Thread Theory

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


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Call for testers!

It’s that time again!  We have a pattern ready for test sewers – would you like to join the team?

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This time around we are looking for 5 test sewers who can complete the project in one week.  This might sound like a short deadline but don’t worry, it is realistic for the amount of sewing time needed for this quick wardrobe staple!

Please comment below to volunteer if you match one (or more) of the following criteria:

  1. You will be sewing for someone who is likely at one or the other end of our newly expanded size range (XS-4XL).  You are willing to thoroughly use our body and garment measurement charts and comment on our sizing and fit.
  2. You are brand new to sewing knits and can give your opinion on the approach-ability of the instruction booklet from this perspective.
  3. You are extremely detail oriented and can give excellent feedback on grammatical errors, the clarity of the instructions, and the clarity of the diagrams within the instruction booklet.

What do you think?  Is test sewing right up your alley?

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Valentine’s Sale – 25% off PDFs

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Did you receive our newsletter last week with our Valentine’s Sale discount code?  Receive 25% off our PDF patterns until Feb. 14th when you use the code SEWFORLOVE.

Thank you for leaving over 100 comments on my last blog post about our upcoming pyjama pant pattern.  Your preferences included all of the options that I listed so I’ve decided to include variations for no fly, a mock fly and a button fly so as to please everyone!  After all, as many of you pointed out, what is stopping me from including them all?  I think that’s a good point because this will allow sewists to start with this pattern as their first garment project (by sewing the no fly variation) but then re-use the pattern over and over as they develop their skills (by progressing to the mock fly and finally the button fly).

And, to calm the fears of those who worried – there will be no zipper on the fly of these PJ pants!  That would be a tad strange!  The fly will be a single button fly as is commonly seen on sleepwear.

Since completing the first sample for our pyjama pant pattern I have sewn three more garments to determine the fit for our other upcoming patterns!  I’ve been at my machine sewing for hours every work day this week and it has been such a nice change from my usual work on the computer.  Here is a little peek at some of my work:

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Next week I will sew up the final (5th) design and then the patterns will be tweaked and graded.  Then it is back to the computer with a vengeance to develop the instruction booklets!

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Anyhow, thanks for your interest in our upcoming patterns and for your feedback about the pyjama pants!  I hope you enjoy our SEWFORLOVE sale and make something that your loved one wears proudly this Valentine’s Day.


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Bag Making with Merchant & Mills – new patterns and kits in our shop!

The team at Merchant & Mills always manage to perfectly pair respect for tradition with modern practicality when they design a tool or a pattern.  Since this is what I look for when choosing a daily bag, I was very excited to add the British haberdashery’s Bag Making collection to our shop.

Have you had a chance to peruse their comprehensive selection of bag making offerings yet? Check out the M&M Bag Station!

In our shop you will find the patterns, kits, notions, and even a couple of fabrics that work very well to create your own waxed backpack, tote or bucket bag.  Let’s have a look:

First, here is Merchant & Mill’s take on the back pack – the Right to Roam Rucksack sewing pattern!

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I love that it includes the option for a cross body handle.  This pattern could be sewn up several times to create a large variety of bag styles depending on your handle choice and the type of fabric that you use (oilcloth, denim or canvas, for instance).

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Since the correct notions can be tricky to source, there is also a complete kit available which includes some impressively high quality hardware and leather.

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Inside the paper sack you will find nickel roller buckles…

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A pack of double cap rivets…Menswear Sewing Tools-3Menswear Sewing Tools-4

A magnetic snap…Menswear Sewing Tools-6

Sturdy nickel eyelets (they are big and seriously tough!)…

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And a roll of thick leather pre-cut to the ideal strap width…

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All you need to do is choose your fabric!  I’ve just listed our burnt orange bag making canvas by the 1/2 m in the shop.

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Pair this cotton canvas with a bar of Otter Wax to achieve this gorgeous lustre!

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The second bag design Merchant & Mills offers is my favourite – the Jack Tar Bucket Bag.

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This bag looks simple on the outside but contains three divided compartments within.  I like the combination of a leather shoulder handle and the short fabric handles that will not bang around or be annoyingly heavy when the shoulder handle is in use.

Of course, there is also a kit available for this pattern:

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The brown sack includes the necessary D-rings…Menswear Sewing Tools-12

A magnetic clasp…

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A few double cap rivets…Menswear Sewing Tools-4

And a pre-cut leather strap…Menswear Sewing Tools-13

If you prefer to head off on a bag making adventure without the full kit, we’ve listed some of the hardware individually in our shop too.  The double cap rivets and eyelets can be found in several finishes.  They are useful for bag making but can also be used for garment sewing too (reinforcing pockets and adding drawstring waists respectively).

The last bag making project you’ll find new in our shop is the Oilskin Bag Kit.

This kit really sets you up for success.  I bet it would be a great gift to initiate a friend into the world of sewing!  The gorgeous oilskin has been pre-cut into all the panels necessary to create the bag design included within the instructions.  One of the panels is even stamped with a Merchant & Mills emblem.

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Also included within the kit are natural leather straps that have their holes pre-punched and all of the necessary hardware.  Simply follow the instructions to sew the bag together!

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While I’m talking bags, I thought I’d let you know that I found an excellent tutorial to make a tote similar to the one that I sewed for my mom a couple of years ago using our burnt orange canvas and Otter Wax.

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We get emails very often requesting that I design a pattern for this tote but I just haven’t got around to that yet (sorry!).  In the meantime, check out this very clear tutorial on the blog Inspired By Wren.  It is lined, just like the tote I constructed but with some different design features.  You could easily add a metal zipper to the front pocket to achieve the same aesthetic and functionality as mine!  Of course, instead of cutting the tote from contrasting fabrics you could cut the panels all from one colour of canvas like I did.  I like the strength of handles that extend onto the bag rather than handles that attach at the top (so the tutorial features an improvement on my design!).

To make the bag, here is what you will need:

  • The tutorial on Inspired By Wren
  • 1 yard/1.1 m of the Burnt Orange Cotton Canvas from our shop
  • 1 regular bar of Otter Wax
  • A zipper for your pocket
  • 1/2 yard/1/2 m of lining (perhaps this navy paisley?)
  • The tutorial doesn’t include it but you might like to interface with fusible fleece or another sturdy interfacing, though it depends how floppy or rigid you would like your bag to be.  I interfaced my bag with medium weight fusible cotton interfacing so it remained quite floppy (which I like for a bag this size).

I hope that helps some of you out!  I think it will get a few waxed canvas tote bag makers headed in the right direction.

Happy sewing!

Check out the Bag Making Collection in our shop >>


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Behind the Scenes: 2017 recap and looking forward

2018 has just begun and it’s time for Matt and I to look back on our last year and look forward to the next!  This post is a summary of Thread Theory developments in 2017 and a little glimpse at what we have planned pattern-wise for the coming months.

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January 2017

Last January we held a Lazo Hack Contest for our freshly launched women’s trouser pattern.  I really enjoyed seeing your Lazo sewing plans popping up on social media and still wear the cozy lounge pants that I created as my contribution to the contest.  You can view the Lazo Lounge Pant tutorial here.

Our Lazo Trousers were launched to celebrate Thread Theory’s 5th birthday.  A portion of their proceeds has been donated to a Vancouver Island organisation that is close to my heart: Help Fill A Dream.  You can read all about this organisation in the Lazo Trouser pattern description.  In 2017 we donated $1278.  Thank you so very much for making this possible!

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February 2017

February 2017 was when we began the idea of stocking vintage menswear sewing patterns in our shop.  We also launched a variety of new tools and held a knitting supply sale.

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March 2017

In March we put out the call for pattern testers for our Belvedere Waistcoat pattern.  We were inundated with generous offers by sewists eager to volunteer their time!

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April 2017

April saw the launch of our Spring Capsule Collection of bamboo knits and hemp fabrics.  We also launched the first collection of vintage sewing patterns that blog readers world-wide sold or donated to our shop.

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May 2017

May was a pattern release month!  We launched the Belvedere Waistcoat and promptly hosted a sew-along so you would be ready for Father’s Day gift giving.  I loved the photoshoot that we did with my family at our local pub.

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June 2017

In June our focus was increasing our menswear pattern collection – we added more vintage menswear patterns and also began stocking Jalie, Kwik Sew, Burda and Vogue designs.

Welcome Jaymee to the Thread Theory Team

July 2017

In July we introduced our wonderful new team member, Jaymee!  I don’t know what we would have done without her diligent work responding to emails, working with wholesale clients and posting on social media over the last half year.  I look forward to growing her role on the Thread Theory team in 2018.  July also saw the release of our summer fabric collection of breezy and environmentally conscious staples.

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August 2017

In August we held our first remnant sale to make way for our upcoming Fall fabrics.  Most remnant items were sold out within 24 hours!  It was nice to see that these small cuts of fabric would not be going to waste.  I also launched some visible mending supplies and showed you the summer mending I had done using Sashiko stitching.

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September 2017

September was a little quiet on the blog as we focused on our family but I managed to share a few interesting posts including a video tour of our tissue patterns and a video introducing an inspiring sustainable menswear designer.  We also held a sale on our Jutland Pants pattern.

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October 2017

We released some cozy winter sweater fabrics in October and added the option to order swatches in our fabric shop.  We also launched four new French translations for our patterns that can be downloaded for free.  Our entire line of garment patterns could now be accessed in both English and French.

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November 2017

November was another pattern launch month!  This time we added 3 mini patterns to our shop – the Elastic Wallet, the Card Wallet and the Bifold Wallet.  We also offered these as a kit of three patterns at a discounted price.  Then, to add to the excitement, these new patterns, along with the rest of our PDF patterns went on sale for 50% off near the end of November!  I hope that there were many lovingly sewn wallets under your Christmas trees this winter.

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December 2017

The last month of the year included a pre-Christmas photographed tutorial to accompany our Bifold Wallet pattern and a small launch of Merchant & Mills goodies.  We wound up the year a little bit quiet on the blog with a wish of Merry Christmas and a small inventory clear out sale (which is still going on in our sale section).  Now we have empty shelves and refreshed minds, ready to face 2018 with high hopes!

What will 2018 bring?

This year we will be focusing on pattern development!  We currently have five garment patterns under construction.  These five patterns will include a greatly expanded size range (up to 4XL for tops and size 50 for bottoms) to accommodate the many requests we receive by email and on the blog.

New Menswear Patterns

Here are a few fun hints about each new pattern (hopefully without giving too much away!):

  1. The most complicated and intricate of the garment designs will be part of our Alpine Adventure Menswear Collection…and we are drafting two separate versions of this one, one for men and one for women!
  2. One of the bottoms will be the perfect pattern for beginners to try.  I designed this one with sewing instructors in mind.
  3. Two of the bottoms will fill a big void as far as menswear sewing patterns go.  One of the designs will be part of our Parkland Collection and the other will be part of our Cityscape Collection.  Both will include in depth information on finishing details as you might expect of all of our patterns…we want the results to wear as well or better than store-bought!
  4. The last design will be a nice quick sew and is something that many people have emailed us to request.  There will be two variations that can be used to easily replace a large variety of garments in the menswear wardrobe.

While our focus will be on new pattern releases this year, you can still expect to find a nicely stocked and curated selection of menswear supplies in our shop.  Very shortly we will be receiving a huge order from England so expect to see some exciting new Merchant & Mills patterns, kits and tools coming out soon!

What would you like to see on the blog and in our shop this year?


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Launch Day: Wallet sewing patterns!

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The wallet is an essential item for most men (and women) so it was only a matter of time before we added our take on the wallet to the growing collection of Thread Theory menswear sewing patterns!  Meet our 3 new mini PDF patterns: The Elastic Wallet, The Card Wallet, and The Bifold Wallet.

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The goal for these wallet designs was to produce a minimalist cash and card storage solution that carries all of the necessities while remaining very slim.

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An equally important goal while designing these patterns was to create the most storage options with the fewest pattern pieces possible.  This way, each wallet is a true beginner-friendly project and the project is compatible with all home-sewing machines regardless of the material that you choose to use (even leather).

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An added advantage of their minimalist design is that these wallets are shockingly quick to sew – making them ideal for gift-giving!  Sew any of these wallets in well under an hour (seriously, some of these take mere minutes to sew) and fill them with a gift card to create a great Christmas or birthday gift!

Now you know our motives, all that remains is to decide which wallet suits you best.  Let’s get to know them:

The Elastic Wallet

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The Elastic Wallet is the simplest of our three new patterns.  It features a length of cleverly folded 2″ elastic and a top stitched cash pocket.  Instructions are included to add an optional tag that can be attached to a lanyard or key ring.

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This tiny wallet can carry a surprising amount of cards and cash!  The strong elastic expands to hold 6 cards easily (more can fit in snugly if you really want to take the whole stack with you).

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If you prefer to carry less or to use this wallet as a single gift card holder, it still keeps a small load very secure.

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It slips in a front or back pocket or can fit in even the smallest clutch or purse.

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Unlike many elastic wallet designs, this wallet looks attractive and can easily be personalised by mixing and matching printed elastics with a contrast cash pocket.

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I think the contrast pocket paired with a ribbon, leather or grosgrain tag really elevates this wallet from pure functionality to a lovely combination of function and fashion!

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We’ve added a great selection of printed and solid 2″ elastics to our shop so that you can get creative with your design choices…isn’t this embroidered elastic stunning?

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Here are a few of the new elastics – aside from being perfect for the Elastic Wallet pattern, many of them are also great choices for our Comox Trunks:

The Card Wallet

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Our second new wallet pattern is a versatile Card Wallet.  It can be sewn up in everything from quilting cotton to industrial felt!

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I’ve created two separate patterns and two sets of instructions depending on the material type you choose.  This way there is no guess work about how to pre-treat your material or where to top stitch, no matter the material you select from the wide range of possibilities.

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One of my favourite features on this wallet is an optional leather storage pocket which is the perfect size to hold a house key or, if you are inclined, a guitar pick.

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The angled design of the wallet holds cards very securely while also allowing them to be accessed with a quick swipe of your thumb.

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Depending on your material choice, this tiny wallet can hold a lot!  Stiff materials (such as Kraft-tex or leather) will hold fewer cards than materials such as cotton canvas or felt.

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Like the elastic wallet, the card wallet makes a lovely sewn gift because it takes mere minutes to make (the Felt & Specialized Materials variation only features several inches of actual sewing!) and holds a gift card very attractively.

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If you are looking for a gift for a musician, how about filling it with a gift card to the local music/record shop and a fresh guitar pick?

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Once the gift has been given, the gift card holder will become the recipient’s only wallet for years to come (Matt can attest to that…in fact, his felt Card Wallet is tucked in his jeans pocket right now!)

If you would like to create an industrial felt card wallet like the wallet pictured above, you don’t have to look far to find wool felt – I’ve just added it to the shop where you can purchase it by the square foot.  This way, you can buy only the small amount that you need for your tiny wallet project.

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The Bifold Wallet

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Our final wallet design is a classic Bifold Wallet with a twist!  This wallet contains all of the card holders and cash dividers that you would expect of a bifold.  It is a standard size and functions in the standard way you would require a bifold wallet to function…but it consists of only two pattern pieces!

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Instead of a whole stack of card slot pattern pieces and tricky seams, this wallet pattern allows you to construct a bifold with a few quick origami folds and some simple top stitching.

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Just as I did for the card wallet, I’ve included separate pattern pieces and instruction booklets to guide you through the construction process based on your material choice.

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You can sew this wallet in cotton, canvas, felt, Kraft-tex, Tyvek, leather or any other material you feel inclined to try!

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The contrast cash pocket is an excellent way to discreetly personalise your bifold by using printed cottons or elegant lining materials.

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I love how little fabric this project requires!  I attended an indigo dying workshop a few years ago and have had a tiny scrap of dyed cotton kicking around since then.  It almost ended up in the compost once or twice since it was too small to even make a pouch…I’m glad I saved it though since it was enough to make this gorgeous contrast cash insert:

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If you like to carry a bit of change in your wallet, the Fabric Variation of our Bifold Wallet pattern includes instructions to add a zippered pocket to the back of the wallet.  The pocket construction is uncomplicated and beginner-friendly.

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I sewed my favourite version of The Bifold Wallet in washable paper (Kraft-tex).

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It stores Matt’s entire set of essential cards and cash yet still manages to look pretty much empty!

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The Bifold Wallet is quite slim and very light so it is comfortable to wear in the back pocket of jeans.

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If you would like to try constructing a wallet or bag with Kraft-tex (otherwise known as washable paper), this is also a new addition to our shop!

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I’ll be writing a separate blog post about it soon, but in the meantime, check out this link to my bag-making Pinterest board for plenty of washable paper inspiration.  You can also read my very detailed description of Kraft-tex in our shop.


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Now that you’ve had a chance to get to know our three new patterns, it’s time to get sewing!  You can find the PDFs listed individually or you can download the entire Wallet Gift-Giving Set at a discounted price.  The Gift-Giving Set includes each PDF pattern and an extra PDF containing all of the pattern pieces for the three wallets puzzled together so you need only print 6 sheets of paper.  This is a great way of printing your projects if you plan to batch sew them as Christmas gifts!


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3 Mini Patterns Coming Soon!

Three new mini patterns will be released very soon so please sign up for our newsletter to ensure that you receive the launch day discount code!  You can sign up here.

The patterns are a departure from our usual focus on garments and will instead fill a non-apparel related void in the home-sewn menswear wardrobe.  Above you can see a few of the useful materials that will be added to the shop on pattern launch day!  Can you guess what sewing project these things could be used for?


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Bring on winter sweater fabrics!

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Cozy mid-weight merinos and ever-so-soft hemp and recycled polyester fleece have arrived in our shop!  They are absolutely ideal for cold weather Finlayson Sweaters, Newcastle Cardigans.

This summer Matt tested out our mid-weight merino sweater knit in the Yukon and northern British Columbia while on a road trip with his uncle.

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I couldn’t resist sharing a few of his stunning photos to get you in the mood for chilly sweater weather!

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He wore a (sewn by me) wool Strathcona Henley layered over a superfine merino base layer (not sewn by me, but could have been using the superfine merino that we carry in the shop) and topped things off with this (sewn by me) Merino double knit Finlayson Sweater:

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Paired with his (sewn by me) Dintex Hemingway Windcheater and a (knit by me) toque he stayed warm and also mobile during frigid early morning walks.  This merino double knit has a black nylon backing which makes it slip easily over woolly long sleeve layers and prevents one from feeling uncomfortably ‘bundled up’.

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We have three merino double knit colorways in the shop right now: Two gorgeously saturated options and one more sedate charcoal grey.  The newest merino double knit is a stunning Nova Red which contains just a hint of warm orange.  We also have restocked Moroccan and Charcoal in the shop which were in huge demand last winter:

 

In addition to these merino blends, you will also find another option within our growing collection of sustainable and rugged hemp knits!  This time, in keeping with our sweater theme, I’ve added three colorways of hemp and recycled polyester fleece.

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This fleece could not be more ideal for the Finlayson Sweater or a classic zip-up hoodie!  The wrong side features an ultra soft brushed nap while the right side is attractively heathered.

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This hemp fleece is available in Lake blue, elegant dark Charcoal, and a very gentle Forest green.

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I will be cutting in to one of these before the end of the month to sew a birthday Finlayson Sweater for my Dad.  I know he’ll be reading this blog post but don’t worry, I already spoiled the surprise by asking him if he would like a Finlayson Sweater a couple of months ago!  If I sew for someone else, I like to be certain that they actually want or need the finish garment in their wardrobe.  He said he would love Variation 1!

Speaking of being certain and confident in regards to your sewing plans, I’ve added Swatch Kits to our shop so that you can feel our fabrics and perhaps show them to the intended recipient of your hard work before committing to buying yardage!

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The swatch kits cost $5 CAD and come with a coupon to give you $5 off of your next Thread Theory order so that your kit will be fully reimbursed.  You can choose any three fabrics and I will pack them up along with our sewing themed coaster and a little note card.

If you’ve been wanting to sprinkle water on our waterproof Dintex fabric, have wondered how our canvas feels, or been unable to choose between interlock and jersey t-shirt knits, the swatch kit is for you!

I’ll leave you with my favourite shot from Matt’s trip up north:

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Have a good weekend!

Peruse the winter fabrics >

Order your swatch kit>