Thread Theory

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


Spring at the Farm

It’s time for a seasonal update about life at our homestead. This spring has been an unusual one, to say the least, but since it is only just our second Spring on the property (we moved here March 2019) life hasn’t been that abnormal for us as it has been for most…we have very little with which to compare this confinement at home! Matt is out of work right now as one would expect so we are trying to make the most of his extra time by ticking off as many projects as possible.

The vegetable garden and irrigation system have been our main focus. This last winter the garden was only a patch of layered cardboard, leaves, compost and straw. The chickens enjoyed many months of scratching though the debris for bugs until we were ready to plant.

I am attempting to use the No Dig method (by Charles Dowding) which I have used successfully on past gardens. This year though, we did not have a thick enough layer of quality compost to recreate past year’s flourishing spring gardens. The garden area was a market vegetable plot about 7 years ago but since then had been converted to pasture for small livestock. The soil is deep and dark but infested with wireworms which ate basically every seed I put in the soil and most of my early spring starts. Once the soil warmed up the wireworms moved deeper so my main season veggies seem to be chugging along nicely. According to some colleagues at the farm where I volunteer, the wireworm problem should become less over time since they thrive on grasses. I’ve hedged my bets and put cut up potato pieces in the garden as traps (I take out the pieces every few days and feed the wireworms to our chickens) and I’ve also applied beneficial nematodes. Between volunteering at the farm down the street and battling with this new-to-me pest, I have learned a lot about growing vegetables this spring!

While I’ve been battling wireworms Matt has been puzzling through the design and installation of a rainwater collection system. It has been a big cost in time and money but is necessary on this property because our well is not equipped to irrigate more than a single household. The larger our garden area becomes the more pressure this will put on our well and pump so we need to supplement with rainwater. We now have a 3000g tank installed by the shop and gravity fed drip tape spread throughout the orchard, berry hedgerow and vegetable garden. We hit a bit of a snag when the timer that Matt purchased would not work with the low pressure system he designed but we’ve set the idea of an automatic system aside for this year at least and are now just happy that the gravity fed system works with the turn of a few nozzles! The last piece to the puzzle will be extending the irrigation from Matt’s shop gutters (new last week) to the tank using PVC. That will happen in the next week or two…just in time for the summer dry spell. I hope there will be enough rain to fill the tank but I don’t really expect that to be the case! We will probably have to truck in one fill of water at least.

Aside from these large projects, we’ve been enjoying lots of smaller homestead tasks. This Spring has really marked the beginning of a new era on this property. Since moving in we have mostly been removing things: Junk, smelly flooring, accumulated wood scraps, overgrown brambles, overgrown trees, decrepit buildings. Around May we began to notice that some of our projects were actually centered around adding something new to the property…and then as May came to a close they transitioned one step further to include some projects that aesthetically as well as functionally improved the property. How exciting! Here are a few photos of the smaller tasks that we’ve tackled:

My parents (and their tractor) helped us to build this play area for Noah over the winter. This spring Matt planted the back levelled portion with clover seed and has been babying it with watering and mowing. I don’t have a current picture of the lush clover but you’ll have to believe me when I say it is the perfect spot for a picnic table!

The gorgeous fernery/grotto next to our sun room just keeps getting prettier! We’ve added a wood chip path through it and cleared out a lot of the overgrown ground cover so that I could add to the diversity of the garden by adding a variety of new ground covers. My grandparents just gave me a tadpole pond form for my birthday. I’m really looking forward to installing it in the middle of this garden. I think Noah will be the perfect age to investigate the tadpoles as they turn into frogs next spring!

Much of my May gardening time was spent watering by hand since the irrigation wasn’t ready yet. It was such a hot May and a very rainy and cool June.

Matt built a Lil’ Chick Cottage (as we’ve named it) using the only remaining decrepit building on the farm – a very sturdily built dog house. Noah enjoyed ‘helping’.

My dad built me these beautiful herb planters for our back patio and my mom filled them with soil and herbs. I’m just thrilled with them! They make the steps quite a bit safer feeling and are very convenient to access from the kitchen.

I’ve begun to paint the inside of the house at long last – the kitchen is now done and is much brighter (it used to be dark green and this picture is after one coat of slightly cream coloured white). I’ll continue the big job room by room and will tackle the easiest ones first as they can mostly be done in evenings and nap times. For the main living areas we will need to bring in painting or childcare help I think!

Matt’s dad built us a really handy TV bench to contain some of Noah’s toys. These sorts of projects really make our home feel ours…just ignore that dark burgundy wall (complete with many, many scratches and outright holes) for now, I can just picture how nice and fresh it will look white!

Lastly, we have some adorable Spring chicks in residence. We bought six chicks in hopes that most would be female since the vast majority of the chicks we raised last year turned out to be roosters. It turns out, we have three roosters this time. So in total, we will have a flock of five laying hens after purchasing fourteen chicks in two years. I don’t think those are especially good results but we are happy to have met and supported local farmers by purchasing chicks through them rather than buying sexed chicks from a farm and feed at least.

To close, a small tidbit of Thread Theory news: We just completed a photo shoot and our latest pattern is with testers right now! If all goes well I plan to launch it in August since it would make a nice Fall sewing project. If there are some more involved changes due to feedback we will, of course, adjust the timeline. Fingers crossed!


Sweater Weather

Here’s a sneak peek at our upcoming pattern! The first full sample of the garment came hot off the machine last night and Matt has been snuggled up in it to combat the snowy weather ever since!

I know these pictures aren’t all that sneaky but I’ll at least refrain from posting full shots of the garment until the pattern release.

Right now I am focussed on walking the fine line between ‘fun to sew’ and ‘high end finishes’. This sample was sewn using a lot of twill tape to finish the interior of the garment. The next sample will use a lining to accomplish the same effect. There are many advantages and disadvantages of each approach (indeed, listing them has been keeping me up at night more than my baby currently is!).

What camp are you in? Linings or seam finishes?


Round-up of inspiring menswear patterns


I just finished adding a selection of five menswear patterns to our shop this week that are the creation of Danish pattern company, Wardrobe By Me. While typing up the descriptions and admiring the designs I found myself mulling over the amazing selection of indie menswear that has developed since we first launched Thread Theory way back in 2012.

While Thread Theory is still the only menswear focussed pattern line (that I know of), there are so many good menswear designs out there that have been developed as special releases by women’s or children’s pattern companies – much the way we have launched our women’s Camas Blouse and Lazo Trousers in the past.

Below you’ll find a few of the patterns that are really inspiring me to sew menswear right now. Some of them are currently available in our shop while others are only sold directly through the designer’s website.  Maybe some of these will be new to you and will fill a void in the menswear pattern world for you!

Although Twig & Tale pattern company is based all the way across the world in New Zealand, every one of their whimsical children’s clothes, beautiful women’s garments, and practical menswear designs would fit perfectly into our west coast lifestyle! Above you can see the vest pattern, shirt, jacket, fishing vest, and baby-wearing add on (available for each of the outerwear patterns) that really strike my fancy but there are other menswear and unisex patterns too so be sure to check out their website! I’ve sewn the animal booties for Noah in the past but look forward to sewing many of the other adorable themed garments for him in the future.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I just added a small selection of Wardrobe By Me patterns to our shop but there are many more menswear designs that I would like to add in time! They just launched their Overshirt pattern which is a style we have received a lot of requests for in the past. This design really seems to check a lot of boxes including some very useful slanted welt pockets that will keep your hands warm on a chilly winter walk. All the mainseams are topstitched for durability. Their Tropical Shirt, fleece jacket, and cargo shorts are all designs I could see my dad loving!

Many of you who have emailed me with a request for a specific pattern will now be familiar with the website FreeSewing. I love to recommend this unique resource when people are looking for a block they can manipulate into their own design, a size that is outside of our current range, or a nice modern blazer or trousers. FreeSewing is quite different from your usual pattern company – first of all, the patterns are free, second, they are digitally drafted to your unique measurements using some very involved coding. This site has been created through a labor of love by the designer, Joost. You can see that he tests many of his designs himself and I love the fit he has acheived on his trousers in particular (photo above)!

Next, fellow Canadian pattern companie, Jalie, is always a good seller in our shop since their garments feature such an enormous size range (many of the men’s patterns extend down to children’s sizing!) and realistically wearable designs. One of their newer patterns is the underwear design photographed above. I like that it has some different features than our Comox Trunks including an encased waistband, seamless or horizontal fly pouch, and various length options. Those full length ones would make excellent performance longjohns due to the close fit and gusset. With winter on the mind, their puffer coat and insulated overalls also appeal to me right now!

Lastly, Friday Pattern Company has recently begun a pre-sale for their first unisex pattern, the Ilford Jacket, and I love the versatility of this design! There are two very different sleeve and body options along with a number of pocket styles so you can ‘choose your own adventure’.

Are any of these companies new to you? Do you have any unisex or men’s patterns to recommend? I’m always on the look out for new PDF or tissue patterns that we can stock in our shop so that we can compile these wonderful resources into one easy to find catalogue!


The Qualicum Bag – The Backstory

As those of you who follow our newsletter will already know, we launched our newest sewing pattern yesterday! Meet the Qualicum Bag:


While I introduced the pattern and it’s variations in our newsletter (and the info can also be read in our shop), I haven’t talked about the design process yet. So, today I want to talk about how I use my Qualicum Bag and tell the story of how this design came to be.


The concept of adding a bag pattern to our shop began three years ago when I set out to make my Mom a really handy and handsomely proportioned tote to carry her laptop and many binders and textbooks to and from work each day (she is a principal and carts around a LOT of technology and reading material on a regular basis!). I did a preliminary search for a pattern that suited the bag I had in mind; it had to have a very large exterior zipper pocket, it had to be especially wide, and it had to have the stripped down aesthetic of a simple canvas tote. I couldn’t find a pattern that suited me.

Uses for Otterwax (1 of 27)

In the end, I just made my own design on the fly by cutting out rectangles to suit the proportions I had in mind.  The end result was a bit messy (as I was figuring out the construction details as I went) but I really loved the aesthetic and so did many of you when I posted the bag on this blog!

Uses for Otterwax (5 of 27)

My mom still uses that tote daily and the wax has worn in beautifully.

A couple of years later I set out to make a diaper bag for my brother-in-law who was expecting a baby. This time, I continued my search for an existing pattern to suit my criteria and found one which I used. In the end, though, I was unsatisfied with the construction order, the lack of finishing details, and the overall proportions which seemed neither wide nor deep enough to be as functional as I wanted. (Sorry, I forgot to take any photos of this bag before I gave it to them!)


Well, then I found out I was expecting a baby and thought, “What better time to fine tune the bag pattern of my dreams than just prior to a time in my life when I will be using a large bag constantly?” I combined the aesthetic of my mom’s original bag (the large zipper pocket being center stage) and the opinions I had developed about diaper bag functionality specifically and large bag proportions generally to create the very first prototype of the Qualicum Bag.


I wanted the bag to be multifunctional and have a life long past it’s couple year use as a diaper bag. For this prototype I sewed a removable insert to store all the diapering paraphenalia and kept the interior pockets of bag itself quite simple. [Note that our final pattern does not have an insert (which I ended up removing from the bag when my baby was born because it had TOO many pockets in which I lost everything lol) and instead, the final pattern has a more detailed bag interior.]


I added a recessed zippered top closure as per my sister-in-law’s request.


Her and her husband love the bag I made for them but have had the contents spill out in the back of the car once or twice.


I also listened to their feedback and added two side pockets to our Qualicum Bag perfectly sized for water bottles…essential when you’re nursing and feeling constantly dehydrated!


They also tend to be where I stash Noah’s toy of choice for the day:


The prototype that I made for myself featured the perfect proportions everywhere except the straps. On our final design I increased the strap width from 1″ to 1.5″ to better match the size of the bag and to be more comfortable on the shoulder when carrying a heavy load.


I love that my bag design includes a removable cross body strap and sewn in shoulder straps.


Other bag patterns that I have viewed with similar dimensions to mine feature removable shoulder straps…it is always the cross body strap that I like to remove and tuck inside the bag for when I need it. That way it doesn’t swing low and catch on things.


After using my Qualicum Bag prototype for a few months (once Noah was born), I added larger seam allowances to the pattern to increase the strength of the seams and also increase the variety of fabric styles that can be used for the bag. Many bag patterns feature 1/4″ seam allowances but I found these to be too small when working with loosely woven upholstery fabrics. The final pattern includes 3/8″ seam allowances so you needn’t worry about fraying.


Before finalizing the pattern I also added a number of variations to the bag so that it can function as a padded laptop case, a quick-to-sew market tote or a carry-all (which is what I use as a diaper bag). Pictured above is the quick market tote – while the other two variations are involved projects, this bag utilizes far fewer pattern pieces and layers but still produces a similar aesthetic with very little time invested! It can be made in light weight fabrics to become your go-to fabric grocery bag that can be stuffed into your car or a larger bag. I also imagine it sewn up in holiday-themed quilting cotton to become reusable wrapping paper or batch sewn as a Christmas gift.


It was important to me that sewists who usually focus their making efforts on garments feel at home when they work on our bag pattern. Many bag patterns come with a list of dimensions that the sewist must transfer to their fabric and cut out. We have included this (since most pieces are rectangular in shape) but we’ve also included full pattern pieces that can be cut out and laid on your fabric as you would expect from a garment pattern.


Also, as a garment sewist I found the sheer number of little pieces needed to construct a bag to be a bit intimidating. While I find the actual construction process of making a bag to be more straight forward than many garments, preparing and keeping track of all the pieces prior to and during sewing is a bit of a project! To make this less overwhelming, I’ve made labels that can be pinned to each stack of fabric so none of the similar sized rectangles will be confused during the sewing process.


When I’ve made the odd bag in the past, I’ve been frustrated that my finished product has not wound up as rigid and professional looking as I had envisioned. I did a lot of experimenting with different stabilizer and fabric combos when working on Qualicum samples and included all my findings in the instruction booklet. This way you can fully stabilize the bag with a padded stabilizer or you can simply add a little interfacing to high wear points depending on whether you would like your bag to be hefty and padded (think ‘luggage’) or packable and light (think ‘fabric grocery bag’) and everything in between.


So, there we have it, the development story of the Qualicum Bag! The end result is, I think, a very functional and handsome gender-neutral bag that can serve as anything from carry-on luggage to a packable grocery tote.

Head to the shop to view the pattern, snag your hardware kit, or shop leather and metal bag labels!


Orange Leaves, Orange Pumpkins, Orange-haired Baby


As it turns out, Fall is an excellent season for our new property. Our land is covered in many maple trees and the decorative plantings around our house feature showy decidous trees as well. Once the weather cooled and the leaves turned, even the rainiest of days was made brighter by the Fall display.


The fire pit has really come into its own in the last couple of months. Matt had a lovely fire going all afternoon and evening when we hosted a big family Thanksgiving potluck several weekends ago.


I was thrilled that everyone managed to make themselves comfortable around the fire on all manner of scavenged dining chairs and stumps. We brought out the appetizers and drinks and people passed a lovely couple of hours before dinner enjoying the warmth from both the fire and the October sunshine.


Noah turned one this October (already!?) so the Thanksgiving feast also served as a bit of a birthday party for him and the other October babies in the family. As a birthday gift, my sister and her partner spent some time setting up a classic tire swing and she took this gorgeous photo of him enjoying it.


Our chickens are fully grown now but, unfortunately, six of the eight turned out to be roosters. As a result, four of the roosters are now in the freezer which was a tough introduction to homesteading but necessary for the health and happiness of the two little hens. Now that the days are so short, I don’t think the hens will be inclined to lay their first eggs until the spring.


Next year I hope to either buy two more hens or perhaps let one of our hens hatch her own eggs if she goes broody in the spring. Matt and I have to decide whether we are willing to face culling more roosters should the hatched chicks turn out to be male…at this point it seems that it would be more enjoyable to find some grown hens but I worry they won’t integrate happily with an existing flock. Does anyone have experience with integrating mature hens? I’d love some tips!


As the weather becomes wetter and colder I am trying to keep a routine in place that has Noah playing and me working on the property daily. His new rain suit really helps with this but I think the biggest factor that will allow me to prep garden beds this winter will be his ability to walk.  I expect he’ll be walking (and running!) very soon! Right now he loves to walk outside while holding my hands but, understandably, is not interested in crawling around and exploring on his own like he does when indoors. The ground is wet and cold on his hands (and he whips gloves off within seconds of me wrestling them onto him). Once he’s walking he’ll have more independence and we can both play and work in the same area of the property. Am I way too optimistic in imagining this? Maybe I’ll just be busy chasing him at that point!


As winter approaches we are fine tuning the operation of our big wood furnace and are thrilled that it can heat the house overnight. It is very cosy! We will be having an arborist over to fall a dead tree near the workshop. When he’s here I’ll ask him to limb a couple of the big cedar trees to give the trees below them a bit of space. I look forward to decorating the porch with boughs! I think the house will look so pretty bedecked with cedar in the snow!


As per usual, I’ll finish this seasonal homestead update with a bit of Thread Theory news. We have a pattern launching soon (VERY soon!)! It really is any day now! Be the first to know and receive the special launch day discount by signing up for our newsletter.

I will be working on the next pattern instructions over the winter. The pattern is already mostly finished! I hope to launch this next one in early Spring 2020.


Well, that’s it for now! Happy Halloween everyone! I hope yesterday included and perhaps this weekend includes pumpkins, Fall leaves and fireworks!

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Goldstream Peacoat Sew-along and 30% off sale

Parkland Menswear Pattern Collection-11

Just a quick note to let you know our Goldstream Peacoat Sew-along begins shortly!

I will be posting it straight to our website where the schedule is already live. Weekly recaps will be sent out to newsletter subscribers so be sure to follow our newsletter if you would like to sew or read along with me! The sew along will not be posted to this blog (regular posting will continue with a Fall homestead update coming along in a week or two…I’m waiting for one of the chickens to lay their first egg!).

Parkland Menswear Pattern Collection-9

To prepare you for your coat sewing adventure we’ve made a tailoring section in the shop which is 30% off right now – including the PDF and tissue Goldstream patterns and our gorgeous corozo nut fouled anchor buttons:

Thread Theory Peacoat Sewing-3

Who will you be sewing Goldstream for?

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Plans for a Menswear Capsule Wardrobe

The other day I was doing a bit of painting on the exterior of our workshop and needed to sacrifice an old shirt to become my new painting shirt. None of mine were worn out enough to warrant ruining in this way so I seized the opportunity to grab Matt’s oldest t-shirt. It is a grey t-shirt, one of those ones that are handed out for free at events complete with advertising all over the back. He’s had it for 10 years and worn it every week as it is, by far, his favourite t-shirt.

I have always agreed with him that the fit is excellent, the blue-grey colour flatters him and the quality of the material is surprisingly rugged…it looked smart on him…or at least it did 5 years ago! Since then it has gathered holes, lost all but hardened speckles of the former screen printing, and achieved this strange fluid drape that hangs off his body heavily in a very rag-like way.

Matt doesn’t see the wear and tear though and has remained certain that it is still his best t-shirt. I’ve sewn him about a dozen t-shirts over the years in hopes he will get rid of his oldest when the newest arrives. We’ve also gone online and researched the brand and style of shirt to try to order several of the exact t-shirt, only to be disappointed that the fit and quality of fabric has changed for the worse over 10 years. Long story short, the shirt has done its duty admirably but, since Matt insisted on wearing it, armpit holes and all, into town, I really was thrilled to commandeer it as a painting shirt (it’s very comfortable…now that I’ve been wearing it I can see the appeal!).

Despite feeling like I was doing Matt a favour by putting the poor shirt out of its misery, I also definitely need to apologize for taking such a drastic actions. And what better way than by sewing him something fresh!

Matt’s birthday is coming up in September so I’m going to use that as an excuse to freshen up his entire wardrobe. Luckily for me, no one does a tiny capsule wardrobe better than Matt! He loves minimalism and rotates through the same few pieces on a weekly basis. Aside from this daily wear he keeps a few nice Fairfield Button-ups, a couple of special Belvedere Waistcoats and a pair of dress pants for holidays and weddings. He also likes to have a Goldstream Peacoat and a sporty daily wear coat (currently his Hemingway Windcheater) as outerwear. I have a partially completed Goldstream that I’ll be finishing this September at long last (stay tuned for a fresh sew-along on our website!).

I pulled out his current daily wear items (aside from the shorts, Finlayson Sweater and T-shirt that he was wearing) to assess how worn out they were. Of course, the garments here are his summer go-to items which differ slightly from his winter ones (which consist of flannel pjs, the same t-shirts and jeans and heavier sweaters).

Ok, so let’s start analyzing how each garment has fared and what I’ll need to sew: His linen Eastwood Pajamas are in excellent condition since they are only just over a year old. The linen is softening beautifully and they look very nicely fitted on him.

His Comox Trunks (the only underwear Matt wears) are quite worn out. I sewed him seven pair three Christmases ago as stocking stuffers and added a few fresh pairs the following Christmas. The oldest ones (a few of which are shown here) have stretched out elastic. The fabric is still in great condition though so I might take off the elastic and add new. If I have knit scraps from other sewing projects I will sew two or three fresh pairs.

Matt’s one pair of jeans are store bought as I didn’t make him a Quadra or Fulford sample when developing those patterns. He loves the fit of his jeans but the fabric has not worn very well. He got them perhaps 2 to 3 years ago and within several months the fabric was thinning at the knees and at the pockets where he stores his car keys and wallet. I think I’ll try to do some visible mending like I did on his last pair but will also sew him a fresh pair of Quadra Jeans so he can have his ‘dressy’ pair and his work pair.

While I have sewn Matt many Fairfield Button-ups out of beautiful quality shirtings, the one he wears all seasons, all the time, is the cheap flannel one that I made as an early sample of the pattern! He receives compliments on it all the time and, despite the constant wear over several years, it still looks quite nice (comfortably worn in).

I’d like to sew another flannel shirt for Matt since it is so gratifying seeing a garment I’ve made worn and loved so thoroughly. I won’t make that project a priority though as I have white linen set aside to make into a Fairfield and should really do that first (realistically, I probably won’t sew that one this year either as my sewing time is still quite limited, I hate sewing with white fabric due to the risk of staining it before the garment is even finished, and I’d rather have the jeans as my big, involved project for this wardrobe update since I love sewing pants).

Pictured above are Matt’s two most worn t-shirts aside from the one I commandeered. They are threadbare. I was surprised, when looking through his t-shirts that most of the ones I sewed a few years ago have since become rags due to holes or stains. I better make a couple more and will have to ask Matt if he would prefer the Strathcona Henley or the Sayward Raglan.

The one handmade t-shirt that Matt frequently wears still is this Strathcona Henley. In the winter he switches out this white cotton knit one for a green and grey wool one that I sewed many years ago. The winter one has accidentally been shrunk in the dryer a couple of times but is still wearable (albeit quite tight) with the sleeves pushed up to hide how short they are! This white one is in good condition but I’ve never loved how my placket turned out. I think, if I find time to add a fresh Henley to Matt’s wardrobe, a wool winter one would be most worthwhile. He will likely wear it a lot while working on our property and in his chilly uninsulated shop.

Aside from Matt’s trusty Finlayson (complete with fraying cuffs), this store bought quarter-zip light sweater receives heavy wear. Both the heavier Finlayson and light quarter-zip are looking a bit saggy and worn but are still functional at this point. I have fabric set aside for a new Finlayson to sew in time for his birthday and will sew him a new quarter-zip in no big hurry once this one has more signs of wear. Fortunately, one of our upcoming patterns is for a top quite similar to the sweater above!

A while ago I posted about my sewing dreams since I could accomplish little to no sewing while my baby had sleep issues. Those issues are thankfully resolved (hallelujah!) and I’ve been working away at my machine every few days in the evening or during a nap. Of course, I’ve already changed my sewing plans (as I am prone to do) and have allowed the new Estuary Skirt by Sew Liberated to jump the cue. I love wearing skirts like this but find fitted waistbands to be uncomfortable since giving birth…this pattern features elastic at the back so I think it will be a perfect daily wear garment!

I’ll start with this navy and white stripe cotton fabric that I bought from my friends shop, The Spool, and will probably sew a floral tencel one and solid green or rust coloured linen one in the future if I find myself wearing this one a lot.

I have the blush pink shirt cut out and the blue one mostly sewn. I hope these two knit shirts will pair nicely with the Estuary Skirt. The pattern is an interesting take on a raglan from Burda Style magazine (issue 4/2009). There is a seam along the top of the shoulder so that the sleeve is a two pieces and very fitted. I love the long cuffs!

While this dress wasn’t in my post on sewing plans, it really should have been. I was daydreaming about sewing a new nursing friendly dress needlessly as I’ve had three completely finished dresses sitting amidst my sewing things since last August. They were made with the Sew Over It Penny Dress pattern and Liberty of London florals that were so generously given to me by my aunt who lives in England. I made them while heavily pregnant but did not account for my increased chest size. The delicate tana lawn ripped at the underarm within minutes of wearing one of the dresses due to the strain. Recently I tried wearing a second thinking I was back to my old chest dimensions but it also ripped. Instead of sewing entirely new dresses I buckled down and made some repairs and alterations to these ones. I ended up adding a gusset at each underarm and now they are the most light, comfortable and (I think) flattering dresses in my closet! The busy prints hide Noah’s food stains really well too (any garment in my closet needs to pass that test these days). I feel quite pleased that I didn’t just cut these up to become bias binding (which a very tired and overwhelmed shadow of myself had considered while packing for our move with a newborn last winter!).

When I next sew this pattern (I can’t wait to make some fall and winter versions!) I’ll just adjust the pattern pieces to flare out at the underarm instead of sewing a separate gusset.

I think, between this dress design, the Estuary Skirt, some knit tops, my existing button-up Archer shirts, my go to Lazo pants and my trusty pair of Gap Curve jeans, I’ve unintentionally stumbled on my own perfect capsule wardrobe for my new lifestyle (being a mom, nursing, working around our property). I’ll just add wool tights to the skirt and dress outfits in cold weather.

I’m quite thrilled with these outfits as it was an awkward adjustment after giving birth. I was so excited to get back to wearing my lovingly sewn non-maternity clothes only to find that my go to outfits of fitted t-shirts and jeans or tunic and leggings were either uncomfortable (fitted t-shirts with light colours and low necklines are entirely impractical for me these days due to Noah’s grubby and grabby hands) or not nursing friendly. It’s nice to wear these dresses, in particular, and feel like myself again!


Summer Days around the “Farm”

I wonder when I will feel comfortable calling our property a farm without giggling or adding quotations…One day I would love to refer to it as our homestead or farm without feeling like we are playing house but we aren’t there yet! In the meantime, playing house is a lot of fun!

July has brought us one step closer to my schemes and dreams of a bustling homestead though – our chickens have graduated from their brooder in our bathroom to free ranging and coop life! They are very obviously pleased with their new home, I was quite surprised by how obvious their happiness was when they moved in. They scampered, hopped and flapped their wings joyously the moment they entered the spacious coop and haven’t slowed their playful antics since!

Now that the chickens are running around our property I can’t wait to add more animals! I like listening to their chirps and awkward teenage voices crackling as Noah and I water the garden. So far I adore the routines created by caring for them. They won’t be laying until the Fall but just letting them in and out of the coop and checking their water is a very grounding and peaceful routine already. I wonder if I’ll feel the same way on cold and wet winter mornings? I think so…but you never know! Next spring we hope to add goats or a pig to our menagerie but I’ll try my best to hold off until then so that we can get used to raising chickens first and make sure we enjoy all aspects.

Aside from fixing up our coop for the chickens and enjoying their antics, July has been a busy month of visitors both two and four legged. It would seem our spacious property has resulted in us becoming the official dog-sitters for my family now, and our pup, Luki is quite pleased about that.

We’ve looked after my sister’s sweet dog (Luki’s one true love ) several times this June and July and now we are looking after my parent’s dog while they travel around Ireland for a month. Noah squeals with delight each time one of our visitors heads in his direction. He loves dogs!

We’ve also had quite a few overnight visits from Noah’s grandparents. Matt’s mom and dad keep spoiling us by bringing dinner ingredients and cooking for us which is such a treat!

We had a lovely time with my great aunts who came all the way from England. They cheered Noah on as he spent his first morning playing on the beach in the sand and grinning like mad as he went down the slide.

As you can see in the photo above, Noah was so comfortable and relaxed with his Great Great Auntie Edina!

I look forward to they day when our property will be a little more polished and set up for weekend visitors. I have dreams of running a small guest house and farm stand one day, but in the meantime, family and friends have been enjoying the fire pit that Matt and my sister built and our picnic table.

One day a flower garden, lounging area and a pond will add to our guest’s comfort. I love daydreaming about big landscaping plans as an occasional restful treat while Noah naps.

Right now guests just expect that relaxing will wait for later and seem glad to be put to work on whatever project we are currently focussed on!

Each visit my mom and dad arrive just fit to burst with excitement and energy to tackle the next big project. My Dad worked so hard in the scorching sun earlier this month to replace the workshop roof with Matt.

My garden, as I mentioned last homestead update, isn’t especially productive, but I wasn’t expecting it to be so since we had little to no time to prep beds when we moved in the spring.

I’ve laid out huge tarps in the main field and hope, once they’ve solarized (used the heat of the sun to kill the grass and weeds), I can lift them and plant a cover crop this Fall. In the spring I can turn the cover crop under with the help of the chickens and a tiller so that it will be ready for my first big vegetable garden. Once we have a pig and goats, I think they’ll be able to replace the work of the tiller each spring. I’m new to gardening out of raised beds though, so please give me your two cents if you have experience with a big victory garden style veggie plot!

Our computer broke earlier this week which just about had me selling Thread Theory (I’m joking but only just) because we thought we lost the only file that wasn’t backed up: The nearly completed instructions and pattern for our upcoming bag pattern release! When the computer died it seemed upon first inspection that our dual hard drives had not been backing files up as intended…well, two very long days of tinkering later, Matt saved Thread Theory and my sanity by not only fixing the computer but also saving the pattern and all of my hard work! So, if all goes well, the pattern will be headed to test sewers by the end of the day or perhaps by the end of the weekend. It’s very close! And, needless to say, Matt has added one more back up system so that this won’t be happening again. Phew…

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Thank you!


Thank you to the over 40 volunteers who offered their bag making expertise to me last week!  The majority of you have sewn far more bags than I have in my repertoire (I’ve always been a garment sewist first and foremost) so I am incredibly excited to work with a select few of you on this upcoming bag pattern.

Those who were selected have been sent an email.  To those who did not hear from me, thank you VERY much for volunteering all of the same!  Here is a discount code for you (and all of the people who take the time to read my posts) to thank you for your support: BAGVOLUNTEER Enter the code upon checkout in our shop to receive $5 CAD off of your order.  There is no expiry!

I can’t wait to make progress in leaps and bounds on this bag.  There is nothing like a public and self imposed deadline to inspire me to work every moment our baby is sleeping (one to two weeks left until I send the testers their pattern!).

Have a lovely weekend!


Pattern testing idea (call for testers now closed)

The pattern that I am currently developing is a pretty elaborate bag, which, obviously, is a departure from our usual focus on garments! While I have some unique and versatile garments planned for release after the bag pattern, I wanted something a little more straight forward as my first pattern project post baby. Our wallet patterns are always a big hit for birthday gifts and Christmas so I thought a proper unisex bag would complete the set!

As I am prone to do, I’ve allowed the bag to morph from basic to elaborate with variations to suit a wide range of sewists and very detailed instructions…I can’t help myself, I like to be thorough! So I’m now wondering if any of you are bag sewing aficionados who would be interested in helping me out with a test sewing project that is a bit different than normal:

Usually I send garment patterns to testers when the instruction booklet is more or less complete and has already been formatted by our graphic designer. The pattern itself has been made beautiful and branded by Matt. And all illustrations have been created by me. This time, since bag patterns are new to me, I was wondering if two or three sewists who have sewn bag patterns from more than one pattern company would be interested in sewing up the pattern while it is still very much a rough draft.

This would mean that you would work from written instructions with no illustrations. The pattern would include basic markings and labels but would not be ‘prettified.’ There are a LOT of pattern pieces to navigate. So you would need to be quite familiar with the general process of sewing a lined bag with many pockets! The main feedback I would be looking for is your opinion on the order of construction. Do you have a method that you prefer to mine for sewing straps? For inserting a zipper? For adding a lining? Does the level of detail I’ve included in the instructions help or is it overwhelming? Details such as typos and grammar can be left for the next phase of testing (unless you feel like pointing them out to me, which, of course, is welcome!).

After I receive this feedback I can make large alterations to the pattern and instructions without having to re-do illustrations or spend lots of time going back and forth making revisions with our graphic designer (much as I like the chance to chat with my sister in law, she has a baby too and time is precious!).

What do you think? Do you have bag making skills and techniques you would like to compare to the ones I’ve been developing? I’m excited to brainstorm with you!

The pattern will be ready for this stage of testing in two to three weeks (if baby Noah cooperates) so you would be sewing it late July and early to mid-August (with lots of flexibility as there is no especially strict deadline for you to complete the project).

Please comment below if this sounds like a fun project for you! And please mention approximately how many bags you’ve sewn because I’m really hoping to receive feedback from people who already have preferred bag-making techniques. Pattern testers will receive the finished pattern and a credit to our shop as a big thank you for your help!