I don’t think I’ve ever really fully explained how we name our patterns or organize them into collections. Since I’ve received many queries about this over the years, it is about time!
We began by developing four collection names as a framework to design our patterns within. The collections are Parkland Casual Wear, Alpine Activewear, Cityscape Urban Menswear, and Meadow Women’s Wear. You can see our very first four patterns marked out on the map above. They range in location from central to southern Vancouver Island. Let’s delve into these collections and the place names we’ve selected in more detail:
Garments within the Parkland Collection must be suitable to wear while strolling or picnicing at one of Vancouver Island’s many beaches or parks. Alpine Collection garments, on the other hand, must be suitable for more strenuous hiking or climbing throughout the mountain ranges on our island. Cityscape garments are great for either casual or business use in Victoria (Vancouver Island’s largest city which is still very small as far as cities go). Meadow Women’s Wear is simply comfortable women’s garments, there aren’t any restrictions on these designs as they have always been special releases for Thread Theory’s birthday and are simply garments I would like to wear!
Within the Parkland Collection you will find the Newcastle Cardigan, named after Newcastle Island near central Vancouver Island. This island was a great place to visit when we were kids. Both our families boated recreationally (and we probably came across each other at anchorages but, knowing my shy sister and I, we wouldn’t have joined in with whatever antics Matt and his brother were getting up to!
The Jedediah Pants were named after the island Matt and I visited (also near central Vancouver Island) by borrowed sailing boat when we were engaged. We climbed to the top of the highest mountain on the island where Matt proposed by writing a note to me and placing it in the stone cairn!
The Strathcona Henley is named after Strathcona Park which is an enourmous conservation area extending from mid to north Vancouver Island. Within this park are many spectacular hike in camping locations but also some lovely day walks, including my favourite, Paradise Meadows. This walk is a circle route with many boardwalks, alpine lakes, wildflowers and whiskey jack birds.
The Goldstream Peacoat was named after Goldstream Park in Victoria. This park is right near the main highway but upon taking several steps from the parking lot you are immersed in anothe world of ancient forests and babbling streams. When we lived in Victoria we loved to camp here. The Goldstream design would be a nice choice to wear here when taking a day trip from the city.
The Sayward Raglan was named after the northern Vancouver Island town of Sayward. Matt and I were considering buying a property in this tiny town around the time that we developed this pattern. While not named after a park, it still felt like a fitting name because the main reason we were drawn to this town is that it felt like the entire town and surrounding mountains were one big park! We found gorgeous free camping beside a stream while we visited, watched some great baseball games, and climbed the local mountain.
The Eastwood Pajamas were named after the woods that we frequented daily when we lived in the Comox Valley. We joked that the woods were such an extension of our home we would almost be comfortable wearing pajamas there. It was the best place for blackberry picking, was right near our foster children’s school, and was Luki’s place to socialize with other dogs. We’ve found some great walks close to our new home but we still miss Eastwood!
The Quadra Jeans are named after Quadra Island, another location that Matt and I tried to buy a property (our offer was turned down). It is a gorgeous little island just off of Campbell River and features some of our favourite cruising grounds – sandy beaches, a hut filled with driftwood art left by boaters from decades past, excellent crabbing and prawning, and some lovely walks.
That brings us to the Alpine Collection now! The first pattern in this collection was the Comox Trunks. They were designed with hiking in mind – they are close fitting and seamed in such a way to avoid chaffing. They were named after my hometown, Comox, because we returned to this community after attending school in the city while we were in the midst of designing this pattern. The Comox Valley is nestled between the mountains and the ocean so it is always only a short drive to reach a hilly hike.
Next in the collection was the Arrowsmith Undershirt (our free pattern), paired with the Comox Trunks you have a nice base layer to wear while on adventures. Arrowsmith is the largest mountain on southern Vancouver Island and features a challenging hike.
The Jutland Pants were named after one of the mountains just outside of the Comox Valley. It can be reached by avid hikers with Paradise Meadows as the starting point for the hike. I suspect shoulder season hikers would appreciate the lined Jutland Pants!
The Finlayson Sweater was named after Mount Finlayson which is right near Goldstream Park. We thought it a fitting name because, despite being part of the Alpine Collection, it can be made to be more of a casual or dressy garment depending on fabric choice (sew it in merino for hiking, in terrycloth for cosy loungewear, or in a textured sweater knit for a smart and dressy sweater). A mountain close to the city sort of bridges that gap between wilderness and civilization!
The Fulford Jeans were named after Fulford Harbour on Saltspring Island (one of the Gulf Islands near southern Vancouver Island. This was yet another area that we tried to buy a homestean unsuccessfully! It is a hilly region for such a small island. The Fulfords would have been excellent jeans to wear while working to clear and build on the land we tried to buy!
Our upcoming pattern will also be part of the Alpine Collection. It is called Carmanah which is named after the next hike I would like to do once Noah is ready for this sort of adventure. The Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park is on the west coast of Vancouver Island (all our other garments have been named after locations on the east coast which is where we live). The park has a beautiful hike through truly ancient Sitka spruce trees.
Moving on to the Cityscape Collection, which is currently our smallest collection. You may notice that our daily lives don’t involve a lot of formal wear or time spent in cities anymore! All the same, everyone needs a smart outfit or three in their closet to wear to special occasions. Plus, sewists have the flexibility to vary the aesthetic of a design based on the fabric they choose! Matt still wears his flannel Fairfield Button-up every week at least once through the entire year (he insists it is actually quite cool and comfortable as a light layer to put on in the morning and evening throughout the summer!). The Fairfield Button-up was named for the street that we lived on while I attended my Fashion Design program in Victoria.
The Belvedere Waistcoat was named for the apartment building near ours (while in Victoria) with, what I thought to be, the classiest of names!
The Qualicum Bag, the final garment in this collection (though I am sure it will continue to grow over the years) was named after the town in which Matt’s parents live. The Qualicum Bag can pack a lot – perfect for our weekend trips to visit!
The final collection, The Meadow, features the Camas Blouse and Lazo Trousers. I named these garments after my favourite meadow locations on Vancouver Island. Camas refers to the Camas flower meadows found in the Garry Oak ecosystem of southern Vancouver Island. We often walked through the famous Camas meadow at Victoria’s Beacon Hill Park which was just across the road from our apartment building.
Cape Lazo is in the Comox Valley and consists of a sandy and windy spit with a beautiful beach and some stunning seaside homes. Many of these properties feature resiliant wild grasses that turn golden in the summer and sway in the wind. I’ve always enjoyed driving along the peninsula road during summer windstorms to watch the waves and the wind in the grass.
And there you have it, the story behind our garment and collection names! I’ve also added collection buttons on our shop home page so it is easier to view our patterns by collection. Scroll to the bottom to see!
Have you visited Vancouver Island? What landmark would you want to remember by naming one of our patterns?