Thread Theory

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


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Mend, don’t toss! Visible mending, up-cycling and fitting.

Visible mending-5

After posting about recycled plastic fabric a couple of weeks ago, I was interested to read your many thoughtful comments on the subject of sewing and sustainability.  One of you pointed out that I had not included second hand fabrics within my list of personal preferences when choosing sustainable materials for my sewing projects.  Another person explained that choosing North American cottons (grown and manufactured) over internationally produced natural fibres (such as hemp and linen) is actually a more sustainable option since the environmental impact of transportation is huge.

Thank you for engaging and for encouraging us all to think critically about our fabric choices!

Morgan's Sewing Projects-2

I think I will continue this line of thought today by talking about mending, upcycling and fitting the second-hand and home-made garments that Matt and I have in our closet.  By mending and altering the garments that are already in our closet, my sewing list and my consumption of new fabrics decreases hugely.  There is a bit of a problem with this approach though…I love planning creative new sewing projects and detest a large mending pile!

Morgan's Sewing Projects-8

In encourage myself to mend rather than start fresh I have found it necessary to add a creative element to each mending project.  Visible mending is a perfect example of this!  These jeans were bought for Matt from a thrift shop a few years ago and have slowly worked their way through Matt’s hierarchy of denim from “best pair” to “Morgan will complain if I wear these out of the house”.  Their knees and pockets were, until recently, more hole than fabric.  I decided to try my hand at visible mending using sashiko embroidery thread, a scrap of denim from a past hemming project (to fill in the holes), and a Netflix movie.  Once I got the hang of working within the confines of the narrow jean leg it went very quickly.  At first I tried to use an embroidery hoop but actually found it easiest to ditch the hoop and just use my hands to put tension on the fabric while I stitched.
Morgan's Sewing Projects-9

The finished patch isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, I am sure, but Matt really likes how it looks!  There are many styles of visible mending that would suit the aesthetic you want to achieve (tidy, scrappy, minimalist, or artistic).  I’ve included a couple of links at the bottom of this post so you can view the work of two of my favourite visible mending artists and see their skill instead of just rolling your eyes at my first messy attempt!

When I purchased the sashiko supplies for myself I decided to add a few extra skeins and thimbles to my order in case you wanted to try it out too!  I’ve added them to the shop today and you can have a look at what I used below.  Just click on each picture to be sent directly to it in our shop:

Sewing Tools Thread Theory-24

I love the look of white sashiko thread on faded denim but if you have dark indigo denim in need of repair, this navy thread could produce a sophisticated understated mend:

Sewing Tools Thread Theory-25

When sourcing the thread I came across these neat leather Sashiko thimbles.  The thimble sits at the base of the finger and allows you to push the needle through many layers of fabric while creating a running stitch:

Sewing Tools Thread Theory-18

I never quite got the hang of the proper method while repairing Matt’s jeans but I look forward to experimenting further to increase my efficiency!

Sewing Tools Thread Theory-17

I actually mended Matt’s jeans in the late winter and then, after greatly enjoying the process, moved straight on to a pair of second-hand work jeans that I had bought for myself in anticipation of gardening and fence building this summer!  I was drawn to them because they are a very soft and lightweight denim making them comfortable for crawling around in the garden on hot days without dirtying my knees.  Unfortunately though, they were a very impractical style for work pants – their legs were palazzo style (extremely wide)!  So to make these jeans work for me I decided to employ three creative approaches to mending…upcycling, fitting and visible mending.

Visible mending-10

I doubt many people would have chosen palazzo jeans over more conservative styles in the thrift store but my ability to sew and my lack of interest in sewing a fresh pair of jeans from scratch led me to buy them second hand and adjust them to my style preference (upcycling).  It took only some chalk marking, pinning and a couple of minutes of sewing to change them into tapered legs.

Visible mending-3

I then hemmed them to suit my short legs (fitting) and decided to have some more fun with embroidery thread by adding feathers and sashiko stitching over the intentionally distressed thighs so that they would be less likely to fall apart after hard wear (visible mending).  Having a bit of fun embroidery to look forward to after upcycling and fitting made the earlier steps more enjoyable.

Visible mending-4

I love how they turned out!

Here are a few of the tools that I used while upcycling these jeans:

Thread Theory Notions-11

The Clover Chaco marker has been an essential tool in my sewing kit for many years but I did not add it to the shop until just now because they are so readily available at local fabric stores…it feels strange to add something to the shop that may not be in high demand but I am dead set on my dream that the Thread Theory shop will one day include everything you need for your menswear projects – hard to source tools or otherwise – so I thought it is time to fill this gaping hole in our inventory!

Thread Theory Notions-9

If you happen to live in an area where no fabric stores are within easy reach or if your fabric shop, for some mysterious reason, does not stock this essential tool, now you can add it to your next Thread Theory order.

Thread Theory Notions-6

This Jean-a-ma-jig, on the other hand, is a very new addition to my sewing toolbox and has already proven useful for all sorts of menswear and bag making projects!  It is a spacer that you put under your machine foot when you are about to stitch over a thick ridge – it acts like a smooth ramp for your foot to travel up so that your needle does not get caught on the ridge.  It is intended for hemming jeans (it helps you travel over the bulky flat fell inseam) but works great for many other menswear situations involving thick layers.  For example, the Jean-a-ma-jig is useful for stitching over thick wool darts while attaching a welt pocket as you would when sewing the welt pockets on the Belvedere Waistcoat.  It is a very simple tool and yet it is incredibly effective in reducing messy snarls and skipped stitches!

Thread Theory Notions-7

Lastly, I have added two more thimble types (in addition to the sashiko thimble) to our increasingly vast selection of thimbles.  As I’ve been told by many of you each time I add a new thimble to our shop, the perfect thimble is a very subjective thing!  We already have quite a diverse selection in our inventory but it isn’t yet comprehensive.  This time, I’ve added what is, in my opinion, the perfect embroidery thimble and, in my sewing friend’s opinion, the perfect hand-stitching thimble:

Thread Theory Notions-4

My ideal thimble while embroidering and visible mending is this leather one – I use the size medium.  My hands manipulate the fabric and re-thread needle so often when embroidering that I find metal thimbles are always slipping off.  The leather thimble stays put and allows for very good grip.  It can be placed on whichever finger needs protection and will mold perfectly to that finger’s shape over time.

Thread Theory Notions-13

My friend, who likes to hand tie quilts occasionally, prefers to use adhesive thimbles.  She uses a flexible plastic type that offers a moderate level of protection but I was excited to recently find this type which offers more thorough protection – a stainless steel plate with an adhesive back!  The beauty of this sort of thimble is that you can adhere it exactly where you need it and leave the rest of your finger unencumbered.  Depending on your stitching style you may need protection near the tip of your finger or off to the side, this stick-on thimble can be placed accordingly.


 

In case these tools or my visible mending projects have you inspired to delve further into your examination of sustainable sewing practices, here are two of my favourite websites to get you started!

SashikoMendingSamples by Katrina

Katrina Rodabaugh: Fiber Art. Sustainability. Slow Fashion.

Shoe repair by Tom of Holland

Tom of Holland & The Visible Mending Programme: making and re-making

Do you hate mending?  Love mending? Only mend certain items and rag bin the rest?  I’m so glad I have added a bit of creativity to my mending approach so that I actually enjoy the process now…maybe you will find the same!

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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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Let’s talk about Thread

Recycled Plastic Fabric from Thread International-3

Today I want to share an inspiring fabric manufacturer with you.

Not too long ago, a thoughtful menswear sewist, Tyrion, emailed me to let me know that he saw a Canadian-made documentary called RiverBlue in honor of World Water Day (March 22nd).  This documentary follows international river conservationist, Mark Angelo as he investigates the fashion industry and it’s devastating effect on rivers.

Thread International recycled plastic fabric

The documentary put Tyrion on to an intriguing fabric company that seems to very successfully be manufacturing textiles within the US using recycled plastic bottles: Thread International.  Unlike many manufacturers that are similarly using recycled plastics, Thread International has aimed to create a transparent circular supply chain.  Their website contains all sorts of accessible information about the impact of their company at each stage of the manufacturing process – from collecting the bottles in Haiti to weaving and knitting the fabric in the US.

Recycled Plastic Fabric from Thread International-9

Their fabrics have been used by big brands like Timberland and Kenneth Cole, but, most intriguingly for me, all of their fabrics are still available directly through their website by the meter with all of the relevant information listed for the home sewist!  Before we go any further and you start to worry that I’m advertising for Thread International, let’s confirm here that I’m not affiliated with them in any way and will not profit from writing this blog post…I was just curious about their fabrics and thought that you might be too!

I am always partial to natural fibers but I do not want to restrict myself and our Thread Theory customers to natural fibres if there are more sustainable and responsible options available. With that in mind, I delved in to the literature available on the Thread website.  Thread International has posted their 2016 impact report in the full.  I was interested to read that a Life Cycle Analysis was done on the canvas that they created in collaboration with Timberland.  This canvas is 50% cotton (new, not reclaimed) and 50% recycled plastic.  Thread International reports that:

It takes approximately 400 gallons of water to produce the
cotton that goes into 1 square yard of 50:50. It takes only 12 gallons of water to
produce the rPET-based thread and the final 1 square yard of 50:50 product.

This means that:

This means that 398 gallons of water are saved for every yard of Ground
to Good™ 50/50 Canvas when compared to the 100% conventional cotton
canvas it is replacing.

Thread International clearly reports that this is the major advantage of their recycled plastic thread.  The emissions emitted during manufacturing the recycled plastic yard is only 6% less than manufacturing cotton yarn.  The main advantages of this recycled polyester yarn is the massive reduction of water use and also the removal of plastic from landfills.

Other factors to consider, in my opinion, are the way that this fabric wears and also, it’s impact on the environment when the consumer/wearer is finished with the fabric.  Thread International mentions in their report that they follow a “circular economy” approach which means that the brands who use their fabric can inform their customers the following: Threads will take back the garment/product when it is worn out and will recycle it to create new fabric.  This is an admirable initiative in my opinion but it includes a lot of points where the chain can easily be broken.  A customer who buys a product may not be very engaged or informed about the product or might not remember, once it has worn out, about the offer to recycle the item by sending it back to Thread headquarters!  If the item were simply thrown out I suspect that the fabric would not degrade readily the way that 100% cotton or other natural fibres would.  The Circular Economy approach is immensely admirable but it will certainly take a lot of work to create that mental shift in consumers!

Recycled Plastic Fabric from Thread International-2

Anyhow, after all of that reading and thinking, I decided to order the Swatch Box of fabric samples to have a look at them myself.  I really love the way that they feel and the textures achieved!  The only fabric that is entirely composed of recycled plastic is their 12.5 oz/sq yard canvas and I am surprised by how nice it feels.  When fingering through all of the samples it does not readily stand out from the blended fabrics.

Recycled Plastic Fabric from Thread International-10

The blended fabrics, on the other hand, mostly consist of recycled plastic and recycled cotton.  Only one of the fabrics (from what I can tell) includes new cotton (not reclaimed).  I have not come across much info on their website about the process of reclaiming cotton…if you notice that section, can you show me where to find it?  I am curious to know more about the efficiency of recycling this fibre.

Recycled Plastic Fabric from Thread International-8

At this point, I do not think it would make financial sense for me to order Thread International fabric for the Thread Theory shop since I would not be able to receive a very large wholesale discount (I order pretty small quantities compared to Timberland lol) and it can be pricey to bring large shipments over the border.  But, seeing as they are located in the United States and send worldwide, many of you can affordably order smaller quantities of fabrics through them directly!

Recycled Plastic Fabric from Thread International-4

I am really lucky that my favourite fabric supplier based out of Vancouver, B.C. carries a lovely line of sustainable natural fibres and also an intriguing selection of recycled plastic fabrics.  I have not yet ordered fabrics with recycled plastic content for our shop because I know many of us sewists have a firm preference for natural fibres!  What do you think, would a recycled plastic micro-fleece, for example, be a useful addition to our shop or are you firm in your devotion to hemp, linen, cotton and bamboo?

My current personal preference when choosing fabrics to sew is to purchase a fabric that falls in to one of these categories:

  1. The most sustainable natural fibres such as hemp and linen.
  2. Not as sustainable but very hard wearing and comfortable natural fibres such as bamboo blends.
  3. Practical and hard wearing technical materials featuring recycled content such as fleece.
  4. And lastly, non-recycled man-made materials that serve a specific function well (and will do so for MANY years) such as waterproof materials like Dintex.

I really hope that you will weigh in on this topic!  Let’s hear your opinions on fabric manufacturing!


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Meet Ben (aka @sewciologist) and his me-made-wardrobe

 

Color-blocked Fairfield Button-up

Let me introduce to you an enthusiastic menswear sewist with an eye for detail and design!  I am in constant awe of the outfits Ben sews for himself and posts on Instagram.  He was posting consistently throughout Me Made May 2017 and I wanted to share every single one of his garments with you!  Ben graciously agreed to answer a few questions and share some photos on the blog so you are in for a treat today!  Make sure to take a careful look at some of Ben’s thoughtful design choices – which is your favourite?

Can you introduce yourself briefly and give a little run down on how you came to be such an accomplished sewist?

Thank you so much for having me! I am thrilled to be featured on your blog as you are one of my favourite menswear pattern designers. My name is Ben and I’m an Austrian living in Birmingham, UK. I’ve always enjoyed creating things of all sorts, but up until two years ago it never dawned on me that making my own clothes was a thing that I – or anyone – could do! My first contact with haberdashery in general was when I learned to crochet in primary school. On a whim, I dug out what was left of those skills a few years ago and started to make pillow cases, and when a friend came over for a ‘crafternoon’ with her sewing machine, I knew that that’s what I needed in my life. Fast forward a few months, past a number of totes and zipper bags and my first ever garment – a Finlayson sweater – saw the light of day.

Fairfield Button-up made by Ben

I don’t know if I’m really all that accomplished with what limited experience I have, but I’m certainly a very ambitious and adventurous sewist. I find myself easily bored and would much rather try out a new pattern than stick to a tried and tested one, as well as trying out new techniques as I go along. By nature, this has meant quite a steep learning curve for me, but I’m proud to say that I’m an entirely self-taught sewist, not least thanks to your sewalongs and the many video tutorials out there. I also owe a lot of my expertise to my part-time job at my local haberdashery Guthrie & Ghani which has encouraged me to push on and explore new skills, as well as the thriving sewing community of Birmingham.

Sewing for Men - Sweater and Lon Sleeve Shirt

It’s very clear, based on your inspiring Instagram account, that you sew many of your own clothes – even now that MMM17 is well past, do you still find yourself wearing your handmade garments on a daily basis?  What type of handmade garment do you tend to wear most often?

I definitely try to wear as many handmade garments as I can every day. Wearing something I’ve made gives me a sense of confidence that I haven’t known before. I feel that it is a skill that is no longer quite so widespread, so it makes me all the more proud to be wearing me-mades. As a matter of fact, I have promised myself that I won’t buy anything that I can make or that I can learn to make. “Quintessential Ben” likes to dress in a smart casual way typically consisting of a pair of chinos and button-up shirts, but I do try to explore different styles and go out of my comfort zone more often. Still, my favourite garment is definitely the Fairfield shirt. I have now made a number of them and it’s one of the few patterns I don’t mind making over and over! I love how different fabrics give it a completely different look. For my next one, I’m planning a looser-fitting denim version with mother-of-pearl snaps – and maybe an added pocket flap and some funky topstitching on the yoke?

Me Made May - Sewciologist

When planning a new garment, where do you find inspiration?

I don’t often find myself influenced by current trends in fashion as I feel that I have a fairly settled and consistent taste. I generally prefer style lines and creative pattern cutting over colourful or intricate prints, so I like to seek out patterns that make a striking impression even when made in a plain or subtly printed fabric.

I also like to be inspired by the fabric itself. For the last few weeks, I’ve been under a self-imposed “fabric ban” as an incentive to work away on my existing stash – even though I have the sinking feeling that it’s still growing rather than shrinking… In a way, that has actually fuelled my creativity as I’m now thinking about what I can make with the more outlandish things I bought or picked up at a swap.

Ben the Sewciologist

What resources would you recommend to a man interested in sewing his own wardrobe?

A lot of help early on in my sewing journey has actually come from indie patterns such as your own, as I’ve found them to be particularly beginner-friendly. I’d always recommend starting on one of those rather than a Big Four one, which would typically presuppose a lot more knowledge of sewing terms and techniques.

Community is incredibly helpful as well. If you don’t know anyone else in your area, I’d say have a look online! The number of menswear sewing bloggers has increased over the last few years and there are some great blogs out there: the fashionable and virtually iconic Male Pattern Boldness, the debonair Male Devon Sewing, or the incredibly talented Mensew, to name just a few, are all treasure troves of tips and inspiration. Instagram, too, has a growing community of menswear sewists which can be found under hashtags like #makemenswear, #menwhosew or #mensewtoo.

Sewing for men - button down shirt

And lastly, I can only recommend turning to womenswear sewists for guidance. Many of the techniques will be the same, and there are so many wonderfully talented women out there who have a wealth of knowledge we can only admire and benefit from. Not to be too political, but I do think that in general men would do well to listen to women more often and with greater humility!

Strathcona T-shirt

Do you have any pattern, fabric, or tool requests that you would like to be made better available to menswear sewists? We’d love to hear your wishlist!

Where do I start?! I would love to find some crisp shirting material like Oxford cloth in more modern colours to make nice workwear, but so far have found it difficult to find in the UK. I’m very keen on buying lots of natural fibres and sustainably sourced fabrics for things like formal trousers, which is also not always easy to come by. Pattern-wise I have been on the lookout for transitional outerwear like a bomber jacket or a trench coat, but in general I’d love to see more adventurous and fashion-forward designs out there. Another thing that’s hard to find is a good book on fitting menswear. Fitting is an art in itself, and getting it right makes all the difference between a good garment and a showstopper.

Men who sew - Ben the Sewciologist

Thanks, Ben, for sharing your inspiring garments, your can-do attitude and some of the things that inspire you!

Did you notice the multi color buttons on the pale pink shirt with contrast trim?  I love how subtle yet completely unique that feature is!  I must remember this idea for my next Fairfield…


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Summer 2017 Fabrics (plus re-stocked best sellers!)

Have you checked our fabric selection lately?  It’s grown quite a bit!  I’ve added an earthy new summer collection and some season-less staple fabrics.  I’ve also restocked three all time bestseller fabrics since many of you let me know that you had missed out when they were last in our store.

Summer fabrics for men-40-2

Remember this gorgeous saturated Hemp and Organic Cotton Cotton knit in Deep Teal?  It was part of our Spring 2017 capsule collection and sold out within a couple of days.  I made my Dad a Strathcona T-shirt featuring the Brown colorway and I am currently making myself a teal Weekender Breton Top (sorry, I just had to use a couple meters for myself!  Don’t worry, I stocked plenty extra for you to use too.).  Since I love this fabric so much I’ve also added a third color to our collection, but more on that in a moment!

Also freshly restocked are two Hemp and Organic Cotton shirtings from our Summer 2016 collection!

Summer fabrics for men-40-3

This was the fabric used for our Fairfield Button-up sample:

Fairfield Buttonup-22

I re-purchased both the striped and solid blue since this was the color that everyone loved most!

Summer fabrics for men-40-5

And now let’s have a look at our new Summer 2017 fabrics:  They feature sustainable fibres and earthy colors inspired by the evergreen forest and wind-whipped lake that Matt and I enjoy each summer at our favourite camping spot.

Let’s begin with the deep blue of the lake…I’ve been dying to show you this gorgeous 100% linen in navy!

Summer fabrics for men-19

It is 5.9 oz/sq yard making it a great medium weight with enough heft and opacity to create a perfect menswear button-up or a gorgeous tunic.

Summer fabrics for men-12

If you guys love this linen as much as I do I hope to increase our color range since I really enjoy carrying such a sustainable fibre in our shop.  Some of the other intriguing colors available include natural, olive, red, and plum.

And now, the pebble grey of the gravel beaches:

Summer fabrics for men-30

One of our fabric suppliers has recently added a new line of 100% cotton jerseys which I am over the moon about…I have looked for heathered 100% cotton jerseys for some time now since this is Matt’s favorite sort of t-shirt fabric.  There is no spandex so it can be dried at high heat without worry of degrading.  I’ve added this beautiful heathered grey to our summer collection and look forward to adding a really nice heathered blue as well as a selection of matching ribbing in the future.

Summer fabrics for men-31

Next up, we have a new color option (reminiscent of salal bushes and ferns) for our hemp and organic cotton trouser canvas:

Summer fabrics for men-33

This canteen green looks a tad more saturated in photos than it does in indoor light so I think it would be perfect treated as a neutral and sewn into Jedediah Pants to pair with brightly colored t-shirts (or perhaps a more sedate heather grey t-shirt from the 100% cotton jersey!).

Summer fabrics for men-37

I wish you could feel this canvas in person but I think the photo above should give you an idea of how gorgeous it is: It is tightly woven with a very slight nubbly texture (due to the hemp).  It will make for excellent hard wearing trousers.

While we are looking at hemp fabrics, here is the new third color option for our Hemp and Organic Cotton Jersey – it is Stone Grey.

Summer fabrics for men-39

This elegant warm grey would look very smart as a t-shirt paired with extra deep indigo denim.

If you like the idea of hemp and organic cotton blends but prefer a bit more stretch, I’ve added two fabrics featuring a new blend of fibres to the shop: 53% Hemp, 44% Organic Cotton and 3% Spandex! It features a finer texture and more elasticity than the version without any spandex but it does not drape or stretch quite as much as the Bamboo, Organic Cotton and Spandex blend that we also have in our collection.  With the Hemp/Cotton blend on one end of the spectrum (lots of texture, loosely knit, not stretchy) and the Bamboo/Cotton/Spandex blend on the other (smooth, tightly knit, very stretchy), these two new fabrics fall right in the middle.

Summer fabrics for men-24

This olive has always been my favorite color.  I think it would make a beautiful Camas Blouse with richly embroidered yokes.

This fabric also comes in the same stone grey color as the Hemp/Cotton blend without spandex.  Compare this photo below to the stone grey fabric above and you can see what I mean about the finer texture of the Hemp/Cotton featuring spandex:

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So there you have it, the earthy summer collection!  But there are still more fabrics to show you since I have added a few new color options to the staple fabrics that we stock in our shop (and restock each time they sell out, unlike our seasonal collections):

As I always say, the Bamboo, Organic Cotton and Spandex jersey that we have had in our shop for a number of is hands down my favorite fabric.  We currently carry it in burgundy, charcoal, forest green, almond, olive, navy and white stripe, and navy and grey stripe.  I thought it was time to add some true basics since it is the perfect choice for everything from t-shirts to leggings:

We now have black (a true pure black that is darker than it appears in this photo):

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And classic navy:

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These two will certainly be my only choice for leggings from now on!

And, to finish on a very colorful note, I’ve added two new paisely acetate linings based on a lovely customer’s request!  Here we have a stunning purple:

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And a very elegant navy:

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Both these linings would make a gorgeous addition to the inside of a Goldstream Peacoat or the back of a Belvedere Waistcoat!

As always, I love receiving requests!  If you are looking for a particular fabric or would like to see one of our fabrics in a different colour, please let me know by commenting or emailing me at info@threadtheory.ca

Have a look at our new fabrics in detail >

 


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Sell us your pattern stash! Plus it’s now possible to write reviews.

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I was just sent a fresh selection of vintage boy’s and men’s sewing patterns all the way from Oklahoma!  They are now available in our shop for you to peruse.

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You might remember when I asked you to sell me your vintage menswear patterns last winter.  Since then, Cyndi, from Oklahoma, has been gathering together each gem that she finds at her local thrift shops.  She packaged them up for me and I paid for them to be shipped to our studio.  Cyndi opted to trade her vintage patterns for a few Thread Theory tissue patterns she has had on her wishlist for a while.  We are also happy to pay you for your sewing patterns!

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If you love to shop at thrift stores or if you have menswear sewing patterns languishing in a storage box somewhere, please email me so we can work out a similar deal!  I’m really enjoying sorting through these old patterns and it is heartening to think that these patterns will avoid the trash bin and instead continue their life as useful templates for your unique menswear projects!

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Head to our shop to check out the selection of $3 vintage patterns.  While you are at it, you might notice that we have a new feature on our website – you can now review our patterns, fabrics and tools!

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The first 10 people to leave a review on our website will receive 10% off their next order.  Thanks for sharing your opinions, projects and plans!

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Check out our vintage pattern selection >


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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:

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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:

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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!

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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:

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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….

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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 >