Thread Theory

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


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Packing patterns…the reality

Our long awaited order of seven printed Thread Theory tissue patterns arrived on Wednesday and Matt and I have both photographed a few glimpses of how our week has progressed since.

We are swimming in tags, envelopes and instruction booklets!

I’ve been packing them each time I’m able to get Noah to play independently, nap independently, or nap on me (the ergo paired with a short dog walk is nap time magic). Matt’s been packing patterns every moment he isn’t photographing them, doing customer service emails or sleeping. I think he packed somewhere in the vicinity of 250 patterns yesterday afternoon and evening!

The first of the orders headed out to retailers this weekend. Be sure to check out the hugely expanded menswear collection at your favourite fabric shop next time you’re there!

This is a short post as I have to get back to packing orders. I think we will have the last of the stockist pre-orders shipped by Saturday. And then we can launch the new patterns in our shop! Wahoo!

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A little tour

I’ve been packing patterns each nap time this week so we can get all of the retail orders featuring our new printed patterns mailed as quickly as possible. I can’t wait to add all seven patterns to the shop! You guys have been so patient waiting for them! As per usual, we will do the discount that allows you to purchase the tissue pattern minus the cost of the PDF if you already purchased it in that format in the past.

In the meantime, here’s a little photo tour of our property and a few of the garden projects I’ve started:

Noah and I head out at least once a day for a walk and some time in the garden. We start by walking the property trails.

Behind the house there is a fern laden ridge with a little path going up to a dry and sunny meadow that reminds me of the arbutus lined and crunchy lichen covered meadows found atop the local mountains in the summer.

It is quite dry and hot up here even in early spring due to the southern exposure. We won’t be growing anything up here since it is rocky and isn’t irrigated but it’s an amazing spot for sunbathing and a picnic!

Turning to the right, there is a woodland trail that takes me swooping over to the other side of the property. My parents have purchased this land alongside us (we own the house and established homestead, they own the rest of the forest) and are considering building a house or at least part time cottage in this area one day. It would be a lovely spot as it is elevated and off to one side from our house so it would be very private.

The trail continues back down the ridge, this time on the other side of the property. At the bottom of the hill it is the dampest area with lush grass, deciduous trees, salmon berries and potentially two very old crabapple trees (I hope…I’m waiting for them to leaf out to confirm this).

Turning right, we are now level with the house and are heading back toward it.

To the left is a beautiful section of forest that is a bit different than the rest of the property, as it is predominantly large cedars and little underbrush. I wonder if it was left untouched when the rest of the land was cleared.

There is a beautiful old barn/garden shed tucked in the darkest part of that forest. I couldn’t get a photo as it was just too dark!It isn’t in usable condition right now but I dream of somehow moving it to the homestead area and fixing it up. I don’t know if that would be cost effective or realistic, it might make more sense to build a new garden shed and leave this one to it’s retirement deep in the forest.

Continuing along the grass path towards the house brings us to the most splendid sight on the property this spring. I’m not sure what this blooming tree is yet but I love it! There is a smaller one right outside Noah’s nursery window too. I’ve seen many of these trees in this area. Perhaps it’s a cherry tree but I don’t really think so…

Back at the house we walk by this grotto garden complete with stone walls, a cherry blossom tree and many ferns.

My parents worked very hard to clear this area out so it can grow back lush and fresh. It looked like an almost wild secret garden before all the brambles and ferns were cut back. I look forward to when it fills out again! As you can see, the sunroom windows look over this garden. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy our morning coffee.

Continuing on the walk, we turn left at the grotto to head down the driveway. This takes us along the homestead fence, past the carport, and past several naturalized patches of spring bulbs and wildflowers.

A past owner of our property (who now operates an organic veggie farm with a great market stand not far down the road) told us to look forward to naturalized chocolate lilies later this spring!

I love how the driveway curves and meanders. The forest at the front of the property is fairly young, I think we will be able to forage some nice spring greens from its fertile edges. I wonder if we will find mushrooms anywhere on the property this fall?

Now we’ve toured the bulk of the property, let’s head back down the driveway to visit the fenced homestead area on the left (on the right in the photo above which was taken while I was walking up to the road still).

About an acre of the 5 acres is fenced and cross fenced. Luki is loving the freedom of roaming this acre! Within the fencing is Matt’s shop, a small orchard with six dwarf apple trees, a chicken run, a field, and an area for our future goats or pigs. Also within the fencing is the house and a front lawn and garden.

Matt’s focus is the shop this summer. He’s cleared it out and will re-roof and insulate (and maybe even add a wood stove) before winter. The existing roof is very whimsical and unique (it isn’t caving in, it’s meant to be saddle shaped!) but we are adding a metal roof so it will become the standard shape soon.

My focus is the orchard and existing raised beds. It’s too late to prune the apple trees this year but we will get to that much needed task next winter. In the meantime, I’ve topped the raised beds with compost and am slowly adding compost beds around the fruit trees. I’m doing it all ‘no-dig’ inspired by British gardener Charles Dowding and other permaculture gardeners that I watch on YouTube (I used to do a lot of that while nursing Noah as a newborn!). It’s easiest to layer on top of the grass while carting a baby around, it puts our moving boxes to good use, and most importantly it doesn’t disturb the soil structure and apple tree roots.

We’ve added blueberry shrubs, a grape, sorrel, and calendula so far. I hope to create several layers of plantings in the orchard space with an emphasis on fruits and perennial vegetables.

While I’m doing the veggie garden in the raised beds this year, my long term goal is to move that to a large veggie garden in the big field. This is where the market garden was when the veggie farmer owned the property. He said he worked hard to make excellent soil for a couple of decades.

We planted an apple tree (a lovely housewarming gift from Matt’s aunt and uncle) in this area the other day and could tell it was excellent soil since it was dark and there were many worms!

Behind that field is a fenced area featuring a very sturdy chicken coop which just needs a good clean, a new door and some bedding. We will remove the rotted temporary coops that are sitting in front of it. We hope to get chickens in a couple of months if we can prepare the coop so it is clean and cozy for them!

Next door to the chicken run is the final paddock which was most recently used by the last owner’s dogs. Once it is spruced up I hope it will become the home of our future goats or pigs. Not this year though as we have our hands full enough as it is!

Now our tour has come full circle to the house, this time to the front door. The front lawn is proving to be a lovely spot for dappled afternoon sunshine.

There are some intriguing looking shrubs surrounding it. I think it’s probably too late to trim and tidy them this year as they are leafing out but I have invited my Nonnie (my grandmother) over mid April to investigate this area as she is a talented gardener. We will be having lunch together and tackling what we can in front of the house to clean things up.

I look forward to seeing this beautiful piece of land in all seasons! When we viewed this property in mid winter we were struck by how sheltered and calm it felt despite the fact that there had just been major wind storms in this area. The feeling of calm has persisted into the spring. It is very tranquil here and the diversity of the landscape really adds to this feeling in the spring – as I walk each pathway I hear different bird calls and smell different spring blossoms. It’s hard to force myself back inside to work…it’s a good thing I love working on Thread Theory so much or I might stay outside until Fall!


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We are home

6D1E74F2-6BFD-4269-A716-A61785854952We’ve moved, a very rough and ready version of our Thread Theory studio is up and running and we are back in business! Thank you for your patience while we moved. As our store banner explained, we were not shipping orders for a few days but now we are here, all orders that were placed during our move shipped out early this week.

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The moving process went smoothly thanks to the very enthusiastic help of our friends and family…they were pretty surprised that half of the massive moving truck was packed tightly with Thread Theory inventory and furniture! We almost moved double the volume we would have if we didn’t have a home based business.

We moved out, stayed at Matt’s parents house for a very relaxing 5 nights and then moved in to our new homestead.

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Matt’s Mom (wearing a modified Strathcona Henley) hanging with her grandson for 5 days – happy grandma and happy grandson!

My parents then generously stayed several nights to settle us in. They helped tackle some big garden maintenance that needed to be done before Spring sprung any farther than it already had.

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My mom cooked all our meals while she stayed with us giving me a chance to unpack. Thanks mom!

Meanwhile Matt doggedly set up the Thread Theory shelving, kept on top of customer emails, and arranged for a huge shipment of paper patterns to arrive (probably today!). I’ve been busy with Noah, of course, but have also started my veggie garden seeds during moments when Noah was hanging out with his grandparents (Matt’s family also came to visit a couple of nights once my parents left).

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This morning was our first morning on our own in the house. It feels lovely with all of the bright windows and Spring sunshine streaming in. The birds are chirping and we see a rabbit hopping through the meadows at least once a day (though I suppose that won’t continue once the poor rabbits realize our dog, Luki, is not fond of them!)

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Once our paper patterns arrive we will chug away at packing orders for our stockists (if you are a retail store and are reading this post, please expect a newsletter announcing we are ready for your order very soon). Once their orders have shipped off the following tissue patterns will be added to our shop at long last: The Belvedere Waistcoat, The Sayward Raglan, The Eastwood Pajamas, The Quadra Jeans and the Fulford Jeans. The Comox Trunks and Fairfield Button-up will also be restocked. Needless to say, we will be inviting many of our enthusiastic friends and family back to the homestead for a pattern packing party (will they still be enthusiastic by this point? I think we owe a lot of friends and family some help on future moves or life changes!).

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Aside from the excitement of launching seven tissue patterns at once, I’m just bubbling with zest for life in our new home right now. I’m so happy to be surrounded by forests and meadows, to watch spring flowers emerging, and to start my veggie garden. I love that my daily walk with Noah and Luki takes me past horses, sheep and even a ‘wonky donkey’ (named after the character in one of Noah’s most hilarious books…search Wonky Donkey on YouTube, you won’t regret it!).

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Matt is thrilled with the view from the Thread Theory studio as we have placed it in the second story of our house and it overlooks a good chunk of the homestead. When he’s not working he is out with his chainsaw and fixing up the property. The project he is most thrilled with is setting up his workshop. It looks like it will need a new roof this summer and has required major clearing out due to most of the cupboards being filled with rat droppings and rot…yuck!

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We won’t have any glamorous photos of the Thread Theory studio to share with you for a while since, as I said before, it’s just roughly set up while we focus on actually working in it and maintaining the property. Next winter we will do lots of work inside the house and at that point I hope to paint the studio and set it up beautifully. Do you have any recommendations of studio tour blog posts? I’d love to start assembling ideas!

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Well, I better get back outside to get more seeds planted! It’s good to be back on the blog! See you next Friday and have a lovely weekend.


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New direction for the blog…and I’m really excited for it!

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Noah turned 4 months old on the 19th! Matt and I are beginning to settle into a bit of a routine that allows us to keep Thread Theory operating smoothly while we still focus the majority of our time on little Noah and his entertaining determination to master the next skill (right now he is very determined to sit up).  Matt packs orders and replies to emails first thing in the morning while I play with Noah and formulate a couple small goals and plans for the day. After lunch we generally head to the forest or around the neighbourhood to walk our pup and I try to fit in my goals between nursing sessions while Matt plays with Noah mid afternoon.

When Noah is a month or two older I plan to make my goals a little larger (i.e. writing pattern instructions!) but right now, all I am able to accomplish for Thread Theory is the occasional sewing related customer service email, social media, and adding the occasional product or blog post to our website. I’m ok with that! That’s why I worked so hard to launch 4 patterns over the last year!

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Actually, of late, most of my time when I’m able to sneak away during a nap or when Matt is with Noah has been devoted to packing our house and studio! After 2.5 years in our current home and 6 years living in the Comox Valley we will be moving 1 1/2 hours drive south to Yellow Point in mid March! We have been searching for our ideal property on which to live the life we dream for some time now. Those of you who listened to the Seamwork Radio podcast that I was featured on a couple of years ago might remember the dominant theme: living a simple life where we are connected to our daily activities through making…and for Matt and I that frequently extends beyond sewing! Our new home will feature the forest, meadows, homestead and community that we want to immerse ourselves in. I can’t wait to set up the Thread Theory studio, raise some chickens (there’s a coop already on the property!) and start my garden.

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I’ll certainly share lots of photos and stories about our new home and mini-farm once we have moved, in the meantime, this brings me to the main purpose of this blog post:

In the plentiful quiet and still time while I sit and nurse Noah at night I have been brainstorming how to reorganize Thread Theory avenues of communication to better suit life with a baby and our new routines in Yellow Point. Right now I communicate with all of you through the blog, our newsletter, Instagram, Facebook, and the Thread Theory Sewing Community. There is a lot of overlap here which I find repetitive and time consuming to create and I worry it is repetitive and dull for you to read! I also feel disconnected from you because fostering children last year and having a baby recently has cut in to my sewing time. I no longer share many personal projects or anecdotes on the blog…and I miss that (and the resulting conversation in the comments)!

So here is my plan to both simplify and reinvigorate my connection with everyone who follows the story of our menswear pattern company:

First, the blog, which existed long before we ever launched a pattern, will go back to its roots as a platform for stories about my sewing projects (using Thread Theory patterns or otherwise). I used to post about things going on in our life as well. Back when I wrote the blog more prosaically, most of what was going on in my life had to do with the thrill of developing a new business. Now that Thread Theory has grown up and become so stable, I’ve filled my life with many other passions in addition to our little company. Most of these are related to homesteading and generally involve making (while wearing handmade) so I think you might relate and enjoy my stories. In short: If you follow the blog you will read about projects and our life as the family behind Thread Theory patterns. The blog will no longer be the place to read about pattern releases, product launches or sales.

Which brings me to our newsletter. To stay up to date on Thread Theory patterns and sales, subscribe to this (enter your e-mail at the bottom of our homepage)! It will arrive in your email inbox. It is already and will continue to be the very best way to be the first to hear about pattern launches. Traditionally, though, I’ve shared in-depth examinations of our new patterns on the blog…these detailed posts will move to the newsletter instead so you can gain an understanding of our new patterns even if you don’t follow the blog.

Sew-alongs will be posted directly to our Thread Theory website instead of on the blog. I’ll announce sew-alongs through the newsletter and social media. This means sew-alongs will no longer be on the blog.

Instagram will continue to be my main form of social media as it is a great way to find your Thread Theory projects and share them with Thread Theory followers. Don’t expect videos or ‘stories’ from me on Instagram anytime soon…I’m too shy for that! I love sharing your projects and my photos on the main feed though. I’ll probably continue to share an image from each new blog post on Instagram too since I know many of you click through to read intriguing  blog posts instead of following the blog via email or a blog feed.

Lastly, while I don’t personally use Facebook, I know that MANY of you do (but don’t use Instagram). With that in mind I will continue to push all Instagram posts to our Facebook page so you can stay nicely in the loop. If you want to share your projects or read what other people have to say about our patterns, the best place for Facebook users to go is our Thread Theory Sewing Community. That group has become so large, active and vibrant! I don’t always answer questions in a timely manner in that group though as I consider it a platform for Thread Theory sewists to interact candidly without interference from me. The best way to contact me with questions and comments will always be by email at info@threadtheory.ca!

So, to sum things up:

– Matt and I are so excited for our move to our dream homestead. Follow the personal side of Thread Theory, which will involve sewing and homesteading  through the blog.

– Stay up to date with our pattern company developments and sales via our newsletter.

– Join sew-alongs through the newsletter rather than the blog.

– See snippets of personal life, our company developments, and your amazing projects on Instagram and Facebook.

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Does this reformatting work for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback as I don’t want to reformat in a way that displeases most! Mostly, I’d like to make sure: As blog followers, does my plan to bring back my personal, prose style posts and move business news to the newsletter appeal to you?


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New Patterns! By Laela Jeyne and 5 Out Of 4

Our PDF pattern inventory just grew by leaps and bounds!  We are thrilled to now stock Laela Jeyne menswear patterns and 5 Out Of 4 menswear patterns in our shop.  These two indie sewing pattern companies have designed some stellar menswear pieces in addition to their large collections of garments for women and children.  Upon viewing their creative and well thought out designs, you will see why we think they so nicely compliment our own patterns.

Let’s have a look at the new designs (or head straight to the shop to check out our full PDF collection comprised of designs by eight (!) different indie pattern companies):

From Laela Jeyne, we have three PDF patterns which she has named Dapper by Laela Jeyne.  All three patterns could be sewn up to make a complete outfit (or a closet full of outfits if you employed the many variations included for each design!

emmett t-shirt

First off, we have the Emmett T-shirt.  This is a versatile pattern featuring a polo, Henley and crew neckline.  There are two sleeve length options.  The pattern includes instructions for fitting this design (including grading between sizes.  It is available in sizes XS-3XL.  Laela Jeyne patterns include a great feature: You only need to print the size that you want to use.

reed trousers

Next up, we have the Reed Trousers.  These are classic chino pants with roomy thighs, a straight fit, slit side pockets and optional welt pockets.  They are a great alternative to our Jedediah Pants – both garments feature a chino-style fit and look similar from the front but you can choose between darts and welt pockets (the Reed Trousers) or a yoke and patch pockets (the Jedediah Pants) depending on your preference.

william vest

Lastly, we have the William Vest which is a perfect layering piece over the Emmett T-shirt.  The William Vest can be sewn as a simple vest or you can add all manner of details including a snap off hood with a gusset, shoulder and back yokes, snap flap, welt pockets and breast pockets.

Now we’ve had a look at the Dapper collection by Laela Jeyne, let’s check out the new patterns by 5 Out Of 4.  I was eager to add 5 Out Of 4 patterns to our shop because they have a very large size range and include a huge amount of variations with each design.

redwood fleece vest

5 Out of 4 have made a great vest design too – theirs features colorblocking options, a zippered chest pocket with an optional flap, zippered hand pockets and a fully finished interior.  This pattern is drafted for sizes XXS-5XL.

sierra fleece pullover

The Sierra Fleece Pullover is a stand out pattern for me – I love the color blocking options – you can use contrast fabric for the shoulders and part of the sleeves to create a very nice effect (check out the other images in the shop to see this look).  You can sew the whole design without yokes and with one piece sleeves (pictured on the left), or you can sew the two piece sleeves with one fabric to match the shoulder yoke (pictured on the right).  So many possibilities based on your fabric and color combos to create a variety of looks with one pattern!  This pattern ranges from XXS-3XL.

halftime hoodie

The Halftime Hoodie is a nice quick project.  Sew a sweater with or without a hood, choose between two kangaroo pocket sizes and sew short or tall cuffs (with the option for thumbholes once again).  This pattern includes sizes XXS-5XL.

rocky tee

The Rocky Tee is a versatile basic – sew it as a v-neck or crew-neck with a variety of sleeve lengths and finishes (you could even choose thumbhole cuffs if you like).  This pattern extends from XXS-5XL.

woven boxersWe’ve received a lot of requests for woven boxer shorts over the years but we haven’t made a pattern for this style – because this great option by 5 Out of 4 already exists!  These shorts have been well thought out – they don’t have a centre back seam and instead feature three back panels that create a roomier and more comfortable fit at the back.  You can sew an optional buttonhole fly and the seams are nicely flatfelled.  These are hard-wearing and will produce a very professionally finished pair of boxers!

The last pattern by 5 Out of 4 is a great one – swim trunks with a million high-end details!

swim trunks

These trunks feature a mesh liner, faux fly, optional drawstring, optional side pockets and optional cargo pockets.  Mix and match these details for a quick or more hefty project.

Welcome to the Thread Theory shop Laela Jeyne and 5 Out of 4!  We are so glad you are designing menswear!

 


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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

I hope your final days of 2018 have been restful, peaceful and were full of time to sew!  We are so grateful for the many sewists who sew their Christmas gifts using Thread Theory patterns and for the enthusiastic support that you show for our little business all year long!  Thank you!

This year has been filled with many highlights for both Thread Theory and Matt and I in our personal life.

We’ve launched four menswear patterns:

Patterns

From left to right: Quadra Jeans, Sayward Raglan, Eastwood Pajamas, Fulford Jeans

Our baby, Noah, was born:

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And we’ve had the privilege to see our patterns sewn into many absolutely stunning garments!

Thread Theory Pattern makes

From left to right:

  1. Finlayson Sweater sewn by Jocelyn Buggie for her brother’s Christmas gift and shared on the Thread Theory Sewing Community Facebook page.
  2. Another Finlayson sewn by Kayla Kissane for her uncle as a Christmas gift and shared on the Facebook community page.
  3. A paisley Fairfield Button-up sewn by James Nacy and shared on the Facebook page – he altered the collar to become a large 70’s style one to suit his fabric choice.
  4. A Goldstream Peacoat sewn by Léa Provost for her father’s Christmas gift and shared via email.

Matt and I are so excited for the coming year.  We have a nice collection of patterns already drafted so that I can delve into instruction writing once little Noah and I have settled into a routine (we are getting close…as you can probably tell because I’ve actually managed to write a couple of blog posts lately!).  Since last year’s wallet patterns were such a success, the first pattern on my list to write instructions for is a bag.  Instead of a quick bag making project (as our wallets are), this is an involved project which is a lot of fun to sew!  I look forward to sharing the MANY features with you when the pattern is ready!

The rest of the waiting patterns are garments…but I won’t give away any hints about those yet 😀

Happy New Year!


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New Merchant & Mills Sewing Patterns: Women’s Workwear and Bags

We often receive requests to make patterns for menswear inspired women’s fashion – especially workwear (modelled after our Jutland Pants).  While the idea really appeals to me, I haven’t embarked on this project yet since there are still so many gaps to fill in the world of menswear sewing patterns.  Thus, I was thrilled when Merchant & Mills released their recent batch of patterns – all of their latest designs are based on historic men’s workwear but they are cut and sized for women!

We now stock my favourite of the patterns in our shop so our Canadian and US customers need not pay for shipping from Great Britain.  Have a look at these hard wearing designs:

Merchant and Mills Victor Apron

This is the Victor Apron which is a practical (and trendy) full coverage design.  It includes a large pocket and a separate pocket meant to hold scissors.  I can imagine this working well for gardening, in the workshop, for a shop owner (I’d like to keep my scissors handy when packing your orders…I always misplace them!).  Of course, this full coverage design would be lovely in the kitchen too!

Merchant and Mills TN31 Parka

Next we have the TN31 Parka.  It is a relaxed take on the classic fishtail parka.  I love that it uses ribbing for the neckline – this adds a really sporty touch that would be soft against the skin.  It also leaves the neck free of bulk so you can bundle up with a scarf.  It includes both side seam pockets and angled welt pockets which look perfectly placed to keep your hands warm.

Merchant and Mills Ottoline Jacket

The rest of the women’s workwear is designed for denim (but would work well in other woven fabrics too, of course!).  Their jean jacket, called The Ottoline, is described by Merchant & Mills as a boxy workwear jacket but I think it manages to look quite elegant due to the cuff design and the dark denim they chose for their sample.

Merchant and Mills Herione Jeans

The Heroine Jeans are straight legged roomy jeans with a high waist and a large hem turn-up.  They would be great paired with a selvage denim because you could show off the coloured selvage at the hem.

Merchant and Mills Francine

The Francine is a versatile design that can be sewn as a blouse or dress.  It is inspired by the fishermen of Brittany with its yoked collar.

In addition to the women’s workwear, we’ve also added two more of the Merchant & Mills bag designs to the shop – the Costermonger:

Costermonger Bag Pattern

And the Field Belt:

Field Bag Pattern

In addition to the paper pattern, you can buy the kit for each bag which includes high end notions necessary to make each bag.

Merchant and Mills Bag Kits

Here is a sample of the components – including gorgeous leather strapping.

Costermonger Kit Contents

Have you sewn any of these Merchant & Mills designs?  Which ones inspire you?

Head to the shop to check out our Merchant & Mills offerings.