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


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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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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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In the Wild: Cool Weather (Nicole’s Post)

In the wild banner - smallYou won’t believe me after seeing this picture, but it has been wet, wet, wet and cold here for the last… three weeks? Let’s just say the weather is really challenging my car-free plans and that I frequently have to remind myself “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothes.”. I’d love to show proof of the sideways rain I biked in today, but I didn’t think to stop and take a picture 🙂

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Last Sunday, however, was gorgeous- a last chance to get to the Pumpkin Fest (Hay Rides! Popcorn! Hay Bale Maze! All the Classics!), mow the lawn (nope), plant bulbs (nope) and otherwise spend time soaking up Vitamin D. I am firmly under the impression that after this one gorgeous day, I won’t see the sun for six months. Someone please disabuse me of this notion.

Fortunately, I actually like inclement weather, especially wet because it means I can pull out my wooly sweaters, my multitude of Newcastle Cardigans, and all my fuzzy head and hand cozies. It looks like there are some readers out there who feel the same way!

First up is a classic Goldstream Peacoat, apparently made for a top secret spy-man (look at those shifty eyes peering over the collar!

collage goldstreamThis was made by Annie Laure who was kind enough to send some images. She used the french instruction, donc c’est bien special! Maybe I should do a whole post in french to celebrate- but though I am a fluent speaker of french, my french writing comes across like a four year old. Far too awkward to expose myself like that on a public forum.

We’ve had a couple lighter weight sweaters shared as well, like this great grey Newcastle by Emma. I love this fabric it looks so luxurious yet casual:

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Next is Matt’s Mom! She has a lovely new Finlayson to cozy up in during the storms we’re having. It looks almost like the fabric I used for mine!

matts momAnd speaking of women wearing patterns designed for men (glad to know I’m not the only one who’s used Thread Theory patterns as much for myself as for a man), here is a fantastic adaptation of a Strathcona Tee by Roni Arbel of Wardrobe Histology:

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I love the cuff bands, and the fact that it looks like it was photographed in a castle! I have an idea! What if you all sent pictures of Thread Theory projects in exotic locales? Then this would truly be: In. The. Wild!


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Spring Sewing Inspiration – Planning a project?

Are you planning a sewing project right now?  I’ve compiled a few different sources of great inspiration if you are planning to sew up a spring Newcastle Cardigan or Goldstream Peacoat.

I find spring is the best season of inspiration for me (as it is for many, I am sure, since it is a season of renewal and fresh starts).  The sun has come out here and there over the last week and there are daffodils just about to bloom under the cherry tree in our front yard!  Yet…as I speak I am currently huddled up inside with a cup of coffee instead of out rowing this morning (my Mom and I are on a dragon boat team) because it is rainy and windy today!  Needless to say, spring can be difficult season to dress for.

I think the Goldstream Peacoat and Newcastle Cardigan are excellent designs to manipulate into spring layering pieces so that the men wearing them are prepared for sudden rainstorms and to shed layers when the some comes out.  Here is a post full of proof of this and inspiration for you!

A couple days ago, MainlyDad (who happens to be sewing the Jedediah Pants at the moment) kindly sent me a link to an excellent article with MANY photos and an excellent write-up explaining why a shawl collar cardigan is the “essential spring layering piece” – if you are planning to sew a Newcastle Cardigan, this article will have you more than sufficiently inspired!  Just take a look at some of these gorgeous examples:

sncardi(Images sourced from: http://www.fashionbeans.com/2014/essential-spring-layering-piece-the-shawl-neck-cardigan/)

I really like how the cardigans have been styled as both middle layers and top layers and are displayed as both casual and dressy.

I’ve compiled some of your cardigans on our new Thread Theory Pinterest boards.  Have a look to see how the sewing community styles the shawl collar sweater!

The Goldstream Peacoat can also by sewn for spring by using a lighter wool or alternative fabric choice.  Have you seen these Spring-ready Goldstreams popping up around the sewing community?  This denim version is a really interesting and unique spin on a peacoat:

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And a light colour wool makes this a great early spring peacoat – nice and warm but not at all dark and wintery in appearance:

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Here are some sources of styling inspiration for you if you are planning to sew up a Goldstream in the near future:

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It is quite common to see shorter peacoats like the one above as spring attire.  It would be easy to achieve this look using the Goldstream Peacoat simply by slashing and overlapping the main body, facing and lining pattern pieces along the “Lengthen and Shorten Here” line.

And here are two gorgeous bits of additional proof that a spring peacoat really doesn’t need to be made in wool:

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Now lets finish off this inspiration post with the Strathcona Henley and my absolute favourite version I have seen yet!  Check out Brittany’s wonderfully relaxed henley:

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Brittany opens her blog post: “I love a man in a Henley.  Seriously, aren’t they sexy? Am I all alone in this?” Nope, you certainly aren’t alone!  I couldn’t agree more. 🙂

Are you inspired now?  Do you have some more sources of inspiration for Spring menswear to add to the conversation?  If so, comment with a link below!


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Newcastle Cardigan fabric choices – Robert Kaufman

Have you heard of Robert Kaufman Fabrics?  Chances are, if you spend quite a bit of time in a fabric store (as it seems we all do), then you have seen these fabrics advertised quite regularly.  Kona Cotton, for instance, is a Robert Kaufman fabric well loved in the quilting world but also sometimes used for fashion sewing.

A few months ago, we were contacted by the company because they hoped to use the Newcastle Cardigan pattern to display their fabrics at manufacturing shows (Robert Kaufman specializes in both manufacturing and quilting fabrics).  Here is the result!

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Their sample sewers used Monatuk Twill in Charcoal and Shetland Flannel in Ocean.  The result is very classy.  I love how they used the contrast flannel for the under collar!  I don’t think that either fabric has any stretch to it (they are both wovens with a 100% cotton content) so it is more of a spring jacket rather than a cardigan.  It looks wonderful on a mannequin and would likely provide a nice slim fit on a man with narrow shoulders if it were sized up slightly (since the Newcastle Cardigan is a pattern designed for knits and requires stretch across the shoulders and in the slim-fit arms).

Have you tried sewing the Newcastle Cardigan in a woven material?  If you’re interested in checking out some of Robert Kaufman’s beautiful linen/rayon blends or their flannels and quilting cottons, head on over to shop at one of our newest stockist’s online store: Fabricworm!  I particularly like this linen/rayon blend.


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A Newcastle Jacket

Happy New Year everyone!  Matt and I are really looking forward to 2014.  To get ready for the coming year we have cleaned off our erasable marker calendar and filled it with new dates and goals for Thread Theory.  I’ve cleaned out my sewing studio as well so it is ready for new projects.

I even went fabric shopping with my mom to re-fill my cleaned and surprisingly empty fabric closet.  Fabricland notified us both of their annual New Year sale which takes place on January 1st and consists of the whole store being AT LEAST 50% OFF!!!!  As soon as we were notified we started carefully laying out our plans.  Fabric shopping with my mom is no laughing matter, indeed it is a carefully planned tactical operation designed to yield maximum results – complete with a Dec. 30th reconnaissance mission and a stream-lined 30 minute raid of the fabric store right as the doors opened at 10am.

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Our motive was to get in and get out before the crowds so as to have enough time and energy to still enjoy our holiday away from frenzied shopping madness.  We were very successful and the Fabricland employees had a laugh at our organization level.  My mom was in charge of the master cutting list and was the first to the cutting table despite the store being absolutely packed with shoppers.  We piled the table high with our fabrics and I headed off with our notions list.  Despite the huge amount of fabric we were buying, we somehow also made it to the checkout first!  The line up quickly grew behind us but my mom clicked open her trunk from the till and we were out the door with enough time to spare in our 30 minute slot to carefully check over our receipts.

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Our careful planning led to a total of zero impulse purchases, a great pile of co-coordinating fabrics ready for pattern samples throughout the next year, and one treat for myself in the form of super bright and summery kimono fabric for a summer dress!  Mission accomplished!

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In other sewing news, my mother-in-law, Sue, has just sent me photos of a Christmas project she has been working on.  She adapted the Newcastle Cardigan pattern to become a woven and lined jacket which she sewed in a beautiful plaid wool.  She amazed Matt and I with her sewing skills.  Her only other sewing project since high school has been to skilfully sew this pair of Jedediah Pants.

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She is intimidated by nothing and with one project under her belt went right on to drafting a full lining and perfectly matching the plaid – two projects that would instil fear in many sewer’s hearts I am sure!  Her jacket turned out really well but unfortunately didn’t quite fit it’s recipient.  I guess that is one of the dangers of guessing someone’s measurements and not being able to try on the garment during the sewing process.  I hope, with a small adjustment or two such as shortening the sleeves, the cardigan might nicely fit Sue herself!

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In order to make the knit cardigan pattern work with a woven fabric (with absolutely no stretch) Sue chose a size larger than the recipient would likely need (she guessed he was between sizes).  She also used smaller seam allowances in some areas to provide a little extra room in the shoulders and the waist.  I think she did an excellent job and that the Newcastle makes a very cozy and elegant plaid wool jacket!  If you want to try sewing the Newcastle with a woven I would highly recommend making a woven mock-up first as the pattern is designed for stretch fabrics and is quite close fitting in areas such as the shoulders, the biceps and the waist/trunk.  Seeing how nice Sue’s looks really makes me want to give it a try!

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Dupioni Ruffles and Plaid Buttons

I’ve managed to sneak in a few sewing projects lately as gifts for friends and family.  Since I don’t think either recipient reads my blog I think I am safe to post about these (and if they do, I hope seeing their gifts will only add to the anticipation of receiving them…I am terrible at surprises!).

The first bit of sewing I did really was just a little wee project – my very first baby dress!  I’ve always oohed and awed at the adorable baby dresses my Mom and Grandmother sewed for my sister and I when we were little but have never had the occasion to sew such sumptuous and girly ruffles and frills myself.  My friend in Halifax had a baby girl named Isla (isn’t that a beautiful name?) last February so I promptly cut a baby quilt for her and of course never got around to sewing it.  Instead, months and months later I started on a project that I found to be much more inspiring and fun – a frilly dupioni silk Christmas dress!  I had a wonderful evening of fabric choosing, ruffle making, button picking and giggling at the obnoxious cuteness of the little dress that I came up with – it is sooooooooo tiny and sooooooooo cute!

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Since I am very used to sewing with reserved and muted colour palettes and paying mind to precisely square corners and the careful construction of lapels while sewing menswear, the contrast of girlish colours, sewing techniques such as creating ruffles and applying lace trim, and just how tiny and quick it was to make made this little dress a nicely refreshing contrast!

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I used this excellent tutorial which included great photos and two sizes of pattern.  I was unsure whether the pattern included seam allowances so I decided to assume that it did since, even if it didn’t, it was sized for a baby several months older than Isla so a slightly smaller dress would not be a problem (I hope) if it really didn’t include seam allowances.  The resulting dress is so tiny and I don’t really have a lot of experience with baby clothing or even babies for that matter so I simply can’t imagine a small enough human being to fit into it!  I really hope Isla will fit it, but if she doesn’t I know her mom will be able to find another more suited recipient since she is a Doula (someone who assists new mothers before, during and after childbirth) and is thus surrounded by a lovely community of new moms!

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My second project is a Newcastle Cardigan for my Grandad for his birthday.  He was very kind to model our sample many months ago and confessed that he would love a similar cardigan for himself (but with shortened arms and cuffs – both of which I shortened for his version).

Here is the Size Medium sample that he modelled for us:

Since then we have moved from Victoria to the Comox Valley so my choice of fabrics has become a bit more limited.  I couldn’t find a loose cotton sweater knit like the one I used for our size medium sample so I instead chose this grey wool blend and some contrast stretch suiting.  I love the buttons that I found but I am worried that the entire cardigan ended up quite different from his taste (maybe the stark contrast of very light and very dark grey is what is worrying me?).  I will be giving it to him when he returns from holiday this weekend so we will see how it looks on him and add more photos at that point!  I hope he likes it!

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Finished Garment Eye Candy!

First of all, thank you everyone for your overwhelmingly enthusiastic response to our call for peacoat test sewers!  We have selected our group of test sewers after a lot of deliberation.  It was so difficult to choose from all the detailed emails and comments we received!  Even if we didn’t select you this time, that didn’t mean you won’t have a chance to test sew in the future as we added everyone how applied to our test sewing mailing list!

Now, moving forward, did you notice the changes we made to the photos on our website this week?  Check them out! We added a new version of the Strathcona Henley and decided to feature the beautiful Jedediah Pants that my mother-in-law sewed up.

It was my dad’s birthday last weekend so I sewed him a Strathcona Henley as per his request.  This time, I chose a beautifully soft cotton knit with hardly any ribbing and a fairly stable jersey for the placket.  The sewing process was so much easier than it was with the heavily ribbed knit I had used for Matt’s henley because both my serger and sewing machine decided they agreed with my fabric choice!  We’ve updated the website photos to show my dad skillfully modelling his new shirt.  He’s become quite a pro; we quickly walked to the park and he matter-of-factly began to strike poses…even though there were kids and parents watching at the play ground!  Who would of thought my dad would be our easiest model!

While we were on a roll we also photographed the cardigan that my Mom had sewn my dad when we were in the pattern testing phase with the Newcastle Cardigan last spring.  Even though the cardigan has been worn by everyone from my school’s fashion show model to my grandpa when he’s visiting and chilly the cardigan has never been properly photographed.  My mom did an excellent job on it using a heavy (and thus difficult to handle) sweatshirt fleece and gorgeous leather details.  She even added leather elbow patches which make the cardigan look so sophisticated!  My dad loves wearing it when he walks their dog, Jake, now that it is getting pretty cold in the evenings.  As you can see, it looks really nice on him!

Last but not least, I have another excellent version of the Newcastle to show you.  Diana sewed this version and included a couple top stitching and fit modifications.  She added a strip of fabric at the side seam to increase the width of the body and I think that the extra seam lines create a really nice structured look.  The fabric and buttons she chose are just perfect and the tag she stitched in using a contrast thread makes the cardigan look like it has just been purchased from a high end menswear boutique!   Great job Diana and thanks for sharing your photos with us!

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I hope everyone had a fun Halloween!  Matt and I are really excited that it is now November…we have a lot of big things planned for Thread Theory this month!