Thread Theory

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


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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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Hemp, Bamboo and Organic Cotton: Spring Capsule Collection

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Browse our menswear fabrics >

 


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The Vintage Pattern Collection is live!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Shop the pattern collection >

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


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Call for pattern testers! (Closed: 21/03/17)

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Update 21/03/17: Thank you for such an enthusiastic response to this call for testers!  The testers have all been selected now (from hundreds of responses!) and I look forward to hearing their feedback.  The details that you sent in your blog comments and emails were extremely helpful to me.  I can’t wait to share the finished pattern with you!

Yes, we have a new pattern coming this Spring!  The third draft of the instructions will be sent off to our graphic designer this afternoon so I am ready to hear your feedback.

I haven’t been keeping our upcoming pattern a secret from you and have mentioned it several times on the blog.

Usually I strive to keep upcoming designs a secret simply for the fun of it!  Many other pattern companies do this and I think it adds a sense of fun and excitement to impending pattern releases for both the pattern designer and the eager sewists.  The menswear patterns I am trying to develop for Thread Theory are a bit different though; our patterns are predominantly classic designs that can be used as building blocks for any men’s wardrobe.  I don’t try to create garment designs that are innovative or unique, instead, my main goal is to create a comprehensive collection of well fitting staples that use quality construction techniques.

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So…if I think about my aims, it seems a bit silly to keep my designs a secret!  Instead, I could be sharing them with all of you as I create the pattern to receive as much feedback as possible!  When I did this with our Fairfield Button-up pattern I was beyond thrilled with the feedback that you guys generously gave me.  I tallied up all of your blog comments and was surprised to discover that many of you preferred the option for darts on a men’s shirt pattern.  This is not a common feature on most menswear shirts where I live and so I likely would have left the pleated back as the only option…thanks to your feedback, Variation 2 of the Fairfield featuring back darts was born and has since been a favourite style for Matt and for many of you!

Belvedere Waistcoat line drawings

Our impending spring pattern release is a classic men’s waistcoat pattern.  This is an important garment to add to our pattern line for several reasons:  It is a key layering piece for formal outfits (and I think the more men need to realise how comfortable and versatile a vest is for both casual and formal outfits!).  It is an approachable and very satisfying ‘first piece of menswear’ for novice sewists.  It is quick and profitable to sew – you can create a whole bridal party worth of vests with only a small investment of time and fabric.  It is an excellent introduction to tailoring before you launch into larger projects such as a suit jacket or coat.

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Waistcoats + Summer Weddings = ideal combo.  Photos from this Pinterest board.

With those characteristics in mind, I’ve designed our waistcoat pattern to include two variations – one for novice sewists and one for sewists who would like to try their hand at more involved techniques.

I am looking for test sewers to try out my pattern and instructions that fall in to both those categories.  Please comment on this post or email me at info@threadtheory.ca if you match either of these categories:

  1. You are fairly new to sewing and have not sewn a lined garment before.  You are opinionated about menswear styles and would like to give me feedback on both the instructions (are they intimidating, easy to understand, too detailed, not detailed enough?) and the style of the vest.
  2. You are experienced sewing waistcoats.  You have tried at least one waistcoat sewing pattern in the past and are willing to give me your opinion on the construction techniques that I have used.  You would be willing to have a look at some of the resources I have been referring to as I write the instructions and discuss the nitty gritty of order of construction, understitching, the size of the lining in relation to the main garment and that sort of thing.  I am looking for some very particular feedback that I will discuss with you over email!

I value tester feedback highly and appreciate that it takes a lot of time and effort on your part!  Please, only volunteer if this is something that you enjoy doing and would like to spend time chatting with me over the next three to four weeks!  There is no need to have a blog or any form of social media and you do not need to sew a presentable final garment if you do not want to (but I would prefer if you follow all of the steps, from understitching to adding buttons, even if it is just in scrap fabric).

Waistcoats for casual wear

Waistcoats – useful for all seasons and styles!  Photos from this Pinterest board.

If you don’t want to test sew but still have an opinion about waistcoats (be it construction or styling), comment on this post!  Here are some thoughts to get you started:

  1. Have or would you sew a vest?
  2. How many pockets do you like? None, 2, 3, 4?
  3. How many buttons do you like?
  4. Do you prefer vests with a back panel made from lining fabric or from the main wool fabric?
  5. A vest worn without a suit jacket…yay or nay?
  6. What do you call them: Waistcoats or vests?

 


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The wonderful world of sewing magazines

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Every year, as a child and young adult, I would receive a magazine subscription from my grandparents as a gift.  When I was very young the subscription was chosen for me but as I got older they asked me to pick which magazine I would like.  I remember that delicious feeling of infinite possibility as I set out to select my magazine for the year!  I always liked to choose a magazine that fit my newest skill or interest.  Thus, when I first began to sew, Threads magazine was my choice for the year.  I learned a lot while reading this magazine!

I still have every issue saved despite moving many times and constantly purging my belongings.  In fact, they currently rest on my studio book shelve (that’s them on the second wall shelf in the photo above!).  I often comb through the content descriptions printed on the spines to research construction techniques when developing our patterns.

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So of course, I was tickled to find out that Threads Magazine reviewed the Goldstream Peacoat in their current April/May 2017 issue!

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Canadian pattern companies are nicely represented in the review section of this issue since Victory Pattern’s Hazel dress was also tested and reviewed.

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While the US-based Threads is the sewing magazine I read most frequently, those of you in the UK will probably have seen our feature in Sew Now Magazine instead!  Kate and Rachel from the online sewing community, The Fold Line, selected a number of “hot off the press” patterns including our newest pattern, The Lazo Trousers.  This feature is in the current Sew Now issue (Issue no. 5).

While we are in the magazine due to one of our women’s patterns, I’m excited to read that Sew Now also included an article about male sewers in this issue!

Do you read sewing magazines?  Any recommendations for me?  A couple of women in my local fibre appreciation group recommended I stock Uppercase Magazine and Selvedge Magazine in our shop.  I have not looked in to this yet (I’m not sure if it is even possible to sell these magazines on our website) but I am curious to know if you have read either of these magazines.

Uppercase

Uppercase is a vibrant and beautifully printed Canadian publication that celebrates the process of making, the commitment to craft and the art of living creatively.  The magazine, publishing company and fabric line are all run by a husband and wife team in Alberta!

Selvedge

Selvedge is a British magazine that acknowledges the significance of textiles as a part of everyone’s story.  It is definitely the more textile oriented magazine of the two and the aesthetic is right up my alley.  I had a peruse of a few physical copies of this magazine since my friend brought them to an Eat, Make, Mend gathering that I attended.  They were beyond inspiring!

As I said, I have not really properly read these magazines myself but, I must say, they look absolutely beautiful and I am curious to get to know them more.  If you have read them, I would love to know your opinions (as sewists and magazine lovers).

 

 


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Oldies but Goodies: Menswear Round-up

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I got a bit distracted this morning delving deep into the archives of your inspiring Newcastle Cardigan and Jutland Pants projects!  I’ve compiled a few of them here in order to feature these two patterns as perfect menswear staples for early Spring.  Some of them are freshly made and some were sewn over a year ago…yes, the morning passed me by quickly!  It wasn’t wasted time though since your photos have motivated me to no end and now I’m itching to get back to work developing our upcoming pattern this afternoon.  If you would like to see many more inspiring projects, have a look over at Pattern Review or search Instagram for #newcastlecardigan and #jutlandpants.  Or you can always join the Thread Theory Sewing Community Facebook group!

Newcastle Cardigan

The Newcastle Cardigan is a perfect choice to layer over a long sleeve t-shirt or button-up on a classic early Spring day – you will be ready to bundle up when the sun goes behind a cloud and it is suddenly cool and rainy!  Add a scarf and suddenly the Newcastle looks like outerwear.

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Left: Starwhale Right: Tine & Tine L’Atelier

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Left: Trish Right: Sherry (sent by email)

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Left: Beth Right: Linda

Jutland Pants

The Jutland Pants are ideal work pants – they can be customised endlessly to suit whatever task you are working on.  If you are gardening and need to kneel on cold, wet soil, why not add padding and waterproof fabric to your knee reinforcements.  Line your trousers with merino or hard wearing cotton flannel to stay wonderfully warm.  Wax the finished Jutlands with Otter Wax to make them water repellent (as Sara did in the third set of photos below).

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Lisa

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Left: Deanna Right: Kate

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Sara

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Thanks for sharing the amazing garments you have made with our Newcastle Cardigan and Jutland Pants patterns!


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Winter’s Last Hurrah: Knitting Sale

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Snow was falling in the Comox Valley this morning (which is quite unusual for late February in our area) so Matt and I have been wearing lots of cosy wool.  I’m embracing the winter weather by knitting and trying my hand at needle felting for the first time since both activities are great for dark evenings by the fire.  This is what our house looked like a couple of weeks ago…

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Isn’t that amazing?! (Think in the context of my location of course…some of you in Quebec or Ottawa or especially the east coast of Canada might think nothing of this!).  On days like that, we simply couldn’t get enough wooly layers on to our bodies!

Anyhow, whether you are warming yourself by a fire or nearing the end of a hot summer, you can still enjoy my cosy vibes by taking advantage of my wintery discount code:  Our entire knitting section is 15% off in the Thread Theory shop! Use the discount code: WINTERKNITTING

The code is for this weekend only, it expires on Monday.

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We have a great selection of 100% wool yarn in stock and some classic menswear knitting patterns by British designer Erika Knight.  I’ve also just added a gorgeous copper stitch marker set to the shop.  They were crafted by James of Fire and Hammer Forgeworks right here in the Comox Valley! The five closed stitch markers are made from recycled copper and come threaded on to a hammered copper stitch holder.

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Aren’t they stunning?

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While many of you have a passion for sewing (and obviously enjoy creating menswear), I don’t often hear talk of menswear knitting on the sewing blogs or Instagram accounts that I follow.  Do you enjoy both knitting and sewing?

I’ve really been enjoying knitting as sort of a ‘complimentary skill set’ to sewing…I wouldn’t say that knitting is a passion of mine but it certainly helps me to pursue what is a true passion for me: DIY, living simply, and the creation of a lovingly handmade wardrobe for Matt and myself.  We wear our knit toques daily and my freshly finished chunky wool sweater sits at my office chair so that it is always ready to warm me up.

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Knitted garments are a staple in our cold season wardrobe.  Take the toque above as an example.  I knit this one for Matt last Winter and have found, ever since I finished his Dintex anorak, that he has been wearing the two pieces as a single outfit.  If he is wearing his jacket I would bet anything that he is also wearing his toque!  I tend to wear sewn and knit pieces as permanent outfits as well.  Once I realise that a certain scarf and hat look nice with my winter coat, they are worn as one complete package for the whole season.

Since I love to make our garments and we wear knit sweaters, toques, gloves, and scarves all Fall, Winter and some of Spring, knitting has really become an essential skill for me!  Sewing began as a hobby but I have started to learn knitting as a life skill.

How about you?

In case you are curious, I posted about Matt’s knit toque last winter.  It was knit using the Erika Knight menswear pattern poster and three partial skeins of Vintage Wool.

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So tell me: How do you view knitting?  Is it a passion, a complimentary skill or a hassle?

Shop all things wooly (don’t forget to use the discount code: WINTERKNITTING to receive 15% off our knitting supplies!) >