Thread Theory

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


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The Wednesday Special!

Calm down everyone; it’s not quite Friday yet — sorry to get your hopes up! We just couldn’t wait to show you the most recent finished Newcastle Cardigan. This time the cardigan has been done up in a cozy winter color-scheme of black and burgundy with the full size collar option.

 

Martha Nicholson wrote us:

“Hi, I really enjoyed making the Newcastle cardigan.  Easy to follow instructions and no issues with construction.  And it looks awesome, I have a VERY happy hubby who is already requesting another version.”
We are thrilled that the Newcastle Cardigan is so popular with the Australian and New Zealand winter sewers and thank Martha very much for sharing her photos with us!


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Birthday Post!

Today is the first day of summer, the day before my school’s fashion show…and it’s my birthday!

It’s been a great week…earlier this week we had an enormous increase of people viewing the Thread Theory website which was really exciting.

Also, Louisa of Damselfly’s Delights sent us photos and a report on her newly completed Newcastle Cardigan.  It is so exciting to see such a successful version of our pattern!


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Louisa reported a few adjustments and choices that she made during the sewing process:
“Thom has a 40″ chest and 36” waist so I made a size M. It’s quite close-fitting
and I was glad that I took the waistline curve out or it might
have been a little too tight to fit nicely over the jeans, belt, cell phone,
wallet, etc. that he carries around. I had to chop 2″ off the sleeves and
the cuffs are still quite long enough to be warm. He commented on how
stylish his new jacket is! That is a profound compliment coming from him.
Obviously I have to do more sewing for him now, right?”
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She chose what sounds like similar fabric to the fleece that I used for my dad’s shoulder and back yokes on this cardigan.  I love how she utilized both sides of the fabric:
“My fabric was a synthetic fleece with pile on one side and a smooth knit on
the other. I used the fuzzy side out for the yokes and the smooth side for
everything else.”
Louisa very kindly sent us and posted a detailed review of our pattern with some intriguing suggestions on how to improve the sewing experience for beginners (we could offer a zipper and binding option to replace the need for facings…what an awesome idea!).
zipper shawl collar
If a zippered version looked something like this, I think it would be very stylish!
With only a day left of school commitments I am eagerly planning to add these adjustments and will let everyone know when they are uploaded…and of course, anyone who would like the revised version and has already purchased the pattern can simply email (info@threadtheory.ca) to receive their copy!  Stay tuned!

 

I have added Louisa’s photos to our Newcastle Slideshow.  We look forward to receiving more emails as the finished cardigans start popping up throughout the internet sewing world!

 

At school this week, every day has been complete chaos in the fashion department.  Matt came into the school on Monday to help me with the photo shoot (isn’t the shot he took of my coat with fur collar pretty?)  and witnessed the general panic and confusion as the fashion show draws nearer and nearer (it’s TOMORROW!).  There have been people crying, models changing in all corners of the building, fabric piles being spread high and low in the sewing room, and a steady feeling of jittery excitement at all hours throughout the week.
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I’ve been chugging through my to do list and only have a pair of leggings and some hook and eyes left to sew today.
Lookbook page
A couple days ago I finished off my ‘lookbook’ featuring my collection’s designs and I even included prices for the runway sample garments in case anyone at the show or online are interested in purchasing my designs 🙂  In fact, Kendra, the beautiful model in the pictures, has already staked her claim on the green tencel pants!

If anyone is interested in receiving a PDF of the lookbook to see my pricing or just to have a browse (is this just wishful thinking?  It’s worth a shot!), send me an email (info@threadtheory.ca)!


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Launch Week!

Here we are: Half a week before the launch of the Newcastle Cardigan – our first pattern!

This week, one of our test sewers, Kate, got back to us with a stunning version of the cardigan modeled by her boyfriend, Geoff! He even sewed on his own buttons! Without further ado, here are a few photos of her hard work:

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We love the fabric Kate chose – the cuffs are ironed so crisply and the wide shawl collar drapes very nicely!

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Thank you so much, Kate, for pattern testing for us (and Geoff for modeling)! Your comments and thoughts were invaluable.

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Look out before May 15th for our interview (and our pattern give-away) at House of Pinheiro! And of course, join us on Wednesday, May 15th when our first pattern will be up for sale! In the meantime, here are some inspirational photos from our Pinterest Board to get you excited to sew a shawl collar sweater:

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We want to thank everyone for the amazing support! Without the encouragement of our little sewing corner of the internet, we wouldn’t have made it to the launch date of our first Thread Theory menswear pattern. Thank you for your comments and for following our blog! Your support means to the world to us!


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Pattern Review by Meg

This week, over at Made By Meg, Meg posted a great review of our Newcastle Cardigan pattern.  She was a speedy and wonderfully thorough test sewer for us and her results are fantastic (and her boyfriend makes a great model!).  She used a lightweight sweater knit and faux leather vinyl to create the classic “hard and soft” menswear look.

We’re excited that she enjoyed sewing up the cardigan and noticed the effort we put into creating easy-to-follow instructions.  She also told us that she was glad we had minimized the amount of paper that the cardigan pattern prints out on as paper usage can often be quite huge with PDF patterns…Matt is thrilled she noticed as getting the pattern down to only 24 pages took hours of work!

Thank you Meg for testing our pattern!  Check out Meg’s blog for all sorts of interesting reading and great project pictures…also, be sure to check in on May 15th when she will be offering a give-away to celebrate the launch of our Newcastle Cardigan!


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Newcastle Cardigan Variations

Farrell-10This week we have three different Newcastle Cardigans to present for your viewing pleasure…

#1: The nautically styled Size Large sample very appropriately modeled by a sailor – my dad!  Doesn’t it look cozy?

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This was sewn up in a very thick man-made fleece with  a right side that gives the look of a faux knit sweater.  It was difficult to make the placket look crisp and flat with such an overwhelmingly thick material but it should settle a little once it’s been washed a few times.

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My dad likes flipping up the collar to protect the back of his neck from the cold ocean breeze – very effective and stylish!  You can see in this picture that I top-stitched the side and sleeve seam allowances down to keep the thick seams from looking too bulky.

#2: The next cardigan on display is the finished result of my first test sewer, my grandmother (Nonnie).  She did an absolutely amazing job of precisely testing that seams matched and that the instructions were logically sequenced.  The result of all her effort is an absolutely gorgeous and sporty version sewn in size XS.  Photos on a model will be coming soon!

She used the mesh backed micro fleece to it’s full advantage by displaying the orange mesh as a contrast under collar.  She also made toggles which look so professional and, when paired with her precise sewing, really make the cardigan look high-end.

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The mesh backing on the fabric made interfacing the cardigan plackets and facings impossible but the fabric was stiff enough and her ironing was so careful that the finished garment still appears impeccably crisp.  If this sweater had a tag on it I would expect to see it hanging on the rack of a high end outdoor sports store!  Thank you so much, Nonnie, for creating this unique and well sewn version of the Newcastle!

#3: The last cardigan is one you’ve glimpsed before when modeled by my Granddad.  It’s now been photographed on the same hanger as the XS cardigan so that it is easier to compare the difference fabric and notion choices make.  This is the size Medium sewn in a cotton knit with a touch of acrylic and stretch suiting as the contrast.  These fabric choices result in a classic cardigan with more of a ‘knitted sweater’ appearance as opposed to the sportswear look that fleece and micro fleece lend themselves to.Wall Shoot-5 Wall Shoot-6 Wall Shoot-7 Wall Shoot-8

Stay tuned for the unveiling of the second test sewer’s cardigan next week – a size large sewn using fleece with leather as contrast.  This version is really on-trend – she even added dapper leather elbow patches!


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Two More Patterns Ordered!

Today I have some Thread Theory pattern company news and a finished project to show off.  This week, despite life being pretty busy, I was able to prepare the spec sheets and send off the Jedediah Trousers and the Strathcona Henley to Suncoast Custom to have the patterns made up!  I can’t wait to get back the patterns and see how my designs look as real garments!  I’m especially excited for the Jedediah Trousers which I designed to be very a flattering and comfortable fit.

Strathcona Henley 225 Jedediah Pants 250

 Spring is officially here and suddenly June and the pattern store launch date seems to be approaching at an alarming pace.  We’ll see what we can do – things will feel like they are progressing more smoothly once the Newcastle Cardigan has been sent to the main test sewers.  This has been delayed slightly due to our decision to split the test sewing into two phases – the first group which is currently sewing up the pattern is comprised of local people (namely my grandma and my mom!) and the second group will be volunteers from around the world – one is as far away as Australia! That way we will have two opportunities to hear and respond to suggestions/critiques.IMGP0488

At school my classmates and I have been gearing up to start the production our end of the year runway lines.  I have completed a blazer as part of one of my outfits so I thought it would be fun to bring back some of my sewing for women to the blog since I am proud of how this project turned out!IMGP0506

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I designed, made the pattern and sewed up this garment.  It was drafted to fit a size six so it is a bit ill-fitting on me – especially in the chest area – but will hopefully look nice on the model as it does on our school mannequins.IMGP0507IMGP0501IMGP0512

My end of year line is called “Rationed Fashion” and is inspired by 1940s British wartime sensibilities paired with modern Pacific Northwest aesthetics.  The result of this inspiration is garments with strong shoulders, nipped in waists, sturdy fabrics, a casual feel and classic lines that will stand the test of time to be recycled into new outfits each season.IMGP0498

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In other sewing news, I have just this last week started working in the studio of an admirably energetic interior designer, Heather Draper, who is the owner of The Heather Company, a home decor company that currently sells beautiful soft furnishings online and will be opening their first brick and mortar store in June in Alberta.  It’s been very inspiring working with such beautiful fabrics!  They look wonderful turned into pillows and duvets…but man, a few of them would make the most spectacular dresses!


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Sneak peak of the second Newcastle Cardigan

Here is a mid-week sneak peak at the second Newcastle Cardigan sample, this time a size medium sewn up in a cotton knit with a touch of acrylic.

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My Granddad kindly modeled it for us and added a very classy vibe!  He has requested a cardigan for himself (the one he’s modelling has already been claimed) with slightly shortened sleeves to closer match the sleeve length he is used to – a testament to the cardigan’s versatility for all ages and styles!

Next up are a few future cardigans – a large in both brown and grey sweatshirt fleece as well as a beautiful green wool blend which has not yet been assigned a size.  Exciting!

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Newcastle Cardigan Photo Shoot

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The Newcastle Cardigan has been graded and I sewed up our first proper sample this week!  We’ve updated the pattern store to include some of the photos and also have them on our facebook page.  The pattern is currently out with the first batch of test sewers and we’re looking forward to seeing the results of their work (we’ll include their projects on the blog).

This isn’t going to be a word heavy post as I’d like to let the pictures speak for themselves!  The first set of photos were taken at Beacon Hill Park in Victoria and the cardigan was modeled by Matt.  The second set of photos were taken at The Pacific Design Academy and the cardigan was kindly (and super stylishly!) modeled by Iain Russell of is this Menswear?  Check out his instagram, facebook and tumblr pages for endless photos of amazing menswear inspiration.

Without further ado, here it is – a size small version of the Newcastle Cardigan made up in brown bamboo fleece and stretch suiting as contrast:

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Tips on Manly Knits

turtle.mirrorEvery day, Thread Theory Designs Inc. is inching closer to the tipping point from being just an idea to becoming an actual menswear sewing pattern company.  This week the Newcastle Cardigan, the first pattern in the Parkland Pattern Collection, was graded.  After some thorough testing right here in our sewing room it will be sent out with sewing instructions and a satisfaction survey to test sewers.  To volunteer to be a test sewer for the Newcastle Cardigan or for any (or all!) of the other patterns in our Parkland collection, comment on one of our blog posts or send an email to mmmeredith@hotmail.ca. You will receive the pattern for free in exchange for your opinions and suggestions (and maybe a little bit of help spreading the word about Thread Theory around the internet!).

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Newcastle Cardigan Supplies:
Main Body (Blue Knit):25% Acrylic 70% Cotton
Contrast Shoulders (Gray Suiting): Cotton-Poly blend with 2-way stretch

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Newcastle Cardigan Supplies #2:
Main Body (Brown): Bamboo Fleece
Contrast Shoulders (Gray Suiting): Cotton Poly with 2-way stretch

With the Newcastle Cardigan pattern coming closer to completion I’ve been on the search for knits.  I’ve found that it is often quite difficult to source menswear fabrics that are similar to those found in ready to wear garments – especially when it comes to knits.  Since our first line of patterns includes two garments that require knit materials, I thought it would be best to provide a list of great online stores, specific fabrics, and info on choosing knits so that it can be used for reference when you go to sew the Newcastle Cardigan or the Strathcona Henley!

Types of Material You’ll be needing:

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Heavy Bamboo Fleece – beautifully soft inside, strong and hard-wearing on the outside. Perfect for a casual and sporty Newcastle Cardigan.

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A cotton/acrylic knit that holds its shape lengthwise but stretches crosswise. An elegant color and slightly knobbly texture to create a dressier Newcastle Cardigan.

Newcastle Cardigan: Sweater knits – look for knits that are medium-weight or heavier.  Knits with wool content are especially attractive as a cardigan.  You could also use a terry-knit to create a sweater that is quite casual and cozy.  Try to avoid anything that drapes too much (rayon blend knits or most jersey knits) as fabric clinging to the arms and body results in a more feminine looking sweater.  The sample I sewed last week used too light of a knit and made Matt’s arms look surprisingly slender and feminine…not the result he was hoping for even though he didn’t want the arms too loose fitting.

Strathcona Henley:  Waffle knits or t-shirt knits are the best choice for this pattern.  Waffle knits would give this shirt the cozy and casual appearance of long-johns.  T-shirt knits – cotton, hemp or bamboo with maybe a little polyester blended in – would make the henley into a nice basic worn with jeans.  To create the outdoorsy look similar to Stanfield’s henleys use a wool and nylon rib knit.

Both: As interfacing, make sure you use a fusible type meant for knits because it will allow for a little bit of stretch.

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Fusible knit interfacing

Great blogs with resources on sewing knits:

Cutting knits – Tasia of Sewaholic

A Big List of Tips For Sewing Knits – Tasia of Sewaholic

Knits – Stretch Yourself Series – Made By Rae

Rae Talks about Shopping for Knit Fabrics Online – Made By Rae

Online Knit Fabric Retailers:

Based in the United States:

  • NearSea Naturals – North Carolina –  a great source for the most beautiful high quality organic knits – with some good deals too!
  • Harts Fabric – California – section specifically for sweater knits…there are a few heavier weight ones in here that would be good for menswear
  • Emma One Sock – Pennsylvania – designer discount fabric with a section for sweater knits. The word online is that the owner gives wonderful personal service and her fabric quality is excellent.  She warns on her website that shipping estimates are often too high and she will let you know the actual price once you check out.
  • Gorgeous Fabrics – A nice selection of sweater knits with thorough and personal write-ups.
  • Nick of Time Textiles– Pennsylvania – a discount wholesaler with what seems to be no minimums and a very large selection of extremely affordable knits…shipping is quite pricey to Canada but the affordability of the fabric might make the extra shipping worth it.
  • Fabric.com – Georgia – A huge selection with a specific section for sweater knits.  Currently,  most of the selection is light weight and a little more feminine than you might want for either the Newcastle or Strathcona patterns but that could be because we are already prepared for spring sewing.

A couple intriguing stores located in other countries:

  • Crose Fabric -Hong Kong – An Etsy shop from Hong Kong (but ships everwhere with a discounted price to the US) – a silk and wool store that is currently selling a gorgeous heavy oatmeal colored wool knit
  • The Remnant House – UK – Ships to a variety of places in Europe – it doesn’t look like it ships to North America or elsewhere but I could be wrong.  Search in their “Dress Fabric” category for apparel fabrics.

Does anyone know of online retailers of knit fabrics based out of Canada?  Or maybe some based in Australia or Europe?  I’ll add to my list if you have a favorite or two to mention!

P.S. Isn’t this nice packaging?Edited-8The buttons I just bought from my local fabric store (Gala Fabrics) were packed in this small envelope made from pattern instructions – isn’t that a nice way to recycle?


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The Newcastle Cardigan Pattern has been Drafted!

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Great news!  Early yesterday Sabine of Suncoast Custom emailed me to announce that she had finished drafting the medium size of the Newcastle Cardigan.  It was ready for me to mock up to approve the fit before she grades it to all the sizes!  We met at my school (The Pacific Design Academy) because she had an appointment there regarding an evening patternmaking course that she will soon be teaching and she handed over the big white roll of paper that represents the beginning of the Parkland Collection.

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This morning I got right to it and cut out the pieces from 1.5m of a 150cm wide olive knit called Oslo Plain (85% Acrylic, 15% wool).  I bought it from Gordon Fabrics Ltd. in Vancouver as a good mock up material because, as far as knits go, I thought it was pretty cheap, a medium weight, and had a medium amount of stretch.  After completing the sample though, I think the cardigan will look better in a heavier weight and maybe in something with a little more stretch to it.

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I sewed up the sample and made notes on the process which will eventually become the instructions.  I concentrated on accuracy of seam allowances and simply serged all the raw edges for now because for the first mock up, I am mostly just examining the fit and style.

sewing

The arms and shoulders fit Matt very well which is good because he has medium sized shoulders but the body was quite snug.  Matt has a size small body so, seeing as the mock up was supposed to be a medium fit, the width of the garment will have to be increased quite a bit.  I’ve let Sabine know the fit adjustments I would like and next time I mock the garment up I’ll test it out on as many size medium men as I can get my hands on 😛

full front

full back

Before sewing the next sample I’ll be brainstorming different finishing techniques to use – should I add stabilizing elastic at the shoulders?  Should the collar be interfaced?  Should the main seams be french or maybe flat felled seams?  All those answers are still to come but for now, I’m really happy with the appearance of the cardigan.

front detail

For this sample, I haven’t added the button placket as Sabine, my patternmaker, chose to include a full width body piece which could be cut narrower to make room for the placket.  I think I’ll continue to use the placket I designed though because it will provide options for stitching the facing firmly in place so it doesn’t flap around (which, I’m sure you can agree, is the most annoying thing for a facing to do!)

back detail

Next step – finalizing the pattern, writing the instructions and sending it out to pattern testers (for free!) – anyone interested?  Leave a comment or email me at mmmeredith@hotmail.ca.