Thread Theory

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


3 Comments

Packing patterns…the reality

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

We are swimming in tags, envelopes and instruction booklets!

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

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

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

Advertisements


8 Comments

A little tour

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Leave a comment

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.


2 Comments

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!

 


8 Comments

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

hemmingway-windcheater-27

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!

dintex-fabric

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.

hemmingway-windcheater-1

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:

Merino wool and Dintex fabric-2-2

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)

thread-theory-sewing-supplies-20-3

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.


2 Comments

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

Fairfield Sew Along - add buttons to a shirt-8

…and some relevant Merchant & Mills tools.

NewMMProducts-70

NewProducts-8

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 >


Leave a comment

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 >