Thread Theory

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


My first screenprinting attempt…not too shabby!

Screen printing results | Thread Theory

As some of you have been wondering, the screenprinting evening last week went very well!  Three women came over to learn how to apply the emulsion to the screen.  We set up my tiny little bathroom as a dark room with trash bags over the window and the provided dark room light in the light fixture.  It wasn’t a 100% light safe environment so next time I think I will stock up on heavier trash bags (or wait until we move at the end of June and can create a more permanent dark room set up).

Of course, I forgot to take photos of the fun evening because we were all so focused on screenprinting (and chatting and drinking wine)!  Instead, I’ve taken photos of the actual printing process for you to look at instead :).

Screen printing set up | Thread Theory


The screen required four hours of drying time after applying the emulsion so everyone went home and I set the alarm for the wee hours of Saturday morning so I could wake up before it became light out to pack the dry screen away in it’s trash bag.


Flooding the screen | Thread Theory


After getting the screen ready to expose, the next step in the printing process was to create a “positive” of the eventual print on clear transfer paper.  This held me up for a while because the transfer paper provided is for ink jet printers and we only have a laser printer in the Thread Theory studio.  My parents have an ink jet but I kept forgetting one element or another each time I went to their place to print the transfer!  I ended up just printing it on our laser printer which lead to okay results.  I think the text would have been darker (and would have exposed better on the screen) if I had used the correct printer.

Screen printing for the first time! | Thread Theory

Last night I exposed the screen which was actually one of the easiest steps.  I waited until it got dark and made my kitchen into a semi dark room by putting down all the blinds and installing the dark room light in here rather than the bathroom.  The kit comes with a 500W bulb that installs onto the press so that the screen can be placed directly under it to expose.  Easy peasy!  My text didn’t end up perfectly clear of emulsion but I’m pretty happy with how it turned out based on all the iffy circumstances the screen had to go through (thin trash bag protection from light, not-very-dark dark rooms, time between applying the emulsion and exposing it…etc.).

First Screen Print | Thread Theory

This morning I made my first prints with mixed success.  I’m glad that I didn’t invite the other ladies back for this first experience because, while my first print went wonderfully, my second and third became increasingly fuzzy.  I would hate for this to have happened on their t-shirts or bags!

Printing comparisons | Thread Theory

What ended up causing this fuzziness was that ink from the first application seeped through the clear text and onto the underside of the screen.

The first print (left) compared to the second (right):

Fuzzy text while screen printing | Thread Theory

The second print (left) compared to the third (right):

Super fuzzy text while screen printing | Thread Theory

Any idea what could have caused this to happen?  I think it could be due to several factors.  I may have used too much ink, I may have pushed down too hard with my squeegee, or I may have run my squeegee over the screen too many times during each printing session (I was nervous about my imperfectly exposed text and how much ink it would allow to pass through the screen).  I’d love to hear what your thoughts are on this problem!


Have you tried screenprinting?

As those of you who follow my Instagram feed (thread_theory) might have seen, I recently bought a screen printing kit!  I have high hopes for the development of my screen printing skills and I’d love to share the journey here on the blog with you!

Have you tried screen printing before?  Do you hanker after specific screen printed items?  The biggest allure for me, when it comes to screen printing, is the ability to print designs on my home sewn menswear garments!  I find it very difficult to find interesting cotton t-shirt knits – they are often only available in solid colors and the prints that I do manage to find are usually on knits that are too drapey to create a manly t-shirt.  How neat would it be to sew Strathcona T-shirts in a variety of manly neutrals (charcoal, navy, white, and black for instance) and then decorate them with awesome prints!?!?

1. Maya Muse Textiles (Etsy Shop – specific tea towel no longer available)

2. Urban Outfitters (pillow no longer available…but it’s a great idea: Screen printing on Liberty fabric!)

3. Sin Clothing (Etsy shop with a variety of screen printed tanks)

4. The Curtis Casa (A blog post about printing cherished family recipes on textiles)

5. See Kate Sew (An excellent tutorial about screenprinting on fabric)

6. Modcloth (The tea towel is no longer available but it’s super inspiring!)

I’ve been creating a Pinterest board with inspiring screenprinting designs and concepts (some of which you see above).  After spending an hour or two doing this one evening, I suddenly want everything screen printed…Strathcona T-shirts, tea towels, sewing machine covers, ironing board covers, floral fabrics, Comox Trunks, napkins, linen tank tops, the hem of a dress, tote bags, dopp kits…the ideas abound!

Even though I tried screenprinting once in design school, it still seems quite daunting to start learning this process on my own.  In school we had the screen created professionally and then our teacher set up the press and placed the ink.  We then got our turn holding the squeegee while he showed us how much pressure to apply and helped us swipe down the screen.  Needless to say, I wouldn’t consider myself a master printer!


To help combat my nerves, I scoured the internet for the most all-inclusive, easy to use kit that I could find that would still lead to very professional results (I didn’t want to buy a kit that I would only grow out of after creating my first couple screens).  I found the DIY Table Top Screen Print Kits made by Ryonet (a major screen printing supplies supplier).  I’ve received it in the mail and have carefully examined all the contents.  The box it arrived in was huge and the press is EXTREMELY heavy duty (very impressive).  When we move to our new house I plan to set up a work table that I can permanently attach the press to since it is so heavy and a bit awkwardly shaped for storage.


So far, Matt and I have watched the in-depth DVD that was included with the kit and I’ve read the photographed instruction booklet.  The DVD made the process seem really approachable as long as you take the time to set up your equipment properly (for example, I need to make our bathroom into a dark room with the light bulb provided before I can start creating my first screen).

To make the learning curve more fun I’ve invited a bunch of creative business-owning women over this evening and we are going to tackle the creation of our first screen together!  They are all quite interested in screen printing for their own businesses (whether it be to print embroidery designs on fabric, print logos on sewing supplies kits, or to print designs on custom created garments) so it should make for a very informative and exciting evening!  I will let you know how it goes!  We’re using the text from our instruction booklets as our first screen: “Go ahead and create something excepetional.”  I think that should be fitting for all of us!

Go Ahead and Create


If you had a screen printing set up, what would you be itching to print?  If you already know how to screen print, do you have any tips for getting started?


New Paper Patterns! Release Day!

Finlayson Jutland and Camas Patterns | Thread Theory

Today is the big day!  The Finlayson Sweater, Jutland Pants and Camas Blouse are now available as tissue sewing patterns!  You can find them in our shop or at one of our 60 retailers worldwide.Finlayson Sweater | Thread Theory Finlayson Sweater back | Thread Theory

For all of you who enthusiastically bought the PDF patterns while really longing for the tissue version of the pattern – thank you for showing us such support while we worked up the funds to put these into print!  This week only (May 20th-27th) we are offering a discount code to everyone who has purchased the Finlayson, Jutland or Camas PDFs in the past.  Email us at BEFORE placing your paper pattern order.  List the PDF that you purchased in the email, your full name and, if possible, your order number).  We will send you a discount code that can be used towards your tissue pattern purchase!  The discount means you will have received the PDF for free!Jutland Pants | Thread Theory Jutland Pants back | Thread Theory

The code will only be valid for one week (the discount will end at the end of the day on May 27th) so email us quickly so you can place your order right away! (

Camas Blouse | Thread Theory Camas Blouse back | Thread Theory

We are so excited to pack up these tissue patterns and fly them to sewers all around the world.  Nothing beats the ease of sewing with a tissue pattern, an instruction booklet sitting flat on the table beside you and a rugged envelope ready to pack up your compact tissue pieces when you are done your project.Pattern Contents | Thread Theory


Happy sewing!  Now, come on over to check out the patterns in our shop!


Are you ready? Wednesday Release Date!


Ready to start sewing?  We will be releasing paper versions of the Finlayson Sweater, Jutland Pants and Camas Blouse on Wednesday, May 20th!  That’s only 5 days away!

To feed your creative energy in the meantime, here are a selection of your fabulous makes with these three patterns.  Some are from when we first released the PDF versions of these patterns and some are brand new.  Enjoy!

Camas Blouse

1. Swing and Sew: I love the shorter length and wine colored viscose!

2. Sewing in the Shade: A beautiful use of black as contrast with this rich print.

3. Miss Crayola Creepy: As always, I love her style!

4. Jolies Bobines: I’ve never seen such a fluid looking sequin fabric – very stunning.

5. Imagine Gnats featuring A Happy Stitch: Great tutorial!  The Camas could be made into everything from a plaid tunic over leggings to the cutest linen nightgown.

6.  Girls In the Garden: A very flattering Camas complete with a blog post detailing the fit changes.

7. I Bet You Can Make That: Love the dark blue fabric choice – very elegant and simple.

Finlayson Sweater

1.  L’ Énervée de la Machine à Coudre: Beautiful hood lining!

2. The Japanese Pattern Challenge: A stunning fabric choice and a great use for a single toggle or button (since I always seem to be left with one extra after coat projects).

3. Suzie Creates: The Renfrew from Sewaholic meets the Finlayson to create a flattering fitted ladies Finlayson Sweater!

4. Thornberry: Great choice of stripes :).

5. Or Sew It Seams: A gorgeous Finlayson featuring a lush quilted hood lining!

Jutland Pants

1, 2 and 3. Thimblenest: Hard wearing jeans for a hard working husband!


Inspired?  See you on Wednesday!



Online Fabric Shopping


Have you heard of Style Maker Fabrics yet?  They are a fairly new online fabric shop featuring a large selection of fabrics carefully curated by current trends, garment type, color and fabric type.  There is also a nice selection of trims in the shop (including jersey bias tape!) and a few excellent sewing tools.  The fabric enthusiast behind this new shop is Michelle who I have found to be very friendly and helpful – when I placed a recent order of fabrics for my own sewing projects she included a selection of fabric samples that would be excellent matches for some of our Thread Theory patterns!

I decided to do a post about Michelle’s shop after receiving my fabrics and finding myself pleased with the entire order (that’s a rare thing for me not to find one dud in an online purchase!).  This post isn’t sponsored in any way, I just thought you might be happy to find a new source for quality fabric (with lots of menswear options!).  And it’s always nice to justify my fabric purchases as ‘research for the blog’. 😀

I asked Michelle to send along a few ‘behind the scenes’ shots so you could get to know her shop a little:

Click on the photos to see full size versions of each – you can see her fabric storage is chock full of gorgeous Breton stripes, the Robert Kaufman line, and beautiful whimsical border prints.

Here is what arrived at my door last week (happy mail!):untitled-31

I pared my big wishlist down to four fabrics that work with the largely blue color scheme I have been using for my wardrobe update. untitled-33

My first choice was this gorgeous plaid shirting to make a spring Archer button up.  This shirting is densely woven and crisp.untitled-35

I most commonly see plaid designs that I like offered only as brushed cottons and flannels so this smooth shirting is a nice fresh way to wear a plaid like this in the spring and summer. untitled-36

My next choice is a soft rayon jersey featuring a Breton stripe.  It is a really nice thickness for a Coco or maybe a Hemlock Tee.  It has great recovery so it could even make a Nettie (I really can’t decide what to make with it, there are too many possibilities!).  Michelle includes the stripe widths on her site which I found really helpful.  The width of these stripes are: Blue – 1/2″ and White – 1/4″.  There are also a few other breton stripe choices including a cute black and white version with 3/4″ black stripes and thin white stripes.  Maybe I’ll get that next time!


Next up I chose a really beautifully handcrafted double borderprint cotton.  The main background colour is really rich and full of depth because it is slightly mottled.  I think it’s going to make an excellent By Hand London dress!  I’m thinking it would be nice for the Kim Dress but I might still change my mind and go for the Flora.

The last fabric I chose ended up being my favorite.  It is a double gauze cotton featuring a greyish blue background and metallic gold print.untitled-46

I’ve often read about how nice double gauze is on blogs but I hadn’t really looked at this type of fabric closely in person until now.  Before washing this fabric it was pretty crisp and the two layers were not immediately apparent.  After washing and drying, the top layer has remained crisp and quite sophisticated looking but the wrong side of the fabric is really soft and feels very slightly like light flannel.  It’s going to make the most comfortable dress! untitled-43As a nice gesture along with the fabrics I purchased, Michelle sent a whole envelope of swatches featuring some of her bottom weight fabrics.  There are a number which will perfectly suit our upcoming Lazo Trousers (I will feature these fabrics at a later point) and many of them would also be excellent matches for the Jedediah and Jutland Pants.

Imagine the Jedediah Pants in a snazzy Glen Plaid or Shepherd’s Check?!  They would be so dapper!untitled-53

My favorite bottom weight fabric that Michelle included was a new brushed twill that she will be carrying in seven colorways perfectly suited for spring and summer.  I see lots of twills at various local fabric shops but I often find them to be too heavy for Matt’s preferences when it comes to pants that he would like to wear daily.  And it isn’t often that I come across a brushed twill.  I love brushed twill for pants because it maintains the crisp and very slightly dressy appearance that twill provides while being extremely soft, cozy and comfortable.  Brushed twill creates pants that feel as though they have already been lovingly worn in!

* Update 11/05/15: The twills have been added to the Style Maker website!  Here is a link to my favorite colorway.


The colors available at Style Maker are quite unique – I especially like the green which I think I’ve managed to photograph fairly accurately.  The brown is really interesting too – it’s more muted than Carhartt orange but more unusual than just a regular brown pant.  I think it would be a good choice for a conservative dresser who wants something a little different than his regular black, grey, navy and dark brown color scheme.untitled-58


Well, thanks for listening to me wax on about fabric shopping :P.  And to reiterate – this post wasn’t sponsored by Michelle/Style Maker – I was just really pleased with the quality of the fabrics I bought and with how accurately they were portrayed on the Style Maker website.  For the first time in quite a while, I didn’t have any online fabric purchase surprises!


On Our Website


Happy Friday!  The weather looks as though it will be gorgeous all weekend so Matt and I have plans to head out camping tomorrow at the local lake – bring on a weekend of sunshine, campfires and hiking!  Before all of that occurs, I have a busy day of computer related work ahead of me so, to get me into the swing of things this morning I thought it might be a good opportunity to point out a few features on our website that you might not have noticed while browsing through the patterns.  Matt and I are always brainstorming ways to make our website easier to use and more informative while still maintaining the minimalism that we adore.  So if you have been wishing for any additional information while using out site, we would love to hear from you!


Shipping Information

This is the sneakiest feature that might have slipped by you – a few months ago we added a link at the very bottom left hand corner of our home page to a description of the shipping options we offer.  We refer to this whenever we get email questions about our shipping methods but it might be a useful thing for you to read too before you place your next order!  We ship our patterns through Canada Post and have a very volatile love-hate relationship with them.  We love that we are part of a country that provides such a thorough and affordable service to it’s citizens despite the large size and sparse population of our land mass…but we really dislike how complicated and on first glance, illogical, the Canada Post rate calculation system is.  The simplest way I can explain this system to anyone living outside of Canada is that you will likely be charged a more affordable shipping rate the heavier your parcel is…unless of course, your parcel falls into one of the ‘special deal’ categories that Canada Post has created (which are based off of any combination of weight, location, and size).  Have I made things clearer?  Nope?  Well maybe our Shipping Information page will help!


Stockist List

We have been compiling a list of retailers who carry our patterns worldwide ever since we started selling them wholesale.  If you would like to support a local fabric shop (and avoid waiting for your paper pattern to ship to you), be sure to check out our Stockist List.  We have organized the retailers alphabetically under their country heading.  We include their shop name, whether they are primarily online or brick and mortar and their catch phrase.  If you have noticed that your favorite local fabric shop is decidedly lacking in the menswear sewing pattern department, we would love for you to let us know!  Send us an email (at and, if the shop you recommend ends up stocking our patterns, you will find a free pattern of your choice headed your way :).


Customer Newsletter

There is a newsletter sign up form at the bottom of our home page – you may not realize that this customer newsletter is different than the blog that you are (likely) already following.  We send out a newsletter several times a year with information on pattern releases and sales.  While the blog features my personal ramblings and sewing projects, the newsletter is solely a channel for Thread Theory news.  This might be a good thing to sign up for if you are the kind of blog follower who is completely overwhelmed by their blog feed!  Instead of missing pattern release days due to the impossibility of keeping up with the huge number of blogs that you follow, you can also receive the most relevant Thread Theory info direct to your email inbox (I am speaking from experience as someone who can’t keep up with her blog roll!).


Wholesale Newsletter

We’ve recently created a wholesale newsletter as a way to communicate with retailers.  If you are a shop owner who either carries or is interested in carrying our patterns, you might like to receive this bi-monthly update.  This newsletter includes information of wholsaler-only sales and order dates for future pattern releases.  Head here to subscribe!


Your Makes

The first thing I like to do before purchasing a new sewing pattern is search for every possible blog post written by someone who has sewn the pattern themselves.  It’s a great way to find out about fitting issues, decide on the perfect fabric type, and see styling inspiration.  We’ve tried to make it as easy as possible to find other people’s Thread Theory makes so that you can do the same.  On each pattern page in our shop, you’ll find a link to the Pinterest boards that I update often.  Every time I find a Thread Theory project on the sewing internet that is ‘pinnable’ it is added to these pages.  Since so many people post their projects on Instagram rather than blogs these days, Matt and I also created a link called “Your Makes” that shows #ThreadTheoryDesigns – there are loads of inspiring Instagram images popping up here that you will likely not see on blogs or by performing the good ol’ Google search.  If you use Instagram, we would love to see the Thread Theory projects that are on your to do list, on your sewing table or in your closet!  Use #ThreadTheoryDesigns to have your photo featured on our website.

French Instructions

Links to Free French Translations

The last feature on our website that I want to point out is our free downloadable French translations.  If you speak French or if you simply want to have a peek at what our instruction booklets look like, feel free to download the translations at any time!  You can find the translations as a link at the bottom of each pattern description (right underneath the link to the pattern’s Pinterest page).  We currently have translations for all of our patterns except for the Arrowsmith Tank (our free pattern) and the Finlayson Sweater (for which a translation will be coming VERY soon!).


Now that you’re fully informed about our website features, is there any information or any resources missing from our website that you would like to see?  I’m a bit of a novice at social media integration so I would love your thoughts on this in particular!