Thread Theory

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


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The Bifold Wallet Tutorial

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Today I’m going to walk you through the construction of our new Bifold Wallet sewing pattern.  Of the three wallet designs in our shop, this one is the most complicated – but don’t worry, it is still perfectly suitable for a beginner sewist and it is certainly a very quick project for someone with experience!

We will be creating the fabric variation complete with the optional zippered coin pocket today.  This way you can have a set of photos and extra tips to help you through the trickiest details.  If you are absolutely new to sewing, I would recommend giving the Felt & Specialised Materials variation a try first.  If you prefer to sew the Fabric variation, consider leaving the zippered coin pocket off on your first go.

Let’s get started!

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Print your PDF pattern as instructed within the Read Me First document.  If you need extra help determining the correct printer settings, have a look at our PDF Pattern tutorial.Wallet Sewing Pattern Tutorial-2

Cut the right hand margin off each page – there are little scissors pictured along each margin to show you where to cut.Wallet Sewing Pattern Tutorial-3

Align the numbered and lettered triangles so they make a perfect diamond and connect the four pages with either glue or tape.

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Cut out the pattern pieces so that they are ready to use:

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For this wallet project I am using a scrap of cotton shirting fabric.  If you are new to sewing you might like to choose a light and stable fabric such as cotton shirting or quilting cotton.  You can also select a large range of other woven materials such as sturdy canvas, linen, or even flannel.

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Iron any creases out of your fabric and fold it in half.  Place the Main Wallet pattern piece on top of your fabric and either pin it in place to cut around or trace it with chalk or another marking implement.

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For the optional Contrast Insert, I have chosen a scrap of lightweight cotton batiste.  Sewing wallets sure is a great way to use up small leftovers from bigger garment projects!

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Fold the fabric in half to create two layers just as you did for the Main Wallet.  Trace or pin the Contrast Insert.

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Since my main plaid shirting is so light-weight, I chose a very stiff sew-in interfacing for this project.  You can choose between medium or heavy weight interfacing to suit your fabric choice.  If you are working with a stiff canvas you will not need a sturdy interfacing to provide structure but if you are working with a lightweight fabric like mine you will need to rely on the structure of the interfacing to create a wallet with substance and strength.  Both fusible and sew-in interfacings will do the job!

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Cut out all of your fabric pieces – you should have two main wallet pieces, one interfacing piece, and two contrast inserts.

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Apply your interfacing to the wrong side of one of your main wallet pieces – it doesn’t matter which one!  If you are using fusible interfacing you will need to iron the interfacing on to the fabric.  I am using sew-in so I stitched my interfacing to my fabric within the 1/4″ seam allowance:

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Now is a good time to transfer the Main Wallet markings on to the fabric.  Transfer them to the interfaced piece.  Here is how I like to do this:

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Lay the fabric on your work surface with right side up.  Lay the paper pattern piece on top.  Shift the pattern piece up slightly (as photographed above) and continue each fold line onto the fabric with chalk.

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Repeat this process on the top edge of the wallet by shifting the paper pattern piece down:

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Use a ruler to connect the two vertical lines.

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Transfer the zippered pocket markings by placing a pin through each corner.  The pin is piercing the paper pattern piece and the fabric.

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Flip the pinned pieces to the interfaced wrong side so you can see the sharp ends of the pins poking through.  Place a new pin exactly where the sharp ends pierce through the fabric.

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Here’s how this looks from the other side when you’ve finished adding pins:

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Now remove the paper pattern piece and the first set of pins by pulling the paper off of the fabric.  You will be left with the sharp ends of four pins sticking up:

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Now use a ruler and chalk to “connect the dots” between the pins.

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Prepare to add the zippered coin pocket by adjusting your stitch length to very short and trace the chalk marking with stitches.

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These stitches will prevent the zipper window from becoming stretched and misshapen during the next steps.

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Slice open the zipper window by cutting horizontally along the middle of the window.  Stop approximately 1/4″ to 1/2″ from both sides.  Cut the shape of a Y towards each corner.

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When cutting in to each corner, clip as close to the stitching as you can without actually cutting through the stitching.  The closer you manage to cut to the stitching, the more square and precise your window corners will become.

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From the wrong side of the wallet, press the zipper window open.  Take your time with this pressing to ensure the stitching is not visible from the right side and that the corners are square.

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Now it is time to add our zippers!  The zipper window is 3 3/4″ wide so we need to shorten our zippers to suit the window.  If you are new to inserting zippers you might like to work with a plastic zipper for your first go as bulky metal teeth can make it tricky to create neat topstitching.

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Begin your zipper preparation by closing the zipper and hand sewing the top of the zipper closed.  This isn’t necessary but it is very helpful because you will need to open your zipper during the sewing process and the stitching will keep to top of it from splaying open while you stitch.

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Measure 3 3/4″ (9.5 cm) from the top of your zipper to find the new end.  Stitch around the zipper teeth by hand to create a new zipper stop.

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Trim off the excess zipper tape.  If you are using a metal zipper you may want to use pliers to remove excess teeth so that you don’t have to worry about breaking a needle when you sew over them.  Alternatively, you can use precise scissors to cut the teeth off.

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Place the zipper under the zipper window and pin in place.  Make sure that the zipper teeth are centered in the window and that your hand stitched zipper stops are not visible.  Fiddle with the window until none of the staystitching is visible (add as many pins as you like!).  As you can see below, my window corners need some more fiddling and pinning:

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Using a narrow zipper foot on your sewing machine, topstitch around the zipper window.  Take your time at either end of the zipper and possibly hand crank the machine to ensure your stitching is straight as you go over your zipper teeth.  Also, open the zipper when you reach the zipper pull so that it is out of the way and does not interfere with your straight stitching.

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Once you have finished your toptsitching take a look at your corners to see if you are happy with how they turned out.  If you see too much staystitching and your corners are not square, you may want to rip out your stitches and try again.

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If you have used a plastic zipper, you have the option to cover up the two messy ends by creating a buttonhole stitch (a zig zag stitch with a very short stitch length) along the left and right sides of the window.  If you have used a metal zipper you do not have this option because it is impossible to zig zag over the metal zipper teeth.  Don’t stress yourself by aiming for perfection, by the time the wallet is finished small glimpses of staystitching will not be very noticeable!

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Now we are ready to assemble the main wallet.  Begin by placing the two main wallet pieces right side together and pinning.

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Stitch around the entire wallet leaving a 4″ opening along the bottom so that it can be flipped right side out.  The extra row of stitching in the photo below is the basting that attached my sew-in interfacing to my main fabric.

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Here you can see the 4″ opening along the bottom:

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Trim one seam allowance shorter than the other if you are using a bulky fabric.  Since my interfacing is very stiff and bulky, I trimmed it extensively.

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Clip across the corners so that they are easier to turn right side out without bulk and bunching.

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Flip the wallet right side out through the 4″ opening.  I used a point turner tool to ensure all my corners were nice and crisp.  You can also use a pencil or chopstitck for this job!

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Give the wallet a careful press and press under the seam allowances on the 4″ opening.

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Handstitch the opening closed:

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Close the side of the zippered coin pocket by topstitching down the center of the wallet.

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The left side of the coin pocket will be closed by more topstitching later.

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Now let’s make this long strip of fabric actually look like a wallet!  Begin by pressing the wallet in half (in the picture below the zippered coin pocket is against the work surface.

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Open the wallet back up and press along fold line 1.

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Open it back up and then press along fold line 2.

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Press along fold line 3 and 4 so that the slanted card slots slope down towards the side of the wallet.  Notice that there is a small gap at the spine of the wallet – this is to reduce bulk in the middle of the wallet so that it can close flat easily.

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If you are sewing the optional cash insert, now is the time to stitch the two layers with right sides together.  Leave an opening at the bottom so that you can flip it right side out.  Before flipping, trim any bulky seam allowances and clip across the corners:

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Press the insert crisply.  Open your wallet flat and place the insert on top of the wallet between fold lines 1 and 2.  Notice that the insert does not quite extend from fold line 1 to 2 (it’s a bit narrower).Wallet Sewing Pattern Tutorial-61

Refold the wallet and pin the insert in place so that the left and right sides sit exactly at fold lines 1 and 2.

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This will mean that the main wallet buckles slightly at the spine – this encourages the wallet to close flat as well.

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Edgestitch around the sides of the wallet and along the bottom.  Leave the spine free of edgestitching.  It is important to keep all the fabric layers even so that you don’t miss the card slots or cash insert while edgestitching.  I like to stitch from the outside of the wallet to make sure that my stitching looks attractive and straight on this side (after all, this is where the stitching will be most visible).

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In the two photos below you can see where I edgestitched – in the first photo edgestitching is visible on the left hand side (this closes the left hand side of the coin pocket) and along the bottom.  The stitching stops before it reaches the gap at the spine.

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From the inside of the wallet you can see the stitching along the right hand side (where it keeps the cash insert in place) and along the bottom.  The stitching stops prior to center where the card slots end.

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And that’s all there is to it!  Fill up the wallet with your cards or perhaps fill it with gift cards, notes and photos if you are giving it as a gift.  In the photos below I’ve filled it up with everything I carry in my wallet on a daily basis – this includes 8 cards, approx. 5 or 6 coins and a bit of cash.

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Please don’t hesitate to comment if you have questions about the sewing process!  I would love to help!

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Have fun sewing such a quick and practical project!

Get the Bifold Wallet here.

Get the Wallet Gift Giving Set (includes 3 projects) here.

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50% off all PDF sewing patterns – even wallets!

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I hope that you are enjoying the start of a cosy (long) weekend snuggled up with family and friends!  Or perhaps you are carving out some quality time with your sewing machine and your project plans for home-made gifts?

We have put every single PDF pattern in our shop on sale for 1/2 price to encourage you to stay home and make gifts rather than head out to the shops this weekend.  Here’s to spending time with those that matter to you and here’s to thoughtful making!

Download your weekend project at our PDF 50% off sale >

(The lovely image of a couple sewing together was found on a very relevant and well-written blog post by Justine of Sew Country Chick. Her post is all about minimalism and sewing and was written for Black Friday two years ago.)


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Launch Day: Wallet sewing patterns!

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The wallet is an essential item for most men (and women) so it was only a matter of time before we added our take on the wallet to the growing collection of Thread Theory menswear sewing patterns!  Meet our 3 new mini PDF patterns: The Elastic Wallet, The Card Wallet, and The Bifold Wallet.

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The goal for these wallet designs was to produce a minimalist cash and card storage solution that carries all of the necessities while remaining very slim.

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An equally important goal while designing these patterns was to create the most storage options with the fewest pattern pieces possible.  This way, each wallet is a true beginner-friendly project and the project is compatible with all home-sewing machines regardless of the material that you choose to use (even leather).

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An added advantage of their minimalist design is that these wallets are shockingly quick to sew – making them ideal for gift-giving!  Sew any of these wallets in well under an hour (seriously, some of these take mere minutes to sew) and fill them with a gift card to create a great Christmas or birthday gift!

Now you know our motives, all that remains is to decide which wallet suits you best.  Let’s get to know them:

The Elastic Wallet

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The Elastic Wallet is the simplest of our three new patterns.  It features a length of cleverly folded 2″ elastic and a top stitched cash pocket.  Instructions are included to add an optional tag that can be attached to a lanyard or key ring.

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This tiny wallet can carry a surprising amount of cards and cash!  The strong elastic expands to hold 6 cards easily (more can fit in snugly if you really want to take the whole stack with you).

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If you prefer to carry less or to use this wallet as a single gift card holder, it still keeps a small load very secure.

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It slips in a front or back pocket or can fit in even the smallest clutch or purse.

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Unlike many elastic wallet designs, this wallet looks attractive and can easily be personalised by mixing and matching printed elastics with a contrast cash pocket.

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I think the contrast pocket paired with a ribbon, leather or grosgrain tag really elevates this wallet from pure functionality to a lovely combination of function and fashion!

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We’ve added a great selection of printed and solid 2″ elastics to our shop so that you can get creative with your design choices…isn’t this embroidered elastic stunning?

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Here are a few of the new elastics – aside from being perfect for the Elastic Wallet pattern, many of them are also great choices for our Comox Trunks:

The Card Wallet

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Our second new wallet pattern is a versatile Card Wallet.  It can be sewn up in everything from quilting cotton to industrial felt!

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I’ve created two separate patterns and two sets of instructions depending on the material type you choose.  This way there is no guess work about how to pre-treat your material or where to top stitch, no matter the material you select from the wide range of possibilities.

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One of my favourite features on this wallet is an optional leather storage pocket which is the perfect size to hold a house key or, if you are inclined, a guitar pick.

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The angled design of the wallet holds cards very securely while also allowing them to be accessed with a quick swipe of your thumb.

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Depending on your material choice, this tiny wallet can hold a lot!  Stiff materials (such as Kraft-tex or leather) will hold fewer cards than materials such as cotton canvas or felt.

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Like the elastic wallet, the card wallet makes a lovely sewn gift because it takes mere minutes to make (the Felt & Specialized Materials variation only features several inches of actual sewing!) and holds a gift card very attractively.

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If you are looking for a gift for a musician, how about filling it with a gift card to the local music/record shop and a fresh guitar pick?

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Once the gift has been given, the gift card holder will become the recipient’s only wallet for years to come (Matt can attest to that…in fact, his felt Card Wallet is tucked in his jeans pocket right now!)

If you would like to create an industrial felt card wallet like the wallet pictured above, you don’t have to look far to find wool felt – I’ve just added it to the shop where you can purchase it by the square foot.  This way, you can buy only the small amount that you need for your tiny wallet project.

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The Bifold Wallet

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Our final wallet design is a classic Bifold Wallet with a twist!  This wallet contains all of the card holders and cash dividers that you would expect of a bifold.  It is a standard size and functions in the standard way you would require a bifold wallet to function…but it consists of only two pattern pieces!

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Instead of a whole stack of card slot pattern pieces and tricky seams, this wallet pattern allows you to construct a bifold with a few quick origami folds and some simple top stitching.

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Just as I did for the card wallet, I’ve included separate pattern pieces and instruction booklets to guide you through the construction process based on your material choice.

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You can sew this wallet in cotton, canvas, felt, Kraft-tex, Tyvek, leather or any other material you feel inclined to try!

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The contrast cash pocket is an excellent way to discreetly personalise your bifold by using printed cottons or elegant lining materials.

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I love how little fabric this project requires!  I attended an indigo dying workshop a few years ago and have had a tiny scrap of dyed cotton kicking around since then.  It almost ended up in the compost once or twice since it was too small to even make a pouch…I’m glad I saved it though since it was enough to make this gorgeous contrast cash insert:

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If you like to carry a bit of change in your wallet, the Fabric Variation of our Bifold Wallet pattern includes instructions to add a zippered pocket to the back of the wallet.  The pocket construction is uncomplicated and beginner-friendly.

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I sewed my favourite version of The Bifold Wallet in washable paper (Kraft-tex).

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It stores Matt’s entire set of essential cards and cash yet still manages to look pretty much empty!

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The Bifold Wallet is quite slim and very light so it is comfortable to wear in the back pocket of jeans.

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If you would like to try constructing a wallet or bag with Kraft-tex (otherwise known as washable paper), this is also a new addition to our shop!

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I’ll be writing a separate blog post about it soon, but in the meantime, check out this link to my bag-making Pinterest board for plenty of washable paper inspiration.  You can also read my very detailed description of Kraft-tex in our shop.


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Now that you’ve had a chance to get to know our three new patterns, it’s time to get sewing!  You can find the PDFs listed individually or you can download the entire Wallet Gift-Giving Set at a discounted price.  The Gift-Giving Set includes each PDF pattern and an extra PDF containing all of the pattern pieces for the three wallets puzzled together so you need only print 6 sheets of paper.  This is a great way of printing your projects if you plan to batch sew them as Christmas gifts!


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3 Mini Patterns Coming Soon!

Three new mini patterns will be released very soon so please sign up for our newsletter to ensure that you receive the launch day discount code!  You can sign up here.

The patterns are a departure from our usual focus on garments and will instead fill a non-apparel related void in the home-sewn menswear wardrobe.  Above you can see a few of the useful materials that will be added to the shop on pattern launch day!  Can you guess what sewing project these things could be used for?


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Sweater for my Dad (psst…the sale section has new 30% off items!)

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I sewed my dad a cozy Finlayson Sweater for his birthday last week!

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The main body is the super soft hemp and recycled polyester fleece from our shop.  This is the “Lake” colour but we also have charcoal and a lovely forest green.

The decorative facing at the neckline is a scrap of bamboo and cotton stretch jersey, also from our shop!  I added charcoal grosgrain along the neckline seam allowance as the Finlayson Sweater directions instruct you to do.

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Even with these details, this sweater only took me 1 3/4 hours to sew, including the time taken to cut out the fabric!

It makes such a great gift because the fit is very forgiving and it is so quick to sew…but it doesn’t look like a rushed gift at all.  In fact, the Finlayson can be a very thoughtfully personalised since the neckline can be customised with fabric and ribbon choices that perfectly suit the recipient.

I decided to give this Finlayson purely as a gift with no strings attached – usually I ask him to model for me but I thought he could really use a break from that for once. 😛


 

In other news: I’ve added a number of new items to the sale section of our shop – you will find a variety of tools, fabrics and patterns at sale prices of up to 30% off!  The Finlayson Sweater (both PDF and tissue) is one of those 30% off items!  Enjoy!


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Now available: More of our patterns in French!

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The Belvedere Waistcoat, Fairfield Button-up and Lazo Trousers instruction booklets are now available in both English and French!  We’ve also created a French instruction booklet for our FREE pattern, the Arrowsmith Undershirt.

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Andrea’s inspiring print-mixing made the Arrowsmith Undershirt into a great use of small fabric scraps! @jollygiraffe1

To access the French instruction booklets, follow the link at the bottom of each product page to instantly download the free file (follow the links above).  This way, even if you’ve already purchased our pattern along with the English instruction booklet, you can now quickly access the instructions in your preferred language.

Happy sewing!


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Bring on winter sweater fabrics!

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Cozy mid-weight merinos and ever-so-soft hemp and recycled polyester fleece have arrived in our shop!  They are absolutely ideal for cold weather Finlayson Sweaters, Newcastle Cardigans.

This summer Matt tested out our mid-weight merino sweater knit in the Yukon and northern British Columbia while on a road trip with his uncle.

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I couldn’t resist sharing a few of his stunning photos to get you in the mood for chilly sweater weather!

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He wore a (sewn by me) wool Strathcona Henley layered over a superfine merino base layer (not sewn by me, but could have been using the superfine merino that we carry in the shop) and topped things off with this (sewn by me) Merino double knit Finlayson Sweater:

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Paired with his (sewn by me) Dintex Hemingway Windcheater and a (knit by me) toque he stayed warm and also mobile during frigid early morning walks.  This merino double knit has a black nylon backing which makes it slip easily over woolly long sleeve layers and prevents one from feeling uncomfortably ‘bundled up’.

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We have three merino double knit colorways in the shop right now: Two gorgeously saturated options and one more sedate charcoal grey.  The newest merino double knit is a stunning Nova Red which contains just a hint of warm orange.  We also have restocked Moroccan and Charcoal in the shop which were in huge demand last winter:

 

In addition to these merino blends, you will also find another option within our growing collection of sustainable and rugged hemp knits!  This time, in keeping with our sweater theme, I’ve added three colorways of hemp and recycled polyester fleece.

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This fleece could not be more ideal for the Finlayson Sweater or a classic zip-up hoodie!  The wrong side features an ultra soft brushed nap while the right side is attractively heathered.

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This hemp fleece is available in Lake blue, elegant dark Charcoal, and a very gentle Forest green.

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I will be cutting in to one of these before the end of the month to sew a birthday Finlayson Sweater for my Dad.  I know he’ll be reading this blog post but don’t worry, I already spoiled the surprise by asking him if he would like a Finlayson Sweater a couple of months ago!  If I sew for someone else, I like to be certain that they actually want or need the finish garment in their wardrobe.  He said he would love Variation 1!

Speaking of being certain and confident in regards to your sewing plans, I’ve added Swatch Kits to our shop so that you can feel our fabrics and perhaps show them to the intended recipient of your hard work before committing to buying yardage!

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The swatch kits cost $5 CAD and come with a coupon to give you $5 off of your next Thread Theory order so that your kit will be fully reimbursed.  You can choose any three fabrics and I will pack them up along with our sewing themed coaster and a little note card.

If you’ve been wanting to sprinkle water on our waterproof Dintex fabric, have wondered how our canvas feels, or been unable to choose between interlock and jersey t-shirt knits, the swatch kit is for you!

I’ll leave you with my favourite shot from Matt’s trip up north:

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Have a good weekend!

Peruse the winter fabrics >

Order your swatch kit>