Thread Theory

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


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Buffalo Check Fairfield Shirt

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A couple of weeks ago my parents took Matt, my sister and I on a family holiday to Lund, on the Sunshine Coast (B.C.).  This is a couple of hours by ferry from where I live in the Comox Valley, Vancouver Island.  The trip was a joint birthday celebration for my parents who have birthdays in October and November…and it was highly anticipated by Matt and I who were REALLY looking forward to a weekend holiday!

In honour of my Dad’s birthday I sewed him a couple of new garments.  Today I’ll show you his lumber-jack inspired Buffalo Check brushed cotton Fairfield Button-up!

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My sister took these photos of my Dad when we reached the end of our Saturday hike.  We walked up to Manzanita Hut which is part of the Sunshine Coast Trail.  Based on our small one day hike and the larger four day hike my sister went on last spring, I would highly recommend the Sunshine Coast Trail if you are looking for a hiking adventure in B.C.!

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This Fairfield Button-up is sewn using the red and black buffalo check from our shop.  We only have a few more meters of this and it is sadly no longer offered by our fabric distributor!  We have quite a lot of the blue and white and black and white variations though!

I used the band collar from our free ‘Alternative Collar Styles’ download (you can find the link on the Fairfield Button-up page).  I love the casual vintage vibe that this style of collar lends to the shirt!  It is reminiscent of workwear from the 1930s.

Instead of buttons, I used rugged snaps (the same snaps that we include in our new Rain Jacket Hardware kits!).  My thinking was that my dad could wear the shirt open as a second layer over t-shirts if he wanted to.  The heavy snaps help to give the workshirt an appearance of outerwear.

Since I knew my dad would not be wearing the top snap closed, I covered the neckline seam with cotton twill tape so that it could peek out as a little bit of extra detail (you can just see it in the photo above).

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In terms of sizing – this one is simple: It is a straight size XL (Average Figures) with a centre back pleat!  I didn’t make any changes to the pattern to fit my dad.

I already know he will get lots of wear out of this shirt because every time I’ve seen him since our trip he has been wearing it (that’s why he is so much fun to sew for!).

Enough about sewing though…Here is the best of photos to please all of you dog lovers out there: Our pup, Luki, cooling off on the way up the mountain!

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He LOVES lying in puddles.  Can you tell?


 

In other news, did you receive our newsletter earlier this week announcing the launch of our Rain Jacket Hardware kits?  If not, you may want to subscribe so that you don’t miss a some big news items coming up in the next month. 😉

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For those of you who haven’t read about our new kits yet: I gathered our hardware kits together with Matt’s Dintex anorak in mind.  After your enthusiastic response to my post on his new jacket, I thought I would set out to find all of the hardware I could not easily source while sewing his jacket.  That way, you could make the same jacket…but even better!

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We’ve included my favourite anorak snaps (super rugged, super easy to install).

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You’ll also find some awesome reflective YKK zippers that are perfect for dark stormy nights.  The two short zippers are ‘extras’ to use for customising your jackets (you could ad d armpit vents as commonly found in ski jackets or all manner of zippered pockets).

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When purchasing the kit, you can choose between a zipper suited to the Closet Case Files Kelly Anorak or a longer zipper to use on the Hot Patterns Hemmingway Windcheater (which is now back in stock along with the previously sold out Workshirt and Breton Top).

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The toggles and drawstring have been sourced from Rose City Textiles.  A few of you mentioned this outdoor/technical fabric shop when I blogged and Instagram posted about Matt’s Hemmingway jacket.  It is a Portland-based shop that sells mostly to designers and manufacturers…and unfortunately, they are currently going out of business.  They are selling off their wares in large lots so, with wonderful help from staff member, Annette, over a long phone call, I was able to find matching toggles, cord ends, and reflective shock cord perfectly suited to high end outdoor gear!

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In addition to the full kits, I’ve added sets of toggles and cord ends to the shop.  Would you like me to list any of the other materials separately?  For instance, would you prefer to purchase the snaps kits on their own?  Or shock cord by the meter?  I have priced the full kit as the best deal…but not all of you will want the whole kit!  Just let me know what you would like listed individually and I will do so right away.

And, in other news before I sign off:


  • Pattern Review is hosting a Menswear Sewing Contest and we are the sponsor!  Enter for your chance to win a $100 or $50 shopping spree in our store!
  • As I mentioned before, get ready for some big news in the coming weeks (there are two things that I’m keeping secret for now!).  Sign up to receive our email newsletter to make sure you stay in the loop.
  • Did you miss out on your favorite color of waterproof Dintex?  Not to worry!  I’m holding a pre-sale right now.  Simply place your order right now and it will be shipped to you (along with any other goodies you order) as soon as it arrives at our studio.  The pre-sale ends next Tuesday, Nov. 22nd. 10am PST.
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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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The Winter Fabric Collection is here (along with more Dintex!)

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The Thread Theory fabric shop is ready for cold weather!  Meet the cozy capsule collection of winter fabrics:

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These fabrics were chosen so that you can bundle up without feeling like a stuffed sausage.  They are light weight, breathable, extra soft and COZY!

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We’ve stocked this tiny collection with a total of 5 perfect layering fabrics.  Let’s start with outerwear and work our way inwards.

Outer Layer

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This is a wool blend outerwear fabric suited to wet and stormy West Coast weather!  It is actually a Dintex fabric just like the softshell fabric that you guys like so much (more on that fabric later).  The outer layer is a rich warm charcoal knit comprised of hard wearing acrylic and poly blended with wool.  The middle layer is waterproof, windproof and breathable Dintex, and the inner layer is a light weight fleece which is perfect built in insulation.  The end result is not very bulky but would make for an incredibly warm and classy Goldstream Peacoat or Newcastle Cardigan.

If you are like me and hate when lint and dog fur sticks to fabric, I would recommend lining your coat or sweater.  The cozy inner fleece layer tends to pick up bits and might stick to your sweater or shirt.  I think it is best suited to act as a warm layer of insulation rather than a smooth lining.

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Middle Layer

Working our way inwards, the next layer in our winter collection is a luxurious terrycloth sweatshirt knit!

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This warm oatmeal colored 100% cotton terry features a beautifully subtle herringbone design on both the right and wrong side.  Despite how cozy and appealing terry cloth is, I usually avoid it because I find the loose loops on the wrong side of the fabric to be quite annoying and prone to catching on nails or watches and jewellery.  That’s why this terry cloth really gets me excited!  The wrong side is even better than the right side – it doesn’t have loose loops and instead features herringbone ridges of deliciously soft fuzz.  The ridges feel somewhat like velour (VERY SOFT).  You can see the ridges on the top right in the photo collage above.

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This fabric is 300 gsm which means it is not very bulky and will be easy to sew on any machine.  It is an ideal fabric choice for the Newcastle Cardigan or the Finlayson Sweater.

I’ve also stocked the matching ribbing for your hem bands, cuffs and necklines (pictured on the bottom right in the photo collage above).  This ribbing would also pair nicely with the heathered almond bamboo/cotton jersey that we’ve carried in the shop for quite some time.


Base Layer

Now, speaking of bamboo/cotton jersey let’s talk about the base layer in this collection!  We’ve carried quite a few solid colors of bamboo/cotton jersey in our shop ever since we launched the Comox Trunks kit.  The Comox Trunks were designed for this hard wearing, beautifully soft work horse of a fabric.  Well, when I was in Vancouver attending the Association of Sewing and Design Professionals vendor market two weekends ago, I was excited to chat with one of our fabric distributors and find out that my favorite fabric is now available in Breton stripes!

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I’ve added classic navy and white as well as a more sedate heather grey and navy to this winter collection.

 

These fabrics are ideal for any garment that will sit closely against the skin because they breath wonderfully and are so amazingly soft.  They also withstand constant washing and drying like a champ!

I’m imagining these two stripes sewn up into our free Arrowsmith Undershirt pattern, trunks and, of course, classic Breton Tees (the Hot Patterns Weekender Breton Top will be back in stock in our shop soon!).

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Dintex Fabric

As you may have noticed, the winter capsule collection is particularly small.  The entire collection is comprised of only five pieces because I wanted to save room in the budget for a big order of a rainbow of Dintex colors!

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This softshell fabric has such beautiful color options!  I know we are a menswear supply shop…but who could resist that plum color?  I was really wanting to add olive to this collection but unfortunately, olive isn’t available at this time.  I hope it will be in the future!

I hope you enjoy my winter fabric choices.  Head on over to the supply shop to check them out in more detail. >


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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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Association of Sewing and Design Professionals Conference

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This Sunday Matt and I will have a Thread Theory booth set up at the Westin Wall Center in Richmond (near Vancouver, B.C.) for the annual Association of Sewing and Design Professionals Conference.  The vendor area will be open noon until 6pm and the public is welcome (even if you aren’t attending the conference).  Will any of you be able to stop by to say hi in person?

You may have heard of the Association of Sewing and Design Professionals if you read Threads Magazine.  It is an North American organisation with a mission “to support individuals engaged in sewing and design related businesses, in both commercial and home-based settings.” (I pulled that right from their website – you can read all about it here.)  Every year Threads Magazine presents the approximately 400 members with a sewing related challenge and displays the winners in their magazine…this was my first introduction to the talented professionals that are part of this organisation.  Members include recognisable names such as Susan Khalje (couture specialist) and Connie Crawford (pattern designer).  I look forward to meeting many of these talented people in person at the vendor market!

Also, no less thrilling, I will be vending alongside some other very inspiring companies (Blackbird Fabrics!  Clotho! Farthingales! Fit for Art Patterns!).

Even though I enjoy working from home with the world at my fingertips online, it can be extremely refreshing to get out and engage with the sewing industry in person.  It has been just about a year since Matt and I did our last vendor market so it is high time to pack up the car, jump on the ferry, and set up our little booth.  I look forward to a weekend of sewing talk, putting faces to names, and spreading the word about Thread Theory!  Plus…we will be doing a detour to visit Science World like the couple of geeky kids that we are. 😛


Aside from letting you know about the chance to meet face to face, I have two things to share with you today!

  1. You still have a 3 days left to email me with proof that your purchased the PDF Fairfield Button-up before the tissue pattern was released.  I will give you an $11 discount on the tissue pattern to thank you for supporting Thread Theory while you waited for us to send the design to print!  Email me at info@threadtheory.ca
  2. Speaking of the Fairfield, check out this amazing rendition!  Robynne sewed it for her husband (and also sewed her own shirt) for their anniversary photos.  Plus…their dogs are very cute in matching bandannas 🙂

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A sewing podcast at The Sewing Affair

sewing-affair_logoIf you enjoy following sewing blogs, you likely spend a considerable amount of time reading from a computer screen because there are so many excellent sewing blog posts to read through every single day!  I know, for me at least, that this massive quest to stay up to date with the online sewing world can seem a little daunting.  If you’d like a break from the computer screen and some time at your sewing machine instead, I have a solution for you!  Corinne, a fellow B.C. sewist, has recently begun a podcast on her blog, The Sewing Affair.   Thanks to her,  you can now abandon your computer screen and instead spend some quality time with your sewing machine, all the while listening to your favorite bloggers talk about sewing!

So far, there have been five episodes, all approximately an hour long.  Corinne has enthusiastically interviewed some very interesting bloggers/sewers already – the stellar line-up includes the likes of Sunni, from A Fashionable Stitch, Seamstress Erin, Lauren Dahl, and Heather, from Handmade by Heather B!  And…the fifth episode, you might have already surmised by now, is of course an interview with me.

I was greatly honored when Corinne contacted me requesting an interview (it made me feel like a famous person lol).  She was very warm and friendly and her pleasant chatting really helped calm my nerves.  The interview was held over Skype which always makes me a little quiet and uncomfortable to start with (my family can attest to this since they had to slog through countless Skype talks when Matt and I lived across the country for a year).  Plus, I get really nervous when I know my voice is being recorded because I am not nearly as eloquent when speaking as I try to be when writing.  And, last disclaimer…I have a high voice sadly reminiscent of a mouse squeaking :P.  But, all the same, Corinne was really lovely to talk to and it felt more like I was having coffee with a fellow sewist instead of being interviewed!

If you’d like to hear what we talked about (it’ll be like having a bunch of sewing friends chit chatting in your sewing room while you work on your projects), head on over to Corinne’s blog!

And be sure to follow her on Bloglovin’ so that you can keep up with the episodes!