Thread Theory

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


A Warm Waffle-Knit Strathcona


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?***

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!

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:


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!

1 Comment

Girl Charlee giveaway WINNER!


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.

random number

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.


Something for Matt and something for you! A Girl Charlee Giveaway

IMGP9590 Today you are witness to my latest victory in the world of men’s fashion – Matt has officially decided he likes wearing prints!  Wahoo!  The world of menswear fabric shopping just became SO MUCH MORE FUN for me. IMGP9594 This awesome cotton/spandex knit came from Girl Charlee – an online fabric store where the most beautiful printed knits that are perfectly suited to the Strathcona Henley and T-shirt pattern exist in abundance. IMGP9587 I had a lot of fun planning out how the stripey ‘Aztec’ inspired print would fall on the tee.  I cut the neckline binding so that it would feature one of the smaller designs so that it wouldn’t look too wild and then, when Matt tried the un-hemmed t-shirt on, we decided it would be neat to end the sleeves and the t-shirt hem at the same section of the pattern for a bit of consistency.  I think little decisions like this (plus a conservative sleeve length and overall style) help to calm the impression made by the wild print.  It’s all a game of balance!IMGP9584 I’m learning that it’s best to snag Matt for a photo shoot when he’s planning to do something that keeps his mind off the awkwardness of posing for photos – in this case, he was just about to ride his bike to work this morning.  (By the way, I would be remiss not to ask you to admire his bike a little after he so patiently posed for me!  He just finished repainting it and re-assembling it after switching it from a regular mountain bike to a fixed gear bike, isn’t he clever?!) IMGP9583 Now, to share the fun I’ve been having sewing menswear with prints, Girl Charlee has very generously offered to give one of you readers a $30 gift certificate to their store.  They are one of our newest PDF pattern stockists so now you can head to their store for a one stop shopping experience when you next want to sew up a pair of knit Comox Trunks (for example)…which, coincidentally, are the PERFECT platform for the most wild of prints – only you will ever see how crazy they look! IMGP9579 To enter yourself in the contest for this $30 gift certificate, simply leave a comment explaining what menswear garment you would want to sew in a Girl Charlee knit fabric.  The winner will be chosen this Friday, July 18th so head on over to Girl Charlee right away to pick your knit and then leave a comment below.  Have fun planning your garments!


Looking for Manly Knits?

I am sure you can all relate to how frustrating it is to look for masculine knits when planning to sew an Arrowsmith, Strathcona or Newcastle.  Sometimes I wish Matt would be just a little less picky over which style of stripe or tone of orange he likes (it’s incredibly mysterious and I fail to predict his answer every time I ask his opinion)…but, what would be the point spending loads of time and care to make him a custom garment if I started by asking him to compromise when choosing fabric?

girl charlee website

Way back when Thread Theory was brand new (actually not that long ago :P) I wrote a post called “Tips on Manly Knits” that included a list of online retailers that I thought sounded like promising sources for knits.

Since I am always on the lookout for great knit sources, I had better update this old blog post by letting you know about the latest source for knits that I have tested out and been thoroughly satisfied with: Girl Charlee – an online fabric store that carries only knits!

(Please note that I am not sponsored by or affiliated with Girl Charlee in any way, I am just really pleased with my fabric shopping experience!)

girl charlee purchase

I got a little carried away of late and ordered a whole pile of knits for myself and my sister to make Soma Swimsuits and Pneuma Tanks.  I neglected to add any menswear fabrics to my shopping cart in my fabric buying frenzy, but, once fabric-excited-me had a chance to calm down after my AWESOME box of knits arrived, I went back online and was able to fill a whole design wall with loads of Matt-approved fabrics.

Would you like to see some of my favorites?  Check these out!

Just click on each picture to be taken to the fabric description on the Girl Charlee website.

Let’s start with an ‘on-brand’ fabric choice – I am, after all, attracted to anything featuring the Thread Theory burnt orange! This ponte de roma would work nicely for a  Newcastle or a heavier Strathcona:

Burnt Orange Solid Ponte de Roma


If you are a fan of blended knits, there is no end of colour selection on the Girl Charlee website.  They feature a lovely heathered effect that makes a solid colour so much more interesting.  I find a little bit of poly in a t-shirt knit isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  In fact, it seems to make for a more weightless knit that comes out of the dryer without the wrinkles cotton t-shirts are prone to.  I’d love to see a classic Strathcona Henley with a placket in this denim coloured tri-blend knit:

Denim Blue Heather Solid Cotton Jersey Tri Blend


This burnout cotton jersey is a really unusual colourway and would make a really ‘designer’ style Strathcona Tee or Arrowsmith Tank.  I think it would look great as the Arrowsmith with solid grey binding and even a solid gray pocket as contrast:

Orange Gray Solid Burnout Cotton Jersey

Even though Matt always steers clear of much colour, I can generally convince him to wear shades of teal.  I think this teal blue cotton jersey featuring navy slubs would look very masculine as a short sleeved Strathcona tee and would bring out green or blue eyes very nicely (always my hidden motive when choosing menswear fabrics :P):
Teal Blue Mira Slub Solid Cotton Jersey

With those important solid basics covered, lets move on to some adventurous prints! This stunning ponte de roma print would make the PERFECT on-trend Newcastle.  I would certainly steal this one from Matt and might even be inclined to stop pretending it was for him and simply make myself an XS version 🙂 :

Navajo Arrow desert Tribal Ponte de Roma

If you’re man isn’t inclined to wear quite so many colours, this hacci sweater knit would be the perfect cozy alternative:

Navajo Indian Blanket Gray Black Hacci Sweater Knit

While we’re on the subject of sweater knits, this hacci sweater knit features my favorite colour (olive green) and would be great as a summery Newcastle because the white flecks lighten up the dark green quite a bit and, to my eyes at least, give this knit a bit of a laid back surfer/beachy vibe…can’t you just imagine your surfer-man putting on his Newcastle when the ocean breeze brings a bit of a chill at the end of a day on the beach? And, of course to complete this picture, the two of you are snuggled up watching the sunset…

Olive Green White Marble Hacci Sweater Knit

Are you inspired to start sewing some knit menswear?  I would recommend ordering fairly large quantities at a time because shipping tends to be a little pricey for smaller orders but becomes slightly less so as the package size increases (at least to Canada, I am not sure how affordable it is within the United States or worldwide).  Even with shipping, I found that I was paying about the same price or maybe just slightly more for the knit fabrics I purchased as I would have if I went to my local fabric store and bought the higher quality knits.  Of course, the selection is tiny locally and features mostly primary colors and feminine prints…so I would be willing to pay quite a bit more to buy knit fabric that is masculine and interesting and high quality!