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


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Comox Trunks Saxx Hack Idea (i.e. how to add a hammock pouch)

Whitney Decker Comox Trunks 2

Recently, Whitney Decker posted some great photos of her husband’s customised Comox Trunks to the Thread Theory Sewing Community Facebook group.  I was thrilled to see the fit she achieved as well as her detailed shots of the hammock pieces that she added to the front of the trunks.

Whitney Decker Comox Trunks

These hammock pieces are similar to what you might find in Saxx Underwear which are a brand renowned for their ability to keep everything in it’s proper place.

I asked Whitney if she might like to create a tutorial for the Thread Theory blog since I have received many requests for this alteration over the years…well, it turns out she had already gone to all the work of creating both a video tutorial and a photographed tutorial of both the Saxx hack and all her other fit alterations!  She posted these tutorials on the Phee Fabrics blog.

Whitney Decker Comox Trunks 3

Her video is very in-depth so I recommend watching this first and then cementing the knowledge you have gained by reading her tutorial next.  The video is of course useful because it details the Saxx hack but it would also be great to watch just to familiarise yourself with how the strangely shaped Comox Trunks pieces fit together.  If you are unclear on how to add length to the legs, how to change the width of the gusset or all manner of other alterations…don’t worry, her video covers them all!

 

Whitney even switches out the elastic waistband and replaces it with a comfortable Supplex waistband.  Supplex is a performance stretch fabric that is available at Phee Fabrics (the company which Whitney created her video and blog post for).  I hadn’t come across this fabric company before but I’m glad I have now!  They look like an excellent source for performance knits and underwear/swimwear fabrics.  Their blog features tutorials for almost every indie underwear pattern I’ve ever come across!

Whitney’s pattern hack uses a free pattern piece offered by another indie pattern company with a men’s underwear pattern: The Boxerwear Boxer Briefs by Stitch Upon A Time.  This pattern is similar in fit to the Comox Trunks with a few key differences: The pouch is one piece and shaped with a dart, there is a centre back seam, I believe the legs are finished with binding or a band, and the legs are quite a bit longer.  It’s wonderful that there is beginning to be enough variety available that you can pick and choose menswear patterns to perfectly suit the style and fit you are looking for!  Here’s a photo of the Boxerwear design followed by the Comox Trunks so you can compare the many differences and pick the pattern that suits your needs best:

Stitch Upon A Time Boxerwear

From what Whitney tells me, it sounds like the free Saxx-style hammock pattern piece is available through the Stitch Upon a Time Facebook group (please correct me if I’m wrong as I haven’t joined the group!).  I think it would be fairly straightforward to come up with your own hammock pattern piece by tracing the curve of the Comox Trunks front pouch and then drawing a straight line for the hammock edge.

Amy Lawson Comox Trunks

Amy Lawson did something similar and posted to our Facebook Group too.  Has anyone else tried this hack?

Have a look at the Comox Trunks pattern >


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12 Menswear Sewing Projects + 2 Blouses

You guys are such an inspiration!  Each day I begin the work day by checking out what you’ve been making and sharing on Instagram, via email (info@threadtheory.ca) or on Facebook.  Be it the fabric choice, the creative hacks, or the skilled stitching, your projects always allow me to see our old designs from a new perspective.

I’ve created a gallery for each pattern that you guys have been sewing of late.  Above you can see a couple ofexcellent Fairfield Button-ups (along with some VERY elegant Jedediah trousers!).  The aqua colored Fairfield and black Jeds are part of matching father and son outfits in honor of father’s day.  They were sewn by Belgian seamstress and milliner, Jo Chapeau.  The chambray Fairfield Button-up was sewn by Georgia for her partner James.  The fabric is a Robert Kauffman chambray (have you ever seen and felt these in person?  I love the depth and texture of the fabric.  It is so luxurious feeling while giving the overall appearance of a casual fabric choice.)

These two Strathcona Henleys could not look more different but they were sewn by the same person!  Esther sewed one men’s version featuring the Henley placket and long sleeves and then modified the pattern to create a women’s version which she has dubbed the Mariner’s Tee.  It looks as though there is orange striped piping around the neckline.  I love the attention to detail and the way she played with the stripes.

The Jedediah Pants and Jutland Pants are excellent skill building projects.  I never fail to feel pride and amazement each time I complete a trouser fly.  I think these talented sewists felt the same (judging by their Facebook messages, Instagram comments and emails!).  From top to bottom, left to right: 1.Jedediah Pants by Lindsay (@designbylindsay) 2. Jutland Shorts by Ben 3. Jedediah Shorts by The Drapery 4. Jutland Shorts by Isis.

The Finlayson Sweater, on the other hand, is a very quick make and is forgiving of all manner of stitching and fitting imperfections.  There is very little topstitching and the fit is boxy enough that you don’t have to worry about tweaking it much for a variety of body shapes.  Even though it is a simple design, it can still be made special by making an unusual fabric choice.  I love the color blocked sleeves and collar in the top photo (sewn by @lafamillecreative).  The French Terry used by Khadetjes for the Finlayson in the lower photos looks extremely cozy.  You can see some close up photos of the texture on her blog – it looks perfect for a chilly day like today!

Photos of Comox Trunks are some of my favorite to stumble upon because I get such a kick out of the wild prints many people select!  You would be hard pressed to find such colorful and cheery underwear in the shops!  The top pair has been sewn by @theunknownstar and the bottom pair (along with the matching thong) have been sewn by @superlousew.  I may have shared this couple’s set of undies on Instagram or the blog before but I can’t find evidence and I can’t resist spreading the concept of matching undies throughout the sewing world!

This Camas Blouse caught my eye the other day – it was sewn using a woven fabric with a beautiful cotton lace yoke.  I like how the lace yoke shows peeks of the main fabric through the gaps.  This lovely blouse was sewn by @lamuseauplacard.

Lastly, let’s not forget the Goldstream Peacoat!  Near the end of each summer progress shots of Goldstream Peacoats never fail to pop up on my Instagram feed.  These images, by @timetosew caught my eye due to the very precise basting and padstitching she has completed.  I have had the pieces cut out for a Pendleton Wool Goldstream for over a year now.  Since I have made so many Goldstream Peacoats over the last few years, I thought I would veer from the sewing process which I detail within the instruction booklet.  This process features very easy yet effective methods that are approachable even if it is your first coat project.  This time I’m going to use some of the tailoring tips from our Tailored Peacoat Series!  Obviously, I am a tad intimidated (this is why the project has sat for over a year in my WIP bag) but I am thankful for the inspiration from sewists like @timetosew who just buckle down and get stitching!  It’s time for me to do the same so Matt can finally replace his old ratty Goldstream that I made him years ago as an early sample from very cheap faux wool.

If you have a Thread Theory project on you sewing table, I would love to hear about it!  Send your questions, your ideas, your photos, and your stories to info@threadtheory.ca, message me on Facebook, or use #threadtheorydesigns.


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Comox Trunks Supplies Kit – New Colors, New Packaging!

Comox Trunks Supplies Kit-2

One of my favorite sort of emails to receive is from a happy customer who bought our Comox Trunks Supplies Kit.  Some of you have emailed us in the past because you are thrilled with the fabric that is included within the package – you (and I) love how soft, strong, opaque and also stretchy the beautiful bamboo cotton jersey is.  It features 66% rayon from bamboo, 28% cotton and 6% spandex.  It wears incredibly well and is also really forgiving – I’ve sewn dresses and Comox Trunks out of it without taking the time to pre-wash the fabric.  I have never experienced any shrinkage.

Obviously, based on both my opinion and the feedback we’ve received from you guys, it is high time to expand our color range for the Comox Trunks kit.  We’ve added three new colors and have also decided to list the Bamboo Cotton Jersey by the meter so that you can use it for the myriad of other projects for which it is the perfect fabric!

Here are a few of the projects for which I think this fabric is the ideal choice:

Patterns for bamboo cotton jersey fabricThe Comox Trunks by Thread Theory | The Wren Dress by Colette Patterns | The Out and About Dress by Sew Caroline | The Camas Blouse by Thread Theory | The Virginia Leggings by Megan Nielson | The Coppelia Cardigan by Papercut Patterns (the version you see here was sewn by me) | The Summer Jazz Dress by Snapdragon Studios (this dress was sewn by me using the Charcoal Bamboo Cotto – it was blogged here.| The Agnes Top by Tilly and the Buttons

Along with the new color choices, we’ve made another change to the Comox Trunks Kit:  We re-branded the Comox Trunk Kit in a biodegradable and reusable plastic bag with a label that details the kit contents and provides some information about the project.  The Comox Trunks Kit is a great gift for new sewers so I wanted to make the contents and corresponding resources (such as our Comox Trunks sew-along) a little more clear and accessible.

Here are the three new colors of fabric that we now carry in our shop and in the kit!

A dark and mysterious Forest Green which I am currently sewing into an Out and About maxi dress to wear on Christmas Day:

Bamboo Cotton Jersey by Thread Theory-11

An earthy Olive Green which is Matt’s very favorite color choice due to it’s military vibe:

Bamboo Cotton Jersey by Thread Theory-5

And a beautiful Heathered Almond with such a lovely sheen – I can’t wait to sew this into a Camas Blouse or Coppelia Cardigan!

Bamboo Cotton Jersey by Thread Theory-2

We still carry the two original colors that have always been available in our Comox Trunks kits: Festive Burgundy…

Bamboo Cotton Jersey by Thread Theory-7

… and the ever popular and masculine Charcoal:Bamboo Cotton Jersey by Thread Theory-9

Head to the Comox Trunks Supplies Kit page or the Bamboo Cotton Jersey page to have a look at the fabrics in detail.


 

An important note about Christmas shipping:

If you would like to receive your order by Dec. 21st (so that you have time to sew the Comox Trunks before Christmas), I recommend that you place your last shippable orders from our shop by this Friday, Dec. 11th.  Our most common (and affordable) shipping method is Small Packet Air.  Using this method, Canada Post states that your parcel will take 4 to 6 business days to reach you but be aware that this shipping time is not guaranteed by Canada Post so please try to order earlier rather than later to be on the safe side!


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DIY Manly Gift Guide – Father’s Day Edition

2015 is a special year because Father’s Day, the first day of summer and my birthday all land on the same day – so many reasons to celebrate!  I’ve been brainstorming homemade gifts for my dad this year and have come up with a few intriguing ideas featuring various supplies from our shop.  If you would like to explore more ideas, I made a post for Christmas 2013 with all sorts of neat DIY gift ideas for men – be sure to check this out too!

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My dad, our best model, in his Jutland Pants

Here is my collection of ideas sorted into categories based on the supplies they use from our store:

Using Otterwax and/or Canvas:

You could make this ‘DIY’ gift so easy on yourself it might feel like cheating – just buy your dad a new version of his favorite cap (or steal his old one!) and cover it in Otter Wax!  Both the large and regular size bars are in stock in our shop right now.

If you’re feeling more ambitious, make or buy a canvas work apron or jacket and give it a rugged treatment of wax to make it water resistant, windproof and long lasting.  If you’re looking inspiration when it comes to waxing, you need look no further than the Otterwax Facebook page (the source for all the photos below) and Instagram feed!

 

Using our Patterns:

Embark on a manly sewing project!  If you don’t need your present to be a surprise, a pair of Jutland Shorts might be exactly what your Dad needs as the weather warms up.  If you and your dad are pretty close, why not sew him some new undies or long underwear using our Comox Trunk pattern?  Warning, this will likely bring your father/offspring relationship to the next level – be prepared for your Dad’s regular reports on how comfortable his new underwear are!  My mom made my dad seven pairs not long ago and we received regular reports on how they were wearing in for quite some time!  The Finlayson Sweater is a great choice if you plan to sew in secret – it is loose fitting so all you need to do is compare the garment measurements to your dad’s hoodies or sweaters to choose your size.

Photo sources (clockwise) : 1. Cookin’ & Craftin (Jutland Shorts) 2. The Japanese Pattern Challenge/Mainely Dad (Finlayson Sweater) 3. Par Issy (Comox Trunks)

Using the Bag Making Supplies Kit:

Last Father’s Day we launched our Bag Making Supplies Kit in time for Father’s Day gift giving.  It includes a variety of supplies useful in most bag making pursuits but it is meant to be versatile enough that you can use it for all manner of creative projects!  1 m of beautifully smooth cotton canvas is included as well as a whole bar of Otter Wax.  You could use these supplies to make your Dad one of the waxed aprons photographed above or you could use these materials as part of a Grainline Studio Portside Duffle Bag as I did for a tutorial I made last winter.  There is enough fabric to make a heavy duty tote bag with leather handles which you could fill with your dad’s favorite beer or treats or you could get really fancy and use the material to make a custom laptop bag.  And, of course, the Dopp Kit tutorial that I originally launched with the kit would make a great Father’s Day gift.

Using the FREE Arrowsmith Undershirt Pattern:

Last, but not least, I know that MANY of you have already downloaded our free Arrowsmith Undershirt pattern since it is our most popular PDF pattern.  I have been so eager to see how your undershirts have turned out but can’t seem to find much in the way of photos anywhere!  I would LOVE to see some Dads in Arrowsmith Undershirts this Father’s Day!

Image from Sahellara’s Instagram feed.

 

What are your plans for Father’s Day?  Have you given your dad a handmade gift in the past – any big successes?  Any hilarious failures?

 


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Lingerie for your Valentine

IMGP3167 Gift your sweetie some hand-made unmentionables this Valentine’s Day!IMGP3169

The Comox Trunks sewing pattern and supplies kits are 25% off until February 14th.  These trunks only take a couple of hours to sew so you can still make at least one pair before the big day!

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* Note that the PDF, paper patterns and kits are all on sale.  The PDF is an instant download so you will have plenty of time to sew your shorts before Valentine’s Day.  On the other hand, you likely won’t receive your paper pattern or kit by Valentine’s Day (though late Valentine’s lingerie is better than no lingerie!).


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Comox Trunks Pattern Hack- Lady Trunks!

Last weekend was the CREATE! event in Courtenay BC- demos, classes and vendors in the lovely Old House Hotel. Morgan and Matt had a table there and Morgan ran a couple of classes as well. She did some demos using the bag kit and an evening class for the Comox Trunks on Friday night. I was coming straight from work, feeling a little tired and rushed, but I was so glad I went. There were snacks, Comox Trunks Kits, and a very cozy atmosphere (though I feel bad for the people whose hotel rooms were beside the sewing room!).

There were about seven of us, including experienced quilters, Morgan’s mom, and an eleven year old girl. Morgan talked about the pattern, the fabric and the elastic and we all got to work. Every once in a while she would see most people ready to move on and she would introduce and demo the next step. It was fun being walked through and of course as an extrovert, I always love to turn this solitary activity into a party!create collage

The only thing was- I was feeling a little selfish. The bamboo jersey is so so nice, I wanted it for my very own tush. So I talked to Morgan about making them for myself. It turns out to be super easy- in fact it takes away all the tricky stuff at the beginning!  So in case there are others out there like me, who want cozy lady trunks, I decided to throw together a second pair, sharing the modification you make when you don’t need quite so much room in the…ahem.. pouch.

super hero

As you can see, the boxers fit just great, and you too can feel like a super hero (especially if you wear them over tights)

The first step would be to get the Comox Trunks kit, or whatever fabric and elastic you are using, and of course your Comox Trunks pattern. You can follow most of the Sew-along, except we are going to start a little differently. After you’ve cut your pattern and fabric, we are basically skipping the “Sewing the Trunks front” post, since that is all about the pouch.

1. You will not need the binding piece, nor Pattern Piece #2. When you’ve cut out your size, draw and cut a straight line down piece #3 as follows:

1 lady trunks

2. You may notice the centre seam in the front panel in my above pair. For my second pair, I decided it would be nicer, and easy, to skip that seam just by cutting on the fold.

2 lady trunks

3. Here I forgot to photograph this step (Bad tutorialist!). But just put the two pieces wrong side together and baste about the edge (i suggest 1/4″ SA so it doesn’t show when you to a 3/8″ seam to attach). After basting, we will attach to the legs just as in the pattern and sew-along

3 lady trunks

And that’s it! I mean, obviously the trunks aren’t done yet, but that’s how simply the modification is. Follow the rest of the directions to attach the back, gusset and elastic and then you are really done. I have to say- with both pairs I’ve made, I look at the butt and I think “NO WAY” -they seem huge and saggy but they hug the body really well. Don’t worry, you are more three dimensional than the undies are.

4 lady trunks

I used Anna Maria Horner’s Saffron Thistle fabric for the legs (which matches this shirt, maybe I will wear them together), which is nice and soft and sturdy. For the hem, I serged the raw edge, the did a scallop stitch in contrasting thread. I used the same stitch for attaching the elastic. To cover the elastic seam, I made a little tag of thistle and put that on the outside. No scratchy edges! The funny thing is, with the contrasting legs, from the back it sort of looks like normal underwear! You can see here, that despite looking weirdly big on the table, they hug the form quite well. You can also somewhat see that the front is flat where the original pattern would bulge out with a pouch.

6 lady trunks

I swear, I am going to replace all my undies with these!!


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A Super Useful Fabric Covered Elastic Waistband Tutorial

20140719-213941-77981593

Let me introduce to you Emily Adams of Dressing the Role!  She kindly put together a tutorial for us as part of our Tutorial Contest.  Thanks for taking the time to teach us your elastic sewing methods Emily!


 

A tutorial by Emily Adams

www.dressingtherole.wordpress.com

Want to make a pair of Comox Trunks with a fabric covered elastic waistband but aren’t sure how? You’re in luck! There are several different ways to do this – Morgan covers one way in her tutorial. I like to use a slightly different method that sews the elastic directly to the waistband, eliminating twisted elastic and creating a nice, clean finish.

So, first off, a little info about elastic – not all elastics are created equal! You want to find an elastic that you can sew through without damaging it. A knitted elastic would be good for this project, since it’s not too bulky but is safe to sew through. Be careful not to use braided elastic – this stuff is cheaper, but will lose its elasticity when sewn through. A quick way to tell the difference between these two elastics is that the braided elastic will get thinner when stretched, but knitted elastic will stay the same width. For more detailed info about elastic, visit this helpful site: The Sewing Directory.

So, that being said, here’s my little tutorial:

1. Cut a piece of fabric the circumference of your trunks plus seam allowances and twice the width of your elastic plus generous seam allowances – I’d give yourself a good inch and a half.  This will give you a little “wiggle room” when attaching the waistband to the trunks. Note: unlike in Morgan’s tutorial, here we’re going to make our waistband out of a single strip of fabric instead of two.

2. Sew the short ends of your waistband using a narrow zig zag.

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3. Trim seam allowances to 1/4″ and press. This helps reduce bulk.

2

4. Pre-stretch your elastic before cutting it.  This ensures that the elastic won’t stretch out too much after the first few wearings, as elastic tends to stretch out a little the first time it is used. Then cut your elastic to the exact size you want for the finished waistband – do NOT add seam allowances!

3

5. Cut a small swatch of woven fabric (3″ by 3″ should be enough). Sew one end of the elastic to the swatch using a regular zigzag stitch; go over this seam several times for reinforcement.

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6. Butt the other end of the elastic right up against the attached end and sew several times using a regular zig zag. Make sure the elastic is not twisted!

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7. Trim off the excess swatch fabric. This method helps eliminate bulk at the center back seam.

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8. Fold your waistband in half lengthwise and sandwich the elastic right in the middle. Try to match up the center back of each to avoid a strange lumpy spot in the middle of your waistband.

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9. Carefully pin the waistband to the trunks. Make sure to mark and match the center front and center back to evenly distribute the fabric.

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10. You may notice at this point that your elastic loop is a little smaller than your waistband loop. That’s ok – you will just need to stretch the elastic a tiny bit as you sew. This will slightly gather the waistband, but that’s ok – it’s just underwear!

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11. Sew the waistband to the trunks, stitching through the edge of the elastic as you sew. To do this, pinch out the waistband seam allowances with your right hand so that the elastic is butted right up against the center of the waistband – you want to avoid having a gap between the fabric and the elastic at the top of your finished waistband (and this is why you gave yourself a little extra – to leave room for your fingers!).

At the same time, use your left hand to slightly stretch your elastic, as discussed above, if necessary. This is a bit of a juggling act, so take it slow!

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If you are using your serger for this, you want to be very careful not to cut through the elastic! Try to line up your trunks so that the edge of the elastic is just to the left of the serger knife. This will ensure that you stitch through the elastic but don’t cut it.

If you are using your regular machine, sew one line of regular sized zigzag stitches to attach the waistband to the trunks, sewing through the edge of the elastic as you go. Then sew another row of zigzags directly to the right as a seam finish (and as a second line of protection just in case!). Trim the excess fabric right up to the second row of zigzags.

And you’re done!

1112

You may notice that the gathering on my waistband isn’t even – that’s because I didn’t stretch my elastic evenly as I sewed it. But no biggie, you can’t even tell when it’s being worn, and husbands (and other dudes :)) tend to be pretty forgiving if their clothes aren’t perfect!

Ta-da!

Thank you for the great tutorial Emily!  I look forward to trying out your techniques on my next pair of trunks!


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Comox Trunks Prize Announcement and Parade

sew along poster-01Drumroll please…..

And the winner of our Comox Trunks Sew-Along Contest is: Catrinmanel of I’d Rather Sew! Congratulations!  I’ll be sending her our Comox Trunks prize pack straight away 🙂

I'd rather sew...

Her entry was chosen at random by gathering all entries (both through email and through comments on the sew-along posts), using a random number generator, and then counting down the list of entries.  People who submitted multiple pairs of Comox Trunks were only counted once.  Here’s proof of the randomness in case you need it! :P:

random number

I wish I could have given a prize to everyone as Matt and I were really pleased with how many entries there were and how enthusiastic you all were about the contest!  Now, for your viewing pleasure, here is a parade of the Comox Trunks you submitted!  The numbers correspond to links provided in a list at the bottom:

Parade-graphics-1 Parade-graphics-2 Parade-graphics-3 Parade-graphics-4 Parade-graphics-5 Parade-graphics-6 Parade-graphics-7 Parade-graphics-8

  1. No More Heroes Anymore
  2. Sakiko Jones
  3. Mrs. Toad Sews
  4. Kaisa (sent entry through email)
  5. Mazzy Girl
  6. Dressing the Role
  7. Artisinal Expatriate
  8. Genevieve (sent entry through email)
  9. Marilyn Scott
  10. Deadlycraft
  11. Sew & Illustrate
  12. Drawing by Sew & Illustrate
  13. Renata (sent entry through email)
  14. Nicole at Home
  15. Lena
  16. Lena
  17. TwoRandomWords
  18. Cookin’ & Craftin’
  19. TwoRandomWords
  20. Nothing New Treasures
  21. Mazzy Girl
  22. Mazzy Girl
  23. I’d Rather Sew…
  24. Steven (sent entry through email)
  25. Steven (sent entry through email)
  26. Steven (sent entry through email)

 

There were several other entries via flickr, Twitter and Instagram which included protected photos (they couldn’t be saved and shared directly on this blog).  Even though I can’t share these photos with you in this post, these trunks are totally worth checking out!  Follow these links to have a look:

  1. Fabri’cate
  2. Evergreen Living
  3. SoSewGirl
  4. susiemcdougs
  5. FennaB
  6. frau_fleur
  7. dan_grigg

 

Thank you, everyone, for being so enthusiastic about this pattern!  It has been really exciting to watch peoples entries pile in over the last few weeks.  I’ve especially enjoyed being surprised by people’s creativity – whether it be expressed through pretty unique modelling techniques or through pattern manipulation or fabric choice.  I hope to see lots more Comox Trunks in the future!  Even though the contest is over, I’d still love to see what you’ve sewn, so send us an email (info@threadtheory.ca) or post a link in the comments!

 


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Tutorial and Video by Seamster Sewing Patterns – How to skip hemming the Comox Trunks

Sewing Indie Month

Today, we have a guest tutorial for you, as part of Sewing Indie Month!  Mari, of Seamster Sewing Patterns, is not only the mastermind behind this month’s cornucopia of events, tutorials, and contests, she has also kindly taken the time to contribute a tutorial of her own to our blog.

trunks 2

She’ll be walking you through how to dye fold-over elastic with food colouring and how to apply it to our Comox Trunks.  The tricks she will be showing you will allow you to avoid using the self-made binding for the fly and to skip the worry of using a twin needle or zig zag stitch while hemming the legs.  These are both of the steps that sewers found to be the most tricky during our Comox Trunk Sew-Along.  Thank you, Mari, for providing an alternative method to finishing these areas of the trunks!

Now over to Mari, who you can thank for making your Comox Trunk sewing life just that much easier!:Seamster Sewing Patterns

Hello Thread Theory readers! I’m Mari and I run Seamster Sewing Patterns. Today I’m going to show you how you can easily dye fold over elastic with simple ingredients you have at home, like food coloring. Then, I’ll walk you through attaching fold over elastic to the Comox Trunks.

Why dye fold over elastic when you can get a lot of colors online? It’s fun! Seriously, I find it really excited to see what colors I can come up with. It’s like finding a spare $5 in your pocket when doing laundry; the color you get can be a total surprise, but a really good one. Dyeing is also a great way to quickly customize a project, make it extra special, and get fun colors you won’t be able to find in your local fabric store.

Image 1

Before we begin though, let’s go over a few dyeing basics. 

In this tutorial we’ll be acid dyeing nylon fold over elastic. Acid dyes are one of the easiest dyes to get started with. They involve the use of acid (nothing scary dangerous, just vinegar for this tutorial!) and can be used to dye protein fibers like wool or silk and often nylon. They will not dye cotton or polyester. That is why it’s very important to make sure you’re using fold over elastic made from nylon. How to find out if your elastic is made from nylon? Ask your local or online shop. I bought the elastic I’m using in this tutorial from Peak Bloom. They told me their solid colored fold over elastics are made from nylon, while their patterned fold over elastics are made from polyester. Keep that in mind if you order from them.

The reason why I’m not showing you how to dye polyester is because it’s difficult to do at home. It also necessitates constant, high heat, which would badly damage the spandex in your elastic. Acid dyeing with nylon also calls for heat, but is a little more forgiving. So, we must strike a balance between heating our dye bath (solution of water + dye) with maintaining a temperature below 105F (40.56C) so our elastic doesn’t degrade .

One more thing to note before we get started, you’ll see I’ve been very specific in the list below by specifying the use of wooden, plastic, or stainless steel tools. That’s because certain metals act as mordants, which can change the color of your dye.

Here is a quick reference “recipe card” that Mari made for you to refer to while dying.  She includes a detailed write-up and photos below, so keep reading before you begin your dyeing project!

Graphic

…And now the full tutorial:

Image 2

In order to dye we’ll need a few things:

  • crockpot (you could use a regular pot over a stove, but I find it’s easier to use a crockpot for consistent temperature and because it lets me walk away without worrying about burning the house down)
  • water
  • food coloring
  • distilled white vinegar
  • non-iodized salt (optional, it helps drive dye into fibers, but I only had himalayan salt on hand, so I didn’t use any in my experiments)
  • wood, stainless steel, or plastic stirring utensil
  • plastic gloves (optional, but great if you don’t want to scrub dye out of your hands)
  • glass or stainless steel bowl
  • plastic, glass, or stainless steel measuring cups and spoons
  • thermometer
  • dish soap or synthrapol (special soap used when dyeing)

Here’s my basic dyeing recipe:

  • 1 c water
  • 10 drops food coloring (you can use a couple drops less and still get a brilliant color; for a light color use just a few drops)
  • 1T distilled white vinegar
  • 1yd 5/8” fold over elastic or 2yd 3/8” fold over elastic

For the Comox Trunks I graded from a size 28 to a 34, for which I only needed about 30” of 5/8” fold over elastic to sew to the leg and cup openings. However, it’s best to give yourself a little extra, so instead of 30”, I dyed a full yard, although you may need to dye more.

Because my local fabric store doesn’t carry wide elastic made from nylon that’s needed for the waistband, I dyed an extra yard of fold over elastic to sew on top of my polyester elastic waistband for purely decorative purposes (Morgan: Nice idea, Mari!  What a great way to customize boring waistband elastic by adding strips of colour!).

In total, I dyed 2yd of fold over elastic, for which I doubled the basic dyeing recipe above.

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Here’s how to dye nylon fold over elastic:

  1. Fill your crockpot about 3/4 full with water and turn it on. (I set mine to high, but each model cooks at a different temperature, so you’ll need to experiment)
  2. Fill your glass bowl with water (going by the recipe above) and mix in salt if you’re using it.
  3. Stir in your food coloring and let the mixture heat. This is your dye bath. Once it has fully heated, take its temperature. If it’s well below 105F (40.56C) you may be able to bump your crockpot up to medium or high. If it’s above 105F (40.56C) lower your crockpot to medium or low.
  4. While waiting for your dye bath to heat, wash your elastic. This will get out any chemical residues that could give you an uneven dying job.
  5. Submerse your still wet elastic in your dye bath. It’s important that the elastic be wet before putting it in so that the color will take up evenly.
  6. Pour vinegar around, but not on top of your elastic. Thoroughly stir it in. As you pour in your vinegar you’ll notice your elastic quickly chaining color.
  7. Let your elastic sit in your dye bath until you’ve reached your desired color or until your dye bath is exhausted. Periodically check on it and give it a little stir to make sure it’s as dark as you want it. I usually let mine site for about 1-1/2hrs. A dye bath has been exhausted when the fiber has soaked up all the dye that’s in the water. My recipe is a little heavy on the dye, so there’s usually some left over. Since food coloring is cheap I don’t mind that there’s some extra dye being thrown away at then end.
  8. Wash your elastic. If dyed at high enough of a temperature, there shouldn’t be much dye rinsing out of your elastic. If you’re concerned about more dye leaking out, toss it in a washing machine. Let your elastic air dry.

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If you’d like to know more about dyeing, check out Paula Burch’s All About Hand Dyeing site. It’s a great wealth of information. 

How to add fold-over elastic to the Comox Trunks: 

Now that we have our custom dyed elastic, let’s sew it to the cup and leg openings. Note that the Comox Trunk pattern calls for the leg openings to be hemmed at 5/8″. By binding the openings with fold over elastic the legs will be 5/8″ longer than if they were hemmed. (Morgan: You could simply trim off this extra 5/8″ if you would like to keep your trunks the original length.)

To show you how to sew fold over elastic to the Comox Trunks I made a video tutorial. The technique shown here can easily be used with other knit garments too, like my Yellow Tail Camisole. If you prefer reading over watching, below the video is a transcript with a few extra tips that didn’t make it into the video.

Video Transcript:

Hey everyone! This is Mari from Seamster Sewing Patterns. As a part of Sewing Indie Month, a month long sewalong and celebration, I’ve been working with fellow indie sewing pattern maker Thread Theory to bring you a tutorial on sewing with fold over elastic. 

Fold over elastic is a great way to finish the edges of knit garments. Today I’m going to demonstrate how to do that with Thread Theory’s Comox Trunks sewing pattern. 

For this tutorial I’m using less than a yard of 5/8” wide fold over elastic for the size 34 Trunks. Fold over elastic is like the knit version of bias tape. That means it will fold over on itself to encase the raw edge of your fabric. Before we begin, take a good look at your elastic. See the central groove running down the length of your fold over elastic? That’s the fold line where you’ll be folding your elastic in half. 

Also see how one side is shiny and one is plush? You can use either side. For these trunks I want the plush side to be visible, which also means it will be directly touching the wearer’s skin, while the shiny side will be hidden. 

I’m going to show you how to attach fold over elastic two ways. But if you’ve never sewn with fold over elastic before you’ll definitely want to practice first on a scrap of fabric! 

To begin with, we’ll be attach the elastic to a flat edge, in this case the cup opening on the Comox Trunks. To figure out how much elastic you need, lay the elastic in a straight line alongside the curved part of the cup to which it will be sewn. Your cut piece should be long enough to reach from each end of the cup opening. 

Now for the sewing! Use a wide zig zag stitch for this step. I like a stitch that’s 3 wide by 3.5 long. In this step we’ll be stitching the fold over elastic to the wrong side of your fabric, or what will be the inside of your garment.

Remember that the side of the elastic you DON’T want visible will be the side that directly touches your fabric; in this tutorial that’s the shiny side. Line up the raw edge of the fabric with the central groove in your elastic. That means half of your elastic will be sticking past the edge of your fabric. It’s also easiest to get started if there’s a little extra fold over elastic hanging past the end of the cup opening. That helps prevent your fabric and elastic from getting sucked down into your sewing machine. For easiest visibility while sewing, your fabric should be on top of your elastic and your elastic should be directly touching the throat plate on your machine. 

Once you have everything lined up, begin stitching the two together. Stop after you’ve sewn a few stitches, making sure your needle is still piercing your fabric and elastic. Now gently pull your fold over elastic. It is incredibly easy to stretch out your fabric as you attach your fold over elastic. Gently pulling your elastic helps prevent that and as long as you don’t pull too tightly it won’t gather your fabric. Keep stitching your fabric and elastic together, making sure the raw edge of the elastic aligns with the center groove in your elastic and that your elastic is slightly stretched out while your fabric is feeding through your machine at a normal rate. When you get to the more curved section of the cup opening you may wish to pull on your fold over elastic just a little bit more tightly. 

Now we’ll stitch the front of your elastic to the right side of the fabric. Fold the remaining half of your elastic over the raw edge of your fabric. Stitch it to your fabric using a straight stitch or a very narrow zig zag stitch. When stitching 1/8” or closer to the edge it’s called edge stitching. If you’re using a contrasting colored thread like me, you may want to break out an edge stitch foot if your machine has one. That way you can more easily edge stitch a nice, straight line. And that’s all there is to it!

Next, I’ll show you how to sew fold over elastic in the round to a garment’s opening, like a sleeve or neckline. In this case, we’ll be binding the leg openings of the Comox Trunks. 

Before we begin, we’ll need to determine how much elastic to cut. Lay your assembled trunks on the table. Like we did when cutting elastic for the cup opening, we’ll lay our fold over elastic out in a straight line, from each edge of one of the leg openings. Double that length and cut your elastic. Next, fold your elastic in half, right sides together. Using a 3/8” seam allowance, straight stitch the raw ends of the elastic together. Do this for each leg’s elastic. 

Your fold over elastic will be smaller in circumference than your leg openings. So, mark your leg openings and fold over elastic at four evenly spaced points. Then, pin the elastic to the leg openings at those marks. See how the leg openings are larger? It’s important to evenly pin the elastic and fabric together so that the elastic evenly stretches to meet the fabric. 

Same as before, we’ll stitch the fold over elastic to the wrong side of our fabric. What we’ve got to watch out for here is that the raw edges of the elastic’s seam allowance don’t peek out. Now, stitch the elastic to your fabric using the same 3 x 3.5 wide zigzag stitch as we did when sewing the cup opening. After you’ve sewn a few stitches, stop with your needle piercing your fabric. Then grasp your fabric and elastic where the next pin is and pull until the elastic is the same length as your fabric. Sew the elastic and fabric together, remembering to align the raw edge of your fabric with the central groove of the elastic. Keep sewing like this until you’re back to where you started. 

After that, switch to a straight or very narrow zig zag stitch. Fold your elastic over the raw edge of your fabric. I like to start stitching a little bit before the elastic’s seam allowance so that I’ve got a few stitches anchoring things down. Often when I get to this side the fold over elastic’s seam allowances will be peeking out. So, I’ll tuck them under. Using a seam ripper helps since the seam allowances are so small. Once your seam allowances are no longer visible, keep sewing around the garment’s opening until you’re back where you started. 

That’s it! Simple, easy, fast, no annoying stretched out edges.

To make your own Comox Trunks, go to threadtheory.ca, where you can also find another tutorial by me on how to dye your fold over elastic.

To see what other great tutorials and hoopla is going on around Sewing Indie Month, head over to SeamsterPatterns.com.

Thanks for watching and happy sewing!   

 

Thanks Morgan and Matt for having me on your blog! And happy Sewing Indie Month everyone!


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Comox Trunks Sew-Along: Photographing your Comox Trunks sans sexy model

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What’s that?  You finished your Comox Trunks and really want to put your name in for our awesome prize pack but don’t have a super willing and sexy model at your disposal?  Not to worry!  There are plenty of other ways to show us your Comox Trunks.  And even if you aren’t very skilled with a camera, you still have a chance to win our prize because we’re picking the winner at random and not based on how great your trunks (or your photos) look.

Here are some options to show us your Comox Trunks:

1. Grab a clothes line or a pretty patch of grass/sofa/carpet and shoot your shorts in 2D.  Just because your shorts aren’t filled in by a masculine body doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate your gorgeous fabric choice and careful top stitching!

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2. If you’re really set on showing us a ‘filled in and rounded out’ sample, why not have a look around the house for male models of the non-human variety?  Who is more loyal and helpful…Teddy? Dog?  We will soon find out!teddy in boxersdog in underwear

 

3. Recruit models from elsewhere!  I gave David Beckham a ring and he was more than happy to set aside some of his modelling time to help out in the Thread Theory studio:
David in Comox Trunks

***ahem…my Photoshop skills are rather lacking but you get the idea…***

Now all you need to do is snap some pictures and upload them to an area of the internet of your choice (your blog, Facebook, Kollabora, Burdastyle, Thread & Needles, Pinterest, Flickr…etc.) and then add a link to them in the comments section of this post.  Alternatively, email your photo to info@threadtheory.ca.  Do this by May 5th for a chance to be entered in the draw for our prize pack!  The winner will be drawn on May 8th.  Happy sewing and photographing!