Thread Theory

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


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3 new tools to try on your next sewing project (and a discount code!)

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Strangely enough, my first time trying pinking shears was only a few months ago when I ordered these Italian made beauties.  I grew up with a serger in my house (thanks to my Mom’s nicely appointed sewing and craft room) and, even as a complete novice, used it to finish my seams.  Not everyone is that lucky!  Or perhaps not everyone wants a second machine gathering dust and leading to hours of frustrated attempts to change the thread color!  I guess that depends on perspective…

Anyhow, you might like to consider pinking shears: An excellent and traditional way to minimise the fraying of woven fabrics.

Pinking shears were invented by Samuel Briskman in 1931.  He was inspired by the serration on a bread knife that he had bought for his wife.  His invention was patented and used enthusiastically by textile manufacturers and home sewers alike until the development of serging.  You can read Mr. Briskman’s obituary for more details on his invention here.

The simplicity and effectiveness of pinking shears for finishing woven seam allowance is really appealing to me, even as the owner of a brand new serger.  I like how pinking shears can be used to both finish and notch curved seams simultaneously.  I think a pinked seam allowance looks quite charming!  And I love pinking fabric samples when I create mood boards or scrap books (or send fabric samples to you guys when you are wishing to feel the fabrics that we have in our shop!).

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The Gingher pair that I have just added to our shop (and my own sewing kit!) are exceptionally nice.  They have blunt tips that will not snag delicate fabrics, very sharp blades, and a hard wearing double-plated chrome-over-nickel finish.  Plus…they have a lifetime warranty!

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Another classic tool that I have added to our shop and have used far more frequently throughout my sewing career is a set of french curve rulers.  This clear plastic set by Bohin features the three most common shapes and sizes of french curve.  I find it really handy to have this set in my toolbox to pair with my large dressmakers curve (which is a metal ruler with one gradual curve…it looks a little bit like a very subtle lower case “r”).  The smaller curves found on these french curve rulers allow you to draft or adjust a greater variety of details – for example, when a side seam is moved forward or backwards on a garment (such as the Goldstream Peacoat), the bottom of the armhole features a pretty sharp curve.  My dressmaker’s curve does not match something like this, so, without my french curves I would be left to imprecisely draw the curve by hand!  French curves are also useful for drawing pocket shapes, collars, armholes, necklines and hem curves.

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Moving away from traditional tools, the last item I want to show you today is my favourite – a flexible curved ruler!

Prym Flexible Ruler

It is amazing for fitting and adjusting existing patterns.  You can bend it around your body to get an accurate representation of your crotch curve, hip curve or any other curve.  Then, simply lay that curve on the relevant pattern piece to see if the pattern matches the shape of your body!  If it doesn’t, your curved ruler is all ready to go…it is firm enough that you can use it just like you would a metal or wood straight ruler.  Push your pencil against it and draw your new curve.

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Aside from visually representing curves, you can also use this ruler to measure existing curves.  For example, if you would like to check that the armhole and sleeve seams are the same length just bend the ruler along the seams and measure in either metric or imperial.

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Here is a great post (filled with photos) during which Becca demonstrates how to use a flexible ruler to perfectly fit a trouser pattern to her body.


 

Well, there you go – I hope you’ve been introduced to a new tool or perhaps reminded of an old one today!

Head to our shop to peruse our growing collection of sewing tools.  They are 10% off this weekend if you use the discount code USEFULTOOLS

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

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Update 21/03/17: Thank you for such an enthusiastic response to this call for testers!  The testers have all been selected now (from hundreds of responses!) and I look forward to hearing their feedback.  The details that you sent in your blog comments and emails were extremely helpful to me.  I can’t wait to share the finished pattern with you!

Yes, we have a new pattern coming this Spring!  The third draft of the instructions will be sent off to our graphic designer this afternoon so I am ready to hear your feedback.

I haven’t been keeping our upcoming pattern a secret from you and have mentioned it several times on the blog.

Usually I strive to keep upcoming designs a secret simply for the fun of it!  Many other pattern companies do this and I think it adds a sense of fun and excitement to impending pattern releases for both the pattern designer and the eager sewists.  The menswear patterns I am trying to develop for Thread Theory are a bit different though; our patterns are predominantly classic designs that can be used as building blocks for any men’s wardrobe.  I don’t try to create garment designs that are innovative or unique, instead, my main goal is to create a comprehensive collection of well fitting staples that use quality construction techniques.

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So…if I think about my aims, it seems a bit silly to keep my designs a secret!  Instead, I could be sharing them with all of you as I create the pattern to receive as much feedback as possible!  When I did this with our Fairfield Button-up pattern I was beyond thrilled with the feedback that you guys generously gave me.  I tallied up all of your blog comments and was surprised to discover that many of you preferred the option for darts on a men’s shirt pattern.  This is not a common feature on most menswear shirts where I live and so I likely would have left the pleated back as the only option…thanks to your feedback, Variation 2 of the Fairfield featuring back darts was born and has since been a favourite style for Matt and for many of you!

Belvedere Waistcoat line drawings

Our impending spring pattern release is a classic men’s waistcoat pattern.  This is an important garment to add to our pattern line for several reasons:  It is a key layering piece for formal outfits (and I think the more men need to realise how comfortable and versatile a vest is for both casual and formal outfits!).  It is an approachable and very satisfying ‘first piece of menswear’ for novice sewists.  It is quick and profitable to sew – you can create a whole bridal party worth of vests with only a small investment of time and fabric.  It is an excellent introduction to tailoring before you launch into larger projects such as a suit jacket or coat.

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

With those characteristics in mind, I’ve designed our waistcoat pattern to include two variations – one for novice sewists and one for sewists who would like to try their hand at more involved techniques.

I am looking for test sewers to try out my pattern and instructions that fall in to both those categories.  Please comment on this post or email me at info@threadtheory.ca if you match either of these categories:

  1. You are fairly new to sewing and have not sewn a lined garment before.  You are opinionated about menswear styles and would like to give me feedback on both the instructions (are they intimidating, easy to understand, too detailed, not detailed enough?) and the style of the vest.
  2. You are experienced sewing waistcoats.  You have tried at least one waistcoat sewing pattern in the past and are willing to give me your opinion on the construction techniques that I have used.  You would be willing to have a look at some of the resources I have been referring to as I write the instructions and discuss the nitty gritty of order of construction, understitching, the size of the lining in relation to the main garment and that sort of thing.  I am looking for some very particular feedback that I will discuss with you over email!

I value tester feedback highly and appreciate that it takes a lot of time and effort on your part!  Please, only volunteer if this is something that you enjoy doing and would like to spend time chatting with me over the next three to four weeks!  There is no need to have a blog or any form of social media and you do not need to sew a presentable final garment if you do not want to (but I would prefer if you follow all of the steps, from understitching to adding buttons, even if it is just in scrap fabric).

Waistcoats for casual wear

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

If you don’t want to test sew but still have an opinion about waistcoats (be it construction or styling), comment on this post!  Here are some thoughts to get you started:

  1. Have or would you sew a vest?
  2. How many pockets do you like? None, 2, 3, 4?
  3. How many buttons do you like?
  4. Do you prefer vests with a back panel made from lining fabric or from the main wool fabric?
  5. A vest worn without a suit jacket…yay or nay?
  6. What do you call them: Waistcoats or vests?

 


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The wonderful world of sewing magazines

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Every year, as a child and young adult, I would receive a magazine subscription from my grandparents as a gift.  When I was very young the subscription was chosen for me but as I got older they asked me to pick which magazine I would like.  I remember that delicious feeling of infinite possibility as I set out to select my magazine for the year!  I always liked to choose a magazine that fit my newest skill or interest.  Thus, when I first began to sew, Threads magazine was my choice for the year.  I learned a lot while reading this magazine!

I still have every issue saved despite moving many times and constantly purging my belongings.  In fact, they currently rest on my studio book shelve (that’s them on the second wall shelf in the photo above!).  I often comb through the content descriptions printed on the spines to research construction techniques when developing our patterns.

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

Threads magazine review

 

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

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While the US-based Threads is the sewing magazine I read most frequently, those of you in the UK will probably have seen our feature in Sew Now Magazine instead!  Kate and Rachel from the online sewing community, The Fold Line, selected a number of “hot off the press” patterns including our newest pattern, The Lazo Trousers.  This feature is in the current Sew Now issue (Issue no. 5).

While we are in the magazine due to one of our women’s patterns, I’m excited to read that Sew Now also included an article about male sewers in this issue!

Do you read sewing magazines?  Any recommendations for me?  A couple of women in my local fibre appreciation group recommended I stock Uppercase Magazine and Selvedge Magazine in our shop.  I have not looked in to this yet (I’m not sure if it is even possible to sell these magazines on our website) but I am curious to know if you have read either of these magazines.

Uppercase

Uppercase is a vibrant and beautifully printed Canadian publication that celebrates the process of making, the commitment to craft and the art of living creatively.  The magazine, publishing company and fabric line are all run by a husband and wife team in Alberta!

Selvedge

Selvedge is a British magazine that acknowledges the significance of textiles as a part of everyone’s story.  It is definitely the more textile oriented magazine of the two and the aesthetic is right up my alley.  I had a peruse of a few physical copies of this magazine since my friend brought them to an Eat, Make, Mend gathering that I attended.  They were beyond inspiring!

As I said, I have not really properly read these magazines myself but, I must say, they look absolutely beautiful and I am curious to get to know them more.  If you have read them, I would love to know your opinions (as sewists and magazine lovers).

 

 


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Oldies but Goodies: Menswear Round-up

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I got a bit distracted this morning delving deep into the archives of your inspiring Newcastle Cardigan and Jutland Pants projects!  I’ve compiled a few of them here in order to feature these two patterns as perfect menswear staples for early Spring.  Some of them are freshly made and some were sewn over a year ago…yes, the morning passed me by quickly!  It wasn’t wasted time though since your photos have motivated me to no end and now I’m itching to get back to work developing our upcoming pattern this afternoon.  If you would like to see many more inspiring projects, have a look over at Pattern Review or search Instagram for #newcastlecardigan and #jutlandpants.  Or you can always join the Thread Theory Sewing Community Facebook group!

Newcastle Cardigan

The Newcastle Cardigan is a perfect choice to layer over a long sleeve t-shirt or button-up on a classic early Spring day – you will be ready to bundle up when the sun goes behind a cloud and it is suddenly cool and rainy!  Add a scarf and suddenly the Newcastle looks like outerwear.

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Left: Starwhale Right: Tine & Tine L’Atelier

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Left: Trish Right: Sherry (sent by email)

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Left: Beth Right: Linda

Jutland Pants

The Jutland Pants are ideal work pants – they can be customised endlessly to suit whatever task you are working on.  If you are gardening and need to kneel on cold, wet soil, why not add padding and waterproof fabric to your knee reinforcements.  Line your trousers with merino or hard wearing cotton flannel to stay wonderfully warm.  Wax the finished Jutlands with Otter Wax to make them water repellent (as Sara did in the third set of photos below).

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Lisa

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Left: Deanna Right: Kate

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Sara

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kristincarroll

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