Thread Theory

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


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Look a little closer – sewing pattern gold

We have a fresh batch of vintage patterns in our shop courtesy of Susan, a very generous sewist who emailed me to say that she would send me a huge box of menswear patterns from all the way across Canada.  In lieu of payment she asked me to donate the money I would have given her to the Red Cross and their efforts to help those affected by the massive wildfires we had in central British Columbia this summer.  When I received Susan’s email I was very touched by her awareness of the troubles going on in my province and her concern…especially since Matt was away fighting those fires when she asked me to make the donation!

As is often said on sewing blogs and social media…isn’t the sewing community filled with just the most supportive and thoughtful of people?

I have yet to add the rest of the patterns she mailed (it really was a massive box) but I’ve begun to make headway and found the box to be filled with gems.  Here are a few of my favourites (there are loads more in the shop!):

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Every time I add a vintage caftan pattern to our shop it heads off almost immediately to a new home.  I wonder if this one will become a linen shirt with subtle embroidery around the yoke?

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The technical illustrations for this zippered sweater or jacket show lots of promise.  If it were sewn in a soft shell material rather than fleece (with lots of topstitching and perhaps a reflective zipper) it would create a very modern and high end jacket similar to those designed by Patagonia or Arc’teryx!

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I often receive emails requesting a pattern for a workshirt that can be worn atop another layer.  While I haven’t yet designed such a pattern, this McCall’s design could fill the void!  While the workshirt is the main draw for me when examining this pattern, it handily includes a pattern for a vest and trousers to complete the outfit.

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I love the idea of a contrast bias band on this tie!  What a great way to mix and match small scraps of silk.  While the fabrics chosen for the sample don’t especially appeal to me, I can imagine a more subtle use of solids to create an ombré effect or perhaps a combination of florals.

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This Father & Son pattern would make a great base to use for Christmas pajamas!

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I really love this jacket pattern and was tempted to keep it for myself if I could ever find time to sew my dad a jacket from charcoal boiled wool with a brass zipper!  The side entry pockets would be very practical for him and I can imagine finishing off the chest pockets with antique brass snaps.  He would also love that quilted vest…if only my sewing time were limitless!

To see the rest of the vintage menswear patterns (as well as unisex and boys) head on over to the Vintage section of our shop. >

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Welcome Jaymee to the Thread Theory team!

Welcome Jaymee to the Thread Theory Team

Matt and I would like to introduce you to Jaymee, the third member of our little Thread Theory team!  Jaymee joined us a month ago as our Customer Service and Wholesale Relations Manager.  If you’ve emailed us at info@threadtheory.ca recently you will likely have chatted with her already!

Jaymee is a very strong addition to the Thread Theory team.  She keeps the email inbox happily under control and has been posting to our Instagram and Facebook accounts each week.  Since I am no longer busy accomplishing these daily tasks I have been free to work on upcoming patterns and search for new inspiring menswear fabrics and tools at a far more rapid pace than I was able to in recent months!

Aside from quickly taking on the daily tasks of Thread Theory business, Jaymee is brimming with energy and enthusiasm for the future which we will be putting to good use – there are some great plans in the works for improved communications with our wonderful retailers!

So that you can get to know Jaymee and feel comfortable speaking to her when you comment on Instagram or email us at info@threadtheory.ca, I have asked her a few questions:

Morgan: What brought you to the Comox Valley?

Jaymee: My partner and I had been working on an exit strategy from Vancouver for years! We wanted to live anywhere along the west coast. Finally we were both finished with school and my partner got a job in the Valley.

Welcome Jaymee to the Thread Theory Team 4

Morgan: When you saw the Thread Theory advertisement, what was your first thought?

Jaymee: Working from home? With a local company? An excuse to seriously get into sewing? Yes please! I never thought I would get the job and even sent Morgan an email explaining how inspired I am by Thread Theory and how I would be a great fit even though I am new to sewing. I love creating with my hands; bread, pottery, gardening, ALL of it. I grew up doing all sorts of sewing projects with my Grandma but it didn’t really translate as I got a bit older and moved out west. So making my own clothes has been on my personal to-do list for years now. Luckily I strongly believe that surrounding myself with those who inspire me and are doing what I want to be doing and learning speeds up the process -it’s working!

Morgan: Can you tell us a little bit about your past?

Jaymee: I grew up on a farm in southwestern Ontario and I could not wait to move out west, which I did when I was 17 to attend UBC. Like many young people I had no idea what I wanted to work towards. In the end I graduated with an Interdisciplinary Studies degree in Eco-Health, a cross-discipline approach to exploring the health of social and ecological systems. I had also, until we moved, been rocking the health and wellness industry with my juicing (and entrepreneurial) skills by working at the best health forward shops in Vancouver (@thejuicetruck and @tightclub).  Now that we are in a more rural area, I’ve come full circle and I can’t wait to have my own land one day.

Morgan: Now that you have had a month to immerse yourself in Thread Theory and the indie pattern sewing community, what are your top 3 favourite things about working in this industry?

Jaymee:

  1. Realising that I can make really anything I want is pretty freeing! It feels like I cracked a secret code that the Industry doesn’t want anyone to know #freeyourwardrobe #freeyourself
  2. Obviously I am very new to sewing, but I feel so lucky to be surrounded by such a tight knit sewing community! Learning about other sewists like @sewciologist (who considers himself pretty new to sewing as well) is so inspiring.
  3. I love how sewing kits make the whole experience of learning to sew more approachable. I’m planning to try out the Comox Trunks kit soon!

 

Welcome Jaymee to the Thread Theory Team 5

Morgan: Describe what a day working for Thread Theory looks like for you.

Jaymee: Until I get to know the ins and outs of the industry and of Thread Theory, I am working part time. So on most days I wake up, make a latte or a tea and answer emails (you may have received one from me already!) and wholesale inquiries.  I’ll then eat some breakfast and switch modes: Social Media! Getting to know all of you has been a treat! Once a week Morgan I have been meeting at a local coffee shop or brewery to touch base and make goals for the future.

Morgan: What projects do you have in the works for Thread Theory?

Jaymee: My #1 job right now is connecting with our wholesalers and getting feedback from them. I am eager to make very convenient for shops to carry our patterns so that more sewists can make menswear! So if you have a favourite local shop that may not know about Thread Theory patterns yet, drop me a line at info@threadtheory.ca and I’ll introduce myself to them!

I’m also really excited about a new pattern series that we have in the works (shhhh!). Morgan is working on some sewing patterns suitable for new sewists and I LOVE being part of the process. So far I have had the opportunity to test out the patterns and have also given my input on the designs. I feel so lucky that I get to be creative and brainstorm for my job!

Welcome Jaymee to the Thread Theory Team 2

Morgan: What are your hopes and dreams for your future in the Comox Valley?

Jaymee: I am looking forward to growing my family and creating a home here. I feel so lucky that we landed in the Comox Valley! Living here feels like adult summer camp; everyone I meet is starting a new business or doing something that inspires them, in return I feel like I too must do what inspires me. It’s contagious!  

Morgan: And how about your hopes for your future with Thread Theory?

Jaymee: I’m hoping my role will grow with the company. Currently I am still figuring out my pace, working from home is new to me and it takes a lot of discipline! As I become more comfortable with my current position I hope to start packaging up orders and assisting in sourcing quality tools and fabrics. I want to help inspire those new to sewing by helping to remove the barriers that have kept me from making and creating until now. I want to inspire seasoned sewers to create with quality materials that have as little impact on the environment as possible. The health of our communities is directly linked to the health of our environments and I believe this stands true for the sewing community as well.

Welcome Jaymee to the Thread Theory Team 3
Morgan: As a new sewist, what are you most excited to create?

Jaymee: There are so many things! So I will name just a few:

  • Underpants
  • Stanfield (a wool knit Henley)
  • Rain Jacket
  • Bread bag

Obviously they are not in order from easy to hard- but those are a few items that are on my maker’s bucketlist. I recently began experimenting with natural dye and I hope to combine these skills to create truly one of a kind items.


 

Thank you for your candid answers, Jaymee!

To sum things up, Matt and I are so glad to have Jaymee on the Thread Theory team! Her enthusiasm to learn about the sewing community, friendly writing style, love of the west coast, environmental consciousness, and energetic and systematic approach to her work have made her a perfect fit for the Thread Theory team.


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Call for pattern testers! (Closed: 21/03/17)

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Update 21/03/17: Thank you for such an enthusiastic response to this call for testers!  The testers have all been selected now (from hundreds of responses!) and I look forward to hearing their feedback.  The details that you sent in your blog comments and emails were extremely helpful to me.  I can’t wait to share the finished pattern with you!

Yes, we have a new pattern coming this Spring!  The third draft of the instructions will be sent off to our graphic designer this afternoon so I am ready to hear your feedback.

I haven’t been keeping our upcoming pattern a secret from you and have mentioned it several times on the blog.

Usually I strive to keep upcoming designs a secret simply for the fun of it!  Many other pattern companies do this and I think it adds a sense of fun and excitement to impending pattern releases for both the pattern designer and the eager sewists.  The menswear patterns I am trying to develop for Thread Theory are a bit different though; our patterns are predominantly classic designs that can be used as building blocks for any men’s wardrobe.  I don’t try to create garment designs that are innovative or unique, instead, my main goal is to create a comprehensive collection of well fitting staples that use quality construction techniques.

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So…if I think about my aims, it seems a bit silly to keep my designs a secret!  Instead, I could be sharing them with all of you as I create the pattern to receive as much feedback as possible!  When I did this with our Fairfield Button-up pattern I was beyond thrilled with the feedback that you guys generously gave me.  I tallied up all of your blog comments and was surprised to discover that many of you preferred the option for darts on a men’s shirt pattern.  This is not a common feature on most menswear shirts where I live and so I likely would have left the pleated back as the only option…thanks to your feedback, Variation 2 of the Fairfield featuring back darts was born and has since been a favourite style for Matt and for many of you!

Belvedere Waistcoat line drawings

Our impending spring pattern release is a classic men’s waistcoat pattern.  This is an important garment to add to our pattern line for several reasons:  It is a key layering piece for formal outfits (and I think the more men need to realise how comfortable and versatile a vest is for both casual and formal outfits!).  It is an approachable and very satisfying ‘first piece of menswear’ for novice sewists.  It is quick and profitable to sew – you can create a whole bridal party worth of vests with only a small investment of time and fabric.  It is an excellent introduction to tailoring before you launch into larger projects such as a suit jacket or coat.

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Waistcoats + Summer Weddings = ideal combo.  Photos from this Pinterest board.

With those characteristics in mind, I’ve designed our waistcoat pattern to include two variations – one for novice sewists and one for sewists who would like to try their hand at more involved techniques.

I am looking for test sewers to try out my pattern and instructions that fall in to both those categories.  Please comment on this post or email me at info@threadtheory.ca if you match either of these categories:

  1. You are fairly new to sewing and have not sewn a lined garment before.  You are opinionated about menswear styles and would like to give me feedback on both the instructions (are they intimidating, easy to understand, too detailed, not detailed enough?) and the style of the vest.
  2. You are experienced sewing waistcoats.  You have tried at least one waistcoat sewing pattern in the past and are willing to give me your opinion on the construction techniques that I have used.  You would be willing to have a look at some of the resources I have been referring to as I write the instructions and discuss the nitty gritty of order of construction, understitching, the size of the lining in relation to the main garment and that sort of thing.  I am looking for some very particular feedback that I will discuss with you over email!

I value tester feedback highly and appreciate that it takes a lot of time and effort on your part!  Please, only volunteer if this is something that you enjoy doing and would like to spend time chatting with me over the next three to four weeks!  There is no need to have a blog or any form of social media and you do not need to sew a presentable final garment if you do not want to (but I would prefer if you follow all of the steps, from understitching to adding buttons, even if it is just in scrap fabric).

Waistcoats for casual wear

Waistcoats – useful for all seasons and styles!  Photos from this Pinterest board.

If you don’t want to test sew but still have an opinion about waistcoats (be it construction or styling), comment on this post!  Here are some thoughts to get you started:

  1. Have or would you sew a vest?
  2. How many pockets do you like? None, 2, 3, 4?
  3. How many buttons do you like?
  4. Do you prefer vests with a back panel made from lining fabric or from the main wool fabric?
  5. A vest worn without a suit jacket…yay or nay?
  6. What do you call them: Waistcoats or vests?

 


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Oldies but Goodies: Menswear Round-up

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I got a bit distracted this morning delving deep into the archives of your inspiring Newcastle Cardigan and Jutland Pants projects!  I’ve compiled a few of them here in order to feature these two patterns as perfect menswear staples for early Spring.  Some of them are freshly made and some were sewn over a year ago…yes, the morning passed me by quickly!  It wasn’t wasted time though since your photos have motivated me to no end and now I’m itching to get back to work developing our upcoming pattern this afternoon.  If you would like to see many more inspiring projects, have a look over at Pattern Review or search Instagram for #newcastlecardigan and #jutlandpants.  Or you can always join the Thread Theory Sewing Community Facebook group!

Newcastle Cardigan

The Newcastle Cardigan is a perfect choice to layer over a long sleeve t-shirt or button-up on a classic early Spring day – you will be ready to bundle up when the sun goes behind a cloud and it is suddenly cool and rainy!  Add a scarf and suddenly the Newcastle looks like outerwear.

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Left: Starwhale Right: Tine & Tine L’Atelier

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Left: Trish Right: Sherry (sent by email)

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Left: Beth Right: Linda

Jutland Pants

The Jutland Pants are ideal work pants – they can be customised endlessly to suit whatever task you are working on.  If you are gardening and need to kneel on cold, wet soil, why not add padding and waterproof fabric to your knee reinforcements.  Line your trousers with merino or hard wearing cotton flannel to stay wonderfully warm.  Wax the finished Jutlands with Otter Wax to make them water repellent (as Sara did in the third set of photos below).

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Lisa

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Left: Deanna Right: Kate

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Sara

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Thanks for sharing the amazing garments you have made with our Newcastle Cardigan and Jutland Pants patterns!


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Your Lazos and my Lazos (hacked or otherwise)

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Okay guys, I have a surplus of Lazo Trousers to show you.  This will likely be the last Lazo post for a while since it is the end of our Lazo Hack contest today!  Don’t worry, the regular programming of menswear related sewing patterns and tools will be resuming shortly!

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This week has been a great week for the Lazos – both in my wardrobe and throughout the online sewing community!  Matt and I finally got around to a modelled photo shoot for the activewear pair that I made approximately two years ago (can you tell how much I like modelling…thank goodness our pup Luki helped me out!).

This pair is made in a complete mystery material that I suspect is mostly nylon.  It was from the ‘activewear’ section of my local fabric shop and I picked it with the intention of making hiking capris.  I liked that it had a bit of body while still being very light weight.  Plus it is quick dry and a rugged twill weave.

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These Lazos are sewn in size 4 as is.  I had fun adding lots of topstitching to this pair similar to how I would approach sewing our Jedediah Pants or a pair of jeans.  I think this subtly changes the overall feel of the design from elegant to casual and rugged.

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I added three heavy duty anorak snaps as a waistband closure and lined the pockets with a twill weave acetate lining (again, to be light and quick drying).

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I look forward to some warmer weather so I can wear these hiking and boating again!  They were NOT the right choice for a frigid afternoon near the end of January 😛

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A few of you requested that I model the elastic waist Lazo Joggers from last week’s tutorial so Matt and I photographed those the same day.  I added them to last week’s blog post, but in case you missed this update, here are a couple of photos of me in my pjs for you to see!

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As you can most certainly tell from these images, this pair is much cosier and better suited to January weather.  I really love them!

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It wasn’t only me who modelled Lazos this week – I am so thrilled with the flat elastic waist Lazos that Meg created.

To my eye they retain the elegant simplicity of the original design while adding loads of comfort and convenience.  Being an enthusiastic wearer of elastic waist pants myself, I think this hack is perfection.  Plus, she went to the effort of making a tutorial to show us what she did!  Thank you so much Meg!  My next pair of Lazo Trousers will definitely include a flat elastic waist.

Lastly, I have a beautiful un-hacked pair of tencel Lazos to share with you that even feature the pointed belt loops of the original design:

I finished my @threadtheorydesigns Lazo Trousers! I wore them while we were in Ft. Lauderdale where we spent the day after going on a Caribbean cruise which was a Christmas gift from my parents. It was so much fun, we had a great time! These are so comfortable, the tencel fabric from @blackbirdfabrics is amazing! This is the heavier weight tencel, it worked perfectly with this pattern and was so nice to work with. I love this pattern! I think they do run a bit big but once I sized down the fit is great. The only change I made was to lengthen them 1.5". I am going to order some buckles so I can make another pair. This is my first completed project from my #makenine2017 list. #lazotrousers #threadtheory #sewing #isew #handmadewardrobe #imakemyclothes #sewingtall

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The olive tencel, crisp white blouse and tropical greenery are a match made in heaven!  I’m glad you love your Lazos and had a great holiday Kellene!

Let’s close off this Lazo overload by drawing the final winner of the Lazo Hack contest.  Thank you to all who entered your creative brainstorming, your WIP shots and your finished trousers.  The winner of the a Thread Theory sewing caddy filled with $100 of goodies is Orianne!  Orianne entered by email with these beautiful sketches:

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I will be emailing you, Orianne, so that you can select the items you would like me to pack in your box!

If you want to continue the conversation about Lazo hacks or perhaps pose a question to the Thread Theory sewing community, you will likely be interested to know that we now have a Thread Theory Sewing Community Facebook group!  The intention of this group is to allow sewists who are considering, working on, or finished sewing with Thread Theory patterns to share their questions, their opinions and their projects.  I hope it will be useful for you!  It will not really be curated by me so it is up to you how you would like to use this platform.

Matt created it earlier this week but I must confess that I avoid Facebook as much as possible…so if you love Facebook groups and prefer ours to be structured in a more user friendly manner, just let me know and I will be happy to learn something about this!

Have a great weekend, everyone.

 

 


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Buffalo Check Fairfield Shirt

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A couple of weeks ago my parents took Matt, my sister and I on a family holiday to Lund, on the Sunshine Coast (B.C.).  This is a couple of hours by ferry from where I live in the Comox Valley, Vancouver Island.  The trip was a joint birthday celebration for my parents who have birthdays in October and November…and it was highly anticipated by Matt and I who were REALLY looking forward to a weekend holiday!

In honour of my Dad’s birthday I sewed him a couple of new garments.  Today I’ll show you his lumber-jack inspired Buffalo Check brushed cotton Fairfield Button-up!

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My sister took these photos of my Dad when we reached the end of our Saturday hike.  We walked up to Manzanita Hut which is part of the Sunshine Coast Trail.  Based on our small one day hike and the larger four day hike my sister went on last spring, I would highly recommend the Sunshine Coast Trail if you are looking for a hiking adventure in B.C.!

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This Fairfield Button-up is sewn using the red and black buffalo check from our shop.  We only have a few more meters of this and it is sadly no longer offered by our fabric distributor!  We have quite a lot of the blue and white and black and white variations though!

I used the band collar from our free ‘Alternative Collar Styles’ download (you can find the link on the Fairfield Button-up page).  I love the casual vintage vibe that this style of collar lends to the shirt!  It is reminiscent of workwear from the 1930s.

Instead of buttons, I used rugged snaps (the same snaps that we include in our new Rain Jacket Hardware kits!).  My thinking was that my dad could wear the shirt open as a second layer over t-shirts if he wanted to.  The heavy snaps help to give the workshirt an appearance of outerwear.

Since I knew my dad would not be wearing the top snap closed, I covered the neckline seam with cotton twill tape so that it could peek out as a little bit of extra detail (you can just see it in the photo above).

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In terms of sizing – this one is simple: It is a straight size XL (Average Figures) with a centre back pleat!  I didn’t make any changes to the pattern to fit my dad.

I already know he will get lots of wear out of this shirt because every time I’ve seen him since our trip he has been wearing it (that’s why he is so much fun to sew for!).

Enough about sewing though…Here is the best of photos to please all of you dog lovers out there: Our pup, Luki, cooling off on the way up the mountain!

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He LOVES lying in puddles.  Can you tell?


 

In other news, did you receive our newsletter earlier this week announcing the launch of our Rain Jacket Hardware kits?  If not, you may want to subscribe so that you don’t miss a some big news items coming up in the next month. 😉

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For those of you who haven’t read about our new kits yet: I gathered our hardware kits together with Matt’s Dintex anorak in mind.  After your enthusiastic response to my post on his new jacket, I thought I would set out to find all of the hardware I could not easily source while sewing his jacket.  That way, you could make the same jacket…but even better!

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We’ve included my favourite anorak snaps (super rugged, super easy to install).

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You’ll also find some awesome reflective YKK zippers that are perfect for dark stormy nights.  The two short zippers are ‘extras’ to use for customising your jackets (you could ad d armpit vents as commonly found in ski jackets or all manner of zippered pockets).

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When purchasing the kit, you can choose between a zipper suited to the Closet Case Files Kelly Anorak or a longer zipper to use on the Hot Patterns Hemmingway Windcheater (which is now back in stock along with the previously sold out Workshirt and Breton Top).

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The toggles and drawstring have been sourced from Rose City Textiles.  A few of you mentioned this outdoor/technical fabric shop when I blogged and Instagram posted about Matt’s Hemmingway jacket.  It is a Portland-based shop that sells mostly to designers and manufacturers…and unfortunately, they are currently going out of business.  They are selling off their wares in large lots so, with wonderful help from staff member, Annette, over a long phone call, I was able to find matching toggles, cord ends, and reflective shock cord perfectly suited to high end outdoor gear!

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In addition to the full kits, I’ve added sets of toggles and cord ends to the shop.  Would you like me to list any of the other materials separately?  For instance, would you prefer to purchase the snaps kits on their own?  Or shock cord by the meter?  I have priced the full kit as the best deal…but not all of you will want the whole kit!  Just let me know what you would like listed individually and I will do so right away.

And, in other news before I sign off:


  • Pattern Review is hosting a Menswear Sewing Contest and we are the sponsor!  Enter for your chance to win a $100 or $50 shopping spree in our store!
  • As I mentioned before, get ready for some big news in the coming weeks (there are two things that I’m keeping secret for now!).  Sign up to receive our email newsletter to make sure you stay in the loop.
  • Did you miss out on your favorite color of waterproof Dintex?  Not to worry!  I’m holding a pre-sale right now.  Simply place your order right now and it will be shipped to you (along with any other goodies you order) as soon as it arrives at our studio.  The pre-sale ends next Tuesday, Nov. 22nd. 10am PST.