For Men Who Love to Sew

men who love to sew

Sewing is one of those rare fields where women dominate the scene –but there are surely a few men out there who would love to learn to sew at home.  So why don’t we see more guys famously sewing when we have many male fashion designers who have made names for themselves and nearly almost all tailors are men?

The main reason is perhaps the widely held, but fixed and oversimplified, idea that sewing is a task fit only for women. Alas, sewing was on the standard curriculum for girls in high school while the boys were usually taught some kind of industrial arts like carpentry or car repair, weren’t they?  As a result, sewing became something that a woman was expected to know, which she can use as her contribution to her future family.  This was especially true during the time when not so many women worked outside the home.  As a result, sewing was never considered a masculine job or hobby, so much so that men who pick up a needle or work with a sewing machine might even put themselves at the risk of being teased or made fun of.

men who love to sewToday, nearly all books and magazines about sewing are geared almost exclusively to the female audience. These reading materials mostly contain illustrations of the female form and the garments being written about are usually the female wardrobe. Alas, you will be lucky to find a chapter or topic focussed on sewing for men and boys.  Also, marketing for the home sewing industry has almost always exclusively aimed at the female population and this includes advertising for sewing machines, pattern, fabrics, and other promotional ads for sewing materials.

Against all these odds, there are men who love to sew and their message to other men who wants to give it a try is to go ahead, pick up a vintage mechanical sewing machine and give it a whirl, so to speak.  Although it is often not encouraged by our culture, we're fortunate now that a man who wants to sew can now much more easily find a community who shares his interest on the internet.  Indeed, there are a number of male bloggers talking about home sewing and some of them are getting quite popular.

men who love to sew

I think that any man who wants to learn sewing should forget about the stereotype and pursue his interest. Men can take advantage of the information available online and they can even get an online sewing buddy if they like. The truth of the matter is the mechanics of sewing is not so much different from carpentry because sewing is also about measuring, cutting, and construction. In short, sewing is also for you guys to enjoy and should I say: Welcome to the club!

In the world of the internet and blogs, the online system seems to know an awful lot about you. One of the good aspects of that, however, is we can know a lot about our audience and what interests them. It might surprise you to know that around 6-8% of So Sew Easy readers are men. That may not sound like a lot, but considering that So Sew Easy serves around 500,000 users per month, that means that we probably have around 40,000 male readers around the world!

Are you one of our male readers or do you know a man who sews?  Please share this article with him and let us know your comments below.

Sewing ideas for men

For a few good sewing ideas for men who love to sew, please check out the sewing for men roundup we did a year or so ago at:  Sewing for men

Fathers Day sewing ideas – sewing for men

men who love to sew

Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to For Men Who Love to Sew

  1. Em says:

    I see the point of your article and when I taught sewing at a high school I would relate using the sewing machine to driving a car. Accelerator, changing gears, steering being in control etc… we even had a paper road so they could earn their machine licence. So the more people to home sew ultimately the better.

    However (and you have made brief note)…. historically domesticated sewing was women based and dress making had women employees (the man owned it mostly, like my gggf) but the more prestigious tailoring was mostly dominate by men. Look even now to the sewing slave labour in Bangladesh and other Asian countries, mostly women, appalling conditions (I read one whom 9 months pregnant was not permitted to go to loo for 12 hours odd!) because sewing is seen as unskilled (lolrof) and the consumers balk at local people charging a decent (correct) price for sewing, when they can and buy a $1.75 t-shirt (which wouldn’t even feed the farmer of the cotton’s family!) a whole other article me thinks.

    Savile row historically known for famous male tailors, a more prestigious occupation. Also moving further across towards other classically domesticated women’s roles of cooking. Women cook, man chef. Now whilst there are plenty of women chefs out there, how many have the tv coverage, those like Gordon Ramsay, judges on master chef, my kitchen rules. Sure women have won these shows and even have their own ‘cooking’ shows, but in watching some episodes how many have been the five star chef and judges, what roles models are we sending our children?

    Wasn’t also knitting historically an apprenticeship for men? Also men and women worked together with the spinning and weaving I believe.

    You are right there needs to be more males pictures in sewing related text, however I’m also not seeing more girls in the woodwork, metal work and other texts either. The push for girls to go study as engineers and science (Australia is my perspective for all this) has somewhat worked, but then they were like the boys are falling behind! Seems the scales are balanced and then it again tips against us instead of looking at maintaining the balance.

    Can’t society be for all and not split into boys and men versus girls and women? What about the trans sewer or the queer sewer are they visually represented, and what about it all being about race, I’ve not seen ethnic diversity in imagery any texts I’ve read (As a teacher I have a crap load of books, and as living in a huge ethnically diverse society in Australia I’m surprised.)

    Whilst I think your post goes some way towards making a point about equity, as women or girl, there still needs to be a huge equitable shift towards us in other areas too. As a teacher I have also had to smack my head against the wall for 17 years to get others to see how valuable my teaching area is, but it isn’t valued at all. We would all be naked, there would be no car seats, home furnishings, sporting equipment or ‘Supa suits for olympics. But it doesn’t seem to matter, I blame the consumerist fast fashion that started in the 90s for this. Some high schools where I live no longer teacher sewing 😮

    Maybe the focus should be more upon sewing is skilled and challenging, anyone can learn it. Pay appropriately towards the clothes you buy.

  2. John says:

    Years ago I used to watch my ex sew haute couture garments for her work. I helped her cut out some pieces and back others but I didn’t do much else.
    Over the course of time, I have tried many different hobbies on for size. I’ve enjoyed carpentry, wiring, plumbing and various home renovation pursuits, watercolouring, cooking, and baking.
    One day I decided to risk the purchase of a sewing machine and had a go at making a shirt that I still wear. I have been hooked ever since. I have been trying to refine my techniques to a more and more professional level but am still hunting around for a good pattern I can use and find I am challenged with dyslexia that gets in the way every now and then.
    I’ve made about ten shirts now, multiple boxer shorts, blankets and Dopp kits, cup holders, as well as a dress for a friend, to wear to a wedding and it never ceases to be a truly absorbing pastime where you can always find another place you can improve.
    Any help I can get in that area is always greatly appreciated.

    Here's my pic:

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      These shorts are fantastic John, what else are you looking to make? I am happy to make some cargo pants pattern, would you like to become a pattern tester?

  3. Mark Gardner says:

    My mom taught me to see when I was young. Now I have 3 singers, a 31-15, a 29-4 and a 29k71, an American Straight Needle and an old Montgomery Ward. I started off repairing the machines because I am amazed at all the moving parts and how the all interact to get the job done. Then with functional machines I needed to do something with them so I am teaching myself leather working and have been making all sorts of stuff.

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Hey Mark, I am hoping you load a picture of your leather work as it turns out I am also teaching myself leather work. You are a nice set of machines with the great advantage that you know how to repair them. So much of the frustration of sewing is about not knowing the machine. Looking forward to your work.

  4. Sylvia Lee S says:

    My grandfather owned a dry cleaners and had an old antique sewing machine that he did alterations on. He was quite good. So yes, men can sew! No one ever thought anything strange about my grandfather’s ability to sew and he did alterations for the entire little town he lived in. As a very little girl I fell in love with sewing and have been sewing ever since. I’m now almost 62 and it is still an addiction to me.

  5. gerri nathanson-cook says:

    My husband loves to piece quilts, I won’t let him use my quilting machine or he would quilt them too. He is quite good at it and it helps him with his battle with cancer to know that he can still be creative even if he can’t do his woodworking anymore.

  6. Carl Strohmenger says:

    Some time ago, I was involved in making and using kayaks. As part of that activity, I put together “cockpit skirts” which involved sewing ripstop nylon and elastic materials to make the “skirt” that seals the paddler to the cockpit rim fora watertight seal that prevents water from leaking into the inside of the kayak. It allows the paddler to invert (ie turn upside-down) to view the watery environment from below and then invert again to recover the upright orientation. Lots of fun!
    Beyond that, my only experience with sewing has been replacing lost buttons on shirts.

  7. Bev Stapleton says:

    I really love this article. I know a few men, including my husband, who would love to sew except for the perceived social stigma. I’m going to have him read this article and hopefully, he’ll give sewing a try. Thanks so much for this!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *