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


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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.

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Our Annual Black Friday Sale and an inspiring project from Texas

50% off PDF patterns

As you might remember, every year on Black Friday we encourage you to stay home and sew with a 50% off sale on all Thread Theory PDF patterns – well this year is no exception!

Pop by the PDF section of our online shop this Friday Nov. 23rd to download your discounted patterns and dig in to a weekend of sewing projects!  This is an excellent time to tackle Christmas sewing plans (our quick wallet patterns or the Finlayson Sweater make great gifts) or immerse yourself in large and satisfying project (perhaps the Goldstream Peacoat or our jeans patterns?).

Aside from announcing our annual sale, I want to share with you an email I recently received that helped to strengthen my passion for DIY menswear fashion.

A few weeks ago I received an email from Yohannah of the Homestead Craft Village in Texas.  She was inquiring about becoming a wholesaler of our patterns since she is a weaving and spinning instructor who hopes to use the Goldstream Peacoat pattern in a future class.  While it is always lovely to hear of another DIYmenswear class in the works, what really caught my attention is the format of the class and the story she told me about her students.  Matt and I love to learn about homesteading skills (we’re pretty passionate about everything from cheesemaking to knifemaking…and of course sewing fits in with this theme too!), so the idea of a homesteading village where traditional skills are shared really took our fancy.  Their websites make me want to hop on a plane and head to Texas for a weekend goat keeping class!

Homestead Fair 1

The format of Yohannah’s weaving class has successfully engaged a group of teenage boys and taught them many traditional skills.  I love that they get to experience both the weaving of the textile and the transformation of the textile into a garment that they will wear for many years.  As Yohannah explained, “I currently have a group of high school boys that have been taking classes for a few years. Last year they made wool fabric to make themselves black and red buffalo check jackets. This year they have made a charcoal grey wool fabric that I fulled for them and now we are making them pea coats. I got your pattern and LOVE it!!! (They wove material to make a shirt and they’re talking about making pants next year…).”

After hearing about this, I was intrigued and of course had to see photos!  Yohannah kindly sent me these images which were part of a display at their annual Homestead Fair.

Homestead Fair 2

Those shirts look like they could have been purchased from high end wool workwear companies such as Filson or Pendleton!  They did such an amazing job weaving their fabric and look justifiably proud.

Homestead Fair 3

I hope the boys will be just as pleased with their Goldstream Peacoat project and that their passion for textiles continues into adulthood.  Way to go, Yohannah and the Homestead Craft Village team for encouraging boys to work with textiles and for helping them to create projects that they are proud to wear!

Do you have any similarly inspiring stories of boys and men becoming engaged in textiles and sewing through education?  Or maybe you are or know of a self taught male sewist?  I’d love to hear of men who sew or otherwise work with textiles – please comment on this post with your story!  One of my main reasons for starting a menswear specific sewing pattern company was to encourage men to sew for themselves…and yet so few of our current customers are men.  Let’s hear from more men who create their own clothing – I know you are out there and are very talented and passionate!

 


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

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

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

Merino wool and Dintex fabric-2

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

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

Merino wool and Dintex fabric-9

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

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Merino wool and Dintex fabric-6-2

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

Fall Menswear Fabrics (23 of 12)

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


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


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Knitting for baby (our yarns and knitting haberdashery are on sale!)

Erika Knight Yarn Knitting-3

With the weather rapidly changing here and only 2.5 weeks until our baby is due to arrive, I’ve been a bit more sedentary than I’m used to and have been looking for activities that don’t involve bending over and crawling around on my hands and knees cutting out fabric.  So, the bigger my belly gets, the more I’ve found myself more inclined to knit rather than sew!

Thread Theory Menswear Supply Shop-33

I thought you might like to join me in some Fall knitting so I’ve created a discount code to give you and additional 25% off the entire knitting section of our shop! The sale lats 3 days only: Enter KNITTHISFALL upon checkout to receive your discount!

Erika Knight Yarn Knitting-2

To get you excited to try your hand at knitting, let me walk you through my knitting projects and also through the menswear-oriented knitting supplies that we currently have in the shop.

Keep in mind, I’m a complete novice when it comes to knitting (hence my propensity towards patterns that let me sew up the seams and don’t include many details!).  So please don’t look too closely at my projects, I’m just proud that they are warm and usable!  Above is a cosy sleep sack that I made to fit in baby Noah’s bassinet.  It was knit using the Erika Knight Vintage Wool (aran weight) from our shop and is so dense and soft!  I used a vintage pattern that looks like it was from the 1970s.

Erika Knight Yarn Knitting-1

These roomy dungarees (perfect for cloth diapering I think!) were also knit from 3 skeins of Erika Knight Vintage Wool.  I knit as per the (free!) pattern but then finished them with snaps along the inseams so they are easier to take off for diaper changes.  They are knit in the 6 month size.  I also made that cute little chipmunk toque from the British Blue yarn we used to carry in the shop (we’re sold out now!).  It was a really fun project that I managed in just a couple of short evenings.

The bunny was a sewing project using the gorgeous stuffed animal sewing pattern created by Willowyn Textile Art.  Her website is well worth a peruse (or follow her on Instagram for loads of inspiring images!).  I love the vintage style and it was an excellent use of fabric scraps!

If baby knitting is not your style, have a look at the menswear knitting patterns that we have in our shop:

Thread Theory Studio-51

We carry a whole book of beautiful sweaters and accessories.  While these designs are made by Erika Knight (like our wool) they do not all call for her yarn and instead feature yarns from many different readily available companies.

Thread Theory Menswear Supply Shop-11

One of my first knitting projects several years ago was this sweater from the book.

Thread Theory Studio-53

I went off pattern and swapped the wool for the slightly chunkier Maxi Wool (super-chunky weight) that we stock in the shop.  The sweater turned out larger than I expected as a result so, although it was intended for Matt, it ended up perfectly fitting my dad!

Thread Theory Menswear Supply Shop-4

He still wears the sweater very frequently each winter when at work on the computer as he finds it keeps him toasty warm.

Erika Knight Yarn (18 of 21)

I really love how it looks on him and I am especially pleased to notice that it still looks just the same as the photo below (it doesn’t stretch out):

Erika Knight Yarn (6 of 21)

We currently have the whole bottom row of colours available (I used the Storm colour second from the right for my dad’s sweater):

Thread Theory Menswear Supply Shop-1

If you are looking for knitting patterns specifically suited to the wool in our shop, we have a poster format pattern collection that includes everything from a toque to a sweater:

Thread Theory Menswear Supply Shop-9

These are all quite simple knitting projects that are very approachable even for an inexperienced knitter like me (I still don’t know how to knit in the round…despite watching many Youtube videos!).

Thread Theory Menswear Supply Shop-10

I used the Vintage Wool (the same weight I used for the baby projects) to knit Matt a toque a few years ago.  It’s a versatile weight for sweater and hat projects.

Thread Theory Menswear Supply Shop-3

The longevity of this toque is even more surprising to me than my dad’s sweater!  I had read that you can expect a knit toque to keep it’s shape nicely for one season of wear but Matt has been wearing this one since 2016 as his only toque each winter and it still looks just as pictured.

Erika Knight Yarn (5 of 21)

We have a slightly more limited selection of vintage yarn left but there is still plenty enough for hat projects.  We currently have the red/fuschia, black, and the two centre greys (darker, lighter) on the bottom row.  The only colour we have a large quantity of (enough for a sweater) is the black:

Thread Theory Menswear Supply Shop-2

Aside from Erika Knight yarns and patterns, our knitting haberdashery and sale also includes locally crafted copper stitch markers threaded on a beautiful shawl pin…

Copper Stitch Markers Knitting-2.jpg

The ever-popular expanding sewing gauge

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…and some relevant Merchant & Mills tools.

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Do you knit or is it a skill you’d like to learn?  Email me at info@threadtheory.ca if you have any questions about the yarn quantity you need, the yarn a certain Erika Knight pattern calls for or if you just want to chat about trying out knitting for the first time from the perspective of a sewist!

Enjoy 25% off with the code KNITTHISFALL until Monday, 5pm PST!  Head to the knitting haberdashery >


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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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Eastwood Pajama Parade

A few of you who sewed along with me have submitted your finished Eastwood Pajamas for today’s parade…and there is a definite theme going on: Linen and shorts for summer!

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Nick sewed these striped linen pajamas with cotton cording.  What a perfect color match he managed with that cording!  He reports (by email) that next time he sews with this style of linen he will try out french seams since the linen frays so much.  This would be a lovely way to finish the inseams and side seams when sewing with very light weight fabrics.  Heavier fabrics could benefit from bound seam allowances if you have the patience!

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Liz sewed this pair of white linen Eastwood shorts for her husband and reports that her son is now waiting for her to sew some for him!  It looks like she did a lovely job of that fly topstitching.

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Lastly, Susanne was able to use up a small scrap of Dr. Who fabric that she treasured to make her son some tardis boxers!  They used only 34″ of a narrow 45″ fabric that she found on Spoonflower.  She reports that she made a size medium and cut a 6″ inseam plus hem allowance.

These three busy sewists will be receiving our upcoming pattern release for free as a thank you for sewing along with me these last couple of weeks!  I’m finishing up the instructions today and will hopefully submit them to our graphic designer (my sister-in-law) this evening.  I’m really excited for this pattern…actually, it is two patterns that we will be releasing at once (but that’s the only hint I’ll give).

 


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Eastwood Pajamas – Inspiration

Cotton Eastwood Pajamas

Click on any of the inspiration photos to be taken to our Eastwood Pajamas Pinterest board.

Well!  It turns out that the Eastwood Pajamas were something that you guys REALLY want to sew!  Thank you for the wonderful launch week and your enthusiastic response to our new pattern!  I know a classic pair of pajama pants are hardly groundbreaking or unique so I find it very heartwarming that so many of you have contacted me to tell me that you are pleased to use our take on a pajamas pattern in particular.  People have told me they know they will like the fit, they know the project will be thoroughly instructed, and they know the end result will be a very wearable style.

As per usual, I hope the pattern will live up to these expectations! I will be working, over the coming weeks, to provide all of the extra support and inspiration that makes an indie sewing pattern special by hosting a sew-along for the Eastwoods.  Will you join us?

Plaid eastwood inspiration

While the official sew-along will start next Friday, August 3rd, so that you have time to get and assemble your pattern and materials, let’s ramp things up by sharing inspiration and discussing fabric choices today.

Eastwood Pajamas matching set

When I designed the Eastwoods I had classic cosy flannel PJs in mind.  I imagined them worn in front a crackling fire on a chilly December evening…perhaps paired with a white Arrowsmith Undershirt (our free pattern) or, for more coverage, a french terry Sayward Raglan, or a waffle knit Strathcona Henley.

Summer Eastwood Pajamas

While flannel is an obviously comfortable and also nicely affordable/readily available fabric choice, many of our test sewers chose fabrics more suitable for summer!  The Eastwoods are splendid in a quilting cotton, a light shirting, or in a luxurious linen or hemp.  You could even shorten them to capri or short length to make summer loungers (I’ll discuss alterations like this in the first sew-along post)!

Fabric choices for the eastwood pajamas

Test sewers are always a creative bunch and I was thrilled to see the variety of fabric choices and styles they achieved when they tested out the Eastwoods!

Lisa Eastwood Pajamas

Lisa was hoping to sew a pair in linen but her fabric didn’t arrive in time so she used a black Pima cotton that she had on hand and a contrast fabric for the inseam pocket bags and back patch pocket.  Her children chose the contrast fabric from her stash…I can imagine this approach (a nice neutral solid and a fun contrast chosen by his kids) would make a great personalised Father’s Day, birthday or Christmas gift!

Ruth Eastwood Pajamas

Ruth used a wonderful red, white and black plaid flannel for the pair she constructed for her husband.  She hasn’t yet hemmed them in the photos above and said she would size up next time.  After receiving her and other test sewer’s valuable feedback we altered the sizing to include a bit more ease.  A fitted pajama pant looks lovely but the priority really needs to be for the pants to provide the utmost in comfort.  I think we achieved that balance with our revised fit!

Sarah Eastwood Pajamas

Sarah’s pair is modelled by her son and is constructed in a crisp black and white pinstripe.

Tracy Eastwood Pajamas

Tracy sewed her husband summer PJs in a lightweight cotton and linen blend.  That coral is such a fresh, cheery colour!  Perfect for summer lounging on the back deck.

Amber Eastwood Pajamas

Amber sewed her partner this gorgeous pair in a novelty monkey print flannel (cute!) with a deep red drawstring.  Here is what she had to say about her experience on Instagram: “This was my first time sewing pants and I’m quite pleased with how they turned out. I opted for the most difficult variation so I could learn the skills that will transfer to making regular pants. These have side pockets, back patch pockets, functional button fly, elastic waist, and drawstring. A lot of features to tackle for a novice sewer but definitely worth it!”

Ready to tackle this project as well?  Next Friday we’ll have a detailed look at the variations, discuss elastic choices, and talk about fit and style alterations you could make.  If you spend some time perfecting the process now, you will be ready to knock out all manner of PJS this Fall as the weather cools and Christmas draws near!

Download the Eastwood Pajamas to get started >