Thread Theory

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


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Sew a Gift this Christmas!

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Some of you might have noticed I didn’t write a blog post last Friday (my mom and my mother-in-law both joked that they worried I was ill and dying…fortunately, this was not the case!).  You guys must have some big Christmas sewing plans because, last week in particular, I spent every day madly packing up your menswear sewing supplies so I could cart them to the post office as quickly as possible.  I simply didn’t have time to prepare a blog post!

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While in line at the post office I was wearing a red wool coat, a big white scarf and had a whole shopping cart of Christmas parcels.  The man in front of me said I looked just like Mrs. Claus!  I certainly felt like a Christmas elf at least!

With Christmas gift giving on my mind, I’ve gathered together a selection of sewing inspiration to give you an extra boost as you fill all the items on your Christmas gift list.

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Let’s start with this year’s gift ideas!  Usually I do a blog post about my ideas (see last year’s and one from a couple of years ago) but this year I was invited to chat with Rachel on the Canadian podcast MakerStyle.  We talked about my top five gifts to sew for men.  Be sure to check it out – there are a couple of ideas that wouldn’t take too long to assemble so you still have time to get into the DIY gift giving spirit!

And here is some more gift inspiration for you from the Thread Theory community!  Do you see anything your husband, boyfriend, brother, son, or friend would love for Christmas?

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These two gorgeous wintery blue Fairfield Button-ups would look great worn to Christmas dinner!  On the left is a Fairfield sewn by the proprietress of the German fabric shop, Brinarina.  You can find more photos of her Fairfield on Instagram.  The close up shot of the Fairfield on the right is from Anna who just shared this beautiful photo on her Instagram account (@grosgary).

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Comox Trunks make such a fun stocking stuffer…plus they are very quick to sew and are a great way to recycle t-shirts or use up fabric scraps!  I love the whimsical fabric that @adlesim used for the pair on the left.  If you don’t end up having time to sew the trunks, no need to worry! You could take a leaf out of Jenny’s book and wrap them up as an appealing kit…maybe along with the offer to teach your recipient to sew?  Jenny sells these bright kits and finished trunks in her glorious sewing shop, the Makehouse (in Victoria, B.C.).

finlayson-sweater

The Finlayson Sweater is always the first pattern that I recommend for gift giving.  It is pretty safe to just guess a size with this boxy design!  I absolutely adore the lengthened version that Jessica made at Handcraft Workshop.  On the right is an incredibly cozy looking quilted Finlayson made by @mllechouchou.

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The photo on the right was emailed to me by Matthew recently – he turned the Newcastle Cardigan into a classy jacket featuring herringbone cotton, bemberg lining and a lapped zipper!

And, to wrap up our show and tell, on the above left is a photo by @kristieinbc featuring her Thread Theory purchase beside a pretty basket of wintery pinecones.  This is how I like to wrap up your orders – they are sent as brown paper packages tied up in string!

The last thing I want to share today isn’t a menswear gift idea but, is instead, a heartwarming tale about a man learning to sew!  Every time I hear such a story, I feel inspired to continue with Thread Theory’s emphasis of sewing menswear.

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Christopher recently emailed me to share a link to a blog post detailing his new passion for sewing.  I HIGHLY recommend giving it a read…especially if you would like to find out how he wound up with such a gorgeous vintage Elna!


 

I really enjoy rounding up my favourites from the Thread Theory sewing community but I’m sure there are many other inspiring projects and stories out there that I’ve missed!  I have received a few requests lately to create a Facebook group for Thread Theory patterns.  I am relatively clueless when it comes to using Facebook but it seems as though this is a pretty easy and also common way to create a sewing themed discussion group or forum.  The purpose of the group would be to share your finished projects and to discuss ideas for our patterns amongst yourselves (topics could include fabric selection, modifications and questions about tricky sewing steps for instance).  Does this sound like something that would be useful to you?  From your experience, do you think Facebook is the best platform for this kind of community?  Or would you suggest a different sort of forum or community board?  I would love your input!


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Association of Sewing and Design Professionals Conference

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This Sunday Matt and I will have a Thread Theory booth set up at the Westin Wall Center in Richmond (near Vancouver, B.C.) for the annual Association of Sewing and Design Professionals Conference.  The vendor area will be open noon until 6pm and the public is welcome (even if you aren’t attending the conference).  Will any of you be able to stop by to say hi in person?

You may have heard of the Association of Sewing and Design Professionals if you read Threads Magazine.  It is an North American organisation with a mission “to support individuals engaged in sewing and design related businesses, in both commercial and home-based settings.” (I pulled that right from their website – you can read all about it here.)  Every year Threads Magazine presents the approximately 400 members with a sewing related challenge and displays the winners in their magazine…this was my first introduction to the talented professionals that are part of this organisation.  Members include recognisable names such as Susan Khalje (couture specialist) and Connie Crawford (pattern designer).  I look forward to meeting many of these talented people in person at the vendor market!

Also, no less thrilling, I will be vending alongside some other very inspiring companies (Blackbird Fabrics!  Clotho! Farthingales! Fit for Art Patterns!).

Even though I enjoy working from home with the world at my fingertips online, it can be extremely refreshing to get out and engage with the sewing industry in person.  It has been just about a year since Matt and I did our last vendor market so it is high time to pack up the car, jump on the ferry, and set up our little booth.  I look forward to a weekend of sewing talk, putting faces to names, and spreading the word about Thread Theory!  Plus…we will be doing a detour to visit Science World like the couple of geeky kids that we are. 😛


Aside from letting you know about the chance to meet face to face, I have two things to share with you today!

  1. You still have a 3 days left to email me with proof that your purchased the PDF Fairfield Button-up before the tissue pattern was released.  I will give you an $11 discount on the tissue pattern to thank you for supporting Thread Theory while you waited for us to send the design to print!  Email me at info@threadtheory.ca
  2. Speaking of the Fairfield, check out this amazing rendition!  Robynne sewed it for her husband (and also sewed her own shirt) for their anniversary photos.  Plus…their dogs are very cute in matching bandannas 🙂

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The Landgate Jacket (Unisex Pattern)

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It’s chilly and the rain is pouring down this morning.  Time for pumpkins, hooded jackets and mushroom hunting!  Nicole (my sewing friend and proprietress of The Spool Sewing Studio) created this rain jacket with Fall weather in mind.  She used The Landgate pattern by Merchant & Mills and our burnt orange cotton canvas that we include in our Bag Making Kits.

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Since I took these photos she has been working away at waxing this jacket with Otterwax in hopes of waterproofing the garment and creating the gorgeous patina that resulted when I waxed my Mom’s bag.  Of course, a jacket is a lot more work to wax than a bag so she hasn’t quite finished it yet.  She reports that she is struggling to work the wax into the fabric.  I remember, when I first finished my Mom’s bag it looked chalky, as though the wax had hardened on the surface.  I put the bag in the dryer with an old towel and was pleased with how the wax soaked in.  Nicole tried this without being satisfied with the results so we have some more experimenting to do!  Sometimes I think the best way to create a nice patina on waxed fabric is just to use the garment or bag for a while…kind of in the same way you would wear in new shoes or denim.  I will try to update you when we’ve finished the waxing process (I think I will step in and help her out since she so kindly modelled the Landgate for me!).

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Now, let’s talk more about this awesome pattern!  It is a unisex design but I’ve only seen it on women in person (but Google “Landgate Pattern” to see some amazing menswear versions!).  I shall have to get Matt to try on Nicole’s Landgate once it is fully waxed.landgate-jacket-pattern-9

This pattern features a gorgeous yoke detail paired with raglan sleeves and a deep hood which includes a tall, built in collar.

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The hood features draw strings.  The partial zip at centre front includes an insert to protect the chin and neck from the wind (and from the zipper!).  These details work together to provide ultimate protection from stormy weather. With the draw strings pulled tight and the neck zip done up you could walk into driving rain with only your eyes exposed!

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The sleeves are quite long and wide and the body is boxy which makes the jacket an excellent shell.  There is a lot of room to layer a heavy wool sweater underneath.  Nicole made a size Medium I believe – correct me if I am wrong, Nicole! – to ensure an extra roomy fit.  She also wanted to make sure there was enough length for full bum coverage when biking.

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Even though the jacket is boxy, it doesn’t need to look like a sack.  The waist drawstring can be cinched as tight as you would like.  I think it would be best kept loose or only slightly cinched if worn by a man but it looks quite flattering cinched on a woman!

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The pockets are probably my favourite detail on this jacket. There are sneaky side pockets which are set forward from the side seam.  Side seam pockets can be a tad uncomfortable to use since they are set so far back.  These are far better!  On top of these pockets are very roomy patch pockets with flaps.  I like the two pocket options because your wallet and phone can be protected in the patch pockets leaving lots of room for your hands in the other pockets.landgate-jacket-pattern-13

The Landgate is unlined as you can see in the photo below.

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Nicole did a lovely job of finishing all of the seams with her serger.  Just because a garment is unlined doesn’t mean it will  be ugly on the inside!  Check out her beautiful batik pocket linings.  The print reminds me of onions! 😀

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You did an excellent job sewing up this pattern, Nicole!  I hope your next version goes just as well (yes…she already has another one on her list of sewing project ideas!).

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You can find the Landgate pattern in our shop >


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Your Makes: Pattern Hacks and Personal Touches

I’m always so amazed by the time and thought that you put into your menswear sewing projects.  Most commonly, our customers sew our patterns for a family member (rather than themselves) so it is heartwarming to see the love put into the projects that you make for your significant others, sons, fathers, and friends!

Shelock Coat - the Goldstream Peacoat

Just recently, Blanka emailed photos of this spot-on rendition of the famous Peacoat from BBC Sherlock.  She used our Goldstream Peacoat pattern as her base and adjusted it in numerous ways to capture all of the stylish details found in Sherlock’s iconic coat.  Check out that inverted box pleat along centre back!  And the nicely structured collar which really is the essence Sherlock’s suave style.  This Peacoat truly was a labour of love – Blanka sewed it over several months for her boyfriend.  She carefully sourced the best materials from around the world (she is based in the Czech Republic and patiently waited for Gutterman Gimp thread to arrive from the UK so she could hand sew all of the buttonholes!).

SarahBrezina wedding Jedediah and Fairfield

Sarah emailed me with this excellent photo of her and her husband at her brother’s wedding recently.  They are wearing co-coordinating handmade outfits!  Sarah is wearing a glamorous version of the Sewaholic Davie Dress and her husband is sporting awesome plaid Jedediah Pants and a linen Fairfield Button-up.  Sarah mentioned that this is her 14th pair of Thread Theory trousers (!!!) and also that she expects to sew many Fairfield shirts for family members in the future.  Wow…she is prolific!

Thank you, Blanka and Sarah (and all of the others) who have shared your Thread Theory projects with me via email!  Reading about your happy experiences with our patterns and seeing the pride on each wearer’s face as they sport handmade outfits is what it is all about for me.  Email me at info@threadtheory.ca if you would like to chat sewing and share!

 

There have been some great makes popping up on Instagram lately too.  Here is a smattering for you to enjoy!  If you would like to see more, try searching a few of these hashtags:

 

#makemenswear #threadtheorydesigns #threadtheory #fairfieldbuttonup #finlaysonsweater #camasblouse (and any of our other pattern names).  Have fun!

 

I've made Joe a shirt.. I guess I should stop wearing it and give it to him #fairfieldbuttonup

A post shared by Hayley John (@hayleyjohn_5) on

a lil cheesy but something in progress for my dad! #fairfieldbuttonup #threadtheory

A post shared by Jessie Stern (@jessiestern) on

#sewingunderwear #boxers #comoxtrunks #vankatoen #stipjesendatjes father and son

A post shared by Stipjes en datjes (@stipjesendatjes) on

 

Let’s finish off this post with a great sewing hack.  If you want to sew the Comox Trunks pattern but can’t source wide enough elastic (or you would like to play with some color combinations), try stitching two narrow elastics together.  Narrow elastic is available in many colors in most fabric shops.  You might even be able to find some fun prints.  Excellent idea, Naii!  I hope your Comox Trunks turn out well!

 


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The perks of being married to a sewing instructor.

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Back in April, my sewing friend, Nicole (proprietress of The Spool Sewing Studio) was on a sewing spree which included some fresh Strathcona Tees for her husband, Scott.  Scott graciously agreed to model my favorite of the selection so that I could have a small backlog of garments to show you for a busy week just like this one (we are renovating and moving the Thread Theory studio into our new home).

So, without further ado, here is Scott’s charcoal Strathcona T-shirt:

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The neckline is finished with a self fabric band and the hems are finished with a twin needle.  The sleeves have been shortened very slightly to suit Scott’s preferred length and the hem has been left at full length to suit his long torso.  He loves the length of the Strath since he often struggles with the fit of boxy, short store bought tees.

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Nicole, always an enthusiastic ‘pusher’ of the Thread Theory brand, stitched our garment tag to the hem so that she (and Scott) can continue to spread the word about sewing menswear.  Isn’t it great to have friends who operate voluntarily as a marketing team?!  Thanks Scott and Nicole!

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By the way, the Strathcona Henley pattern is currently sold out in its paper format!  It is still available as a PDF though.  Matt and I are working on getting some quotes to reprint it.  We hope it will be available in the shop once more by the end of the summer (if the quotes are affordable!).


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Happy Father’s Day!

There are only 2 hours left for you to receive 50% off of all our PDF patterns!

I hope your Father’s Day has been filled with loving Father/Daughter or Father/Son bonding time.

Father's Day Gift Sewing

Matt and his Dad sported matching Fairfield Button-ups today – Matt wore the plaid flannel one (his favorite) and Rick wore a gorgeous white linen Fairfield that Matt’s mom just finished sewing!  Rick will be wearing it to Matt’s brother’s wedding this July.  She sewed a band collar and added buttons to the sleeve plackets.  It’s the perfect cross between dressed-up and summer casual (to suit the tone of the wedding).    He’s holding the plane Matt gave him today (cute!).

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Happy Father’s Day!


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Fairfield Parade for Father’s Day

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Comox Trunks sewn by Maike of Sew and Illustrate

Father’s Day is this Sunday!  Have you finished your hand-sewn gifts?  Don’t worry, you still have time!  If you are looking for a quick little project that you can start tonight and finish easily for Sunday, you might like to sew up a pair of Comox Trunks.  They take me 2 hours to sew from laying out my fabric to hemming and they take even less time if I am sewing multiple pairs in a production line format.

The Comox Trunks PDF pattern is only $4.75 CAD ($3.68 US) during our 50% off Father’s Day Sale!

Father's Day Sale 2016

 


Stonemountain Fairfield Shirt

Father’s Day sewing plans aside, today I want to show you an inspiring selection of Fairfield Button-up Shirts sewn by you as well as the finished Ikat Fairfield that I sewed during our sew-along.

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Matt really loves this print (an Ikat from Stonemountain & Daughter Fabric) and I think the indigo blue looks lovely with his brownish/blue eyes.

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I’m really happy with the casual look that the contrast Tagua Nut buttons gave to the shirt.  The amber color looks very summery against the blue – like the sun against a blue sky!

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I decided to sew the buttons on by forming a cross with my shirt to echo the print of the fabric (usually I sew two horizontal lines when working with four hole buttons…sort of like train tracks).  I’m not sure if this echoing of the motif is too subtle that it is virtually unnoticeable.  I notice it though!

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Matt really likes how the print placement worked out on the back yoke.  I’m glad I decided against placing the yoke on the bias.  I think the print was just a bit too large in scale for this cutting technique to have been effective.  I’m pretty pleased that the print matches along the collar and yoke at center back!

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With all the shirt sewing that I’ve been doing lately, Matt’s closet is beginning to look quite fresh and full!  I have been choosing his fabrics with a general theme of “blue and bright” since last winter his wardrobe had become almost exclusively dull brown and olive green.  The influx of a few bright colored items has made a huge difference!  I might do a photo shoot of his new shirt wardrobe soon – all of the prints and colors look really nice together.
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Now, the best part of this blog post – it’s time to show off your Fairfield Shirts!

Plaid Fairfield Shirt

_ym.sews_ achieved beautifully crisp cuffs and excellent print placement for her plaid Fairfield.  I love the careful use of contrast fabric for the cuff facing, collar stand and yoke facing!
Anniversary Fairfield Shirt

tiny_needles whipped up this Fairfield so quickly!  It was the first Fairfield Button-up that I saw in the wild after our pattern release.  Her boyfriend wore this very dapper shirt for their anniversary celebrations.

Fairfield Button up featuring sleeve tabs

One of our test sewers, Sarah, sewed this fresh and summery Fairfield for her husband.  I like how the sleeve tabs add such versatility to this shirt.  With the sleeves full length it looks very dressy but with the sleeves rolled up it takes on an airy and comfortable vibe that could easily work with brightly colored shorts!

Fairfield Button up with contrast yoke and pocketAfter completing her first Fairfield Button-up, Sarah immediately cut out another one – this time for her brother!  She had a lot of fun playing around with the stripes (she added a seam down center back) and she added some hidden froggy details.  Isn’t the frog peaking out of the front pocket such a great idea?!  She added a lining to the pocket to achieve this detail.

Fairfield Shirts by you

These three Fairfields have been sewn by bego_aguilera_caballero, Ana, and sewing_dutch.  The whimsical print on Begoña’s shirt is just lovely (especially with those dreamy houseplants as a backdrop). Ana sewed the band collar (available in our Alternate Collars free download) on her green linen shirt.  The band collar and linen are a match made in heaven!  Lastly, the subtle floral yoke adds such hanger appeal to Becca’s shirt.  She also sewed a striped grosgrain ribbon down the right front of her shirt which adds structure (for stronger buttons) and the perfect contrast if the top button is left undone.
Scared Stitchless Fairfield Shirt

And last, here is a great example by scaredstitchless of how much fun you can have when sewing a wearable mock-up!  Quilting cottons provide a limitless palette of bold colors and unique prints.  I’m impressed that she managed to find perfectly matched orange buttons!
Thank you, everyone, for joining me on the Fairfield Sew-along and for sharing your Fairfield photos by emailing me or by using #fairfieldbuttonup !  It’s been a thrill to see how smart your shirts look.  If anyone has wrapped up their shirt to give on Father’s Day, I look forward to hearing about the grand reveal!