Thread Theory

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


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An expanded pattern collection

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We now carry menswear sewing patterns from other indie designers!  While I continue to work on future pattern releases I thought you might like an introduction to some other designs.  As a result, we now have 20 menswear patterns for you to choose from in our shop!

Merchant & Mills, Colette Patterns and Hot Patterns are all indie pattern companies who focus on women’s garments but have a strong selection of menswear too.  Their men’s patterns each offer something different from what we are already designing in the Thread Theory studio.  Here are the reasons I’ve added them to our shop:

Merchant & Mills

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I love the utilitarian aesthetic achieved by this British haberdashery!  We already stock many of their sewing tools and notions.  Their menswear pattern designs were a no-brainer to add to our shop.  The fit and style is very different from our slim fit with an athletic/youthful focus.  These easy fittings designs are boxy and relaxed – suited to the stockier figure more typical of middle age or older gentlemen.  Their sleeves allow for muscular arms and their shirt hem length is on the shorter side as commonly found in vintage menswear – both these features add to the classic work wear aesthetic of this collection.  Think 1950s American work wear!

My favorite style from this collections is The Tee – this is the ideal project for beginner sewists who prefer to start with a menswear garment.  What makes it so easy to sew?  This tee is sewn in a woven fabric!

While Merchant & Mills patterns might be very familiar to you already, I am thrilled to have these as the new guys in our shop – Canadian sewists can now enjoy these patterns without the worry of duty or costly shipping charges!

Colette Patterns

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When Colette Patterns released the Walden Collection some time ago I was excited to see menswear becoming a focus for more indie pattern companies!  This mini collection of three patterns all feature a great west coast aesthetic that I admire.

While this collection is marketed towards men/male sewers, two of the three patterns are actually unisex.  This makes them a great investment if you are a female sewist hoping to sew for herself and for a male or two!

I have the Cooper Bag on my ‘To Sew’ list because I would love a pair of oilcloth panniers for my bicycle.

I am pleased to have these menswear items in our shop because none of the designs come close to overlapping with our own patterns while they still closely match the style we like so much.  You might pause to think – but doesn’t the Negroni Shirt compete with the Fairfield Button-up?  Nope!  When I designed the Fairfield I purposely selected design features that differed from those included on the Negroni.  Can you count how many differences there are?

 

Hot Patterns

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This indie pattern company has been around for many years (since well before the ‘indie pattern boom’) and offers a staggering range of women’s designs.  I had run across mention of their women’s patterns many times in the blogosphere but one day, about a year ago, somehow finally discovered that they design menswear patterns too!

I’ve selected my four favorites to add to our shop.  All of these garments are drafted for a very different fit model than ours – one that you have, time and time again, asked us to pattern draft for!  We intend to maintain our focus on athletic figures, but, you’re not out of luck: These ‘Mr. HP’ patterns, much like the Merchant & Mills designs, are designed for average to stocky figures who prefer to dress loosely and conservatively.  While I might choose Thread Theory patterns when sewing for Matt, I would be inclined to choose a Hot Patterns top to better suit my Dad or Granddad.  The styles are very classic and appealing though so you might like to tweak the fit for all manner of body types!

I am torn between two favorite designs from this collection – the Workshirt (check out those hem gussets and the extended collar tab!) and the Hemmingway Windcheater.  Back when I first discussed my plans for an Alpine Collection, I included a photo of an oilcloth jacket very similar in design to this pattern.  Well, I’m glad I found Hot Patterns before embarking on this garment design, as this Windcheater fits the bill perfectly!  (Don’t worry I still have many patterns planned to add to the Alpine Collection over the coming years).

I have plans to sew a couple of these jackets (dream big!) – one in high tech waterproof and windproof material and light weight hardware for hiking and one in tin cloth and brass hardware in that classic style that we all love so much.

Menswear Patterns

I hope these patterns inspire you to sew more menswear too!  Find them all in the pattern section of our shop.

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Giveaway Winner and Shirt Pattern Research

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(Click on images in post to be directed to their source)

Wow, thanks everyone for your very thoughtful and detailed comments on my blog post last week!  We ended up reaching 123 comments, 122 which were entries for the giveaway of David Coffin’s Shirtmaking Workbook.  I drew the winner today using a random number generator and am pleased to announce that Bechem, hailing from Australia, will be receiving the book in the mail shortly!  Here is the comment that she posted:

So exciting Thread Theory was included in this amazing book! I would be sewing for my husband, who wears a size 41 shirt here in Australia. While he does wear business shirts for work, if I were to sew him a shirt it would a more “smart casual” style for weekends, etc. I’d love to see a slim fitting shirt with long sleeves (and sleeve tabs to roll up). A 2-part collar, as well. Modern & trendy & the perfect shirt to go with his Jedediah shorts 🙂

Even if you didn’t win David’s book, I highly recommend checking it out in whatever format you most prefer (be it from the library, from you local book shop, on Amazon, or from a friend!).  After all, you might be wanting to use it when you go to sew our upcoming button-up shirt pattern that we (and you!) are very excited about!

Just to be clear after all of last week’s excitement, our shirt pattern is still in the very early stages of production so please don’t hold your breath or switch up your sewing plans while you wait for it’s release!  I hope to have it ready for late Fall this year but this is certainly not a deadline because I want to continue to work on perfecting it as much as possible and will only release it to you guys when I feel that it is ready.

I’ve been sifting through all of your comments and have been unearthing some very interesting commonalities.  I made a big chart and tallied various themes.  I thought you might like to see some of the trends that emerged in your shirt design requests:

Fit

The large majority of commenters are looking for a fairly slim fit shirt (but not overly fitted).  A good number of people are hoping the shirt will include options for two levels of fit – one with a looser back and one with a more fitted back.

I VERY much appreciated hearing what your specific fit issues are.  The majority of the comments mentioned struggling with arm length when buying RTW shirts.  Clearly it will be necessary to include lengthen and shorten lines as per usual and also a detailed section within the instructions on how to figure out what length of sleeve and body you need.Frank and Oak Oxford

Many commenters struggle with fitting tricky areas such as the neck, shoulders and belly.  Men who work out often tend to develop large necks and shoulders but require a more fitted waist which can be tricky to find in store bought shirts.  As men age, it is common to develop a little bit of a belly.  Men who prefer slim fit shirts will need to have the shirt adjusted to allow for their mid-section.

It is very clear that there are a large size range of men waiting for custom sewn shirts.  I will do my best to include as large a range as possible without making an overwhelming nest of size lines during grading!  I wonder if it would be a good idea to include the very largest and very smallest sizes only in our PDF patterns.  This way we can offer an increased size range for digital customers.  We are often limited in our size range due to the size and weight of the tissue paper in our printed patterns.

Design Features

It was almost unanimous that you are looking for a shirt with a collar stand and a proper tower or house placket on the sleeves.  Don’t worry, these features will most definitely be included!  I will be putting a large emphasis on writing and illustrating clear instructions for these portions of the shirt and will of course do a photographed sew-along.

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When it came to collar and cuff options, I was quite surprised to see how popular mandarin/band/grandad collars are and also how many of you would like the option for French Cuffs.  I’m glad that you let me know this because, while I had originally had these two features on my list of design options that I wanted to include, I had been thinking of removing them…but I won’t do so now that I know that you would like them included!

Thanks, also, to those who mentioned they would like the option for sleeve tabs so that long sleeves can be rolled up and to those who would like the option for short sleeves.  I wasn’t sure how commonly these design elements would be sewn but it seems they are requested enough to warrant including them.

Many of you mentioned that you would like to sew the button-up in some sort of flannel/plaid.  This is a great idea and I think it would be nice to include instructions for cutting out plaid either within the instruction booklet or at least as a tutorial on the blog.

I need to do a bit more thinking about what pocket styles and yoke styles I would like to include.  I am partial to simple pockets and a nice medium size yoke with a straight bottom but it seems that quite a few of you are looking for a bit more flare!  More pocket and yoke options would be an interesting thing to include as a separate download from the pattern if we end up having an overwhelming number of pattern pieces included within the main pattern.

Lastly, when it comes to design/fit, there is no consensus on how the back of the shirt should be shaped.  I had been intending to shape the back with a small centre pleat for a very nice middle ground between slim fit and comfortable (erring towards slim fit).  Some of you mentioned that you prefer darts on the back.  I  had been hoping to avoid these because they limit fabric options considerably (stripes and plaids wouldn’t look so great with darts) and I worry that darts are a bit too “Euro-fit” to please the majority of people.  After reading your comments though, I wonder if it would be worth including a seperate back piece without any pleat and with darts instead…hmm, that’s a tough decision.

PLEATS

 

Thank you very much for your feedback!  Please feel free to keep commenting with your shirt pattern requests as I have been really enjoying feeling as though I am working with a big team of you rather than working to design the pattern in my isolated office while I worry away about what it is you actually want in the pattern :P.


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This Friday: Our Official Paper Pattern Launch Day!

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As of 8:00am (PST) Friday, January 10th you will be able to head over to our pattern store and buy Thread Theory paper sewing patterns!  You will also be able to visit our Stockist page to see if there is an online or brick and mortar store near you that carries our paper patterns.  If there isn’t, be sure to drop a hint or two at your local fabric store and tell them to send us an email (info@threadtheory.ca) to set up a wholesale account.

To get you excited for our launch day, here is an indepth photo tour of our (we think!) beautifully designed envelopes and instructions.

The envelopes are not your traditional top entry narrow paper envelope that has a tendency to rip the first time you try to stuff all your tissue pieces back into it.  Instead, they are sturdy folders made out of recycled chip board with scored folding panels that will easily accommodate your less than tidily folded tissue each and every time you use and then put away a Thread Theory pattern.

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We have numbered each of our designs based on the order they were released as PDF patterns.  They happen, by the way, to fit perfectly in the average 12 bottle beer box and perch upright in such a way that it is easy to sort through each number.  I might have to do a ‘beer box to pattern storage’ upcycle tutorial in the near future!

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Each pattern includes two circles: the first displays the available sizes, while the second is a difficulty scale of five needles.  We came up with a five point scale because there is so much grey area between the standard beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels.  With a five needle scale beginners might feel brave enough to attempt something with two needles and thus advance their skills while intermediates might do the same with a four needle pattern.

The envelope includes an elegant string closure with a bit of bling in the form of brass eyelets:

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And each pattern is sorted into the collection it belongs to, complete with a graphic logo!

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On the back of the envelope you can find all the usual information in an easy to read format:

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The sizing charts are really simple and clear – I think our designer did an excellent job using black bars and spacing to the full advantage!

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When you open up your pattern envelope you will be greeted by atmospheric tree silhouettes (to suit the theme of our Parkland Collection) and a beautiful embroidered garment tag.

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The inside of the envelope has an inventory of our other patterns such as you might find in the back of a paperback novel.

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The pattern you have chosen is highlighted in black.  Also notice the awesome needle pattern that covers all the interior surfaces of the envelope!

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The instruction booklet is a 6X9″ staple bound paper booklet with a cover page that we hope will get you pumped to start sewing:

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The paper we chose is 100% recycled but is a nice clear white so that all the illustrations and text are very easy to see and read.

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Inside the booklet you will find a version of the photos you see all over our blog and website to give you an idea of what your final garment will look like.  We stuck to black and white and bumped up the contrast so that your fabric and design choices are not influenced by the fabrics and colours we chose.  When you see the pattern in the fabric store you will be seeing only the technical illustration on the front cover so that your mind is completely free to imagine all the different fabric and styling possibilities!

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We made sure to include lots of information on each page so that you are not forever flipping pages and sewing without a sense of steps and processes ahead of you.  Our designer used the needle from our logo to highlight sewing tips.  The booklet easily lays flat and open on the page that you need so that you can leave it by your sewing machine while you sew to refer to as much as you need (but without taking up very much space!).  Here is a taste of the straightforward layout of our instruction booklet:

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We hope that you will love our printed patterns as much as we do!  Mark your calendars and head on over to our pattern store at 8:00am (PST) this Friday!