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 risk of being teased or made fun of.
Today, 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 been exclusively aimed at the female population and this includes advertising for sewing machines, patterns, 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.
I think that any man who wants to learn to sew 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 are not so much different from carpentry because sewing is also about measuring, cutting, and constructing. 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 1,00,000 users per month, that means that we probably have around 60,000 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 few years ago at: Sewing for men
I have been sewing for about 20 years and most of what I sew is my own clothes, bags and accessories.
I’ve been sewing my own clothes on and off for over fifty years. It’s a great skill to have and, more importantly, allows me to bring colour into the universally dull male wardrobe! Since 2020 I’ve been doing a lot of hand sewing too – why? because I can!
Adam.from the UK
Bravo! Adam from the UK. Can I have the honor of seeing your clothing?
Hey all, Im a Male Sewist in the PNW and I absolutely love it when I get to work on projects with my daughter!
Ever been to New York! Men sewing, fine tailoring. I bought a coat in Chicago, same thing all men there. My husband started helping me with color choices, then morphed over to helping with fitting, then sewing, realizing that it was like construction, just softer and didn’t require climbing a ladder! Thanks for reminding us to keep our minds open.
Indeed the best tailors I have seen in London, NY, Milano, Florence, Paris, Tokyo, Singapore, Shanghai and Sydney are all men.
I just started sewing on our new Singer 4452 last night, as a man, to repair a fraying kitchen cleaning cloth as a practice scrap. It took a YouTube video reference to get it going, but was fun to get started. I am reminded of my late grandma who taught me how to sew when I was 7 years old. Now at 39 my love wife & I are both into the idea of DIY fabricating clothing, tailoring clothings, customizing, upgrading, making, hobby, crafting etc : Its fun to make something yourself. I started baking bread as a hobby with flour, salt, water & yeast, in an enamel coated steel dutch oven, inside our electric oven to make French style boule loaves, smaller for testing & tuning the recipe. After 10 of those I started playing with mixes of rye flour & regular flour, now on my 3rd Rye bread test load today 🙂 Happy Hollidays. You’re very beautiful Mayra Cecilia, both your mind & this blog & in your images 🙂 Woot Woo, glad to find this site! Cheers & thanks for the inspiration posting! I am learning to sew as a man!
It’s great that you’re sewing!
My husband of 45 years sews (quilts) and bought his own Brother sewing machine. Last Christmas I made him a cover for his machine and appliqued “Man Sewing” and a red pickup truck on it. I have attached a picture of one of his quilts.
WOW! Impressive, Please congratulate him for me. I don’t quilt; I find it very difficult.
My mother forbid me to touch her sewing machine. When my parents were on holiday, I bought myself a pair of Jordache jeans not knowing they need to be hemmed. That would have been about 1984. Guess what I did? I touched my mothers sewing machine and hemmed the legs of my new jeans. Months later my mother complained that someone had used her machine. For what it’s worth, she was blaming people long before I used the machine and is still blaming people for messing up her settings. I didn’t do a thing with it other than sew my hem. I knew there was enough thread in the bobbin and I didn’t care what colour it was because most people wouldn’t see it anyways.
I also always wanted to learn to knit and my mother started to teach me when I was 4 or 5 but abruptly stopped. I expressed interest again when I was around 10 but my mother refused. I later found out that she thought that if she taught me how to knit that it would turn me gay. The funny/sad thing is that when I met my future wife my mother got all messed up saying I was leaving her and she told me she wished I was gay. I laughed and said “Well I guess you should’ve taught me to knit then”.
I have at least 4 or 5 sewing machines and a serger. All the sewing machines were found at Value Village for no more than $25 each. My wife won’t let me bring anymore home even though Ive seen some really nice machines.
I tried my hand at sewing a few years ago. I was bound and determined to make a better pair of underwear so I started making underwear for my boys. It didn’t go over well. LOL!
I did make some really nice dog bed/pillows out of upholstery material. Everyone thought they were beautiful and wanted me to make them one. I personally cursed them only because I would sometimes step on the zipper and it would hurt my foot. I should have used velcro instead. When I get my office/ham radio room/ man cave /sewing room cleaned out, I plan to embark on making barefoot/minimalist shoes, a kilt or unisex A-Line skirt. Oh and copy my most favourite nightshirt.
Sorry about the ramble 🤪
Not at all; it was entertaining…
I’ve been sewing since 2010. I started learning treadle machines and did Christmas gifts my first year. I have now gone from learning treadles to embroidery machines. I am actually asked how to do certain things from people I work with all the time. It is a life skill for me. I can repair and also create. It’s fun, it’s wholesome and a skill that is very worthwhile. Just my two cents 😀
In gold coins, indeed, it is a life skill, just like welding, which I want to learn to do next.
I have been sewing now for about six years, give or take. I began sewing to make my own costumes for Free Comic Book Day to wear at my comic store. To date, I have made many costumes for many people. I have since sold the store but still sew and have ventured into “real” clothes for my grandchildren, wife, daughter, and friends. Fit is my biggest nemesis. The clothes for the 3 and 5 year old’s fit well enough, and they love them because Papa made them, and they don’t care. I can make pretty much anything LOL, but will it fit an adult? Probably not. Or at least not perfectly. Costumes usually fit, since spandex is very forgiving. But, I made a pair of blue jeans for my wife and her first exclamation was “OMG, they look store bought!”, and they look great on her but she won’t wear them because they are too tight since the denim I bought has no give. The mock up fit perfectly but was made from broadcloth. I don’t get it… All of my mock ups/muslin’s fit decently after alterations, then …IDK, not so much. It’s a journey, one that I am happy traversing, and eventually I will get close to where I want to be; making clothes that fit AND look great. Your site is flatting the curve for me and I have learned a lot here, so I thank you for that! Sorry for rambling on…
I just came across a brilliant website with step-by step videos of a man sewing for men. He explains everything about pattern drafting, fitting and sewing. Well worth a look at his YouTube and Instagram channels. Cornelius Quiring https://youtube.com/@CorneliusQuiring and Cornelius.ooo.
I tried some of his patterns for my son and they were super easy with his detailed instructions.
Greg, what a lucky wife to have you make her a pair of jeans 🤗 any fabric with stretch in it will always make it fit better and be overall more comfy to wear – do some research on the fabrics of brought items handing in both of your wardrobes – you’d be amazed how many fabrics have a bit of spandex or the like. Patterns are incredibly helpful in suggesting best fabrics for the pattern 👍🏻 I’ve been sewing for 40 years and I still sew the odd item that just isn’t as comfy as I hoped or wearable even😂 well done to all the chaps sewing – my grandad taught me and at 94 he is still sewing 🤩
Male who’s just retired, needed a hobby and have always loved clothes
So away i went, first thing was a waistcoat which went ok, after some messing with the pattern I’ve got a reasonable fitting pattern
I’m a guy just trying to figure out where I start. I’ve seen on patches with a sewing machine, but nothing else.
Hi Matthew, if there any ting I can do for you, please let me know…Kind Regards,
We all started in the same place you did – whether we had some classes in school or not. I’m a 56 year old woman and, although I had Home Ec class in junior high, I didn’t really start sewing until about 15 years ago.
That being said, start simple and small to get the hang of things. Think napkins or drawstring bags. This will let you get used to how your sewing machine and other tools work and, if they don’t turn out great (mine surely didn’t!) you haven’t put too much effort into those…but you’re still allowed to be proud of what you made. 🙂
Don’t use the cheapest thread out there though – that’s a sure fire way of hating sewing. Coats and Clark thread is ok but, IMHO, not great anymore.
Use Youtube for videos on how to do a lot of things.
Good luck in your sewing journey!
The problem I have is finding “guy type” fabrics (high end, middlin, low-cost, or cheap) among the millions of acres of “girly” fabrics. PLAINLY, the market for bolts of cloth is female. I’ve had some luck buying cloth from bespoke shirt-makers, though not many of them around, and their business is making fine shirts, not selling three yards of cloth to some guy in blue jeans who walks in. Second problem is there are NO commercial sewing patterns for men’s shirts worth buying, and for pants none worth using to start a camp fire. (My left shoulder is about 1-1/4″ more sloped than “average”, my right shoulder an addition 1/4″ lower.) And, NO men’s shirt pattern adjusts the sleeves for body carriage (erect, normal, shoulders forward). I bought a shirt pattern from a major pattern house, expecting to have to size it out by two sizes. Instead, I had to size it in by THREE sizes. After the muslin, I decided to copy a shirt I owned and Fritz with it until it fit like a shirt should. I have Kenneth King’s shirt patterning instructions, and boy is it complicated. I NEED to learn it well. After that, I need to learn how to make jeans that fit better than painters pants. Clothing styles — men and women — have changed dramatically in the last three years. I need to catch up. Note, for the amount of time it takes me to finish a garment, no way am I going to use K-Mart cloth.
None worth using to start a campfire…LOL! I see your point, and I agree with you about the fabrics; the refined damasks and Egyptian cotton are only available in bulk. Have you tried Spoonflower and Marimekko? Lithuanian linen is perhaps the best I have seen that can be purchased by the meters. As for patterns, I think you need to make your own patterns starting with a sloper for a shirt and pants then go from there.
Maybe it will be less difficult to correct your posture than to find a pattern that takes into account poor posture. And your back will thank you! 😀
My mother was a professional dress maker and made my shirts and suits for many years. Sadly I left home before I was wise enough to ask her to teach me to sew, consequently I’ve only been using a sewing machine for the past four years since I retired. Apart from making bow ties I quilt (I have no idea where to start on a sewing pattern). I do so much quilting that I now volunteer at local classes to help quilters learn. Predictably the classes are exclusively female, (not by choice), but those who attend classes are very welcoming of me and the help I give them.
Hi Richard, yes, I bet it is a surprise to them to see a male teacher and will welcome the change I am sure! Congratulations! I know I see a guy on a sewing machine and I always stop to watch.
Sewing for men is more difficult in my opinion, the pants, shirts, suits and jackets even when casual need the great technique of tailoring. Your mother was an artist and like any art form it can be mastered, no matter what your age is. So I hope I hear from you when I start sharing sewing patterns for man. Kind Regards,
Mayra, I started sewing not as a hobby but out of necessity. When my ex-wife left my daughter and I to follow her passions I was suddenly cast into the world of a single parent. My daughter’s clothes were always too long so I was constantly having to raise the hems and cuffs on the clothes by hand. I bought my first used sewing machine when my daughter was 4 and that was 23 years ago. I now have two simple sewing machines, a quilter, a serger and my latest addition is my Embroidery machine. I need a bigger house! I have gone from sewing as a necessity to sewing as my passion. Thanks for bringing awareness to the fact that sewing is blind to sexual orientation and caters to all who share the passion for creativity.
I must say I was a little sad for you when I read your comment, but then it is her loss. You did what any person who loved the kid left behind would do. I have a lot of admiration for you. It is quite a collection of machines you have and yes sewing is like any other art form it has nothing to do with the sex of the artist. What embroidery machine you have? I am wondering if you would like to share your sewing in an article? Let me know if this is something you would be interested in doing. Kind Regards,
Hi David, my circumstance was similar. I started sewing 43 years ago and still sew my daughters business clothes & suits. I also made her wedding dress. 5 years ago I also bought an embroidery machine and love it. Since COVID I’ve started patchwork and have donated quilts to, charity organisations.
My wife wanted to start sewing last June, now i sew all her cloth, bags…. Great article and if you got lost just come to #thedarksideofthehem and may the hem be with you.
LOL! I had quite a laugh! Thanks, you made my day!
I taught all three of my boys to sew because of the numerous badges and patches on their Scout uniforms. Only one still does on a regular basis, having made curtains for his room and skirts for his girl. He bought her a sewing machine and they come ‘shop’ in my stash. He’s going to love this boxer pattern, as I use to sew their boxers for all three and my husband. They love the fun fabrics.
Hi Jeanne, thanks for sharing do let me know how the pattern turns out for them and so send me requests or suggestions I welcome any ideas you might have. Kind regards,
I am glad to say that my son grew up with me doing things like mending and crochet (I wasn’t a sewist until he was an adult). In college he took sewing courses and can sew just about anything – reupholstering furniture and even intricate winter coats. I’m not at that point yet but am striving to get there.
I was walking by a sewing shop back in 2015 and I walked in and bought a sewing machine. I’d been looking for a hobby that kept me interested and that I could do in an apartment. Since then I’ve gone through nine machines and all kinds of material. My main focus has been on men’s shirts but I haven’t been able to find a pattern for a button down collar shirt that was designed after the 1950’s. I’m after a pattern that will produce something that looks like the shirt the guy in the picture above in the “For Men Who Love To Sew” is wearing. It’s like looking for a chicken with lips. In the mean time I’m enjoying the near misses I’ve produced.
Looking for a chicken with lips! Love it! Stay tuned I will share with you a shirt, but there are a few pictures on the post which one are you referring to?
I tried to cut and paste but it doesn’t want to work. It is the guy with the green and purple checked shirt that is stitching a large purple piece with five pleats that looks like it might become a curtain. There is also a pair of silver pinking shears lying on the table between the curtain and an undefinable piece of black fabric.
Ah yes this is a classic style. yes I will share a pattern soon after I finish the linen pants for dudes I am making at the moment. What size are you after?
Thanks will keep this in mind.
Ron Collins probably has a shirt pattern for you – he is sometimes working with Sandra Bettzina and may even have some patterns through Vogue – if you can’t contact Ron directly Sandra has a site and you can probably connect with him through her ????
This company Thread Theory https://threadtheory.ca/collections/sewing-patterns has a number of quality men’s patterns including some button down shirts you may find interesting.
Welcome to all. My daughter is a fine sewist. While my son did not sew, he very competently guided his newish bride through her first trip to the fabric store, as he had spent some considerable time there while choosing pattern and fabric for clothes that I would sew for him. Sewing is not only a most pleasurable hobby, but can be considered an important survival skill. Think of how much money one can save by repairing linens, towels and clothing instead of adding to the garbage dump.
Sewing for men is not easy, the tailoring requirements for a good fit are so demanding, but not impossible to meat. So you must be good…I’d say…
Mayra, this is a great post and I read all the comments and started remembering how it was when I was young. I think this is great about men sewing. Why should there have to be a difference between what you do for a living or a hobby as long as you can physically do it and want to do it. I’ve always felt that women that wanted construction jobs should be able to have them if they could do the job and why not. Same thing with sewing. And almost every other thing in the world. When I was in high school, small town CA, I learned to sew, self taught. and sewed a lot of my clothes because I wanted to look like the rest of the girls and the family couldn’t afford it. While there, there was a guy who was part of the theater crowd and also a cheer leader. A really good looking guy, he was or still is. This guy became a world famous Hollywood costume designer and I know he must be an avid sewist. He designed gowns for “A” list performers and you would know his name right away if I said it. Now that was in the 50’s and there was a definite line between the genders then. Now not so much. Who knew? I just cleaned this comment up as I had used their names and realized I’m not a name dropper so I changed part of this comment so there are no names but it still is a true story. Mayra,if you want to know who it was, please send me a private email and I’ll tell you.
Now, Pat! you are such a tease! Do name drop we all have a right to brag, I once met the writer Nicholas Sparks but promised I would never publish any photos for 2 years, I am keeping my end of the bargain. I will send an email anyways.
I love all these comments from guys who sew. Great stuff 🙂
I just came across your site. I love this article. Thank you for writing it.
I grew up in a small Midwestern town and took Home Ec because I loved to cook, but I also learned to sew. I received no end of grief for sitting in English class (the class following Home Ec) and working on sewing on buttons and hand-closing seams. Even my parents had very gendered views of household responsibilities.
I’ve recently just pulled out the sewing machine my mom gave me years ago (a trusty Kenmore) and started taking classes and making some smaller projects, but just tried my hand at quilting just before the pandemic hit, and I have not been able to finish them. But being able to work on several other sewing projects has kept me sane during the lockdown.
Hi Matt! Happy New Year! ever wonder why the most famous tailors and designers and cooks in the world are men? Men possess something that few women have, attention to detail. I will probably get a lot of grief for saying this. But it is true. To be honest, when I go to a show I spend a lot more time looking at a quilt made by a man than a woman. They are so rare…so this is your time to shine.
I take umbrage in what you said. Most women sewists I know pay attention to detail. I’m not one that follows the adage of ‘being done is better than being perfect’ and it’s not about being perfect – it’s about paying attention to the details and getting things just right.
But I do agree that things men sew are more rare than things women sew.
If u can use a band saw u already can use a sewing machine. I’ve made curtains cushion covers pelmets, bags, saw cases (for my hand saws) face masks, and altered trousers. Next project will be a waistcoat so that will be fun.
wow, Brian, I would like to see your waistcoat, got Instagram?
I’m 62, got my first sewing machine two months ago. My wife took up knitting recently and I felt like I needed to try something new. So far I’ve only made masks for family and friends and made dog toys out of some scraps for our three pooches, but every time I sit down in front of my machine I learn something new about it. It’s awesome !!
It also embroiders but I have not attempted that yet.
“It is not the years in your life but the life in your years”:) Abraham Lincoln never said this…but sure is good! Learning is what keeps us young!
I learned to sew when I took a theater costuming class in college. I got hooked and ended up with a BA and MA in design. I went on to teach many other students to sew and proudly know several men who still sew. That first class was 50 years ago. I still sew every day.
Would you like to be a contributor to So-Sew-Easy? Drop me a line if you are interested or know anyone who might be.
I’m 65 years old and first became interested in sewing when I was around 12 years old. I bought my first sewing machine (Kenmore) when I was 16. I’m largely self-taught although I remember watching my two Grandmothers. It’s remarkable how sewing machines have evolved since then to the computer controlled marvels of today. Not only has making apparel been my passion, I’m hooked on machine embroidery and plan to give quilting a try.
I started sewing to ‘help’ my wife, with larger projects! Then my new daughter-in-law asked me to make curtains – how could I refuse! Now, about 20 years on, I’m hooked. I love making all sorts of things from mens shirts, clothes for my wife. Household stuff, even covers for trailers. I find it very like woodworking skills learned at school. It’s relaxing therapeutic, love it. I was a bit embarrassed when first ‘outed’ by my sister-in-law, but now – now I really don’t care what others think. However to my surprise and pleasure the reaction has been 100% positive and supportive, usually followed by “could you just . . . !” I’d encourage any guy to give it a go – what’s the worst that could happen?
HI Colin, I bet you love the attention. Sewing is like cooking who cares who made it if it is good. However, people are much more impress when is a man doing either, just saying.
I am a woman that was taught sewing at a young age by my mother. I am an aircraft mechanic by trade, and when I realized that repairing aircraft was very much like sewing. Just follow the rules. I think of the similarities when I am working. I don’t see why it is a girl or guy thing. It just makes me happy. Taught my son to sew.
I’m a guy that’s been sewing on and off for 35 years. Constructing a sewing project gives me a sense of accomplishment and pride. It’s gratifying when I get a compliment on wearing apparel or other items I made. I recently purchased a Janome sewing/embroidery machine. WOW ! A whole new method to be creative and embellish my sewing projects has opened up. C’mon guys let’s see more of us behind the sewing machine.
I am a construction worker of 35 years and I agree that many of the skills for construction apply equally to sewing. My mother had always sewn and taught me some of the skills when I was a child. I have always sewn repairs to my work clothing, my families clothing as well as some of my tool bags throughout my lifetime. I believe that all who subscribe to the ‘Frontier Spirt’ of ‘I’ve got this’ can benefit from knowing how to sew. I am under the conviction that all homes would benefit from have a sewing machine of some type.
Love this comment!
My mom was an avid seamstress and still is, my father even knew how to use a sewing machine of which he used often to alter his military uniforms etc. I was taught basics by my folks and in my adult life I have made a few things, mostly girls clothing, swim suits etc and have taught both my kids, I feel there should be no line between these skills with boys and girls as the intent is to teach basic self reliance. It’s an interesting process when you sit and begin to think about the order of operations, not mention how lost you can get in the process.
I have 2 girls and 2 boys. I practically forced my girls to learn the basics in their early teens. They still don’t care too much for sewing, but at least they know how. My oldest son, however, loves to sew. He has made quilts and dresses for his sisters. He now sews for a living. He is truly amazing! He can hand embroider better than anyone. I’ve tried to teach my son’s and daughter’s a variety of things. I’ve tried not to have separate girl and boy “things “. They are all well rounded adults.
I teach sewing in my home. I have taught about 4-5 boys how to sew. They are so much fun to teach! Yes, I’ve had them learn right along with the girls.
It looks like you are an amazing teacher, thanks for sharing your story;)
My son who is now 13, asked me to teach him how to sew two years ago . He was simply watching me sew various gifts for everyone, and that peaked his interest. I gave him basic instructions, then let him figure it out, always close by to trouble shoot. Since then he has made several projects and next, he plans to make a sweater for his friend, as an end-of the year present. He loves coming up with new ideas and it’s great to watch him go.
Both my children had the opportunity to learn to sew in school. My son took advantage of it, my daughter did not. My son is still interested and sews covers and things for his woodworking and metal working shop and my daughter hand sews lots of household items (blankets, curtains, purses, etc.) I’ve sewn for over 55 years. It is very calming for me to sew.
I teach a sewing class and currently have a full enrollment of teen boys and a waiting list of 50 more waiting to learn this skill!
Good For you Bonnie to be spreading the love!
That is so cool! I would love to hear which kind of sewing projects are most popular with boys. Most patterns and books are geared towards girls, so I am running out of ideas. Any input you can share would be appreciated.
Great post. I am a male sewer and sew every day. I even blog about it and get around 30k visits a month so must be doing something right! Learnt the skills from my Gran some 40 yrs ago and just keep sewing. Moved into more tailoring in the last few years and was a contestant on the Great British Sewing Bee in the UK.