Thread Theory

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


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Sew a Gift this Christmas!

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Some of you might have noticed I didn’t write a blog post last Friday (my mom and my mother-in-law both joked that they worried I was ill and dying…fortunately, this was not the case!).  You guys must have some big Christmas sewing plans because, last week in particular, I spent every day madly packing up your menswear sewing supplies so I could cart them to the post office as quickly as possible.  I simply didn’t have time to prepare a blog post!

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While in line at the post office I was wearing a red wool coat, a big white scarf and had a whole shopping cart of Christmas parcels.  The man in front of me said I looked just like Mrs. Claus!  I certainly felt like a Christmas elf at least!

With Christmas gift giving on my mind, I’ve gathered together a selection of sewing inspiration to give you an extra boost as you fill all the items on your Christmas gift list.

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Let’s start with this year’s gift ideas!  Usually I do a blog post about my ideas (see last year’s and one from a couple of years ago) but this year I was invited to chat with Rachel on the Canadian podcast MakerStyle.  We talked about my top five gifts to sew for men.  Be sure to check it out – there are a couple of ideas that wouldn’t take too long to assemble so you still have time to get into the DIY gift giving spirit!

And here is some more gift inspiration for you from the Thread Theory community!  Do you see anything your husband, boyfriend, brother, son, or friend would love for Christmas?

fairfield-buttonup

These two gorgeous wintery blue Fairfield Button-ups would look great worn to Christmas dinner!  On the left is a Fairfield sewn by the proprietress of the German fabric shop, Brinarina.  You can find more photos of her Fairfield on Instagram.  The close up shot of the Fairfield on the right is from Anna who just shared this beautiful photo on her Instagram account (@grosgary).

comox-trunks

Comox Trunks make such a fun stocking stuffer…plus they are very quick to sew and are a great way to recycle t-shirts or use up fabric scraps!  I love the whimsical fabric that @adlesim used for the pair on the left.  If you don’t end up having time to sew the trunks, no need to worry! You could take a leaf out of Jenny’s book and wrap them up as an appealing kit…maybe along with the offer to teach your recipient to sew?  Jenny sells these bright kits and finished trunks in her glorious sewing shop, the Makehouse (in Victoria, B.C.).

finlayson-sweater

The Finlayson Sweater is always the first pattern that I recommend for gift giving.  It is pretty safe to just guess a size with this boxy design!  I absolutely adore the lengthened version that Jessica made at Handcraft Workshop.  On the right is an incredibly cozy looking quilted Finlayson made by @mllechouchou.

newcastle-cardigan

The photo on the right was emailed to me by Matthew recently – he turned the Newcastle Cardigan into a classy jacket featuring herringbone cotton, bemberg lining and a lapped zipper!

And, to wrap up our show and tell, on the above left is a photo by @kristieinbc featuring her Thread Theory purchase beside a pretty basket of wintery pinecones.  This is how I like to wrap up your orders – they are sent as brown paper packages tied up in string!

The last thing I want to share today isn’t a menswear gift idea but, is instead, a heartwarming tale about a man learning to sew!  Every time I hear such a story, I feel inspired to continue with Thread Theory’s emphasis of sewing menswear.

practically-awesome

Christopher recently emailed me to share a link to a blog post detailing his new passion for sewing.  I HIGHLY recommend giving it a read…especially if you would like to find out how he wound up with such a gorgeous vintage Elna!


 

I really enjoy rounding up my favourites from the Thread Theory sewing community but I’m sure there are many other inspiring projects and stories out there that I’ve missed!  I have received a few requests lately to create a Facebook group for Thread Theory patterns.  I am relatively clueless when it comes to using Facebook but it seems as though this is a pretty easy and also common way to create a sewing themed discussion group or forum.  The purpose of the group would be to share your finished projects and to discuss ideas for our patterns amongst yourselves (topics could include fabric selection, modifications and questions about tricky sewing steps for instance).  Does this sound like something that would be useful to you?  From your experience, do you think Facebook is the best platform for this kind of community?  Or would you suggest a different sort of forum or community board?  I would love your input!

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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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Dintex Fabric & other upcoming goodies

I’ve been receiving bucketloads of emails (and extra large quantities of shop visitors) ever since our Dintex fabric sold out!  We still have 1.5 m of Charcoal Dintex in stock which would be perfect if you have a smaller project in mind…but otherwise, you are out of luck for a couple of weeks.

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There is good news though: I spent most of this week on the computer ordering all sorts of really exciting items for the Thread Theory shop…including Dintex in 8 (!!!) colors!  Stay tuned for stormy blue, bright teal, rich plum, a pretty dove grey, and more.  It isn’t all 100% good news though: I was really hoping to order Dintex in olive (since this is such a classic color for anoraks and also my favorite color) but, unfortunately, it isn’t available in olive right now.  Maybe soon?

In addition to new fabrics, I’ve also ordered a myriad of tools to spruce up your sewing machine and tool box.  You can also expect new high end notions to bump the quality of your sewing projects up to the next level.  And you can look forward to more gorgeous tailoring canvases, interfacing, linings (striped!!!) and pocketing.

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Right now we have restocked some of the locally created wooden sewing tools in our shop.  If you’ve been waiting for an acorn thimble case or tape measure (as many of you have been ever since they were featured in a couple of sewing magazines recently), the wait is over.

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Thank you to everyone at the Association of Sewing and Design Professionals conference last weekend for making Matt and I feel very welcome.  We greatly valued all of your feedback and requests about our patterns and tools!  Actually, many of the items I ordered for our shop this week were chosen based on this feedback and also based on some very helpful emails that you guys have been sending me lately.  You are looking for thimbles in multiple sizes?  Coming soon!  You would like to order tailoring canvas (like the canvas included within our tailoring kits) by the meter for your coat project?  You will soon be able to do so.  You would really like to sew a cozy yet waterproof Newcastle Cardigan?  Me too!  And fabric is on it’s way.

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Aside from fabric and notion requests, a few of you have also been emailing me with some inspiring ideas for future patterns.  I always become a workaholic in the Fall as the weather cools and I delve deep into my sewing projects.  Your ideas for full pattern lines, specific features in future patterns, and improvements to our existing patterns are contributing hugely to my current desire to design and make EVERYTHING! Speaking of making things, I just finished this buffalo check Fairfield Shirt for my Dad this week.  I’m giving it to him when he comes for dinner tonight!

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Anyways, please keep those ideas coming :).  If you ever come across an inspiring garment, read a great article, notice a complete lack of pattern options, have feedback about the blog or website, or even want to share cool design feature within a pattern or store bought garment, please don’t hesitate to email! (info@threadtheory.ca)  Just because something isn’t fully relevant to the patterns or supplies we currently offer doesn’t mean it won’t be useful to Thread Theory in the future. Special thanks, this week, goes to Joanna Dyson for sharing this excellent article from the New York Times on women’s workwear.  I’ve been daydreaming and scheming ever since!


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A smattering of inspiration…

As we near 5000 followers on Instagram (wow!) I have been noticing a plethora of your inspiring makes popping up on various hashtags.  Let me share some with you!

But first, if you use Instagram but don’t follow my posts, you might like to: You can find us at ThreadTheoryDesigns (we used to be Thread_Theory but I recently spruced up our profile with a new name consistent with our Facebook username).

And here is where you can find some wonderful Thread Theory and DIY menswear inspiration:

If you are unable to view the photos below, it is likely you are viewing the post in your email program.  Click through to the blog to view the full post!

#threadtheory

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Mother's Day gift just delivered to the door #threadtheory

A post shared by Julie (@holydehmolee) on

#threadtheorydesigns

#makemenswear

#camasblouse

 

Are you daydreaming about fabric choices for one of our patterns?  Try searching for the #[insert name of the pattern here] in Instagram or on Facebook.  Or check out our Pinterest boards!


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October is Slow Fashion Month

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Did you know we are almost half way through Slow Fashion October?

Slow Fashion October is a celebration of the small-batch, handmade, second-hand, well-loved, long-worn, known-origins wardrobe.  This event has been launched by Fringe Supply Co.’s creative mastermind, Karen Templer.  She created an outline of the month on the Fringe Association blog mid-way through September.  It will help you to get familiar with the concept.

If you want to dig into the good stuff and be inspired, head to Instagram and check out #slowfashionoctober and follow Slow Fashion October.  You will find a wide range of textiles work (knitting, sewing, visible mending and natural dying to name a few) posted by a refreshingly huge variety of Instagramers.  I’m really enjoying perusing this hashtag because it is introducing me to many new ways to enjoy textiles!

Pieces Celebrating Textiles

The concept of Slow Fashion is especially relevant to me right now because I joined a local group called Pieces: Celebrating Textiles several months ago.  We are busily working away on an exciting plan to support the growth of Slow Cloth and Textiles Art in the Comox Valley.  We want the Comox Valley to become a destination for Slow Cloth just as it has already become a thriving center for the Slow Food movement!

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Mending Hands at an Eat Make Mend – a monthly Pieces event where we get together to prolong the lives of special garments at a local cafe.

One of the Pieces founding members creating a very succinct write up on Slow Cloth for our business plan.  It is a great read to introduce you to the concept:

“Slow fashion” coined in 2007 by Kate Fletcher (Centre for Sustainable Fashion, UK.) is antithetical to fast fashion. Fast fashion pumps out clothes at ever faster rates with; cheaper prices, poorer quality, increasing amounts of chemically derived fibers and massive amounts of waste and pollution. Slow fashion is both an ethos and practical approach to cloth production and clothing purchases that puts the art and heart back into the production process.

This ethos cultivates thought about what we buy, how much we buy, who we buy from, how long we wear it for, if we really need it, if it is made from fabrics which are heavily laden with chemicals and helps us to factor in the people who make the clothing. The slow fashion approach brings awareness to the treadmill of unconscious consumption and how that is filling our wardrobes with clothing that is quickly discarded.

More importantly slow fashion provides a wide variety of options to gradually or quickly, depending on your skills and budget, fill in your wardrobe with sustainable clothing options. And most importantly, for the purposes of this business plan, slow fashion provides vast opportunity for textile artisans and makers to create prosperous textile businesses in order to fill what promises to be a large demand for sustainable clothing.

She also compiled a number of inspiring links to pair with her write-up:


 

As menswear makers, we are all part of the slow fashion movement – this is the month to celebrate the time we take to make!


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Five Things of Intrigue

Happy Friday!  Matt and I are really excited for the long weekend :).  We’re heading back out to our new favorite camping spot for three nights!  We’re bringing fishing gear and a kayak this time as well as enough rain gear and tarps to allow for a fun weekend despite the rainy forecast.

In the meantime, I’ve compiled a list of five sewing-related things that I’ve found inspiring and intriguing of late.

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First off, a fairly new pattern company has come to my attention, called Teach Me Fashion.  They are a mother and son team based out of Australia who are approaching the idea of an indie pattern company a little bit differently.  Their patterns are for sale through their Etsy store but instead of receiving both a pattern and instructions, you receive the pattern and then sew the design while watching the corresponding Youtube video!  The video’s can be viewed by anyone, even before purchasing the pattern, so I highly recommend you head on over to watch one or two of them – you’re going to be impressed!  The filmography is incredibly clear, the pace, in my opinion, is absolutely perfect, and Heather’s voice is lovely and calming.  One interesting aspect of instructing through video is that Heather has been able to provide very clear instructions for draping techniques – something that is not very easy to do through illustration and written instructions!  And, as the cherry on top, they offer a free design, their two-tone singlet, so head on over to download it right away!

denimhunter

The second thing inspiring me, of late, is a website called Denimhunters.  Denimhunters is an online men’s lifestyle magazine with, of course, a focus on jeans.  They currently have a feature on making your own jeans which, I think, is certainly relevant to us sewists!  I’ve really enjoyed reading several of their articles such as this one on zippers, their round-up of jeans for women (I’ve never been able to find comfortable jeans and would choose a dress over jeans any day), and this article on denim worthy sewing machines.

 

 

In relation to this last website, the third interesting site I’ve been visiting is one that I have mentioned in the past but is worth reminding you of: TaylorTailor.  On this blog, Taylor, a male sewist, documents his sewing experiences in the most amazingly clear and detailed manner.  I can only dream of slowing myself down enough to approach sewing in the careful and systematic way that he does (why can’t I????).  Not only does he blog about his high quality hand-sewn jeans, canvas bags, and self drafted patterns, he also has a small online store in which he carries the essential notions and fabric needed to make jeans yourself!

To finish off my list of inspiration, I have number four and number five to present to you – two very inspiring sewing projects!

1000 jeans

The first is a recent project and is in theme with the rest of my inspiration list: $1,000 Jeans blogged at The Confident Stitch.  Don’t these look amazingly professional?!

military minoru

The second is an older project (last January I believe) that I have been admiring of late: The Military Style Sewaholic Minoru Jacket blogged at Cut Cut Sew.  Matt and I met Tasia, the owner of Sewaholic, recently during her Vancouver Island holiday.  She was just as lovely, easy to talk to and brilliant as she appears on her blog.  We had a SUPER long lunch talking and talking about the million things we had in common when it comes to running an indie pattern company and being small business owners.  I am glad we live fairly close together because I really look forward to hanging out with her again!  Now that I have met the inspirational woman behind my favorite pattern company, I am even more eager than I previously was to sew myself a Minoru Jacket for the Fall.  This will be the next project I sew for myself and, before I start it, there is a pleasantly large rabbit hole of inspiration for the Minoru Jacket on the internet!  This Military Style Minoru is perfect, in my opinion, and it really makes me look forward to spending time creating careful and straight top stitching :).

Have a great weekend!


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Summer inspiration: Linen and stylish wrinkles

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 (Click on photos to be taken to their source)

Since stylish men’s fashion is often associated with layering, summer can be a tricky time to dress comfortably but also stylishly for men (poor men can’t just throw on a maxi dress to beat the heat in style!).  I’m anticipating the arrival of some beautiful linen fabric in the mail (from Fabrics Store) which is destined to become linen Jedediah Shorts and so have been searching high and low for summer menswear inspiration.  I’ve found two main interpretations of linen menswear for the summer:

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1. Linen as casual and effortless.  The beautiful thing about linen menswear is that it couldn’t be easier to add personality into a classic and easy to wear garment.  Simply soften up the pants with a few washes, live in them a little to create some creases and quickly roll up the hems…voila, instant high style (as seen on the Vivienne Westwood SS14 runway)!

vivianne westwood linen pants

Wrinkles can be intentionally worn as a built in ‘layer’ to add style to a garment instead of piling on another sweater or another tie to create a unique outfit.

Vivienne-Westwood-plaid linen pants

2. Linen as dapper and elegant.  Walking around in wrinkled pants might feel sloppy to some men, and if that’s the case, they need not steer clear of linen as there is an entirely different way of wearing this cool and comfortable fabric in the summer.

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Simply take an iron to the very same pants and a whole new dapper look is born!

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Of course, linen tends to wrinkle as it is worn throughout the day but, by starting the day crisp and smart, the end-of-the-day worn in garments will simply ease the wearer into the wrinkled stylishness of Interpretion #1!

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I’m really looking forward to sewing my linen Jedediah Shorts!  Do you like sewing with linen?  Do you have any tips for me in regards to fabric preparation, seam treatments or styling?