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Waistcoat Sew-Along: Day 12 – The Parade

The Drapery Waistcoat 1

I have a treat for you today – a parade of finished Belvedere Waistcoats!  I hope your waistcoats will be worn to many memorable events this summer!  I know a few of them were sewn for lucky grooms and others were sewn to wear at the local pub.  Maybe others will be given to a deserving Dad this Father’s Day (on Sunday)?

The Drapery Waistcoat 2

The dark grey fabric and luxurious champagne lining used on this waistcoat are a perfect combo of fabrics.  And those welt pockets look very well executed!  This Belvedere was sewn by Jane of The Drapery for her husband, Andy.  She wrote a review on The Drapery blog.

Zaks Belvedere Waistcoat

Next we have a work of art sewn by Zak!  Check out the embroidery and the custom chest pocket!  Plus, I don’t think I need to point out the paisley lining since it is difficult to miss (and matches the embroidery so beautifully).

Belvedere Waistcoat Zak.JPG

Many of you have been sharing your Belvedere photos on Instagram using #belvederewaistcoat  Here are a few of the versions that stood out to me today:

Happy #memademay2017 . Today we have my test version of the #belvederewaistcoat from @threadtheorydesigns made in #conemills selvage denim purchased @stonemountainfabric in #berkeley. We also have the #strathconahenley i made for my hubby last year (also @threadtheorydesigns ) and my super sexy #ddsafran jeans @deer_and_doe_patterns . And of course, underneath it all is my #watsonbra from @clothhabit. All fabric purchased @stonemountainfabric . Vest buttons are new old stock. I made no mods for fit. Size xs worked fine, but I'm not very buxom. The length and waist circumference was perfect for my 5'6" height and athletic build. I usually wear a women's medium and have measurements of 37-30-40. Only pattern mod was adding a belt and buckle to waist darts in back (not pictured here). Mine is non-functional but making it function would solve fit issurs for many women (or busty men). Beautiful pattern. Thank you @threadtheorydesigns for letting me test. #memadeeveryday #makersgonnamake #denimlove #menswear #vintagestyle #indiepatterns #isewmyownclothes #sewist #sewistsofinstagram

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To finish off this sew-along parade, Matt photographed me in my new Belvedere standing in front of the garden.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Sew on buttons-21

As mentioned before, I did not make the suggested alterations to my waistcoat in order to fit it to a female figure.  I wanted this sample to serve as a visual example to show why making a few simple fit adjustments can lead to a much more flattering waistcoat for women.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Sew on buttons-19

The main thing to notice is that smaller armholes are needed.  For me they gape at the front but on other women (depending on your bust size), you may find they gape at the back.  I’ve explained how to adjust the armhole earlier in the blog.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Sew on buttons-24

Since I have a pretty small bust measurement I don’t think the gaping is that bad or noticeable.  The main thing I dislike is how low the armhole sits at my underarm.  The next time I sew a Belvedere for myself I will reduce the scoop of the front armhole so that the curve is more shallow and so that the side seam is at least 1″ longer.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong Sew on buttons-22

I think this waistcoat will be worn often in the Fall despite the fact that it is not perfectly fitted to my figure.  I love how warm the spongy wool is!  It’s satisfying to have a project finished and sitting in my closet a whole season early…that doesn’t happen often.

If ever you would like to share your Belvedere Waistcoat masterpiece, use #belvederewaistcoat on Instagram, join our Facebook Thread Theory Sewing CommunityFacebook Thread Theory Sewing Community, or email me at info@threadtheory.ca

Happy Father’s Day!


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Waistcoat Sew-Along: Day 1 – Supplies

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Supplies Kit Sample-10

It’s time to begin our Belvedere Waistcoat sew-along!  During this sew-along I will be completing two waistcoats – one that requires an intermediate level of skill and one suited to beginner menswear sewists.  In addition to following along with the Belvedere instruction booklet we will be trying out a variety of fitting methods and adding some bespoke details to our waistcoats.

Best of all, we will be finished on June 9th which means you will have lots of time to wrap up your waistcoat to give to your Dad on Father’s Day (June 18th)!

Here is our schedule:

Day 1 – May 19: Gathering your supplies (and Belvedere Waistcoat Supplies Kit launch!)

Day 2 – May 22: Choosing a size and thoughts on fitting

Day 3 – May 24: Customizing Part 1 – Belt and Pockets

Day 4 – May 25: Customizing Part 2 – Hem, Neckline, Collar

Day 5 – May 26: Cut out your fabric

Day 6 – May 30: Apply interfacing and sew darts

Day 7 – May 31: Assemble the lining

Day 8 – June 5: Sew the welt pockets (or add patch pockets)

Day 9 – June 7: Finish the waistcoat fronts

Day 10 – June 8: Assemble the waistcoat back

Day 11 – June 9: Add the buttons

Day 12 – June 16: Styling and Belvedere Parade

Ready for all of this?!  Let’s dive in:

Supplies

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Supplies Kit Sample-3

A waistcoat can consist of up to three different co-ordinating fashion fabrics: The front, the back and the lining.  Here are my top choices for each:

Image credit: Silk: Neal & Palmer Finest British Bespoke Tailoring Quilted: Articles of Style: Not your Grandma’s Quilt Linen and Tweed: Belvedere Pinterest board

1. The Front: There are very few rules to follow when choosing this fabric!  Depending on the style you are hoping to achieve you can select from a huge variety of fabric types.  Choose a wool suiting for a classic waistcoat to pair with trousers for formal events.  Use a wool tweed for a winter waistcoat that pairs nicely with trousers or jeans.  Or use a canvas fabric (such as the hemp and cotton canvas from our shop (this is what Matt is wearing in these photos!) for a summery waistcoat perfect for weddings.  Other great choices could include linen, silk, textured upholstery fabric, or even a thick and fairly stable knit!  Choose whatever fabric you would like to showcase.  If you are sewing welt pockets on your waistcoat, limit your choice to something that is not too bulky, does not fray exceptionally, and presses well.  If you are skipping pockets, don’t worry about those limitations!

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Supplies Kit Sample-12

2. The Back: There are several approaches to choosing a waistcoat back fabric – choose a statement fabric, a neutral fabric or the same fabric as your waistcoat front.  If you have opted for a neutral waistcoat front you could add a ‘surprise’ back as I have for Matt’s waistcoat.  Choose a slippery acetate or Bemberg lining material so that it sits nicely under a suit jacket.  If you have used a statement tweed or silk for your waistcoat front, choose a neutral lining material for your vest back that will coordinate nicely with the wearer’s trousers.  If the waistcoat will be worn casually, without a suit jacket, it is common to use the same material as the front instead of lining fabric or you can opt for a contrast fabric that is not slippery since it doesn’t need to sit nicely under a jacket.  For instance, I sewed my Dad a waistcoat with a wool knit front and a cotton canvas back (which I waxed with Otter Wax!).  I didn’t get any great photos of the back – I will do so at a later point and share them with you since I love how rugged the waxed back looks!

Belvedere Waistcoat-4

3. The Lining: Select a good quality slippery lining material that will not catch on the wearer’s shirt.  My favorite is Bemberg (a type of rayon lining) but acetate or silk lining will do nicely as well!  While it is important to choose a strong lining fabric when sewing a suit jacket, there are very few pressure points for a waistcoat lining (because there are no sleeves) so delicate silk linings are an option.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Supplies Kit Sample-6

Okay, now that our fabric choices have been made, let’s talk about structure and notions!

The entire Belvedere Waistcoat front is interfaced to create a beautifully crisp garment.  The idea behind interfacing is to attach a crisp and stable fabric to your main fashion fabric to change the way that your fashion fabric behaves.  For example, wool suiting tends to sag and stretch out over time; when you attach a fabric that is not prone to stretching out you will prevent your wool from looking limp, worn and sad after years of wear!  Another example is silk – it is usually thin and without much body.  A waistcoat front made of one layer of thin silk dupioni would likely ripple and cave when the wearer moves.  It may also be quite weak and rip at the buttonholes.  Adding a stronger and stiffer interfacing to the back of the silk would add more body and strength to the silk.

Because you will be interfacing a large area of fabric, it is important to pick a good quality stabiliser that suits your fabric choice and also your skill level.  Here are some great pairings:

Wool fashion fabric: Use a wool canvas or hair canvas sew in stabiliser if you are proficient at padstitching (No idea what padstitching is? I will be covering this later in the sew-along!).  Choose a medium to heavy weight fusible such as cotton interfacing if you would prefer an easier solution.  Fusible interfacing has glue dots on one side that are melted to your fashion fabric with the heat from an iron.  Test the fusible on a scrap of wool to make sure that the glue adheres to your wool.

ivory-silk-organza

Silk Organza: A very light weight but stable fabric.  Image from Gala Fabrics.

Silk fashion fabric: Sew in silk organza by basting it to the seam allowances.  Or, choose a light weight fusible but be sure to test the glue on a scrap of silk to make sure that the glue doesn’t soak through or create the appearance of visible dots on the right side of the fine silk.

Canvas fashion fabric: Most medium weight fusible interfacing will pair nicely with canvas.  Make sure to pre-shrink both your canvas and your interfacing because cotton canvas, in particular, is prone to shrinking!  Even if you don’t plan to machine wash your finished waistcoat, it is a good idea to pre-shrink fabrics because they could still shrink without washing.  For example, you will be doing LOTS of pressing while sewing your waistcoat with a hot and steamy iron.  This will shrink your canvas if it has not been pre-shrunk.  Pre-shrinking fabric could include washing and drying it (sometimes several times until it stops shrinking) or thoroughly steaming it with an iron.

 

bubbled interfacing

Bubbling occurs when fusible interfacing is no longer bonded to the main fabric.  Image from Tolemans 1hr Drycleaning.

 

 

Linen fashion fabric: Linen is notorious for refusing to remain fused to fusible interfacings.  The end result is the appearance of ‘bubbles’ where the interfacing and linen have detached.  I would recommend using a sew-in medium weight interfacing when working with linen.  Baste the interfacing in place within the seam allowances.

 


 

Lastly, it’s time to choose your buttons!  There are many styles you could select for your waistcoat buttons but generally I would suggest choosing ones that are between 1/2″ to 5/8″ in diameter.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Supplies Kit Sample-9

The ones pictured on Matt’s waistcoat are 5/8″ and are quite low profile making them a nice neutral choice.

I find that the more thick and textured your waistcoat fabric is, the more likely the waistcoat is to suit bulky or unusual buttons.  Harris Tweed waistcoats, for example, often feature quite large braided leather buttons.


 

Now that I’ve overwhelmed you with all of my thoughts on material choices, let me simplify things by introducing the brand new Belvedere Waistcoat Sewing Supplies Kit!

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Supplies Kit-1

I assembled all of my favourite materials to line, back and stabilise your waistcoat so that the only need to choose your waistcoat front fabric.  The linings in this kit would pair splendidly with wool suiting but also works nicely with canvas (as pictured on Matt), silk or linen.  The interfacing included is my favorite 100% cotton fusible interfacing which will work nicely for wool or canvas materials (as I mentioned above, I wouldn’t recommend a medium weight fusible for silk or linen!).

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Supplies Kit Sample-2

The main lining fabric featured in this kit is a delicious high end burgundy Bemberg.  I’ve included enough to line the inside and create the back of the waistcoat.  I’ve also included a paisley acetate lining that you can use to create a show-stopper waistcoat back or keep as a hidden special touch inside your pocket bags.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Supplies Kit-2

You can choose to buy the kit with or without the PDF pattern.  The PDF pattern is offered at a discounted price when purchased with the kit!


 

In addition to the Belvedere kit, the shop includes a great selection of tailoring fabrics.

The burgundy lining materials are both available by the 1/2 m (paisley and solid) and, of course, my favourite cotton fusible interfacing is also available.

There are three new tailoring materials just added yesterday: Two stabilisers (wool and horse hair) and one lining.

I will be testing out my bespoke menswear tailoring skills by padstitching wool canvas to one of the sew-along waistcoats.  I’ve added both wool canvas (left) and hair canvas (middle) to our shop so that you can join me!  I may even use the hair canvas to build up the chest area…we’ll see how ambitious I am!

I’ve also added a second Bemberg lining (right) to our shop!  If you prefer subtle pin stripes over bold burgundy, this is the Bemberg for you.  This striped Bemberg is traditionally used as a suit jacket or coat sleeve lining.  I purchased it from my favourite tailoring supplier (a lovely Italian gentlemen based in Ontario who sells predominantly to bespoke tailors) who proudly told me he is the only supplier of striped Bemberg sleeve lining in Canada.  I was surprised by this statement for several reasons: What is special about striped sleeves?  Why are Bemberg stripes desirable?  After a little bit of Googling I soon discovered that bespoke tailors are often frustrated by how difficult it is to source good quality traditional sleeve lining.  A striped sleeve lining used to be a sign that your suit jacket was traditionally tailored and not mass produced.  It is more cost effective for large scale manufacturers to use one lining material for the sleeves and body of a jacket so the use of contrasting sleeve linings set the bespoke tailor apart from their industrial competition.  In addition to this distinction, sleeve linings must be exceptionally smooth and strong to allow the wearer to slip their jacket on easily and to bend their arm fully without risk of tearing the material.  Using a contrast Bemberg sleeve lining frees the bespoke tailor to use a more delicate lining material (patterned silk, for instance) for the jacket body.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Supplies Kit Sample-7

I hope you learned something today and that you are looking forward to creating your Belvedere Waistcoat!  I’ll leave you with a list of my favourite waistcoat construction resources.

  • A Youtube video by Professor Pincushion which is very approachable for beginners.  Learn everything about sewing a Simplicity vest pattern from reading the pattern envelope to adding easy faux welt pockets.
  • A video class by Gentleman Jim suitable for intermediates.  It costs $24.95 US which might seem pricey compared to free Youtube videos but I found it to be well worth the money!  The pace is easy to follow and Gentleman Jim is so lovely to listen to!  He is full of opinions and tricks for efficient sewing practices which are just as valuable as the waistcoat sewing instruction.  It felt nice to pay directly for all of the work he put in to making the video.
  • A large series of videos suitable for beginner or intermediate sewists detailing EVERY step to create a waistcoat.  This series by The Sewing Guru is lengthy and detail oriented.  I found the pace to be far too slow for my needs but this is a huge advantage if you are new to sewing!  You will have every question answered.
  • A blog post that gives a peek inside the process of fully tailoring a waistcoat.  This post created by Rory Duffy of Handcraft Tailor (who I featured on the blog two weeks ago) is an interesting glimpse into the process but doesn’t fully instruct.  I would recommend avoiding this post if you are fairly new to sewing (it might be overwhelming!) but it is educational and interesting if you are looking to delving in to at least a few of the tailoring techniques that he uses.


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Your tailoring projects

Thank you for your enthusiasm over the Belvedere Waistcoat!  I’m really looking forward to seeing how your waistcoat projects turn out!

The other day, Amy, one of the helpful Belvedere test sewers, sent me a link to the blog post which featured her husband’s finished vest.  I enjoyed reading about her fit alterations, her thoughts on the garment design, and her perspective on construction methods…plus, we both agree that her very PNW photos could fit right in on our website!

I’ve also received a couple of emails lately with photos attached featuring absolutely gorgeous tailored Goldstream Peacoats.  Here is Zak’s rendition featuring a surprise lining!

Zak did a very thorough job canvasing the coat front.  He recommended a series of Youtube videos called “The Making of a Coat” by tailor Rory Duffy.  I somehow hadn’t come across Rory Duffy’s channel and am so thankful to Zak for pointing it out to me!  Duffy is a Savile Row trained Master Tailor who founded the Handcraft Tailor Academy in Ireland.  His videos are beautifully filmed and very informative.  Well worth a watch!

The second set of photos that I received was from Rachel who has been working hard over the past months to create not one, but two carefully fitted Goldstream Peacoats! She made one for each of her two sons.  Here they are looking very smart (accompanied by Rachel’s daughter-in-law).

Goldstream Peacoat by Rachel 3.JPG

Thanks, Amy, Zak and Rachel, for sharing your project photos!  I hope you are as pleased with how your tailoring projects turned out as I am. 🙂

Matt and I are heading off on a camping holiday all of next week (EXCITING!!!) so I won’t be blogging next Friday…but when I’m back I will be raring to go with the Belvedere sew-along.  See you then!


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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!

Belvedere Waistcoat-5

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.

Belvedere Waistcoat-4

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!

Thread Theory Menswear Notions (18)

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.

Thread Theory Menswear Notions (19)

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.

Ho to use Ban Rol-1

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).

Ho to use Ban Rol-2

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.

Ho to use Ban Rol-3

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

Ho to use Ban Rol-8

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.

Ho to use Ban Rol-6

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):

Ho to use Ban Rol-10

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

Ho to use Ban Rol-12

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


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Hemp, Bamboo and Organic Cotton: Spring Capsule Collection

Thread Theory Menswear Fabric-4

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.

Thread Theory Menswear Fabric-3

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.

Thread Theory Menswear Fabric-5

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

Thread Theory Menswear Fabric-13

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.

Thread Theory Menswear Fabric-14

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!

Thread Theory Menswear Fabric-17

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!).

Thread Theory Menswear Fabric-22

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.

Thread Theory Menswear Fabric-25

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).

Thread Theory Menswear Fabric-28

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?

Thread Theory Menswear Fabric-34

***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!

Vintage Menswear Patterns - close up view-3

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.

Vintage Sewing Patterns for Men (5)

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!