Thread Theory

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


Something for Matt and something for you! A Girl Charlee Giveaway

IMGP9590 Today you are witness to my latest victory in the world of men’s fashion – Matt has officially decided he likes wearing prints!  Wahoo!  The world of menswear fabric shopping just became SO MUCH MORE FUN for me. IMGP9594 This awesome cotton/spandex knit came from Girl Charlee – an online fabric store where the most beautiful printed knits that are perfectly suited to the Strathcona Henley and T-shirt pattern exist in abundance. IMGP9587 I had a lot of fun planning out how the stripey ‘Aztec’ inspired print would fall on the tee.  I cut the neckline binding so that it would feature one of the smaller designs so that it wouldn’t look too wild and then, when Matt tried the un-hemmed t-shirt on, we decided it would be neat to end the sleeves and the t-shirt hem at the same section of the pattern for a bit of consistency.  I think little decisions like this (plus a conservative sleeve length and overall style) help to calm the impression made by the wild print.  It’s all a game of balance!IMGP9584 I’m learning that it’s best to snag Matt for a photo shoot when he’s planning to do something that keeps his mind off the awkwardness of posing for photos – in this case, he was just about to ride his bike to work this morning.  (By the way, I would be remiss not to ask you to admire his bike a little after he so patiently posed for me!  He just finished repainting it and re-assembling it after switching it from a regular mountain bike to a fixed gear bike, isn’t he clever?!) IMGP9583 Now, to share the fun I’ve been having sewing menswear with prints, Girl Charlee has very generously offered to give one of you readers a $30 gift certificate to their store.  They are one of our newest PDF pattern stockists so now you can head to their store for a one stop shopping experience when you next want to sew up a pair of knit Comox Trunks (for example)…which, coincidentally, are the PERFECT platform for the most wild of prints – only you will ever see how crazy they look! IMGP9579 To enter yourself in the contest for this $30 gift certificate, simply leave a comment explaining what menswear garment you would want to sew in a Girl Charlee knit fabric.  The winner will be chosen this Friday, July 18th so head on over to Girl Charlee right away to pick your knit and then leave a comment below.  Have fun planning your garments!


Papercut Patterns summer pajamas!

IMGP9755It’s been really hot and sunny here lately (love!)!  But…since we have to keep our window closed at night to prevent our cat, Jazzy, from climbing over our faces so she can meow into the night breeze for hours on end, we’ve been soooooo hot and uncomfortable when trying to sleep (don’t love!).


To combat this, I’ve sewn up some summer pajamas using the Pneuma Tank from Papercut Patterns and Cloth Habit’s free Rosy Ladyshorts pattern!


I really love the new Papercut Patterns Tri Collection.  The designs were presented in such a modern, and (for our yoga crazy, Lulu Lemon loving area of the world) relevant manner.  I’ve been planning an entire sports wardrobe around them for my sister and I.  For a little while now I’ve been sewing my yogi sister crazily patterned leggings.  Since the Pneuma release we have elaborated on our yoga gear plans and have been working towards creating her ideal sports bra – how awesome would crazy matching bra and legging yoga outfits be?!


I’ve sewn up four versions of the Pneuma pattern at this point, each one improving by miles as I got used to working with thin stretch knits, with my new sewing machine and also with my sister’s very specific requirements and preferences (the first one is absolutely hideous, these are my second and third ones and then the fourth has happily headed off to my sister!).


The tank version above has been sewn almost as per the pattern instructions.  I added bands of fabric on the front to make the intersection point between the straps and tank narrower and more gathered.  The width at this area made my sister and I look like football players since we already have very square shoulders.  This gathering is (hopefully) much more flattering on the both of us.

IMGP9777After sewing this second version of the pattern, I’ve made more elaborate changes to suit both my sister’s and my individual preferences.  Of course, this isn’t at all necessary – the garment that results from the instructions provided is just great!  My sister is REALLY picky though (love you KK! :P) so I want to make something that she deems to be PERFECT.  You can see the outcome of these changes on my third Pneuma – the blue sports bra.IMGP9753

I’ve begun avoiding bra strapping since I can’t find any locally that matches the printed fabrics I’ve bought and that is thin, soft and delicate enough to gain my sister’s approval.  I like these thick fabric straps I created because they are super easy to sew (and easy to turn right side out because they’re so thick!) and they are way more comfortable than bra straps.  It would be simple to put some elastic inside the tube so that they don’t stretch out over time (will do this on my next one!).IMGP9765

I also prefer the cross-over method I came up with because I am quite prone to getting myself tangled in garments as I try to put them on and would like to feel elegant when slipping into my sportswear or pjs rather than look like a salmon thrashing about at the end of a fishing line!  I have no idea if my sister is the same…hopefully she is a little more graceful at donning yoga wear since she is such a skilled yogi lol.


My last change is that I lined the bra because my top stitching left MUCH to be desired when I sewed on the bra straps on my first sports bra.  By changing the construction methods, I could sandwich the straps between the lining and the self fabric on both the front and back and then later treat the self and lining layers as one when I folded up the thick bottom elastic (this will make sense to you once you’ve read over the pattern directions).  I think the lined version looks much tidier than the unlined version (below).  Probably mostly to do with how messy I am when zig-zagging!


My goal is to add some more layering to match my sister’s favorite sports bras – hers tend to include an exterior layer (often with interesting seams and mesh vented areas), a mesh lining, and then a third partial lining that holds removable padding.  This partial lining and padding will be my next addition to the 5th sports bra!IMGP9747

As for the underwear, I have used the Rosy Ladyshorts pattern a couple times before and love it for everyday comfortable underwear.  Here is my original post on this pattern along with the two pairs I made last summer.


The only problem I have with these underwear stem from the stretch lace that I use – of the many types I have tried so far, I find they are either lovely and soft but deteriorate extremely quick or they are scratchy and not stretchy enough but hold up over time.  I wish I could find some that lasts as well and feels as nice as the lace that is used on my store-bought underwear!  So for my ‘galaxy’ pair, I used elastic trim with a picot edge.  Hopefully this will help these undies last longer.IMGP9786

Aside from showing you my latest sewing projects, I have an important question to ask you today:  Matt and I are making some secret plans for future pattern releases which involve some thought on packaging and printing.  Also, just the other day, a worker at one of our local retailers was chatting with me about feedback she has had on printed patterns in general (not just pertaining to our company).  She said that she often hears customers complain about thin tissue patterns and that her customers in general prefer when patterns are printed on heavier paper.  I was very surprised to hear this because Matt and I had done extensive research when we initially planned our packaging and had come to the conclusion that most sewers prefer tissue to be used.  We found that this is because it is easier to flatten and re-use and it is also easier to pack away and store since it is not bulky to fold.  People, we read at the time, prefer to pin into tissue and generally trace off their patterns and thus don’t mind that tissue doesn’t withstand long term wear.

So, now that we have a pretty broad customer base (when we were initially planning our packaging we didn’t have all of you guys to ask!), we want to hear what you think!  Thanks so much for your feedback!


A big list of great tutorials


To get your creative juices flowing for our Tutorial Contest, I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite tutorials around the sewing web.  So, it’s a word and link heavy post coming up!

Have you seen many of these?  Which ones do you use regularly?  Can you suggest some more useful tutorials?


1. How to Make Continuous Bias Tape by Colette Patterns

This has got to be the tutorial that I use the very most!  This method of creating bias tape is a great way to use up scraps that might otherwise be destined for the garbage.  It’s easy, makes a tonne of bias tape (it surprises me every time!), and makes the insides of garments really unique and fancy!

2. How To Make Tailors Hams and Sausages by Kristiann Boos of Victory Patterns on Tilly & the Buttons

I have been eyeing up this useful tutorial for quite some time because I am in desperate need of a new Tailors Ham and can’t bring myself to spend $16 on one that doesn’t match the color theme in my sewing room haha!  Or more realistically, I can’t bring myself to buy something that seems so simple for a sewist to make.

3. Geometric Stamping by The Papercut Collective

I love tutorials such as this one because, while I might not ever actually use them to create the exact technique they portray, they are a breath of fresh air that remind me to be creative while sewing and encourage me to break out side of my self-imposed box.

4. Getting Flat Bias Necklines by Grainline Studio

Jen of Grainline Studio makes EXCELLENT precise tutorials and she often seems to read my mind by covering the exact sewing technique that I feel I need to add to my skill set at the time.

5. How to Attach Yokes to a Shirt Using the Burrito Method (as part of the Men’s Shirt Sew-Along) by Male Pattern Boldness

Have you seen this sew-along?  Peter Lappin of Male Pattern Boldness took the concept of a sew-along to a whole new level and thoroughly addressed pretty much every single thought you might have while constructing a men’s shirt.  He also discusses specific alterations to the Negroni Shirt pattern.  This post, where he constructs the burrito-style yolk is particularly useful – you can even apply the same concept to the Comox Trunks gusset!

6. Perfect Corners on Waistbands by Notes from a Mad Housewife

Lisa from Notes from a Mad Housewife has succeeded in making the absolute most perfectly square waistband corner that I have ever seen!  I love using her technique when creating trousers with a two-piece waistband.  By the way, simply slice the Jedediah Pants waistband in half lengthwise and you can try Lisa’s technique on your next pair of Jeds!

7. How to Create Dragonscale by Michele Carragher Embroidery

This tutorial is another example of a creative technique that has opened my eyes and got me excited about approaching projects in a new way.  I love how such simple stitches can entirely change the texture of the fabric and create such a molded looking dress.  Plus, this technique was created by the embroiderer of the Game of Thrones costumes…inspiration can’t get much better than that (Game of Thrones fan here!!!).

8. Behind the Seams – The Making of a Couture Skirt and Blouse by Marina von Koenig on Burda Style

This Behind the Seams series that was posted on Burda Style a couple years ago was a great introduction for me to couture techniques.  I had never before had a chance to look at the interior of a couture garment aside from in Threads magazine and I found that Marina’s learning curve was slow and steady enough not to thoroughly overwhelm me.

9. Bra Making Sew Along by Cloth Habit

This is a great sew along that demystifies the process of Bra Making.  I’ve read through it now and again but still haven’t made the leap to start sewing bras…soon, I swear!

10. Approaches to Sewing Knits by Sewaholic

I particularly like this post from the Sewaholic Renfrew sew-along because Tasia, as per usual, is matter of fact and really managed to answer a lot of the worries sewers have about the world of sewing knits.

11. Never Fear Knits Series by Dixie DIY

Dixie’s series on sewing knits does the same thing that Tasia’s sew-along does – it addresses all the concerns you might have with sewing knits – but Dixie takes a different approach to handling knits than Tasia does (Tasia treats t-shirt knits more or less like wovens with some differences while Dixie uses a serger) so it is interesting to compare these two techniques.

12. 3 Ways to Hem a Curve by By Hand London

This is a great reference post for any time you need to hem a full skirt.  I remember when I first started sewing, I dreaded the skirt hem even more than sewing in a zipper!

13.  Perfect Fit Bombshell Dress Class by Gretchen Hirsch on Craftsy

While this video class isn’t necessarily a tutorial and isn’t free, I just have to include it in this list because I have never learned more from any tutorial or book than I learned from this Craftsy class!  Gretchen taught me everything from how to assemble a PDF pattern (I had no idea!) to how to fit a bodice to how to add underlining (plus WAY more!).  She covers everything in such a systematic way that even newer sewers would be able to create a gorgeous bombshell dress by the end of the class!

14. Mastering Zipper Techniques Class by Sunni Standing on Craftsy

I haven’t actually watched this video yet (it’s free!) but intend to some time soon as I have stumbled across some great reviews of it lately.  It might make for a nice little refresher video to have on in the background when I install my next zipper.

15. Tailored Peacoat Series by Dana on Thread Theory

I would be remiss to write a list of my favorite tutorials without adding the series of Tutorials that Dana made for us!  I was astounded when she sent me all the photos and write up…she put so much work into this!  I have some lovely Pendleton wool lined up and will be making Matt a Goldstream Peacoat using all the techniques from this series in the fall.

I hope you’ve got lots of tutorial ideas up your sleeves now!  I really look forward to seeing what you come up with.  Remember, the deadline to submit your entry to our contest is July 21st.