Book Report: Patternmaking for Menswear!

Oooh, you guys– I have a super fun book to show you today!  It’s Patternmaking for Menswear by Gareth Kershaw, sent to me by my friends at Laurence King Publishing.

I was really excited to see this in my mailbox for two reasons– firstly, because I’m suddenly feeling comfortable enough with my sewing skills to want to sew for my fella, and secondly, because I’m about three-quarters of the way through my first patternmaking course at FIT and ready to delve more deeply into that world.  Folks, this puppy does NOT disappoint!

The book draws inspiration from the world of fashion, but the pieces are classic and wearable.

To make the projects in the book, you create basic pattern blocks, then use them as a jumping-off point to create patterns for different looks.   (I have to say, after spending a semester drafting for women, the lovely straight lines and dart-free lines of menswear really appeal to me!).

At the beginning of each project, the author lists the changes you need to make to the block and the techniques you need to learn.  It’s all laid out in a simple and straightforward fashion, which I appreciate.  The drawings and instructions are much clearer than the textbook my patternmaking teacher references (an older, out-of-print book with small, hard-to-see illustrations).

There are enough patterns and variations in the book to dress a dude really well.  Also, not to be TOO much of a superbrat, but lots of the details and skills included in the book translate to women’s sewing, too.  I would TOTALLY wear this shirt (I KNOW, I KNOW, I’LL MAKE SOMETHING FOR MY DUDE FIRST).  In the project shows above, you need to create cuffs, yokes, plackets, a curved hem– all kinds of things that would come in handy for guys and gals alike!  Did I mention that I would TOTALLY wear this shirt?

There are twenty patterns included in the book, and they’re a great mix of basics and hipper garments.  For example, there’s a basic buttondown and basic pants, but there are also cargo pants, a hooded sweatshirt, a henley, and a lovely trench coat.  This is about as much bang for your buck as you could possibly get sewing for guys– I don’t think you could buy 20 patterns on sale for the amount this book retails for on Amazon ($38!!!)!  I should also mention that I think this book would come in handy even if you’re not interested in drafting patterns from scratch.  If you want to change up favorite commercial patterns, there’s lots in here to help you update basic patterns and turn them into new looks.  Also, in case you were wondering, the book uses the imperial system– no metric measurements.

If I sound really excited about this book, it’s because I am!  And, the good news is that I have a copy to give away!  Sadly, I can only send it to U.S. residents, but I will plan a giveaway soon for international readers.  I’ll choose a winner at random one week from today, at 10P EST on Thurs., Nov. 21st.  If you’re interested, leave a comment below!  I’d love to know what you’d be most excited about making from this book!

96 responses

  1. I am in the thick of sewing some dude pants as we speak!! Would love a copy of this, and I’m pretty sure my dude wouldn’t be to sad about it either!! This looks great!

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  2. I can’t enter, but I just wanted to say how much I love this book! I spent many happy hours gazing at it in our local bookshop & it’s definitely on my Christmas list! Excited to see what you make!

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  3. I am really excited by this book too! Before I even reached the end of your post, it was in my Amazon cart. The Lumberjack shirt is very much like Collette patterns men’s shirt. As you mentioned, I too want it for myself! How adorable would it be in a child’s cowboy flannel for a PJ top?

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  4. Wow, I hadn’t heard of this book. It looks like such a great resource! I would be really interested in learning more about fitting for men – my guy likes everything to be really slim. Out of the styles in your post, I would definitely try the lumberjack shirt first!

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  5. What an awesome giveaway! Thank you! I’d love to win because my husband is a big (tall) guy and doesn’t have a lot of choices when he shops. And finding patterns to fit him- yeah right! Thanks so much for sharing this book it is going on my wishlist!

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  6. I can’t enter because I’m overseas but it does look like an interesting book. I just bought Thread Theory’s Henley pattern so I’ll start off with that, see if it is received well…

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    • That seems like a lovely pattern– I’m interested to know what you think of it! My fella is horribly picky and none of the Thread Theory patterns appeal to him, so hopefully something in this book will pique his interest!

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  7. My excitement for this can only be matched by your excitement. I think starting with menswear pattern making would be the best way to start – and then use those skills to make other aspects of sewing better. Since I’ve been obsessed with button downs lately though, I’d have to say I’d start there!

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  8. Well I’m UK so can’t enter your comp BUT in definitely putting this book on my wish list so thank you so much for sharing! My poor hubby NEVER gets anything from me as I’m so busy all te time making for the kids and me BUT I have promised to start so this would be a great book!

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  9. Am more than excited to hear of something (pattern making book for men)like this,I am already in drafting men pattern,but need to update and Smoothen my skill,every good book will of course do the training.
    Thanks again for sharing your experience with piece.

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  10. This looks like a great book, thanks for the review! I’d probably go for the pants considering that’s where my boyfriend differs the most from RTW.

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  11. I’m thrilled to hear about an easy to use patternmaking book for menswear! I would love to make that double-breasted jacket, and perhaps explore redrafting some of my other patterns based on the methods used in this book. Thanks for the giveaway!

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  12. One of my near-term goals is to make a custom-fit button up shirt for my very tall, broad shouldered husband. He’s just between sizes and all his store-bought shirts seem to fit funny… so this book would be perfect! I was just wondering if something like this existed the yesterday.

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  13. I make yearly birthday lists of things I’d like to accomplish and the nagging one for this year is to sew something for my husband. I feel like such a selfish seamstress, but I’ll wear imperfect things. To learn how to make something he would actually like wearing, now that would be awesome! I’d love to make the chinos and learn to master pants since perfect fitting pants are so hard to come by.

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  14. First off, I would just like to say, how awesome that you are taking a pattern making class!! I can’t wait to see what you make. What a great book for making clothes for men. I would love to make my man a shirt or a hoodie, I may have to add this one to my Christmas list!

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  15. This book looks amazing; I love style-conscious pattern books. I have made some shirts for my guy but would really love to try making him some pants and don’t feel confident enough with my pattern making skills to try that quite yet.

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  16. It’s great to see a book on menswear that guys would actually wear! I’m studying fashion design & like you I feel the allure of easy to fit straight silhouettes. I’d probably start with a shirt and really focus on sewing techniques instead of fussing over fit.

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  17. Well this is definitely going on my ever increasing list to Santa!
    I have never found anything that made me excited at the idea of drafting or sewing clothes for men but this looks like a fab book!
    Thanks for sharing :)

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