Sewing for men: tips and ideas


This month we’re going to focus more on sewing for men.

Have you ever tried to surprise your partner, father, brother, son or son in law with something you spent hours on, from pattern, to fabric, to personal customisations, only to receive a disappointed half hearted “...thanks!”? Or they might love the gesture and be really happy about what you made for them only to wear or use your gift on special occasions (aka family dinners at home).

If you have and the reaction was different, please get in touch, we want to interview this person and find out more about it. But more often than not, I think the response we get from men when it comes to sewing for them, is more similar to the one above.

What I’ve learned along the way is not that men are difficult to please, but they can be very particular about what they like. Without taking this topic too far, a woman might be very happy to wear a purse in a style that is completely new to her, own (and love) a dress she will wear once every four years, and browse fashion magazines just for the fun of it. A man will often have a very clear idea about what looks “right” and what feels “wrong” and they will keep very quiet about it, unless pressed.

So my challenge for you this week is doing a little bit of detective work and asking the men in your life some questions about their style (they will laugh at you using this word, but you will be prepared!) and taste. Why? First, because it will help you sew better things for men. Second, you’ll be more prepared come Father’s Day, their birthday, Christmas. And third, because it will be fun to share what we’ve learned. It is all in the name of science! :)

Things to discuss:

  1. Colours and combinations of colour - you will be surprised
  2. Patterns and scale of patterns - let me just say that not all plaid is the same. Also, what looks “fun” to you, might look like a silent “I pledge to never wear this” for him. Be warned. 
  3. Fabric and Texture - be sure to go over the “I would never wear/use a…” 
  4. Fit - baggy, relaxed, super tailored?
  5. Lifestyle customisations - what are some of their habits and hobbies that could be better supported? 
  6. If they could design something, what could it be? 
  7. Could you make it for them?

What about you? Do you think sewing for men is more difficult than sewing for women? Please leave a comment below!

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  1. Not at all difficult, just different. I haven't made anything for my OH simply because he has never asked. We have 21 year old non-identical twin boys. Oldest I have made lots of traditional boxer shorts and he loves them. Far better than shop bought because he is very long in the body so at least these fit. Youngest I have only just made 'fitted with lycra' version. These I was extremely apprehensive about making. More unsure about the fit than anything. But, six seams and a waistband of elastic later and he loves them. Much easier than the other version so lots more to be made before he leaves for Uni in Cardiff later this year. x

    1. That's great! Do you tend to use plain materials or patterned? I hope your son enjoys Cardiff - it is a fantastic and lively city but then I may be biased ;)

  2. Patterned for both. I am afraid I used up what I had with the regular ones and the ones with lycra were done with fabric that may have been used for leisurewear in another life. Floral and very bright, but no complaints on the fabric, both say best boxers ever, not just the fit but decent elastic that does not irritate!

  3. Hi Samantha! I have had quite a different experience than you note regarding the men in my life not liking/not wearing what I've made for them (whew... I think that would crush me!).

    I've made several dress shirts for my husband which he wears regularly and with pride. I've also made him bow ties and a neck tie as well as t-shirts and boxer briefs (which he also loves).

    I've got an adult son (26) for whom I've made t-shirts and some really cool board shorts and also tried the boxer briefs for him. He loves everything I make.

    My younger son is 14 and used to wear dress shirts and ties every day (his choice) so I've made him ties and vests and a dressy outerwear coat. I also made him the same notebook holder thing from SewSweetness (can't remember the name) and he used it EVERY DAY of his 8th grade year. He used that thing more than his backpack!

    Bottom line is that they love it all. Happy to see you highlighting sewing for men. It's one of my very favorite things. :)

    1. Wow that's fantastic! What do you think is most important in sewing something they'll love?

    2. Hmmm... that's a good question! Probably taking their tastes into account and getting their input as I'm getting ready to make something. I'm lucky to have a very supportive family - they all love wearing my things and bragging about me. :)


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