Thread Theory

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


10 Comments

New patterns! Swim trunks, raglan tee and more

We have 15 new menswear sewing patterns available in our shop and I am VERY excited to introduce them to you!  As you probably already know, I keep a long list of every pattern suggestion that is sent to me in hopes that one day I will be able to provide all of the designs you long for.

Aside from a button-up shirt, a raglan t-shirt has always been the most requested pattern over the last 4 years.  While I certainly could have created a Thread Theory raglan tee, I was over the moon to find a fellow Canadian indie pattern answered my (and your) wishes by creating one themselves…and, fortunately, they did it very well!

Have you heard of Jalie patterns?  If you haven’t, trust me, you will want to know more about them.  Here is their perfect raglan tee:

Sewing patterns for men-15

It is nicely fitted, the features the ideal crew neckline, and has three sleeve lengths to choose from.  Plus, Jalie patterns include sizes ranging from Boys Age 2 all the way to Men Size 22 (with a 50″ chest)!!!

Jalie patterns is run by a mother and daughter team from Quebec.  The company was founded over 30 years ago and has always specialised in activewear and knits.  Their dance costume sewing patterns were used by my mom to create ballet and gymnastics costumes for my sister and I when we were small.

While Jalie has always been on my radar it was only when I searched for a raglan sewing pattern (after receiving another customer request) that I realised they had quite a few excellent menswear patterns to choose from.  Their collection coordinates very nicely with our patterns – I like to think we each fill the gaps in the other company’s offerings.

Take this pair of swim trunks for example:

Sewing patterns for men-12

I had begun the design process for a remarkably similar pair last winter…but Jalie beat me to it and I am very glad about that because their pair is perfect.  It features colour-blocked panels and the exact sort of lace-up waistband closure I had hoped to include in my design.  One of our fabric distributors carries high tech fabrics that would be very suitable for men’s swim trunks…should I add some of these fabrics to our shop or are swim trunk fabrics already easy for you to source?

Sewing patterns for men-14

To continue with my list of “most-requested patterns,” here is the polo shirt that many of you have asked me for.  This polo includes some interesting details such as a back yoke and optional shoulder tabs so that you can mix and match features to create a wardrobe of unique shirts.

Sewing patterns for men-13

While we already include a few t-shirt patterns in our shop (such as the Strathcona Tee), this Jalie t-shirt still caught my eye because it has a high v-neckline variation.  The fit looks to be the perfect compromise between our slim-fitting Strathcona Tee and the easy fitting Hot Patterns Tee.

Sewing patterns for men-11

Lastly, I really wish I had this vest pattern when I sewed my Dad his insulated vest two years ago!  I heavily modified the Seamwork Denali Vest with the end goal of creating exactly the style you see above.  I will certainly be sewing this one up in the future.

And that is the last of our new Jalie offerings!  I hope they inspire you to get sewing menswear as much as they have inspired me.  Plus, you will notice, if you click through to our shop that their printed patterns are very affordable.  They are printed on regular paper (not tissue paper) and the instructions are printed right on the pattern sheet (no separate booklet).  Their size lines are very clear despite the fact that their size range is so massive (each of their patterns will fit a toddler, a teenager, and a large man!!!).  They look to be a pleasure to use.

Now let’s move on to the next pattern company now available in our shop – Burda Style!

I came across these patterns in my search for a men’s pop-over shirt design.  Like the Jalie designs above, a pop-over shirt has been requested by a number of you over the years.  I really like the options included in this pattern:

Sewing patterns for men-1

There is a version with a minimalist built in placket and two other versions with a yoke.  The back of all three versions includes a breezy inverted box pleat.  Plus, you can choose to sew a proper collar or leave off the collar to create the classic band collar/partial placket combo.  I was pleased to see that the sleeves are complete with a proper tower placket.

Sewing patterns for men-2

Of course, I couldn’t limit myself to only one pattern!  I found a few other gems to include.  The cargo pants pictured above include zippers below the knee (on version 2) so that you can zip off the lower leg to create capris.  I like the detailed options – including zippered cargo pockets and the option to add articulating knees.

Sewing patterns for men-3

While on first glance the trousers above and also the trousers below might look a tad like our Jedediah Pants, upon close inspection there are some interesting differences.  Now that our store includes three slim legged trouser designs prospective menswear trouser sewists will be able to choose their favourite option.

As you are aware, our Jedediah Pants are flat fronted (meaning there is no pleat), include patch pockets and also have a jeans-style back yoke.  The design above includes a flat front like the Jeds but then the back features double darts (4 darts in total) and welt pockets.  The design photographed below includes a single pleat on the front, single back darts, and one welt pocket.  Which of these three trouser designs best suits your criteria?

Sewing patterns for men-4

The third company that has been freshly added to our shop is Kwik Sew.  We have two very different garments from them!

The first pattern looks, on first glance, to be just another unisex fleecy zip up pattern but upon closer inspection it is a very thoughtful design!

Sewing patterns for men-5

The men’s version and women’s version feature different cuts which I think is quite promising – the women’s version looks curvy and fitted while the men’s is straighter and boxier.  The interesting angled seamlines remind me of high-end micro-fleece jackets from adventure or sport companies like Patagonia, Columbia or even Lululemon.  Maybe the pattern could be used to create something like this?

The second Kwik Sew pattern is a pair of rugged coveralls:

Sewing patterns for men-6

These have been designed for functionality – they were drafted to fit over a full outfit of clothing and feature all sorts of useful pockets.  There are even side seam slits included so that the wearer can reach in to his trouser pockets while still wearing the coveralls.

The last new company was added to the shop because they were my most inspiring and consistent source for menswear patterns before Matt and I developed the idea to create Thread Theory….

Sewing patterns for men-7

Vogue Patterns!  They have a monopoly on suit suit patterns and I don’t mind that because their selection is lovely and their instructions are thorough.  In fact, it’s a bit of a relief that I don’t have to create a suit pattern any time soon. 😛  Unless you guys have a special request?

The three suits I selected cover a wide range of styles.  The first suit that you see photographed above features both a double and single breasted unlined suit jacket.  The front extends towards the back to create a side-back seam (the same sort of seam included in our Goldstream Peacoat design).

The suit below includes a fully lined jacket with a slim shawl collar.  It includes the option to create a contrast shawl collar which would look classy in satin or velvet.

Sewing patterns for men-8

The trousers included in the pattern above are very interesting because they have two variations – the second of which includes a side seam band made out of the same contrast fabric as the shawl collar.  If you happen to sew for a man (or you are a man) who likes to stand out in a crowd, I think this design made with a bright and personalised contrast fabric could make for a very unique suit!

Sewing patterns for men-10

I like the suit jacket included in Variation A of this last Vogue suit pattern.  It includes two buttons, a nice modern notched collar and it is partially interfaced and fully lined.

While I was ordering suits I decided to include one last pattern since I thought it covered all loungewear bases so nicely!

Sewing patterns for men-9

I think the robe/housecoat included with this pattern is perfect – it has an elegant shawl collar, two very nice length options and big patch pockets.  The pyjama bottoms, from what I can tell by examining the envelope, have the potential to be flattering – it seems like the sit below the natural waist and they include the detail of a self fabric drawstring.  Both of these design features are a step up from your standard home-ec rectangular one-size-fits all PJ project!

And there you have it, our new range of menswear patterns have been fully introduced!  Every one of these patterns was added to our shop because it has either been requested by you or it includes design features that I think will be useful to the style-savvy menswear sewists that we all are.   I hope my research and selective shopping has introduced you to a new menswear pattern company or has allowed you to see a familiar menswear designer from a fresh perspective!

Head to our shop to peruse our complete pattern collection >


2 Comments

New garment photos for the Parkland Collection

Parkland Menswear Pattern Collection-10

Have you seen our new Parkland Collection photos yet?  Let me show you!

Parkland Menswear Pattern Collection-3

We began work on the Parkland Collection over 5 years ago when Thread Theory was still just an exciting idea for Matt and I.  We wanted to create casual menswear sewing patterns that would allow sewists to create the same comfortable and modern styles that they would buy ready made from a shop.

Parkland Menswear Pattern Collection-1

Since we still stand by that concept of sewing practical garments to fill a man’s daily wardrobe, we figured it was high time to refresh the fabric choices, styling and location of our website photos!  We photographed several examples of the Newcastle Cardigan, Jedediah Pants, Strathcona Henley and Goldstream Peacoat at Rathtrevor park two weeks ago with my Grandpa, Dad and Matt as models.

Parkland Menswear Pattern Collection-2

I’ve been dying to feature my Grandpa on our website because he has the most wonderfully friendly face you will ever see!

Parkland Menswear Pattern Collection-4

Plus he looks exceptionally dashing in Variation 2 of our Newcastle Cardigan with the extra large shawl collar.  I sewed this Newcastle from a sage green wool blend knit that I purchased at one of our retailers, the Makehouse, in Victoria, B.C.  It’s thick and cozy but quite breathable so it is a great choice for the fluctuating spring weather that we’ve been having.

Parkland Menswear Pattern Collection-5

My dad has always been our go-to model since he is so easy to photograph and always willing no matter how uncomfortable photo shoots make him.  I made him a Strathcona T-shirt since he wears out tees at a rapid pace and always needs a fresh one or two in his wardrobe…he’s never been enthusiastic on the idea of changing in to ‘work clothes’ before embarking on a messy project.  I guess I got that trait from him since I have been known to garden in dresses and hike in my favourite blouse!

Parkland Menswear Pattern Collection-7

This particular Strath Tee is made using our bamboo and cotton stretch jersey which I will ALWAYS stock in our shop in a variety of colourways (as long as it is available for me to purchase).  As I’ve mentioned before, it is my favourite fabric and I happily dress myself head to toe in it!  It’s the perfect combo of silky smooth, extremely strong and fully opaque.  My dad reports that this t-shirt is really comfortable.

Parkland Menswear Pattern Collection-8

I also made a Strathcona Henley for Matt, this time Variation 1 – the proper Henley.

Parkland Menswear Pattern Collection-21

He needed a crisp white shirt that could be layered under button-ups or worn on its own.

Parkland Menswear Pattern Collection-22

The crisp and shockingly white fabric that I used was the 100% cotton jersey t-shirt knit from our shop.  It was very easy to sew for a knit!  It is stable and does not curl and shift very much.  It’s also the exact weight and style of knit that Matt prefers to wear – he tends to choose thin jerseys over plush interlocks for a daily t-shirt.

Parkland Menswear Pattern Collection-14

To pair with his new Henley, I also sewed Matt his favourite Jedediah shorts.  He has worn a few pairs out now over the years!

Parkland Menswear Pattern Collection-13

This fresh minty green pair features buffalo check bias binding in navy blue to match some navy blue loafers that he just purchased…I think he’s going to look pretty coordinated this summer. 😉

Parkland Menswear Pattern Collection-23

While we were at it, I attempted to take some fresh photos of the grey cotton twill Jedediah Pants that I sewed for Matt about three years ago.  They have worn so well and remain a constant in his wardrobe but I have never properly photographed them so I felt they deserved a little bit of attention!

Parkland Menswear Pattern Collection-25

Here he’s paired them with the white Strath, his favourite Fairfield Button-up and his new navy blue loafers.  It’s a really smart look and I wish I could show you more photos but I am terrible at operating Matt’s camera and missed the focus on all of them. 😦  Next time we do a photoshoot I will try again!

Parkland Menswear Pattern Collection-9

Last but not least, we took the opportunity to photograph my Dad in the gorgeous Goldstream Peacoat that my mom tailored for him.  She wrote a blog post about her experience sewing this coat three years ago.

Parkland Menswear Pattern Collection-11

As you can see, her tailoring efforts have held up to a few winters of wear beautifully!

Parkland Menswear Pattern Collection-12

She purchased the highest end wool she could find at our local fabric store and I think this was a great choice because the Goldstream that I made for Matt around the same time period has long since pilled horribly and headed for the scrap bin.  It was a wool blend with, I think, very little wool actually in it.  I have some gorgeous Pendleton wool cut out for Matt and I REALLY need to make him a Goldstream as smart as my dad’s version!

Parkland Menswear Pattern Collection-20

Thanks, Dad, Grampie and Matt for handling the pressures of modelling so well!  As many of you who blog your creations must know, it can be a lot more challenging than you might think to remember how to smile (without it appearing as a grimace) or how to hold your hands (without clenching them in to tight fists) after 50 photos have been taken of you!

Parkland Menswear Pattern Collection-6

I think my family did a wonderful job (if I do say so myself) and I am so proud that they wear the garments that I make them with such enthusiasm.

To celebrate these new photos and Father’s Day I’ve put our Parkland Collection on sale!

Head to our shop to purchase any Parkland Collection pattern at 20% off (PDF or tissue pattern!).  Use the discount code: FRESHPARKLAND  The sale expires at the end of Father’s Day Sunday, June 18th.


6 Comments

Imminent Launch Day

I thought you might like to know that we have a new PDF pattern ready to launch next week!  The Belvedere Waistcoat will be here in time for Father’s Day projects and summer weddings!

Belvedere Waistcoat-5

I’m working on some finishing touches today to prepare for a large selection of goodies we will be launching alongside this pattern.  So I’ll keep it short and sweet today.

Belvedere Waistcoat-4

There will be a release day discount code for this pattern so make sure you are signed up to the newsletter or to this blog to ensure you will be informed of the code.


Leave a comment

Hemp, Bamboo and Organic Cotton: Spring Capsule Collection

Thread Theory Menswear Fabric-4

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

Thread Theory Menswear Fabric-3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Thread Theory Menswear Fabric-5

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

Thread Theory Menswear Fabric-13

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

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

Thread Theory Menswear Fabric-14

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

Thread Theory Menswear Fabric-17

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

Thread Theory Menswear Fabric-22

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

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

Thread Theory Menswear Fabric-25

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

Thread Theory Menswear Fabric-28

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

Thread Theory Menswear Fabric-34

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

Browse our menswear fabrics >

 


3 Comments

The Vintage Pattern Collection is live!

Vintage Menswear Patterns - close up view-3

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

Vintage Sewing Patterns for Men (5)

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

Vintage Sewing Patterns for Men (6)

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?).

Vintage Sewing Patterns for Men (3)

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

Vintage Sewing Patterns for Men (1)

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.

Vintage Menswear Patterns - close up view-7

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.

Vintage Menswear Patterns - close up view-1

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!

Vintage Menswear Patterns - close up view-3

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?

 

Vintage Sewing Patterns for Men (8)

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!


4 Comments

3 new tools to try on your next sewing project (and a discount code!)

Sewing Tools Thread Theory-33

Strangely enough, my first time trying pinking shears was only a few months ago when I ordered these Italian made beauties.  I grew up with a serger in my house (thanks to my Mom’s nicely appointed sewing and craft room) and, even as a complete novice, used it to finish my seams.  Not everyone is that lucky!  Or perhaps not everyone wants a second machine gathering dust and leading to hours of frustrated attempts to change the thread color!  I guess that depends on perspective…

Anyhow, you might like to consider pinking shears: An excellent and traditional way to minimise the fraying of woven fabrics.

Pinking shears were invented by Samuel Briskman in 1931.  He was inspired by the serration on a bread knife that he had bought for his wife.  His invention was patented and used enthusiastically by textile manufacturers and home sewers alike until the development of serging.  You can read Mr. Briskman’s obituary for more details on his invention here.

The simplicity and effectiveness of pinking shears for finishing woven seam allowance is really appealing to me, even as the owner of a brand new serger.  I like how pinking shears can be used to both finish and notch curved seams simultaneously.  I think a pinked seam allowance looks quite charming!  And I love pinking fabric samples when I create mood boards or scrap books (or send fabric samples to you guys when you are wishing to feel the fabrics that we have in our shop!).

Sewing Tools Thread Theory-31

The Gingher pair that I have just added to our shop (and my own sewing kit!) are exceptionally nice.  They have blunt tips that will not snag delicate fabrics, very sharp blades, and a hard wearing double-plated chrome-over-nickel finish.  Plus…they have a lifetime warranty!

Sewing Tools Thread Theory-35

Another classic tool that I have added to our shop and have used far more frequently throughout my sewing career is a set of french curve rulers.  This clear plastic set by Bohin features the three most common shapes and sizes of french curve.  I find it really handy to have this set in my toolbox to pair with my large dressmakers curve (which is a metal ruler with one gradual curve…it looks a little bit like a very subtle lower case “r”).  The smaller curves found on these french curve rulers allow you to draft or adjust a greater variety of details – for example, when a side seam is moved forward or backwards on a garment (such as the Goldstream Peacoat), the bottom of the armhole features a pretty sharp curve.  My dressmaker’s curve does not match something like this, so, without my french curves I would be left to imprecisely draw the curve by hand!  French curves are also useful for drawing pocket shapes, collars, armholes, necklines and hem curves.

Sewing Tools Thread Theory-38

Moving away from traditional tools, the last item I want to show you today is my favourite – a flexible curved ruler!

Prym Flexible Ruler

It is amazing for fitting and adjusting existing patterns.  You can bend it around your body to get an accurate representation of your crotch curve, hip curve or any other curve.  Then, simply lay that curve on the relevant pattern piece to see if the pattern matches the shape of your body!  If it doesn’t, your curved ruler is all ready to go…it is firm enough that you can use it just like you would a metal or wood straight ruler.  Push your pencil against it and draw your new curve.

Prym Flexible Ruler-4

Aside from visually representing curves, you can also use this ruler to measure existing curves.  For example, if you would like to check that the armhole and sleeve seams are the same length just bend the ruler along the seams and measure in either metric or imperial.

Prym Flexible Ruler-5

Here is a great post (filled with photos) during which Becca demonstrates how to use a flexible ruler to perfectly fit a trouser pattern to her body.


 

Well, there you go – I hope you’ve been introduced to a new tool or perhaps reminded of an old one today!

Head to our shop to peruse our growing collection of sewing tools.  They are 10% off this weekend if you use the discount code USEFULTOOLS


5 Comments

Winter’s Last Hurrah: Knitting Sale

copper-stitch-markers-21

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…

copper-stitch-markers-20-2

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.

copper-stitch-markers-knitting-4

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.

copper-stitch-markers-knitting-1

Aren’t they stunning?

copper-stitch-markers-knitting-2

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.

hemmingway-windcheater-1

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.

copper-stitch-markers-knitting-9

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!) >