Thread Theory

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


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Shorts On the Line – Menswear Inspired

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I made myself some Jeds!  What better excuse than Shorts On the Line to make my dream of Jeds for women a reality? If you have been hankering to make some shorts or have already done so in the last year, head on over to the Shorts on the Line Sew-Along on Kollabora to join in!  There are some awesome prizes up for grabs and there is a tonne of great shorts-sewing inspiration already posted.Shortsontheline1

My Jedediah shorts are super comfy.  I made them in our smallest size (Size 30) which was too big for me at the waist but fits quite well when worn lower on the hips.  I love this classic, casual chino style – it is perfect to pair with feminine blouses if I want to be dressy or (probably more realistically) to wear with a t-shirt or button-up when I’m working on the garden or riding my bike!

I used an organic cotton twill for this pair which was left over from a pair of Jedediah pants that I made for Matt…so we could match if we wanted to (but we don’t want to :P)!  I shortened the pocket bags because when I went to hem my shorts, they were hanging out well below the hem.  As much as I loved their french seams and pretty floral fabric, I couldn’t bear to display them to the world!
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I made a bit of a Jedediah production line and sewed some Jedediah pants at the same time that I sewed my shorts.  It really didn’t take too much longer to sew two pairs instead of one!Jedsforme2

I LOVE the fabric I used for these.  It is a stretch cotton sateen with all sorts of flowers, birds and even butterflies printed on it.  It is pretty light weight and quite cool to wear in the summer heat.  Because it was stretchy I made two small pleats in the pants front (positioned half way between the fly and each pocket) before attaching the waistband and then cut off the excess waistband once one side was attached to the pants.  This resulted in a much snugger (and probably much better) fit than the shorts version and they sit where I would normally wear my jeans or pants – not too high waisted but not low on the hips.Jedsforme5 Jedsforme3

I took a little bit of width off of the knee area so they wouldn’t look so baggy (probably only about an inch) and shortened the hem considerably.  I left off the back pockets on both the shorts and the pants to create a bit more of a feminine and maybe dressy look.  I like the fit that the back yoke created but I didn’t get any pictures of the back view without my hands in my pockets.  Unfortunately, my hands are creating drag lines in both of these photos but you’ll have to trust me that they aren’t there when my hands aren’t in my pockets!Jedsforme4

My favorite part of these Jeds is the cuffed hem I created.  I serged the raw edge, turned approximately 3″ to the inside, stitched it in place and then folded the new hem upwards to create a small 1″ cuff with no wrong side visible.Jedsforme

Well, there you have it!  Two menswear pieces never even intended for a man and proudly worn by me!  Thanks, Carla, Rachael and Kollabora for the excuse to spend some time sewing for myself!

This post is part of the Shorts on the Line sewalong.  Shorts on the Line 2014 is sponsored by: Britex FabricsHawthorne Threadsmiss matatabi, and Soak Wash.  Hosted by imagine gnatssmall + friendly, and Kollabora.

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In the Wild: Comox Trunks and Jeds for Women

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Here we are in the second week of my new In the Wild feature.  Today I have some perfect stripe matching and lovely bright colors to show you!  Check out these Comox Trunks by Mariëlle!
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Mariëlle reported to me by email that she has been happily working her way through our selection of patterns lately.  This has resulted in the dire situation that more menswear has been leaving her sewing room than clothing for herself!  She’s contemplating sewing some Jedediah Pants for herself next to begin to turn this situation around…and I really can’t wait to see how they turn out!

I think they’ll make an excellent pair of relaxed and boxy ‘boyfriend jeans’.  In fact, I’ve tried on Matt’s Jeds, and aside from being a couple sizes too big, I can see that a smaller size would actually suit me quite nicely!  I think to make this style work for my own fit preference (I don’t like wearing a belt so I like the waistband to be quite snug) I would likely grade from the smallest size at the waistband to once size larger at the hips to make the hip curve more pronounced.  I would keep the larger size for the rest of the pants (to keep them loose and casual looking).  If you prefer the relaxed/boxy fit that menswear pants offer I think you could sew these pants up for yourself without any adjustments (as long as you don’t have too big of a booty as these pants are designed for pretty straight/curve-less men! :P).

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(Photo from stylecaster.com)

Would you consider making boyfriend jeans with the Jedediah Pants pattern?  I made a Pinterest board featuring women in chinos to get you inspired (be warned lots of floral pants are involved…I got a little carried away with my ideas about feminizing the pattern!).


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What everyone else has been sewing:

This morning I’ve been busily linking away so that I can show you some of the great things currently happening around the world that involve our sewing patterns.  It’s so rewarding to see what our patterns have inspired.  Matt and I may not have time for an in depth sew-along for every single pattern (though, we do have more planned, don’t worry!), or to sew up the millions of different cardigan’s, pants and henleys I have swirling around in my head, but that is okay because there are many other people out there who are doing exactly those things!

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If you are a Spanish speaker then you really are in luck – our Spanish stockist, Telaria, is mid-way through a thorough and easy-to-follow sew-along for the Newcastle Cardigan pattern!  Even if you don’t speak Spanish, you might want to make use of Google Translate and have a look at all the hard work Miren has put into documenting her Newcastle Cardigan sewing process.  We are thrilled that she has taken this large project up and love how her cardigan turned out.

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Once you’ve had a look at the Telaria “Just for Men” sew-along, make sure to add your Newcastle to the Flickr group that Miren has set up!  If you enter your photo by March 17th you will be entered in the draw for a chance to win one of three awesomely manly prizes (including manly fabric, a Japanese menswear pattern book and even some of our patterns).  Even though you missed the beginning of the Newcastle Cardigan portion of the sew along, you still have time to get ready for the third segment of the “Just for Men” series.  The Strathcona Henley sew-along will begin on March 3rd.  If you are nervous about sewing with knits, this will be an invaluable resource for you!

The next thing I want to share with you is a brand new blog called Tinker, Tailor, Sewster…Spy? created by a male sewer based out of Brisbane, Australia.  He began his blog to document his Jedediah Pant sewing process and also has plans in the works to sew up the rest of our Parkland Collection.  He is a very careful and thorough sewer who seems to have an endless pool or patience to pull from.  His most recent blog post details his decision to scrap his original plan to use bright blue top stitching (pictured below) and instead switch to gray.  This means he will be redoing the back pockets that he embroidered, blogged about and even filmed!

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I really admire his commitment to making the perfect garment.  After all, why put all that effort into sewing if you are only going to produce something that you aren’t really happy with?  To me, this is one of the most rewarding parts of sewing menswear.  Since menswear is dictated by details and fit, imperfection in either of these areas will stand out very obviously in a finished garment.  While it might be incredibly frustrating mid-sewing process to re-do top stitching over and over again or to make multiple mock-ups, the result is something that is very easy to feel proud about!

You would never guess that the author of Tinker, Tailor, Sewster…Spy?  is new to blogging – his posts are full of information, inspiration, lots of photos and videos.  Head on over to comment, follow his blog and encourage him in his new blogging endeavor.  It is great to see another male sewer join the sewing and blogging community!  Good luck to him on his quest for the perfect Jedediah Pants!

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Last but certainly not lease in today’s parade is a new project from the most prolific Thread Theory customer: Huff Makes Stuff.  I can’t believe how many Jeds and Straths Jen has whipped up over the last few months!  Her goal is to create a new outfit for her husband and herself each month for 12 months.  She has already completed four outfits for her husband which include four Jedediah Short and Pant variations and four Strathcona Henley, Sweater and T-shirt variations.  I love how her husband’s taste for colour and print is displayed in each outfit and I especially love how all of these garments display how versatile these two patterns are.  Each outfit looks well planned and stylish and must make Darron’s wardrobe very easy to pick from each morning!

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The latest outfit is wonderfully summery and bright and makes a nice Australian contrast to the dark mid-winter renditions of the patterns that I always sew.  She has mixed and matched the Strathcona variations to create a short sleeve henley without buttons.  She is toying with the idea of adding buttons to the placket but I think she should leave them off because I love how casual and cool it looks – perfect for a day at the beach or on the backyard patio!  She has paired this orange henley with awesomely out-there postage stamp Jedediah Shorts.  Her husband is fearless when it comes to prints (Matt has something to learn from him – he even steers clear of stripes!).  She made the legs slightly less tapered and did not cuff this version of the shorts.  Check out all of her outfits (both those sewn for her husband and those she’s sewn for herself) to see how rewarding an organized outfit-oriented approach to sewing can be!

Do you have any menswear projects, blog posts or tutorials to share with us?  We would love to feature them on the blog!  Send us an email at info@threadtheory.ca to let us know what you have been working on.


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Sue’s Spectacular Jeds!

My mother-in-law, Sue, has been quietly working away on her own version of the Jedediah Pants and blew us out of the water when her husband, Rick, arrived for Thanksgiving dinner in the absolutely spectacular results! She used a high-end cotton twill from Gala Fabrics in Victoria, BC and carefully applied all the lessons that she learned by following our sew-along. We took a few photos that day of Rick wearing the finished version, and Sue graciously sent in some of her own as well as a review so that we could show you her very successful return to the sewing world after a several decade hiatus! Without further ado, here is what she wrote to us:

Hi Morgan and Matt,

I just wanted to send a note to let you know about my experience with sewing the Jedediah pants. I noticed a few people who commented on your blog about being a bit afraid to take on what seems to be a more difficult project, and I thought my experience might help sway them to give it a try.

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I have not sewn an article of clothing since I made my high school graduation dress in the 1970s… Don’t bother doing the math, suffice it to say that was a long time ago! I never took any formal sewing training, but was just taught by my mom and through my own experimentation. Your enthusiasm for sewing and designing has been infectious and has inspired me to pick it up again, and it was the sew-a-long that gave me the confidence to get started back again. One would think that pants would be a tough project to wet your feet with, but in reality, with the well fitting pattern, great instructions, the video for the fly installation, the feedback from the sewers, and the ability to write in and ask questions, it was amazingly simple.

I wasn’t able to start the pants until well after the sew-a-long was finished but that had it’s benefits, as I was able to read all the instructions, comments and feedback before even cutting out my material and was therefore able to incorporate the suggestions that others had made. I actually started out to make shorts, but when I laid the pattern out, I had so much material left, I thought why not see if I had enough for pants, and sure enough I did. I know you made the comment that the allowances were generous to allow for pattern matching, and this worked to my benefit, as I had no pattern.

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I used Katie’s method of sewing the back patch pockets to eliminate the raw edge inside, and I added my own touch by interfacing the pocket to give it a little more strength. I sewed the inseam before the side seam, as this made more sense to me. I’m glad I did this, as I had a little trouble with the flat felled seams. The material I used was an organic twill and it really wanted to fray, so folding it over and sewing with the smaller seam allowance was a little fiddley. If I had done the leg seams in the reverse order, I would have had to do “fake flat felled seams” as you had suggested when I wrote in. They would have looked the same, but I would know they were fake. Also, I didn’t use seam binding as I thought it would become too bulky (and because I was too lazy), but I am still happy with the finish of the pants. If I made them again, I might be tempted to bind just the inner waistband as I like the finished look of the ones I’ve seen.

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I found the pattern pieces really fit together well. The only markings that didn’t make sense to me were on the ends of the waistband, but then I figured, as long as I had enough room for a seam at each end of the waistband, there wasn’t a problem, and it all went together well. The fly went in without a hitch, just by following step by step, the video and written instructions. The most difficult part of the pants was the buttonhole. I did several test buttonholes that came out beautifully of course, and then the real one was not so good. I think it was because of the bulk of the waistband seam, that my auto buttonholer on my old machine couldn’t hold the material firm enough to keep it correctly aligned. I will do as you suggested and use a hook closure, and hubby always wears a belt, so no one will be the wiser.

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The pants seemed to sew up quite quickly (even though it took me about a month overall as I was only able to pick them up for little bits at a time) and I was able to break the project easily into manageable pieces. I am really pleased (and hubby is too) with the overall result, and I must say that this is the first article of clothing that I have ever sewn that looks store bought, and fits extremely well. I will most certainly be testing out more of your patterns in the future, and I think the men in my life will be quite happy about that!

– Sue

Congratulations, Sue, on an excellently finished garment! We look forward to seeing your versions of the rest of our patterns!

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Contest Alert!

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We’re thrilled to announce that Kollabora, the awesome social site for makers of all types, have collaborated with us to host a Jedediah Shorts and Pants sew-along photo contest!

They are graciously giving away a prize pack worth $25 to add to the Strathcona Henley pattern that we will be giving to the winner.  That’s right…you could win the Strathcona Henley pattern AND a bunch of amazing things from the Kollabora shop!

All you have to do to enter is upload a photo of your pants or shorts and accumulate the most ‘hearts’ by September 16th.  You can post some project shots now and update them as you get further along in the sewing process…that way you don’t have to wait until you are done the shorts or pants to start accumulating hearts.

Find out all the info over on the Kollabora blog!


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Day 2 – Sewing the Slash Pockets (Jedediah Shorts Sew-along)

Now that our fabric is all cut out, today we will be sewing the first step – the slash front pockets!  Today I’ve got a massive glass of cucumber water to keep me hydrated while I stand over the steamy ironing board and The Best of Van Morrison playing away in the back ground.  Here’s my fave (my mom’s song!):

To sew the slash front pockets, first of all, we need to attach the two separate facing pieces to each pocket lining.  Pocket Facing #1 will become the visible front of the pant when the pocket is complete and Pocket Facing #2 will be the inside edge of the actual pocket so that a person viewing the pants from behind won’t see the pocket lining fabric poking out.

I’ve prepared the facings by ironing the seam allowance (5/8″) under to make a finished edge.  Do this to the straight edge of Pocket Facing #1 (the large piece) and the longest edge of Pocket Facing #2 (the small piece).

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To attach the facings to the pocket lining, I laid the pocket lining right side up and pinned the pocket facings to it (also with right sides up).  I lined up  the raw edges with the raw edges of the lining and pinned it all in place.

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I’ve basted along the raw edges (within the 5/8″ seam allowance) and edge stitched along the folded edge of the facings.

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Now it’s time to attach the pockets to the front of the pants! To do this, I’ve placed the Pant Fronts right sides up and the pocket lining right side down.  I’ve pinned and sewn along the angled edge (that will form the edge of the pocket).

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Here is a close up of the angled edge.  All the other stitching you can see in this photo is the basting and edge stitching that was used to attache the facings.  The stitching we just did is along the left hand side of the photo.  I’ve graded the pocket seam to make it less bulky in the end, but if you prefer, you could serge this seam or even bind it so that you have no raw edges when you’ve finished your pants.

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Now that our pocket seams are graded or otherwise finished, we will under-stitch along this seam so that the pocket linings and facings don’t roll to the outside when the pants are being worn.  To do this, I’ve stitched through the pocket lining/facings and both seam allowances but NOT the pants front.  I’ve lifted up the pocket lining/facing in the photo below so that you can see the seam allowances hiding underneath…but in real life, of course, I would stitch close to the seam with all of the fabric flat on the bed of the sewing machine.

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Like so 🙂

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And another view of me under-stitching (this term used to mystify me when I was a novice sewist so I’m being extra thorough so that anyone who’s found themselves confused by written instructions explaining under-stitching need no longer be confused!):

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Once we’ve finished under-stitching we can press the pocket seam with right sides together.

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And this is how the finished, under-stitched pocket edge will look from the inside:

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After a quick water break…

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We are ready to finish the bottom edge of the pocket by sewing a french seam.  I’ve gotten my bearings before starting the process by folding the pocket lining with right sides together along the notched fold line.  When folded, Pocket Facing #1 lines up with the side seam as you can see from both the right side and the wrong side in the photo below:

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Next I’ve flipped the pocket lining in the opposite direction along the crease I just made and folded the pocket lining with wrong sides together.  In that position, the bottom of the pocket lining (the bottom edge in the photo below that includes both the pocket lining and the bottom of Pocket Facing #1) is ready to be pinned and then sewn using a 1/2″ seam allowance (visible on the left in the photo below).  The pocket pictured on the right in the photo below is attempting to show you the next step:  I’ve trimmed this 1/2″ seam allowance to 1/8″…super tiny!

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Now I’ve turned my pocket right side out so that right sides are together and I’ve pressed it all flat.  Then I’ve enclosed the raw 1/8″ seam allowance by stitching along this edge again, this time using a 1/4″ seam allowance.  And the french seam is done!

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The french seamed slash pocket is complete!  Sewing day #1…check!  If you have any questions, just leave a comment and we can all work together to help each other out 🙂

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Guest Sew-Along Post: How to Save Fabric When Cutting Out the Jedediah Pants

Meg, of Made By Meg was one of the test sewers for our Jedediah Pants pattern.  She was the sewer who produced this spectacular pair of denim pants (with musical themed pocket linings!):

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Not only is she a thorough and enthusiastic test sewer for us, she has also agreed to write a guest blog post to show you how she improved upon our cutting layouts…and saved a bunch of fabric!  Thank you, Meg, for taking the time to do this!  Without further ado, here is Meg’s very helpful tutorial to save you fabric when cutting out your pants or shorts for the sew-along!:

It’s no secret that I don’t always follow the rules, and this holds true for the Jedediah Pants
Testing the pattern for the fabulous Thread Theory, I made sure to follow most of the instructions: I carefully flat felled my seams, cut with the grain, and even followed the exquisite directions to french seam the pockets – and I was glad I did! But there was one area where I differed from protocol: the cutting layout. When I got the A-OK from Thread Theory, I figured I’d share it with you! So, here is an alternate suggestion for a cutting layout:

A bit of background: While it is usually wise to follow pattern instructions (ask me how I know!), cutting layout is one area where you can sometimes take a bit of liberty. For one, manufacturers often have to do a one-size-fits-all approach to the cutting layout, and your smaller or larger pattern pieces may work in a few different ways than suggested. On the user side, you may have to make adjustments for different fabric widths, a directional print, or even need to make do with just barely enough fabric. This is where it may be a good idea to experiment with a few different layouts before cutting.

The Jedediah layout: For the Jedediah Pants, the cutting layout places one pant leg above the other, with the waistband running vertically next to the pant leg (illustration below). While this works great to make sure that the pattern pieces in any size will fit on your fabric, it takes up a lot of yardage (3 yards at least)! Furthermore, if your fabric has a one-way print such as pinstripes, a one-way print such as a plaid, or even a 2-way stretch, a vertically cut waistband will not face the same way as the rest of your pants.

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The modifications: To save fabric and make sure my waistband stretched in the same direction as the rest of the pants (I used a fabric with 5-10% stretch), I rearranged my pattern pieces, squeezing them on to under 2 yards of fabric! Here’s what the new layout looks like, based on how I cut K’s pants (left) and what that line drawing might look like (right):

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In order to make the waistband modification, I cut the the waistband along the fold of the fabric. As shown above (bottom right-hand corner), half the waistband is placed along the folded edge of the fabric. When the fabric is cut and unfolded, you’ll have a full-size waistband facing the same direction as the rest of your pants! Now my waistband will better match the rest of the pants.

You might call me a slacker, but I just love little sewing shortcuts that save me some fabric space!

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