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

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80 Responses to For Men Who Love to Sew

  1. Elena Delesantro says:

    Hi! When I click on the “free tote bags pattern” button above it goes to Walmart site!?? Help please.

  2. Richard Wilkins says:

    I really just started a little while ago. Haven’t made much yet but enjoying the ride. Made the flannel shirt/jacket pictured here for my girlfriend. (haven’t made anything for myself yet)

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Richard, keep it going obviously you have talent and desire to make something for someones else. In my humble opinion, it is how people learn faster. It is much easier to fit someones else than to for yourself. Thank you for the picture, for someone who has just started you are very good indeed. I am pleasantly surprised.

  3. Bridget says:

    As a member of the American Kiteflyers Association, I can definitely say that the men who sew kites greatly outnumber the women. My husband and I are going to an annual kite making retreat this weekend–three quarters of the attendees are always men. The joy of designing and making kites is gender neutral. BTW, a lot of these guys are engineers. They love to hunt down just the right tool and fine tune things for improved flying performance.

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      HI Bridget, I have never given a thought to kite making before, so you have open my curiosity. Once in Thailand, I saw a man flying a kite in the shape of a Galeon Ship. It was the most impressive kite I have ever seen. Would you send me a few pictures or better would you like to write an article? I would happily publish it with 100% credits of course.

  4. Margie says:

    More greetings from South Africa!! My wonderful husband has always helped me in all my quilting and sewing projects and he himself has sewn many things like an awning, mattress covers, curtains for our camper bus and canvas covers for chairs that he has made. He has acquired a beautiful old sewing machine (which he was able to repair) and is looking for a project to do. Go guys go…..we are behind you?. Thank you Mayra for your inspiration!!!

  5. Rich says:

    Hi Mayra,

    Yet another sewer with a Y-chromosome! As a child I used to mess around with my mother’s old Singer. It started because I was fascinated by the mechanics of the machine — all those moving parts! Irresistible to this boy-child. She showed me some basics and made me promise not to take anything apart. I never really learned anything except straight seams at that point but that was enough to allow me to make my own curtains for my first apartment when I moved out on my own. I felt so proud!

    For most of my adult life I didn’t do any other sewing. I did learn knitting and crochet which I used to make gifts for the family. When my first grandnephew was born I knitted a lot of bibs, booties & sweaters for him. I was impressed by the baby quilt one of his grandmothers had made for him and I signed up for classes. I’ve really enjoyed piecing quilts together and have also branched out into machine embroidery. I just had another grandnephew and have just finished burp cloths and embroidered bibs for him as well as several knitted items. I love being creative and giving handmade gifts to family and friends.

    I’m more interested in home decor than clothing (maybe better patterns for men could change that!). The picture is a pillow I made from a quilt block I had pieced and some remnants of upholstery fabric. Most of what I’ve done has been for presents but this one I kept. I smile every time I see it.

    Keep up the great blog. I really enjoy it.

  6. Adriene says:

    I am so glad to learn how much interest men have in sewing! I was first introduced to the idea by my grandson, who, at the time was about 11 and he and I made his own design for a sleeping bag. A few years later, I saw his design idea featured by someone else in a magazine! Great minds think alike kind of moment.

    A few years ago my son, of all people, told me that he wanted to learn how to sew, too. I had no idea that he was interested in it at all since he is a “techie” kind of guy and into electronics.

    Thank you for the insight and comments from men who are sewing! I am super surprised by the 57-year-old retired guy who has made 43 shirts! Love to hear it!

  7. Bob says:

    Hi Mayra! What a great article. I have been sewing for 4 years now and do mainly shirts, but do coats, quilts and bags also.
    I find that sewing is one of the most useful skills I possess. Like some other commenter’s, I started late in life at 57, but have made 43 shirts for myself. I make tropical and hotrod shirts mainly. This is going to be a great activity in my retirement, coming shortly.
    Thankfully, my wife is a very proficient seamstress and she has been a great supporter of my new hobby. My hats off to you ladies who do the same for the men in your life.

  8. sewing_ton says:

    I only discovered sewing when I was fifty. Too late to get advise from my now deceased mother. She gave sewing lessons when she was younger. I still remember she once re-upholstered two car seats for my brother and I was so impressed. It is only now that that my admiration is even bigger when I recall what kind of sewing machine she had, compared to the walking foot industrial machine I now have. She was an artist!

    In the time I am sewing, which is well over a year now, I have seen many inspiring and very well explaining youtube movies helping me on the way. I bought myself a cheap sewing machine and a serger. Started off tapering my jeans as they were totally out of fashion. Since that worked out, I made some other stuff like string bags and pillows. I was impressed about how much imagination you need to have as you almost always sew inside out. For that you need a lot of spatial awareness.

    After I made some pillows with piping, I thought it was time to do the upholstery of an old car. But not with the basic machine I had, so I bought a second hand industrial walking foot machine. In the mean time I have made a cover for our parasol, re-upholstered the car, made some leather seat cushions and several bench cushions. And I also made myself a bermuda, after I modified the pattern to my size. I am not that big, and most patterns start too big unfortunatly.

    I now bought a more stirdy Brother sewing machine, which can also do embroidery. Nice to sew on your logo to your creation. I upgraded the machine from floppy to USB, so being technical comes also in hand when sewing. The cheap starter sewing machine I gave away to a girl who wanted to start learning sewing.

    It is a pity I did not start any earlier, when my mother was still alive. I think she would be proud of me. But unfortunately I can never show or tell her what I have performed. Anyone can start to sew at any time!

  9. Danny says:

    As a guy who sews I definitely get weird looks! That is other people’s problems though, not mine. I’m just here being me doing what I want to do. I love sewing because it is just another great aspect of designing and making.

    I am not too fussed that everything is advertised towards women, never really thought twice about it as companies will market however they perceive to be most effective, but I never really thought about how few patterns there are for men. Indeed, I make more items of clothing for my girlfriend than for myself!

    This is my first comment on your website. Thank you for all your work, and for being inclusive and open minded!

  10. Judith Martinez says:

    I never saw my dad sew as a child but I knew he knew how. He charged his fellow sailors to sew on patches when he was in the Navy and earned enough money to but my mother a sewing machine.

  11. Val?? says:

    Great article Mayra. My oldest grandson wanted a particular stuffed animal and asked if I would help him sew it. I was thrilled he asked me. He was 9 at the time. He would be dropped off at our house then picked up when mom was on her way home. He was always sad when she came because he wanted to do more. We spent many weeks with him creating and surprising his little brother and sister with stuffed animals for them. The best was when my DIL sent me a picture of the three of them hand sewing stuffed animals that had holes in them.
    I think the independent pattern companies have more selection for men’s patterns compared to the big 4. I know a lot of men in machine embroidery but I love seeing men interested in sewing too. Val??

  12. Kandace k White says:

    I taught my children to sew. I wanted them to be able to at least repair their clothing when needed. My son took a life skills class in high school where they has to sew a sweat shirt. The teacher was shocked that he knew how to thread a machine and needed little help. He wore his shirt till he grew too much. A few years ago as an adult he wanted a renfest costume but couldn’t find what he wanted. He took 2 patterns with features he liked and combined them for the jacket he wanted. Looked great. He also reupholstered his motorcycle seat. Now he is helping to teach his daughter to sew. He helped her make a skirt out of old tshirts(only fabric available on a snow day)with her child’s sewing machine that she got for Christmas. She was so proud of her skirt and that daddy helped her.

    He doesn’t sew a lot but he can and will. I’m very proud of him.

  13. Phil says:

    I have have been sewing for about 15 years. I Iove it!
    It is funny when I get to talking to someone new, they always stop the conversation with “wait, you sew?”
    I don’t why it is so hard to believe.

  14. George W. says:

    So nice to hear from more of the men. I wish the pattern companies would spend a little more time on patterns for us “GUYS”, I’ve had to start designing my own patterns. The pic is from a short film I performed in. I made both the shirt and the Jacket, (even added the leather elbow patches for nerd appeal.) Now, if we could get the ladies at the Fabric Store to stop looking at me with the “are you in the right store?” look.

  15. Sally says:

    My dad taught me to sew! My mum could only knit, something I’ve never been able to get my head around. Dad made all my school dresses and he even made me a leather satchel for school!

  16. Rehbeckchen says:

    Mayra, and all commentators so far, thanks for your article and comments! A year ago,my mom asked my son if he wanted to take a local, one day, sewing course – he’d been playing around with her machine, trying to “help” since he was about four (9 now). He LOVED it and every now and then, he wants to sew something on his own.
    That’s why I have had two Singers for a year now: I started with my beginner’s some time back and bought a “patchwork” (the numbers are different overseas) – mainly for him because it has a switch to adjust the speed of the “accelerator” (love the image!!!).
    He now is a real help to me, too, as he loves to rip seams, which I hate because it just tells me that I didn’t pay attention…
    I’ve found it difficult to find patterns for him and my husband as well, babies and girls/women get more patterns. On the bright side: that’s how I’ve managed to start sewing – my hobby and just for myself. 😉

    My son loves to sew bags, sometimes he even comes up with his own patterns/ideas, like this needle neccesaire for me for Christmas. 😉

  17. Richard Wilson says:

    I don’t care for social stigma a jot, I love sewing and making Harris Tweed waistcoats for myself and friends. I have made loads of short Harris Tweed, alpaca and mohair scarves. People now ask me for things, I am currently making a royal stewart tartan coat for a friends dog lined with fleece to keep it toasty. Come on guys, it doesn’t take much of an effort to make an effort!

  18. Jamie says:

    I was taught how to see in high school because my mom was not going to by new pants every other month. it did not come in handy until later in life. as a cook I have to make some of my own gear as they do not sell what I want. now I sew a lot but only use the treadle and hand crank machines. I had to do some research on how to sew without a backstich. I never thought of sewing as strictly a female thing but the lack of quality male patterns are very hard to come by. I have to go to costumes section and make adjustments to get what I want, or take apart a pair of pants to get my pattern. I enjoy the quality relaxing time when I sew.

  19. Mark Girvin says:

    Thanks for the article. I sewed a bit as a kid, and am just getting back into it in retirement (starting with canvas bags, pillow cases, PJ’s). Have been struggling to find patterns for things for men, and somehow never thought to look for men’s sewing blogs – thanks for the suggestion!

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

    • 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?

      • John says:

        I made 24 boxers of different patterns for Christmas but I am primarily into making shirts. I’ve been trying to get a pattern that will work for me and show me where to put the buttons for a button down collar. I’d enjoy being a pattern tester too.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

    • Katie says:

      Wishing your husband much success in his treatment. My mom is going through chemo treatment and we just received great news. Remission.

      I feel quilting calms me down during the stressful moments in life. My busy fingers are happy fingers when it’s doing something constructive and creative. Thanks for sharing your love for quilting.

  25. 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.

  26. 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!

  27. Jay Shelton says:

    Nice post! Husband, father, Harley riding, heavy metal guitar playing, 2nd amendment supporter chiming in here. After the company than made the main garment of the uniform for my local American Legion Riders stopped producing them (yet donated the material to us), I went out and bought a sewing machine and serger, a couple of books, and spent a lot of time on YouTube and basically taught myself how to make patterns and clothing construction. Currently studying digitizing for embroidery. I believe that there is a potentially very large market for clothing designs for guys like myself. I also believe that sewing equipment manufactures, book publishers, and pattern makers are missing out on a sizable niche market.

  28. Deryck says:

    Greetings from South Africa. Is there perhaps a Face Book group for men who sew?

    • So Sew Easy says:

      Hi Deryck, thanks for getting in touch. Truth be told, I’m not aware of any good FB groups for men who sew. Men are very under-served, unfortunately.

      With that in mind, we’d be delighted to create a group and forum for men who like to sew on our own Groups platform. On So Sew Easy, we have around 500,000 regular readers per month and according to Google, 8% are men. At first, that may not sound like a lot, but it would be around 40,000 male readers. I think we could grow a group pretty quickly if we promoted it.

      Would you be interested in participating and potentially moderating? Please have a look:

      You can just log in with your Facebook account. No need to create any new credentials.

    • Jamie Kemp says:

      Hi Deryck. Indeed there are more and more male sewing Facebook groups popping up. Try Sew ‘Manly’ and ‘Men who sew’ both good groups.

  29. Stephen Ellis-Menton says:

    Yes, I’m a man sewer too. Made loads for my kids and wife, from alterations to toys and furnishings for the house. My Nan taught me to sew when I was younger, just a shame I can’t find any other male buddies who are into sewing to share tips ideas with, find most sewing groups are all women and can be a bit cliquish (well most anyway)

    • So Sew Easy says:

      Hi Stephen, thanks for sharing. I know there are a lot of men sewers out there. Glad to hear you’re one of them. I’d love to find a way to come up with a better forum for the men to share tips and exchange ideas, as you suggest.

  30. Skarlett says:

    Yess, I´m a man and I love Sewing 😉

  31. david pena says:

    Yes!! Am a ol’ Southern Soldier who does Sew!! Have a antique Singer 15-91 sewing machine,it’s Gorgeous!! I’m designing pieces of reclaimed denim jeans,and,have several items made. Am loving my Singer Sewing Machine!! Thank Y’all, for,speaking on,men who sew!! ?.

  32. Mary says:

    Only in the US is it considered a female job or pastime.

  33. Marg says:

    We were talking today in class about male sewists, and the tutor told us of a wedding she’d been to where the wedding dress, bridesmaids’ dresses, father and mother of the bride’s suits, and even the vicar’s cassock had been made by a male friend of the family. Tutor said they were all gorgeous. What a man!

  34. Nigel says:

    Openly male sewer here in the UK. I make anything from shirts to trousers, and cushions to quilts. Our house is full of homemade, and there’s nothing like homemade undies to put a spring in your step. The hardest thing I find is getting hold of decent fabric that isn’t geared towards the female market (I’m just not a floral print lover). Really love the site, keep up the good work.

  35. Garth says:

    Greetings from South Africa!
    I’ve been sewing since about 2005. Got started by sewing pyjmas for my son because I did not want to support the branded types that are available.
    Now I sew anything from short pants to bridesmaid dresses to backpacks and absolutely enjoy it.
    Compared to traditional manly hobbies, sewing allows me to make useful items that do not take up much space to construct or store and is quiet and clean enough to do in the house

  36. George says:

    Hi greg

    Yes i sew have done for years ive mainly done repairs , but im now after all this time staring to make items for my wife.

    I do all the repairs for the nursing home where my wife works here in cornwall

  37. Greg says:

    Here here! I was a theatre costumier for twenty years and now I am actually a sewing tutor here in the UK. 100% of my clients are women, which is fine, but where are the guys? Are they closeted in their man-caves or their sheds with their wife’s cast-off machines? Every book and magazine (in the UK) is aimed at women sewists. Come on guys let’s unite at the cutting table!

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Hi Greg, thanks for your comment. I’ve done a lot of theatre costumes as well over the years. Hope we can compare notes sometime.

      • Greg says:

        Hello Mayra, of course, that would be great. I used to run a wholesale costume business, and hire company. Each year I would make 150 costumes in four weeks for a pantomime, from scratch!

        • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

          WOW! that is awesome, would you like to write about it, we would love to feature on our blog. What do you say?

  38. Wendy says:

    My boyfriend is going to start sewing. He loves the spatial thinking you have to do to turn a 2D piece of cloth into a 3D garment. (Just like I do. )

    Thanks very much for the post!

  39. Elaine Dobbing says:

    The last series of “The Great British Sewing Bee” in the UK had several male contestants and the overall winner was a man. They were all great and has made sewing cool for men!

  40. Madeline says:

    Great post!

What do you think?