Thread Theory

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


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Imminent Launch Day

I thought you might like to know that we have a new PDF pattern ready to launch next week!  The Belvedere Waistcoat will be here in time for Father’s Day projects and summer weddings!

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I’m working on some finishing touches today to prepare for a large selection of goodies we will be launching alongside this pattern.  So I’ll keep it short and sweet today.

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There will be a release day discount code for this pattern so make sure you are signed up to the newsletter or to this blog to ensure you will be informed of the code.


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How to stop a waistband from rolling over or buckling.

Have you ever had a problem with trousers that buckle, crumple or roll over at the waistband?  Even though they seem to fit nicely at your waist or hips and are comfortable, by the end of a day of wear the perfectly pressed waistband is a squished mess.

This ‘roll-over’ can be caused by the difficult to fit proportions of a rounded tummy but this isn’t always the case – some people find it is amplified by the size of their belt loops or the width of their belt.  They notice that some pants buckle all of the time and other pairs do not.  They find that pants that fit higher on their waist are less likely to buckle than low rise options (or vice versa).  It can be a tricky problem to deal with!

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One easy solution I have found is the use of Ban Rol instead of a regular fusible interfacing.  Ban Rol is a stiff polyester trim that you can insert between the waistband and waistband facing during the construction of the trousers or skirt.  It’s really easy to use and creates a gorgeous stiff waistband!  Aside from preventing waistband crumpling, it also keeps the corners of your waistband at a perfect right angle.

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I’ve carried Ban Rol in our shop for quite some time now (for $1.20 CAD per metre) but I haven’t really explained its use on the blog or created a tutorial!  I’m in the midst of making all new samples for our Thread Theory patterns and so thought I would take the opportunity to photograph how I insert Ban Rol into the waistband of the Jedediah Pants.  It’s really easy!

My method does not involve stitching the stabiliser to the waistband at all – it is simply floating freely within the waistband casing.  This is a quick method that I find works just as nicely as other methods I have seen…as long as your Ban Rol matches the finished width of your waistband.  You can trim Ban Rol so that it is narrower to match a thin waistband but I wouldn’t recommend using Ban Rol that is too narrow for an extra wide waistband.  We carry the correct size for the Jedediah Pants or Jutland Pants patterns (1 1/2″ wide).  It is also a pretty standard size for most trouser and jean waistbands.

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Cut the Ban Rol to approximately the length of the waistband.  I just cut it the length of the pattern piece and trimmed off the seam allowances later.

Sew your waistband as per normal.  Various pattern instructions will include different waistband construction techniques.  Regardless of the technique used, stop construction when there is still an opening into which you can insert the Ban Rol.  In the case of the Jedediah Pants, this is after you have sewn the waistband to the pants and created the corners (Belt Loops & Waistband Step 9).

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Gently push the Ban Rol behind the seam allowance and, if necessary, use a point turner or tweezers to push it right into one finished corner of the waistband.

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Here, looking at the wrong side of the pants, you can see that the Ban Rol is tucked underneath the seam allowances:

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Before pushing it into the other end of the waistband, place a pin through the first corner so that you do not pull the Ban Roll out of place.  Also, make sure that the Ban Rol is the perfect length.  If it is too long, just trim the Ban Rol slightly.

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Now close up the waistband as per the pattern instructions so that your Banrol is encased but still sitting freely within the waistband (you don’t need to stitch through it at all).

Here’s how your waistband will look from the right side (sans a jeans button):

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And from the wrong side (I love my buffalo check binding!):

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Enjoy washing and wearing your perfectly crisp waistband…crumple and roll-free!


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Hemp, Bamboo and Organic Cotton: Spring Capsule Collection

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Spring menswear fabrics are in the shop!  I’ve created a capsule collection of blue, teal, grey and khaki that could be paired together to create a complete menswear outfit.  This collection focuses on more sustainable fibres – primarily hemp, organic cotton and bamboo.

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Above you can see that I’ve matched the new fabrics (top fabric and bottom two) with two of my re-stocked favourites from our Fall and Winter 2016/17 collections.  Top to bottom we have:

1. 100% cotton herringbone terry knit in heathered grey – perfect for a Finlayson Sweater.

2. My favourite bamboo and organic cotton jersey in grey and navy stripe (from the Winter collection) – this would make a great Strathcona Henley or Arrowsmith Undershirt.

3. 100% brushed cotton buffalo check shirting (from the Fall collection)- such a luxurious feeling fabric and perfect for the Fairfield Button-up.

4. Brand new deep teal hemp and organic cotton jersey – I’m really excited about this one!  It is unusual to find such a richly dyed hemp.  And this jersey doesn’t contain spandex…yay!  I like spandex in some fabrics but I find it frustrating how difficult it can be to find knits without spandex these days.  Because this doesn’t contain spandex it can be washed and dried with abandon without risk of wearing it out.  This would be ideal for a hard wearing Strathcona Henley or T-shirt and would also make a lovely Camas Blouse.  I am also stocking this hemp blend in an attractive flecked brown.

5. Also new for Spring, this Khaki colored canvas is comprised of hemp and organic cotton.  It is the perfect weight for Jedediah Pants or Jutland Pants.  The khaki colour is a classic which can fit in to any wardrobe.  It pairs beautifully with bright colours, neutrals, blacks, blues or browns…you don’t have to worry about wearing the wrong colour of shirt or shoes with this menswear trouser staple.

Before taking a closer look at the fabrics, here is a bit of the inspiration behind this collection.  Look closely to see designs similar to our Goldstream Peacoat, Newcastle Cardigan, Jedediah Pants, Fairfield Button-up and Strathcona Henley:

 

I really like the look of a layered Henley (especially the two Henleys worn one atop the other in the middle right photo).  I also think a buffalo check Fairfield Button-up Shirt peeking out from underneath a casual sweater (perhaps sewn from the grey herringbone terry) is a fresh look comprised of comfortable classics that many men could pull off, even if they aren’t all that interested in menswear fashion.  Of course, nautical stripes, khaki trousers and a white Henley are Spring classics that will always be in style and appealing!

All photos above are from the Pinterest boards that I’ve created for each of our patterns.  You can check them out (and link through to the original photo sources) here.

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Okay, let’s take a closer look at the fabrics.

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This khaki canvas is a rugged blend of 55% hemp and 45% organic cotton.  I really love how the hemp content adds a matte and nubby appearance to this fabric.  Hemp tends to wear in comfortably the way linen does to become softer and less rigid.  There is a depth and rustic charm to it that you would not find in a pure cotton canvas.  Hemp is a sustainable fibre because it can be cultivated densely without the use of herbicides or pesticides.  It is quick growing and does not deplete the nutrients in soil. It produces a very rugged textile that softens with each wash but does not easily wear out.

This particular canvas weighs 305 GSM or 9 oz/yard, which, in my opinion, is the ideal weight for menswear chinos or casual trousers.

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This jersey, the second hemp based fabric in our shop, is such a rich colour!  It is comprised of 55% hemp and 45% organic cotton.  It is completely opaque (imperative for menswear) but feels loose and light making it an excellent breathable fabric for warm weather t-shirts and Henleys.  I’m just about to sew my Dad a Strathcona T-shirt in the brown version of this hemp/organic cotton blend.  I can’t wait to hear his feedback!

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Like I said, this Buffalo Check isn’t a new fabric in our shop but I want to feature it again because I don’t think I’ve done it justice on the blog!  This brushed cotton shirting is a great weight for cosy and casual work shirts.  I made my Dad his black and red Fairfield Button-up last Fall and he has worn it steadily as a work shirt ever since…and the fabric still looks like new.  The brushed side is very soft and the smooth side looks quite polished.  I sewed my dad’s shirt with the smooth side to the inside since I like the appearance of the brushed fabric, but you could do the reverse so that the wearer can have the cosy brushed side against him and the smooth side facing out.  This would result in a dressier look (perfect with khaki Jeds and a Newcastle Cardigan!).

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We stock a navy and white stripe as well as this heathered grey and navy stripe bamboo jersey in the shop.  The navy and white is the current best seller but I think this colourway deserves consideration!  It is perhaps more approachable for conservative dressers because it doesn’t make such a bold nautical statement.

This bamboo and organic cotton jersey contains 6% spandex which, in the past, would not have been found in menswear fabrics but is now pretty much the norm for t-shirts in many of the big clothing chains!  The spandex allows for nice slim sleeves that will not become baggy with wear…just remember that spandex will degrade if subjected to the heat of a dryer regularly.  I think this stripe would make an awesome Strathcona Henley for layering under a Herringbone Terry Finlayson Sweater or Newcastle Cardigan.  It would look nice worn over a white t-shirt and paired with khaki Jedediah Shorts for a late spring and early summer look when you still need long sleeves to keep you warm.

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Lastly, here’s a great photo of the herringbone pattern on this super cosy cotton terry fabric.  I’ve stocked matching ribbing so you can create a Finlayson Sweater with ribbed cuffs and hem band.  This terry is the same fabric as the Oatmeal version that we stocked with our Winter fabric collection.  Even though my photos of the Oatmeal version of this fabric weren’t so great (they didn’t show the texture as much as I would have liked), this fabric sold out almost immediately!  Luckily I saved a bit to make myself a pair of Lazo Trouser sweatpants.  I wear them every day…the wrong side of this fabric feels just as soft as a brand new hoodie even after I’ve washed the pants many times.  I’ve saved a couple of meters of this grey version to make Matt a Finlayson Sweater (I’m thinking version 2 with the hood).

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And that’s it for our Spring collection!  I already have some plans for our summer fabrics (linen knits!!!) but would certainly consider adding some of your requests.  Is there a menswear fabric that you struggle to find?  Do you have a preference for a certain type of (more) sustainable fibre – linen, hemp, bamboo, organic cotton, or recycled polyester?

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***Hint: We will be holding a sale for newsletter subscribers only very soon…make sure that you have signed up to receive the newsletter!***

Browse our menswear fabrics >

 


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The Vintage Pattern Collection is live!

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It worked!  Remember my blog post asking for vintage patterns a couple of months ago?  Well, it turns out that quite a few of you had some gorgeous menswear designs tucked away in your pattern stash!  As a result, the start of my vintage pattern collection is up in the shop.

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I’m really excited about the range of pattern companies and eras that the collection already includes…and this is just the beginning.  I will try to add more as quickly as I can find them since every time a pattern is sold it is gone for good and removed as a listing from our shop.  If you have patterns you would like me to purchase from you, send me an email at info@threadtheory.ca and I would love to do so!

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You will notice that the price of each vintage pattern in our shop varies greatly.  This is because I purchased some of them (plus the cost of shipping) and some of them were given to me (I still paid for shipping).  I’m not really intending to make money on this aspect of the Thread Theory shop…it is really more of a passion of mine than a business venture! I’ll delve in to my reasoning behind the vintage pattern collection momentarily.  First though, I want to explain: I am listing all vintage patterns at approximately my cost.  My cost includes purchasing the pattern (unless it was given to me), paying for the pattern to be shipped to me, a little bit of time spent checking over the pattern and adding it to the shop, and lastly, the cost of the box or envelope to send them to you.  That way, if the patterns are sent to me as a gift, the generosity of the person that sent them to me can be passed along to you!  I would love to hear your thoughts on this (i.e. do you like having a greatly varied price or is this disconcerting?  Would you rather they all be listed for an even $8.00 CAD so that I am losing money on some of the more expensive patterns and gaining money on others?).

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Anyways, enough about the nitpicky details, it’s time to explain to you what makes me so excited about this project!

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I have always been fascinated by ‘old’ and ‘used’ things because I like to imagine the stories attached to them.  In university, I majored in history and just loved sitting over my notebook, frantically taking notes during an engrossing lecture…it felt like every class was story time!  I wrote most of my essays on the effects of fashion on politics and vice versa.  Later in my degree I studied the impact of home sewing as employment for women just prior to the industrial revolution.  All throughout university and later on during my time in a fashion design program, I meandered through antique shops and thrift stores to admire vintage sewing machines, notions and patterns.

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Even more than previously loved sewing notions, vintage sewing patterns ignite my imagination.  Their era specific illustrations, intriguing instruction styles, and of course, the story of the person who used them are all so fascinating!  As I photographed these ones and added them to our shop I found myself imagining the woman or man who purchased each pattern, perhaps the loved one that they intended to sew for, and the places to which the finished garment was worn.  Some of these patterns have a name scribbled on the envelope or a note listing measurements within the folds of the tissue.  Was the pattern used many times to create the perfect business shirt for a husband?  Or perhaps the trousers pattern was traced in multiple sizes to sew up for all of the men and boys in a family.  Maybe the knit suit pattern was purchased with the dream of acing a job interview.

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Aside from the intrigue and glimpse into different eras of home sewing, vintage patterns offer such a vast array of menswear styles…which are certainly not found within modern pattern offerings!  Many of these styles are still very relevant with perhaps just a tweak or two to collar size, leg shape or fabric recommendation.

Gathering all of these menswear patterns in one place will allow sewists to compare design details and sizing to choose the pattern that best suits their preferences.  For instance, if you are planning to sew a button-up shirt, you can examine all of the details included in each vintage pattern (and our Fairfield Button-up) and then pick and choose the ones that suit you best.  Even now, in the early days of my vintage pattern collection, we already have button-up offerings that include double back pleats, western styling, a pin tuck tuxedo front, and even “2 hour jiffy-sew” option!

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My last, and possibly the most important reason for collecting these vintage menswear patterns is that I am saddened when I see an unused pattern from two or three decades ago.  It hasn’t fulfilled its purpose yet!  And I know, based on experience working in a thrift shop, that vintage patterns are just as likely to be tossed in the recycling as they are to be placed on the shelves for a sewist to find.  All of those patterns took such work to draft and the instructions are, more often than not, incredibly detailed compared to most modern pattern offerings.  Why should that hard work go to waste when it could be valued by a menswear sewist today?

 

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I hope these vintage patterns will ignite your imagination as they have mine and that you will be able to extend their lifespan by using them to create menswear that perfectly suits the style preferences and sizing of the person you are sewing for!

Shop the pattern collection >

Or, offer me your vintage collection for sale by emailing me at info@threadtheory.ca!