Thread Theory

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


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Studio Tour

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My parents and grandparents were over for a family dinner last weekend (my Mom’s birthday).  After dinner everyone gathered in my studio to have a peek at some of the projects I’ve been working on.  It had been a while since they had been in my studio, and, since we only moved in to our home 5 months ago it had changed greatly since their last inspection!  After checking out all of the customising I have done, my dad said it was high time for a studio photo shoot to share my space with you on the blog.  So here it is!

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My studio space is really the reason we decided to buy the house (Matt and I joke when we say this but it is at least partially true).  It is a nicely converted garage with gabled ceilings, two huge windows and LOADS of lighting options.

When we first moved in, Matt’s mom and dad devoted a weekend of their time to paint the studio with us.  Matt’s mom was still painting the trim when Matt, his Dad, and I enthusiastically moved everything in to the room.  I was eager to start using my space!

Since then I’ve slowly puttered away at adding functional details to the room…my latest small additions are three hooks on the wall for my scissors:

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I set up my sewing machines in front of the window so that I have the best natural light (and a view of the kids playing on the cul de sac) while I sew.

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My most used work area is my big oak desk.  It is a beat up old provincial government desk that Matt and I purchased when we lived in Victoria and have lugged along with every move since!  It’s a bit of a beast but I really love having such a huge work surface (it is usually covered with all sorts of paperwork).

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My seat cushion features a lovely little bit of embroidery that I made using one of my friend Sarah’s gorgeous bug themed embroidery patterns.  She just released a bunch of Christmas themed embroidery patterns that would make gorgeous ornaments and a great project to work on while sitting by the fire.  She also has a vintage sewing machine pattern – I definitely need to add that one to my studio decor.

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All of the smaller items that I stock in the shop are sorted on large barn-wood shelves throughout the studio.

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The barn wood is salvaged from an old horse stall that we pulled down while house sitting last year.  The building was no longer structurally sound but, once dried out, some of the wood was in decent shape.

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It’s pretty tough to find such wide, long and beautiful solid wood boards these days!  I feel lucky to have these.  They are very practical for me (I like open storage) and they are full of character.

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I’ve affixed my most used bobbins to the underside of one of the shelves using a couple of magnetic strips.  They are directly above my thread rack so it is easy to keep track of matching colors.

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My yarn is stored in three massive baskets that I sewed using the canvas, strapping and screen prints that we include in our Carry-All Bag Making Kit.

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I used this great tutorial to create these…but increased the dimensions by A LOT to make massive versions.

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I found a male dress form (pinnable!) at a second hand consignment shop a few months ago and was over the moon about it as I have been longing for one ever since I left behind the great mannequins available at design school.

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The mannequin didn’t have a stand…but…I mentioned my desire for a stand to my parents while they were admiring the studio and, low and behold, I now have one!  Just two days ago, my Dad dropped by with one that he made for me!

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He re-purposed the disk brake from an old vehicle, painted it with left over spray paint from another old vehicle, lathe turned a beautiful wooden base out of a scrap of wood, used a stainless pole and mount from the sailboat that he recently refitted to sail to Hawaii, and rigged up a system to fit it to the mannequin’s empty attachment point!  My dad is the best sort of Renaissance man :D.

I would be remiss to give you a studio tour without showing you my studio companion and his favourite place to hang out!

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Luki may look serene here but in reality he is quivering with excitement while neighbourhood cat-watching.

Needless to say, my timid little cat, Jasmine, does not share office hours with Luki.  Even though she can easily boss him around, she generally likes to avoid him and prefers to come to work in the evening and night (she blooms at night, just like the Jasmine flower).  She likes to help me sew by sitting on my fabric (classic).

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She loves the corner of the studio I’ve devoted to her – it is complete with a great viewpoint, a selection of feathers, and a stash of homegrown catnip.

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I hope you found this peek into the Thread Theory studio interesting!  Time for me to get back to work!

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And, just to remind any of you who missed yesterday’s post – all PDF patterns are 50% off in our shop until Monday!  Check out the largest sale of the year >

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New Sewing Studio

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A few weeks ago I mentioned that I was moving Thread Theory into a new studio space.  Now that I’m all settled in it’s time to tell you all about it!

Sewing Studio Before (1 of 3)

Back track to early January when I had no immediate plans to move Thread Theory out of our home office.  After all, we only just moved in to our home last July!  I had only just finished working out an office set up in our new house!

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One day I was checking Facebook and happened to see that my sewing friend and fellow entrepreneur, Nicole, (who owns and operates the Spool Sewing Studio) had found a very affordable second floor studio space right downtown.  She was looking for someone to share the space with her.  I spent about a week daydreaming but not actually intending to act on the idea.  One evening, during our weekly squash game, I asked her if she had found a studio buddy and was, within minutes, swept up by her enthusiasm for the space and agreed to share the rent with her!

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We spent a few weeks scrubbing, painting, building furniture, and moving everything in to the space.  I occupy one room (it’s filled with Thread Theory inventory and my sewing machines) and The Spool Sewing Studio occupies the other.  I have plans to move my computer and other office supplies into the studio this summer but have decided to take the move in phases so that Thread Theory can continue to operate smoothly.

We held an open house last weekend and were thrilled to meet a steady stream of sewing enthusiasts throughout the day!  It was so much fun to be in a public atmosphere after three years of operating Thread Theory from the quiet (and sometimes lonely) office in my home.

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In the photo above you can see Nicole’s room compete with a long sewing table, lots of festive banners, a big bright window, a tea centre, and a super helpful 5 year old (Nicole’s daughter who is already becoming a talented sewist!).

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Tea is a real staple at the studio.  While our two businesses operate entirely seperately, the one thing we have agreed to do together is share the cost of a well stocked tea station.  We take turns buying tea from the local tea shop one street over.  Priorities, right?  We also have a big closet space that we’ve set up with a bar fridge and snack baskets so, aside from tea, we always have a steady supply of chocolate and other snacks.

The Spool Sewing Studio classes usually take place in the evenings and on weekends so I am generally alone while working in the studio on weekdays.  Even though no one is working alongside me, it is still much more interactive than working from home – the large window in my space gives me a great view of the town library and all the people coming and going.  Every once in a while someone pops in to say hi or to ask a sewing related question.  Sometimes I see someone that I know walking down the street and can wave to them from our second floor window.  It’s so nice to be connected to the community!  I am a complete introvert so I feel comfortable and cozy working from home.  I never feel cabin fever too drastically and sometimes dread leaving my nice quiet space to head out into society :P.  Even though I enjoy working from home, it can sometimes feel too comfortable.  It is much healthier for me to be out in the public engaging with other human beings!  I’m glad the new studio gives me the opportunity to do this.


 

I’ll show you more photos of my actual space (since most of the ones in this post feature Nicole’s side of the studio) in the future…I couldn’t share them right now because our inventory shelves are currently laden with secret new items that have yet to be released in our shop!  I don’t want to spill the beans!  Until I am able to take photos of my space, I’ll leave you with this super cute family photo which Matt snapped while Nicole’s husband, Scott, was using the sewing machine for the first time.  He’s a talented wood worker and remarked that the process was very much like operating his power tools.  He very quickly got the hang of it and now, one of the batik pendants that adorn the studio space was made by him!

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If anybody reading this post happens to visit Courtenay, B.C. please feel free to drop by the studio to say hi and have a cup of tea!  We are at #1-345 6th St. Courtenay.  I am at the studio most weekday afternoons but you can always email me at info@threadtheory.ca to make sure I will be there.


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Plans for our new studio!

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We have big changes coming up this Summer both personally and professionally as Matt and I will be moving – and, by default, our in-home Thread Theory studio will also be changing locations!  We’ve been in a small duplex rancher for the last year and a half and, what with our many boxes of Thread Theory patterns and our recent acquisition of a large, rambunctious dog, we have become pretty cramped!  Fortunately, we recently stumbled upon the most amazing long term house sitting opportunity.  So this summer we’ll be moving into what Matt and I consider to be our dream house.  It’s a 2500 sq ft home on 2 acres.  The house overlooks some beautiful farmland and mountains and the owners have lovingly renovated it to take full advantage of the view.  The entire house is completely filled with bright, open light and just walking into it I feel inspired to live life to the fullest!  It’s going to be VERY difficult to move out when the owners arrive home from their travels!

While I’m obviously really excited to move for personal reasons, I am also looking forward to creating a more workable and inspiring space for Thread Theory.  I don’t often show photos of the current Thread Theory studio on the blog because it isn’t the light, airy, brick walled space that so many other sewing professionals seem to occupy (sigh…so envious of Tilly’s studio and the Colette Patterns studio!).  But, in the interest of full disclosure and accurate ‘before & after’ photos, here is what we are currently working with as of today:

The current Thread Theory studio includes a computer station created in a re-purposed dining room/entry hall…

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A bedroom stuffed with my sewing machines, cutting table and fabric…

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A corner of Matt’s ‘shop’ (a tiny spare bedroom) filled with packaging materials…

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…and a hallway of shelved closets with the doors removed as our pattern storage and Thread Theory ‘store’.

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While the spaces themselves aren’t ideal, I love some of the elements within our current Thread Theory studio – I would just prefer these elements to be arranged in a more open concept and spacious manner.

Here are a few things I love and plan to transition to the new space:

I really enjoy working on my pinning and cutting table (view the tutorial to create this padded table top here)…

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I love my industrial sewing machine…

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…and our standing desk has done wonders for my back and my ability to focus.

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In the new space I hope to add a few new features:

Fabric Bolt Storage and Packaging Station

I hope to switch from this:

To something like this:

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Lighting – Natural and Artificial

Pendant lights would be lovely above the standing desk and my cutting table.  And I hope to position the studio furniture to take full advantage of the amazing natural light throughout the house!

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Organization – Shipping Station, Seating, Office Supplies

This will be a dramatic change.  We’ll get rid of this chaos:

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And we will try to incorporate some practical elements such as shelving topped by work tables, seating that takes up very little space (my current sewing chair is way too massive), and movable organization carts.

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In case you are also planning to re-organize or upgrade your sewing room, here are a few more really inspiring links to check out!