Thread Theory

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


The Ins and Outs of PDF Patterns


Today’s post is a feature on using PDF patterns meant to eliminate the fear that some sewers have of them.  I realize that they aren’t the most convenient way to receive a pattern because they must be pieced together but I think they are not as much work as someone who has never used one would think!  Actually, compared to printed tissue patterns, the taping process is really the only extra step because it is necessary to cut out tissue patterns just as you would a PDF pattern.

Another interesting comparison was pointed out to me by my co-worker, a professional seamstress.  She has never used PDF patterns before but when I explained them to her she laughed and said that even though sewers are embracing new technology, to her it just seems like history is repeating itself!  She explained that her grandmother used to lay out pieces of paper on the kitchen floor to assemble her quilt patterns.  Instead of printing them off of the computer she would spend weeks and weeks collecting them from her local newspaper which offered one quilt square an issue.  Each square contain a pattern for piecing or embroidery which could be completed each week while the sewer anticipated the next square.  Now that’s devotion!


A sample of a vintage newspaper quilt square. I wish this was still a feature of modern newspapers!

My tips for using PDF patterns are probably pretty self explanatory to some but I thought I might as well share them in case they will help someone save some time and create a stronger and easier to store pattern.

Tape thoroughly: Our patterns print so that the top left corner ends up on the top of your stack of papers.  Simply lay out the sheets in rows from left to right.  We include a layout sheet and instructions to help you out.  I like to cut off one of the margins and tape and overlap all the columns and then piece the four columns together as the last step.

For added strength, tape the back of the sheets as well.  When taping, you only need to tape areas where a pattern piece extends to the next page – no point wasting tape on blank areas!


You will end up with a single sheet of pattern pieces (which our cat thought would make a perfect bed):




I simply fold them up crisply in a ziploc bag labelled with the pattern name and size and when I go to use them again I iron them out using an iron with no steam and a press cloth to ensure that I don’t melt the tape.


If you prefer, you could always tape the sheets together and, instead of cutting out the pieces, you could trace them using tracing paper (I find white tissue paper works well enough for this but you could also buy the paper designed for this which is available at most fabric stores) and a pencil. Then you can cut out your tissue paper pieces and use those just like a normal pattern.


If you are really worried about preserving the pattern you could roll up your un-cut paper pattern after tracing and store it as a tube to re-trace a different size at a later point.


Also (though this next option isn’t very tree-friendly), once downloaded you could simply save our pattern and re-print it to use when needed. This would work especially well if you need to use a different size next time.

We are considering offering a version of our pattern for download that is a single sheet fit for printing professionally.  Would you like this option made available to you?  Let us know by leaving a comment and we will prepare it to add to the store!


At the Playground


This week my Mom’s student volunteered to model the XS Newcastle Cardigan that one of our test sewers made up.  My mom reports that he was thrilled with it.  When asked whether he would like to keep it in exchange for his modelling services, and if so whether he would wear it, he replied, “It’s cool so of course I would wear it!”  I’m pretty pleased that I pulled off designing something that is considered cool by a pre-teen!



Last weekend, when visiting family and friends for a long-weekend barbecue we pulled out a few of the samples to do a goofy photo shoot…it got a little out of hand! 🙂



It was great seeing all the different fabric choices lined up side by side.  The garments ranged from sportswear to winter jacket to classy cardigan…all produced with the same pattern!  As you can see from the photos, the cardigan even looked nice on the one female model.  It was a bit tight on her hips as it is cut straight rather than curving to fit a woman’s body but that would be quite a simple fix!  Even without a curved side seam, the cardigan is still a perfect sweater to steal every once in a while from your significant other!

Now it’s time to make your own cardigan to wear when it’s just a touch too warm to wear a jacket this summer.  Matt grabs his bamboo fleece version for everything from warding off the evening chill during a patio dinner to walking to the university when it’s still a bit crisp in the morning.

Have you seen the give-away of the Newcastle Cardigan hosted over at Handmaker’s Factory?  Make sure you leave a comment on their blog article before May 30th for a chance to win!

handmakers factory newsletter


Sneak Peak at the Jedediah Pants

Wow!  After three days of Newcastle Cardigan sales we have gathered quite the list of international customers: Spain, England, France, the U.S.A., and Australia.  My classmates were joking that I could technically call myself an internationally renowned designer… not exactly the type of designer that most of my class aspires to be and not exactly renowned but I am living my dream, that is for sure!

This week I have a sneak peak of progress on the Jedediah Pants…I love how they look so far!

Jedediah Trousers 019

Flat-felled back yoke and top-stitched back patch pockets:

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Bar tacks to secure the front slash pockets:

Jedediah Trousers 013

Flat-felled inner side seams:

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Slim fit legs (excuse the wrinkles, I had just finished scrunching up the legs to sew the flat-felled inner side seams):

Jedediah Trousers 016

Next week we hope to have a mini photo shoot of the finished size medium – stay tuned!

We are eager to hear your thoughts on this pants pattern – what intimidates you about sewing pants?  Where can we add extra instructions and illustrations?  What are your preferences on trouser fit and pocket stitching (edgestitching and topstitching or just a single line of stitching?)?  What are your thoughts on flat-felled seams and french seams…would you rather just serge or do you like having this serger-free option available to you?


Launch Week!

Here we are: Half a week before the launch of the Newcastle Cardigan – our first pattern!

This week, one of our test sewers, Kate, got back to us with a stunning version of the cardigan modeled by her boyfriend, Geoff! He even sewed on his own buttons! Without further ado, here are a few photos of her hard work:


We love the fabric Kate chose – the cuffs are ironed so crisply and the wide shawl collar drapes very nicely!


Thank you so much, Kate, for pattern testing for us (and Geoff for modeling)! Your comments and thoughts were invaluable.


Look out before May 15th for our interview (and our pattern give-away) at House of Pinheiro! And of course, join us on Wednesday, May 15th when our first pattern will be up for sale! In the meantime, here are some inspirational photos from our Pinterest Board to get you excited to sew a shawl collar sweater:

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We want to thank everyone for the amazing support! Without the encouragement of our little sewing corner of the internet, we wouldn’t have made it to the launch date of our first Thread Theory menswear pattern. Thank you for your comments and for following our blog! Your support means to the world to us!


Moving Week

This week Thread Theory Designs Inc. moved across the city to join us in a new home just begging to be decorated!  I’ve compiled a Pinterest gallery of drool-worthy sewing rooms that I hope to glean ideas from for the new office/sewing space.


Meg of Made By Meg’s prettily framed sewing samples.

Meg, over at Made By Meg has come up with a great way of displaying sewing samples.  I’ve compiled a huge binder of them over the last year of construction classes so am contemplating putting the ones I use most up on my wall in a similar manner.  Meg’s space looks so pretty and personalized!

Tasia, of the indie pattern company Sewaholic, has made great use of Ikea’s Expedit cabinet.  I love how her patterns fit so perfectly in them…I can’t wait until the day when I can have an Expedit of my own filled with prettily packaged Thread Theory patterns!


Tasia of Sewaholic’s organized Expedit.


Aside from moving and unpacking since last Friday, we have been busy refreshing various websites in eager anticipation of new comments about Thread Theory Designs Inc…we’re both a little giddy with the unexpected and sudden attention our company has received in the sewing world of late!  Thank you to House of Pinheiro for featuring us in a blog post last Saturday (April 27th).  We were very excited this week by all the views generated for our pattern store stemming from their blog post!

House of Pinheiro screenshot

Also, we found Thread Theory mentioned on Pattern Review…we’re so glad that news is spreading like wild fire across the sewing corner of the internet just in time for the Newcastle Cardigan pattern release on May 15th!

Pattern Review Screen Shot


Do you have any sewing room decor or organizing tips to share?  I can’t wait to get my room in ship-shape!