay out a tote on the table when friends are over so everyone can doodle away!).  I can imagine one of these totes filled with a beautifully sewn apron, a wooden mixing spoon and a handwritten family recipe for the cook in the family this Christmas – wouldn’t a tote bag such as this make a great reusable gift wrap?  Don’t worry, I’ve already set aside a dozen bags for my own Christmas gift projects so there are still lots available for you to order!

Head to our shop to order a tote bag of your own!