Thread Theory

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


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In the Wild: Switching Seasons

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With the seasons changing both in the Northern and Southern Hemisphere, I think it’s the perfect time to show off some of the inspiring projects you have made with our two current top-selling patterns!  Since we launched our big inventory clear out sale earlier this week, the Strathcona Henley and the Goldstream Peacoat have been flying off the shelves faster than any other pattern.

The Strathcona Henley is a great option for Spring in the Northern hemisphere because it can be sewn into a breathable cotton tee to layer under sweaters or it can be made into a light Henley sweater to wear over its t-shirt variation.  Perfect for days that fluctuate between chilly rain showers and glorious sunshine!

1 & 2 The Monthly Stitch – Helen Cloke  | 3 Lily Sage & Co | 4 Wardrobe Ecology | 5 Le Papillon | 6 Wardrobe Histology

Right this moment is a great time for those of you in the Southern hemisphere to start on your winter Goldstream Peacoat.  There is still lots of time to perfect each tailoring step before you will need the cozy coat for the winter.  Sewing the Goldstream is a great way to challenge yourself a little if you have got stuck in a rut of sewing quick and easy projects.  Sometimes it is nice to slow down the pace and really enjoy the process of sewing!

1, 2 & 3 English Girl at Home | 4, 5 & 6 JoChapeau

Thank you for sharing your sewing projects with us!  And thank you for the overwhelming response to our inventory clear out sale – our shelves are starting to look much more manageable.  Many Parkland Wardrobe Builders, individual sewing patterns and all sorts of tools are currently winging their way around the world to your sewing tables!

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A Warm Waffle-Knit Strathcona

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Last June, near my birthday, Erin (the super friendly sewist who blogs at Miss Crayola Creepy) surprised me by sending me a gift in the mail.  Not long prior she had made her husband a Strathcona Henley using a waffle knit that I coveted after searching fruitlessly for a similar fabric locally.  I had commented on her blog and had admired her henley (and her husband :P) and so Erin bought me some of the fabric and sent it along with a really nice birthday card.  Erin is a member of the LA Sewists group which is a network of sewing bloggers in the Los Angeles area.  They had a huge meet-up in June and we had contributed a pattern to their prize draw so Erin sent along some gorgeous LA Sewist wooden buttons as well for me to use for my Strathcona Henley.

***I can’t find an LA Sewist website to link to…does anyone know if one exists?***
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Anyways, long story short, thank you very much for being such a thoughtful sewist Erin!  I was so thrilled to receive a gift in the mail from a fellow blogger and, now that winter is here and it is time for cozy sweaters, Matt is just as thrilled to have a waffle knit Strath at last!
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As you can see, in the end I elected to skip the placket on this Strathcona and so the LA Sewists button remain nestled in my button container to await a future project.  I decided to do this because waffle knits do not retain their shape especially well and I worried that the weight of a button placket would cause the neckline and even the entire shirt front to droop considerably.  I’m glad I made this decision because as I sewed this shirt it felt like each seam was growing in length as I sewed it!  I used my serger and refrained from stretching the fabric as much as possible.  To combat the droopy nature of this knit I made both the neckline binding and the sleeve cuffs two inches narrower.  I probably could have taken as much as two more inches off!  As you can see above, the sleeve cuffs are still pretty wide (since Matt pulls up his sleeves to his elbows pretty often and has stretched them out a bit).StrathCamasCascade-25

Matt loves the fit of this Strath – it works nicely over t-shirts as a light sweater.  He layered it under another sweater when we went snow shoeing on the weekend and it provided lots of warmth.

I had mentioned a few posts ago that I would be working on a wardrobe update for Matt over the next few months and would post a plan for this soon…well, as you can see, the first garment is finished and I still haven’t posted the plan!  Here it is for you now:

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My plan is to sew the waffle knit Strath (check!), three pairs of Comox Trunks using the fabric from our Comox Trunks kits (which happen to be on sale at the moment!) and then move on to some graphic Strathcona T-shirts.  Matt gets a lot of compliments on the printed t-shirt that I made using a Girl Charlee knit and so I plan to pick three or four new prints to create some more.  Matt doesn’t like to think much about outfit planning so I’ll try to pick prints that co-ordinate with most of his pants and sweaters.  I think they’ll be a nice way to elevate a regular daily outfit into something a bit more stylish!  Here are a few of the prints I’m currently admiring:

1) Sparrows in the Woods Cotton Jersey Blend Knit Fabric

2) Vintage Palm Screen Cotton Jersey Knit Fabric

3) Mod Circles on Blue Cotton Jersey Knit Fabric

Lastly, I’m going to use the Jutland Pants pattern to create some really rugged jeans for Matt.  He wears through jeans at a shocking rate and so I’m considering purchasing a good quality U.S. made denim from TaylorTailor in hopes that it will hold up better than the cheap denim used in Matt’s department store jeans.red_line_selvedge1-500x500

Whew, good thing my sewing mojo is at it’s peak at the moment!  I’ve been pumping out garments left, right and center and have a lot to show you over the next few weeks.  I hope you’re feeling on the top of your sewing game as well!


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In the Wild, November 4- Wild Jutlands Sighted!

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(Nicole’s Post)

Are you all as excited about the Jutland Pants as I am? My husband has been big into building this summer, so I definitely have these pants high on my (always growing) sewing list now. There’s nothing quite like a sturdy pair of pants. We’ve had a few images coming in from the test sewers, so I thought I would share the Jutlands in Action!

First though, did you know that the names Morgan comes up with are mountains on Vancouver Island? Makes a gal feel proud to be here, and also points out that I do not know any mountain ranges here. Good old Wikipedia shared with me this lovely photo of Jutland Mountain:

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I don’t know about you, but I would want some pretty rugged pants to clamber around that terrain. Preferably with flat-felled seams 🙂 Admittedly, no rugged pant is actually going to make me climb mountains, but sometimes it helps the ego to look the part of the alpine explorer.

First up for today, is test sewer Sophie-Lee. She wrote up a wonderful posts with lost of pictures, so head over there to check out her experience with the Jutland. Here, though, is my favourite- Jutlands at Work:

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Tool belt not included, but complements the pants very well. Take a look throughout the rest of Sophie-Lee’s blog too, it’s great!

Next up is from MaLora who is probably experiencing similarly wet weather to us on Vancouver Island since she is in soggy Seattle WA.

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You should definitely check out her post about the Jutlands because there are adorable pictures of her kid let wearing a matching pair of pants. When I showed my husband that, he seemed pretty enthusiastic about Lena and he having matching pants (which would be extra cute with the matching Newcastles they already have). Make sure you notice the Strathcona Henley- and the matching one for wee mister!! EEEEE!

Of course, with a new pattern out in the shop, it’s a good time to revisit patterns you’ve loved making, and the ones that have been sitting around waiting for your courage (Looking at you Goldstream) or just the right knit (Strathcona…..)

Here’s a little inspiration for you to finish up those unfinished Thread Theory projects before you get to the Jutlands:

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If you can read french, you will read that Clotilde is quite pleased with the pattern- “Vive Thread Theory!” I admit, it was slow going for me to read that one simple post. my french is a bit rusty having left Montreal nearly a year and a half ago (where did the time go?). Lena and I decided to spend our mornings in french, but since I tend toward foggy and cranky in the mornings (hey! I sew late! not my fault! ok, it is…), we will have to see how long that lasts…

Wally and Grace sent along this picture of a new Finlayson- looks cozy!

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In other news, this weekend there is a little Makers Festival happening in the Comox Valley called “CREATE!” and Morgan is teaching a Comox Trunks class (which I am taking, and refer to as the ‘underwear party”) and she will also be showing how to make the waxed bag. There will be a table there with Thread Theory goodies! I want to spend the whole day there with them, but will be teaching all day saturday, so I only get to go to the underwear party. Happy face/sad face.

Have you started your Jutlands yet? What adventures would you want to take them on?


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In the Wild: Sunday Breakfast Strathcona

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I have a Strathcona Henley to show you this week!  This professional looking Henley was sewn by Jane of Jane’s Sew & Tell for her husband.  The Strath looks great in a cheerful red and was perfect for a (delicious looking!) Sunday breakfast.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

To see more photos and hear about the sewing process, head on over to Jane’s blog!  I think this Henley will be a great piece to transition into Fall (my mind is on a Fall wardrobe at the moment).  What garments and patterns are on your Fall sewing list?  If the Finlayson Sweater is on it, head on over to our store because it’s 25% off right now :).  Enter SEWSWEATERS as a discount code upon checkout.


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Girl Charlee giveaway WINNER!

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Wow, I’ve been completely overwhelmed by how many of you have shared all your sewing and fabric shopping plans as part of the Girl Charlee gift card giveaway!  So many of you mentioned Girl Charlee fabrics I hadn’t noticed yet (the Vintage Motorcycle knit is AWESOME!) and your ideas for combining prints and solids as well as for using more subtle prints for our Strathcona Henley and Comox Trunks patterns were really inspiring.  Thank you, everyone, for entering the draw!

vintage motorcycles

I used a random number generator from RANDOM.ORG to come up with the winner.  There were 97 posts (not including extra posts by the same people or any of my responses) and the generator chose post 79.  I counted from the oldest entry towards the newest.

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Now I will reveal the lucky winner!  DRUMROLL PLEASE….

Lisa said:

Henley! I love your patterns and I can’t wait to make some for my husband.

I hope your Henley turns out amazing, Lisa!  I’ll be emailing you momentarily.  Thanks, Girl Charlee, for providing the gift card – I am sure Lisa will have no problem finding the perfect fabric to suit her husband.


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Britex Strathcona Henley Tutorial

Happy Friday everyone!  We’re really excited by the response we’ve received about our new free Arrowsmith Undershirt!  I can’t wait to see what all you downloaders sew up with the pattern!

Today I have a tutorial to help you through our Strathcona Henley placket.  Not long ago I was offered a spot as a Britex Guest Blogger.  Have you shopped for fabric at Britex before?  They have a huge brick and mortar store in San Fransisco and an extremely well organized and frequently updated online store.  Their selection of knits is quite large and includes some really unique medium weights and tissue knits that I know I would never find at any of my local fabric stores.  They also have BEAUTIFUL selection of wools (and a great selection of plaids!) that I really look forward to sampling for the Goldstream Peacoat in the future!

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As a guest blogger on the Britex blog, I will be contributing blog posts that include tutorials using Britex fabrics.  I will likely focus on menswear (since that is where my main interest lies!) but will include some of the projects I make for myself or maybe even for our houme in future posts.

Head on over to the Britex blog to see all the other great guest posts (there are loads of really well photographed tutorials!) and read on her or on the Britex blog to see what I contributed for my first post:

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For my first tutorial using Britex Fabrics, I have selected the sumptuous Midweight Tweedy Fern & Taupe Wool Blend Knit in order to make a Strathcona Henley for Matt and to show you how to sew the Henley placket.  This fabric is wonderfully unusual – I know I wouldn’t find anything of this weight and gorgeous texture, let alone with a lovely wool content, at any of my local fabric shops!

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Since this fabric is of medium weight, I decided to sew the Henley placket using a lighter scrap of contrast cotton knit that I had left over from a past project.  I opted to sew the placket using the most fool-proof manner possible – hand sewing!

Even though I love sewing with knits (especially since I know that any knit garment will become a staple in my closet!), I am often filled with trepidation when a design requires me to sew something small or detailed with a knit, such as the Henley placket.  In order to avoid the worry of nicking and unravelling my knit fabric while unpicking crooked topstitching, I simply hand stitch any small details and enjoy the relaxing few extra worry-free minutes that this takes!

To begin the placket, you will first need to prepare the fabric piece by ironing a selection of folds.  These folds will provide you with a guide to apply the interfacing and will later help you fold your placket correctly when it has been attached to the Henley front.  Here are a series of photos to walk you through these steps:

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Now you can open up your folded fabric to see your ironed guidelines.

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Using the ironed guidelines, apply 1” strips of interfacing to the areas either side of the center section.  You may need to re-press your guidelines after applying your interfacing. Then, fold the entire placket in half and press just along the fold to create the center line that you see in the photo below.  This center crease will act as a guide for you to cut along later.

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On your Henley front, you will have marked the “Placket Placement Line.”  Make sure you are working on the WRONG side of your garment.  This is very important, because if you attach your placket to the right side of the shirt front, your placket will end up backwards later on!

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Pin the placket’s center crease to this marked line.  Also, place a pin or mark with chalk the future bottom of the placket.  The bottom is indicated by the notches on the left and right of the placket.

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Now you can sew along the creased lines either side of the center and across the bottom to create a squared off “U” shape.  Cut along the center line through both layers of fabric until approximately 1” from your bottom stitching.  At this point, clip outwards to each corner as pictured below.  Clip quite close to your stitching but be careful not to actually clip over it!

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Now trim the fabric flaps to 1/8”-1/4” to reduce the bulk.

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And you are ready to start folding and sewing!  Push the entire placket through the opening you just created and flip the shirt around so you are now looking at the right side of the shirt.  Fold along the creased fold lines so that each side of the placket is sandwiching the trimmed seam allowances.  Pin the right front placket (if you were wearing the shirt) and sew it in place using tiny, invisible stitches from top until bottom (the bottom is where the notches and your stitching are, not the bottom of the placket fabric).  Alternatively, you could topstitch 1/8” from the placket edge using your machine.

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Before sewing the left placket, you will need to prepare the bottom of the fabric.  Tidy up the loose fabric at the bottom so it becomes a series of 1” folds.

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Trim all but the top two layers to within ½” from your bottom stitching.  This will reduce the bulk at the bottom of your placket.

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Fold the bottom fabric under squarely and pin in place.  Now it is time to hand sew the left side of the placket!

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Continue sewing around the bottom of the placket until all edges are secure.  Press your placket really thoroughly at this point to make sure that the shirt is sitting nicely without any pulling or puckers.

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For this next step, you could skip all the hand stitching and move directly to finishing the bottom of your placket with topstitching, but you’ll probably notice there are still a lot of areas on the underside of the placket where fabric could shift around and get caught out of place when topstitching.  It’s super quick and easy to just do a few hand stitches to ensure everything stays where it should.  First, turn the garment over so you’re looking at the wrong side of the Henley front.  Tuck the bottom of the placket into the ‘pocket’ made by your previous hand stitching.

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Stitch where you just tucked so that the fabric can’t sneak out again!

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You can also open up the placket as pictured below and make a few stitches to join the left and right plackets pieces together across the bottom.

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Now, the last step is some very visible topstitching which I invariably fail to make perfectly square!  It is possible to stitch a perfect square and cross-lines if you are more precise with your machine stitching than I am, but if you are like me, just embrace the rustic manliness your slightly un-square topstitched square gives your Henley!  Once snaps or buttons are applied and the rest of the garment is sewn, it will blend in nicely.

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The rest of the Henley is a breeze after this and takes me about an hour to finish from this point!  And voila, Matt has a new sweater to wear for spring hikes and around the campfire (because, in my opinion, these are the perfect sorts of situations to wear an earthy and rugged wool Henley)!

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Spring Sewing Inspiration – Planning a project?

Are you planning a sewing project right now?  I’ve compiled a few different sources of great inspiration if you are planning to sew up a spring Newcastle Cardigan or Goldstream Peacoat.

I find spring is the best season of inspiration for me (as it is for many, I am sure, since it is a season of renewal and fresh starts).  The sun has come out here and there over the last week and there are daffodils just about to bloom under the cherry tree in our front yard!  Yet…as I speak I am currently huddled up inside with a cup of coffee instead of out rowing this morning (my Mom and I are on a dragon boat team) because it is rainy and windy today!  Needless to say, spring can be difficult season to dress for.

I think the Goldstream Peacoat and Newcastle Cardigan are excellent designs to manipulate into spring layering pieces so that the men wearing them are prepared for sudden rainstorms and to shed layers when the some comes out.  Here is a post full of proof of this and inspiration for you!

A couple days ago, MainlyDad (who happens to be sewing the Jedediah Pants at the moment) kindly sent me a link to an excellent article with MANY photos and an excellent write-up explaining why a shawl collar cardigan is the “essential spring layering piece” – if you are planning to sew a Newcastle Cardigan, this article will have you more than sufficiently inspired!  Just take a look at some of these gorgeous examples:

sncardi(Images sourced from: http://www.fashionbeans.com/2014/essential-spring-layering-piece-the-shawl-neck-cardigan/)

I really like how the cardigans have been styled as both middle layers and top layers and are displayed as both casual and dressy.

I’ve compiled some of your cardigans on our new Thread Theory Pinterest boards.  Have a look to see how the sewing community styles the shawl collar sweater!

The Goldstream Peacoat can also by sewn for spring by using a lighter wool or alternative fabric choice.  Have you seen these Spring-ready Goldstreams popping up around the sewing community?  This denim version is a really interesting and unique spin on a peacoat:

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And a light colour wool makes this a great early spring peacoat – nice and warm but not at all dark and wintery in appearance:

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Here are some sources of styling inspiration for you if you are planning to sew up a Goldstream in the near future:

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It is quite common to see shorter peacoats like the one above as spring attire.  It would be easy to achieve this look using the Goldstream Peacoat simply by slashing and overlapping the main body, facing and lining pattern pieces along the “Lengthen and Shorten Here” line.

And here are two gorgeous bits of additional proof that a spring peacoat really doesn’t need to be made in wool:

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Now lets finish off this inspiration post with the Strathcona Henley and my absolute favourite version I have seen yet!  Check out Brittany’s wonderfully relaxed henley:

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Brittany opens her blog post: “I love a man in a Henley.  Seriously, aren’t they sexy? Am I all alone in this?” Nope, you certainly aren’t alone!  I couldn’t agree more. 🙂

Are you inspired now?  Do you have some more sources of inspiration for Spring menswear to add to the conversation?  If so, comment with a link below!