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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Jutland Pants Discount Code

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I received a Facebook message yesterday from Fallon, a prospective Jutland Pants sewist, wondering if we happened to have a discount code going for our Jutland Pants PDF pattern.  We didn’t but we do now!  Thanks for the idea, Fallon!  Good luck with your hunting pant project!

The discount code is FALLJUTLAND.  Enter it upon checkout to receive 20% off the Jutland Pants PDF or Tissue pattern.

To get you inspired to sew some pants for Fall, here is a gallery of some amazing finished and in progress Jutland Pants, all gathered from #jutlandpants on Instagram.  Above you can see a gorgeous pair of Jutland Shorts sewn by @inder_khalsa

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@ingvesmakesandmends embellished her fly topstitching with beautifully precise hand stitches.

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These wool Jutland Pants were sewn by @11400knit for her partner, Dave.

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This photo, also by @ingvesmakesandmends, provides a great view of some of the optional rugged details found within the Jutland Pants pattern: Cargo pockets, knee and hem reinforcements and flat fell side seams.

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There are loads of details included in the pattern (even optional lining pieces to make cozy flannel lined trousers!) but you can always add more!  @kirstyteacat added a small pocket designed to perfectly fit her husband’s torch.

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@uktriggerfish added custom topstitching to the Jutland patch pockets. Do you think the recipient’s name begins with a T?

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The Jutland Pants included a curved pocket reminiscent of jeans while the Jedediah Pants include slash pockets.  As @_ym.sews_ discusses in her Instagram caption, they are fairly straightforward to mix and match so that you can sew the style of pocket you prefer.

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@wouter.vdub always impresses me with his attention to detail.  He created some lovely welt pockets while constructing his colourful Jutland Shorts.

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@silkandtweed.scotland sewed her partner some waxed denim Jutlands.

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While @lisa.poblenz (photo shared by @pintuckandpurl) used the base Jutland pattern to sew herself some summer shorts.  She bought the pattern to sew for her partner but it has served double duty now!  Notice the red bartacks and creative slash pockets.

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Last but not least, here are two examples of modelled Jutlands.  These practical and nicely fitted cargos were sewn by @_stitchesandseams_ for her partner who is apparently already asking for another pair!

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@bustersew shows us that the Jutlands can be dressed up too!  Sew variation one in a twill or suiting to wear with a Fairfield Button-up.

Ready to try your hand at trousers?  Get the PDF or Tissue pattern 20% off until Friday, Sept. 22nd.  Use the code FALLJUTLAND and head to our shop >


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A menswear-related use for your fabric scraps!

I shared this on Facebook a couple of weeks ago but my thoughts keep drifting back to this inspiring company so I felt the need to share their work with you via the blog as well.  Have you heard of Zero Waste Daniel?

His team’s work is certainly fuel for my imagination.  What would you make using your scraps and this enlightened perspective?

View the Zero Waste Daniel mission >


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Dintex and Merino – Fabrics and your Projects

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Do you subscribe to our email newsletter?  If so, you will have been notified about the launch of our Fall Fabric Collection last Monday!  We have Dintex (waterproof, windproof and breathable fabric) and superfine Merino fabrics back in stock…and have some bold new colors!

I’ve compiled some inspiration today from my own sewing projects and from some of the amazing projects that have been shared on Instagram and blogs since we launched our Dintex fabric last year.  But first, have a quick look at the new colors!

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You will now find this classic red Dintex in our shop along with a very sporty Green Apple:

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I could imagine both these colors sewn into the bright high-tech ski jackets hanging at my local ski & board shop!  Or, perhaps, they could be paired with a less sporty pattern (a glamorous full skirted trench coat perhaps) and a floral umbrella for an entirely different look.

Since a few of you have been enquiring about the mesh ‘wrong side’ of this fabric, I took a close up shot of the mesh backing so you can see that it doesn’t need to be lined.  The mesh is soft and hard wearing and is similar to what you would see on the inside of high tech sportwear (especially outer ‘shells’)…

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If you wanted to line your Dintex garment though, the possibilities are only limited by the style that you are trying to achieve!  It would pair nicely with microfleece as a warm and sporty outer layer or you could dress it up with acetate lining or tartan flannel.

Aside from these two new colors we have a large range of more sedate choices as well as some gorgeous stormy blues and tropical teals!

The superfine 100% merino wool that you can also find in our Fall Fabric collection is the perfect base layer to wear beneath a Dintex rain jacket.  It is incredibly versatile – it can be used for classic long johns (by lengthening the Comox Trunks pattern) or it can be sewn in to an elegant dress!  We have restocked it in Moroccan blue and charcoal grey but I couldn’t resist adding this third color to the collection – a GORGEOUS Nova Red that features just a hint of orange:

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Isn’t that beautifully rich?  The fabric gleams and it is incredibly soft against the skin.

Now that you’ve seen the new color choices, imagine them paired with these projects that you and I have sewn throughout the last year:

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This superfine merino top in Moroccan blue was sewn by me (for myself) but is modelled here by my sister’s beautiful friend, Sylvia.  We were headed for a beach walk so I couldn’t pass up the perfect opportunity to dress Sylvia up and allow my talented photographer sister to take some shots!

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This top was sewn using a BurdaStyle pattern from the magazine but the same pattern can also be found online as a PDF.  I love this rendition of the top because I can wear it as a warm layer while hiking or skiing or I can add a statement necklace and a skirt to dress up (sometimes on the same day!)!  I’ve washed, tumble dried and worn this steadily for a full year now with no signs of wear.  I anticipate that this merino shirt will be in my closet for many years to come.

You might remember one of my other sewing projects from last winter – Matt’s Dintex jacket:

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You can read all about this on the blog.  Matt wore this jacket as a shell over a down mid-layer throughout the last snowy winter.  We’ve machine washed and then hung to dry this jacket mid winter because Matt can often be found doing grubby things like carting fire wood or bush-wacking so the front got a bit muddy.  After washing it we sprayed it with a water repellent finish to freshen up the DWR that the fabric manufacturer applied.  He continued to wear the jacket throughout the spring with a sweater underneath and this summer has been wearing it over a t-shirt since it is breathable and thus comfortable in hot weather.  I really need to make myself a similar jacket since I am quite jealous of how it allows him to be ready for anything!

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And now, the best part…your projects!

Here are two adorable Dintex jackets made by Nicole of The Spool Sewing Studio (@thespoolsewingstudio) for herself and her daughter:

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Nicole always does a great job of using up her fabric scraps by sewing a coordinating outfit for her daughter…so cute and no waste!  Her jacket is the Kelly Anorak by Cloest Case Patterns and her daughter’s is the Oliver and S School Days Jacket.

And another gorgeous Kelly Anorak, this time in Navy Dintex, sewn by @newribina and shared on Instagram:17818549_1248444198610671_3114182173880483840_n

She used the hardware kit that we stock in our shop!  I love how she used the reflective zipper (that we include for pockets or ‘pit zips’) as a chest pocket.  The drawstring at the waist is also reflective so the wearer of this beautiful jacket is safe walking or riding at night.

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Jen (@_jennicholson_) sewed this Hemingway Windcheater for her partner.  The charcoal grey Dintex that she chose pairs very nicely with the gunmetal snaps.

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Lastly, a third Kelly Anorak, this time sewn by Fiona of the blog Stitch and Finish.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Fiona has written some very helpful details about working with Dintex, seam tape (for waterproofing seams) and about a few modifications she made to tailor her jacket to cycling.  Her end result looks SO pro!

I’ve sorted our new Fall fabrics into their own section in our shop so you can see them all at once.  I thought that might make it easier to pair your outerlayer Dintex with a coordinating merino base layer.

I would really love to share some photos of the projects you guys have made with our merino wool over the last year but it isn’t nearly as easy to search as #dintex is!  I know I have seen some great ones but I can’t seem to find them now.  Can you point me in the right direction (to your blog or Instagram posts)?


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Remnant and Inventory Clearance Sale!

We need to make room for our Fall fabric and a big secret project so we are having an inventory and remnant clearout sale!

Fabric remnants from our last few fabric collections are now listed at a deeply discounted price.  Can you use these gorgeous roll-ends?

Also, please help yourself to this discount code: CLEARSPACE  This code will give you 15% off of our PDF or tissue Thread Theory patterns if your order is $30 or more…I hope the discount will act as a little thank you for helping me to clear my shelves! (It expires on Friday, April 18th since I will likely have a nice amount of shelf space available by then.)

In our remnant pile you will find cuts varying in length from 0.6 m to 2 metres; choices include Dintex waterproof fabric…

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Dintex wool-blend fabric…

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Linen…

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Bamboo and Cotton Jersey…

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…and more!

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Over the past few months I have used a few of these lengths to make shirts for myself, Comox Trunks for Matt and baby clothes for friends but they are piling up faster than I can sew!  Help me out?

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Also, if you head to our shop you will now see a Sale section which is currently stocked with all manner of inventory clear out items.  These items will only remain discounted until there is enough shelf space cleared for my secret project!

See what’s on sale >


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

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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!

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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!

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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.
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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:

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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:

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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:

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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I love how they turned out!

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

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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:

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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.

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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!