Thread Theory

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


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!) >

 


7 Comments

Call for Vintage Menswear Sewing Patterns!

sewing-patterns-for-men-vintage

Perhaps you’ve noticed how practical, well designed, and still relevant vintage menswear sewing patterns are – plus there are hundreds to choose from!  Whenever I receive an email asking for a particular menswear pattern that perhaps won’t fit into our Thread Theory line, my thoughts drift towards vintage sewing patterns.  I know that the requested design exists as a sewing pattern somewhere!

That is why I will be collecting a catalogue of vintage menswear sewing patterns to add to the Thread Theory shop.  Once the collection is large enough it will be a great way to find a pattern to suit all manner of menswear fit and styling criteria!

vintage-menswear-patterns-for-sewing

And I would for love you to help!  If you have a pile of old sewing patterns, have a look through them to see if there are any menswear designs that you don’t want anymore.  If so, email me at info@threadtheory.ca and there is a good chance I would happily buy them from you!

vintage-menswear-sewing-patterns

Since I am new to this vintage pattern collecting hobby, I figure it is probably best to put some parameters in place:

  1. I would prefer to buy menswear patterns in groups of 5 or more (it doesn’t have to be 5 of the same design or even the same company), this way it is more cost effective to pay for them to be shipped to me.
  2. The patterns should be uncut…but if you have a REALLY great design that has been cut to a common menswear size, I may still consider it so email me anyways!
  3. I hope to pay for groups of patterns as though they were ‘bulk’ or ‘wholesale’ so that I can offer them in our shop at a fair retail price for vintage patterns.  If you have a price in mind, don’t be shy to tell me!  If you have no idea what to charge, I am happy to make and offer (and give you examples of patterns on Ebay or elsewhere so that you know the price is fair).
  4. I will pay you for the patterns and the cost of shipping using Paypal.  Please use the cheapest shipping method!
  5. There are lots of reasons why I may say ‘no’ to your offer to sell your patterns.  Please don’t be offended if I do!  For instance, it might be too expensive for me to pay for the shipping from your location, or the design might not be something I think would suit the Thread Theory shop.

hard-to-find-sewing-patterns-for-men

I will be setting up a section for Vintage Menswear Patterns in our shop once I have amassed a large enough collection for you to peruse (if I am, in fact, able to find enough patterns).  These vintage pattern listings will be ‘one-offs’ so I will just snap a quick picture and write a very quick description.  I plan to add new listings as soon as a pattern arrives on my doorstep!

mens-sewing-patterns-old

What do you think of this idea?  Does the idea of a catalogue of vintage menswear patterns (all in one place) sound like a useful resource for you?  Have you worked with vintage menswear patterns before?  Do you find that the sizing differs as much as women’s vintage patterns or is it similar to modern day menswear sizing?

I look forward to seeing what we can find!

Thanks for your help 🙂


3 Comments

Fabric Sale!

fall-menswear-fabrics-14-of-16

Despite the knee high snow and driving icy rain outside, I know Spring will be on its way soon!  It’s time to clear the studio shelves a little so that I have room to order our Spring Fabric Collection!  Our entire selection of fabric is currently 15% off – so if you have been tempted to order some Dintex rain jacket fabric or some beautiful merino wool, now is your final opportunity!

Use the discount code WINTERFABRIC upon checkout to receive 15% off any fabric in your shopping cart.  The sale is for this weekend only!

dintex-fabric

Once most of these fabrics are sold out we won’t be restocking them any time soon since I will be choosing a new selection of fabrics that work well with our sewing patterns each season.  We are already sold out of many of the Dintex colors…but there are still some great options available!

morgans-sewing-projects-1

It isn’t only the Fall and Winter fabrics that are on sale…all of our fabric is!  The very high quality Canadian-made knit fabrics that I have stocked since the launch of our menswear supply shop in Nov. 2015 are also 15% off right now!

I just sewed Matt a new Finlayson Sweater using the black sweatshirt fleece.  As long as Matt stays well away from our white-haired pup, Luki, I think he looks really smart in this pure black fleece!  It’s the warmest sweater in our closet so I’ve been wearing it quite a bit lately too.

It makes me happy and reassured to think that no aspect of this sweater was created outside of Canada.  The people who manufactured this fabric work in excellent conditions with fair pay.  And the person who manufactured the sweater (me!) certainly works in great conditions and received a Matt-made hall table in trade for this garment…I’d say that’s pretty fair pay too.

morgans-sewing-projects-4

It’s very difficult to convey how luxurious these Canadian-made fleece, interlock and ribbing fabrics are using photos since they are all solid colors that may just look like any other knit when photographed.  As soon as you feel the density of the interlock or the incredibly plush wrong side of the sweatshirt fleece, you will know what I mean!  I have been told by a number of sewists who have ordered these knits from us that they are reminiscent of the thickness and quality of pure cotton knits in the 1970s.  A t-shirt made in the interlock or a sweatshirt made in the fleece will last for MANY years of heavy wear.

thread-theory-menswear-supply-shop-29

I hope this fabric sale has come at a good time for you!  Maybe you can squeeze in a couple more cozy winter projects before the weather warms?

Peruse our fabric selection >

Don’t forget to use the 15% off discount code!  It’s WINTERFABRIC.


9 Comments

Thimbles of many sizes

sewing-tools-thread-theory-7

A well fitted thimble can make hand sewing much more comfortable.  Do you like to push the needle through your fabric with the tip of your finger as is done by most quilters or with the side of your finger as is commonly done by tailors?  There is no right or wrong way, just be sure to choose the thimble that matches your technique!

sewing-tools-thread-theory-1

We’ve added a selection of thimbles to our shop so that you can choose the style that suits you best.  We’ve also included multiple sizes to ensure that even male sewists with large fingers can find a thimble that fits.

These John James closed top thimbles, for example, come in size large, medium and small. I’ve measured the diameter at the base of each thimble and listed this on our website so that you can measure across the joint on your finger to compare.

sewing-tools-thread-theory-5

These thimbles feature an indented top and divots that make it easy to hold your needle in place as you push through thick fabric.

sewing-tools-thread-theory-6

We’ve also added to our open top thimble selection!  I personally prefer open top thimbles because they allow my finger to breath (I hate when the thimble slips around on a sweaty finger :P) and I can pull the thimble down on to my finger’s joint so it rests very securely.  I have pretty bony hands so there isn’t very much flesh on my finger tip to hold a thimble in place, thus, finding a snug fit on my joint is essential.  I also like that an open top allows me to use the tip of my finger to manipulate fabric.

sewing-tools-thread-theory-8

I only added two sizes of open thimble because we already have the beautiful brass Merchant & Mills thimble in our shop.  The Merchant & Mills thimble is actually a size small thimble (when comparing it to the two nickel plated thimbles that are size medium and large).

sewing-tools-thread-theory-9

These thimbles also feature nice divots to hold your needle in place when you push with the side of your finger.

sewing-tools-thread-theory-10

While I was sourcing thimbles I decided to find a few other tools hand sewing tools to assist in sewing thick or unusual fabrics often used for menswear.  First off, we have these small rubber discs that you can use to grip your needle when pulling it through leather or thick layers of denim or canvas.

sewing-tools-thread-theory-11

Each package comes with two discs to store in your hand sewing kit.

I’ve also added my favourite unusual John James sewing needles to our shop.  There are a selection of three extra sharp and strong leather needles that you can use to sew on leather buckles or elbow patches:

sewing-tools-thread-theory-40

And the most handy household repair kit.  You probably don’t have these needles in your sewing box!  They include curved mattress needles, a darning needle and two sharp leather needles.

sewing-tools-thread-theory-47

The mattress needles are especially handy for repairing upholstered furniture but I would also be interested to use them when hand stitching hard to reach areas (perhaps if you would like to repair a thick backpack or add a leather patch to a finished garment.  Use these curved needles whenever the fabric you are stitching can not be easily manipulated with a straight needle.

The last secret weapon to add to your sewing kit are these serious little thread clippers.

clover-thread-clipper-kuroha-2

They feature light and strong handles made from fibreglass reinforced resin and steel blades.

clover-thread-clipper-kuroha

Their handle-less design makes them very quick to grab and comfortable to use.  If you have never used this style of clipper before, you might find it takes a little bit to figure out the pinching technique since the way that you pinch the clippers closed effects the alignment of the blades.  Once you master the technique (you will have it figured out after a few snips!) you will choose these clippers over any other thread snips.

clover-thread-clipper-kuroha-3

Do you have any menswear hand sewing projects on the go right now?  I frequently sew patches and medals on to the uniforms of Matt’s firefighter co-workers so I really like to have a good quality and convenient hand sewing kit ready to go in my sewing room.


Leave a comment

Spruce up your sewing machine (and the 2nd contest winner!)

January always finds me in a frenzy of cleaning, revamping and generally refreshing.  This year Matt and I are taking that concept a step further by installing new floors in our house…it’s been fun but it also makes me very pleased to walk in to my tidy studio and close the door on all the dust, piles of wood, and tools spread everywhere throughout the rest of the house.

I’m keeping the new year frenzy to a minimum in my studio by simply giving my machines a good clean and the attention they deserve (yet rarely receive).  I thought you guys might like to do the same so I’ve added a few interesting tools and accessories to the shop to help you refresh and renew!

First off, here is something extremely simple but beautiful: A lint brush.sewing-tools-thread-theory-45As you can see below, the only lint brush I had in my studio before acquiring this one was NOT doing a good job of removing lint.  It was poor quality to start with and was completely worn out.sewing-tools-thread-theory-44The fine and soft bristles on this brush do a much nicer job of getting in to tiny crevices and I think they are flexible enough to stand up to quite a lot of wear.  The beautiful twisted wire handle will allow the brush to hang nicely in a visible spot so that we are all more likely to give our machines a clean!sewing-tools-thread-theory-42

Once your machine is clean, it’s time to add a few useful accessories.  I feel very lucky to have a handy measuring tape printed right on the work table on my industrial sewing machine.  It is useful to take quick measurements while I’m in the middle of sewing.  I’m excited that I’ve found a similar tape to add to your sewing table!

sewing-tools-thread-theory-13

It is adhesive so you just need to peel off the backing and stick it on to your table.  It is 60″ long features both metric and imperial.

sewing-tools-thread-theory-14

Even if you have seam markings engraved on to your machine’s throat plate, your sewing will likely benefit from the use of a magnetic seam guide.  Just place it on top of the metal throat plate so that the fence is positioned at your desired seam allowance.  That way you can’t accidentally swerve if your attention lapses momentarily or if you lose your grip on the fabric.

sewing-tools-thread-theory-15

Keep in mind that this little upgrade for your machine features a magnet so you might want to do some research before using it on a computerised machine.  The back of the package warns against use with computerised machines but I have read several articles which explain that you would need a VERY strong magnet to wipe a hard drive in a sewing machine (this is a great article which leads me to believe that any household magnet is safe to use) but I want you to be aware that some people worry about placing magnets near or on their machines.

sewing-tools-thread-theory-16

The last upgrade you might want to make to your sewing table is a tool tray straight out of a mechanic shop!  If you live in fear of your toddler (or you) stepping on a stray pin, this is the pin dish for you:

sewing-tools-thread-theory-52

If features a huge magnetic base and a large metal tray.  I have turned it upside down and given it a vigorous shake with good results…not a single pin shifted position or fell to the floor!

sewing-tools-thread-theory-55

This tray is big enough that you could use it to store all sorts of metal items – use it to contain your thread snips and sewing needles while you are working on a hand sewing project or fill it with bobbins!

sewing-tools-thread-theory-50

Ready to give your machine a spa day?  It deserves it!  Head to our tool shop >


Now, to finish up today’s post, it’s time to announce the second winner of our Lazo Hack contest.  This week’s prize is your choice of three PDF Thread Theory patterns!

And the winner is…@nique_et and her fabric inspiration post!  Yesss…that print would be awesome!  I can imagine those trousers worn rolled up casually with a beaded white gauze blouse and leather gladiator sandals.

nique_et-lazo-hack-contest

Thank you for posting a photo using #lazotrousers!

Next week’s prize will be a $25 (CAD) gift card to Blackbird Fabrics so you can pick up some of the gorgeous tencel twill or sweater knit that Caroline has in stock.


40 Comments

Happy Birthday – we have a new pattern!

lazo-trousers

The Lazo Trousers – our second pattern for women – is live in our shop!

lazo-trousers-17

These trousers are designed to flatter an hourglass figure by hugging the curves while maintaining complete comfort.  They have a wide, shaped waistband from which the pants hang like a skirt.  There is no pressure across the hips or thighs due to the roomy pleats and tapered leg.

lazo-trousers-11

 

There are two variations included within this pattern – one is full length and the other is a cropped trouser with wide cuffs and statement belt loops.  Of course, you can mix and match variations by adding belt looks to the full length version!

camasblouse-1

This pattern, as many of you know, has been in the works for the last four years – in fact, the design itself pre-dates Thread Theory!  I developed these pants, along with the Camas Blouse, for my end of year fashion show during design school.  My goal for my fashion line was to create elegant garments that do not sacrifice comfort.  These trousers, in particular, were designed to combat a myriad of issues that I have with most women’s casual pants…the narrow waistband digs in to my lower tummy, there is never enough room for my bum, and I tend to feel a bit like a sausage stuffed in to its casing due to the tight fit across the hips and thighs.  I prefer to wear close fitting trousers so that I can balance them with loose fitting tops (so wide leg trousers aren’t an option in my daily casual wardrobe).  The Lazo Trousers were my answer to all of these complaints and criteria.

lazo-trousers-26

lazo-trousers-25

Maybe they are the answer to your pant related complaints too!  When I posted photos of the trousers on my blog (which was very new at that time), I received such an enthusiastic response that I decided to develop a couple of women’s patterns to compliment our menswear line.

Our 4th birthday:

lazo-trousers-12

Fast forward over four years later to Thread Theory’s 4th birthday, and the trousers are available at last!  We’ve launched them today to help us celebrate this anniversary and to thank you, our predominantly female community, for enthusiastically supporting our menswear supply shop and pattern line over the last four years.  THANK YOU!!!

logo

As another way to celebrate, Matt and I are giving back to an organisation that is close to our hearts.  50% of proceeds from each Lazo Trouser sale will be donated to Help Fill A Dream.  This is a Vancouver Island based organisation that assists children with life threatening conditions by fulfilling their dreams and by providing care and financial support for their families.  You can read more about their efforts and the dreams they have filled on their website.

This organisation means a lot to me because I was diagnosed with Leukaemia when I was a toddler.  Help Fill a Dream gave my family and I something to look forward to while I went through chemotherapy by promising me a trip to Disneyland.  As a young child, unable to comprehend what I was going through, the trip to Disneyland remains my only memory of the whole ordeal.  I can only wish that every child facing such health challenges could grow up healthy and look back on that period of their life with such fondness!

Behind the Scenes – Pattern Development:

FashionShow-50

Now that you know the inside scoop on our birthday celebrations, here is a look behind the scenes during the Lazo Trousers development process:

As you can probably guess, based on the four year time frame required to complete this pattern, there were quite a few snags along the way.  First, I had to gain confidence in my fitting skills before even considering developing a pattern designed to fit the hip, crotch and waist curves of a woman’s figure!  Helping all of you with your menswear fitting challenges has, of course, given me a fairly diverse amount of experience.  I also took a women’s trouser fitting workshop two summers ago to compliment the fitting class that I attended during my design program.

The next challenge was the pattern testing process.  I sent the pattern to volunteers with a large variety of body shapes and sizes.  I also sewed up many samples to try on the women in my own life.  After this experience I was given a HUGE amount of feedback by my generous testers and fit models…it took me months to wade through it all! I then tweaked the pattern and pretty much re-wrote the instructions based on this wonderful feedback.  During this process I came to terms with a very important concept: One trouser pattern will never fit everyone…especially not this one!  These trousers are quite a unique style that were drafted to fit body type.  They are meant to flatter someone who has a large difference between their waist and hip measurements (i.e. an hourglass figure) and to fit someone with a fairly rounded bottom and flat stomach (their hip circumference is mostly distributed towards the back).  Even someone with the exact figure I just described will still need to fit this pattern to themselves because the human body is incredibly unique.  If you don’t have an hourglass figure but long for the Lazos in your wardrobe, go ahead and give them a try!  I bet, with a muslin, some fitting and tweaking of the style, you can sew yourself a pair of perfect trousers!  Just be prepared to do a little bit of extra work before achieving the results that you want.

lazo-trousers-5

Don’t let my talk of fitting scare you off of sewing trousers!  Just think, store bought trousers are not fitted to your figure and you have probably been wearing these more or less successfully your whole life!  A few simple fit adjustments will produce trousers that are REALLY comfortable because they are tailored to your body.  I have included side seams on the Lazo waistband to make it easy to fit your unique waist to hip curve.  I have illustrated quite a few tips within the instruction booklet to help you fit to your lower back, bottom and crotch curve.  I will also be photographing some important fitting techniques on the blog in the coming weeks.

Let’s sew Lazos!

Ready to tackle a pair of trousers?  I will be posting a list of recommended fabrics tomorrow!  In the meantime, you can find the awesome buckles that I used for my favourite sample in our shop.

Grab a pair to use on your own Lazos! >

lazo-hack-contest

Lastly, we’re hosting a fun Lazo Hack contest.  The purpose of the contest is to show off your creative manipulation of this pattern by sharing your tips, tutorials, sketches, and finished Lazo projects.  Submit photos or illustrations using #lazotrousers on Facebook or Instagram or email them to me at info@threadtheory.ca.  I will be handing out prizes at random until January 31st.  This means, the earlier you submit your images, the more chances you have at winning a prize!

lazo-trousers-7

An upcoming post on recommended materials for the Lazo will feature more details about the contest and my own ideas to hack the pattern.

Download your Lazo Trouser Pattern now >


 

imgp9555

Thanks again, from Matt and I, for your enthusiastic support of our menswear supply shop and for making the last four years so much fun!  Happy Birthday to Thread Theory 😀

P.S. Please comment below if you have any questions about fitting your figure.  I am preparing the fitting blog post and will launch it next Friday Dec. 23rd.  Now is the time to ask so that you can have your questions answered!

 

 

 

 


7 Comments

50% off Sale Announcement (!!!) and a great gift idea

50-off-pdf-patterns

Stay home this weekend!  If you’re anything like us, you love cozying up with good food and a fire.  I certainly don’t relish the idea of racing out to the busy box stores for Black Friday sales!  Matt and I hope that you will enjoy the next few days at home with loved ones during the American Thanksgiving weekend so we’ve put all of our PDF patterns at half price!  50% off is the highest discount that we ever give.

The sale begins now and ends on Monday, Nov. 28th at 10pm (PST).  Start the weekend by printing off your new project in the comfort of your own home and enjoy the chance to stay cozied-up with your family and your sewing machine.


 

studio-tour-and-gift-boxes-33

Aside from this sale announcement, today I have wanted to show you a new locally crafted item that I just added to the shop!  This beautiful screen-printed gift box and tool tray was created by Comox Valley woodworker, Scott Bertram (he is half of the dynamic duo behind my favourite local sewing business – The Spool Sewing Studio).

studio-tour-and-gift-boxes-30

Some time ago, while my sewing friend, Nicole (who is Scott’s partner) and I were on a ferry ride to an indigo dying workshop on a nearby island, we dreamed up our ideal work station caddy.  We decided that we liked a simple container the best (no plastic compartments that don’t quite fit the tools, something easy to pick up and move around the work station, and something beautiful that can double as a gift box).  By the time we got home from our workshop, I was ready to place my order with her talented husband!

studio-tour-and-gift-boxes-32

And this is the result, available to all in my shop!  If a fussy sewing basket is not really your style, this minimalist tray might be the perfect alternative for you.

studio-tour-and-gift-boxes-28

Each tray is crafted from birch plywood which makes it nice and light (and reduces the shipping costs for you).  It has been designed to precisely fit our sewing patterns which makes it a lovely gift box to add to your sewing themed gift-giving plans.

Every order that includes one of these tool trays will be wrapped up as a beautiful gift (yay!  I love doing this as you will know if you follow me on Instagram).

studio-tour-and-gift-boxes-34

Once the gift has been given (to yourself or to a sewing friend :P), the box can be used to hold your scissors, pins, tape measure and other essential sewing tools.

studio-tour-and-gift-boxes-36

 

The screen print inside each box was designed by our graphic designer (and my sister in law), Sonia Bishop.  She modelled it after my beloved Merchant & Mills Tailor’s Shears.  Nicole printed it on the bottom of each box during construction.

studio-tour-and-gift-boxes-27

The boxes have been given a traditional hand rubbed finish of Danish Oil which sinks in to the wood to create a soft gleam, protect the wood, and enhance the natural beauty of the grain.  It will not chip, crack or peel.

studio-tour-and-gift-boxes-29

I hope you like our limited first edition!

studio-tour-and-gift-boxes-35

If these fill a nice little niche in our shop, I would like to offer more one-off batches of tool boxes as I have a variety of useful containers in mind.  Also, Scott has all sorts of construction details he would like to add to the next set.  What notions or tools do you struggle to store tidily?  For instance, is your pattern stash a mess? I would really like an attractive bobbin storage solution.  I keep my filled bobbins on a magnetic strip adhered to the underside of a shelf but I would like to store my empty bobbins tucked away in a wooden tray or dish.  Maybe soon 🙂

Check out the screen printed wooden boxes in our shop. >

And shop our 50% off PDF pattern sale!