You don't need a sewing machine, you don't need patternmaking skills, and you sure as hell don't have to go to fashion school.
For the first time ever, people with no experience in fashion design or sewing can make their own custom shirts and get professional-level results, too. ThreadLab uses modular components that you select and then assemble in minutes using a simple home iron. The secret is a special heat-activated adhesive film developed for the high-end sportswear industry.
How ThreadLab Works:
By using modular components, users can select from a wide variety of elements to make their own custom shirts that stand apart from the sea of mass-manufactured clothing, while simultaneously looking as professional as a made-to-order sewn shirt.
ThreadLab uses a special heat activated adhesive that was developed for the high-end sportswear industry. Originally used in applications where a bonded seam was preferable to a sewn seam to eliminate bulk, ThreadLab uses it to form permanent bonds with cotton shirting. All that's needed to put your kit together is a normal home iron. The heat and pressure from the iron is enough to cause the adhesive strip to permanently bond the two layers of cotton shirting together. Care is easy, just launder at home in cold water and hang to dry. You can still iron the shirt like normal to smooth out wrinkles.
Dyeing & Applying color:
There are a great selection of colors available to dye your ThreadLab shirt, and applying them is incredibly easy. Simply toss the dye packet into your top-loading washing machine with your ThreadLab shirt. The water-soluble dye packet will dissolve, leaving behind gorgeous color. After rinsing and drying, your shirt can be worn and laundered like normal!
The fashion industry is a top-down system. Let's flip things around and make our own rules.
For most people, having someone else design the products they buy is just fine. But for the rest of us who want to design things ourselves, we're stuck with having to invest a lot of time, energy, and money into making that happen. If you've ever tried making a piece of clothing from scratch, you'll understand why most people just don't bother any more when it's so easy to buy something off the rack. But that means there's tons of great ideas going to waste.
ThreadLab removes the steps between the design of the product and the customers by empowering people to make their own styles. You don't need to know sewing, or patternmaking, or even set foot in a fabric store anymore. By providing the modular components, an easy assembly system, and a clever way to apply color, the playing field has been leveled. Now any guy who's ever wanted to make awesome, one-of-a-kind clothing can do so.
ThreadLab's unique approach to custom clothing:
Custom clothing is usually one of either two things: an expensive made-to-order garment that takes forever to receive, or—even worse—a weird homemade disaster. But mass-manufactured apparel leaves little room for customization which results in endless repetition. By combining the best of both worlds, ThreadLab provides the quality of large-scale manufacturing with the unique aspects of custom bespoke apparel. This not only places unique, one-off fashions within reach for many more people, but it also opens up the whole design process to everyone. And quickly, too! You can get a ThreadLab shirt kit in the afternoon and wear your finished design the same evening!
ThreadLab is going to democratize the market for custom clothing, starting with men's shirts!
ThreadLab Shirt Components
Pick either the Long Sleeve or Short Sleeve Shirt Body as the foundation...
Then select your collar...
Choose your cuffs (MK I Long Sleeve only)
And then decide on a pocket. Or four.
The colors we plan to offer at launch:
These colors have been tested and work well, but they are only a general guide. Things like water temperature, dilution, and duration in dye bath will affect the exact shade. We haven't had consistent success with a rich, even black, but we'll keep testing!
ThreadLab Size Chart
Made in the USA
We believe in the great tradition of American manufacturing. Locally, the San Francisco Bay Area is home to a talented workforce and well-equipped base of garment factories. The factory that we've chosen to work with is a member of the SF Chamber of Commerce, and a fantastic partner with ThreadLab. Together, we're committed to bringing jobs and manufacturing back to America.
Where we're at now:
Since its filing its articles of organization in July of 2012, ThreadLab, LLC has been racing to get out in front of the DIY market with an awesome, easy to use product that is going to help hundreds—hopefully someday thousands—of guys create designs they can be proud of.
We've had tremendous success with our ThreadLab prototypes. With a little encouragement, guys that have never sewn before are able to make really awesome, wearable shirts in practically no time. We've spent hours working out the kinks with regard to fit, construction, and our special adhesive. After a some initial confusion trying to explain to garment factories that we didn't want them to make finished shirts, we've found a great local manufacturer to handle our manufacturing.
We are fully poised to take the both the DIY market and the apparel industry by storm!
January 2013: Reach out to backers, compile a list of sizes, options and addresses. Order fabric & deliver trims to the factory.
February 2013: Cut & sew at factory. Time = 6 weeks
Mid-March 2013: Production complete. Package and prepare shipments to our Kickstarter supporters.
April 2013: Ship!
We need your help to make this dream a reality.
ThreadLab is a great idea, but great ideas can only happen if enough people believe in it too. We can't do it alone, but together we can turn consumers into Makers.
We've raised enough money so far to form a legit company (ThreadLab, LLC), as well as make a bunch of prototypes, find the right adhesive, hire models, produce videos, submit patent applications, and test dying. But we need at least $8000 from the Kickstarter community to meet the fabric and manufacturing minimums that we face.
Please support ThreadLab's Kickstarter campaign by becoming a financial backer today.
This campaign will end in 30 days. After that, our quotes on materials and manufacturing will expire, so we absolutely have to reach our goal by then. Not only that, but if we don't hit our goal, we won't see any of the money pledged and ThreadLab will remain a concept. It's all or nothing.
So in addition to becoming a backer, please share this page with friends on Facebook, blogs, tumblr, pinterest, and twitter.
The Story Continues at ThreadLab.net
Be sure to check back over the course of the campaign for updates, and subscribe to our mailing list and visit our blog at threadlab.net/blog.
Also, we'd love to talk to you!
Call ThreadLab directly at (415) DIY-0921 (that's 1-415-349-0921)
Or email email@example.com
Thank you so much to the entire Kickstarter community! You rock!
Risks and challenges
The apparel industry has its own set of unique challenges and risks, including the following:
PRODUCT QUALITY & FIT
Every body is different. We know how hard it is to find shirts that fit correctly, and that's why we've spent so much time getting the fit dialed in. Backers can expect to receive a shirt that is sized using standard US measurements. The fit is typical of a "Tailored" or "Modern" shirt (think less K-Mart and more J. Crew). Our sizes will run S-XL (see the size chart in the section above). We've graded our patterns to give a great fitting shirt that's going to look fantastic on the majority of men out there.
Still, clothing ordered online may not fit exactly as anticipated. The shirt body can be tried on before assembly to get a good feel of how it will fit, and if an exchange is required, our backers can exchange their kit for one in a different size.
MANUFACTURING & SOURCING
Since we are essentially making only two basic shirt bodies and small trim pieces, and everything is made from the same cotton fabric in the same color, we've already mitigated potential coordination headaches. Other brands have to make sure they have the correct amount of materials for each style and color, but our business model and product offering eliminates that pitfall.
Still, the cost of cotton could rise unexpectedly, or a particular quality of trim or fabric or construction may not be up to par. Should any of these events occur, we have two ways of dealing with it, and can use either or both as the needed:
1) Move production to another mill or factory. We are fortunate in the Bay Area to have such a large, talented workforce, and we've visited and gotten pricing from three different sewing contractors that can handle the manufacturing of ThreadLab kits. These factories have experience making things for medium and large size companies. We also have more than one mill to order fabric from, and have some padding built into the schedule if we shift our sourcing.
2) Cover the cost of any late changes ourselves. We will first use the small margin built into the pricing of the rewards tiers to cover any cost overruns. Beyond that, ThreadLab will use its cash reserves to close any remaining gap. You'd better believe we want this project to succeed as badly as you do, and we'll do whatever it takes to make sure that it does!
Once we take delivery of the finished kits from the factory, we'll take a couple weeks to package everything for our backers and confirm mailing addresses. We will be leaning hard on our family and friends in this part of the process! Which leads us to the next bit...
IN THE EVENT OF EPIC DEMAND
We certainly wouldn't be the first Kickstarter project to bump into this problem, so we've taken the advice of other past success stories and laid out contingency plans in the event of monster support from backers. Those include making sure our factory partner can take on additional units, making sure we have available yardage ready to order from the mills, and even finding a backup order fulfillment and warehousing service. ThreadLab is ready to pull the trigger on any or all of these if the demand is greater than expected.
AND FINALLY, A PROMISE
ThreadLab is the cumulative result of months of networking, hand sewing prototypes, drafting and redrafting patterns, trying different adhesives and dyes, and visiting garment factories. Its foundation is quite literally the blood, sweat, and tears of a small, committed team. More than anything, we want to see this project through, and to empower you with the ability to make awesome, unique clothes. We promise to do whatever it takes to make that possible!
CONSULTANT: We can't do this without you! For your $1 contribution, we'll follow you on Twitter and list you as a backer on our website (if you want). You'll also stay in the loop with updates and be able to leave us comments on our Kickstarter page!
INTERN: Not only will you get a follower on twitter and your name in lights on the ThreadLab website, you'll also get a totally sweet ThreadLab logo sticker! Silkscreened onto durable vinyl by the sexy peeps at Sticker Robot, this thank-you gift is perfect for slapping on your desk, water bottle, or car!
DESIGNER: Already own a great shirt that could use an extra pocket? For $15 you'll get your choice of any one of the four ThreadLab pockets that's ready to be bonded to an existing cotton shirt. You'll also get the rewards from the $1 and $5 contributor levels, too.
MK II: At this pledge level, you'll get a Mark II Short Sleeve Shirt Kit, 1 Dye Packet, 1 Pocket, and 1 Collar. We'll be in touch after the Kickstarter campaign to get your sizing info and let you pick out color & pocket/collar styles. You'll also get your name listed on our website as one of our backers. Woohoo!
MK II PLUS: The ultimate in customization for the Mark II Short Sleeve Shirt; You get the MK II kit, 2 Dye Packets, 2 Pockets, and 1 Collar. Now you can add different contrasting colors besides white! We'll be in touch with you after the Kickstarter campaign ends to have you pick out your options. You'll also be listed on our site as a backer.
MK I: The classic Mark I Long Sleeve Shirt, plus 1 Dye Packet, 1 Pocket, 1 Collar, and a pair of Cuffs. You'll have a chance to pick out which style and color you'd like your kit to have after the close of the Kickstarter campaign. You too get to be listed as a backer on our site!
MK I PLUS: Our personal favorite; The MK I Long Sleeve Shirt Kit with 2 Dye Packets, 2 Pockets, 1 Collar, and a pair of Cuffs. All size info and options will be collected from you after the end of the Kickstarter campaign. You also get a shout-out on our website!
DUO (Save $10): 1 Mark I Long Sleeve Shirt Kit & 1 Mark II Short Sleeve Kit, plus 2 Dye Packets, 2 Pockets, 2 Collars, and one pair of Cuffs. It's the best of both worlds! Will you make a long sleeve and a short sleeve version of the same shirt? It's up to you! We'll be in touch to get your sizing info and options after the Kickstarter campaign ends. You also get a mention on our website as a ThreadLab backer!
DUO PLUS (Save $20): You'll get one Mark I Long Sleeve Shirt Kit, one Mark II Short Sleeve Kit, 4 Dye Packets, 4 Pockets, 2 Collars, and a pair of Cuffs. We'll follow up with you to get your size and options later. You also get listed on our Kickstarter hall of fame! The only question is, with two awesome shirts, which one will you wear first?
MK II COMBO (Save $25): Not only will you have our respect and admiration, but you'll also be receiving 3 Mark II Short Sleeve Kits, 6 Dye Packets, 6 Pockets, and 3 Collars. We will get your size preferences and options after the end of the Kickstarter launch. Plus you'll get your name up on our website as one of our early backers! Sweet!
MK I COMBO (Save $40): Similar to the above, but you'll be getting 3 Mark I Long Sleeve Shirt Kits, 6 Dye Packets, 6 Pockets, 3 Collars, and 3 pairs of Cuffs. We will be reaching out to you after the end of our Kickstarter launch to get your size and options. You too get to be mentioned on our site if you wish!
FULL WEEK OF SHIRTS (Save $75): Hey, big spender! To thank you for your magnificent show of support, you'll get whole mess of shirts coming your way. We'll send you 5 Mark I Long Sleeve Kits (one for each day of the week), 2 Mark II Short Sleeve Kits (to wear on weekends), as well as 10 Dye Colors, 10 Pockets, 7 Collars, and 5 pairs of Cuffs. Why not have some friends over and do a ThreadLab Party?! You'll have a chance to get us your sizing info and options after the Kickstarter campaign. We'll also list your name on our site in a special section for our backers!