Let’s face it, most of the time we only sew for ourselves! Maybe there are a few projects others here and there, but sewing can be rather selfish. With all of the time, patience and fitting involved, it is almost better that we remain our own worst critics rather than worry about what someone else thinks about our handiwork. This time of year, when shopping for others becomes difficult I am tempted more and more to sew something special for the ones that I love.
Last Christmas I dove all in and sewed up my dad his first me-made garment, a flannel button-up shirt! In the winter he lives in flannel shirts and I knew this would be something he would get some use out of. Right out of the gate the biggest obstacle I found was knowing what size to sew…I couldn’t just walk up to him with a tape measure! In efforts to keep the whole project a secret, I “stole” one of the well-loved shirts from his closet and used it as a reference for finished garment measurements. After playing with the numbers and researching patterns, I settled on Thread Theory’s Fairfield Button-Up. Offering the widest size range XS to 4XL, this pattern features everything I was looking for and the finished measurements roughly lined up.
To make a long story short, he LOVES the shirt! When he opened the box on Christmas morning he was expecting another store bought shirt like any of his others. He almost didn’t believe me when I told him that it was handmade just for him. Lucky for me, IT FIT! There are a few changes to make should I venture at making another, narrowing the shoulders, but at least it is wearable and now in heavy rotation in his closet. He also can’t help but show it off every time he wears it—”My daughter MADE my shirt.” Love you Dad!
While the actually sewing for men is pretty straight forward, the style, fabric choices and patterns are a different ball game. I thought I would share a few of my favorite patterns and fabrics to pair with them. Hopefully this will inspire a few of your own handmade holiday gifts for the men in your life.
First, let’s talk a bit more about the Fairfield Button-Up. Designed by one of the few dedicated menswear indie pattern designers, Thread Theory brought a bit of modern styling to a classic button-up. You will love the professional details this pattern offers and the thoughtful construction makes pattern matching quick and painless. Thread Theory also offers free downloads for additional sleeve, collar and cuff options for even more customization. All-in-all, a great pattern choice and one that is sure to be well loved. In terms of fabric choices there are loads of options—traditional shirtings, flannel, chambray and more. Depending on his style and the season you are sure to find more than enough choices!
Looking for something a bit warmer and more forgiving on fit? One of our other favorite Thread Theory patterns is the Finlayson Sweater. Cozy and warm, this sweater takes the comfort and style of a basic hoodie and transforms it into something you couldn’t just find anywhere (the point of me-made, right!). Choose between the more modern shawl collar or a wrap around fully lined hood to find the look that suits him best. Add the optional pouch pocket to the front or leave if off to keep the lines clean and simple. We might even be tempted to try sewing this more for ourselves! Fabric choices for this sweater are also more fun…and warm! Try sweatshirt fleece, French terry and other cozy knits.
One more great option, easily incorporated into any wardrobe, is the Denali Vest from Seamwork. Loaded with customizable options, this versatile vest will keep him warm throughout the cooler months. Experiment with quilting your own fabric to create the perfect pairing. We especially love the idea of the faux leather yoke detail!
Hopefully this helps inspire some menswear sewing this holiday season. You may not get the fit perfect right out of the gate but there is one guarantee—they will love whatever you make them! It is the thought and love that counts and they will be too excited to have something handmade to worry about anything else.