There’s a lot of male identifying people out there that sew, but it seems that most of them are professional tailors, don’t maintain a personal website, and don’t have a YouTube channel. There are exceptions to that, of course; a few are awesome, some are mediocre, and some are just no. I’m hoping to encourage other male identifying people to learn to sew on a machine, to eventually make some of their own clothes, and to have a hobby they can enjoy, so the posts here will focus on clothing, patterns, fabrics, and accessories traditionally for male identifying folk. There’s plenty of blogs by and for female identifying people who sew, so if you’re looking for patterns for clothing that is traditionally for female identifying folk, I’d suggest looking elsewhere for those.
I have always wanted to sew, and I’ve done some projects over the years, but starting in March, 2020 when COVID-19 caused lockdowns, stay-at-home orders, and the company I work for went full-time work from home, I needed a hobby.
I tried knitting for a while last year, but developed trigger finger in my middle finger of my left hand. I made some scarves that I gave away as Christmas present and even double knit a throw blanket for the back of the couch in black and white stripes.
I switched to crocheting, but that just made my hands hurt (and my stitches were so tight, nothing I ever made was the right size). Cross stitch? Yep, tried that too. I even made my husband a Christmas stocking (yes, I completed that one), and started on another, but it was slow, tedious, and annoying and I abandoned it.
So, I drug out the Brother CE-5500PRW sewing machine that I bought about 15 years ago for some reason that I don’t even remember now and started to learn. Given the state of the pandemic, I started with face masks. I’ve made about 30 so far and given a lot of them away to friends and family (the rest are stashed in our cars so we’ll always have one available. I’ll do a separate post about the masks soon, but for right now, I’ll just say I’ve learned a lot.
That went ok; I decided to try something bigger. One of our JoAnn stores in the area was relocating and everything in the old store was clearance priced. I bought two bolts of fleece material for pennies on the dollar, and their sewing patterns were 90% off. I bought every cosplay and men’s clothing pattern that I could find. I’ll find a use for them eventually.
I decided I’d use some of that fleece and one of the patterns I bought and sew a pair of fleece sleep shorts. I finished the sleep shorts with the exception of the elastic waist band. Sigh. With the pandemic going on, elastic of any size, shape, color, and weight is almost impossible to buy at a reasonable price because everyone is making masks. Sure, you can pay $15 a yard for it on eBay, but, I wasn’t willing to do that. So, the fleece sleep shorts went on the shelf until I could get elastic for the waist band. (sleep shorts post on the way)
I’ve been losing weight (51 lbs and counting) and while I’m never going to be slim, svelte, and muscular, I don’t look bad now for a 54 year old. So, I wanted a new swimsuit. I like the square cut swim trunks that were popular in the 80s, so I went looking for a pattern that I could use. I found Robert Joseph‘s videos on YouTube, and he sells a pattern on Etsy that was exactly what I was looking for, so $8 later, I had a PDF pattern that I could print out, tape together, and use to make a swimsuit. I needed fabric… a trip to Hobby Lobby netted me a couple of yards of one of the ugliest knit fabrics I’ve ever seen (a friend referred to it as “Bison and Butthole Flowers”) that was cheap (about $3/yard) that I could use to learn with. So, I made a Bison and Butthole Flower swimsuit. (I’ll be posting soon about making one)
But, there was something I was missing. A serger. You can use the zig-zag stitch as a substitute for serging fabric, but, it’s just not the same. Of course, the pandemic strikes again, and caused a run on all available sewing machines and sergers. Who knew? I found one at JoAnn’s that was on sale, but it was sold out online and nobody in the state had one in stock. Heavy sigh. But, I got lucky on Amazon one day, and was able to pick up one of the best loved home sergers for $299. It’s the Brother 1034-D and it’s awesome! Now I could serge my seams when I was making things and it would be (sorta) professional! (I’ve got some posts in the works about the 1034-D serger, so stay tuned)
I was enjoying making things! I’ve never been artsy creative. I can’t draw, I can’t paint, I can’t anything creative. I’m educated as a Computer Engineer and wrote software for a living for 20 years before making a gradual move into management. I’m definitely a left-brain person. Where I am now, managers are people managers, and there is a distinct line between being a manager and being a technical contributor, so I don’t even have the creative outlet that goes along with writing software for my job.
I found this awesome fabric and decided I wanted a Hawaiian shirt made out of it, but, that fabric was expensive ($14/yard) and the last thing I wanted to do was screw up when making a shirt and waste that fabric.
I found some cheap, cute fabric, again at JoAnn’s, for $5/yard and started working on a shirt. (shirt post coming soon). I had a bit of fabric left after making the shirt, so I used the scraps and a new design for a mask and made some damned nice masks, if I do say so myself. (several masks posts coming, but you can see a preview here).