Thread Theory

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


More Finlaysons!

I hope you aren’t tired of looking at Finlayson Sweaters yet because I have loads more to show you today!  The weather is really cooling down here (we turned the heat on for the first time in months last night) so looking at cozy sweaters while simultaneously being bundled up in one is a great way for me to embrace the chill!

Thanks to the talented sewists who shared these photos either on line or by emailing them to me!  I hope you are enjoying your Finlaysons!Finlayson collage Marielle

Mariëlle van Toor (submitted by email)

Nicole's sweater

Nicole Bertram

more Finlaysons

Ellen Sand | Anna (submitted by email)

Finlayson variations

Sewing Dutch | Sewing Dutch | A Needle For Your Thoughts | Ana (submitted by email)

geometric finlayson

Erin (submitted by email)

What a talented bunch of sewists!  Even though the Finlayson Contest is now over, please don’t refrain from sending me photos of your Finlaysons – as you can tell from all my blog posts lately, I love nothing more than seeing what amazing garments you make with our patterns.  Happy Sewing!

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Finlayson Sew-Along: Winners Announcement!

Today I am really excited to announce the winners of our Finlayson Sew-Along Contest!  Thank you to everyone who busily sewed and submitted their entries.

Let me tell you, it was a super tough decision to choose these winners!  But, we managed to whittle the choices down and, without further ado, here they are!

The winner of the Canadian Entry Prize: $30 Gift Certificate to Simplifi is Natasha for her innovative use of shoe laces!


Natasha used a printed shoe lace instead of twill tape to finish the neck seamline and the raw edges of her kangaroo pocket.Natasha

I think the result looks really professional and goes with her fabric choices perfectly (organic cotton sweater fleece and corduroy cut from a pair of old pants).  I’ve seen all sorts of interesting printed  and coloured shoe laces at department stores, shoe stores and even skate shops so I think it would be far easier to find a nice printed cotton shoe lace for your Finlayson Sweater than the same quality printed cotton twill tape (judging by what is available at my local fabric stores).  Thanks for the great idea Natasha!Natasha3

The winner of the Third Prize: A $30 Gift Certificate to Girl Charlee is Tina Wheeze for her awesome alpine sweater!

ski jumper

The contrast sleeves are a great way to make such a bright print less overwhelming and I really like how she used the print for the cuffs.

Second Prize: $50 gift certificate for Britex Fabrics, goes to Jackie for her Star-Wars themed Finlayson.Angua4

The contrast collar looks lovely paired with the textured blue knit.  And I really like how she used both the twill tape and facing to completely personalize the sweater.


PLUS, I love the effort and humor that went into Jackie’s Star Wars comic!

And, drum roll please!  First Prize is a $100 shopping spree at Hart’s Fabric and this awesome gift certificate goes to Ann Kin for her impeccably sewn Finlayson Sweater.  The fabric choice is so classy, the fit is spot on and the contrast collar is such a nice detail.

Ann Kin 4

Most impressive, though, is Ann’s careful stitching.  Just look at THAT:Ann Kin 2

Congratulations to all of the winners and a huge THANK YOU to all the participants of our Finlayson Sweater Contest!  Emails will be going out to the individual winners so that you can claim your prize :).



In the Wild: May the sewing force be with you!

In the wild banner - small

Since the Finlayson Sew-Along is done, things will be getting back to normal on the blog again!  Tuesday is once again “In the Wild” day where I feature Thread Theory makes that have been sewn by our talented customers.  Of course, with the Finlayson Contest still in full swing, I will be showing you another batch of excellent fall sweaters today:Finlayson Collage 3

Ann Kin (all three photos, received by email)Finlayson Collage 4

Thornberry | Mr. Fowlie (photo 2 & 3, received by email)Finlayson Collage 5

Mr. Fowlie (received by email) | Jackie (photo 2&3, received by email) | Thornberry

Thank you, everyone, for your submissions to our contest!  I love the different textures of fabric used for this cozy sweater – each of the sweaters are so personalized and unique!

Now, I have one more thing to show you today and I hope that it puts as big of a smile on your face as it put on mine.

I received the photos of Jackie’s Finlayson Sweater which she sewed for her husband along with a lovely email.  Jackie told me that she loved how her husband’s sweater turned out and that, since he is a Star Wars fan, she “couldn’t resist having a bit of fun with the photos…”

I opened up the attached photos and, to my delight, found this:


AWESOME!  May the force be with you all during your Finlayson sewing endeavors! 😀


An excellent selection of your Finlayson Sweaters

I have the first selection of your Finlayson Sweaters to parade today!  I have really been enjoying the attention to detail that you have all been applying to your sweater sewing endeavors – such gorgeous neckline facings!  Such lovely cross-over collars!  Such wonderful contrast fabrics!
Finlayson Collage 2Clo’s | Clo’s | I’m Not Tina Wheeze

Finlayson Collage 1I’m Not Tina Wheeze | Ann Kin (submitted by email) | EllenSand | Ms. Laing

I’ll be showing you more sweaters as they are entered by email, comment on the blog, or on Twitter and Instagram (#finlaysonsweater).  Have a lovely weekend!


Finlayson Sew-Along: The cuffs and hem band

Can you believe it?  It’s already the last day of our Finlayson Sew-along!  Today we’ll be adding our cuffs and hem band…and finishing the day with a cozy sweater to wear!DSC03760

You may have noticed that we included two Cuff pattern pieces – I probably should have mentioned this second cuff piece when we cut our Finlaysons out of fabric early on in the sew-along.  But, alas, I forgot to!  So we’ll discuss it now:  We included the second, larger, cuff piece for you to use based on the extremely helpful advice of our test sewers.  You may have noticed that I am adamant about the versatility of the Finlayson Sweater pattern when it comes to fabric choices.  One of our test sewers noted that fleece fabrics (a great choice for a cozy sweater!) REALLY vary in the amount of stretch they contain.  So that you won’t be constrained in your choice of fleeces (as long as they have a little bit of stretch), we created the Optional Cuff for you to use.  Cut your cuffs from this piece so that you won’t have to ease so drastically when attaching the cuff to the larger sleeve…much easier to sew if you don’t have much stretch to work with!

With that in mind, onward with our sewing of the cuffs!  Whether you use the main Cuff pattern piece of the Optional Cuff piece, the sewing process is essentially the same:


Fold your cuffs in half to match notches together.  Pin along the notched edge (in the photo above, the fold is on the left hand side).DSC03728

Sew along this notched seam.  I used the reinforced stretch stitch as per with the rest of the sewing process for my Variation One sweater.DSC03729

If using a stitch that allows you to open the seam, press your seam open.   Otherwise, you can simply press the seam to one side.DSC03731

Now fold the cuff in half (so that you are folding the seam that you just sewed in half).  Press along the fold – this will be the very bottom of the sleeve.DSC03733

Stretch the looped cuff over the sleeve end so that all three raw edges line up (I’ve shifted the cuff up the sleeve in this photo so that you can see all the layers clearly).

Pin the cuff in place – be sure to line up the seams and stretch the cuff evenly around the sleeve.DSC03734

In the photo above you can see how much easing you will need to do!  (Now you can see why it is far easier to use the Optional Cuff piece if your fabric doesn’t stretch much!).DSC03738

I really like to apply clear swimsuit elastic to the cuff seam because I often push my sleeves up my elbow and can’t stand when my sleeves stretch out and slip downwards over and over again throughout the day.  This clear bit of elastic will do wonders to prevent stretching!  I have often read that you shouldn’t allow your needle to punch directly into clear swimsuit elastic as you risk creating a weak point where it will snap.  I have never had this problem yet, but please keep this in mind and consider using a stitch that will capture the elastic by encasing it in stitching (a super wide zig zag or serging, for example).  I just used a narrow zig zag stitch!


If your fabric is loosely knit (mine isn’t!) you might consider pulling the elastic slightly as you so to give more structure to the seam and fully prevent any fear of stretching out.DSC03742

Once sewn, trim your seam allowances and press them towards the sleeve (away from the cuff).DSC03713

To sew the hem band, simply repeat the process that we used for the cuffs – you won’t have to ease quite so much with this pattern piece though!  Once you’ve formed a loop with the hem band, pressed the seam open and pressed the band in half length-wise, encase the sweater with the hem band and line up all three raw edges.  Line up one of the side seams with the hem band seam.
DSC03716 DSC03718

I stitched my hem band using a reinforced stretch stitch and finished the seam allowance with a wide zig zag stitch.DSC03724

Trim your seam allowance, if desired…DSC03725

…and press the seam allowances up towards the sweater.DSC03726

And we’re done!  If you were sewing Variation One, you are done your sweater!  Congratulations!!!

Now, onwards to Variation Two.  As with the previous sew-along post, the sewing process for the cuffs and hem band are the same as with Variation One.  Begin by pinning the cuffs and hem band in half (matching notches).DSC03745

I serged this variation but use your preferred stitching method of choice to finish the notched seams.DSC03747

Press the seam open or to the side (depending on your stitch type) and then fold the cuffs and hems in half width-wise.DSC03750

Press the hems and cuffs to create a crisp fold (which will be the bottom of the sleeves and the bottom of the sweater.DSC03756

Pin the cuffs and hem band over the sleeves and sweater, matching all three raw edges.DSC03757

Sew these seams – I sewed them with my serger.  In case you are interested to know: My serger has trouble cutting through several medium-weight knit layers – especially when I have to cross over the extra layer of the kangaroo pocket or the sleeve and side seams – to combat this issue, I often trim my seam allowances with scissors before sewing so that only 1/4″ of the allowance remains.  That way, I don’t need to cut off any fabric with the serger blade while sewing!  Trimming first works a treat :).DSC03759 And we’re done Variation Two!  WAHOO!

Join me again on Wednesday to see my finished Finlaysons (I’m sure I’ll be wearing them steadily in the meantime!).  And, make sure you submit your lovely Finlaysons to the Finlayson Sew-Along contest for your chance to win a fabric shopping spree!  To enter, comment on any of our Finlayson Sew-Along blog posts with a link to your sweater photos.  You can also email your entries to me (  Since I’ve been enjoying seeing many of your Finlaysons on Twitter and Instagram youare now welcome to submit your Finlaysons for the contest on these forms of social media by sharing them as #finlaysonsweater.  It’s been so exciting to see all the entries pouring in!


Finlayson Sew-Along: Sewing the sleeves and side seams

Happy Friday!  I hope your collars and hoods turned out well.  Today we’ll be adding the sleeves to our sweaters and sewing the side seams.  You’ll be able to try your sweater on by the time you’re done this session of sewing!DSC03677

The sleeve pieces include a double notch on one side and a single notch on the other.  Double notches always signify the ‘back’ of a garment and, in this case, they match with the double notches on the sweater back armhole.DSC03679 DSC03681

Pin the first sleeve to the sweater with right sides together and notches matching.  You might want to use quite a few pins to help the sleeve contort to the shape of the armhole.DSC03683

Sew this seam slowly, adjusting the fabric to keep the raw edges lined up as you go.


I sewed the seam with a reinforced stretch stitch and finished the seam with a zig zag stitch.

If you’d like, you can trim the seam allowance to reduce bulk along the sleeve seam.  Press this seam towards the sleeve (as pictured below).DSC03689 DSC03691

And now it’s time to stitch our side seams (one of the most exciting parts of sewing a garment, in my opinion!  Our sweater is finally taking shape!).  Pin the side seams and arms with right sides together.  Take extra special care to match the armhole seam.

I stitched the whole seam using the usual reinforced stretch stitch and finishing the seam with a zig zag stitch.DSC03708

Depending on what stitch you used, you can either press the entire seam open or you can press the seam allowances towards the back.


Since the sleeves and side seams are the same process for Variation One and Variation Two, I’ll include only the relevant pictures to show you the serging on this version:DSC03668 DSC03669

Press the serged sleeve heads towards the sleeve.

I also serged the side seams and pressed them towards the back:

Well, that’s it for today!  A fast and easy one :).  Come back on Monday to finish our sweaters – WOOT WOOT!  I’m so excited to see the sweaters that you are working on.

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Finlayson Sew-Along: Neckline twill tape and the kangaroo pocket

Welcome to the next installment of the Finlayson Sew-along!  We’ll be adding twill tape (or ribbon) to our necklines today for a fancy and professional looking finish.  We’ll also be sewing the kangaroo pocket.  I’m adding this pocket to my grey ponte de roma sweater (Variation Two) but you could add it to either variation depending on your preference.DSC03632

I’m going to go over two techniques for adding ribbon or twill tape to your Finlayson Sweater’s neckline.  The first technique will be slightly different than the one we include in our instructions and the second technique (which I’ve used for the grey Variation Two) will be the same as in the instruction booklet.

This first technique is a bit simpler but also a bit less professional version of applying trim to the neckline.  I stitched the ribbon directly onto the sweater without folding under either ribbon edge.  This will work well if your ribbon isn’t very wide (my 1″ ribbon was quite wide for this technique but, since it is satin, it still managed to bend to the neckline curve fairly well) and if it’s edges aren’t very scratchy.


To apply the ribbon, you will need to thread your machine with a thread colour that matches the ribbon on the top and a bobbin full of thread matching the sweater on the bottom.  Pin your ribbon to the neckline so that the top of the ribbon lines up with the neck seamline and the rest of the ribbon extends into the sweater below.  Allow the ribbon to extend at least 1/2″ past the shoulder seam on either side of the neckline.DSC03635

Simply top stitch the ribbon along the neck seamline, stitching as close to the top ribbon edge as possible:DSC03637 DSC03638

If your ribbon is too long, trim either end of it so you have 1/2″ that is unsewn along the top.  This is kept free to tuck under before you sew along the bottom of the ribbon (leaving no raw edges).DSC03639

Pin the bottom of the ribbon and the tucked ends in place.  Stitch along the bottom of the ribbon, and, if you like, stitch along either ribbon end to keep the tucked ends from slipping out (this isn’t very necessary with narrow ribbons (1/2″ twill tape for example) but is probably helpful with 1″ ribbons like the one I used).DSC03640

And there you have it!  A gorgeously finished neckline!


Now I will show you the very slightly more complicated method that I included in the instruction booklet.DSC03618

The only difference with this method is that it results in a ribbon with a tucked under top edge.  This is potentially softer on the neck and creates a narrower ribbon finish which means the top stitching visible from the right side of the sweater will be closer together and thus a bit more attractive.  To begin this method, pin the ribbon/twill tape to the garment with the right side of the ribbon facing the sweater and the bottom ribbon edge lined up with the neckline seam.  The rest of the ribbon will extend above the sweater towards the collar.DSC03621

Stitch the bottom edge of the ribbon in place using a thread that matches the ribbon on the top of your sewing machine and a bobbin of thread matching your sweater on the bottom.DSC03623

Trim either end of the ribbon so that 1/2″ free ribbon extends beyond the shoulder seam and stitching.  Fold the ribbon downwards to cover the neckline seam allowance and fold under the 1/2″ free ends.DSC03624

Pin the folded ends and rest of the ribbon in place.

Stitch along the bottom and the folded ends of the ribbon.  Voila, you have a beautifully finished neckline!DSC03627 DSC03630

This is what your sweater will look like from the outside.  Of course, if your twill tape or ribbon were thinner than mine (the recommended 1/2″ for example) your top stitching would look much closer together.

Now we’ll move on to the kangaroo pocket!  Finish all edges (as per the instructions) or, if you are wanting to finish only the very necessary edges, you can finish the edges depicted in the photo above.  I finished my edges with a serger but you could also use a zig zag stitch.DSC03644 DSC03647

Now fold over the slanted pocket openings (5/8″).DSC03649 Pin your trim over the raw pocket opening edge.  At first, I placed my trim centered over the raw edge but I ended up shifting it closer to the folded edge before stitching because I wanted my top stitching to be close to the edge on the outside of the pocket.  You would not need to shift your trim this way if you are using 1/2″ twill tape as recommended!DSC03651

Stitch down either edge of the ribbon and trim any ribbon extending past the pocket.DSC03654

Above is how your pocket will look from the outside!DSC03655

Fold under the remaining 5/8″ seam allowances.  You don’t need to fold under the bottom edge of the pocket because it will be aligned with the bottom of the sweater front and finished when we add the hem band at a later point.DSC03657

Pin the kangaroo pocket to the sweater Front matching the pocket sides with the notches along the sweater Front bottom edge.DSC03658 DSC03663

Stitch the pocket to the sweater along the sides and top, keeping the stitching 1/8″ from the folded edge.  If you would like, you are welcome to baste the bottom of the pocket in place so it doesn’t shift about.

And that is all for today!  We’ll be continuing with our sewing on Friday.  See you then!