Thread Theory

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


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Knitting for baby (our yarns and knitting haberdashery are on sale!)

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With the weather rapidly changing here and only 2.5 weeks until our baby is due to arrive, I’ve been a bit more sedentary than I’m used to and have been looking for activities that don’t involve bending over and crawling around on my hands and knees cutting out fabric.  So, the bigger my belly gets, the more I’ve found myself more inclined to knit rather than sew!

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I thought you might like to join me in some Fall knitting so I’ve created a discount code to give you and additional 25% off the entire knitting section of our shop! The sale lats 3 days only: Enter KNITTHISFALL upon checkout to receive your discount!

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To get you excited to try your hand at knitting, let me walk you through my knitting projects and also through the menswear-oriented knitting supplies that we currently have in the shop.

Keep in mind, I’m a complete novice when it comes to knitting (hence my propensity towards patterns that let me sew up the seams and don’t include many details!).  So please don’t look too closely at my projects, I’m just proud that they are warm and usable!  Above is a cosy sleep sack that I made to fit in baby Noah’s bassinet.  It was knit using the Erika Knight Vintage Wool (aran weight) from our shop and is so dense and soft!  I used a vintage pattern that looks like it was from the 1970s.

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These roomy dungarees (perfect for cloth diapering I think!) were also knit from 3 skeins of Erika Knight Vintage Wool.  I knit as per the (free!) pattern but then finished them with snaps along the inseams so they are easier to take off for diaper changes.  They are knit in the 6 month size.  I also made that cute little chipmunk toque from the British Blue yarn we used to carry in the shop (we’re sold out now!).  It was a really fun project that I managed in just a couple of short evenings.

The bunny was a sewing project using the gorgeous stuffed animal sewing pattern created by Willowyn Textile Art.  Her website is well worth a peruse (or follow her on Instagram for loads of inspiring images!).  I love the vintage style and it was an excellent use of fabric scraps!

If baby knitting is not your style, have a look at the menswear knitting patterns that we have in our shop:

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We carry a whole book of beautiful sweaters and accessories.  While these designs are made by Erika Knight (like our wool) they do not all call for her yarn and instead feature yarns from many different readily available companies.

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One of my first knitting projects several years ago was this sweater from the book.

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I went off pattern and swapped the wool for the slightly chunkier Maxi Wool (super-chunky weight) that we stock in the shop.  The sweater turned out larger than I expected as a result so, although it was intended for Matt, it ended up perfectly fitting my dad!

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He still wears the sweater very frequently each winter when at work on the computer as he finds it keeps him toasty warm.

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I really love how it looks on him and I am especially pleased to notice that it still looks just the same as the photo below (it doesn’t stretch out):

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We currently have the whole bottom row of colours available (I used the Storm colour second from the right for my dad’s sweater):

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If you are looking for knitting patterns specifically suited to the wool in our shop, we have a poster format pattern collection that includes everything from a toque to a sweater:

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These are all quite simple knitting projects that are very approachable even for an inexperienced knitter like me (I still don’t know how to knit in the round…despite watching many Youtube videos!).

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I used the Vintage Wool (the same weight I used for the baby projects) to knit Matt a toque a few years ago.  It’s a versatile weight for sweater and hat projects.

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The longevity of this toque is even more surprising to me than my dad’s sweater!  I had read that you can expect a knit toque to keep it’s shape nicely for one season of wear but Matt has been wearing this one since 2016 as his only toque each winter and it still looks just as pictured.

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We have a slightly more limited selection of vintage yarn left but there is still plenty enough for hat projects.  We currently have the red/fuschia, black, and the two centre greys (darker, lighter) on the bottom row.  The only colour we have a large quantity of (enough for a sweater) is the black:

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Aside from Erika Knight yarns and patterns, our knitting haberdashery and sale also includes locally crafted copper stitch markers threaded on a beautiful shawl pin…

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The ever-popular expanding sewing gauge

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…and some relevant Merchant & Mills tools.

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Do you knit or is it a skill you’d like to learn?  Email me at info@threadtheory.ca if you have any questions about the yarn quantity you need, the yarn a certain Erika Knight pattern calls for or if you just want to chat about trying out knitting for the first time from the perspective of a sewist!

Enjoy 25% off with the code KNITTHISFALL until Monday, 5pm PST!  Head to the knitting haberdashery >

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Comox Trunks Saxx Hack Idea (i.e. how to add a hammock pouch)

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Recently, Whitney Decker posted some great photos of her husband’s customised Comox Trunks to the Thread Theory Sewing Community Facebook group.  I was thrilled to see the fit she achieved as well as her detailed shots of the hammock pieces that she added to the front of the trunks.

Whitney Decker Comox Trunks

These hammock pieces are similar to what you might find in Saxx Underwear which are a brand renowned for their ability to keep everything in it’s proper place.

I asked Whitney if she might like to create a tutorial for the Thread Theory blog since I have received many requests for this alteration over the years…well, it turns out she had already gone to all the work of creating both a video tutorial and a photographed tutorial of both the Saxx hack and all her other fit alterations!  She posted these tutorials on the Phee Fabrics blog.

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Her video is very in-depth so I recommend watching this first and then cementing the knowledge you have gained by reading her tutorial next.  The video is of course useful because it details the Saxx hack but it would also be great to watch just to familiarise yourself with how the strangely shaped Comox Trunks pieces fit together.  If you are unclear on how to add length to the legs, how to change the width of the gusset or all manner of other alterations…don’t worry, her video covers them all!

 

Whitney even switches out the elastic waistband and replaces it with a comfortable Supplex waistband.  Supplex is a performance stretch fabric that is available at Phee Fabrics (the company which Whitney created her video and blog post for).  I hadn’t come across this fabric company before but I’m glad I have now!  They look like an excellent source for performance knits and underwear/swimwear fabrics.  Their blog features tutorials for almost every indie underwear pattern I’ve ever come across!

Whitney’s pattern hack uses a free pattern piece offered by another indie pattern company with a men’s underwear pattern: The Boxerwear Boxer Briefs by Stitch Upon A Time.  This pattern is similar in fit to the Comox Trunks with a few key differences: The pouch is one piece and shaped with a dart, there is a centre back seam, I believe the legs are finished with binding or a band, and the legs are quite a bit longer.  It’s wonderful that there is beginning to be enough variety available that you can pick and choose menswear patterns to perfectly suit the style and fit you are looking for!  Here’s a photo of the Boxerwear design followed by the Comox Trunks so you can compare the many differences and pick the pattern that suits your needs best:

Stitch Upon A Time Boxerwear

From what Whitney tells me, it sounds like the free Saxx-style hammock pattern piece is available through the Stitch Upon a Time Facebook group (please correct me if I’m wrong as I haven’t joined the group!).  I think it would be fairly straightforward to come up with your own hammock pattern piece by tracing the curve of the Comox Trunks front pouch and then drawing a straight line for the hammock edge.

Amy Lawson Comox Trunks

Amy Lawson did something similar and posted to our Facebook Group too.  Has anyone else tried this hack?

Have a look at the Comox Trunks pattern >


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Thank you for your help! (And here’s a discount code as way of thanks.)

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Thanks to everyone who submitted a comment on the last blog offering their sewing talents!  I’ve selected several test sewers who are busily working away on the new pattern right now.

Please don’t be discouraged if we didn’t select you to test this time!  We try to select a fresh variety of testers for each pattern so please apply next time if you are still interested!

To thank you for following the blog and for your enthusiasm each time I call for testers, here is a 15% off coupon code that you can use any time!  THANKSFORREADING  The code will never expire and will give you 15% off you entire order.  Head to our shop to use the code >

(In case you’re wondering, the above picture is of our cat, Jazzy, trying to commandeer the newly assembled crib as her own…don’t worry, we’ve since worked on some serious cat training and the crib now remains safely cat free!)


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(CLOSED) Call for Testers: Are you well versed in sewing bottoms?

Well, this is it!  Our next pattern is ready for test sewing!  Would you like to be involved?

This time we are looking for sewists who are well versed in sewing bottoms – be that dress trousers, jeans or any other style of pant.

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Have you sewn the Jedediah or Jutland Pants?  Then you would be a perfect candidate!  Or perhaps you have tried out women’s pants such as any of the Closet Case Files jeans or some of the many amazing overall patterns that were launched in the last year.  If you’re interested in transferring your trouser sewing skills to menswear, then please apply!

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To apply, please comment on this blog post with a brief explanation of the following:

  1.  A summary of your bottoms/pants/trousers/jeans sewing experience.
  2. Your interest and experience in nicely photographing your finished tester project so that we can later share it on the blog (this isn’t necessary but is a great bonus for me!).
  3.  The size your male recipient usually fits so that I can be sure our new pattern is tested in a wide range of sizes.

Testers will be selected this Wednesday and you will have two weeks to sew our new pattern.

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Thank you so much for your enthusiasm!  Your help is essential in ensuring our patterns are easy to understand, have a consistent fit for all sizes, and aren’t riddled with typos.  I can’t wait to hear from you!


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Eastwood Pajama Parade

A few of you who sewed along with me have submitted your finished Eastwood Pajamas for today’s parade…and there is a definite theme going on: Linen and shorts for summer!

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Nick sewed these striped linen pajamas with cotton cording.  What a perfect color match he managed with that cording!  He reports (by email) that next time he sews with this style of linen he will try out french seams since the linen frays so much.  This would be a lovely way to finish the inseams and side seams when sewing with very light weight fabrics.  Heavier fabrics could benefit from bound seam allowances if you have the patience!

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Liz sewed this pair of white linen Eastwood shorts for her husband and reports that her son is now waiting for her to sew some for him!  It looks like she did a lovely job of that fly topstitching.

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Lastly, Susanne was able to use up a small scrap of Dr. Who fabric that she treasured to make her son some tardis boxers!  They used only 34″ of a narrow 45″ fabric that she found on Spoonflower.  She reports that she made a size medium and cut a 6″ inseam plus hem allowance.

These three busy sewists will be receiving our upcoming pattern release for free as a thank you for sewing along with me these last couple of weeks!  I’m finishing up the instructions today and will hopefully submit them to our graphic designer (my sister-in-law) this evening.  I’m really excited for this pattern…actually, it is two patterns that we will be releasing at once (but that’s the only hint I’ll give).

 


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Eastwood Pajamas Sew-Along – Day 5

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Eastwood Pajamas Sew-Along Schedule

Friday August 3rd: Elastic choices, adjusting for fit and style

Monday August 6th: Cutting out fabric, sewing the optional patch pocket

Wednesday August 8th: Sewing the inseams and optional mock or functioning button fly

Friday August 10th: Pockets and side seams

Monday August 13th: Waistband, optional drawstring and hemming

Thursday August 16th: Submit photos to info@threadtheory.ca or on Instagram using #EastwoodPajamas to be part of our PJ Parade and for a chance to win a prize!

Friday, August 17th: The PJ Parade – the owner of each photo I share on the blog this day will receive a free PDF copy of our upcoming new pattern release!


 

Today is the last day of our Eastwood Pajamas sewing process!  Time to tackle the waistband and the finishing details.

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Let’s begin by binding the raw edge of the waistband.  You can use 1.5 m pre-made double fold binding if you like, or you can make your own!  Regardless which option you choose, feel free to use any finished width you prefer working with.  In the instruction booklet I explain how to make a narrow binding with a finished width of 3/8″.  To do this, begin by cutting a 1.5 m long strip of fabric measuring 1 1/4″ wide – this doesn’t need to be on the bias, I just tore along the grain to get a straight line.

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Fold in each edge 1/4″ and press.  You can use a bias tape maker to make short work of this step if you like!  I just pressed by hand.

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Fold your strip more or less in half and press.  I like one half to be larger than the other, this way, I can sew from the narrow side and be sure that I caught my wider side with stitching.

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Beginning at center back, apply your binding to the waistband.  I simply sandwich the waistband in the binding and then stitch with small adjustments as I go…I find pinning narrow binding to be too finicky and this way leads me to better results.

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When you circle the waistband and arrive once again at center back, you’ll need to trim the excess binding but leave yourself 1-2″ of overlap.

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To enclose the final raw edge, open up the binding and finger press the raw edge over.  Close the binding once again and finish your stitching.  The waistband is now tidily bound!

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If you plan to add a drawstring, it is necessary to prepare the buttonholes before proceeding with sewing the waistband.  Begin by placing a 2″ X 2″ scrap of interfacing over each buttonhole marking.  Make sure the buttonhole markings are transferred in a visible manner.  I refreshed my markings on top of the interfacing with pink chalk and stitched my buttonholes from the wrong side of the garment.

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While completing the waistband buttonholes I also added the fly buttonhole that I forgot earlier.  This is a nice time to add it if your buttonhole function is time consuming to set up…this way you can tackle all three buttonholes at once!  As you can see in the photo above, I just pushed the other layers of the fly out of the way and added the buttonhole to the middle layer.

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I usually stitch my buttonholes twice, use a Clover buttonhole chisel to open them, and then stitch them once again to enclose any fraying fabric or threads.

Now we move on to installing the elastic!  If you are sewing Variation 1, refer to the first method demonstrated in this tutorial to give you a visual for inserting elastic into a casing.  Those sewing Variation 2 or 3 can follow along with what I do here:

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Begin by turning the waistband under at the notch (2 1/4″ from the fabric edge).  Press.  Sorry, I forgot to snap a photo of this step!  The photo above is from a little later in the sewing process.  It shows my PJs with the elastic added and pins in place…but you can still see what the folded over waistband looks like.

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Cut your elastic to length using the provided chart or by wrapping it around the prospective wearer.  If you are not following the chart, be sure to add 2″ extra to your custom size for overlap!  Overlap 2″ as pictured above (on an elastic sample I made while developing the pattern) and stitch a square with an X through it to securely create a loop.

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Insert the elastic between the waistband layers.  Pin it in place as follows:  First, divide the elastic in half and pin it in place at the center back and center front seam.  Next, divide the elastic in quarters and pin it in place at the side seams – you can see I’ve just divided the elastic in quarters but have not yet inserted it at the side seam in the photo above.

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Divide each pinned segment in half so the excess fabric is evenly distributed.  Pin.  You can see there is quite a lot of excess fabric!

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From the right side of the pajamas, create the first stitching line 1 3/4″ from the top of the waistband.  This will be below your elastic and just above your binding.  Don’t stitch over the elastic during this step and make sure to pull the fabric taut as you stitch so as not to create puckers.  To keep your elastic in place, keep your pins in if possible…if you can’t without stitching over the heads, take them out as you go and re-pin before the next line of stitching.

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Create the next row of stitching 1/4″ up from the first line.  This time, you will be stitching on the elastic.  Stretch the fabric very taught (this will also stretch the elastic) as you sew.  Above you can see how the fabric looks before I stretched it taut and below you can see how it should look once taut:

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Add a third row of stitching 1/4″ from the top of the waistband to completely secure the elastic.

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If you aren’t adding a drawstring, your waistband is now finished!  To add a drawstring, begin by cutting 1.7m of twill tape, grosgrain or cording.  I’m using a cotton grosgrain ribbon for my drawstring.

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Finish the ends as suits your material – stitch or knot cottons and melt man-made materials to prevent fraying.

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Insert the drawstring through one of the buttonholes using a safety pin clasped onto the end of the ribbon as something for you to feel for as you guide the ribbon through the casing.

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Remove the fly and pocket basting, tie your drawstring in a bow and your PJs are beginning to look VERY close to finished!

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Hem the PJs by folding up the raw edge 3/8″.  Press.

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Fold up again, this time using the hem notch as a guide (your finished hem will be just over an inch wide).  Edgestitch the hem and then topstitch 1/4″ away from your first line of stitching.

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If you’ve left your handstitching until last (as I am wont to do), now is the time to add your fly button!  Add it to the innermost layer of the fly to correspond with the buttonhole.

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And there we go!  Our Eastwood Pajamas are finished!

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Be sure to photograph yours modelled, on a clothesline (like I did), or however else you might desire.  Submit your photo by Thursday via email (info@threadtheory.ca) or on Instagram (using #EastwoodPajamas) for a chance to be featured in Friday’s PJ Parade and to win a free copy of our upcoming PDF pattern (sent to you on launch day)!

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I hope you enjoyed this sewing process!  Thanks for joining me.


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Eastwood Pajama Sew-Along – Day 4

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Eastwood Pajamas Sew-Along Schedule

Friday August 3rd: Elastic choices, adjusting for fit and style

Monday August 6th: Cutting out fabric, sewing the optional patch pocket

Wednesday August 8th: Sewing the inseams and optional mock or functioning button fly

Friday August 10th: Pockets and side seams

Monday August 13th: Waistband, optional drawstring and hemming

Thursday August 16th: Submit photos to info@threadtheory.ca or on Instagram using #EastwoodPajamas to be part of our PJ Parade and for a chance to win a prize!

Friday, August 17th: The PJ Parade – the owner of each photo I share on the blog this day will receive a free PDF copy of our upcoming new pattern release!


 

How did your fly turn out?  Did you learn lots?  Today is an easy day in comparison to the functioning button fly… we are assembling nice deep inseam pockets and sewing up the side seams!

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Begin by finishing the side seams in your preferred manner (pinking shears, serger, zig zag stitch…you could even get fancy by binding them if you like).  I’ve serged mine.

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Next, finish all edges of the four pocket bags.  Again, I’ve serged mine but pinking or zig zag is perfectly acceptable!

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Line up each pocket bag to the pocket markings on the front and back of the pajamas.  Right sides are together.  Pin along the side seam.

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Stitch the pocket bag to the pajamas using a scant 5/8″ seam allowance.  We want this to be a little smaller than a full 5/8″ seam allowance so that the stitching does not interfere with a future step.

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Press the seam allowance towards the pockets (or, worded differently: Press the pocket bags away from the pajama legs).

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Pin the pajama front and back with right sides together.  Pin the entire length of the legs and ensure both the hem and waistband are lined up.  As I mention in the instruction booklet, you’ll notice that the angled waistband differs on the front and back.  It is important to manipulate the fabric so that the raw edges line up even though the two pieces aren’t the same shape.

We will stitch the side seams and pockets in three steps:

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I like to begin with the longest stretch first: Stitch up from the hem and end at the bottom pocket notch…this is the single notch part way up the side of the pocket bag.

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Backstitch thoroughly to make a strong pocket opening.

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Next, stitch around the pocket bag beginning at the bottom corner of the pocket – make sure to begin your stitching right on the stitching line that you created in the last step.  Stitch up to the top of the pocket and backstitch (you don’t need to stitch across the top of the pocket as this will be enclosed within the waistband).

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Stitch down from the top of the waistband until the top pocket notch – this is the double notch.

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Backstitch thoroughly.

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Flip the pajamas over so you can cut into the back seam allowance at the top and bottom of the pocket bag.

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This will allow you to press the waistband seam allowance and pant leg seam allowance open.  Do this now!

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Turn the pajamas right side out and press the pocket bag towards to front of the pajamas.

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I like to do this from the right side of the pajamas so I can ensure the side seam looks crisp with no folds.

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Turn the pjs inside out once again and pin the pockets in place along the top.  Use a long basting stitch to sew them in place so they don’t flap around in the next steps.

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Finish your pockets by adding a bar tack at the top and bottom of the pocket opening on the front of the pajamas.  This bartack will go through the pajama front and the pocket bags (not the pajama back).  An attractive looking bartack can be made with a narrow zig zag with almost no length so that the stitching is very dense.

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I was using my industrial machine for this project so I simply backstitched thoroughly since my machine only performs a straight stitch.  No matter the stitch style, this will really help to increase the lifespan of your pjs if the wearer likes to put his hands or phone in his pockets.

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On Monday we proceed to the waistband and hemming which means we will be finishing our pajamas!

If you would like to enter for a chance to win our next pattern release for free, be sure to post your PJ photos using #EastwoodPajamas on Instagram or email them to me at info@threadtheory.ca!  WIP photos stand a chance too. 🙂