Thread Theory

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


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Dintex Fabric & other upcoming goodies

I’ve been receiving bucketloads of emails (and extra large quantities of shop visitors) ever since our Dintex fabric sold out!  We still have 1.5 m of Charcoal Dintex in stock which would be perfect if you have a smaller project in mind…but otherwise, you are out of luck for a couple of weeks.

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There is good news though: I spent most of this week on the computer ordering all sorts of really exciting items for the Thread Theory shop…including Dintex in 8 (!!!) colors!  Stay tuned for stormy blue, bright teal, rich plum, a pretty dove grey, and more.  It isn’t all 100% good news though: I was really hoping to order Dintex in olive (since this is such a classic color for anoraks and also my favorite color) but, unfortunately, it isn’t available in olive right now.  Maybe soon?

In addition to new fabrics, I’ve also ordered a myriad of tools to spruce up your sewing machine and tool box.  You can also expect new high end notions to bump the quality of your sewing projects up to the next level.  And you can look forward to more gorgeous tailoring canvases, interfacing, linings (striped!!!) and pocketing.

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Right now we have restocked some of the locally created wooden sewing tools in our shop.  If you’ve been waiting for an acorn thimble case or tape measure (as many of you have been ever since they were featured in a couple of sewing magazines recently), the wait is over.

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Thank you to everyone at the Association of Sewing and Design Professionals conference last weekend for making Matt and I feel very welcome.  We greatly valued all of your feedback and requests about our patterns and tools!  Actually, many of the items I ordered for our shop this week were chosen based on this feedback and also based on some very helpful emails that you guys have been sending me lately.  You are looking for thimbles in multiple sizes?  Coming soon!  You would like to order tailoring canvas (like the canvas included within our tailoring kits) by the meter for your coat project?  You will soon be able to do so.  You would really like to sew a cozy yet waterproof Newcastle Cardigan?  Me too!  And fabric is on it’s way.

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Aside from fabric and notion requests, a few of you have also been emailing me with some inspiring ideas for future patterns.  I always become a workaholic in the Fall as the weather cools and I delve deep into my sewing projects.  Your ideas for full pattern lines, specific features in future patterns, and improvements to our existing patterns are contributing hugely to my current desire to design and make EVERYTHING! Speaking of making things, I just finished this buffalo check Fairfield Shirt for my Dad this week.  I’m giving it to him when he comes for dinner tonight!

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Anyways, please keep those ideas coming :).  If you ever come across an inspiring garment, read a great article, notice a complete lack of pattern options, have feedback about the blog or website, or even want to share cool design feature within a pattern or store bought garment, please don’t hesitate to email! (info@threadtheory.ca)  Just because something isn’t fully relevant to the patterns or supplies we currently offer doesn’t mean it won’t be useful to Thread Theory in the future. Special thanks, this week, goes to Joanna Dyson for sharing this excellent article from the New York Times on women’s workwear.  I’ve been daydreaming and scheming ever since!

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Association of Sewing and Design Professionals Conference

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This Sunday Matt and I will have a Thread Theory booth set up at the Westin Wall Center in Richmond (near Vancouver, B.C.) for the annual Association of Sewing and Design Professionals Conference.  The vendor area will be open noon until 6pm and the public is welcome (even if you aren’t attending the conference).  Will any of you be able to stop by to say hi in person?

You may have heard of the Association of Sewing and Design Professionals if you read Threads Magazine.  It is an North American organisation with a mission “to support individuals engaged in sewing and design related businesses, in both commercial and home-based settings.” (I pulled that right from their website – you can read all about it here.)  Every year Threads Magazine presents the approximately 400 members with a sewing related challenge and displays the winners in their magazine…this was my first introduction to the talented professionals that are part of this organisation.  Members include recognisable names such as Susan Khalje (couture specialist) and Connie Crawford (pattern designer).  I look forward to meeting many of these talented people in person at the vendor market!

Also, no less thrilling, I will be vending alongside some other very inspiring companies (Blackbird Fabrics!  Clotho! Farthingales! Fit for Art Patterns!).

Even though I enjoy working from home with the world at my fingertips online, it can be extremely refreshing to get out and engage with the sewing industry in person.  It has been just about a year since Matt and I did our last vendor market so it is high time to pack up the car, jump on the ferry, and set up our little booth.  I look forward to a weekend of sewing talk, putting faces to names, and spreading the word about Thread Theory!  Plus…we will be doing a detour to visit Science World like the couple of geeky kids that we are. 😛


Aside from letting you know about the chance to meet face to face, I have two things to share with you today!

  1. You still have a 3 days left to email me with proof that your purchased the PDF Fairfield Button-up before the tissue pattern was released.  I will give you an $11 discount on the tissue pattern to thank you for supporting Thread Theory while you waited for us to send the design to print!  Email me at info@threadtheory.ca
  2. Speaking of the Fairfield, check out this amazing rendition!  Robynne sewed it for her husband (and also sewed her own shirt) for their anniversary photos.  Plus…their dogs are very cute in matching bandannas 🙂

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The Fairfield Button-up Tissue Pattern is here!

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Well, the wait is over!  We’ve added the Fairfield Button-up Tissue Pattern to our shop.

I hope that you are as thrilled with it as I am!  It is the first printed pattern within our new Cityscape Collection.  I’m working on the next pattern for this collection right now!

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As always, the tissue pattern comes in a chipboard envelope (very easy to stuff your pattern pieces back into), complete with an embroidered garment tag and an instruction booklet.

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A few days ago I added a video to Instagram which I shot while opening up the Fairfield Button-up tissue pattern and flipping through the instruction booklet.  I thought you might like a little photographed peek inside in case you don’t use Instagram!

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I love how minimalist and clear my sister-in-law (our graphic designer) has kept our instruction booklets.  My main goals for these booklets is to convey all of the tips, tricks and illustrations in as few pages as possible without them feeling squished.  I think that too many instruction pages can be just as overwhelming when you first examine your sewing project as too much tiny text on a page.  It’s a fine balance!

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The Fairfield is the first pattern to include instructions on how to take menswear measurements.  We also included loads of garment measurements so that you can compare them to a favourite store bought button-up.

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As is always the case when we launch a printed sewing pattern, we are offering a discount to people who bought the PDF but would prefer to work with the tissue version.  Email me at info@threadtheory.ca with proof that you purchased the PDF and I will give you a discount of $11.00 CAD on your tissue pattern.  This means you will have received the PDF for free!  Proof of purchase can be anything from your order confirmation email to your first and last name (so that I can look up your order history in our shop).  The discount offer lasts for one week (it ends Sunday night at midnight PST).

This discount is our way of saying thank you for financially supporting Thread Theory while we save up the funds to print our tissue patterns!

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Buy the Fairfield Button-up >

Happy sewing!

 


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Waterproof Anorak Sewing Project

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I have a whopper of a sewing project to show you today!  I sewed Matt a waterproof, windproof and breathable anorak jacket and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out!

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I used the Hot Patterns Hemmingway Windcheater pattern that we stock in our shop and modified it to be unlined as per Matt’s request.  He really wanted a light shell with lots of room for bulky sweaters underneath.  He chose the Pumpkin Dintex waterproof/windproof/breathable fabric from our shop because he wanted a jacket that would be very visible while hiking and hunting in the forest (safety first!).  Plus…he looks awesome in orange :D.  This fabric is comprised of three layers – a soft shell exterior, a waterproof film, and a mesh interior.

I was so thrilled with how easy the Dintex material was to work with.  I just used a regular old needle (probably quite dull) and I even did a bunch of stitch ripping with no bad results.  I just rubbed my finger over the needle holes and they disappeared completely.  The fabric is quite thin and very stable so it was basically like sewing quilting cotton…no stretching or slipping while I sewed.  It doesn’t fray at all so I could have left all of the seams unfinished if I had wanted to without the need for a serger or even pinking shears.

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Matt went out into a rainstorm last night for the sole purpose of testing out the waterproof nature of this fabric.  We haven’t sprayed it with any waterproofing spray and I didn’t wash it before I sewed the jacket.  He stood in torrential rain for several minutes and then shook vigorously before coming back inside.  The majority of the raindrops shook right off of him leaving him with a few drops on his shoulders and the rest of the coat completely dry.  We noticed that the drops left on his shoulders slowly started to sink into the outer layer of fabric but they did not penetrate the middle layer (which is supposed to be the main waterproof layer within this material anyways).  I think a quick spray with something like Kiwi Protect-All would fully waterproof the outer soft-shell layer of fabric.

Based on my experience with the fabric after this project (and how pro the results look…if I do say so myself!), I plan to stock a few more colors when we order our winter collection of fabrics.  There is a gorgeous teal color called Ocean and a great muted blue called Storm that are high on my list.  I’ve received a request for the color Plum.  Do you have any specific colors in mind?

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I have been steadily working on this jacket for a few weeks now with Matt eagerly awaiting it!  He has been drenched in several Fall rainstorms so far with no waterproof jacket in his closet.  He spends lots of time outdoors rain or shine while hiking with Luki, foraging for mushrooms or hunting so this garment is really an essential item for him.

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Apparently, I’m not the only one who things sewing an anorak is a great idea this Fall!  Heather Lou from Closet Case Files just launched her spectacular Kelly Anorak on October 5th.  She basically read my mind with this pattern – it is unlined with all sorts of beautiful seam finishes.  Like I said before, I didn’t use the lining pattern pieces for Matt’s anorak and instead drafted facings and improvised seam finishes.  Now that the Kelly pattern is available it would be easy to sew a menswear anorak using the Hot Pattern pieces/menswear sizes and the instructions from the Kelly!  Maybe I’ll sew a matching Kelly for myself using our Navy Dintex now that I have all the details worked out.

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Now, let’s talk a bit more about the Hemmingway Windcheater pattern.  I sewed the size Medium for Matt even though he usually wears a Small.  We chose to move up a size to ensure there was room for lots of layering.  I made a very quick and dirty mock up of the pattern to make sure that the shoulders were not too oversized (they weren’t) and, when I tried it on him, we decided to taper the side seams since Matt’s hips are very narrow and he is used to a slim fit.  I made no other fit adjustments.  Usually I would lengthen sleeves about 1-2″ when sewing for Matt but this was unnecessary because we went up a size.

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I had fun working out all the details for this jacket.  The instructions are quite brief and I didn’t follow them very often because I was not constructing the lining.  This left me with lots of creative room to add cozy jersey facings:

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…tonnes of flat felled seams and a facing on the hood:

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…as well as a waistband casing:

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I struggled finding hardware that I liked because Matt tends to like rustic or even old fashioned fastenings.  We also wanted everything to be heavy duty and hard wearing.  I bought brass snaps from Prym which I was very pleased with.  They come with a tool set that includes a plastic holder into which you place the hole punch and various applicators.

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This was very nice to work with because it kept my fingers away from the hammer and lined the top and bottom applicators up for me.  Usually I feel as though I am all thumbs when working with the tiny tools that come with snaps…but not this time!

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I like that these snaps are smaller in diameter than the ones that I usually see in fabric stores.  These little guys are 12mm in diameter.  I think this makes the jacket look more professional.

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I’m considering stocking these sets in the shop.  Would you be interested in using them for your outerwear projects?

I did not find toggles or draw string stops that I liked…but these will be easy to find when I make an anorak for myself!  Closet Case Files released a kit yesterday that includes all of the (high quality) hardware that you need to sew an anorak.  Everything would be suited to menswear except for the draw string stops (which are a beautiful scalloped design).

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For Matt’s drawstring toggles, I created circular leather disks from an old belt.  I traced a circle, cut it out, and then smoothed the edges with rough sand paper.  I used the punch from my snap kit to create two holes in the disk and then threaded the cord through them.  Hot Patterns suggested this as a solution for toggles and I love the vintage look!  They slide along the cord nicely too.  To finish the cord ends until I find a better solution, I just knotted the cord and melted the ends.

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One of the things I really like about the design of this garment is the internal drawstring along the waist.  I think this results in a more masculine and streamline look than the usual drawstring that exits near center front through an exterior grommet.

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I also find the pockets with box pleats to be very practical.  Matt can fit Luki’s leash in one of them no problem and they are more than large enough to keep his hands warm.  I lined Matt’s pockets with leftover ripstop fabric for a pop of hidden color.

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I also really love the cuff design!  It includes a tab that cinches over a sleeve gusset.  The pattern suggests to apply two snaps so that the cuff can be cinched tight against the wind.

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You can’t see the gusset well in these photos unfortunately but there is a handy close up illustration on the front of the pattern envelope.  The illustration really helped to make things clear while I sewed.  It’s basically a diamond shaped wedge of fabric that gets folded in half and sewn to the cuff and sleeve to create a flared sleeve.  The tab then cinches the cuff tight so that the sleeve, when done up, is no longer flared.  The flare will allow Matt to put on his jacket while wearing a sweater with bulky sleeves and even while he is wearing gloves.

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The hem length is perfect.  There is nice coverage over the bum!

 

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And the tall neckline is super cozy without being excessive.  Matt doesn’t have to push fabric away from his face but, if he wants to hide from the wind, he can sink behind the collar a bit like a turtle lol.

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The shape of the neckline where the hood meets the yoke is very unique:

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It provides an interesting seamline to decorate with all sorts of topstitching.  I fell a bit short here as, while I was constructing the jacket I thought this seam would usually be hidden by the hood and collar – it turns out Matt mostly wears the jacket zipped to the top leaving my one area of iffy topstitching fully exposed!  Woops!

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The last design element that really makes this anorak seem like a high end store bought coat from Patagonia or Arc’teryx is the flap that snaps over the zipper to protect the wearer fully from the wind.  This was an essential design feature for us because I couldn’t source any of those fancy waterproof and windproof zippers that I see on expensive waterproof activewear (such as this).

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Well, there you have it!  Matt’s Hemmingway Windcheater that will have him ready for anything this wet West Coast winter!


Before I sign off for today, I have a couple more things to add to this already super long post!

  • Have you seen the awesomely colorful Strath that Duncan Carter (a contestant on last season’s The Great British Sewing Bee) shared on the Minerva Crafts blog?
  • The tissue version of the Fairfield Button-up launches next Monday, Oct. 17th!  Make sure you are signed up for our newsletter because I will be sending out a special discount for newsletter recipients on Monday morning.

Have a lovely weekend!


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Paper patterns are back in stock!

The Jedediah Pants and Strathcona Henley are available as tissue patterns once again!  They are on their way to our stockists worldwide and are currently on our website.  Thanks for all of your enthusiasm for these two staple menswear garments!  They have been steady sellers in our shop ever since they were released as tissue patterns in January 2014.

You’ve probably guessed that we ordered more from the print shop than just our old favourites!  The brand new Fairfield Button-up tissue pattern arrived in the same shipment!   It’s release day in our shop and at retailers worldwide is Monday, Oct. 17th.

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I have created a short video on Instagram during which I open up the brand new pattern so you can take a look inside.  Why not take a peek?