All About Boys

Hi, friend-os! I don’t know about you guys, but I’m the kind of person that holidays tend to sneak up on. I have an intense work schedule and, I’ll be honest, I’m unorganized and a huge procrastinator. So I find myself (for the zillionth time) just a few days from Father’s Day with… lots of great gifts planned… yes, many great things… that I can’t tell you about… ’cause they’re totally AWESOME and not because I haven’t figured out what to get yet… OK, I give up, and since I’m sure my dad doesn’t read my blog, I can admit that I definitely don’t have a gift ready!

This brings me to the question of making things for men. Do you guys sew for the guys in your life? This is something I’ve been hoping to do more of, but sometimes it’s really difficult to find projects that I want to make that boys want to wear. I have two brothers, two brothers-in-law, my dad, and of course my husbie, and it’s been really challenging to think of things to make for them. Man Friend’s requests for items of apparel usually fall into the category of “novelty items”, and sometimes it can be hard for me to finish a project that I know will probably be worn rarely if ever, like the unfinished TNMT mask below (here’s the pattern if you need to make your own).

The world's saddest party dude

Man Friend has also requested a few items that are, simply put, beyond my skill set. His dream is for me to make him a replica of the sweater vest that legendary Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka wore on game day, but I haven’t yet made him a sweater, let alone charted a pattern for letters. My biggest foray into knitting for men was a sweater vest that I gave my dad for Christmas, and it fit poorly and was a huge pain in the neck to make (mainly due to the pattern being really difficult to follow, but also because it required hours of seaming to finish). Plus, knitting for men takes forever because the garments are so large, and many of the sweater patterns I think are nice Man Friend finds a bit… cheesy?

Who says sweater vests can't be sexy?

I’m finding out now that the problem of lack of good sewing patterns for guys’ apparel is oft-discussed on online forums. I love looking at vintage men’s patterns, but I wonder how the fit and sizing compares to modern menswear. Anyone have any experience with this?

The timeless Apache Shirt. I dare you to make this pattern for a man in your life, perhaps in a nice leopard-print silk?

I think I may have found a good gift solution, though. I snapped up a copy of vintage Simplicity 4007 from Sunni’s sale last week, and I’m excited to make them for all my guys. They look like the perfect thing to wear when you’re sitting at the breakfast nook smoking a pipe and reading the paper, you know, normal guy stuff.

I like to imagine Roger Sterling wearing these around the house

So maybe my predicament is solved for now, except for the part where it’s Thursday, Father’s Day is Sunday, and I have maybe three hours on Saturday to work on this and no fabric. Oh, and my dad lives 1000 miles away. Better late than never?

What about you guys? What are your thoughts on boy clothes?

25 responses

  1. I haven’t ventured into grown men’s sewing yet. For Christmas, I gave my nephew a super hero cape, which I guess is kind of cheating since it’s not a garment. My husband has been asking that I try and make him some tshirts based on some of his that are worn out but fit nicely. Maybe one of these days I’ll work up the nerve!


  2. Aaaaaaah! That Apache shirt! And the coordinating pants…and sandals…and kerchief. That is one HECK of a look. (As though the Apaches haven’t suffered enough – we went and stigmatized them with such an ensemble. May fashion-history never repeat itself!)

    I also don’t have a Father’s Day gift ready to go. I won’t be sewing anything for dear old dad, though. I’m thinking….beer? Men are hard to shop for. If only they liked scented candles.


    • Bahahahahahahaha! Why must these poor people suffer more injustice? I would love nothing more than to see someone in this strange Ken doll getup! Good luck with your Father’s Day gift searching, too!


  3. Oh, the problem of making “boy friendly” gifts – I hear you loud and clear! I learned to knit by making my husband a touque and a scarf as a Christmas present, items that he now rarely wears because “they are itchy”. I since have made him a number of other touques with soft yarn, all of which are languishing in the hat box because there’s always something that’s not quite right with them (!). So I promised myself I would never make him a sweater … only he’s been asking for a sweater, and I have caved to do it, and I’m already dreading the fact that it will take an enormous effort because of the size, and I would put money on the fact that he probably won’t wear it – ugh! In the sewing department things have gone a bit better. I was successful with boxer shorts (from the S.E.W. Everything Workshop book), and the t-shirts I blogged about a couple of weeks ago. I also made him a reusable coffee cup cozy which he threw in the trash by accident when disposing of the paper cup.

    But the bottom line is that you’re are 100% right: boy items take longer because of sheer size, there’s an abundance of cheesy patterns out there, and putting in all that effort so that the item won’t get used just sucks! Some ideas that I want to try include a messenger bag, pajama pants and the Negroni shirt from Colette patterns. Rae of the “Made by Rae” blog organizes a month long “celebrate the boy” theme but it’s all about little boys, not grown ups. Perhaps we should organize a “celebrate the man” thing and maybe that way we’ll get better ideas on gifts to make for the men in our lives. In the meantime, good luck finding a father’s day present!


    • Boooo– I wish everyone had better anecdotes about making stuff for guys! I made a scarf for my guy, too, which he never wore. So now I run around town in a super masculine scarf… maybe your husband will actually wear his sweater?


  4. Ginger – There’s a Negroni sewalong somewhere in blogsphere that may be useful. Lindsay – Thanks for the link to the camera strap tutorial. I’m getting a new camera on Saturday and this will come in handy!


  5. Up until now I’ve only gotten requests for mending stuff. I don’t think my boyfriend is confident enough about my sewing skills to ask me to make something for him :p

    Also, I’m not really looking forward to sewing for other people actually, I’m not exactly a patient person, and the idea that I’m making something which I will be able to wear is really what drives me. I wouldn’t have that with garments for someone else.


    • I know what you mean. I can have a tough time finishing projects when I don’t have a deadline because I get too excited about the NEXT project I want to make. I learned how to knit mainly because so many people I knew were having babies and I wanted to be able to make a nice gift, but it’s so much harder to make gifts for people that aren’t pint-sized! I also struggle with fitting clothes for myself, and it seems like it would be much, much harder to adjust fit for other people!


  6. I agree on the novelty item point. My boyfriend asks me for stuff like that all the time. What he doesn’t know is that I won’t start on an item until he has asked me three times. That way I know he really wants it. He wants a cover for his mac book that looks like a Manila envelope.


  7. Pingback: New Camera and a Patchwork Strap Cover | Stitch Parade

  8. I know this is an old post, but I stumbled across it and your blog because I am currently making a Ditka Bears sweater vest. Just wanted to say, if you are interested in my charts from it I would be more than happy to send them to you, or help in reworking my pattern to fit the man friend I would be more than happy to help.


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