Thread Theory

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


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Connecting with the Objects in our Lives

You guys are sewers (or soon will be!) so perhaps the idea of having a direct relationship with the objects in your life is familiar. Or maybe it is but you haven’t put much thought into it. Either way, it’s something I am interested in exploring and always have been. I’ve rarely been a big shopper, but I definitely am a bit of a collector. I thought it could be an interesting topic to discuss over the next few months (not exclusively of course!)

hollyhock

In the spring I (Nicole) am going to be teaching a five day retreat/workshop at the incredible summer camp for grown ups, Hollyhock (click on the link to see 2015, and watch the short video about Hollyhock!). It’s on a secluded little island, ocean front and surrounded by woods. The food is incredible, the views spectacular and the presenters are phenomenal (wink wink). I went on a meditation retreat last summer, and I swear if I didn’t have a family I probably would have never left! 🙂 The reason I mention it in this post is because A) They just posted the line up for 2015 last week! and B) Because a major theme of the week will be reconnecting with the objects in our lives. We will be exploring what it means to put mindfulness and effort into an object, and talking about what kind of difference it makes compared to spending money on a similar object.

We will also explore meditation and making. Bringing awareness to each. little. stitch.

Did I mention there will be sewing? Oh, so much sewing.

So let me ask you: how has sewing changed your relationship with the objects in your lives? How do you feel about buying clothes, once you started making them?

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Comox Trunks Pattern Hack- Lady Trunks!

Last weekend was the CREATE! event in Courtenay BC- demos, classes and vendors in the lovely Old House Hotel. Morgan and Matt had a table there and Morgan ran a couple of classes as well. She did some demos using the bag kit and an evening class for the Comox Trunks on Friday night. I was coming straight from work, feeling a little tired and rushed, but I was so glad I went. There were snacks, Comox Trunks Kits, and a very cozy atmosphere (though I feel bad for the people whose hotel rooms were beside the sewing room!).

There were about seven of us, including experienced quilters, Morgan’s mom, and an eleven year old girl. Morgan talked about the pattern, the fabric and the elastic and we all got to work. Every once in a while she would see most people ready to move on and she would introduce and demo the next step. It was fun being walked through and of course as an extrovert, I always love to turn this solitary activity into a party!create collage

The only thing was- I was feeling a little selfish. The bamboo jersey is so so nice, I wanted it for my very own tush. So I talked to Morgan about making them for myself. It turns out to be super easy- in fact it takes away all the tricky stuff at the beginning!  So in case there are others out there like me, who want cozy lady trunks, I decided to throw together a second pair, sharing the modification you make when you don’t need quite so much room in the…ahem.. pouch.

super hero

As you can see, the boxers fit just great, and you too can feel like a super hero (especially if you wear them over tights)

The first step would be to get the Comox Trunks kit, or whatever fabric and elastic you are using, and of course your Comox Trunks pattern. You can follow most of the Sew-along, except we are going to start a little differently. After you’ve cut your pattern and fabric, we are basically skipping the “Sewing the Trunks front” post, since that is all about the pouch.

1. You will not need the binding piece, nor Pattern Piece #2. When you’ve cut out your size, draw and cut a straight line down piece #3 as follows:

1 lady trunks

2. You may notice the centre seam in the front panel in my above pair. For my second pair, I decided it would be nicer, and easy, to skip that seam just by cutting on the fold.

2 lady trunks

3. Here I forgot to photograph this step (Bad tutorialist!). But just put the two pieces wrong side together and baste about the edge (i suggest 1/4″ SA so it doesn’t show when you to a 3/8″ seam to attach). After basting, we will attach to the legs just as in the pattern and sew-along

3 lady trunks

And that’s it! I mean, obviously the trunks aren’t done yet, but that’s how simply the modification is. Follow the rest of the directions to attach the back, gusset and elastic and then you are really done. I have to say- with both pairs I’ve made, I look at the butt and I think “NO WAY” -they seem huge and saggy but they hug the body really well. Don’t worry, you are more three dimensional than the undies are.

4 lady trunks

I used Anna Maria Horner’s Saffron Thistle fabric for the legs (which matches this shirt, maybe I will wear them together), which is nice and soft and sturdy. For the hem, I serged the raw edge, the did a scallop stitch in contrasting thread. I used the same stitch for attaching the elastic. To cover the elastic seam, I made a little tag of thistle and put that on the outside. No scratchy edges! The funny thing is, with the contrasting legs, from the back it sort of looks like normal underwear! You can see here, that despite looking weirdly big on the table, they hug the form quite well. You can also somewhat see that the front is flat where the original pattern would bulge out with a pouch.

6 lady trunks

I swear, I am going to replace all my undies with these!!


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In the Wild, November 4- Wild Jutlands Sighted!

In the wild banner - small

(Nicole’s Post)

Are you all as excited about the Jutland Pants as I am? My husband has been big into building this summer, so I definitely have these pants high on my (always growing) sewing list now. There’s nothing quite like a sturdy pair of pants. We’ve had a few images coming in from the test sewers, so I thought I would share the Jutlands in Action!

First though, did you know that the names Morgan comes up with are mountains on Vancouver Island? Makes a gal feel proud to be here, and also points out that I do not know any mountain ranges here. Good old Wikipedia shared with me this lovely photo of Jutland Mountain:

jutland mountain

I don’t know about you, but I would want some pretty rugged pants to clamber around that terrain. Preferably with flat-felled seams 🙂 Admittedly, no rugged pant is actually going to make me climb mountains, but sometimes it helps the ego to look the part of the alpine explorer.

First up for today, is test sewer Sophie-Lee. She wrote up a wonderful posts with lost of pictures, so head over there to check out her experience with the Jutland. Here, though, is my favourite- Jutlands at Work:

jut at work

Tool belt not included, but complements the pants very well. Take a look throughout the rest of Sophie-Lee’s blog too, it’s great!

Next up is from MaLora who is probably experiencing similarly wet weather to us on Vancouver Island since she is in soggy Seattle WA.

jut

You should definitely check out her post about the Jutlands because there are adorable pictures of her kid let wearing a matching pair of pants. When I showed my husband that, he seemed pretty enthusiastic about Lena and he having matching pants (which would be extra cute with the matching Newcastles they already have). Make sure you notice the Strathcona Henley- and the matching one for wee mister!! EEEEE!

Of course, with a new pattern out in the shop, it’s a good time to revisit patterns you’ve loved making, and the ones that have been sitting around waiting for your courage (Looking at you Goldstream) or just the right knit (Strathcona…..)

Here’s a little inspiration for you to finish up those unfinished Thread Theory projects before you get to the Jutlands:

strath

If you can read french, you will read that Clotilde is quite pleased with the pattern- “Vive Thread Theory!” I admit, it was slow going for me to read that one simple post. my french is a bit rusty having left Montreal nearly a year and a half ago (where did the time go?). Lena and I decided to spend our mornings in french, but since I tend toward foggy and cranky in the mornings (hey! I sew late! not my fault! ok, it is…), we will have to see how long that lasts…

Wally and Grace sent along this picture of a new Finlayson- looks cozy!

fin

In other news, this weekend there is a little Makers Festival happening in the Comox Valley called “CREATE!” and Morgan is teaching a Comox Trunks class (which I am taking, and refer to as the ‘underwear party”) and she will also be showing how to make the waxed bag. There will be a table there with Thread Theory goodies! I want to spend the whole day there with them, but will be teaching all day saturday, so I only get to go to the underwear party. Happy face/sad face.

Have you started your Jutlands yet? What adventures would you want to take them on?


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In the Wild: Cool Weather (Nicole’s Post)

In the wild banner - smallYou won’t believe me after seeing this picture, but it has been wet, wet, wet and cold here for the last… three weeks? Let’s just say the weather is really challenging my car-free plans and that I frequently have to remind myself “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothes.”. I’d love to show proof of the sideways rain I biked in today, but I didn’t think to stop and take a picture 🙂

pumpkin patch

Last Sunday, however, was gorgeous- a last chance to get to the Pumpkin Fest (Hay Rides! Popcorn! Hay Bale Maze! All the Classics!), mow the lawn (nope), plant bulbs (nope) and otherwise spend time soaking up Vitamin D. I am firmly under the impression that after this one gorgeous day, I won’t see the sun for six months. Someone please disabuse me of this notion.

Fortunately, I actually like inclement weather, especially wet because it means I can pull out my wooly sweaters, my multitude of Newcastle Cardigans, and all my fuzzy head and hand cozies. It looks like there are some readers out there who feel the same way!

First up is a classic Goldstream Peacoat, apparently made for a top secret spy-man (look at those shifty eyes peering over the collar!

collage goldstreamThis was made by Annie Laure who was kind enough to send some images. She used the french instruction, donc c’est bien special! Maybe I should do a whole post in french to celebrate- but though I am a fluent speaker of french, my french writing comes across like a four year old. Far too awkward to expose myself like that on a public forum.

We’ve had a couple lighter weight sweaters shared as well, like this great grey Newcastle by Emma. I love this fabric it looks so luxurious yet casual:

grey newcastle

Next is Matt’s Mom! She has a lovely new Finlayson to cozy up in during the storms we’re having. It looks almost like the fabric I used for mine!

matts momAnd speaking of women wearing patterns designed for men (glad to know I’m not the only one who’s used Thread Theory patterns as much for myself as for a man), here is a fantastic adaptation of a Strathcona Tee by Roni Arbel of Wardrobe Histology:

roni

I love the cuff bands, and the fact that it looks like it was photographed in a castle! I have an idea! What if you all sent pictures of Thread Theory projects in exotic locales? Then this would truly be: In. The. Wild!


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A New Voice, A New Face

Just under a year ago, I heard about a fantastic new pattern company that had started up, right in our beautiful little valley. As I was about to leave the valley to spend the winter in Toronto, I wasn’t able to meet the designer until our return, but I made contact after enthusiastically buying up all their patterns to date. I found even online the personalities of Morgan and Matt warm, intelligent and interesting and I quickly let them know that we would be friends upon my return. That’s the kind of thing I do- send emails to people and while trying to seem as non-creepy as possible, try to strike up friendships. Let’s call it an extroverts approach to the internet.

wiksten

Well, since my return to the valley this summer, we’ve become fast friends. They’ve spoiled me with their fantastic cooking, we’ve spent Fridays sewing late into the night (and deep into the red wine) and we’ve even found an occasional enthusiastic babysitter in Morgan. My four year old daughter immediately warmed to her and jumps for joy when I say she gets to spend time with Morgan. All this to say we have bonded and formed what I hope will be a very long and strong friendship, but also a great opportunity to work with some people I admire tremendously.

Blog-3

In our evenings of sewing, we talked about the idea of my contributing to the Thread Theory blog on a regular basis. In part to add to the voice of Thread Theory but also to free up some of Morgan’s time to do more designing of fantastic patterns- YAY! So not only will you all get to enjoy my take on all things Thread Theory and sewing on a weekly basis, but it will ultimately mean more Thread Theory fun, more Thread Theory patterns and more projects for YOU!

But who is this crazy chick, just suddenly blogging it up at Thread Theory, you may ask? Well, you can get a pretty good idea of who I am at here, which you may already be familiar with since Morgan’s been linking to me regularly (perhaps she’s been secretly planning this for a while and wanted her dear readers to be familiar with me!). I am an enthusiastic and driven intermediate sewist who teaches in a home studio one full day per week, and sews almost every night. I also teach yoga three times a week in Courtenay, work four days a week at an office, and spend a lot of time with my four year old. it adds up to a pretty full, varied and fantastic (if harried) life.  I love sewing for myself and my family; and I love adapting Thread Theory patterns to fit a four year old or myself (of course in the case of the four year old it’s more a matter of adapting the style using another pattern).I’ve made, and blogged about, a few of Thread Theory’s patterns, and look forward to making many more. I also love to sew other indie patterns, from Sewaholic, Grainline, Shwin Designs and more. When students ask for suggestions I try to always steer them to indie patterns- not only to support the “little guy” but because I genuinely believe in the quality, design and instructions of the indie patterns.

So you can look forward to my weekly posts about my sewing, Thread Theory, teaching, and gathering together what you’ve sewn too!