Thread Theory

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


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The wonderful world of sewing magazines

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Every year, as a child and young adult, I would receive a magazine subscription from my grandparents as a gift.  When I was very young the subscription was chosen for me but as I got older they asked me to pick which magazine I would like.  I remember that delicious feeling of infinite possibility as I set out to select my magazine for the year!  I always liked to choose a magazine that fit my newest skill or interest.  Thus, when I first began to sew, Threads magazine was my choice for the year.  I learned a lot while reading this magazine!

I still have every issue saved despite moving many times and constantly purging my belongings.  In fact, they currently rest on my studio book shelve (that’s them on the second wall shelf in the photo above!).  I often comb through the content descriptions printed on the spines to research construction techniques when developing our patterns.

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So of course, I was tickled to find out that Threads Magazine reviewed the Goldstream Peacoat in their current April/May 2017 issue!

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Canadian pattern companies are nicely represented in the review section of this issue since Victory Pattern’s Hazel dress was also tested and reviewed.

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While the US-based Threads is the sewing magazine I read most frequently, those of you in the UK will probably have seen our feature in Sew Now Magazine instead!  Kate and Rachel from the online sewing community, The Fold Line, selected a number of “hot off the press” patterns including our newest pattern, The Lazo Trousers.  This feature is in the current Sew Now issue (Issue no. 5).

While we are in the magazine due to one of our women’s patterns, I’m excited to read that Sew Now also included an article about male sewers in this issue!

Do you read sewing magazines?  Any recommendations for me?  A couple of women in my local fibre appreciation group recommended I stock Uppercase Magazine and Selvedge Magazine in our shop.  I have not looked in to this yet (I’m not sure if it is even possible to sell these magazines on our website) but I am curious to know if you have read either of these magazines.

Uppercase

Uppercase is a vibrant and beautifully printed Canadian publication that celebrates the process of making, the commitment to craft and the art of living creatively.  The magazine, publishing company and fabric line are all run by a husband and wife team in Alberta!

Selvedge

Selvedge is a British magazine that acknowledges the significance of textiles as a part of everyone’s story.  It is definitely the more textile oriented magazine of the two and the aesthetic is right up my alley.  I had a peruse of a few physical copies of this magazine since my friend brought them to an Eat, Make, Mend gathering that I attended.  They were beyond inspiring!

As I said, I have not really properly read these magazines myself but, I must say, they look absolutely beautiful and I am curious to get to know them more.  If you have read them, I would love to know your opinions (as sewists and magazine lovers).

 

 


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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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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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Lazo Trousers: Style Inspiration (and pattern hack ideas!)

lazo-hack-contest Christmas is quickly approaching so this will be my 2nd to last post about the Lazos before a short holiday.  I will be posting about some Christmassy Lazo outfits on Friday and then will be taking a break from blogging until January 2nd.  We will be kicking off the New Year with all the fitting posts, tutorials and Lazo Hacks that I have been promising to you!lazo-trouser-drawings-1 Today’s post is meant to get your creative juices flowing before you have a chance to cut into your Lazo Trousers fabric.  I imagine many of us will be too busy spending time with family until the end of the month to actually delve in to sewing something for ourselves – that’s no problem!  It just gives you more time to daydream about your creations and post about your pattern hack ideas!merchant-and-mills-back-in-stock

As you are aware, I am hosting a Lazo Hack contest that runs until the end of January.  I will be awarding prizes at random until January 31st so the more often and sooner you enter, the higher your chance of winning a prize!  Prizes will include digital gift certificates to a great selection of sewing shops and all sorts of goodies that will be mailed to you (worldwide!).  Yes…some of our gorgeous Merchant & Mills tools and books will be given away as prizes!

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To enter the contest, draw a sketch, share an inspiring photo, take a snap shot of the supplies you’ve gathered, post your WIP, create a tutorial, or share a photo of your finished Lazos!  Use #lazotrousers on Instagram or Facebook or email me at info@threadtheory.ca with your images.

The contest is meant to inspire creative interpretations of our Lazo Trousers pattern – meaning you could alter the pattern to suit a figure other than the recommended hourglass shape, you could change the pleats to gathers, you could add width to the legs, or you could even just sew the pattern as is but style it differently than I have done!  Anything is fair game!

You don’t need to actually sew your Lazo Hack idea – you could post sketches of a dozen ideas and then pick your favourite to sew.  The more entries, the merrier 🙂

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I will be contributing to the Lazo Hack contest by hacking the Lazos into the comfiest and prettiest sweatpants featuring a mock fly, a drawstring waistband, and deliciously cozy terry knit fabric.  Stay tuned for a tutorial to create this in January!


Now that you know the details about the Lazo Hack contest, here are some of the inspiration photos that I gathered before drafting the Lazo Trousers in school:

 

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The image on the left is a sketch that I made for my Lazo Trousers design.  Sorry for her creepy blank stare – we were told to turn our sketch into a vector (so it could be coloured in digitally on the computer) and I discovered that this is NOT something I excelled at naturally 😛  All of the other images come from a Pinterest Board that I have created for the Lazos.  Click on any of the collages in this post to link to the Pinterest board.  Unfortunately, I believe you need a Pinterest account (which is free) to view the board but I’ve displayed most of my inspiration in this post for you to view anyways!

As you can see from the five images of modern store bought trousers, I was taken with the idea of a loose, pleated front with stovepipe legs.  I noticed, as I was selecting images, that I always preferred the overall silhouette of trousers that sat at the natural waist (instead of the hips).  This was a bit of an epiphany for me since, prior to creating an inspiration board, I was sure I preferred very low rise trousers!

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Next up, we have these tiny skirt and palazzo trouser images above.  They come from Pinterest…which is a great source of inspiration and an exellent way to organize thoughts but it can be hard to find high quality images or original sources! A fitted waistband with a full skirt attached (a dirndl skirt) is my most comfortable silhoutte…but I find I can never wear it because all that fabric is not very practical for dog walking, bike riding, and generally living actively.  The free feeling of wearing one of these skirts or palazzo pants paired with the practicality of trousers = my goal for the Lazo Trousers.

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The fashion line that I created while in school was called ‘Rationed Fashion’ and it was inspired by British women’s fashion during the second world war.  Rationing led to an appreciation of hard wearing fabrics.  Women had to select their clothing to suit their new jobs (and often wore uniforms for their work).  Design details were subtle and functional so that the garments would remain wearable for many years.  I hadn’t watched the show Land Girls yet when I designed the Lazo Trousers but, the Land Girls uniform was exactly what I had in mind (second image from the right, above).  As you can see in the photos above, jodhpurs or breeches have often been a working or adventuring woman’s go-to pair of trousers in the last 100 years.  They were popular for aviators and equestrian women in the 1910s and 1920s.  They were a staple of wartime working women in the 1940s.  And there have been periods throughout the 1970s and 80s when trousers with fitted waists, roomy thighs, and fitted calves were in vogue.  It is a functional style because it allows full range of movement without excess fabric getting in the way.

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The wide Lazo Trouser waistband and slash pockets provide a great blank canvas for small design details.  Leather or vinyl buckles are my go to choice but you can also feature self fabric buckles, statement buttons, self fabric covered buttons, or even those beautiful frog closures that are always in fabric stores but rarely get used!

 

Quite a few of you have shared your ideas for the Lazos with me so far (not as contest entries, but instead as comments…you guys should sketch your ideas and submit them as contest entries!).  There are many people planning to make safari style Lazos and there are a couple of you planning to cut in to tartan wool and use kilt buckles.  And a number of you want to add width to the legs to create elegant palazzo pants.  I’m so excited to see your creations!

Download the Lazo Trousers >

Check out my Lazo Trousers Pinterest Board >


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Sew a Gift this Christmas!

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Some of you might have noticed I didn’t write a blog post last Friday (my mom and my mother-in-law both joked that they worried I was ill and dying…fortunately, this was not the case!).  You guys must have some big Christmas sewing plans because, last week in particular, I spent every day madly packing up your menswear sewing supplies so I could cart them to the post office as quickly as possible.  I simply didn’t have time to prepare a blog post!

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While in line at the post office I was wearing a red wool coat, a big white scarf and had a whole shopping cart of Christmas parcels.  The man in front of me said I looked just like Mrs. Claus!  I certainly felt like a Christmas elf at least!

With Christmas gift giving on my mind, I’ve gathered together a selection of sewing inspiration to give you an extra boost as you fill all the items on your Christmas gift list.

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Let’s start with this year’s gift ideas!  Usually I do a blog post about my ideas (see last year’s and one from a couple of years ago) but this year I was invited to chat with Rachel on the Canadian podcast MakerStyle.  We talked about my top five gifts to sew for men.  Be sure to check it out – there are a couple of ideas that wouldn’t take too long to assemble so you still have time to get into the DIY gift giving spirit!

And here is some more gift inspiration for you from the Thread Theory community!  Do you see anything your husband, boyfriend, brother, son, or friend would love for Christmas?

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These two gorgeous wintery blue Fairfield Button-ups would look great worn to Christmas dinner!  On the left is a Fairfield sewn by the proprietress of the German fabric shop, Brinarina.  You can find more photos of her Fairfield on Instagram.  The close up shot of the Fairfield on the right is from Anna who just shared this beautiful photo on her Instagram account (@grosgary).

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Comox Trunks make such a fun stocking stuffer…plus they are very quick to sew and are a great way to recycle t-shirts or use up fabric scraps!  I love the whimsical fabric that @adlesim used for the pair on the left.  If you don’t end up having time to sew the trunks, no need to worry! You could take a leaf out of Jenny’s book and wrap them up as an appealing kit…maybe along with the offer to teach your recipient to sew?  Jenny sells these bright kits and finished trunks in her glorious sewing shop, the Makehouse (in Victoria, B.C.).

finlayson-sweater

The Finlayson Sweater is always the first pattern that I recommend for gift giving.  It is pretty safe to just guess a size with this boxy design!  I absolutely adore the lengthened version that Jessica made at Handcraft Workshop.  On the right is an incredibly cozy looking quilted Finlayson made by @mllechouchou.

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The photo on the right was emailed to me by Matthew recently – he turned the Newcastle Cardigan into a classy jacket featuring herringbone cotton, bemberg lining and a lapped zipper!

And, to wrap up our show and tell, on the above left is a photo by @kristieinbc featuring her Thread Theory purchase beside a pretty basket of wintery pinecones.  This is how I like to wrap up your orders – they are sent as brown paper packages tied up in string!

The last thing I want to share today isn’t a menswear gift idea but, is instead, a heartwarming tale about a man learning to sew!  Every time I hear such a story, I feel inspired to continue with Thread Theory’s emphasis of sewing menswear.

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Christopher recently emailed me to share a link to a blog post detailing his new passion for sewing.  I HIGHLY recommend giving it a read…especially if you would like to find out how he wound up with such a gorgeous vintage Elna!


 

I really enjoy rounding up my favourites from the Thread Theory sewing community but I’m sure there are many other inspiring projects and stories out there that I’ve missed!  I have received a few requests lately to create a Facebook group for Thread Theory patterns.  I am relatively clueless when it comes to using Facebook but it seems as though this is a pretty easy and also common way to create a sewing themed discussion group or forum.  The purpose of the group would be to share your finished projects and to discuss ideas for our patterns amongst yourselves (topics could include fabric selection, modifications and questions about tricky sewing steps for instance).  Does this sound like something that would be useful to you?  From your experience, do you think Facebook is the best platform for this kind of community?  Or would you suggest a different sort of forum or community board?  I would love your input!


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A Wool Coat For Fall (and new Merchant & Mills tools!)

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I had the treat of receiving an email recently from a man named Yves, who is new to sewing.  Seeing as Matt and I began Thread Theory with the hope that we would encourage more men to sew, the, fact that Yves is male and a sewist is a thrill in itself.  Even more thrilling though was the fact that he included photos of his recent project using the Goldstream Peacoat pattern!

He did some simple modifications to the pattern and, in doing so, created a very different coat than the original design.  I just love the minimalism of this single breasted jacket!

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Yves was kind enough to do a bit of a write up for me so that I could share his modifications and styling choices on the blog.  Here is what he writes about his thought process while creating this coat:


“The fabric is a medium weight woollen with a houndstooth pattern.  For the lining I decided to go with paisley.

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Being a fall coat I tried to choose earthy tones that start to make their appearance this time of year.

I found the coat’s tones pair well with darker accessories, as you can see with the chocolate brown scarf. When I feel too brown I can switch it up with a deep burgundy scarf.

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The buttons are wooden buttons I salvaged from an old jacket. I had a nice selection to choose from at the store, but in the end wooden buttons seemed appropriate for the woodsy earthy theme that was was starting to come out through the coat.

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I love the style of the Goldstream Peacoat and already owned a few of them.  So I tried my hand at a couple modifications to try to get a different look.

  1. I shortened the bottom length so that is sits just around the crotch. This seems to give it a modern “sporty” look.
  2. I shortened the width of the front sides and brought them in 3″ each (on the Small pattern).
  3. I moved the buttons so they are centre aligned down the front of the coat.
  4. I trimmed the collar height 1/2″ off the top edge.  I like wearing the collar up and found this was a better length.  As well, since I shortened the width of the lapels, things seemed out of proportion when the collar was down (really wide collar and really thin lapels). So this change made things look a bit more proportional.

I also added 1/4″ top stitching along the center back, side seams and sleeve seams.”

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Thank you, Yves, for sharing your modifications and for taking the time to photograph your gorgeous finished project!  I hope this jacket receives many years of wear and even more compliments!  Good luck with your upcoming button-up shirt class.

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Two things get me excited to sew – viewing the amazing results of other people’s sewing efforts (as above) and testing out some new tools.

We just received a fresh shipment from the UK (the Merchant and Mills workshop in Rye to be specific) so there are plenty of new tools to show you today.

You’ll be glad to know that high demand items such as Tailor’s Beeswax, the Workbook, Toilet Pins, and Tailor’s Shears are now back in stock.

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In addition to this we have added a rugged oilskin tool roll (complete with the tools to match each fitted pocket):

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Another kit you will find in the shop is a comprehensive kit featuring Merchant & Mill’s most loved notions:

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The last kit I added to the shop is a selection of fine pins.  I’ve included thorough descriptions of each pin and its uses in the product description, so you might like to check that out to find out why entomology pins are an invaluable addition to the sewing tool box!

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Last, but not least, I selected two new scissors to add to our line up.  First, something for you left handed sewists:  Left Hand Tailor’s Shears!

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And secondly, some everyday scissors that strike me as the perfect balance between comfort and utility.  They are sturdy with their all steel construction but are just small enough to be very light.  The Merchant & Mills team suggests that you can use these scissors for fabric or paper (but don’t switch between both, of course).  I think they would be a nice choice for light quilting cottons or dress fabrics but I wouldn’t choose them for heavier fabrics.  I plan to use these as my household paper scissors – they will be great for cutting out patterns!

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I hope this post has been a nice dose of inspiration to prepare you for some weekend sewing projects.  Judging by how much fabric I have mailed out in the last week (the majority of the Dintex colors are either sold out or very close to sold out), there are some great sewing plans in the works!


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Dintex Fabric & other upcoming goodies

I’ve been receiving bucketloads of emails (and extra large quantities of shop visitors) ever since our Dintex fabric sold out!  We still have 1.5 m of Charcoal Dintex in stock which would be perfect if you have a smaller project in mind…but otherwise, you are out of luck for a couple of weeks.

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There is good news though: I spent most of this week on the computer ordering all sorts of really exciting items for the Thread Theory shop…including Dintex in 8 (!!!) colors!  Stay tuned for stormy blue, bright teal, rich plum, a pretty dove grey, and more.  It isn’t all 100% good news though: I was really hoping to order Dintex in olive (since this is such a classic color for anoraks and also my favorite color) but, unfortunately, it isn’t available in olive right now.  Maybe soon?

In addition to new fabrics, I’ve also ordered a myriad of tools to spruce up your sewing machine and tool box.  You can also expect new high end notions to bump the quality of your sewing projects up to the next level.  And you can look forward to more gorgeous tailoring canvases, interfacing, linings (striped!!!) and pocketing.

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Right now we have restocked some of the locally created wooden sewing tools in our shop.  If you’ve been waiting for an acorn thimble case or tape measure (as many of you have been ever since they were featured in a couple of sewing magazines recently), the wait is over.

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Thank you to everyone at the Association of Sewing and Design Professionals conference last weekend for making Matt and I feel very welcome.  We greatly valued all of your feedback and requests about our patterns and tools!  Actually, many of the items I ordered for our shop this week were chosen based on this feedback and also based on some very helpful emails that you guys have been sending me lately.  You are looking for thimbles in multiple sizes?  Coming soon!  You would like to order tailoring canvas (like the canvas included within our tailoring kits) by the meter for your coat project?  You will soon be able to do so.  You would really like to sew a cozy yet waterproof Newcastle Cardigan?  Me too!  And fabric is on it’s way.

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Aside from fabric and notion requests, a few of you have also been emailing me with some inspiring ideas for future patterns.  I always become a workaholic in the Fall as the weather cools and I delve deep into my sewing projects.  Your ideas for full pattern lines, specific features in future patterns, and improvements to our existing patterns are contributing hugely to my current desire to design and make EVERYTHING! Speaking of making things, I just finished this buffalo check Fairfield Shirt for my Dad this week.  I’m giving it to him when he comes for dinner tonight!

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Anyways, please keep those ideas coming :).  If you ever come across an inspiring garment, read a great article, notice a complete lack of pattern options, have feedback about the blog or website, or even want to share cool design feature within a pattern or store bought garment, please don’t hesitate to email! (info@threadtheory.ca)  Just because something isn’t fully relevant to the patterns or supplies we currently offer doesn’t mean it won’t be useful to Thread Theory in the future. Special thanks, this week, goes to Joanna Dyson for sharing this excellent article from the New York Times on women’s workwear.  I’ve been daydreaming and scheming ever since!


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A smattering of inspiration…

As we near 5000 followers on Instagram (wow!) I have been noticing a plethora of your inspiring makes popping up on various hashtags.  Let me share some with you!

But first, if you use Instagram but don’t follow my posts, you might like to: You can find us at ThreadTheoryDesigns (we used to be Thread_Theory but I recently spruced up our profile with a new name consistent with our Facebook username).

And here is where you can find some wonderful Thread Theory and DIY menswear inspiration:

If you are unable to view the photos below, it is likely you are viewing the post in your email program.  Click through to the blog to view the full post!

#threadtheory

Someone has a very patient wife. That was not on first try I can assure you 🙈😁😂 #jedediahpants #threadtheory

A post shared by Andreia Salgueiro (@andsalgueiro) on

#threadtheorydesigns

He loves it! #threadtheorydesigns #finlaysonsweater #makemenswear #emmaonesock

A post shared by Jenn (@jenndumon) on

#makemenswear

Look i made something. Some dude sewing for my brother #strathconahenley #makemenswear

A post shared by @spavia on

These turned out just as I'd hoped! #threadtheory #makemenswear #noyoucantseethemon

A post shared by Jackie Burney (@jaxnburn) on

#camasblouse

 

Are you daydreaming about fabric choices for one of our patterns?  Try searching for the #[insert name of the pattern here] in Instagram or on Facebook.  Or check out our Pinterest boards!