Thread Theory

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


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Meet Ben (aka @sewciologist) and his me-made-wardrobe

 

Color-blocked Fairfield Button-up

Let me introduce to you an enthusiastic menswear sewist with an eye for detail and design!  I am in constant awe of the outfits Ben sews for himself and posts on Instagram.  He was posting consistently throughout Me Made May 2017 and I wanted to share every single one of his garments with you!  Ben graciously agreed to answer a few questions and share some photos on the blog so you are in for a treat today!  Make sure to take a careful look at some of Ben’s thoughtful design choices – which is your favourite?

Can you introduce yourself briefly and give a little run down on how you came to be such an accomplished sewist?

Thank you so much for having me! I am thrilled to be featured on your blog as you are one of my favourite menswear pattern designers. My name is Ben and I’m an Austrian living in Birmingham, UK. I’ve always enjoyed creating things of all sorts, but up until two years ago it never dawned on me that making my own clothes was a thing that I – or anyone – could do! My first contact with haberdashery in general was when I learned to crochet in primary school. On a whim, I dug out what was left of those skills a few years ago and started to make pillow cases, and when a friend came over for a ‘crafternoon’ with her sewing machine, I knew that that’s what I needed in my life. Fast forward a few months, past a number of totes and zipper bags and my first ever garment – a Finlayson sweater – saw the light of day.

Fairfield Button-up made by Ben

I don’t know if I’m really all that accomplished with what limited experience I have, but I’m certainly a very ambitious and adventurous sewist. I find myself easily bored and would much rather try out a new pattern than stick to a tried and tested one, as well as trying out new techniques as I go along. By nature, this has meant quite a steep learning curve for me, but I’m proud to say that I’m an entirely self-taught sewist, not least thanks to your sewalongs and the many video tutorials out there. I also owe a lot of my expertise to my part-time job at my local haberdashery Guthrie & Ghani which has encouraged me to push on and explore new skills, as well as the thriving sewing community of Birmingham.

Sewing for Men - Sweater and Lon Sleeve Shirt

It’s very clear, based on your inspiring Instagram account, that you sew many of your own clothes – even now that MMM17 is well past, do you still find yourself wearing your handmade garments on a daily basis?  What type of handmade garment do you tend to wear most often?

I definitely try to wear as many handmade garments as I can every day. Wearing something I’ve made gives me a sense of confidence that I haven’t known before. I feel that it is a skill that is no longer quite so widespread, so it makes me all the more proud to be wearing me-mades. As a matter of fact, I have promised myself that I won’t buy anything that I can make or that I can learn to make. “Quintessential Ben” likes to dress in a smart casual way typically consisting of a pair of chinos and button-up shirts, but I do try to explore different styles and go out of my comfort zone more often. Still, my favourite garment is definitely the Fairfield shirt. I have now made a number of them and it’s one of the few patterns I don’t mind making over and over! I love how different fabrics give it a completely different look. For my next one, I’m planning a looser-fitting denim version with mother-of-pearl snaps – and maybe an added pocket flap and some funky topstitching on the yoke?

Me Made May - Sewciologist

When planning a new garment, where do you find inspiration?

I don’t often find myself influenced by current trends in fashion as I feel that I have a fairly settled and consistent taste. I generally prefer style lines and creative pattern cutting over colourful or intricate prints, so I like to seek out patterns that make a striking impression even when made in a plain or subtly printed fabric.

I also like to be inspired by the fabric itself. For the last few weeks, I’ve been under a self-imposed “fabric ban” as an incentive to work away on my existing stash – even though I have the sinking feeling that it’s still growing rather than shrinking… In a way, that has actually fuelled my creativity as I’m now thinking about what I can make with the more outlandish things I bought or picked up at a swap.

Ben the Sewciologist

What resources would you recommend to a man interested in sewing his own wardrobe?

A lot of help early on in my sewing journey has actually come from indie patterns such as your own, as I’ve found them to be particularly beginner-friendly. I’d always recommend starting on one of those rather than a Big Four one, which would typically presuppose a lot more knowledge of sewing terms and techniques.

Community is incredibly helpful as well. If you don’t know anyone else in your area, I’d say have a look online! The number of menswear sewing bloggers has increased over the last few years and there are some great blogs out there: the fashionable and virtually iconic Male Pattern Boldness, the debonair Male Devon Sewing, or the incredibly talented Mensew, to name just a few, are all treasure troves of tips and inspiration. Instagram, too, has a growing community of menswear sewists which can be found under hashtags like #makemenswear, #menwhosew or #mensewtoo.

Sewing for men - button down shirt

And lastly, I can only recommend turning to womenswear sewists for guidance. Many of the techniques will be the same, and there are so many wonderfully talented women out there who have a wealth of knowledge we can only admire and benefit from. Not to be too political, but I do think that in general men would do well to listen to women more often and with greater humility!

Strathcona T-shirt

Do you have any pattern, fabric, or tool requests that you would like to be made better available to menswear sewists? We’d love to hear your wishlist!

Where do I start?! I would love to find some crisp shirting material like Oxford cloth in more modern colours to make nice workwear, but so far have found it difficult to find in the UK. I’m very keen on buying lots of natural fibres and sustainably sourced fabrics for things like formal trousers, which is also not always easy to come by. Pattern-wise I have been on the lookout for transitional outerwear like a bomber jacket or a trench coat, but in general I’d love to see more adventurous and fashion-forward designs out there. Another thing that’s hard to find is a good book on fitting menswear. Fitting is an art in itself, and getting it right makes all the difference between a good garment and a showstopper.

Men who sew - Ben the Sewciologist

Thanks, Ben, for sharing your inspiring garments, your can-do attitude and some of the things that inspire you!

Did you notice the multi color buttons on the pale pink shirt with contrast trim?  I love how subtle yet completely unique that feature is!  I must remember this idea for my next Fairfield…


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A Wool Coat For Fall (and new Merchant & Mills tools!)

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I had the treat of receiving an email recently from a man named Yves, who is new to sewing.  Seeing as Matt and I began Thread Theory with the hope that we would encourage more men to sew, the, fact that Yves is male and a sewist is a thrill in itself.  Even more thrilling though was the fact that he included photos of his recent project using the Goldstream Peacoat pattern!

He did some simple modifications to the pattern and, in doing so, created a very different coat than the original design.  I just love the minimalism of this single breasted jacket!

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Yves was kind enough to do a bit of a write up for me so that I could share his modifications and styling choices on the blog.  Here is what he writes about his thought process while creating this coat:


“The fabric is a medium weight woollen with a houndstooth pattern.  For the lining I decided to go with paisley.

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Being a fall coat I tried to choose earthy tones that start to make their appearance this time of year.

I found the coat’s tones pair well with darker accessories, as you can see with the chocolate brown scarf. When I feel too brown I can switch it up with a deep burgundy scarf.

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The buttons are wooden buttons I salvaged from an old jacket. I had a nice selection to choose from at the store, but in the end wooden buttons seemed appropriate for the woodsy earthy theme that was was starting to come out through the coat.

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I love the style of the Goldstream Peacoat and already owned a few of them.  So I tried my hand at a couple modifications to try to get a different look.

  1. I shortened the bottom length so that is sits just around the crotch. This seems to give it a modern “sporty” look.
  2. I shortened the width of the front sides and brought them in 3″ each (on the Small pattern).
  3. I moved the buttons so they are centre aligned down the front of the coat.
  4. I trimmed the collar height 1/2″ off the top edge.  I like wearing the collar up and found this was a better length.  As well, since I shortened the width of the lapels, things seemed out of proportion when the collar was down (really wide collar and really thin lapels). So this change made things look a bit more proportional.

I also added 1/4″ top stitching along the center back, side seams and sleeve seams.”

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Thank you, Yves, for sharing your modifications and for taking the time to photograph your gorgeous finished project!  I hope this jacket receives many years of wear and even more compliments!  Good luck with your upcoming button-up shirt class.

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Two things get me excited to sew – viewing the amazing results of other people’s sewing efforts (as above) and testing out some new tools.

We just received a fresh shipment from the UK (the Merchant and Mills workshop in Rye to be specific) so there are plenty of new tools to show you today.

You’ll be glad to know that high demand items such as Tailor’s Beeswax, the Workbook, Toilet Pins, and Tailor’s Shears are now back in stock.

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In addition to this we have added a rugged oilskin tool roll (complete with the tools to match each fitted pocket):

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Another kit you will find in the shop is a comprehensive kit featuring Merchant & Mill’s most loved notions:

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The last kit I added to the shop is a selection of fine pins.  I’ve included thorough descriptions of each pin and its uses in the product description, so you might like to check that out to find out why entomology pins are an invaluable addition to the sewing tool box!

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Last, but not least, I selected two new scissors to add to our line up.  First, something for you left handed sewists:  Left Hand Tailor’s Shears!

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And secondly, some everyday scissors that strike me as the perfect balance between comfort and utility.  They are sturdy with their all steel construction but are just small enough to be very light.  The Merchant & Mills team suggests that you can use these scissors for fabric or paper (but don’t switch between both, of course).  I think they would be a nice choice for light quilting cottons or dress fabrics but I wouldn’t choose them for heavier fabrics.  I plan to use these as my household paper scissors – they will be great for cutting out patterns!

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I hope this post has been a nice dose of inspiration to prepare you for some weekend sewing projects.  Judging by how much fabric I have mailed out in the last week (the majority of the Dintex colors are either sold out or very close to sold out), there are some great sewing plans in the works!


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5 Reasons to Repair Your Garment Instead of Replacing It

 

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We now stock locally crafted lathe turned darning mushrooms, mini pin cushions and acorn pendants in our shop!

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You will probably recognize that these are the work of skilled sewing tool craftsman, Wray Parsons, who lives an hour south of us in Nanoose Bay on Vancouver Island.  We have devotedly stocked quite a few of his other sewing tools for the last couple of years.

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As someone who hopes to create garments that will last indefinitely, I am especially excited to add Wray’s darning mushrooms to our shop.  Aside from the way they align with my values (more on that momentarily), I think these mushrooms are incredibly beautiful!  They are turned from Yew wood that features the most intricate of swirled patterns.

Darning Mushroom and Mending

Wray crafts them with a needle case hidden inside the mushroom stem and a flat base so that the mushrooms can sit on your shelf as they would on a forest floor.

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A darning mushroom is a traditional tool that allows you to maintain even tension while mending a hole in a knit garment (such as a sock).  Even if you don’t yet know how to darn, you can use this mushroom as a needle case and a friendly reminder of a skill that you would like to learn one day!

To get you started, you might like to check out these tutorials on darning:

Darning Tutorial (Wool and Chocolate)

Make Do and Mend (Colette Patterns)

How -To: Darning (Zero Waste Home)

In honor of this new addition to our shop, I have a guest blog post to share with you today!

I imagine most of us who sew agree, it is well worth repairing your lovingly sewn garments rather than tossing them to make new ones.  I was recently chatting with Wesley, the founder of iManscape.com about what sewing means to him (as a person who, as far as I know, does not engage in sewing as a pastime/passion/hobby).  Wesley is a devoted menswear and self care enthusiast.  He quickly brought up the practice of mending his wardrobe and offered to write an article for my blog explaining why everyone interested in menswear should possess the skills and mindset to mend.

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Without further ado, here is Wesley to tell you why menswear should be mended:


 

Wear and tear can take their toll on even the most resilient garments. Despite your best efforts and care, your clothes will fray and rip from time to time. When this happens, the obvious step is to throw it out and buy a new piece of clothing. But what if there were another option?

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Learning to repair your own clothing is a valuable skill that used to be commonplace in society. While it may be time consuming the practice has a variety of benefits:

  1. Cost Effective: Depending on the type of repairs it will almost always be less expensive to repair an old garment than to purchase a brand new one.
  2. Prolong the Life of Your Favorite Clothing: Minor rips, tears, and frays that do not render the garment useless are common. Like a chip in a windshield, however, it will continue to spread. Learning how to make minor repairs now, and larger repairs later, will extend the life of that favorite shirt or pair of socks.
  3. Learn a Valuable Skill: Learning how to repair your clothing is a worthwhile talent to develop. Learning basic sewing and mending techniques will also allow you to make alterations to your existing clothes as well.
  4. A Worthy Return On Investment: Purchasing an article of clothing is an investment in time, fashion, and appearance. Whether your clothes rip or fray within one week of ownership or one year, accidents happen. Learning how to repair and extend the life of that garment helps maintain a positive return on the investment of your purchase.
  5. Stay Trendy: If the history of fashion has taught us anything it’s that everything is cyclical. Prolonging the life of your garments helps ensure they’ll last until the next time they come into fashion.

Tools of the Trade

There are a variety of tools to consider, each with specific uses. When starting out, you needn’t have all of them, however some common tools  you may want to consider are:

  • Scissors
  • Measuring Tape
  • Seam Ripper
  • Thimble
  • Needles and Tread
  • Darning Tools, i.e. mushroom, egg

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Those Darn Darns

Darning is a method used to repair holes and worn areas in fabric. One of the more recognizable tools is the darning mushroom. Darning mushrooms are commonly used to repair socks, stockings, or leggings. The tool is noted for its mushroom-shaped head which the sock is stretched over. The affected area is held tight and is therefore spread out and more easy to work with.

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When first learning how to mend clothing, socks and other footwear are a great place to start. This way if you mess up, you can always cover it with your shoe! If you choose to go this route, a darning mushroom is an essential tool of the trade.

Speaking of Trends

The practice of repairing one’s own clothing has experienced a resurgence in recent times. There may be a learning curve involved, but given a little practice and guidance you can be mending your threads in no time.

Author Bio: Wesley is the owner of iManscape.com. A place of manly things such as the best safety razors, beards, and of course manscaping. To see more from Wesley visit iManscape or like them on Facebook.


 

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on mending, Wesley!  It is interesting to hear the perspective of someone who doesn’t spend their days sewing and blogging about sewing (a surprisingly rare sort of person in my life!).  I am happy to hear that clothing and the work that went into constructing the fabric, design, and the clothes themselves is valued by someone who hasn’t actually performed the task themselves.

As someone who sews, do you feel inclined to mend garments?  I must admit that, while I am quick to mend clothing and linens that I have sewn, I am prone to letting store bought clothing wear out.  I think I should reconsider this as I will likely always have a few store bought pieces in my wardrobe.

Check out the darning mushrooms in our shop >


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My Mother-In-Law’s latest Thread Theory sewing projects

Three Camas Blouses Thread Theory

In case you are a relatively new follower of the Thread Theory blog, let me introduce to you Sue, my mother-in-law!  She is a talented sewist who sewed quite a lot in the past, stopped sewing for many years and then picked up the skill again when we launched our first patterns.  She has since sewn many renditions of our designs and has even contributed to the blog!  You can read her first blog post from Thanksgiving 2013 here.  Above is a photo of Sonia (our graphic designer and my future sister-in-law), Sue and I bedecked in Camas Blouses on Thanksgiving this year.  Apparently the modelling of Thread Theory sewing projects is becoming a Thanksgiving tradition!  Sue sewed both Sonia’s blouse and her own and I sewed the one I’m wearing last winter.

Our photoshoot was complete with a photobomb:Three Camas Blouses Thread Theory-6

This is Charlie – Matt’s grandparent’s very rambunctious and adorable puppy!Three Camas Blouses Thread Theory-4

All three Camas Blouses are really unique – the outer two are sewn using slightly gauzy and light sweater knits and Sue’s features a very drapey and dense viscose knit.  I love how each print suits our personalities:
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Recently Sue had another Thread Theory project on her sewing table.  She created a pair of dressy trousers for her husband in time for a cruise holiday.  They are the result of combining both the Jedediah and Jutland Pants patterns.  She did quite a bit of pattern manipulating for this project and took the time to write down some of the thoughts and challenges that occurred as the project progressed.  As I’m sure most sewists will agree, it is always very interesting and also relatable to read about the sewing thought process so I’m very glad that she’s shared hers with us!

Without further ado, here is Sue to explain her project:


I wanted to make a pair of dress pants for my hubby and had found a lovely light to medium weight wool blend material  that I thought would be perfect for the project, but I didn’t have a dress pant pattern. I had already made a semi-casual pair of Jeds for him, that he loved the fit and comfort of, so I had that pattern and the Jutland pattern.

The thought occurred to me that I could combine the two patterns to get what I wanted. My aim was to have front slash pockets like the Jeds, back welt pockets like the Jutlands, and a leg width somewhere between the two. I at first started to try to match the front of the Jeds pattern to the back of the Jutlands, and was struggling with it. Then I talked with Morgan (why I didn’t do that in the first place I don’t know) who reminded me of a previous post by Roni describing how to modify the Jeds pattern to remove the yoke, and add welt back pockets…perfect! So, I followed those instructions, and also widened the legs from above the knees down to the hem. Morgan also suggested that I do a mock-up first to ensure a correct fit, but I was limited by a deadline (wanted to get them done before our cruise), so I forged ahead and hoped for the best.

I wanted to end up with a professional finished look to the pants, so tried my best to do the fine finishing touches suggested in the patterns. So I used bias tape to finish the seams, and french seamed the front pockets.

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Like Roni, I couldn’t figure a way to do a french seam on the rear pockets, so I just used the nicest finishing stitch I could find on my machine that worked with the material.

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I knew I didn’t want flat felled seams on the legs as that was too casual a look for these pants. As well, this material was starting to fray quite a bit, and I had troubles with fraying and getting a good flat felled seam on a previous project. So in the end, I decided to do french seams for the outer leg seams, and then a standard seam and zig zag finish on the inner leg seam. I was really happy with the french seam finish on the outer leg, but not so happy with the zig zag finish on the inner leg, as my material tended to bunch up. In hindsight I think I should have had some kind of stabilizer on the material to do the finishing of the edge.

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The last modification I did was to use the waistband from the Jutland pattern so that I could sew the belt loops into the upper seam and lower seam when I attached the waistband to the  waist of the pant, for a more finished look. I later hand stitched the bottom of the loop to hold it in place against the upper pant.

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Both my husband and I are very pleased with the end result, and he has worn his pants with pride while on the cruise and many times since. These are a couple  photos  of the final product.

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All in all a very successful project. What I learned: If you are thinking of modifying a pattern, talk to Morgan before you start, she may have some valuable suggestions that can save you a lot of time and energy! (Note from Morgan: Yes, please do contact me if you are wanting help with a project or just a chance to mull over your ideas with someone!  Email me at info@threadtheory.ca)


 

Thank you for taking the time to write a blog post for us Sue!  The results of your thoughtful sewing are, as always, very professional and very wearable!


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How Thread Theory Sees Sewing

Hey everyone! For this week’s blog post, Morgan and I decided to do a little feature on a company that has greatly inspired us in both our business and personal life: Merchant and Mills.

Merchant and Mills is a UK company that embodies everything we aspire to be: Understated, of quality and substance, whole-hearted and eager to pass on their mission to others!

Seriously though, just watch their promotional video, even if you’ve never sewn a stitch in your life you will be itching to pick up a needle and thread by the time it is over:

http://vimeo.com/69304563

Amazing, right? The whole “purchase quality – purchase once” ideal has always been important to me, and I think Merchant and Mills is an excellent example of this. I also, being a man, love the way they treat sewing. It makes me want to take up sewing and still feel masculine about it! They present a pair of thread snips as something as solid and serious such I would expect a hammer and chisel, for instance, to be presented.

Morgan and I are on a mission to create a Thread Theory studio that embodies these values and is a place that, each time we walk in the door, makes us feel inspired to create something that matches the branding we want our company to have.  You’ve seen Morgan’s dream ironing board/sewing cabinet.  Now we’re moving on to smaller projects to finish the room up.  Here are some recent images from Pinterest that we have been using as a source of inspiration:

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Our next project is to add something like this to her thread organizers:

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On that note, I want to wax on about a tool we already have that fits our criteria for a sewing tool and studio space: Morgan’s amazing scissors. As much as I love my own tools, I get a ridiculous amount of joy every time I pick these bad boys up. They feel nice and heavy in the hand and have steel all through the handles. Most importantly, they are insanely sharp and precisely machined so that each “snip” cuts evenly all down the length of the blade (you know how some scissors cut best at the base of the blade or right near the middle? Not these!).

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They are the Kai 7205 8″ Professional Shears and can be found here!

What are your favourite sewing tools? Do you like to spend the extra money on a high quality item, or do you save your money and hope for the best?


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DIY Ironing Table

Hello blog world!

Morgan and I were too excited about the most recent addition to the sewing room to wait for the Friday post! So, without further ado, here it is!

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This DIY tutorial is for an ironing table that is specially designed to pin together duvets, which Morgan sews for The Heather Company. It is also the perfect table for ironing as well as a great cutting mat surface.

This tutorial is for the working surface of the table (which contains several important layers), as the shelves can really be made of anything (but more on that later!)

Here are some things you will need!

  • A sheet of plywood
  • Carpet padding
  • Heavy canvas (12oz to 14oz)
  • Cotton needle punch batting
  • A staple gun
  • Scissors
  • A ruler
  • Liquid glue

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The first step is to determine the size you want your table to be. We decided to make it the full width of our spare bedroom (a.k.a. the sewing studio) and 24″ deep. This allows the cutting mat to easily sit on top without any overhang. Then, simply cut a piece of plywood to the size you want! The thickness of the plywood all depends on how wide the gap between the shelves will be; ask your local handy-man for help!

Next, get your carpet underlay and cut it with scissors or a box knife to cover the entire surface of the plywood.

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Do a dry fit first, and then cover your plywood with glue squiggles. I used an all-purpose liquid super glue made by Titan.

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Next, wait for the glue to dry enough that it holds the carpet padding in place (it doesn’t have to completely set). Lay out your canvas with the cotton needle punch on top, then flip the plywood and carpet padding upside-down on top of it all. You should now have the underside of the plywood showing with a layer of carpet padding, cotton needle punch, and canvas underneath. We let the needle punch overlap a couple inches on each side, and then canvas quite a bit more than that – about 6-8 inches.

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Now comes the fun part! With one person on each end, pull the canvas nice and tight, doing your best to get it stretched in both directions. Fold it up and over the raw side of the plywood and staple it down!

Resized-0008Work your way around the whole surface stapling every 6 inches or so. If you get a few staples sticking up, tap them down with a hammer.

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Next, flip the whole kit-and-kaboodle over and admire your handy-work!

Resized-0012 Resized-0013 Resized-0014The canvas might not be super tight at this point, but as you iron on it, the canvas will shrink and it will make a nice smooth surface.

Next, put it on top of some cupboards/side tables/saw horses/anything you want! My mum and dad had promised Morgan some custom-made cabinets for her birthday, and we thought this would be a perfect opportunity to cash in! We designed them to have enough space to hold Morgan’s Husqvarna machine and her serger, and to have a small slot for her cutting table. My parents went above and beyond and built the cabinets up on small risers and made slide out platforms! We were totally blown away by their sturdy-ness, and we sanded them and applied a coat of black walnut Danish Oil and set them up!

Resized-0001 Resized-0003 Resized-0004 Resized-0005 Resized-0007 Resized-0008 Resized-0006All in all, the ironing table-top was a VERY simple process. We did the entire thing (except cutting the plywood) on our living room floor and only had to do a quick vacuum to clean up after! The carpet padding makes a bit of a mess when you cut it… We weren’t keeping track of time, but this project could EASILY be done in an an afternoon/evening. And, once the table-top is done, you could put it on anything from filing cabinets to Ikea Expedit cubes!

Have any questions on the process? Feel free to post below and I’ll do my best to help!


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Special Delivery!

What’s that, you want another sneaky Wednesday post from Matt full of hints of things to come?

You got it.

First up, an itty-bitty box full of brown paper!

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That’s right, after being an incorporated business for 10 months and selling our product for 5 months (jeeeez, has it only been 5 months?!), we finally got around to ordering business cards! They were designed by the lovely and incredibly talented Sonia Bishop (who also designed our logo) and printed by ClubCard printing out of Vancouver, BC. They are a vertical design done in plain black and white ink on 24pt natural kraft paper. And we love them.

Next up are some significantly larger boxes. 6 of them, to be exact, weighing in at a total of 180 lbs.

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That’s right, tissue patterns! Our first three patterns have arrived and they look GREAT! We knew it was going to be a pretty big load, but we had NO idea how much space 3,000 packets of tissue paper would take up. Turns out it’s a lot; Morgan is currently painting our closets so we can have everything looking pretty and organized for a later photoshoot. And they are HEAVY! Step 1 of going to print: Complete.

Now for some Goldstream Peacoat action: Morgan has finished the second prototype of the pattern, and it turned out beautifully!

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There are still a couple tiny changes to be made before it is graded and prettied up, but we’re getting close! More details coming soon…

Last, but certainly not least, there is a super-secret project that Morgan and I are working on. I can’t say much more about it other than one of our previous posts contained a photo hint (remember a cardboard box?). It is involving quite a bit of planning and logistics, but we’re VERY excited to show you once it’s ready!

Thanks for stopping by, and remember to follow our blog for updates!


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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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Guest Posts: Katie’s Back Pockets

Today we have another guest post treat – this time from Katie, the author of the blog, The Creative Counselor.  She is the test sewer who made this version of the Jedediah Pants.  She used a gorgeous recycled hemp and organic cotton blend and widened the legs to create a totally different style of pants than our slim fit originals – I love how well these pants display the versatility of a well fitting pants pattern – all you have to do is adjust the width or length of the legs to create endless varieties and styles!

Kathryn of The Creative Counselor's recycled hemp and organic cotton pants.  She has altered the leg width to create boot-cut pants!

Kathryn of The Creative Counselor’s recycled hemp and organic cotton pants. She has altered the leg width to create boot-cut pants!

Here is what Katie has prepared for us – super strong pockets with absolutely no raw edges – I love it!:

Hello Thread Theory readers!  I’m Katie and I blog about my sewing and crafty creations over at the Creative Counselor.

I was one of the lucky three ladies who got to be pattern testers for the Jedediah Pants, and got my greedy little hands on the pattern before the rest of the world.  I know you will all soon come to love this pattern as much as I do, if you don’t already!

One of my favorite things about the Jedediah pattern is the beautiful seam finishes that Morgan has included throughout the pattern.  When starting my pants, I told my husband that this would likely be the only pair of pants that he owned with actual flat-felled and bound seams on every single seam.  And I was right!

While constructing my Jedediah Pants, I decided that I wanted the back pockets to have a similarly beautiful finish that enclosed all of the raw edges.  With that in mind, I examined some of our nicer RTW jeans and puzzled out how to finish the back patch pockets so that all of the raw edges were enclosed and the whole pocket looked neat and tidy.

If you’d like to include a similar finish on your back pockets, here’s how you can do it:

1.  Attach bias binding to the top edge of your back pocket piece, following the instructions included in the pattern.  Alternatively, if you don’t want to bind the top edge of the back pocket piece, you can serge or sew a zig zag on this edge, or turn the top edge down ¼” (wrong sides together) and press.  Personally, I like the bound edge here — those small hidden details make a pair of handmade pants special and truly unique.

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2.  Fold the top pocket edge along the marked fold line right sides together.  Do not press this edge at this point.  Pin it down and stitch the fold down vertically ⅝” in from each side (also per the pattern instructions).

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3.  Here, the pattern instructions will tell you to trim your seam allowance to ¼”, meaning that you will trim off about ⅜”.  Do trim your seam allowance to ¼” but rather than stopping where your stitching stopped, trim off that ⅜” all the way around your pocket piece.

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4.  Flip your top edge over so that the wrong sides are now together, and use a point turner  or a chopstick to push out the corners, making them nice and pointy.  Press the top edge of your pocket.

5.  Carefully fold in the other edges of your pocket piece (remember, your allowance has now been reduced to ¼”) and press them.  Be very deliberate here so that all edges are crisp and the point at the bottom is nice and clean-looking.

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6.  Stitch down the folded top edge of your pocket.

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7.  Position the pocket on the back pants/shorts piece and pin in place.

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8.  Topstitch the pocket down using a ⅜” allowance.

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9.  Once the pocket is attached to the shorts, you’re going to sew a second parallel line of stitching by edgestitching around the very edge of the pocket piece.  This ensures that the raw edges of your fabric are neatly enclosed between these two seams.

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You could, of course, do this edgestitching first, but I find that it is far easier to control the stitching and get a really nice-looking edge stitch if the pocket is already secured with the inner row of stitching.

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10.  Strengthen the top edge of the pocket either by stitching triangles in each top corner, or by placing a bar tack in each corner.

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You’re done, and ready to continue on with your shorts!  Take a moment to sit back and admire the prettily-finished back pockets.

Thanks so much for having me Morgan!  I can’t wait to see everyone’s finished shorts!


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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.

Cutting Layout

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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