Thread Theory

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


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Fly or no fly? I’d like your opinion!

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I’m working away on the instructions for the first of our upcoming 5 patterns and am having some second thoughts on a design feature that I included in this garment.  Is it truly functional and worth the effort necessary to sew it?  Should I remove it entirely or just adjust it to a different style?

Now, I’d really like your advice on this but it is impossible to keep our pattern a surprise if I ask for your help!  So I think I will remove the element of surprise for this particular design and I hope you don’t mind.  I really valued your feedback when I asked for your thoughts on button-up shirts.  All of your discussion on fit and design features led me to feel as though the Fairfield Button-up was designed by our menswear sewing community and not just by myself.

So let’s try this again!

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We’ve created a pattern for men’s pyjama bottoms after receiving many requests over the years to design an easy garment suitable for new sewists.  People are looking for a woven project that introduces sewists to the skills necessary to sew more advanced menswear on their next project.

Of  course, there are many pyjama patterns out there already so I have carefully chosen design elements that make these pyjamas uniquely “Thread Theory.”  They include all sorts of high end finishing details that will prepare someone to sew the Jedediah Pants or Jutland Pants for their next project.  They have pocket facings so that the inseam pockets do not allow a peek of pocketing material to be visible when the leg is moved.  They include a wide fold over waistband that encloses both elastic and a fabric or twill tape drawstring.  Their side seams and inseams may be adorned with top stitching as an easy way to practice precision stitching to prepare for flat-fell seams on future projects.

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The last design feature, which is the one I need your help on, is a fully functioning button fly.  This fly adds an attractive amount of detail to the front of the pants and it also allows the wearer to go “though the barn door” when going to the washroom rather than pulling their PJs down.  The last advantage of this fly is that it offers excellent practice for someone who hopes to progress to sewing trousers confidently.

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Now that you know why I added this button fly, here are my concerns and my questions:

  • I am considering doing a True Beginner and Confident Beginner variation.  The True Beginner would skip the fly altogether and simply sew the entire crotch seam closed.  Is a button fly too complicated for a Confident Beginner?
  • I wonder if anyone would actually find a functioning fly useful on a pair of pyjamas with an elastic waist.  They are a common feature on RTW pyjama pants but I am not certain all the work they add for a home sewer is worth your while…isn’t it easier for a man to undo the drawstring bow and pull his pants down instead of undo a button fly and taking the time to ‘fish around’? (Blushing…)  If they really aren’t that useful, why do so many store bought pyjamas include this style of fly?
  • I like the interest that the fly top stitching adds to the front of the garment and feel this same aesthetic could be achieved with an easy to sew mock-fly.  Perhaps a mock-fly would be more in-line with a Confident Beginner’s capabilities.  But I have read many comments from Thread Theory pattern users saying that do not like sewing garments that include non-functional design elements.  Would you feel that a non-functional mock fly that has been included solely for aesthetics is “cheap” or somehow “cheating”?  We want these pyjamas to feel luxuriously high end and would hate for a mock fly to detract from this!

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So, to sum things up, which option do you prefer?

  1. Two variations: No fly and functioning button fly.
  2. Two variations: No fly and mock-fly.
  3. Two variations: Mock fly and functioning button fly.
  4. One variation: No fly – making this pattern very clear and straightforward for true beginners (sometimes variations can make the instruction booklet look overwhelming).

Thanks for your help!

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Bag Making with Merchant & Mills – new patterns and kits in our shop!

The team at Merchant & Mills always manage to perfectly pair respect for tradition with modern practicality when they design a tool or a pattern.  Since this is what I look for when choosing a daily bag, I was very excited to add the British haberdashery’s Bag Making collection to our shop.

Have you had a chance to peruse their comprehensive selection of bag making offerings yet? Check out the M&M Bag Station!

In our shop you will find the patterns, kits, notions, and even a couple of fabrics that work very well to create your own waxed backpack, tote or bucket bag.  Let’s have a look:

First, here is Merchant & Mill’s take on the back pack – the Right to Roam Rucksack sewing pattern!

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I love that it includes the option for a cross body handle.  This pattern could be sewn up several times to create a large variety of bag styles depending on your handle choice and the type of fabric that you use (oilcloth, denim or canvas, for instance).

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Since the correct notions can be tricky to source, there is also a complete kit available which includes some impressively high quality hardware and leather.

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Inside the paper sack you will find nickel roller buckles…

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A pack of double cap rivets…Menswear Sewing Tools-3Menswear Sewing Tools-4

A magnetic snap…Menswear Sewing Tools-6

Sturdy nickel eyelets (they are big and seriously tough!)…

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And a roll of thick leather pre-cut to the ideal strap width…

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All you need to do is choose your fabric!  I’ve just listed our burnt orange bag making canvas by the 1/2 m in the shop.

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Pair this cotton canvas with a bar of Otter Wax to achieve this gorgeous lustre!

Uses for Otterwax (11 of 27)

The second bag design Merchant & Mills offers is my favourite – the Jack Tar Bucket Bag.

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This bag looks simple on the outside but contains three divided compartments within.  I like the combination of a leather shoulder handle and the short fabric handles that will not bang around or be annoyingly heavy when the shoulder handle is in use.

Of course, there is also a kit available for this pattern:

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The brown sack includes the necessary D-rings…Menswear Sewing Tools-12

A magnetic clasp…

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A few double cap rivets…Menswear Sewing Tools-4

And a pre-cut leather strap…Menswear Sewing Tools-13

If you prefer to head off on a bag making adventure without the full kit, we’ve listed some of the hardware individually in our shop too.  The double cap rivets and eyelets can be found in several finishes.  They are useful for bag making but can also be used for garment sewing too (reinforcing pockets and adding drawstring waists respectively).

The last bag making project you’ll find new in our shop is the Oilskin Bag Kit.

This kit really sets you up for success.  I bet it would be a great gift to initiate a friend into the world of sewing!  The gorgeous oilskin has been pre-cut into all the panels necessary to create the bag design included within the instructions.  One of the panels is even stamped with a Merchant & Mills emblem.

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Also included within the kit are natural leather straps that have their holes pre-punched and all of the necessary hardware.  Simply follow the instructions to sew the bag together!

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While I’m talking bags, I thought I’d let you know that I found an excellent tutorial to make a tote similar to the one that I sewed for my mom a couple of years ago using our burnt orange canvas and Otter Wax.

Uses for Otterwax (1 of 27)

We get emails very often requesting that I design a pattern for this tote but I just haven’t got around to that yet (sorry!).  In the meantime, check out this very clear tutorial on the blog Inspired By Wren.  It is lined, just like the tote I constructed but with some different design features.  You could easily add a metal zipper to the front pocket to achieve the same aesthetic and functionality as mine!  Of course, instead of cutting the tote from contrasting fabrics you could cut the panels all from one colour of canvas like I did.  I like the strength of handles that extend onto the bag rather than handles that attach at the top (so the tutorial features an improvement on my design!).

To make the bag, here is what you will need:

  • The tutorial on Inspired By Wren
  • 1 yard/1.1 m of the Burnt Orange Cotton Canvas from our shop
  • 1 regular bar of Otter Wax
  • A zipper for your pocket
  • 1/2 yard/1/2 m of lining (perhaps this navy paisley?)
  • The tutorial doesn’t include it but you might like to interface with fusible fleece or another sturdy interfacing, though it depends how floppy or rigid you would like your bag to be.  I interfaced my bag with medium weight fusible cotton interfacing so it remained quite floppy (which I like for a bag this size).

I hope that helps some of you out!  I think it will get a few waxed canvas tote bag makers headed in the right direction.

Happy sewing!

Check out the Bag Making Collection in our shop >>


9 Comments

Behind the Scenes: 2017 recap and looking forward

2018 has just begun and it’s time for Matt and I to look back on our last year and look forward to the next!  This post is a summary of Thread Theory developments in 2017 and a little glimpse at what we have planned pattern-wise for the coming months.

lazo-pjs

January 2017

Last January we held a Lazo Hack Contest for our freshly launched women’s trouser pattern.  I really enjoyed seeing your Lazo sewing plans popping up on social media and still wear the cozy lounge pants that I created as my contribution to the contest.  You can view the Lazo Lounge Pant tutorial here.

Our Lazo Trousers were launched to celebrate Thread Theory’s 5th birthday.  A portion of their proceeds has been donated to a Vancouver Island organisation that is close to my heart: Help Fill A Dream.  You can read all about this organisation in the Lazo Trouser pattern description.  In 2017 we donated $1278.  Thank you so very much for making this possible!

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February 2017

February 2017 was when we began the idea of stocking vintage menswear sewing patterns in our shop.  We also launched a variety of new tools and held a knitting supply sale.

The Drapery Belvedere Waistcoat

March 2017

In March we put out the call for pattern testers for our Belvedere Waistcoat pattern.  We were inundated with generous offers by sewists eager to volunteer their time!

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April 2017

April saw the launch of our Spring Capsule Collection of bamboo knits and hemp fabrics.  We also launched the first collection of vintage sewing patterns that blog readers world-wide sold or donated to our shop.

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May 2017

May was a pattern release month!  We launched the Belvedere Waistcoat and promptly hosted a sew-along so you would be ready for Father’s Day gift giving.  I loved the photoshoot that we did with my family at our local pub.

Jalie sewing patterns for summer

June 2017

In June our focus was increasing our menswear pattern collection – we added more vintage menswear patterns and also began stocking Jalie, Kwik Sew, Burda and Vogue designs.

Welcome Jaymee to the Thread Theory Team

July 2017

In July we introduced our wonderful new team member, Jaymee!  I don’t know what we would have done without her diligent work responding to emails, working with wholesale clients and posting on social media over the last half year.  I look forward to growing her role on the Thread Theory team in 2018.  July also saw the release of our summer fabric collection of breezy and environmentally conscious staples.

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August 2017

In August we held our first remnant sale to make way for our upcoming Fall fabrics.  Most remnant items were sold out within 24 hours!  It was nice to see that these small cuts of fabric would not be going to waste.  I also launched some visible mending supplies and showed you the summer mending I had done using Sashiko stitching.

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September 2017

September was a little quiet on the blog as we focused on our family but I managed to share a few interesting posts including a video tour of our tissue patterns and a video introducing an inspiring sustainable menswear designer.  We also held a sale on our Jutland Pants pattern.

French Instructions 2

October 2017

We released some cozy winter sweater fabrics in October and added the option to order swatches in our fabric shop.  We also launched four new French translations for our patterns that can be downloaded for free.  Our entire line of garment patterns could now be accessed in both English and French.

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November 2017

November was another pattern launch month!  This time we added 3 mini patterns to our shop – the Elastic Wallet, the Card Wallet and the Bifold Wallet.  We also offered these as a kit of three patterns at a discounted price.  Then, to add to the excitement, these new patterns, along with the rest of our PDF patterns went on sale for 50% off near the end of November!  I hope that there were many lovingly sewn wallets under your Christmas trees this winter.

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December 2017

The last month of the year included a pre-Christmas photographed tutorial to accompany our Bifold Wallet pattern and a small launch of Merchant & Mills goodies.  We wound up the year a little bit quiet on the blog with a wish of Merry Christmas and a small inventory clear out sale (which is still going on in our sale section).  Now we have empty shelves and refreshed minds, ready to face 2018 with high hopes!

What will 2018 bring?

This year we will be focusing on pattern development!  We currently have five garment patterns under construction.  These five patterns will include a greatly expanded size range (up to 4XL for tops and size 50 for bottoms) to accommodate the many requests we receive by email and on the blog.

New Menswear Patterns

Here are a few fun hints about each new pattern (hopefully without giving too much away!):

  1. The most complicated and intricate of the garment designs will be part of our Alpine Adventure Menswear Collection…and we are drafting two separate versions of this one, one for men and one for women!
  2. One of the bottoms will be the perfect pattern for beginners to try.  I designed this one with sewing instructors in mind.
  3. Two of the bottoms will fill a big void as far as menswear sewing patterns go.  One of the designs will be part of our Parkland Collection and the other will be part of our Cityscape Collection.  Both will include in depth information on finishing details as you might expect of all of our patterns…we want the results to wear as well or better than store-bought!
  4. The last design will be a nice quick sew and is something that many people have emailed us to request.  There will be two variations that can be used to easily replace a large variety of garments in the menswear wardrobe.

While our focus will be on new pattern releases this year, you can still expect to find a nicely stocked and curated selection of menswear supplies in our shop.  Very shortly we will be receiving a huge order from England so expect to see some exciting new Merchant & Mills patterns, kits and tools coming out soon!

What would you like to see on the blog and in our shop this year?