Thread Theory

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


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New Thread Theory pattern: The Eastwood Pajamas!

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Ready to choose your own adventure?  I can’t help but think of that style of paperback summer-read when looking at the Eastwood Pajama instructions.

The Eastwood Pajamas are, at first glance, a basic pair of pajama bottoms…you’ll probably find a comfortably well worn pair of something similar in most men’s closets.  Dig a little deeper and you’ll see that this pattern has been carefully constructed to offer a number of choices to suit your skill level or sewing mood.  Choose between many details or almost none and you will still wind up with a cosy pair of bottoms with a nice modern fit (not too baggy but loose enough to be completely comfortable.

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Within the variations, you will find the option to create a button fly (with a functioning button), a mock fly (to provide the visual interest of a fly without the risk of exposing oneself), or to skip the fly altogether.  The instructions walk you through inseam pockets but will also provide the opportunity to add a single back patch pocket if you’d like to try sewing one of these.  You can add strengthening top stitching or you can skip these details to create a quick birthday or Christmas gift.  Really, the choice of how detailed you’d like to get with these pajamas is all yours!

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Most light to medium weight woven materials will work for these pajamas.  The two samples you see modelled by Matt and his brother are made from linen (olive green) and brushed cotton (buffalo check).  Novelty flannels, quilting cotton or shirtings are all great choices too!

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The waistband is elasticated with the option to include a functional drawstring or leave it out.  The instructions include a few methods for adding the elastic to your waistband so you can experiment with which way you like most.

As usual, this pattern is only available as a PDF right now…we hope to print it soon but would like to hear your opinion on the matter.  You may have noticed we haven’t been re-printing some of our sold out patterns lately.  The Newcastle Cardigan and the Comox Trunks are out of stock and the Strathcona Henley is getting somewhat close to selling out.  Currently the Belvedere Waistcoat and Sayward Raglan have not yet had their chance at the print shop.

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We’ve noticed sales of printed patterns have decreased in proportion to digital patterns in the last year and have also noticed some of the other indie sewing pattern companies have put more of an emphasis on digital patterns.  I’m curious to hear your thoughts on printed patterns – is it worth reprinting our older designs again?  Or should we leave them as PDF only and focus our funds and energy on printing our newer designs faster?    Are you happy working from PDF patterns (more affordable and easier for us to offer at discounted sale prices) or do more costly printed patterns still take precedence when you’re budgeting for sewing supplies?  Do you wish our new patterns were released as PDF and printed patterns simultaneously? Or do you like that we offer the digital file immediately and then print when any kinks have been worked out and funds have been raised (and, of course, offer a discount code to pdf customers so they can purchase the tissue pattern minus the cost of the PDF that they already bought)?

It’s time to weigh in!

EastwoodPajamas

And it’s time to head off on a summer sewing adventure!  Download the Eastwood Pajamas today so you’re ready with a cozy pair or two by the time the first chill of Fall arrives.

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What I’ve Been Making Lately

I think it’s high time for an update on what I’ve been working on outside the realm of Thread Theory lately!  I’ve been a bit quiet on this front for the last year because Matt and I were foster parents from August until the end of this June…this took up every ounce of energy we had and so we pared our lives down to Thread Theory and caring for the children exclusively.  Fostering also required that we keep our family life very private for the confidentiality of the children, hence why I haven’t mentioned this phase of our lives on the blog yet.

Now that the children have moved on to more permanent situations, we are delving into making things in a big way!  The biggest project I have in the works is this:

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Our baby boy, due on October 10th!

Thus, my sewing projects in the last couple of weeks have been much smaller and cuter than what you might usually see on my sewing table.

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Perhaps you recognise some of these fabrics from our shop in the past…what a great way to use up off cuts!  The patterns I’ve used for this cute little wardrobe are as follows:

Booties: Twig & Tale Animal Baby Shoes.  I highly recommend this pattern, it was so much fun to sew and the instructions were impeccably detailed.

Pants: Sew 4 Bub Grow With Me Pants. A free pattern!

Hats: How Does She? Knot Hard At All Hat.  An easy tutorial.

Scratch Mittens: 5 Little Monsters No Scratch Baby Mittens.  Another great tutorial.

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Menswear sewing will recommence shortly since Matt really needs a new pair of shorts this summer.  I also hope to finish a fresh Goldstream Peacoat for him to wear this winter.  I’ve been sewing it very slowly and photographing the steps as I go to create a Goldstream Sew-along to launch this fall.


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July Sewing Inspiration: Your Fairfield and Jed projects

Fairfield and Jedediah

An exceptionally elegant Fairfield and Jedediah combo made by Sarah for her husband to wear to their wedding.  Both of their outfits were handmade by the couple – they even made their shoes together!

I’ve been mailing out a particularly large number of Fairfield Button-up Shirt patterns lately (and their PDF counterparts are selling in greater numbers than usual too)…after a peruse of the latest Fairfield projects on Instagram, I can see that many of you have wasted no time getting to work!  Here are some of the most summery Fairfield’s you have all been making:

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I like this monochrome take on a tropical short sleeve button-up made by Suzie.

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And again, with the monochrome theme, this delicate floral Fairfield looks very versatile.  It was sewn by Lise.

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For a wonderful beachy-vibe, this pineapple print Fairfield, sewn by Alicia, is perfect!

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Meg’s take on the Fairifield in a romantic floral is perfect for her and her husband’s date night.

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Lastly, to fully embrace the balmy weather we’ve been having, this stunning hibiscus printed Fairfield by Angie is the epitome of summer!

Each summer, our Jedediah pants, or more specifically their shorts variation, crops up increasingly on social media.  Here are some of the versions that have caught my eye!

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Matt could really use a pair of Jedediah Shorts in this versatile blue- grey – he’s wearing his lime green ones daily right now!  Nina sewed this pair for her husband and included my favourite detail from this pattern – the binding along the side seam.

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Rumana made a slightly longer pair of Jed Shorts for her partner – I really like this flattering length and have seen a few pairs cut to just below knee lately.  Also, note her lovely binding in the photo below:

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Stephanie’s take on the Jedediah Shorts, above, are a little shorter than the pattern calls for and in fact, are similar in length to the pair that I made for Matt years ago…he wore those ones to pieces!  This length is ideal for incredibly hot summer days.

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This rich wine colored pair of Jedediah Shorts is one of four pairs of Jeds that Katie made for her husband!

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Another person to sew multiple pairs, Natalie really perfected the finishing details such as the elegant waistband clasps and fun pocket prints.  Two of her versions are above and below:

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To bookend this post with another wedding image, Jen made a dressy pair of wool Jedediah Pants for her partner, Nick.  She slimmed down the legs a bit to suit this more formal style.  She really nailed it!

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Whether you are sewing a menswear outfit for a summer wedding or a trip to the beach, the classic lines of the Fairfield and the hybrid nature of the Jedediah Pants design mean you really only need one button-up and one trouser pattern for summer!


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We’re celebrating Father’s Day with new patterns!

Father's Day 2018

Happy Father’s Day!  If you live in North America, Father’s Day is this Sunday, June 17th.

Toby K Patterns Fehr Trade Thread Theory menswear

We’re celebrating by increasing our pattern offering once again – this time, we’ve collaborated with indie designers Fehr Trade and Toby K Patterns to make their menswear designs available in our shop!

Toby K Patterns Thread Theory menswear

Even if you don’t have time to sew for Dad before the big day, I think it would be lovely to take him out for a coffee or beer (depending on his preference!) and dream up his perfect custom garment together.

Father's Day sewing project sportswear

Does he cycle?  Fehr Trade patterns would be an excellent fit for him – you could sew him the perfect cycling jersey, running top, or long underwear with just the right pockets and fit that he requires.

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Or perhaps he needs something cozy but stylish?

Father's Day sewing project sweater collars

Toby K Patterns have shared three of their stylish sweater designs with our shop.  Each of their patterns include seemingly endless possibilities for customisation.  Their sweater designs all include the option for cosy thumbhole cuffs and you can mix and match pocket styles.

Father's Day sewing project sweater

If you would prefer to gift something finished for Dad, you still have time for a little bit of sewing!  Check out this quick beanie pattern which is a great scrap buster:

Father's Day sewing project hat

We have more indie pattern company collaborations lined up for the future.  I hope you are enjoying this new wealth of choice in our shop!  The above photos are just a sampling of the new designs – be sure to check out the others by scrolling through all of our PDF offerings!

Menswear sewing patterns pdf

Thank you, to the always friendly and always collaborative indie pattern community for happily adding your menswear designs to the Thread Theory pattern library.  Let’s keep this growing!


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Look who has joined us! New PDF Patterns

New Era of Menswear

People often tell us that they are thrilled to have stumbled upon our shop because their choices are so limited for menswear sewing patterns and we have worked hard to rectify this.  While this is true in comparison to the proliferation of gorgeous, trendy women’s styles available, we feel that the indie sewing community has done an excellent job of beginning to fill the menswear void along with us.  Menswear sewing patterns are no longer few and far between – let’s celebrate this!

COLLABORATION IS KEY

In order to foster a sense of community and to bring menswear to the forefront of the online sewing world, we’ve decided to attempt to gather all the excellent menswear PDF patterns together and make them available in one, easy-to-find place: Our Thread Theory website.  Most of these well-designed menswear patterns have been created by companies who usually focus on women’s fashion.  By joining us and sharing their patterns in our shop, we hope they will be easier for you (the menswear sewists) to peruse and compare all in one place and all in one similar format.

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So, without further ado, let me introduce you to the first designs to join our Thread Theory patterns in the PDF shop!

New PDF pattern companies - Technical Illustrations

 

As you can see, these designs would make a great capsule wardrobe for summer – choose your tee, your preferred over shirt, your casual pants, shorts, and swim shorts to sew everything you need for a summer vacation!

All of these patterns offer something you will not be able to find in our Thread Theory range – whether this be larger sizes or unique style lines (since we focus on basics).

New PDF pattern companies - Mimi G

Many of these patterns are from SewSew Def Magazine which is a collaboration between blogging powerhouses Mimi G Style and Norris Danta Ford.  They kindly featured our Finlayson Sweater in an early issue of the magazine so we are thrilled to be able to work with these designers in a new way by offering their patterns in our shop!  You’ll find six PDF patterns on offer in our shop – I can’t quite pick a favourite as I’m torn between the innovative seaming on their Wooster Cargo Shorts and my love for the namesake of their Gosling Button-up Shirt. 😉

New PDF pattern companies - Wolf and Tree and True Bias

The two other designers I’m proud to feature in our shop are The Wolf and the Tree and True Bias.

The Wolf and the Tree offer a very inclusive t-shirt pattern which is available in two separate size ranges – Regular (S-XL) and Big and Tall (XLT-4XLT).  This versatile tee features crew and v-neck options as well as instructions to finish with hems or bands.

 

True Bias is the designer who created the iconic women’s Hudson Pants, of course!  We now carry Kelli’s men’s version which fills a big hole in our available designs – no menswear pattern shop would be complete without the most comfortable of lounge wear!

Based on the enthusiastic response we’ve received from other pattern companies, you should be able to anticipate the introduction of a large variety of other PDF patterns to our shop over the coming weeks and months.  Thank you for sharing your favourite menswear patterns when I requested feedback in a previous blog post – we’ve found some real gems based on your comments!

And thank you, to our inaugural designers, for your enthusiasm and support as we work towards our goal of pushing menswear to the forefront of the sewing world.  We’re so glad to have you on board!

Shop our PDF catalogue >


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Sayward Raglan Sew-along: Parade

This is the day I look forward to every time I create a sew-along: The parade of your finished garments!

Sayward Raglan Knitting Monk

Aiden’s version of the Sayward Raglan really excited me when it popped up in my Instagram feed…you wouldn’t know it from looking at the finished garment but it has actually been constructed using old upcycled t-shirts gifted to him by one of his brothers!  You could do the same easily (and very affordably!) – just grab two old t-shirts from your closet or the thrift store and cut around any holes or tired screen prints when you place your pieces.  Choose t-shirts larger than your preferred size to ensure you have lots of fabric to work with.  Depending on how you place your pieces, you may even be able to avoid stitching the main hem!

Sayward Raglan Rachel

Rachel was one of our test sewers – she stitched up a long sleeve variation of the Sayward for her husband.  The body is French Terry and the sleeves and neck band are jersey.  She was stash busting when she chose her fabrics which caused her to use two different fabric weights.  I was pleased to see that this worked out very nicely!

Sayward Raglan Amy

Amy sewed this yellow jersey Sayward (which she blogged here) while pattern testing and her husband obligingly modelled.  As you can see, when the Sayward is sewn in a solid color, the raglan seamlines are not necessarily very noticeable and it presents as a very classic looking t-shirt – great for layering!

Sayward Raglan Tracy Feldmann

Another of our testers, Tracy, sewed tees for both her husband and her son in a drapey polyester blend knit and a 100% cotton knit respectively.  I found this comparison of fabric types was very useful to help fine tune my description of recommended fabrics in the instruction booklet.  She was not satisfied with how the neckline drags and drapes on her husband’s shirt but liked how it worked for her son – I think this is all down to the drape of the fabric…men’s tees fit best when the fabric does not drape heavily against the body.  Regardless, I think both tees look excellent and very wearable!  Thanks for your feedback and for emailing this photo, Tracy!

 

Sayward Raglan Amber

Amber tested our pattern from the perspective of a novice sewist (and very talented knitter! You can view here work here.) and I was thrilled to have her feedback on stitching the neckline.  She found the neckline stretched out when she applied the binding and gave excellent feedback about how I might elaborate within the instructions to avoid this confusion for a novice…so you can thank Amber for the clarity of the instructions on the final pattern!  I believe she had plans to remove her stretched neckline and reattach it using her new sewing skills.  Don’t worry if your neckline doesn’t turn out the way you like on your first try – it is fixable and you will find every attempt at stretching your binding without stretching the body of the shirt will become easier and more successful!  You may also find that a small amount of undesired stretching settles itself after the first trip through the wash.

Sayward Raglan Cassie

Last but not least, Cassie sewed this bold floral raglan for her husband and emailed us this photo – his measurements were several inches smaller than our smallest size so the resulting fit is looser than our intended fit – so this is an excellent example of how forgiving knit garments can be, especially with raglan sleeves!  Even though the shirt is technically ‘too large’ for her husband, the fact that there are no shoulder seams or armscye extending too far down the shoulder results in a shirt that looks as though it fits intentionally loose.  Her husband suits a larger neckline too (it looks modern and trendy)!  I think raglans would be a great option to sew as a surprise gift (one which you can’t measure the recipient beforehand) because the raglan seams result in a garment that will appear to fit a broad size range.


 

Thank you to everyone who tested our Sayward Raglan and to those of you who have shared your finished projects!  I look forward to seeing many more Saywards as we near Father’s Day.  #saywardraglan


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Sayward Raglan Sew-along: Day 3

This afternoon we are sewing our Sayward Raglan.  This post will walk you through each step with photos showing construction using a serger and construction using a variety of stretch stitches on a regular sewing machine.  Let’s dig in!

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Your raglan should now be cut out from fabric – I like to clip my notches outwards when sewing with knits to avoid creating runs in the fabric (think of the runs that develop when pantyhose are snagged – similar runs can develop in knits).

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Begin the sewing process by laying out your shirt front on your work surface with the right side up.  Place on of the sleeve pieces on top with right side down.  You will know you have your sleeve aligned correctly if the raglan seam with the single notch lines up with the single notch on the shirt front (note that double notches usually signify the back side of a garment).

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Pin the sleeve seam thoroughly so the notch lines up.

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Stitch the seam using a 1.5 cm (5/8″) seam allowance.  If you are using a serger, this means you will need to trim off the extra fabric with the serger blade.

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If you do not have a serger and are instead using a stretch stitch on your regular sewing machine, here are how some examples of stitches you might use:

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A simple zig zag stitch works great.  Play around with the stitch length and the stitch width by sewing together two small scraps of fabric to create a practice seam.  You want to find the sweet spot where the stitching is not very visible from the right side of the garment when the seam is pulled open and it also is nice and stretchy.  If your zig zag is too wide, you will see puckers that almost look like holes on the right side of the garment.  If your zig zag is too long, it will behave more like a straight stitch and not have very much stretch.

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If your machine is able to do a triple stretch stitch, this is a great option of loose fitting knit garments stitched from sturdy and strong knits.  The machine simply goes back and forth over the same straight stitch three times.  This makes the stitch very strong so your seam will not snap.  This isn’t a good option for delicate knits though since the seam will be stronger than the fabric itself!  This means that, when stretched, the fabric is at risk of tearing while the seam stays perfectly intact.  When I use a triple stretch stitch I like to finish the seam allowance with a zig zag stitch as you can see above.  I then trim the excess seam allowance to make things look tidy and to reduce bulk.  You can choose to finish the seam allowances together (like a serger would) and press them towards the back, or you can create a separate line of zig zag stitching on each seam allowance and press them open (this takes longer but creates less bulk at seam junctions).

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Some regular sewing machines feature awesome stretch stitches such as the one above (they vary in appearance from machine to machine).  This one features a straight stitch broken up with a wide and short zig zag.  If you trim the seam allowance before stitching, the zig zag will actually enclose the raw edge of the fabric to create a finish similar to a serger.  I still like to trim afterwards though since knits don’t really fray much.

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Once your raglan seam is sewn, press the seam allowance towards the sleeve (or open, depending on your preference).  Repeat this process with the second sleeve:

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Below you can see my serged seam allowances on the wrong side of the t-shirt – they are pressed towards the sleeves.

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Now we are ready to add the shirt back!  Leave your shirt laying right side up on your work surface with the sleeves spread out.  Place the shirt back with right side down and line up one of the raglan seams.  This time you will be matching the double notch.  Pin thoroughly.

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Pull the back over to the other sleeve and line up this raglan seam as well (again matching the double notches).  Pin.

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We are ready to sew the back raglan seams!  Use the same stitch style as you did for the front seams and again, press the seam allowances towards the sleeves (or open).

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It is beginning to look like a shirt already!

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Now it is time to add the neck band.  Fold your neck band piece with right sides together and align the two short ends.  Pin.

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If you like, you can baste the neck band closed at this point and continue following the directions below, all the while using a long basting stitch until your neckband has been sewn to your t-shirt.  This is a great way to test the neckband to see if your fabric drapes heavily and drags the neckband until it is too large – this is a common problem with jersey blends but it is any easy one to fix if you do a test fit with large basting stitches.  You can simply remove your basting until you are back to this step in the instructions.  Sew the neck short ends using a larger seam allowance to create a smaller neckband.  When the smaller neckband is stretched to fit on to the neckline, the tension created by the stretching will help the neckline to keep its shape.

The neckband is perfectly drafted to suit stable knits like interlock though, so I’ve proceeded directly to serging here!

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Press the seam open or to one side (depending on the stitch style you used).  You now have a loop:

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Fold your loop in half so the raw edges meet and wrong sides are together.  Press.

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It is now time to apply the binding to the t-shirt neckline!  You can choose where you would like to position your binding seam – in the photos below you will see I’ve placed it at centre back.  If you prefer, you could position it so it lines up with one of the back raglan seams.  This is just a matter of style preference and does not effect the shape or fit of the neck band.

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Divide your neck band in half.  Line up one half (in my case, the neck band seam) with centre back.  Line up the other half (which I’m pinching in the photo below) with centre front.  Pin at these points.

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Now divide the neck band in quarters.  Align each quarter (where I’m pinching in the photo below) half way between the raglan seams.

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You will notice that the binding is smaller than the shirt neckline.  You’ll also notice that the front binding will need to be stretched more than the back binding to fit the shape of the neckline.  Both of these observations are excellent!  The small circumference of the binding will stop the neckline from gaping.  The extra tension on the shirt front will ensure a shapely neckline where it is most likely to sag.

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Stitch around the neckline loop using a 1.5 cm (5/8″) seam allowance.  If you would like a slightly tighter crew neck than our pattern is designed to include, an easy solution would be to sew the binding with a smaller seam allowance (1 cm or 3/8″ for example).  This will result in a wider neck binding and a tighter neckline.

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You can see in the photo above that I began and ended my stitching at center back.  This is a great idea if you plan to cover this part of the seam with a garment tag – your untidy backstitching or serger overlap will be nicely hidden!  If you will not add a tag, it is a good idea to start your stitching at one of the raglan seams so it is not so obviously visible.

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Press the seam allowance towards the shirt body and sleeves.

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If you want to prevent the seam allowances from flapping around and also, if you would like to add more structure and stability to your neckline, you can finish off your neckline by circling it with a stretch stitch.  This stitching catches the seam allowance so that it is permanently pressed in the correct direction.  You can also trim off any excess seam allowance to create a tidier finish.

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If you would like to stitch on a garment tag, place it at centre back and topstitch it down across the top and bottom.  You could even stitch around the entire rectangle.  Remember to keep your stitching as neat as possible because the shape that you stitch will be visible on the back of the garment.

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Now that the neckline is complete, we can do a final fit and head on to the side seams.  It is very easy to fine tune the fit of the Sayward Raglan.  Try the unfinished shirt on the recipient with the shirt inside out.

Pin up the side seams and sleeve seam trying to keep your pins along the seam line as accurately as possible.  If you are frustrated by the pinning or worried you will poke the wearer, you could also baste the seams together with a long stitch length before he tries it on.

At this point, you will be able to see if you need to take in the sleeves a little (i.e. sew them with a larger seam allowance) or perhaps taper to a smaller seam allowance at the waist and hips to give him a bit more room in the body.

If you are able, take the garment off the wearer with the pins still in so that you know exactly where you need to sew (now that your seam allowances are no longer consistent!).

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Sew the entire sleeve and side seam in one go.  Make sure that the underarm seam is aligned as perfectly as you can.  Also ensure that the raglan seams remained pressed the way that you intend.

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Press the seam open or towards the back depending on the stitch style that you chose.

And now we hem!  My favourite way to hem hefty knits such as this terry is to serge the edge and then press the fabric under at the hem notch.  The instruction booklet shows you some other options to choose from too (particularly suited to lighter weight knits).  If you would like to follow along with this photographed method but do not have a serger, don’t worry!  You could simply zig zag the raw fabric edge.

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Once the raw edge is finished, fold the fabric edge up once at the hem notch.  Pin thoroughly.

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The same process applies to the sleeve hems:

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Stitch around the hem using a zig zag stitch.  In the photo below, I am stitching from the wrong side of the garment.  I also like stitching from the right side of the garment.

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The advantage of stitching on the wrong side of the garment is that you will have likely placed your pins on this side (so they are easier to take out as you sew) and that it will be more obvious if you are wavering off the edge of your hem or if your hem is puckering as you sew.

The advantage of stitching on the right side of the garment is that you can see how your finished results appear.  You might also find that your fabric moves along more smoothly with both layers being moved along at an equal pace…at least this is what I find with my machine!

Test out both options on a scrap piece of fabric to see which side you prefer to sew from.  It is essential that you do not stretch either layer of fabric while sewing since this stretching will result in a twisted hem or hem that ripples.  Don’t worry, a tiny bit of stretching will likely snap back into shape after the first wash!

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And here is what your finished hem will look like!  While you would never see a zig zag stitch on a manufactured garment, I think it looks professional and does not seem at all noticeable or distinguishable from a coverstitch hem when worn.

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And that’s it!  A couple hours of sewing and your Sayward Raglan is complete!  If you have already whipped one up and would like your photo shared on Friday’s blog post, please email it to me at info@threadtheory.ca or use #saywardraglan on social media.  I can’t wait to see your t-shirts!