Thread Theory

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


5 Comments

Men’s Jeans Sew-Along: Gathering Materials

Quadra mens jeans sewing pattern-13

Today we begin the sew-along for our Quadra and Fulford men’s jeans patterns!  I’ll be walking you through the following topics with the help of many diagrams and photos:

Today (Oct 12th) – Gathering Materials – how to choose fabric and notions.

Oct 19th – Choosing a Size – how to measure the man and select an appropriate pattern size.  We’ll also discuss options to mock up your chosen size and how to make alterations to ensure a good fit.

Oct 21st – Set up and Patch Pockets – how to set up your machine, apply interfacing, and assemble the patch pockets.

Oct 23rd – Front Pockets – how to construct the french seamed pocket bags.

Oct 25th – Yoke, Inseams and Side Seams – how to sew these flatfell seams and the side seams.

Oct 27th – Seat seam and Fly Extension – how to prepare for fly construction by sewing the seat seam and adding on the fly extension.

Oct 29th – The Fly – I’ve taken loads of photos for this step and I know you can do it!!!

Oct 31st – Waistband – We’ll add the waistband on and discuss additional fitting options at this point.

Nov. 2nd – Belt loops and Finishing Details – how to assemble the belt loops, hem the jeans and apply the rivets.


 

You’ll notice that the sew-along schedule will give you a week to get your materials assembled and then we can delve into fitting and sewing.  Before we talk about materials, though, I want to give you a little bit of inspiration by showing you some of the amazing Quadra Jeans that our test sewers made!

Quadra Jeans Test Sewers 1

This nicely fitted pair was sewn by Dan for himself – notice how he’s paired them with a Strathcona Henley!

Quadra Jeans Test Sewers 2

Tina really took her time and added thoughtful details to the pair that she sewed.  I love the idea of adding a label on top of the leather patch!

Quadra Jeans Test Sewers 3

Kari sewed this pair for her partner, the dark fabric choice looks very smart paired with a button-up.

Quadra Jeans Test Sewers 4

And lastly, Zak sewed this Carhartt-colored pair for himself and took lovely photos at Hadrian’s Wall in the UK.  I travelled to view this wall many years ago when visiting family who live in Manchester so his photos bring back some great memories!


 

Are you itching to make your own pair now?  Let’s begin by assembling our jeans-making materials!  Looking at the Materials Required section of the instruction booklet, you will see that you need the following:

Self Fabric

Quadra mens jeans sewing pattern-12

This is the main fabric you will use for the jeans.  Denim is, of course, recommended, but the jeans look great in a myriad of other fabric choices as well!  Try making a wearable mock-up in a readily available cotton twill, corduroy or canvas before investing in denim.

Denim can be tricky to source and can be fairly expensive when you purchase denim of high quality.  Fortunately, our jeans patterns can be made using a fairly wide range of denim styles including denim with no stretch or up to 2% elastane content.  Look for denims between 9-16 oz.  Ensure that your sewing machine can handle five layers of the fabric at one time using topstitching thread since this is how many layers you will be stitching when you add the belt loops to the jeans!  Some excellent online sources for denim are listed below.  Each link will take you directly to the part of the store where I found denim and other trouser weight fabrics.

Canada

Fabrications Ottawa – a great online shop which includes a stock of Cone Mills US-made S-gene denim in multiple weights!  This is high quality denim – the same denim that continuously sells out when Closet Case Patterns launches her limited supply jean making kits!

Blackbird Fabrics – an online shop just across the water from me!  Caroline often has a nice selection of denim in stock and occasionally gets in a supply of coveted Cone Mills.

Closet Case Patterns – Heather-Lou is known for her excellent women’s jeans patterns.  She stocks jean-making kits including all the notions you need and high quality denim.  They often sell out fast but you might be in luck snagging a non-stretch kit in particular since these are less in demand than the stretch denims needed for her Ginger Jeans pattern.

Simplifi Fabric – An online shop completely focused on organic and ecologically friendly fabrics!  They have a great selection of denims.  The 12.5 oz Indigo Blue Hemp and Organic Cotton Denim looks spectacular!

USA

Stylemaker Fabrics – An organised selection of denim in various weights and amounts of stretch.

Britex Fabrics – They have a few very well priced Japanese selvage denims that are worth a peruse!

Fancy Tiger Crafts – A nice array of denims from various manufacturers – all well labelled so you can compare the differences.  I like the US made bull denim choices in particular.  Bull denim is dyed after weaving to produce a uniform colour (whereas regular denim features an indigo warp thread and white weft thread).

Harts Fabric – A comprehensive selection of quite affordably priced denims.  I especially like the look of the wide denim which would save a lot of fabric when cutting out men’s larger sizes.

UK

Merchant & Mills – A large range of high-end denim very suitable for men’s jeans – you might like to make a mock up first due to the price point of these quality fabrics!

Empress Mills – Some very affordable denims in a variety of weights.  A great way to test out a pair of jeans without a huge investment!

Croft Mill – Another selection of affordable denims and some interesting choices including prints, pre-washed, broken twill weave, extra wide etc.

Fulford mens jeans sewing pattern-21

Like I mentioned before, if you would like to try out one of our jeans patterns before cutting into your high-end denim, why not sew up a pair in a more affordable cotton twill or corduroy?  You’ll likely find a selection of trouser weight materials at your local fabric shop but, in case you don’t have a shop near you, here are some excellent online options:

Blackbird Fabrics – Currently there is a nice 8.5 oz Cotton Chino Twill in stock in various colors.  While this is half an ounce lighter than I recommend within the instruction booklet, it would make a great jean alternative for summer and it would be nice to practice topstitching on something a bit more light weight.

Stylemaker Fabrics – A US based online shop – there is no end to the options here!  You can search their “Pants” section and browse many pages of corduroy, twill, bull denims in many colors, suitings of all sorts and more.

RayStitch – A UK based online shop with a large selection of interesting fabrics.  I enjoyed perusing the Heavier Weight Wovens sections for all sorts of unique options for pants.

Pocket Lining

MainelyDad Jedediah Pockets.jpg

This is a great opportunity to use a scrap of fun quilting cotton but any strong and thin cotton or cotton blend will work nicely.  Above you can see a beautiful Jedediah Pants progress shot by Duane of MainelyMenswear.  He’s chosen a kente cloth print for his Jeds.  Similar accent fabrics can be used for our jeans patterns.

Have a look at store bought jeans and you will see the pocketing is actually quite thin.  I usually prefer a quilting cotton weight so that the pocket bags are not a weak point in terms of wear.  I’ve also used scraps of shirting from past Fairfield Button-ups and scraps of flannel from past Eastwood PJS (shown below) with great success!

mensjeanssewalong-21.JPG

Interfacing

mensjeanssewalong-1.JPG

Choose a medium weight fusible that adheres to your denim or chosen self fabric securely.  The interfacing will be used for the Fly Extension, Zipper Shield and Waistband Pieces.  It can be black or white since thick denim will not allow the interfacing to show through to the right side!

 

Other Supplies

Mens jeans sewing notions-9

A no-sew jeans button measuring 1/2″-1″.  We stock several types of jeans buttons in our shop.

Quadra mens jeans sewing pattern-9

Six pocket rivets – these are optional if you are using a fabric other than denim since you could also just bartack very securely at these pressure points but I don’t think rivets are optional if you are sewing with denim.  They are essential to create the classic strength and appearance of jeans.  We have several types of rivets in our shop as well.

Thread – you will need regular polyester thread (which is stronger than cotton) to match the colour of your denim and thicker topstitching thread in a pleasing contrasting colour.  Some of our test sewers successfully sewed their entire jeans using Gutermann Extra Strong Thread which is not quite as thick as topstitching thread.  This allowed them to skip the hassle of re-threading their machine each time they needed to topstitch.  My machine is never very happy when sewing with thick thread (it binds up when I backstitch) so I prefer to switch back and forth to ensure that my seams are strong and backstitched securely before I topstitch them.  We will be discussing all sorts of tips and tricks for tidy topstitching later on in the sew-along!

Quadra mens jeans sewing pattern-11

An optional 3 X 2 1/2″ decorative label – Most store bought jeans feature a leather-like label on the back waistband.  I love adding my own blank label as a way to draw attention to the fact that my jeans are not branded!  You can stitch a real leather label to your jeans or you can add a washable paper one.  We carry these in our shop for $2 CAD.  They are comprised of the same material that brands like Levis or Wrangler uses for their labels – this washable paper stands up to machine washing and drying at any temperature.

Mens jeans sewing notions-2

A metal toothed zipper – if you can not find the size recommended in the instruction booklet, a longer zipper will do just fine!  I will be showing you how to shorten the zipper during the sew-along.  We carry 7″ and 8″ jeans zippers in our shop.  Oh, and don’t be concerned about the width of the zipper tape!  The pattern pieces are marked so that you will be able to place your zipper correctly regardless of the width of your zipper.


 

Before we continue with the sew-along, make sure to pre-wash your denim.  I recommend washing it with a cup of vinegar on fairly high heat to set the indigo dye and pre-shrink/pre-soften the denim…unless, of course, you are a denim enthusiast who wants to sew up a pair of raw denim jeans!  In that case, you’ll want to keep them stiff and saturated with dye by avoiding washing at all!  You can read about that whole philosophy here (be prepared to be lost down a bit of a rabbit hole!).

Advertisements


8 Comments

It’s Back! Dintex and Merino Wool Pre-Sale

hemmingway-windcheater-27

Before we delve into the jeans sew-along (and have our baby, who is due next Wednesday!), I’ve done a little behind-the-scenes work to bring Dintex and merino fabrics back to the shop!

dintex-fabric

Instead of launching these fabrics as a seasonal collection (as we used to do), we are making them available as a pre-sale.  This means you don’t have to worry that the color you want is sold out!  All you need to do is place your fabric order before Nov. 1st.  I’ll send the order to our supplier that day and will ship your fabric to you as soon as it arrives at our studio.  You can peruse the pre-sale now, or read on to find out more about these fabrics.

Merino wool and Dintex fabric-2

Dintex fabric (pictured above) is a waterproof and windproof fabric (which is awesome) but, even better, it is also a breathable fabric.  When it is sewn into a jacket it will protect you from the elements and will not cause you to sweat!  Being from Vancouver Island, where hiking and ski jackets are our every day outerwear, I was thrilled when I found this high tech fabric to add to our shop a couple of winters ago!  And you were too!  We sold out quickly every time I re-stocked and received rave reviews about how it sewed up.   Here is the jacket I made for Matt using this material.

hemmingway-windcheater-1

He wears it as a 4-season jacket layered over a down jacket in the winter and over t-shirts in the summer.  He finds it very comfortable and loves the breath-ability.  He has had rain soak through the shoulders when wearing it on multi hour hikes but only in torrential rain situations…similar to how he would expect most rain jackets to behave.  I didn’t seal the seams on this jacket but you can learn how to do so by reading this informative blog post featuring Dintex and the Kelly Anorak pattern!

Merino wool and Dintex fabric-9

Our merino fabric comes in two different weights – superfine 100% merino (pictured above and below) which is perfect as a base layer:

Merino wool and Dintex fabric-2-2

Merino wool and Dintex fabric-6-2

And a merino blend featuring 8% merino wool, 48% polyester and 4% nylon which is a hard-wearing combo perfect for sweaters!

Fall Menswear Fabrics (23 of 12)

thread-theory-sewing-supplies-20-3

Matt wears the Finlayson Sweater that I sewed for him frequently and, despite the fact that we wash and dry it with the rest of our laundry, it has retained a lovely amount of warmth and still looks quite sharp.  If you want the merino to keep it’s natural moisture wicking properties (provided by the lanolin) refrain from machine washing and drying but if you are not concerned about this, know that both the superfine and sweater weight materials machine and wash and dry very well.


In order to secure your fabric, please place your order before Nov. 1st.  You will receive an email when your fabric ships to you!  Head to the fabric section of our shop to see the many colors of Dintex and merino available.


3 Comments

How to choose: Quadra or Fulford Jeans?

Fulford mens jeans sewing pattern-21

With the launch of two jeans patterns simultaneously, we’ve left you with a tough decision to make…which jeans pattern is best for you, the Quadra Jeans or the Fulford Jeans? (The Fulford Jeans are pictured above and the Quadra Jeans are pictured below)

Quadra mens jeans sewing pattern-1

Today I’m going to help you analyse these two styles so you can come up with a confident choice.  First we’ll look at the language I use to compare them, next we’ll compare them to a well known store bought jean, and lastly we will inspect the actual pattern pieces to see the differences in proportions.

Description of Fit

Quadra-vs-Fulford-Technical-Illustration

I describe the fit of the Quadra and Fulford jeans patterns using one paragraph on each product listing.  I’ve copied the paragraphs below and have made the key phrases bold:

The Quadra Jeans sewing pattern provides a subtly modern take on the classic straight leg jean.  This pair of jeans features a slight taper to the leg and extra room in the thigh to allow for lots of movement.  They sit below the waist as a moderate low rise.  Sew these jeans in denim with no stretch or up to 2% elastane to add just that little bit of additional flexibility that so perfectly suits an active lifestyle.

The Fulford Jeans sewing pattern is a truly classic straight leg jean.  This pair of jeans features a regular fit in the thigh and straight legs.  They feature a conservatively high rise reminiscent of vintage work jeans that sits just below the waist.  Sew these jeans in a rugged denim and expect to wear this hard wearing pair for years to come.

As you can see, there are differences in the lower leg, the thigh, the rise and the intended style.  Let’s take a closer look at these differences:

Quadra vs Fulford Thigh

Leg: The Quadra jeans (pictured above left) taper from the knee to the hem for an overall look that is slim.  The Fulford jeans (pictured above right) are straight from the knee down for an overall bulkier look.  The size 34 Quadras feature a 15 3/4″ hem width while the Fulfords feature a 16 3/4″ hem width.

Quadra vs Fulford Thigh Back View

Thigh: To make up for the slim fit elsewhere, the Quadra Jeans (pictured left) provide more room in the thigh to allow for comfort when sitting.  This means the difference between the thigh and calves is proportionately larger than the Fulford jeans (pictured right) which emphasises the tapered look of the Quadras.  The Fulford jeans are only slightly curved at the hip and quite straight through the thigh which emphasises the straight silhouette through the legs.  The size 34 Quadras feature a 24 7/8″ thigh while the Fulfords feature a 24 1/4″ thigh.

Quadra vs Fulford Rise

Rise:  The Quadra jeans (pictured left) are what is often referred to as “mid-rise” or “moderate-low rise” meaning they sit well below the natural waist.  The Fulford Jeans (pictured right) are a higher rise and sit just below the natural waist.  This means that the fly is visually longer on the Fulford Jeans.  The size 34 Quadras feature a 9″ rise while the Fulfords feature a 10″ rise.

Quadra vs Fulford Style

Style: While both jeans could be sewn in non-stretch denim or denim with up to 2% elastane, the tapered leg of the Quadras (pictured left) really pairs well with the added flexibility of stretch denim.  Stretch allows the wearer to feel completely unrestricted when bending his legs during physical activity (even though the fit at the knees and calves is fairly slim).  The Fulfords (pictured right) would be lovely and comfortable with a bit of stretch but the wearer would not notice it in the same way because the knees and calves are already allowed so much room.  Thick denim would not feel restricting when used for the Fulfords (though make sure your machine can handle the thickness before choosing anything too rugged!).

Fit Compared to Levis

Levis 502 vs Levis 501

Since Levis are such a well known brand, I examined their various styles when designing our jeans patterns.  I wanted to make styles that were comparable to their popular fits so that men could try on their store bought jeans before deciding which pattern suited them best.  The Quadra Jeans are similar in fit to Levis 502 (pictured left) while the Fulford Jeans are similar to Levis 501 (pictured right).

Pattern Piece Proportions

By placing the size 34 Quadra and Fulford pattern pieces on top of each other you can get a visual understanding of their differences and similarities.  In the following diagrams the Quadra Jeans are orange and the Fulford Jeans are white.

Front

Quadra-vs-Fulford-Front

The diagrams above show the difference in hem and knee width.  You can also see the inch taller rise on the Fulford Jeans.  While the Quadra Jeans appear narrower at the side seam, the inner thigh curve is less exaggerated providing slightly more room in the thighs than the Fulford Jeans (when paired with the back pattern piece).

Back

Quadra-vs-Fulford-Back

Here you can see similar differences to the front pattern pieces: The Quadras are narrower at the hem and knee.  They also feature a more exaggerated curve at the inner thigh.  Their hips curve inwards to create a closer fit where the yoke seam will be when the back and yoke are sewn together.

Yoke

Quadra-vs-Fulford-Yoke

The Quadra Yoke is considerably narrower than the Fulford and tapers dramatically towards the waist.  This allows for more shaping to create a slim fitting waist paired with roomy thighs.  The Fulford Yoke is angled less and is wider.  The overall effect of this yoke is to create a straight fit through the hips.

Front Pockets

Quadra-vs-Fulford-Pockets

The different pocket shapes don’t effect fit but are simply shaped differently to suit the aesthetic of each jean.  The Fulford pockets are angular while the Quadra pockets are curved.  The coin pocket is the same size for both pairs.

Back Pockets

Quadra-vs-Fulford-Back-Pockets.jpg

The back pocket pieces are identical for both the Fulford and Quadra Jeans and for all sizes.  We found that increasing the pocket proportionately with the size did not result in a flattering look.  The pattern includes five topstitching templates or you can leave the pockets free from decorative stitching as is often the case for men’s jeans.

Fly Pieces

Quadra-vs-Fulford-Fly

The Fulford fly pieces are longer than the Quadra fly pieces to suit the higher rise of the jeans.  You will also notice that the Fulford zipper shield is narrower which is a style difference that results in less heft and bulk at centre front when you sew this pair of jeans in a heavy denim as workwear.  Since the Quadra Jeans are not as likely to be sewn in very heavy denim, their wide shield will not feel too bulky and will, of course, more thoroughly protect the wearer from the zipper.

Quadra mens jeans sewing pattern-10



To wind things up on a more personal note, you might be interested to know which fit my friends and family members prefer:

Matt Mike and Scott

Quadras: Matt, Mike (Matt’s brother), our friend Scott.  All of these men are fairly young and are used to wearing a lower rise and closer fit when it comes to pants.  They also like the Jedediah Pants over our Jutland Pants.

My dad and Matt's dad

Fulfords: My dad (who prefers roomy legs and the fit of our Jutland Pants over our Jedediah Pants) and Matt’s dad (he loves Levi 501s which I believe he is wearing in the photo above).

Now that we’ve analysed things thoroughly, I hope you are able to choose between our two new patterns easily!  Regardless of the pattern you choose, you will be treated to an incredibly thorough set of instructions and will be able to make jeans featuring every detail you would find in a good quality store bought equivalent!

Ready to choose?  Download the Quadra Jeans or download the Fulford Jeans.

And don’t forget, we always feature this offer on our PDF only patterns:  When the patterns are available in tissue format, everyone who purchased the PDF will be given the opportunity to buy the tissue version minus the cost of the PDF.  That way you don’t have to pay for both formats but you also don’t have to wait until the jeans are printed to get sewing!