Thread Theory

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


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Back at it!

It was my first week back at pattern development! Of course, things didn’t go quite as planned since the reality of being a mom doesn’t seem to allow for plans to be made more than 10 minutes ahead of time. I still managed to get some satisfying work done though!

A month after moving in, my industrial sewing machine is finally set up. My domestic and serger are still waiting on a table. I unpacked all of my fabric and sewing tools into three Billy bookshelves that we found for $25 each used. I love how accessible and tidy it all looks! I’ll be able to put a lock on the cabinet to keep the most dangerous things safely out of reach from Noah once he begins to crawl.

I’ve finally unboxed the three patterns that our pattern maker drafted for us while I was very pregnant. They’ve been sitting there unopened for 7 or so months now! When I opened up the parcel I was surprised to find a wooden baby toy, some booties and some other cute things along with a note from Gwen. She said that she thought she’d pass along some items she had kicking around from her young son and that she expected she wouldn’t be hearing from me for about 6 months. Wow, was she ever right! It was a lovely surprise and so kind of her.

The first pattern is now on my work table cut out and ready to sew. I sewed a couple of samples during the design process but I always sew another to check over the pattern before it is finalized. This is also when I begin the rough instructions. I’ll likely sew two or three more as I fine tune the pattern variants and complete the instruction details and illustrations.

In the end, I only had two hours of totally baby-free work this week (and had hoped for two hours each day!) but was pleasantly surprised that I also had a few where Noah happily played beside me. I think we might be on the cusp of a new era where Noah is happy to hang out with me while I multitask at playing and working in the studio. Until just lately either Matt or I have been fully engaged in occupying Noah while the other works. It was wonderful that we could all work together in the same room for a couple of mornings this week!

Out of doors, Spring is really in full swing. There are chocolate lilies and tulips blooming along the driveway and an ancient cherry tree blooming in the back forest.

That was a neat discovery! There are also two old hazelnuts near it in an otherwise undeveloped section of the property. I wonder if they are the remains of a homestead that existed here long before our house was built? We will have to go to the local community centre/museum to see what we can find out.

My family came over a couple of times recently to have some work parties. We are so grateful for their whirlwind of energy as it feels like we are only able to pick away at things until they arrive what with Thread Theory and parenting.

Don’t worry, Noah didn’t actually ride on the mower, they were just posing for the photo…one day though!

The very mature rhubarb is almost ready to harvest. I’m thinking of making some compote and some rhubarb ginger jam. Do you have a favourite rhubarb recipe? I’d love to hear of it!

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Standing desk: Follow-up (sort of a ‘before & after’)

It’s been just over a month since I posted about our new standing desk so it is time to update you on how it has worked out for us!

Here is our old office space (pre-standing desk):

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Here is the standing desk when it was first built:

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And here is what it looks like today!

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As you can see, we stained it a very pretty walnut color.  I haven’t fully decorated/organized the area yet but it looks better than the old office arrangement did, in my opinion.

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I like things to look a lot more minimalist than the corner desk monstrosity allowed.IMGP2210

The best part of our new office arrangement is how Matt and I feel.  Since beginning to use the standing desk my lower back pains are totally gone!  Matt reports the same thing :).  At first the back pains were replaced by tired legs and feet but we built up stamina within two weeks.

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I bought a rug off of Craigslist which helps keep our feet comfortable and warm.  Even though it’s not a super thick rug, having something to remove us from the linoleum and concrete floor just slightly made a really big difference.  We might add a rug underlay in the near future as the weather continues to become colder.

…By the way, say hi to our new dog, Luki (below)!  We adopted him a couple weeks ago!  I have a feeling most photo-shoots will now include a dog as one of the main features :P.

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I like the natural light the desk receives from the window beside it.  I was worried at first that I wouldn’t like staring at the wall ahead of me and I still think this would be the case if it weren’t for the window beside me.

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We have several plans for the desk in the future – we would like to add some sort of shelving to the bottom or maybe add a separate unit elsewhere in the room to house the printer, scanner and office supplies.  This would clear up the desk space considerably which would make it more useful for packing orders (which I still do on the dining room table).

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We’ve already added some hooks to the side of the desk to start making the surface more functional:

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The next improvement I’d like to make is to figure out some sort of covering for the big power cord that extends to the outlet – maybe a galvanized steel tube to match the sawhorse brackets?

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Matt did a great job of cable management – just look at all those wires!  It is very difficult to make such a ‘bare bones’ desk design house so many different electronics without looking like a rats nest!

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We’d also like to add two hanging pendant lights like these ones to light each of our workstations.  It can get a bit dark when the blinds are down.  Whenever it is sunny it’s necessary to close the blinds to prevent glare on the computer screen :(.

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So, as you can see there are still quite a few changes to make to our office arrangement.  For now, though, I’m really pleased with the more active lifestyle this desk has created!  I find I’m less prone to seamlessly transitioning from work to personal computer use when I am at the standing desk.  I feel more focused when I am standing and far less ‘vegetative’.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about this change to our work day!  I would love to hear suggestions for office organization if you have any – especially if they correspond to the printer, scanner, cable management, or lighting issues that I mentioned throughout this post :).


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In the Studio: Final Preparations for our New Pattern!

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This week Matt and I have been fully immersed in the final preparations for the launch of our next pattern!  I’m sewing the final sample at the moment, our graphic designer, Sonia, has been busy altering our instructions based on the thorough and ever-so-helpful feedback provided by our test-sewers, and Matt has been revising the actual pattern pieces to suit the test-sewer’s suggestions.

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We’re excited to show you what we’ve been working on!  I won’t be long now!


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In the Studio: I presented a seminar at my kitchen table!

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In the studio is a weekly feature where I show you a little sneak peek at what I’ve been up to this week.  Here’s this week’s edition!
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I think I’m going to sound a little cliche and maybe a little old fashioned when I say, “Isn’t technology mind boggling?”  This morning, I presented a seminar sitting in my coziest sweater, which a cup of honey lemon water in my very own kitchen!  No need for business attire, long expensive trips across the country or the nerves associated with presenting to a lecture hall of upturned faces full of anticipation!  Usually, if you explained this scenario to me I would sigh a little and exclaim about the sad loss of personal connection in this technology filled world…but I must admit, as I sat nervously in my own dining room this morning, I was REALLY glad I could instruct the BurdaStyle Web Seminar from home!

Have you ever worked with seminar hosting technology?  Does technology effect your experiences with sewing?  What role does it play in your careers?  I’d love to hear what you think!


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In the Studio: Friday Night Sewing!

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Last Friday, Nicole and I sewed together for an evening (after both sewing for our jobs all week :P).  We both had big plans for productive sewing but ended up talking more than we sewed :P.  I guess that’s probably pretty common when sewing in a group – I’m so used to intense and quiet focus while sewing!

Blog-1Nicole began sewing a Finlayson Sweater for herself and I finished sewing a Grainline Studio Portside Duffle and began a Papercut Patterns Midsummer Night’s Dream dress – totally not seasonal but I really wanted to work on a super pretty, ‘icing’ style project :).
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I’ll show you the finished projects in a later blog post!  I love how my dress turned out!  You can see Nicole’s Finlayson and a bunch of her other amazingly productive recent sewing projects in her latest blog post.


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In the Studio: Preparing to Teach

DSC03390With a few teaching possibilities coming up in the near future, I have been working on assembling a mobile Thread Theory ‘store’ to bring to these events.  I love seeing all our products in one location like this – I think our brand looks really consistent!DSC03391

We ran out of business cards recently and so have just received a big carton of fresh ones, ready to hand out to students and potential stockists.DSC03389

And here is my mobile ‘classroom’ that I can alter to suit whatever subject the class or presentation might be about.  I’ve included my favorite sewing resources, my tin of garment tags (to pin to a selection of Thread Theory garments), my binder of construction samples, folders of relevant information for each student, and all the sewing tools that might be needed during the class.

I think I’m ready for whatever event might come our way!


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In the Studio: Studio Tour

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Matt did a studio photo shoot this week!  Our quest for nice, lit up photos of my sewing room have constantly eluded us until now because the light coming in from the window is so direct and bright (great for sewing but it keeps making the rest of the studio look dark and gloomy in our photos).  Matt came up with a DIY flash diffuser solution to achieve the best results we’ve had yet.  He held some white cotton fabric over his flash and suddenly my studio looked much more bright and sunlit very close to how it looks in reality!  And I was pretty pleased that it was my fabric scraps that came to the rescue :P.

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We’ve taken some pretty shots of the details:

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But also some realistic ones that show how my studio is slowly being invaded by overflowing baskets of scraps:Web-3

Here are my sewing machines.  Meet Mr. Industrial:Web-7

And my lovely little Kenmore (courtesy of my mother-in-law for my birthday!):Web-6 Web-5

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I store my stash of patterns in filing boxes – most of them are PDFs and are stored in manilla envelopes within the folders.  I have folders for each of our Thread Theory collections in one box and in the other is a folder for each indie pattern company.  The McCalls and Vogue patterns are stored seperate in a little box in my closet (until I get another filing bin).

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We store our huge stash of Thread Theory tissue patterns in plastic bins in hopes of protecting them if ever we had a flood or some other paper-destroying sort of disaster.  It’s scary having so much money invested into such an easily ruined medium as paper!

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Matt insisted on photographing my speaker cord :P.  I have it attached to my cutting/pinning table since this is usually where my lap top ends up sitting while I sew.  That way I can answer customer emails and listen to audio books while I sew (I’m listening to Phryne Fisher Murder Mysteries right now :D).

Now for another realistic view of my studio: Here is the disaster that is hidden behind my closet doors…Web-10

I like using the hanging fabric shelves for fabric storage as they expand a little to fit whatever dimension the fabric is folded into but they don’t look especially tidy, do they?Web-11

Web-12And lastly, meet Stella!  We are dog-sitting this week (much to the disgust of our cat, Jazzy).  Stella a real sweety and is so patient with Jazzy.  They’ve even progressed to voluntarily hanging out in our bedroom together (both looking decidedly uncomfortable).  Stella is a pretty good sewing dog – the sound of the sewing machine doesn’t bother her and she loves to sleep beside me as I sew!