Dude Sewing: McCall’s 6044!

The unthinkable has occurred. I sewed something for Man Friend!!!

What? You didn’t think I’d ever get around to it?  I finally decided to use our anniversary two weeks ago as a firm deadline and I actually finished it in time!

McCall's 6044 | Ginger Makes

This is the ubiquitous McCall’s 6044. There are so few sewing patterns for men, and even fewer of them are styles that Man Friend would wear. Luckily, this western-style buttondown is really close to what he likes in a RTW shirt. The pattern also includes options for a yoke-less, regular buttondown, with the option of short or long sleeves.

I’ve had this plaid flannel stashed for quite a while with the intention of making a men’s shirt with it. It was $5/yd at one of the cheap, small stores in the Garment District. I’m really not in love with it, although I like the colors- cheap flannel just doesn’t stay on grain at all! It stretched, sagged, and just generally made matching the plaid really unpleasant. Even after spending tons of time lining everything up, it doesn’t look all that great. Ugh!

McCall's 6044 | Ginger Makes

I cut the front and back yokes, the pockets, cuffs, and the top button placket on the bias. I only had two yards of fabric, but I was able to squeeze all those pieces out with just tiny scraps remaining. So I cut the undercollar, the inner collar stand, and the inner cuffs from a contrasting fabric (the chambray-look flannel I used for my Meissa blouse).  I really like the subtle detail of the contrast, actually.

McCall's 6044 | Ginger Makes

Just a little bit of contrast at the collar stand!

I cut a straight size medium and didn’t make any fit alterations (I treated this as a wearable muslin). I could probably narrow the shoulders just a touch, but other than that, the fit seems OK, or at least as good as his RTW shirts. Do you guys see any fit problems in these photos? I’m not very confident diagnosing them in men! The only changes I made were eliminating the pocket flaps (I sewed them on, but Man Friend didn’t love them), shaving 1/8″ off the undercollar and inner collar stand (this makes it easier to roll them to the inside), and adding tower plackets to the sleeves. I followed the Four Square Walls tutorial for sewing on the collar, and I sewed on the cuffs the exact same way.  This technique really makes sense to me.

McCall's 6044 | Ginger Makes

Let’s talk about those tower plackets!  As drafted, the sleeves are two-piece, and you stop sewing the seam a few inches before the cuff edge so you can narrow hem the opening you’ve created instead of using a placket. That’s a simple way to construct a shirt and good for someone who’s intimidated by plackets, but I wanted it to look a little nicer. First I changed the two-piece sleeve to a one-piece (I just overlapped the pieces and taped them together), then I downloaded Lisa’s tower placket template instead of drafting my own (thanks, Lisa!!).  I have David Coffin’s Shirtmaking, the primer for techniques like this, but my reading comprehension must not be that great as I struggled to understand how I was supposed to sew it on.  Luckily, a Google search brought up a photo tutorial from the Colette Hawthorn dress sewalong, which really helped me to make sense of the process.  This would’ve all gone pretty smoothly, but I made an idiotic mistake that complicated things. You see, when you do things differently from the pattern instructions, it’s wise to make sure that your construction order will still be the same. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that it’s way easier to sew sleeve plackets when you haven’t yet sewed the sleeve seam, and I’d already sewn the seam, serged and topstitched it, set the sleeves in, and serged the armhole seams! I had to wrestle and wrestle and wrestle to get the placket sewn in with the sleeve closed, and it really wasn’t fun at all. Whoops!

My next dumb mistake was that I didn’t realize that adding a tower placket made the sleeve edge larger (since you’re sort of binding the edges of the slit you make, instead of turning them under and hemming like the pattern instructs you to do- does that make sense?), SO, when I went to attach the cuffs, I had to sew with a scant 1/4″ seam allowance. Super scary! I realized later that I should have just increased the intake of the pleat to make the sleeve the proper size, but at the time I was too frazzled to think it through clearly. Live and learn!

McCall's 6044 | Ginger Makes

Man Friend: “Whoa, it looks like I’m peeing!” It totally does.

After my great debacle with pearl snaps on my Archer shirt, several commenters mentioned the Snap Source snap setter as a better option. I ordered it and used it for the first time with this shirt. It’s a much easier process, and way less frustrating than the Dritz snap pliers (I’m not even going to link to them because I hate them and don’t recommend them at all). But I must not have been getting them on tightly enough or something because twice since I finished the shirt one side of a snap has pulled out of the fabric and I’ve had to fix it. I think the real solution here is to just use buttons! I used a button and buttonhole on the top collar stand button- I inspected his RTW shirts, and the ones with pearl snaps all had one button in that position.

I’m just glad I finally made something for Man Friend! He’s so supportive of my sewing, and it’s about time that I took the time to make something for him! He’s looking forward to the “real” version of this shirt, a blue and red plaid flannel that he picked out from Mood a few months ago (just a word of advice, ladies, if you take your fella into the fabric store, you MIGHT end up leaving with a bag full of fabrics for him and a whole bunch of crazy requests! I may have agreed to make him a pair of pinstriped dress pants… eek!). Next time around I’ll know what to look out for!

McCall's 6044 | Ginger Makes

I had to tell an idiotic joke to get one real smile in the entire batch of photos!

Alright, let’s talk about dude sewing! What have you made for the men in your life? If you’re a sewing fella, what do you like to sew? Are there any patterns that you wish existed? Any favorite men’s patterns?

151 responses

  1. Well done for sewing for your chap!! I am useless at that- partly cos mine is too darn fussy and I know he probably won’t end up wearing anything I make. Hehe!
    The shirt looks great! I found the regular hammer way of applying those snaps to work fine AS LONG AS I had plenty of layers of fabric under the pearly bit of the snap. Then I could hammer as hard as I wanted without them cracking and they never budge. Maybe give that way another try if you can bear it?!
    Sometimes we are just destined not to get along with certain things tho I guess!

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  2. Cool! This looks like a great fit. I always promise to sew things for people but never get round to it. Friends seem quietly frustrated when their outfits never materialise, but Ben’s used to me, so he doesn’t really expect me to make him anything. I’ve promised him a flannel shirt and a coat (I’ve never made a coat before, so I don’t know where I got that idea from), but I have spotted him checking out coats in the shops recently, so I guess he knows it’s unlikely to materialise before 2024.

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    • It just takes so long to sew things, and it takes me way, way, way longer when I don’t have a deadline for it! A shirt is a good thing to make- a coat’s a pretty big commitment (um, yep, promised a coat to my sister in the early spring and haven’t made it, although of course I bought the fabric and it’s hogging up space in my sewing area, sigh).

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      • Nightmare! I have so many ideas and plans, but so little time to make things (actually, that’s a lie, I’m just quite lazy). I’ve reached saturation point with my fabric storage, so I’m on a bit of a buying ban, except that I’m going to Japan at the end of June and, let’s be honest, I’m going to buy up a significant portion of Nippori Textile Town. I just need to sew my entire to do list before then!

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  3. Awesome job!! I think this looks great – and Man Friend looks pleased, so sounds like a total win to me! Also, does anyone really wear their sleeves rolled down to reveal sketchy plackets and cuffs? No. Never. Anytime I agonize over those things I wonder why I’m agonizing because they always end up rolled up or shoved underneath a sweater or something!
    I have HAVE HAAAVVVEEE to make Nick a pair of jeans soon – like, this weekend. They were supposed to be his Christmas present… from LAST Christmas! But sewing for dudes is just not as much fun as sewing for me. There. I said it.

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    • You’re the Jeans Queen! I bet you’ll be able to make them for him in no time! I’m ashamed to admit that I promised Blake a pair of jeans, oh, about 2.5 years ago? Awful!

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  4. Love the finished shirt, and I think I’ve only made British Boyfriend an apron, despite having lots of fabric for other projects for him (including cheap-o cotton flannel for PJ pants). He’s just so patient about letting me do my other projects, that I procrastinate on his, and then they don’t get done. Whoops. ;-)

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  5. I just ordered Victory Jones’ #220 Hawaiian shirt pattern. I plan on making it for fathers day and it definitely wont be completed by father’s day. I also plan on making a mini version for my 1 year of son with the scrap fabric. It will be my first sewing project for my husband and I hope it comes out as well as your shirt! Collars are scary!

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    • I’ve never heard of that pattern company- interesting! I made a Hawaiian shirt for a toddler one time and it was really fun to sew. I couldn’t stop laughing when I saw the finished shirt. I bet your son will look super cute in it!

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  6. Sewing for men is kinda fun, isn’t it? They’re so much easier to fit…or at least their alterations seem to be much more straightforward (lengthen here, here, and here… ;-) ) You’re hubby’s new shirt looks great! Hopefully that flannel will hold up for quite a few washes!

    Kwik Sew makes good men’s patterns. I’ve made a whole slew of the dress shirts and slacks for my hubby. He’s of the tall, slim variety, so finding things that don’t hang off of him in the stores is like banging your head against a wall. I also have the western shirt Kwik Sew pattern that I haven’t tried yet, but I know my MIL has and says it’s a good one too. I also bought a Kwik Sew fleece vest pattern for both hubby and son when they were selling them for like $2.99 each a while back. And I do have their hoodie pattern too, but I’ve never made it. Jalie also has a men’s slacks-like pattern that I mashed up with the Kwik Sew slacks that my hubby ended up preferring over a straight up version of either. They also make a button up shirt, a couple of tees, and (maybe) a polo? The beauty of those is if you ever have boys, you’re all set. ;-) Same for having girls if you have any Jalie’s for you. ;-)

    As for the snaps, you have to make sure you can’t fit a fingernail under the snaps, and you also should interface the button placket (which I have failed to do before…eep!) as long as you do those two things you should be good. :-)

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  7. I love that shirt! I bought some fabric and a pattern two years ago to make my man a shirt. I still haven’t done it and now I’m thinking that an Archer for me would look great in that fabric!!

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    • Oh man, I’m having the same temptation with some more fabric I bought for a man shirt- I really think it would make a cute Archer! Stay strong and resist temptation! :o

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  8. Love it! He looks great and all your mods are so impressive! I dream of sewing something like this one day. I’ll have to try to remember to refer back to your great tips! :)

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  9. Back in the day, I made A LOT of aloha shirts… for my husband, dad, friends, we’re talking A LOT. The pocket always matched. Now…. No more aloha shirts. Matching that pocket was a lot of work. I like how you did the pockets in your MF’s shirt. :)

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  10. I love this. Man friend looks great in it and it looks like it will get a lot of wear. I have never made anything for my husband, although I have been promising him a shirt for a while now.

    Quick question – what is a tower placket?

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    • A tower placket is a little placket that covers the opening where your sleeve joins to the cuff (it’s what gives you room enough to roll up the sleeves). A tower placket has a pointed, triangular top. Sometimes you see, but more often on women’s shirts, what’s called a continuous lap- it’s sort of like covering the raw edges of the opening with bias tape. That’s the way the Archer shirt pattern has you do it, if you’ve sewed that before.

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  11. You are so amazing to do this for your guy, and it looks great on him, I really like the color of the plaid. I have made Will PJ pants with dinosaurs on it and he wears them all of the time. I really need to make him a shirt, maybe for our anniversary!

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    • Dino pj’s?!?! I want some! I made a really ugly pair of pajama pants for Man Friend when I first started sewing. He loves Star Wars, so I cut up a Star Wars sheet to make it, but the fabric is a truly gross poly-cotton blend that feels pretty scratchy. I should make him some really soft pajamas- thanks for the idea!

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  12. Peters shirt sew-along is what saved me when i sewed my first shirt. Seriously. Check i out! You did a great job, i think! Shirts are so rewarding. I made two for my boyfriend, and would make more if i could come across more suitable fabric.

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  13. Great looking shirt! I really like the fabric, and it looks like it fits him really well. I’ve made one thing for my husband–a Newcastle cardigan from Thread Theory. So now he has all kinds of requests and frankly, I’d rather spend my scant sewing time making things for moi! But he wears lots of knit t-shirts, so I’m hoping to get GREAT at making those so he will shut up for a while. :-) He loves everything from Thread Theory so at least I know where to start! I’m thinking I should add the pattern you used here to my list, though!

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    • Hmm, at least t-shirts are a quick sew. I make them often for my sister so she has fun new clothes, and it only takes me about two hours these days. Once you have a pattern down pat, you’ll be good to go!

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  14. I think you are being hard on yourself, Looking at the photo’s you would never know it wasn’t a RTW purchase! I know things are different when you have made it yourself, I am always looking for the imperfections.
    My hubby keeps asking when I am going to make him a shirt.. we have been together for 6 years. My problem is finding fabric he would like and wear. I find it a real struggle.
    Anyway, congrats on the first of many man makes
    Hannah
    http://www.madewithhugsandkisses.com

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    • I guess sometimes I can be too much of a perfectionist! It’s hard to find fabric that is suitable, that you like, and that he likes sometimes! Whatever you do, don’t bring him to the fabric store- cut swatches and let him choose from them! I learned the hard way that taking him with me will result in lots of fabric being purchased that I don’t feel like sewing!

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  15. love the colors of that flannel! lovely job. I’m finishing up a plaid shirt this week, so I’ll be tackling the pearl snaps real soon. Oh joy ;) But at least now I know of a better tool option! Thank you :)
    I’ve made Chris a handful of shirts now and one pair of jeans. He is a sweetheart and wears them all like they are the best clothing he has ever owned. The pants need some serious improvements however–I’ll probably just scrap the old pattern and start fresh next time with something different.

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  16. This is such a nice shirt. You did an amazing job on it! I’m still scared of plaid (matching) so I’m truly impressed with how you lined everything up.

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  17. I’m catching up with blog posts and this is so cool dude! Man friend looks great and you’ve done an awesome job. I actually have a bit of a geeky fetish for sewing up men’s shirts. Minimal fitting issues, plackets, collars all that fun stuff. Love this!

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  18. Pingback: Dude Sewing: McCall’s 6044, v.2 (or, the Shark Week Shirt!) « Ginger Makes…

  19. Pingback: A Cashmere Scrap Rainbow Baby Blanket—Selfless Sewing | Stale Bread into French Toast

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