Thread Theory

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Belvedere Waistcoat line drawings

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

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

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

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

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

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

Waistcoats for casual wear

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

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

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

 

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Pattern Testing Success – The Fairfield Button-up

Fairfield Button Up Shirt Test Sewing (16 of 16)

For as long as I can remember, my Grandpa (a.k.a. Grampie), has proudly worn the impeccably sewn button-up shirts be-decked with wild prints that my Grandma (a.k.a. Nonnie) sews for him.  A few of my favorites have included a leafy green shirt covered in tree frogs, and a warm brown number complete with giraffes and other safari animals.  The two of them have lots of fun picking out wild cotton prints and, as a result of their awesome choices, he receives compliments everywhere he goes for his memorable shirts.

Of course, when I was finishing the final touches on our upcoming Fairfield Button-up Shirt pattern, my Nonnie was the first person I decided to ask to test sew our shirt.  She is very familiar with the construction of a button-up shirt and she is also very clear, after years of sewing for my Grampie,  about what style and fit he prefers.  Also, my Nonnie makes an excellent pattern tester because she is very detailed oriented and meticulous while she sews.  She is also an experienced editor so she is likely to catch errors while reading the instruction booklet.  I sure am lucky to have such a willing and devoted pattern tester in my family!

Fairfield Button Up Shirt Test Sewing (2 of 16)

As you can see, the end result of her hard work is stunning!  The cotton that the two of them chose is a Kanvas Studio cotton designed by Maria Kalinowski called “Eclipse”.  It is a fairly thick cotton that presses nicely but frays quite a bit (which my Nonnie reported was a little annoying while sewing the details such as the sleeve placket).  I think the print suits my Grampie very well – it looks very dressy on him while still being unusual and fun!Fairfield Button Up Shirt Test Sewing (9 of 16)

The fit of our Fairfield is more slim than my Grampie is used to.  I tested for range of movement by having him stretch his arms out in front of him and cross them – he had full range without any pressure being placed on the fabric across the shoulder blades.  Perfect!  I think the slim fit looks very modern and proportionate on him but not to ‘trendy’ or conspicuously youthful.  He always tucks his shirt in and the Fairfield was plenty long enough to allow him to do this.  It blouses over his waistband just the right amount in my opinion.Fairfield Button Up Shirt Test Sewing (3 of 16)

My Nonnie and Grandpa agreed that they liked the narrow collar stand and collar included with the pattern.  My Grampie has a fairly short neck so the trendy narrow collar really suits his proportions.  I’ve also created some alternate collars, cuffs and pockets which we will be including as free downloads – so if you prefer a wider collar or even a band collar, you are in luck!

My Nonnie really took care with the details on this shirt.  For instance, she perfectly matched the print on the pocket – have a look at that!
Fairfield Button Up Shirt Test Sewing (11 of 16)

She didn’t have to worry about matching the print on the button placket because we decided to go with a ‘grown-on’ or ‘built-in’ placket that is folded over and topstitched rather than sewn to the shirt front.  This makes matching prints and plaids very easy!  It also leads to less fabric bulk caused by seam allowances.
Fairfield Button Up Shirt Test Sewing (13 of 16)

The back of the shirt features a proper yoke with two layers and a crisp pleat (though we are also including a version for darts at the back with no pleat).  The sleeves and side seams are sewn using flat fell seams.  My Nonnie’s sleeves are impeccably stitched!Fairfield Button Up Shirt Test Sewing (14 of 16)

Best of all, the Fairfield includes a proper one piece tower placket.  The inside and outside of the placket feature no raw edges.  This placket style is very strong and is simply a must on a classic menswear button-up shirt.  My Nonnie gave me some great feedback about my instructions for the placket sewing process and I will be modifying the folding technique at the top of the placket so that it is really easy to create an even triangle!  I’m thrilled that she pointed out an alternative folding system because I have never seen it done the way she described before yet it achieves very consistent results with little fiddling.Fairfield Button Up Shirt Test Sewing (15 of 16)

She also commented that she loves the placement of the pleat on the sleeve because it lines up exactly with the crisp line that she likes to iron down my Grandpa’s sleeves.  The end result is a very slick, formal looking sleeve.Fairfield Button Up Shirt Test Sewing (10 of 16)

I received the rest of the pattern testing feedback via email this week (it is all so thorough and incredibly helpful – thank you test sewers!!!) so I know what I will be doing this weekend. 😛  Not long now until we can set a firm launch date!  The Fairfield PDF pattern will easily be launched in time to sew Father’s Day presents and prepare for summer weddings.


 

Thank you, Nonnie, for spending so much time working on this pattern for us!  All of your feedback is very valuable.  And thank you, Grampie, for making your modelling debut on the Thread Theory blog!  You look very smart, as always.


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Special Delivery!

What’s that, you want another sneaky Wednesday post from Matt full of hints of things to come?

You got it.

First up, an itty-bitty box full of brown paper!

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That’s right, after being an incorporated business for 10 months and selling our product for 5 months (jeeeez, has it only been 5 months?!), we finally got around to ordering business cards! They were designed by the lovely and incredibly talented Sonia Bishop (who also designed our logo) and printed by ClubCard printing out of Vancouver, BC. They are a vertical design done in plain black and white ink on 24pt natural kraft paper. And we love them.

Next up are some significantly larger boxes. 6 of them, to be exact, weighing in at a total of 180 lbs.

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That’s right, tissue patterns! Our first three patterns have arrived and they look GREAT! We knew it was going to be a pretty big load, but we had NO idea how much space 3,000 packets of tissue paper would take up. Turns out it’s a lot; Morgan is currently painting our closets so we can have everything looking pretty and organized for a later photoshoot. And they are HEAVY! Step 1 of going to print: Complete.

Now for some Goldstream Peacoat action: Morgan has finished the second prototype of the pattern, and it turned out beautifully!

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There are still a couple tiny changes to be made before it is graded and prettied up, but we’re getting close! More details coming soon…

Last, but certainly not least, there is a super-secret project that Morgan and I are working on. I can’t say much more about it other than one of our previous posts contained a photo hint (remember a cardboard box?). It is involving quite a bit of planning and logistics, but we’re VERY excited to show you once it’s ready!

Thanks for stopping by, and remember to follow our blog for updates!


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Launch Day: The Strathcona Henley and T-Shirt

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Today we have released the third pattern in our Parkland Collection!  Head on over to our pattern store to download your copy of the Strathcona Henley and T-shirt sewing pattern.  Yes, I said henley and t-shirt pattern!  We decided to make the pattern more versatile so that it will become your go-to pattern every time you need to refresh the closet with staple tees.

The pattern includes instructions for two variations:

1. The long sleeved henley-style knit shirt with a three button placket, cozy cuffs and an easy-to-sew hem band.

2. The short sleeved classic crew-neck t-shirt with short sleeves and a twin needle (or zig-zagged) hem.

Go ahead and mix and match these variations to create endless t-shirts!  I can wait to see all the short sleeved henleys, the super easy and quick crew neck longsleeve t-shirts, and the awesome t-shirts with contrast hems and neck bands!  Really, the possibilities are endless!

Here are a few of the variations that have come to life so far both in my sewing studio and around the world in the test-sewer’s sewing rooms (more test sewer versions to come in future blog posts!):

My version of Variation 1 made in a relaxed rib knit:  The warm, slightly rusty colour and the loose, relaxed fit created by the very stretchy ribbed fabric make this version the perfect top to wear while sitting around an early fall campfire!

Blogless Anna’s version of Variation 1 using an awesome striped jersey paired with a bold black contrasting placket (see her great blog post for all the details of her sewing process):  This version of the henley looks so classic and RTW!  I imagine it would be awfully difficult to grab any other shirt when this is sitting in your closet!

My mix of Variation 1 and 2 to create a sporty hiking and mountain biking top for my dad:  I made things easy on myself by using snaps instead of buttons and by cutting off the bottom of the sleeves to use this fabric as small sleeve bands – no twin needle needed!

Do you like what you see?  Head on over to download the pattern and you can whip up one for yourself or a lucky recipient in no time at all!

The crew-neck version, when paired with sleeve and hem bands is the perfect beginner knit sewing project and the henley placket variation is a great challenge for more intermediate sewers.  If you are scared of sewing knits, you don’t need to be anymore!  The instructions include suggestions for setting up your sewing machine (even if you don’t have a serger!) to correctly deal with the fabric you chose.  They also include different tips and tricks for beginner or intermediate sewers.  Both variations are quick to make and result in a casual, slim-fitting t-shirt that will be a perfect hand-made wardrobe staple.  Happy sewing!

 


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Pattern Review by Meg

This week, over at Made By Meg, Meg posted a great review of our Newcastle Cardigan pattern.  She was a speedy and wonderfully thorough test sewer for us and her results are fantastic (and her boyfriend makes a great model!).  She used a lightweight sweater knit and faux leather vinyl to create the classic “hard and soft” menswear look.

We’re excited that she enjoyed sewing up the cardigan and noticed the effort we put into creating easy-to-follow instructions.  She also told us that she was glad we had minimized the amount of paper that the cardigan pattern prints out on as paper usage can often be quite huge with PDF patterns…Matt is thrilled she noticed as getting the pattern down to only 24 pages took hours of work!

Thank you Meg for testing our pattern!  Check out Meg’s blog for all sorts of interesting reading and great project pictures…also, be sure to check in on May 15th when she will be offering a give-away to celebrate the launch of our Newcastle Cardigan!