Thread Theory

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


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Free Pattern: Download the Arrowsmith Undershirt today!

Some of you observant blog readers noticed that there was a certain v-neck top featuring prominently in our Comox Trunks photoshoot a couple months ago:Blog Edit-1

This top is called the Thetis Tank and will be available in several months through the Sew It All TV show and magazine!  The episode I filmed with the Sew It All team in Golden, Colorado, was all about how to sew this super quick and easy project.

In the meantime, while you eagerly anticipate the magazine issue featuring this v-neck pattern, we have ANOTHER sleeveless top pattern for you to sew in time for summer!

Introducing Thread Theory’s first FREE sewing pattern: The Arrowsmith Undershirt.

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This pattern is available as a PDF download for free as a big THANK YOU to all you avid menswear sewers who have supported us and our business over the last year!  As of today, it has been one year since we launched our very first pattern – the PDF version of the Newcastle Cardigan.

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This tank is a super quick and easy project that can be sewn using all manner of knits.   The Arrowsmith Undershirt is the perfect sleeveless tank for layering or for hot summer days.  The enlarged armholes and deep crew neck give this shirt a very modern appearance and they also make it really easy to sew without a serger (you could even use a straight stitch if you wanted to because the head and arm openings are large enough that they don’t really need to stretch when the shirt is put on or taken off).  There is an optional patch pocket that can be sewn in a knit or a woven fabric.  The pocket is a great way to add just a little bit of colour and intrigue against a basic background – especially if the recipient isn’t very adventurous with their clothing colour/print choices!

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So, please, take our sincere thanks and our free pattern: Head on over to our website to download the Arrowsmith Undershirt and get sewing!  By the way, we’d love to see what you sew!  Add #Arrowsmith to your photos so we can find them and add them to our Pinterest page!

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We’re home!

We’re back from our U.S. road trip (we arrived home Friday afternoon) and I’m excited to tell you about all the sewing related adventures we had!  I’ve made a page on our blog that includes a photo diary of the entire trip (for those that are interested) but I won’t subject you to dozens of scenery shots and the like unless you are interested.  The post that follows is specifically sewing related since I know that you are most certainly eager to read and see anything that belongs to that theme!

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Our first stop along the 3000 mile tour was Portland, Oregan.  We found it to be a beautiful, walkable city, even with the rain and chilly temperatures.  Our sewing related stops were numerous in this town because the arts and crafts community is thriving so thoroughly that there were too many fabric stores to choose from!  We went to the Mill End and feasted our eyes on the huge warehouse of every fabric I could imagine.  We enjoyed talking to the extremely friendly staff who were eager to take our pattern catalog to show to all their male customers.  We know that they did just that because only a few days later we received an email from a male sewer who had seen our catalog in their store!

Our next place to visit was the Pendleton Woollen Mills store because I am a sucker for wool.  We wandered in and were greeted by a lovely riot of colours and textures.  The wools were gorgeously smooth and rich feeling and they also carried an eco-friendly wool that uses less water in production and can be washed without felting.  We were surprised to see indie pattern companies featured all over the store and had not even thought to bring our samples in to show the staff.  Matt raced out to grab them and we received a very warm welcome from the staff and managers.  Our Goldstream Peacoat and Jedediah Pants will now be stocked in their store – so if you are ever in Portland and hope to make the most sumptuous tailored peacoat in the world, pop by Pendleton to get your pattern and fabric!

I thought it was neat that they sold all their scraps by the pound – one can imagine all the possibilities for those little colourful bits of wool!

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They also had an antique mechanical display that used to be featured in their Disneyland Pendleton outlet.  It was beautifully detailed and, when turned on, each wooden figure moved to demonstrate the entire manufacturing process!Resized-14

Of course, we couldn’t go to Portland without visiting our wonderful stockist, Modern Domestic!

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We met Lupine and Meredith who were very welcoming and let us wander the store endlessly to pick out little prizes for future blog contests (I think you’ll love them!) and ask all sorts of questions about Bernina feet for Sue’s new sewing machine.

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The store had a wonderful selection of some of my very favourite things – a whole slew of Merchant & Mills products, a colourful selection of chambrays, pretty much every indie pattern you could imagine, and a huge selection of the best sewing-related books, including Colette’s new book, The Colette Guide to Sewing Knits.  And these were only the things that stood out the most to me!  Aside from all the sewing goodies and beautiful fabrics, if you are a Bernina lover, then this is the place to go.  All the machines and attachments were beautifully displayed and Meredith, who helped Sue, seemed to know everything there was to know about each and every foot.

After a couple days in Portland, we headed east to Boise for a night (no sewing stops there as our driving schedule was quite demanding!) and then to Salt Lake City.  In Salt Lake City, we popped in to see Sunni in her store, A Fashionable Stitch.  It was great to meet her as I must admit, she is categorized in my head as a “sewing and blogging celebrity” so I was a little nervous!  She was very friendly and jumped at the chance to stock our patterns (thanks, Sunni!).  We’re really excited to have our patterns in her store as she has a really great thing going there.  Unfortunately we forgot to take photos with her 😦 but here is a shot from her website of the basement classroom area under her store to give you a taste of how lovingly organized her shop is:

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Her fabric selection is gorgeous (I especially loved all the interesting and unusual wools she had and couldn’t help but admire the stunning laces).  Everything is meticulously organized, right down to her displays of colour coded zippers in pretty glass jars and prettily bundled ribbons.  I picked out, as another future give-away prize, some brightly striped knits that will make super funky Comox Trunks!  We met Sunni’s husband downstairs overseeing some awesome fabric swap tables.  Matt left with a scrap of leather to make himself a wrist strap for his camera and I walked away with a burgundy ribbed knit to sew into a Newcastle Cardigan.

I left Sunni’s store on a sewing/creativity high after meeting one of my favourite bloggers and seeing just how awesome and beautiful a sewing store has the potential to be!

Later that night we happened upon an altogether entirely different sewing related experience – we witnessed the tail end of Comic Con!  I’ve never read comics or, for that matter, really understood what Comic Con involves, but it was really neat to see all the lovingly created costumes being paraded about and to see how so many people, both male and female, had worked with fabric and all sorts of other mediums to create some pretty bizarre and amazing fashions.

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The conference building was almost deserted when we walked in and everything was being packed away.  We still got a kick out of seeing some of the straggling signs and people :).

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After a couple days in Salt Lake City (Easter weekend in fact), we moved on to the day that seemed to loom darker and scarier ahead of me the entire trip – the day we taped the Sew It All TV episode.

You’ve probably figured out by various blog posts in the past that I am a pretty (read VERY) shy person.  Matt and I were, of course, absolutely thrilled to be offered a slot in the Sew It All TV season 8 but it only really dawned on me as we drove south-east that I had no idea what was involved in taping a tv episode and I had also spent my entire life, up until the taping date, avoiding unscripted public speaking like the plague!  I hid away in my hotel room the night before the taping to iron all our samples and steel myself for the day ahead of me while Matt and his parents went to explore Golden (Matt was nowhere near as nervous as I was, thank goodness!).

The morning of the taping we headed to the Creative Crafts Group studio and spent a whirlwind couple hours meeting all the super people and filming the episode.  Our TV experience began by being made up for the camera (even Matt was powdered and prettied!):

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And then we were introduced to Ellen and the team.  Everyone was very friendly and incredibly professional and efficient.  I needn’t have worried about my ironing quite so much because our step-outs were nicely ironed by staff.  We were very well taken care of – we were given water whenever we needed it (my mouth was permanently dry from fear haha!) and people joked around with us to calm us down.  We had microphones installed on our garments to suit our voices which was really nice.  Mine was installed hidden in my dress’s collar (which, by the way, is Tilly’s awesome Coco pattern!) to block out other peoples voices and more easily catch my quiet voice…this was a relief because I was worried I would be told to speak up the entire time!

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Ellen is currently pregnant with twins and was a total trooper.  I can’t believe how hard she works and how tired she must have been!  She tapes three episodes a day (on top of doing a billion other things I am sure) and I was exhausted for days after taping only one episode…

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The studio wasn’t equipped with male mannequins (those aren’t something you find in most sewing studios I imagine!) and so the team got a bit creative and flipped the mannequins backwards to display the V-neck tank that we demonstrated how to sew.  The waists looked a little curvy and the poor guy’s backs had two strange bumps 😛 but all in all, I think the you could tell the fit of the garment well enough.Resized-134

Some of our other samples and patterns were displayed throughout the studio and they took some shots of them after we taped our episode and were having lunch.  I look forward to seeing how the show looks once all the clips are put together!Resized-133

I was surprised by how big the studio was and by how many people were involved in the taping.  I made myself avoid looking at anyone for quite a while before the cameras started rolling because it was beginning to feel like I was embarking on the dreaded ‘group project’ presentation from university days…eek!

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Rick and Sue got to sit and watch from the director’s room.  They got some shots of the monitors as filming began.  See how nervous we look?Resized-136 Resized-140 Resized-138 Resized-137

Despite my fears and nerves it was still an amazing experience to be on Sew It All TV and we are so greatful to Ellen and Jessica and everyone at the studio for having us there!  The season airs later this year (our episode will likely be shown on PBS in November) and I can’t wait to see how it turned out (though at the same time I am terrified to see what resulted from all my nervous babbling and shaky hands :P).

Later that same day, we rushed to Denver to meet blogger and fellow sewist, Sara who’s blog is An Elemental Life.  She met us for a Mexican dinner (it was very nice of her to take the time to show us one of her favourite restaurants and it was great to meet another fellow blogger!) and then the whole group of us went to the trunk show that our lovely stockists, Fancy Tiger Crafts, hosted for us.  I wasn’t 100% sure of what to expect from a trunk show (or what we were expected to do) but I must say, it ended up being my favorite part of the trip and, despite being super tired from the show taping, I had a total blast!

Jaime, Amber and all the staff at Fancy Tiger were really welcoming and wonderfully laid back (and beautifully clothed in an assortment of handmade pieces…I couldn’t help but comment when I recognized certain patterns!).

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It was craft night, which meant that a huge group of enthusiastic crafters were enjoying chatting, crafting and a drink or two around a huge table at the back of the store.  The store doors were open until 9pm and a table, mannequin, a selection of our patterns and a garment rack were all carefully set up and waiting for us to fill with samples!  We brought garment tag packs to give away and I had tagged all of our samples with a story about who sewed it for whom and with what fabric.  People seemed to really enjoy reading them and both men and women happily tried on Newcastles and Goldstream Peacoats.Resized-143I had so much fun talking with all sorts of people who had exactly the same interests as me.  It seemed as though most people I talked to had already been to our website and knew about our pattern selection.  A few people had already sewn up some of our patterns!  It was especially exciting to talk to male sewers and knitters who were thrilled by the style and fit of our garments.

The Fancy Tiger ladies generously provided us with a much welcomed glass of wine (and a craft brew for Matt).  Matt’s dad got a kick out of the awesome wine ‘glasses’!

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The whole evening was exactly as I had imagined the sewing world could be if I lived where all the other bloggers and sewers I follow happened to live.  I could seriously live in Fancy Tiger Crafts and would certainly never miss one of their Tuesday night craft nights!

So that sums up the sewing-related portion of our trip!  The next few days were mostly endless driving (and beautiful scenery) to get back home in time for work obligations.  All four of us were pretty tired by the end of our whirlwind tour and were doing a lot of this:

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Where would you go if you could have a sewing-themed holiday?  What is your ideal ‘business’ trip?  I must say, travelling for our business certainly felt more like an awesome holiday than work to me :).


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U.S. Road Trip: Sewing Related Itinerary

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Our road trip into the states to film an episode of Sew It All in Golden, Colorado, is just a little over a month away and we (Matt, Matt’s parents and I) have all been busily gathering ideas for our shared road trip.  Mine (and some of theirs) have of course been sewing related and I am thrilled with the opportunities we will be having to meet people who’s blogs I read and whose stores I have wished to visit!

Along the way I will be gathering sewing related souvenirs not for myself (well, maybe some for myself) but for three menswear sewing prize packs that we will be giving away in May and June as part of an exciting competition that we have planned for you!  There will be more info on the competition when we are back from the road trip at the end of April, but in the meantime, I am still taking suggestions of places to go and people to see when we head south across the border.  If there is a sewing store that you love or wish you could shop in, please mention it so I can add it to our list!

PORTLAND

We have lots planned for Portland and might not be able to accomplish it all (but I still want to try!).

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We will be stopping in to meet the lovely people at our Portland stockist location, Modern Domestic.

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I’ll be heading to the  Pendleton Woolen Mills Outlet to drool over luxurious wools for our Goldstream Peacoat pattern.

And we’ll be checking out Mill End as per several people’s very convincing suggestion.

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We’ll also hope to have time to see The Museum of Contemporary Craft and will be having a nice dinner at one of my father-in-law’s favourite restaurants, Andina.

BOISE

Have you been to Boise, Idaho?  I haven’t come across or been recommended any sewing-related sights for this city yet.  I would love to hear of some as I am sure there are many great fabric stores and sewing studios in the city.

SALT LAKE CITY

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Of course, we couldn’t go to Salt Lake City without stopping in at Sunni’s store, A Fashionable Stitch.  Thank you, Nikki H. for letting us know that this is where Sunni’s store is!  I loved the outfit Sunni created for the Project Sewn “If the shoe fits” challenge (pictured above) and love that she also altered and re-lined her man’s velvet jacket (described in the same post) – what patience and skill!

GOLDEN/DENVER

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(Image courtesy of The Cottage Mama)

In Golden, we will of course be busy at the Sew It All studio filming an episode of Sew It All TV!  On top of this, we will be going all out that day and will head to Denver after we’ve filmed the episode to spend a wonderful evening with all the connections we have been developing there.

The evening of April 22nd in Denver will consist of eating dinner at El Taco De Mexico to sample Denver’s famous green chili.  We’ll be eating with Sara of An Elemental Life and anyone else who would like to join us (leave a comment and we’ll arrange a time at a later date)!

Then we’ll head over to Fancy Tiger Crafts who so fabulously suggested they host a trunk show for us.  Join us there from 7-9pm so we can meet you and talk sewing and menswear with you!  You’ll even have a chance to examine our sample garments (which are in various stages of wear…brand new to realistically worn in…one garment has even survived a welding burn!).

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After the trunk show, we are continuing on for a wind down beer at the intriguing TRVE Brewery.  Apparently the beer is superb and the atmosphere is very unique…does heavy metal and beer strike you as a no-brainer combination?  I can’t say it does for me but I look forward to seeing how it has been done!  We hope anyone in the Denver area can join us for all the fun!

What do you think, am I missing any important sewing-related stops?  Thanks, everyone, for all your helpful comments on my last blog post about the U.S. road trip!


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Road Trip! We’re heading state-side!

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone.  We’re glad that you are taking advantage of our Valentine’s Day sale (its on for the whole weekend, enter VALENTINE upon checkout to receive 15% off of our tissue sewing patterns).

Today I have some big news that we’ve been very eager to tell you: We’re heading on a ROAD TRIP!!!

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We’ve been invited to appear on Sew-It-All, the PBS TV show!  We are thrilled to have been invited onto such a wonderful sewing show and have been busily planning the project that we will be filming (it will include a free sewing pattern on the Sew-It-All website).  Of course, the Comox Valley (B.C., Canada), is not conveniently located next the the Golden (Colorado) studio so Matt and I (and Matt’s parents) decided to scrap quick and easy plans to fly and instead make the trip into an epic U.S. road trip!  We have our itinerary set for the way there and will be winging it on the way back.  We leave on April 16th and we plan to travel down to Portland and across to Golden and then head up to Yellowstone park on the way back.

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What we really want to know is, can you meet up with us?  If you don’t live at one of our stopping points, have you been there, do you have any recommendations of where we should go, who we should meet, what we should see and do?  We would love to hear from you!  We are hoping to check out lots of sewing related stores and studios as well as enjoy the culture of each city we stop at (of course, especially if it is sewing or fashion related!).