Thread Theory

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


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12 Menswear Sewing Projects + 2 Blouses

You guys are such an inspiration!  Each day I begin the work day by checking out what you’ve been making and sharing on Instagram, via email (info@threadtheory.ca) or on Facebook.  Be it the fabric choice, the creative hacks, or the skilled stitching, your projects always allow me to see our old designs from a new perspective.

I’ve created a gallery for each pattern that you guys have been sewing of late.  Above you can see a couple ofexcellent Fairfield Button-ups (along with some VERY elegant Jedediah trousers!).  The aqua colored Fairfield and black Jeds are part of matching father and son outfits in honor of father’s day.  They were sewn by Belgian seamstress and milliner, Jo Chapeau.  The chambray Fairfield Button-up was sewn by Georgia for her partner James.  The fabric is a Robert Kauffman chambray (have you ever seen and felt these in person?  I love the depth and texture of the fabric.  It is so luxurious feeling while giving the overall appearance of a casual fabric choice.)

These two Strathcona Henleys could not look more different but they were sewn by the same person!  Esther sewed one men’s version featuring the Henley placket and long sleeves and then modified the pattern to create a women’s version which she has dubbed the Mariner’s Tee.  It looks as though there is orange striped piping around the neckline.  I love the attention to detail and the way she played with the stripes.

The Jedediah Pants and Jutland Pants are excellent skill building projects.  I never fail to feel pride and amazement each time I complete a trouser fly.  I think these talented sewists felt the same (judging by their Facebook messages, Instagram comments and emails!).  From top to bottom, left to right: 1.Jedediah Pants by Lindsay (@designbylindsay) 2. Jutland Shorts by Ben 3. Jedediah Shorts by The Drapery 4. Jutland Shorts by Isis.

The Finlayson Sweater, on the other hand, is a very quick make and is forgiving of all manner of stitching and fitting imperfections.  There is very little topstitching and the fit is boxy enough that you don’t have to worry about tweaking it much for a variety of body shapes.  Even though it is a simple design, it can still be made special by making an unusual fabric choice.  I love the color blocked sleeves and collar in the top photo (sewn by @lafamillecreative).  The French Terry used by Khadetjes for the Finlayson in the lower photos looks extremely cozy.  You can see some close up photos of the texture on her blog – it looks perfect for a chilly day like today!

Photos of Comox Trunks are some of my favorite to stumble upon because I get such a kick out of the wild prints many people select!  You would be hard pressed to find such colorful and cheery underwear in the shops!  The top pair has been sewn by @theunknownstar and the bottom pair (along with the matching thong) have been sewn by @superlousew.  I may have shared this couple’s set of undies on Instagram or the blog before but I can’t find evidence and I can’t resist spreading the concept of matching undies throughout the sewing world!

This Camas Blouse caught my eye the other day – it was sewn using a woven fabric with a beautiful cotton lace yoke.  I like how the lace yoke shows peeks of the main fabric through the gaps.  This lovely blouse was sewn by @lamuseauplacard.

Lastly, let’s not forget the Goldstream Peacoat!  Near the end of each summer progress shots of Goldstream Peacoats never fail to pop up on my Instagram feed.  These images, by @timetosew caught my eye due to the very precise basting and padstitching she has completed.  I have had the pieces cut out for a Pendleton Wool Goldstream for over a year now.  Since I have made so many Goldstream Peacoats over the last few years, I thought I would veer from the sewing process which I detail within the instruction booklet.  This process features very easy yet effective methods that are approachable even if it is your first coat project.  This time I’m going to use some of the tailoring tips from our Tailored Peacoat Series!  Obviously, I am a tad intimidated (this is why the project has sat for over a year in my WIP bag) but I am thankful for the inspiration from sewists like @timetosew who just buckle down and get stitching!  It’s time for me to do the same so Matt can finally replace his old ratty Goldstream that I made him years ago as an early sample from very cheap faux wool.

If you have a Thread Theory project on you sewing table, I would love to hear about it!  Send your questions, your ideas, your photos, and your stories to info@threadtheory.ca, message me on Facebook, or use #threadtheorydesigns.

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Comox Trunks Supplies Kit – New Colors, New Packaging!

Comox Trunks Supplies Kit-2

One of my favorite sort of emails to receive is from a happy customer who bought our Comox Trunks Supplies Kit.  Some of you have emailed us in the past because you are thrilled with the fabric that is included within the package – you (and I) love how soft, strong, opaque and also stretchy the beautiful bamboo cotton jersey is.  It features 66% rayon from bamboo, 28% cotton and 6% spandex.  It wears incredibly well and is also really forgiving – I’ve sewn dresses and Comox Trunks out of it without taking the time to pre-wash the fabric.  I have never experienced any shrinkage.

Obviously, based on both my opinion and the feedback we’ve received from you guys, it is high time to expand our color range for the Comox Trunks kit.  We’ve added three new colors and have also decided to list the Bamboo Cotton Jersey by the meter so that you can use it for the myriad of other projects for which it is the perfect fabric!

Here are a few of the projects for which I think this fabric is the ideal choice:

Patterns for bamboo cotton jersey fabricThe Comox Trunks by Thread Theory | The Wren Dress by Colette Patterns | The Out and About Dress by Sew Caroline | The Camas Blouse by Thread Theory | The Virginia Leggings by Megan Nielson | The Coppelia Cardigan by Papercut Patterns (the version you see here was sewn by me) | The Summer Jazz Dress by Snapdragon Studios (this dress was sewn by me using the Charcoal Bamboo Cotto – it was blogged here.| The Agnes Top by Tilly and the Buttons

Along with the new color choices, we’ve made another change to the Comox Trunks Kit:  We re-branded the Comox Trunk Kit in a biodegradable and reusable plastic bag with a label that details the kit contents and provides some information about the project.  The Comox Trunks Kit is a great gift for new sewers so I wanted to make the contents and corresponding resources (such as our Comox Trunks sew-along) a little more clear and accessible.

Here are the three new colors of fabric that we now carry in our shop and in the kit!

A dark and mysterious Forest Green which I am currently sewing into an Out and About maxi dress to wear on Christmas Day:

Bamboo Cotton Jersey by Thread Theory-11

An earthy Olive Green which is Matt’s very favorite color choice due to it’s military vibe:

Bamboo Cotton Jersey by Thread Theory-5

And a beautiful Heathered Almond with such a lovely sheen – I can’t wait to sew this into a Camas Blouse or Coppelia Cardigan!

Bamboo Cotton Jersey by Thread Theory-2

We still carry the two original colors that have always been available in our Comox Trunks kits: Festive Burgundy…

Bamboo Cotton Jersey by Thread Theory-7

… and the ever popular and masculine Charcoal:Bamboo Cotton Jersey by Thread Theory-9

Head to the Comox Trunks Supplies Kit page or the Bamboo Cotton Jersey page to have a look at the fabrics in detail.


 

An important note about Christmas shipping:

If you would like to receive your order by Dec. 21st (so that you have time to sew the Comox Trunks before Christmas), I recommend that you place your last shippable orders from our shop by this Friday, Dec. 11th.  Our most common (and affordable) shipping method is Small Packet Air.  Using this method, Canada Post states that your parcel will take 4 to 6 business days to reach you but be aware that this shipping time is not guaranteed by Canada Post so please try to order earlier rather than later to be on the safe side!


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DIY Manly Gift Guide – Father’s Day Edition

2015 is a special year because Father’s Day, the first day of summer and my birthday all land on the same day – so many reasons to celebrate!  I’ve been brainstorming homemade gifts for my dad this year and have come up with a few intriguing ideas featuring various supplies from our shop.  If you would like to explore more ideas, I made a post for Christmas 2013 with all sorts of neat DIY gift ideas for men – be sure to check this out too!

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My dad, our best model, in his Jutland Pants

Here is my collection of ideas sorted into categories based on the supplies they use from our store:

Using Otterwax and/or Canvas:

You could make this ‘DIY’ gift so easy on yourself it might feel like cheating – just buy your dad a new version of his favorite cap (or steal his old one!) and cover it in Otter Wax!  Both the large and regular size bars are in stock in our shop right now.

If you’re feeling more ambitious, make or buy a canvas work apron or jacket and give it a rugged treatment of wax to make it water resistant, windproof and long lasting.  If you’re looking inspiration when it comes to waxing, you need look no further than the Otterwax Facebook page (the source for all the photos below) and Instagram feed!

 

Using our Patterns:

Embark on a manly sewing project!  If you don’t need your present to be a surprise, a pair of Jutland Shorts might be exactly what your Dad needs as the weather warms up.  If you and your dad are pretty close, why not sew him some new undies or long underwear using our Comox Trunk pattern?  Warning, this will likely bring your father/offspring relationship to the next level – be prepared for your Dad’s regular reports on how comfortable his new underwear are!  My mom made my dad seven pairs not long ago and we received regular reports on how they were wearing in for quite some time!  The Finlayson Sweater is a great choice if you plan to sew in secret – it is loose fitting so all you need to do is compare the garment measurements to your dad’s hoodies or sweaters to choose your size.

Photo sources (clockwise) : 1. Cookin’ & Craftin (Jutland Shorts) 2. The Japanese Pattern Challenge/Mainely Dad (Finlayson Sweater) 3. Par Issy (Comox Trunks)

Using the Bag Making Supplies Kit:

Last Father’s Day we launched our Bag Making Supplies Kit in time for Father’s Day gift giving.  It includes a variety of supplies useful in most bag making pursuits but it is meant to be versatile enough that you can use it for all manner of creative projects!  1 m of beautifully smooth cotton canvas is included as well as a whole bar of Otter Wax.  You could use these supplies to make your Dad one of the waxed aprons photographed above or you could use these materials as part of a Grainline Studio Portside Duffle Bag as I did for a tutorial I made last winter.  There is enough fabric to make a heavy duty tote bag with leather handles which you could fill with your dad’s favorite beer or treats or you could get really fancy and use the material to make a custom laptop bag.  And, of course, the Dopp Kit tutorial that I originally launched with the kit would make a great Father’s Day gift.

Using the FREE Arrowsmith Undershirt Pattern:

Last, but not least, I know that MANY of you have already downloaded our free Arrowsmith Undershirt pattern since it is our most popular PDF pattern.  I have been so eager to see how your undershirts have turned out but can’t seem to find much in the way of photos anywhere!  I would LOVE to see some Dads in Arrowsmith Undershirts this Father’s Day!

First ever make for hubby @keepfitwithyass. It is the #arrowsmithundershirt by @thread_theory #sewing #isew

A post shared by sanderijn (@sahellara) on

Image from Sahellara’s Instagram feed.

 

What are your plans for Father’s Day?  Have you given your dad a handmade gift in the past – any big successes?  Any hilarious failures?

 


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Lingerie for your Valentine

IMGP3167 Gift your sweetie some hand-made unmentionables this Valentine’s Day!IMGP3169

The Comox Trunks sewing pattern and supplies kits are 25% off until February 14th.  These trunks only take a couple of hours to sew so you can still make at least one pair before the big day!

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* Note that the PDF, paper patterns and kits are all on sale.  The PDF is an instant download so you will have plenty of time to sew your shorts before Valentine’s Day.  On the other hand, you likely won’t receive your paper pattern or kit by Valentine’s Day (though late Valentine’s lingerie is better than no lingerie!).


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Comox Trunks Pattern Hack- Lady Trunks!

Last weekend was the CREATE! event in Courtenay BC- demos, classes and vendors in the lovely Old House Hotel. Morgan and Matt had a table there and Morgan ran a couple of classes as well. She did some demos using the bag kit and an evening class for the Comox Trunks on Friday night. I was coming straight from work, feeling a little tired and rushed, but I was so glad I went. There were snacks, Comox Trunks Kits, and a very cozy atmosphere (though I feel bad for the people whose hotel rooms were beside the sewing room!).

There were about seven of us, including experienced quilters, Morgan’s mom, and an eleven year old girl. Morgan talked about the pattern, the fabric and the elastic and we all got to work. Every once in a while she would see most people ready to move on and she would introduce and demo the next step. It was fun being walked through and of course as an extrovert, I always love to turn this solitary activity into a party!create collage

The only thing was- I was feeling a little selfish. The bamboo jersey is so so nice, I wanted it for my very own tush. So I talked to Morgan about making them for myself. It turns out to be super easy- in fact it takes away all the tricky stuff at the beginning!  So in case there are others out there like me, who want cozy lady trunks, I decided to throw together a second pair, sharing the modification you make when you don’t need quite so much room in the…ahem.. pouch.

super hero

As you can see, the boxers fit just great, and you too can feel like a super hero (especially if you wear them over tights)

The first step would be to get the Comox Trunks kit, or whatever fabric and elastic you are using, and of course your Comox Trunks pattern. You can follow most of the Sew-along, except we are going to start a little differently. After you’ve cut your pattern and fabric, we are basically skipping the “Sewing the Trunks front” post, since that is all about the pouch.

1. You will not need the binding piece, nor Pattern Piece #2. When you’ve cut out your size, draw and cut a straight line down piece #3 as follows:

1 lady trunks

2. You may notice the centre seam in the front panel in my above pair. For my second pair, I decided it would be nicer, and easy, to skip that seam just by cutting on the fold.

2 lady trunks

3. Here I forgot to photograph this step (Bad tutorialist!). But just put the two pieces wrong side together and baste about the edge (i suggest 1/4″ SA so it doesn’t show when you to a 3/8″ seam to attach). After basting, we will attach to the legs just as in the pattern and sew-along

3 lady trunks

And that’s it! I mean, obviously the trunks aren’t done yet, but that’s how simply the modification is. Follow the rest of the directions to attach the back, gusset and elastic and then you are really done. I have to say- with both pairs I’ve made, I look at the butt and I think “NO WAY” -they seem huge and saggy but they hug the body really well. Don’t worry, you are more three dimensional than the undies are.

4 lady trunks

I used Anna Maria Horner’s Saffron Thistle fabric for the legs (which matches this shirt, maybe I will wear them together), which is nice and soft and sturdy. For the hem, I serged the raw edge, the did a scallop stitch in contrasting thread. I used the same stitch for attaching the elastic. To cover the elastic seam, I made a little tag of thistle and put that on the outside. No scratchy edges! The funny thing is, with the contrasting legs, from the back it sort of looks like normal underwear! You can see here, that despite looking weirdly big on the table, they hug the form quite well. You can also somewhat see that the front is flat where the original pattern would bulge out with a pouch.

6 lady trunks

I swear, I am going to replace all my undies with these!!


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A Super Useful Fabric Covered Elastic Waistband Tutorial

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Let me introduce to you Emily Adams of Dressing the Role!  She kindly put together a tutorial for us as part of our Tutorial Contest.  Thanks for taking the time to teach us your elastic sewing methods Emily!


 

A tutorial by Emily Adams

www.dressingtherole.wordpress.com

Want to make a pair of Comox Trunks with a fabric covered elastic waistband but aren’t sure how? You’re in luck! There are several different ways to do this – Morgan covers one way in her tutorial. I like to use a slightly different method that sews the elastic directly to the waistband, eliminating twisted elastic and creating a nice, clean finish.

So, first off, a little info about elastic – not all elastics are created equal! You want to find an elastic that you can sew through without damaging it. A knitted elastic would be good for this project, since it’s not too bulky but is safe to sew through. Be careful not to use braided elastic – this stuff is cheaper, but will lose its elasticity when sewn through. A quick way to tell the difference between these two elastics is that the braided elastic will get thinner when stretched, but knitted elastic will stay the same width. For more detailed info about elastic, visit this helpful site: The Sewing Directory.

So, that being said, here’s my little tutorial:

1. Cut a piece of fabric the circumference of your trunks plus seam allowances and twice the width of your elastic plus generous seam allowances – I’d give yourself a good inch and a half.  This will give you a little “wiggle room” when attaching the waistband to the trunks. Note: unlike in Morgan’s tutorial, here we’re going to make our waistband out of a single strip of fabric instead of two.

2. Sew the short ends of your waistband using a narrow zig zag.

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3. Trim seam allowances to 1/4″ and press. This helps reduce bulk.

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4. Pre-stretch your elastic before cutting it.  This ensures that the elastic won’t stretch out too much after the first few wearings, as elastic tends to stretch out a little the first time it is used. Then cut your elastic to the exact size you want for the finished waistband – do NOT add seam allowances!

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5. Cut a small swatch of woven fabric (3″ by 3″ should be enough). Sew one end of the elastic to the swatch using a regular zigzag stitch; go over this seam several times for reinforcement.

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6. Butt the other end of the elastic right up against the attached end and sew several times using a regular zig zag. Make sure the elastic is not twisted!

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7. Trim off the excess swatch fabric. This method helps eliminate bulk at the center back seam.

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8. Fold your waistband in half lengthwise and sandwich the elastic right in the middle. Try to match up the center back of each to avoid a strange lumpy spot in the middle of your waistband.

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9. Carefully pin the waistband to the trunks. Make sure to mark and match the center front and center back to evenly distribute the fabric.

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10. You may notice at this point that your elastic loop is a little smaller than your waistband loop. That’s ok – you will just need to stretch the elastic a tiny bit as you sew. This will slightly gather the waistband, but that’s ok – it’s just underwear!

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11. Sew the waistband to the trunks, stitching through the edge of the elastic as you sew. To do this, pinch out the waistband seam allowances with your right hand so that the elastic is butted right up against the center of the waistband – you want to avoid having a gap between the fabric and the elastic at the top of your finished waistband (and this is why you gave yourself a little extra – to leave room for your fingers!).

At the same time, use your left hand to slightly stretch your elastic, as discussed above, if necessary. This is a bit of a juggling act, so take it slow!

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If you are using your serger for this, you want to be very careful not to cut through the elastic! Try to line up your trunks so that the edge of the elastic is just to the left of the serger knife. This will ensure that you stitch through the elastic but don’t cut it.

If you are using your regular machine, sew one line of regular sized zigzag stitches to attach the waistband to the trunks, sewing through the edge of the elastic as you go. Then sew another row of zigzags directly to the right as a seam finish (and as a second line of protection just in case!). Trim the excess fabric right up to the second row of zigzags.

And you’re done!

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You may notice that the gathering on my waistband isn’t even – that’s because I didn’t stretch my elastic evenly as I sewed it. But no biggie, you can’t even tell when it’s being worn, and husbands (and other dudes :)) tend to be pretty forgiving if their clothes aren’t perfect!

Ta-da!

Thank you for the great tutorial Emily!  I look forward to trying out your techniques on my next pair of trunks!


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Comox Trunks Prize Announcement and Parade

sew along poster-01Drumroll please…..

And the winner of our Comox Trunks Sew-Along Contest is: Catrinmanel of I’d Rather Sew! Congratulations!  I’ll be sending her our Comox Trunks prize pack straight away 🙂

I'd rather sew...

Her entry was chosen at random by gathering all entries (both through email and through comments on the sew-along posts), using a random number generator, and then counting down the list of entries.  People who submitted multiple pairs of Comox Trunks were only counted once.  Here’s proof of the randomness in case you need it! :P:

random number

I wish I could have given a prize to everyone as Matt and I were really pleased with how many entries there were and how enthusiastic you all were about the contest!  Now, for your viewing pleasure, here is a parade of the Comox Trunks you submitted!  The numbers correspond to links provided in a list at the bottom:

Parade-graphics-1 Parade-graphics-2 Parade-graphics-3 Parade-graphics-4 Parade-graphics-5 Parade-graphics-6 Parade-graphics-7 Parade-graphics-8

  1. No More Heroes Anymore
  2. Sakiko Jones
  3. Mrs. Toad Sews
  4. Kaisa (sent entry through email)
  5. Mazzy Girl
  6. Dressing the Role
  7. Artisinal Expatriate
  8. Genevieve (sent entry through email)
  9. Marilyn Scott
  10. Deadlycraft
  11. Sew & Illustrate
  12. Drawing by Sew & Illustrate
  13. Renata (sent entry through email)
  14. Nicole at Home
  15. Lena
  16. Lena
  17. TwoRandomWords
  18. Cookin’ & Craftin’
  19. TwoRandomWords
  20. Nothing New Treasures
  21. Mazzy Girl
  22. Mazzy Girl
  23. I’d Rather Sew…
  24. Steven (sent entry through email)
  25. Steven (sent entry through email)
  26. Steven (sent entry through email)

 

There were several other entries via flickr, Twitter and Instagram which included protected photos (they couldn’t be saved and shared directly on this blog).  Even though I can’t share these photos with you in this post, these trunks are totally worth checking out!  Follow these links to have a look:

  1. Fabri’cate
  2. Evergreen Living
  3. SoSewGirl
  4. susiemcdougs
  5. FennaB
  6. frau_fleur
  7. dan_grigg

 

Thank you, everyone, for being so enthusiastic about this pattern!  It has been really exciting to watch peoples entries pile in over the last few weeks.  I’ve especially enjoyed being surprised by people’s creativity – whether it be expressed through pretty unique modelling techniques or through pattern manipulation or fabric choice.  I hope to see lots more Comox Trunks in the future!  Even though the contest is over, I’d still love to see what you’ve sewn, so send us an email (info@threadtheory.ca) or post a link in the comments!