Thread Theory

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


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Fabric Sale!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peruse our fabric selection >

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


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Your Lazos and my Lazos (hacked or otherwise)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A post shared by @kellenehunter on

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great weekend, everyone.

 

 


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Lazo Hack: Elastic Waist Joggers

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As promised, here is my contribution to the ongoing Lazo Hack contest.  I’ve made a few simple adjustments to the Lazo Trousers pattern to produce elastic waist joggers with a satin ribbon drawstring!

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While working on these joggers last night I snapped a few pictures to create a tutorial for you.  I’ll show you how to adjust the front waistband so that it is one piece, switch the fly from functioning to a mock fly, and add elastic and buttonholes for a drawstring.  You can hem the trousers as per normal or you can add some narrow cuffs at the ankle as I did.

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(Velvet jogger inspiration from Anthropologie.  I love the tassel drawstring!)

Transforming the Lazos into joggers is a VERY simple hack that could work for both woven and knit fabrics.  Any woven fabric that you might choose for a regular pair of Lazos will work for these joggers (chambray tencel or velvet would be awesome!).  If you want some jogger inspiration, here is a good series of styled images.  I’m probably a bit late to the jogger trend (I think it began in 2014) but I’ve never really adhered to trends anyways, I just choose my clothing based on my current lifestyle and mood.


Ok, let’s convert the Lazos to joggers:

Begin by selecting and altering your pattern pieces.  The only pattern piece you do not need to use is the Zipper Shield.

The only pattern piece you need to change is the Waistband Front – simply fold under the extension at the notches and cut the waistband on the fold (just like you cut the back waistband).  There is no need to cut interfacing pieces for the waistband or fly.

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Assemble the trousers as per the instructions all the way up to the Fly Front section.  If you are working with a knit, you might like to use a stretch stitch or a serger so that your seams are not at risk of snapping when the fabric stretches.

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To create the mock fly finish the seat seam as instructed.  Next, sew the inseam, but instead of stopping just below the zipper placement notch, ignore the curved fly facing and stitch in a straight line all the way up to the fly facing notch (which is the centre front of the pants).  If you prefer to leave off the fly altogether (perhaps you would like to insert a side seam invisible zipper instead), you can trim off the fly facings.  To sew the mock fly, press the facings towards the right side of the trousers (if you were wearing them).

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On the right side of the trousers, topstitch as you would normally to give the illusion of a functioning fly.

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Now we are ready to assemble the waistband!  If you would like to add a drawstring later, now is the time to add buttonholes to your waistband front.  Apply a small square of interfacing to the centre of the waistband on the wrong side of the fabric.  This will help to stabilise the fabric when you sew your buttonholes and it will make your buttonholes less likely to become misshapen with use.

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To position your buttonholes, fold the waistband front in half and measure in from the fold 1/2″.  Place a pin through both layers of fabric and then mark the pin’s position with chalk (preferably on the wrong side of the fabric so that you don’t have to wash out your chalk as I did!  Sorry for the wet waistband later on in the post…I was on a roll while I was sewing and didn’t want to stop to wait for the fabric to dry!).

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I chose to add 1/2″ buttonholes but you can add whatever size you prefer based on the drawstring that you choose.

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Now place the waistband front and back with right sides together and sew the side seams.  Repeat this step for the waistband facings (the second set of waistband pieces).

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You now have two waistband loops.  Place these with right sides together and sew along the entire top edge.  By the way, at this point it would be easy to make your waistband shorter by simply chopping off the top of the waistband before you sew the two loops together.  You could choose to match the width of elastic you plan to use for instance.  I left my waistband the full height because I wanted them to be high rise trousers.  Centring the 2″ elastic within the waistband resulted in a bit of a paper-bag silhouette.  If your waistband does not extend above the elastic your trousers will not have a ruffled top edge as mine do.

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You might like to understitch along the top of the waistband to prevent the facing from rolling outwards.

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Attach the waistband to the trousers while keeping the waistband facing free.  Place the waistband and trousers with right sides together.  Make sure to centre your buttonholes over the seat seam and align your side seams.

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Press the seam allowances towards the waistband and then press the waistband facing downwards to enclose all of the raw edges.  You can either finish the waistband facing edge at this point or you can press under the seam allowance for a very tidy look.  I left my serged edge visible because my fabric is pretty bulky so I didn’t want to add another layer of fabric.

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Pin the waistband facing in place carefully.  I would highly recommend basting it in place so that you don’t have to worry about it shifting during the next step!

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From the right side of the trousers, start 1″ away from one of the side seams and stitch in the ditch all the way around the waistband.  Finish your stitching 1″ away from the same side seam so that you are left with a 2″ opening at the bottom of the waistband facing.  You will use this opening to insert the elastic.

Circle elastic around your waist to find the perfect fit.  I circled mine at my natural waist but if you have shortened your waistband to fit your elastic width, circle your elastic a couple of inches below your natural waist since the trousers will now sit lower.  Remember to include some extra elastic so that you can overlap the ends later to create a loop!

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Thread the elastic into the opening using a safety pin.  Once both ends are pulled out of the opening check that the elastic is not twisted within the waistband and then overlap the ends and stitch them together.

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Close the elastic within the waistband by stitching in the ditch over the 2″ hole.

Try on your Lazos to check the length of the hem (and to admire how they look!).  Hem them in the style that you choose (a regular hem, a wide cuff or a narrow ribbed cuff like mine).

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Now you have several options to prevent your elastic from shifting around in the waistband.  The simplest option is to distribute the fabric nicely around the elastic (while you are wearing the trousers) and then place a pin through the side seams and elastic.  Stitch in the ditch of the side seam to secure the elastic in place.

To create the paper bag waist and more thoroughly secure your elastic in place, you can toptstitch along both the top and bottom of the elastic around the entire waistband.

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Now all you need to do is thread a drawstring through the buttonholes using the same safety pin technique is before and your joggers are complete!

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I hope you like my fresh interpretation of the Lazos Trousers!  Have you tried hacking them yet or do you prefer to sew them as is?

Edit Jan 25th: Some of you asked me to model these Lazos for you – here I am in my jammies 😉  They look pretty cozy eh?

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To finish off Friday in a happy sort of way, let’s do the third Lazo Hack contest draw!  Today’s winner is Meg (@madebymegblog)!  Check out the awesome way she styled her Lazos.

The rolled hems and boot combo is really wearable and cute!  Congrats Meg, your use of #lazotrousers has won you $25 to Blackbird Fabrics.  Thanks for sharing!

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I will draw the last Lazo Hack prize on Friday, Jan. 27th.  The winner will get to choose which goodies (from our shop) they would like me to fill this sewing caddy with – up to a $100 value!

You have 7 days to take a photo of your Lazos whether they are still a work in progress or finished and share them on Instagram or Facebook using #lazotrousers.

Download your Lazo pattern >


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Buffalo Check Fairfield Shirt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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He LOVES lying in puddles.  Can you tell?


 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And, in other news before I sign off:


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


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Spring Wardrobe – End Result!

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With the first day of summer (and my birthday!) arriving on Sunday, now is the time for me to wrap up my spring wardrobe project.  I first posted about my spring sewing plans on January 1st when I was dreaming of warmer weather.  I included some patterns I hoped to sew and a couple of different color themes that I planned to choose from:

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I ended up sticking with the blue and off-white color scheme and added in black and grey as neutral colors.  I’m glad I used this color scheme rather than the green and pink one I had been considering because until I sewed up these garments my closet contained only earthy browns and olive greens.  It feels much fresher and brighter now with bold blues and clean blacks smattered here and there!

I didn’t get all of my sewing plans finished this spring but I came pretty close.  Here were the key pieces I hoped to create for this wardrobe along with which patterns and fabrics I ended up using for them:

Two blouses: Complete

Two sweaters: Halfway done

  • The Coppelia Cardigan: Sewn in an off-white linen knit (so dreamy to wear!!!) using Variation 1 which is a wrap sweater.  Fabric sourced locally.  Blogged with my Ginger Jeans here!
  • The Coppelia Cardigan: I also sewed version two in a beautiful forest green wool knit but it ended up not fitting me very nicely and all my adjustments to try to fix this sadly led to a sweater that is considerably too small.  I’ll have to try again!

Two to three basic tops: Incomplete

  • The Nettie Bodysuit: Despite the fact that basic tops are what I most lack in my wardrobe, I never got around to making a few Netties because I haven’t found the perfect fabric yet.  I would like something with a bit of body that won’t stretch out throughout the day.  I have my eye on a really interesting compression fabric from the fabric wholesaler that we get our Comox Trunk kit fabric and Bag Making Supplies kit canvas from.  I’ll be working on these tops fairly soon!

Two trousers: Complete (but not fully photographed)

  • The Ginger Jeans:  Sewn in a thick and soft black denim that I purchased during a winter trip to Vancouver.  These have been a big success and I have plans to make a second pair soon.  Blogged here!
  • The Lazo Trousers:  I’ve sewn a couple samples of our upcoming Lazo Trousers pattern but all our photographs of them are featuring our model rather than me.  I’ll probably blog about these when the pattern is finally ready to release :).

Two skirts (one dressy and one casual): Complete

  • The Cascade Skirt: Sewn in a rich purple faux suede with a brass button.  Fabric sourced locally.  I wore this occasionally in late winter and early spring but it is quite fancy (and warm) so I’ll be bringing it back out in the Fall.  Blogged here!
  • The Brumby Skirt: I had originally planned to sew a second Cascade Skirt in a more casual fabric but then Megan Nielsen switched up my plans by releasing her Brumby Skirt pattern.  I’m glad I ended up sewing this skirt since the wide, shaped waistband is incredibly comfortable I love the pockets and top stitching!  Tencel Denim from Blackbird Fabrics.  Scroll down for more photos of this!

Two bras and six underwear: Complete

  • The Watson Set: Sewn using kits from Blackbird Fabrics (there are new kits in the shop today!!!).  I went a bit nuts in January and February sewing loads of bras and underwear.  I’ve shown my favorite ones in the collage above.  Blogged here!

Two sundresses: Complete

Scroll down for more photos of these!

  • The Kim Dress: Sewn using a limited edition floral print from By Hand London.  The stiff cotton paired with the full skirt and pin tucks really makes this into the perfect sundress for wandering through meadows of wild flowers…I just needed a big straw hat to complete the picture!  I love the shaping of the bodice on this pattern.  The straps are set quite far apart and so they fit my wide shoulders far more nicely than most sleeveless dress patterns do.  I look forward to sewing up the second variation of this pattern (with a slim petal-like skirt) this winter…maybe in velvet?
  • The “Have it your way” Dress: This is a dress from Lauren Guthrie’s book (Learn to Sew with Lauren) but I found this pattern in the first issue of Simply Sewing and it was called “Two Ways Dress” within this magazine.  This style, with its high neckline and peter pan collar, is something I have never worn before.  I have always admired this look (it seems very sophisticated and French to me) but was nervous it would make me look like a toddler with a round face!  In the end, I really love it and am not sure why I’ve avoided high necklines for so long.  I was able to skip the back zipper completely since the dress has quite a loose fit at the waist.  Next time (there will be a next time!) I will be cutting the back skirt and bodice on the fold to eliminate the center back seam.  This dress was sewn in a very soft rayon from Blackbird Fabrics.

 

Matt did a really nice photoshoot of my latest unblogged outfits on Wednesday.  We were walking Luki at a park called “Wildwood Forest” that was completely filled with beautiful tall grasses and daisies.  It made an excellent backdrop and Luki enjoyed exploring while we ignored him for half an hour :P.  It was a quiet enough location that changing into new outfits wasn’t too nerve wracking!

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Well…I must say, that feels pretty satisfying to have most of my personal sewing projects from the last 6 months gathered into one place to examine!  It hasn’t really felt like I’ve been doing much sewing lately since I’ve been so focused on computer work for Thread Theory, on packing boxes for moving (in one week!) and on gardening.  Here is an example of how going slow and steady can pretty much winn the race (or at least mostly complete the race).  A few of these projects haven’t had much wear throughout the Spring seeing as I only finished them a week or two ago but at least they were completed while it is still technically Spring.  I never had more than one personal project on my sewing table at a time and sometimes went up to half a month without working on my wardrobe items.  I like this style of sewing – there was no rushing or stress involved and I got to enjoy some new items in my closet as the weather warmed up.  Now I’ll have a complete capsule wardrobe waiting for me next Spring (though, reality is, in our temperate climate I will be wearing these garments most of the year!).

Now it is time to welcome the Summer – it is going to be a long and wonderful one!


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Way too much lingerie!

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Last February, shortly before Valentine’s Day and not long after my blog post about my Spring wardrobe plans, I caught the lingerie sewing bug.  I knew it was bound to get me eventually seeing as it has made it’s way through the blogosphere several times now!  The bug was passed to me by Caroline of Blackbird Fabrics and Tasia of Sewaholic during a trip to visit them in the winter.  They were stocking up on gorgeous lingerie elastics and laces at a local fabric shop and suddenly my shopping list looked so dismally colorless and lacking in frills!  It wasn’t long before I was in the checkout lineup with a shopping basket of pale pinks and nudes of my own.

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Of course, Caroline’s gorgeous Watson Bra Kits, which she released not long after my Vancouver trip, did nothing to help matters – my mailbox soon contained three of these beauties and I spent quite a few late winter evenings sewing up lingerie.  It was so much fun!

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In case you haven’t already read elsewhere, the Watson Bra is really quick to sew, very easy to fit and quite comfortable to wear.  It’s certainly a different silhouette than I am used to but I’m pleased with how many shirts I find myself happily wearing it under.  It suits my Camas Blouses very nicely and is great under cozy sweaters.  I don’t find myself inclined to wear it with thin t-shirts or sports clothing because I prefer something with padding and more coverage in these instances.

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The findings in the Blackbird Fabrics kits really make the bra – the hook and eye closures are very plush and comfortable and the jewelry quality sliders and rings make the bra feel very high quality compared to the plastic ones I have on most of my RTW lingerie.  The quality of the elastics is far superior to anything I have available locally.  I’ve been very frustrated with underwear sewing in the past because after a couple delicate washes (no dryer) the elastic already starts to break down!

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It drives me nuts…especially since I have found that the very cheap La Senza underwear that I used to purchase included elastic and lace that lasted longer than the fabric itself!  So far, all of the Blackbird elastics show no sign of wear.  The stretch lace that I purchased while in Vancouver (the peach lace on the blue bra) is looking brand new as well.

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On the other hand, the black stretch lace and black elastic that I purchased locally already features fraying portions and exposed inner elastic fibres.  To be fair, I find myself wearing my grey bamboo mock up Watson more often than my other two sets because it is so stretchy and comfortable so this might be contributing to the wear.untitled-33

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The pretty burgundy and blue sets that I made using Caroline’s kits offer much more support than my bamboo knit version and a tiny bit less comfort (but this is all relative – they are more comfortable than any of my RTW underwire bras).  I also view them as my ‘fancy’ sets so I only wear them if I am putting them on under something a bit dressy.

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I really enjoyed adding to the fabrics included in the kits with additional fabric from my stash, lace, bows and even a lace garter belt (using some of the indestructible lace from one of my old pairs of RTW underwear).  Due to the additional trims and fabrics I added, I was left with quite a bit of the kit materials – enough to sew a couple more pairs of underwear if I included additional lace and accent fabrics once again.

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The patterns that I used for these sets are: The Watson Bra (all are the longline version), The Watson Underwear (included with the bra pattern), and the Ladyshorts (a free pattern by Cloth Habit).

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I’m taking a break from lingerie sewing for a while now but I’m really happy with how this mini sewing obsession led to a completely updated and fresh lingerie drawer to go with my spring outfits!  Now its back to nice sturdy denims and rugged canvases for me :).


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I sewed for myself! A Summer Jazz Dress and Kimono

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Prepare to feast your eyes on some really pretty photos!  My sister, Matt and I headed to the beach at sunrise (6:10am) to get some shots of Kayleen doing yoga and me posing in my latest outfit.  The location and lighting was absolutely stunning and I enjoyed waking up while sipping coffee and watching my sister contort herself into various energetic shapes.  Matt was really in top form and I had trouble paring down the photos for this post…it would seem a little self-absorbed to bombard you with many more than I’ve included!  Anyways, let’s start off with an awesome picture of my sister:

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STUNNING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  If you’d like to see more shots like this, she posts them regularly on her Instagram account: yogakayvdr.  And now, moving on to some more sedentary photos of myself in my latest sewn-by-me outfit.Blog-3

I recently started chatting with Elizabeth from Snapdragon Studios.  Have you heard of this pattern company?  The company consists of two friends, Kim and Elizabeth, who design easy to wear and very pretty women’s patterns.  They have a website, a very active blog and an Etsy store which currently includes their first three patterns – The Weekend Rambler Skirt, The Market Day Tunic, and The Summer Jazz Dress.  Elizabeth and I both coveted each other’s patterns and so we eagerly traded PDFS (they have both PDF and paper versions) and I got right to work sewing the Summer Jazz Dress…I literally started and finished sewing it the very evening that I received the pattern!

The Summer Jazz Dress can be sewn in both knits and wovens.  There are shirt and knee length options provided as well as instructions on how to lengthen it to create a maxi dress.  I sewed my dress (and co-ordinating kimono) for a wedding I attended a couple weekends ago.  The wedding was at the north tip of Vancouver Island which can often be quite breezy and chilly so I opted for the maxi version (plus, as I’m sure you all know…I LOVE how comfortable maxi dresses are to wear!).  I sewed the dress out of the bamboo jersey that is included in our Comox Trunks Supplies Kits and I sewed the kimono using the very popular Elle DIY Kimono tutorial and used a polyester Georgette.

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Construction-wise, there isn’t too much to say about the kimono – I finished the edges with a narrow hem and really should have used french seams but sewed the kimono in the same evening that I sewed the dress (the wedding was rapidly approaching!) and so I started by using french seams on the shoulder seams and quickly reverted to serged seams for the side seams and sleeve seams.Blog-6

While the construction notes are brief, I could wax on and on about how lovely this quick sewing project is to wear!  It floats in the smallest of breezes and actually protects against the chill quite successfully.Blog-9

While kimonos can sometimes be a little cumbersome to wear, this one doesn’t restrict my movement too much because the sleeves are 2/3 length and are not overly wide (though they sometimes get caught on door handles as I walk through the door :P).  I curved the front more than the tutorial recommended and this makes it feel like a short jacket at the front while still providing enough length at the back to be, in my opinion, very sumptous.  I suppose you could say that my kimono is fairly reminiscent of a mullet…Blog-12

The flowers are so beautiful and I love the gray tones that make the bright coral a little more sedate!  The pinky/coral poppies (maybe?) match my favorite lipstick perfectly…completely unintentional :P.Blog-10

And now on to the main purpose of this post!  The Summer Jazz Dress!Blog-23

This design features flattering flutter sleeves and a really nicely curved v-neck which is my favorite shape of neckline.  It also includes a very clever elastic casing that creates a subtle empire waistline and produces the comfiest dress ever – no worries about eating too much at a wedding buffet in this dress!  One thing to note about the heavy gathers at the front of this dress – they pull the hemline down so it is very important to compensate for this by hanging and cutting your hem accordingly.  Of course, I failed to do this because I was in a rush to finish my dress so I may end up trimming the hem to knee length after all to fix how it curves upwards at center back.Blog-14

The only changes I made to the pattern were slimming down the hip and thigh area at the side seam and altering the length of the maxi as an experiment.  My knit is likely pretty heavy compared to the floaty and drapey fabrics used for the Snapdragon samples so I felt it needed to look a little more slim in the waist.  I probably took about 5 or 6 inches out from either side seam in this area!
Blog-18As for the length, I wanted to try hemming it so that the maxi skirt fell to my ankles as a way to display my shoes.  I thought this would be an interesting way to make a maxi dress look a little less overwhelming on my petite frame.  In the end, I think I like the ankle length look on fashion models but probably prefer the floor skimming length on me!  Ah well, it was worth a try!  Even if the floor length is more flattering on me, this shorter length is certainly less likely to be a tripping hazard!Blog-22 Have you tried a Snapdragon pattern yet?  If you haven’t, they are certainly worth a go!  The illustrations are hand-drawn and clear and the instructions are brief yet effective.  The construction techniques are clever and very efficient.  I particularly liked the neckline finish – it is probably the simplest way to sew a v-neck I have come across!  Binding is used as a facing and the folded ends of the binding meet at centre front creating the V shape.  It was nice not to have to worry about visible binding and it resulted in a very clean garment exterior.  I like that the garment can easily be sewn in a woven or knit and that tips are included for each type of fabric.  I also am glad that the maxi version of the dress was not included as a pattern piece as this made the PDF take up far less paper than it could have!

I look forward to seeing more Summer Jazz Dresses showing up around the internet!  Check out the Snapdragon Studios blog to see more as they are currently running a blog tour for this pattern!