Wednesday, May 27, 2015

New Arrival: New Thread Theory Design Inc. Patterns

I'm proud to announce that we have the newest patterns from Thread Theory Design Inc. Based out of British Colombia, Canada, the husband and wife duo of Morgan and Matthew, create a line of men's clothing patterns. There is a definite void of men's patterns in the sewing world and thankfully they help fill part of the void. I interviewed Morgan last summer during the 'In the Studio' series. 


We are now carrying the Finlayson SweaterJutland Pant and the Camas Blouse (which is a women's pattern). 

Men can be picky about their handmade garments. They don't want them to look too handmade. They need to be just right! There are a lot of factors to consider -- techniques used to make it look store-bought, ease of use and fabrics.  


I think the hardest part can be selecting the right fabrics. Men's clothing is so much plainer than women's clothing and a bit more rugged. I took a look through my husband's closet and I found - medium-heavy weight pants fabric such as cotton twill, polyester/rayon blends (for dress pants) and denim. None of his pants had stretch like there is in women's clothes. He has a number of buttondown shirts for work, which are mostly cotton or cotton/polyester blends. On to the knits in his closet -- mostly the performance knits such as the fabric used in golf polo shirts. Then of course the basic t-shirt knit that usually doesn't have stretch (or lycra) and is more of an interlock or heavier jersey. And lastly, fleece, sweatshirt fleece and flannel finished off the list.

The Finlayson Sweater is a grown-up version of your typical hoodie. For this pattern you want find medium-heavy weight knits such as heavy interlock, heavy slub knit, lightweight sweatshirt fleece, french terry or any other medium-heavy knit. If you're lucky enough to find a matching rib knit, that would be suitable for the cuffs and hem.


The Jutland Pant is a casual work or hiking pant or classic denim pant. Omit the cargo pockets and create a more dressy pant to wear to the office. It also includes a variety of features that make it suitable for hiking or more rugged use such as hem and knee reinforcement, an optional lining for uncomfortable waterproof fabrics and more. For a casual look, use pant weight fabrics such as denim, twill and other cotton and synthetic bottomweights. For a dressier look, use heavier suiting fabrics in wool, cotton, or polyester blends. I wouldn't recommend light weight suiting fabrics because it may look sloppy on a pattern that is slated for heavier fabrics. 


For those of you that don't want to sew for men or your man is picky and doesn't want to be sewn for, they have come out with the Camas Blouse. This pattern is to be made from knit fabrics. The intent is to have a comfortable shirt that feels like a t-shirt, but looks better than a t-shirt.


The recommended fabrics include lightweight stretch knits such as rayon, silk, modal, cotton or bamboo jersey. We always have a great selection of jersey knits which you can check out HERE

When selecting the fabrics to use in these men's patterns, look at men's clothing like I did. I would never use an ITY knit for my husband's shirts. Nor would I use a ponte knit for them. If they look like a women's fabric and you've never seen them in men's clothing, don't use them. Stick with cotton and blend knits in various light-medium to medium-heavy weight. Don't pick tissue or really like jerseys. It is too light for men. For bottoms, pick heavier fabrics (at least for Thread Theory patterns). If you're going to make more professional, office garments, then you may consider lighter weight suitings such as tropical weights or rayon blend suitings. And of course shirting fabric for buttondown shirts.

We carry  entire Thread Theory Design Inc. pattern line. Check them out HERE. And don't forget, Father's Day is around the corner and what better gift to give is a handmade gift!

Have you ever sewed for the men in your life? How is sewing for men different than women? Do you have any suggestions for our readers?

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Made by a Fabricista: Color Blocked Maxi Dress

When the latest release of Vogue Patterns was posted, I was immediately drawn to this one- Vogue 9104. The two tone soft wave effect reminded me of an ice cream sundae, an ocean wave, a sand dune. Ahh- just so organic and relaxing. I just couldn't wait to make it. The only question was what fabric to use?


The pattern suggested crepe de chine, broadcloth or jersey.  I chose two rayon jerseys from Fabric Mart, and ordered 3 yards of each color. The fabric shrunk quite a bit after the first washing, and I was left with 2-1/2 yards of each. That sounds like a lot of fabric, but the dress really took the entire length of it. I do have some bits and pieces left that I'm hoping to piece together another top.


Rayon jerseys have many pluses- they drape beautifully, they are extremely soft and silky to the touch, and are breathable. On the minus side- they tend to grow longer as the day goes on, so you have to do something to stabilize areas like necklines and armholes, and you need to adjust the overall length.



So, for this dress, I first folded out about 4" of length from the pattern before cutting. I removed 1" across the chest, so that it would shorten the armhole length. I removed 2" in the main body at the shorten/length line, and I removed 1" at the lower layer hemline. 



I'm 5' 9" and if I made this out of a woven fabric, I would have added about 3" in length, so removing 4" gives you an idea of just how much a rayon jersey will grow. I'm even wearing 3" heels in these photos! 


To stabilize the armhole area, I adhered a 1cm strip of fusible interfacing around the seam line of the armhole when it was flat. Then, instead of a facing, I just turned under the raw edges and stitched in place. The fusible interfacing keeps the armhole from lengthening. Very important if you don't want to show your bra.


The other change that I made to the pattern was that I chose to simplify the neckline.  It is designed for an interfaced neckband and a loop and button closure in the back. I skipped the interfacing, and just sewed the band in a circle, so that I can pull this over my head. I actually tried it on before adding the bottom layer, and it looked good, so this pattern could easily be a shorter dress, just by removing the lower piece. The dress has in-seam pockets as well. Thank you, Vogue! I love a dress with pockets!


We took these pictures on a windy day- the skirt would normally hang straight down, but I kind of like the dramatic effect the wind has on it. Made from a light weight knit, this is almost a one size fits all dress. I say "almost" because of the length. But if you are wearing a belt, you can pull up the extra length and blouse it over the belt. 


I made this to wear to my daughter's college graduation party. It was comfortable and everyone loved it. I hope that I'll have more occasions to wear it this summer. It seems a little dressy for every day wear, but honestly, it is so comfortable that it feels like I'm wearing pajamas.  

It would be fun to make this from some other color combinations. Can you see it in black and white?  Or how about orange and grey? Or burgundy and lavender? So many possibilities! Alas, one of this style is enough for me, so I will have to wait to see what other people make and enjoy.

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Made by a Fabricista: Summer Sunburst Tova



Hello!  I'm glad to be back on the Fabric Mart blog and joining the other Fabricistas with a new summer project for May. Well, I may have been one of the few people on the sewing planet that hadn't made Wiksten's Tova Tunic, but folks things have finally changed. I'm bringing summer in with a sunny sunburst Tova.


There are plenty of reviews of the Tova tunic out there so there's no need for me to review it here. But I will say although the blouse has simple lines and lends itself to all types of fabrics and embellishments, I wouldn't recommend it for a beginner. It's a seasonless pattern and would be a great project for an intermediate sewer.


Some time ago I pinned a Steven Alan shirt onto my I Wanna Make This Pinterest board because I loved the fabric. Eureka! I found it! Fabric Mart's abstract bursts 100% lightweight handkerchief linen in white, blue and pale coral is just that fabric! This linen is lighter than any other I've ever worked with but still is crisp like other linens. I machine washed and dried it before I cut it out and it came out lovely.


The colors are beautiful in this fabric and I decided to highlight the coral on the bib of the tunic using embroidery thread and my sewing machine. Reverse bobbin work is popular among art quilters but I don't often see it anywhere else. Quilters take decorative threads that don't fit through sewing machine needles and wind them on the bobbin instead.  When you sew from the wrong side, the decorative thread from the bobbin shows through on the right side.


For the reverse bobbin work, I used DMC embroidery floss and wound it by hand on a bobbin and loaded it into my machine without changing any settings. Don't be afraid...just do it...it'll be okay.



Working from the back of the blouse, I stitched along the seam line of the bib of the tunic so the bobbin thread would show on the front.  It's as easy as that.


It's subtle but isn't it pretty?  I also added some to the band of the sleeve.  Once you get going it's hard to stop. And yes, reverse bobbin work washes well.



I ended up shortening the blouse 4" (I found it longer than the drawing suggests) but otherwise made no other changes. I will probably make it again this fall in a cozy flannel. Wouldn't it be great? But right now I'll enjoy my new sunny blouse.


  Have you made a Tova?


Happy almost summer everyone!
Diane - Gatorbunnysews