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?

153 responses

  1. I don’t do much dude sewing, but I have made four versions of McCall’s 6044 (two short-sleeve, two long). I also made a hoodie once. Erm. That’s it. I do like Thread Theory patterns for men…but it’s too much time away from sewing for myself!

    Like

    • Ahhhh, I should have had him try the patented “arm behind the head” move! Your shirts were the reason I bought this pattern… a long, long time ago. I like the Thread Theory patterns, too, but Man Friend thinks they’re too “hipster” (I’m like, “Um, have you seen your glasses? You’re a hipster, dude!”).

      Like

  2. I can never meet this shirt in real life, because I will steal it off his back. I LOVE the color scheme and the uneven plaid! I’ve really enjoyed the men’s sewing – much less fit to deal with. I’ve done three men’s shirts now.
    Every time I call my boyfriend with some new scheme for a project he has been putting his foot down and reminding me that he is patiently awaiting his shirt and a pile of mending I promised him months ago. Whoops!

    Like

    • It’s funny- I kept looking for fit issues and just couldn’t really find any! I couldn’t believe that it was possible to sew something straight out of the envelope and not have any major adjusting to do! I foolishly promised a pair of jeans to Man Friend a while ago and I’m really not looking forward to those.

      Like

      • This is one reason to never take up man sewing. My husband is exactly the same, seems to be a fit model or something. He clearly didn’t need my help to find fitting clothes. I have made him jeans. The sewing isn’t the problem, just finding a pattern. I made the KwikSew twice and they were very relaxed fit and not great. I had more success using the draft in Winifred Aldrich’s menswear book. I have a Vogue men’s jeans pattern but the envelope pictures just don’t look good to me so I haven’t wanted to invest the time in those. Copying a fitting pair is probably the best approach.

        Like

  3. How adorable! I have made 4 Jedediah’s (thread theory) for DH, the last pair out of stretch twill and he is in looooove…… And requests for shorts. Also made cycling jerseys and an Avocado hoodie – now that MMM is almost over, I guess I had better sew something for him – I try to do one thing for me, then one thing for him, then one thing for our daughter…. Try!

    Like

  4. Despite your difficulties, this shirt looks really nice! I have several men’s patterns, but except for one pair of men’s boxers (which have been well-loved for two years now) I have held off from sewing menswear. One of these days………

    Like

  5. Aww, how adorable! (am I allowed to say that?) For your first try it looks great. You’ll be whipping stuff out in no time! Taking me to the fabric story is always an adventure! 🙂 I look forward to the pinstripe pants!

    Like

  6. Great looking shirt! When you are using the snap source snaps, make sure it is interfaced and sturdy, then pound the heck out of those babies!

    Like

  7. very nice for a first attempt! i have the snap source thingie too and i like it except that i have been known to have a brain fart and attach the snaps wrong side out b/c i’m an idiot.

    i’ve made my man lots of pants using the kwik sew jeans pattern. he’s worn through them all and he wants me to make more and i’ve basically said no b/c i’m sick of it. i also bought all of the not-inexpensive supplies to make him an albion coat and haven’t even taped the pattern together.

    Like

    • Dude, it’s so hard to remember which side needs to be facing which way when you’re putting the snaps on! And that coat seems like a massive undertaking… I don’t think I have one in me!

      Like

    • Hahahaha, I think I first started talking about shirts for him maybe two years ago? And I definitely promised him a pair of jeans over two years ago- it was before we moved into this apartment!!

      Like

  8. After I got my sewing machine and started sewing on a regular, serious basis I asked Mr. Kat what he would like to get sewn by me. I was hoping for a shirt of any kind or even a hoodie, but no, he requested swimming trunks. Of all possible fabrics he chose one of the beginner unfriendliest. But I managed to make him his trunks for Christmas. They look, well, home-made to me, but he wears them proudly and has asked for another pair. That happened about two year ago, the second pair still needs hemming. But he has gotten a few shirts and a hoodie in between. After seeing your shirt he might even get one of those.

    Like

  9. Have Nancy, the woman working in the window at Steinlauf and Stolller, do your snaps for you. She’s the expert. She’s been doing them for 3 decades. Don’t ask me how I know….

    Like

  10. Looks great! It’s a shame that the flannel quality wasn’t great, but it looks like you made the best of it. Hopefully it’ll wear well over time. I’ve also made the same mistake with the sleeve plackets – I never realized they would make the cuff wider – oops! Next time I’ll take in the sleeve seam or pleats, as you mentioned. Live and learn is right. 🙂

    Like

  11. nice work (and great modelling from Man Friend!). i made the much admired goretex jacket for my hubby (http://somanypatternssewlittletime.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/scary-skill-swap-reveal.html), and he is keen to have some shirts next (I have some jasper conran fabric just waiting!) but i can’t find a pattern he likes. he doesn’t like the western details of the negroni or the flat collars of most big 4 patterns. i have bought the pattern making for menswear book and so i think i’ll draft him a shirt sloper! i’m so sad he doesn’t like Thread Theory patterns as i’d so love to support them, but he is fussy about his clothes.

    Like

  12. man sewing is tricky. ive made my husband probalby 5 shirts including a bunch from this pattern. He wears one regularly. Just doesn’t seem worth it. But I think you should be pretty proud of this.

    Like

  13. What do you think about a dude sewing week? Peter at Male Pattern Boldness just posted about What Makes Men Sew and my hubby just showed some interest. Your guy isn’t sewing but showing interest in patterns and fabric.
    It would be neat to honour our supportive guys and highlight some male sewists.
    Drop me a line if you are interested in setting this up.

    Like

  14. Oh how I know what you mean about fiddly flannel! It looks like you won the fight though. The shirt looks great! I like the contrast at the collar. The one actually successful shirt I’ve made my guy took 9 days to beat into submission (owing to the aforementioned pita flannel grain) and has put me off doing any more. Someday though… poor guy. He has quite a few fabrics sitting on my shelves. Because yep, if I’m going to make him endure fabric shopping, he’s going to make requests.

    Like

  15. First of all, I know you say you’re not happy with how this turned out but it looks like you did a great job on the shirt!

    My husband really wants a pair of gusseted-crotch pants constructed with a heavy fabric, like waxed canvas, that he can wear tromping through the wilderness. Apparently the gusseted-crotch is a common request for men’s pants patterns because I’ve seen a ton of chat boards full of people in search of such a pattern. They all converge on one single lonely pattern – Sunset Bay Cargo shorts/pants. He hates pants that zip off to make shorts and a bunch of the other details on these shorts but with very little pant-sewing experience on my part, I figure it will be easier to eliminate some of those details than to convert a normal crotched pattern into a gusseted one. I promised him a pair for his birthday (which was a month and a half ago).

    Oops.

    Like

  16. I think this looks great! I’ve only done one thing for my mister, a button up fir work. Yours looks fantastic compared to mine…oh top stitching woes. I think the most frustrating thing was the LACK of fitting issues. He fit the standards on the envelope almost perfectly! The only change I’ll make in the future is to add an inch to two to help it stay tucked in.

    Like

  17. Great shirt! You would never know it was made out of tricky fabric. I really like the contrasting collar detail!

    I have sewn a parka fr my dad and a shirt for my boyfriend, both rub-offs of RTW clothes they own. He rarely gets anything because I rarely have suitable fabric in my stash, but I have currently promised him two linen shirts and a pair of pants copied off his favorite jeans. I am just waiting until I have a machine that does buttonholes…

    (P.S. if this double-comments, it’s because I’m battling with WordPress.)

    Like

  18. I’m in the same boat, I’ve made my man a few shirts in the past, but nothing lately. I should though, he wore the shirts until they wore out. I do hem his jeans and fix things. He kept asking me to do more and more complex repairs/refashions on things he found at the thrift store or on sale, until finally I decided it was time for him to learn to use the sewing machine! He has fixed/embellished a few pairs of jeans, both by hand and with the machine. But I know he doesn’t want to invest the time on shirt-making skills. I’ve built up my me-made wardrobe to the point that I’m almost not in urgent need of anything, so I hope to do some more selfless sewing in the near future. I’ve had the best luck copying RTW that fits him well, it seems easier than searching for patterns which might not suit his body type anyway.

    Like

    • That’s so awesome that he does his own repairs! I still do them for Man Friend, although he’s very patient and careful, so would be great at sewing (probably better than me)! I need to start copying clothes that he likes.

      Like

  19. Looks good. Regarding possibly narrowing the shoulders, in my humble opinion, I would not. Shoulder width slightly wider can give the illusion that the shoulders are broader. The width also offers flexible comfort. I believe creative cleaverness can come from fabric limitations. You now know what to do differently regarding sleeve length, fabric quality and what your man friend likes and dislikes. This pattern is a keeper. Sometimes we have to step back and let time pass before we re-evaluate a sewing project objectively.

    Like

    • Thank you! I think I’ll leave the shoulders as they are. I totally know what you mean about letting some time pass before making a decision- oftentimes when I look at something I wasn’t happy with, I can’t remember what bugged me!

      Like

  20. 8 pairs of cargos, 3 pairs of shorts, 2 three piece suits, 4 pairs of dress pants, several hoodies, longsleeves and plain Tshirts. 2 winter jackets and a coat. And thats within last 5 years… He likes the clothes I make for him. Bc he dosent have to go to a store and try clothes on 😉

    Like

  21. It looks so good!! You’ve got major chutzpah tackling plaid. This kind of sewing just gets easier and easier as you do it, so I’ll bet you’ll breeze through the next shirt!

    Like

    • I need to dive into another soon before I forget what I did! At the very least, I’m learning to write down my construction notes as I go so I don’t make the same mistakes over and over again!

      Like

  22. Your shirt turned out great! I didn’t even notice any plaid mismatching. I should start with some dude sewing as well, i’ve been promising him stuff since forever, lol.

    Like

  23. Can I just say, how very selfless of you to actually go through with sewing something not just for yourself, but for a dude! You really put me to shame… I remember saying that I would make a fabric advent calendar for both of us a few years back (not even just for another human being – no half of it was actually gonna be for me) and that’s still yet to happen… I then went as far as buying a pattern for some unisex (cough, I gave myself a way out there) pjs, and guess what? I haven’t got round to using it yet! All I can say is that your man friend is a very lucky man!

    The shirt looks very professional, and it’s a good fit, too! Are you worried that this will only encourage him to demand more Ginger made clothes? :p

    Like

    • It’s just so hard to motivate yourself to make things for other people! But you should make a pair of pajamas- they’re super, super quick! I made a really ugly pair for Man Friend back when I first started sewing. Hmm, I should make another…

      Like

  24. Wow – great shirt! Yeah, there really isn’t much variety for the fellas when it comes to patterns, is there?

    I’ve, um, been meaning to, um, sew some shirts for Phin for oh about 3 years now. Yeah. I have, however, made him 2 pairs of pjs and a bunch of boxers, not to mention a horde of stuffed animals… and this week he asked for more pjs. So we’ll see if he ever gets a shirt…

    Like

  25. That is a fabulous shirt for your guy and all the plaid looks so good. The peeing shot is hilarious, thanks for the chuckle. I use to make my hubby tons of 1/4 zip pullovers from Malden Mills fleece, I could crank those out in my sleep. Now I am being selfish and only sewing for myself.

    Like

  26. I have this same pattern ready to rock for Mike. But, I’m going to do it short sleeved and without the pointed yoke. I don’t see a lot to fix with the fit on this. I think that the fit looks pretty spot on through the shoulders in the rear view, which, in my menswear knitting experience, is always the most important area to get a good fit. It’s hard to tell in the photos, whether the should seams are flat felled seams. Are they?

    I’ve only ever sewn shorts for Mike, so the fitting we went through with that project isn’t quite the same as for this. I think menswear patterns are pretty classic, for the most part.

    Like

    • I fake flat-felled the seams because I wanted to test the fit along the way. On the next go-round I’ll do actual flat-felled seams. They look so nice! I need to try a pair of shorts for him, too. What pattern did you use?

      Like

  27. The shirt looks really good, and it appears to fit your man friend well. I have made my husband a couple of shirts, and he likes them both.

    Like

  28. Great shirt! It looks good on him, and the shoulders looks like they fit perfectly! I once made my bf and dad some silk kimono’s which was an awful lot of work, but they do really like and wear them often! My bf is very picky fabric and pattern wise, so far he isn’t really convinced of any new projects. I’ve been trying to sell him onto thread theory’s patterns, but no luck so far..

    Like

  29. I love the skirt! I can’t wait to see all the clothes you make him. I used this pattern too, but of course I to alter it. I completely know where you’re coming from in regards to taking man friend to the store and coming out with a bag full fabrics! I have a couple of shirts, military jackets, and pants to sew my fiance too.

    I wish there were better men’s patterns out there. I like some of thread theory’s patterns, but it doesn’t fit my fiance’s body type without having me alter the living day lights out of it. Plus, he’s particular! He likes military style clothing. Even though he doesn’t sew, he knows about fit. Damn osmosis!

    Like

    • I wish there were more patterns, too, although to be honest, Man Friend probably wouldn’t like them! I think it’s hard for him to visualize the pattern on himself, so he automatically doesn’t like it!

      Like

  30. I sew for my sons and my husband. The boys are still less than man-sized so fairly easy. My husband has had a couple of shirts, several pairs of trousers (including dress pants) and several hoodies. I sew for him because he appreciates it and because it’s hard to find RTW that fits him as he does judo and as a result is more muscular than average.
    Your other half’s shirt looks like it fits well, so no reason not to make more!

    Like

    • Thanks, Peter! If I was REALLY smart, I would’ve checked out your shirt sewalong posts before starting this… but I was dumb and didn’t think about it until right now!

      Like

  31. I’m so impressed! I’ve promised my husband a shirt for over a year. I tried making a muslin of the Colette Negroni, but then I decided I wanted to make him a shirt with a collar so I tried making a rub-off. However we hit a snag in the process when he accused me of snapping at him while I was fitting the rub-off muslin. And I got annoyed that he didn’t appreciate the fitting process and I still claim that I didn’t snap at him (he just needed to stop moving!). so yeah…..I’m the worst wife ever! 🙂

    Like

  32. Brilliant shirt!! You did a great job, can’t see any fit issues in the pics. I have agreed to sew something for my hubby but he’s so much fussier than I am about what he wears and the lack of sewing patterns for guys doesn’t help. I’ve seen some nice Thread Theory patterns online recently (though admittedly I spent most of that browsing time working out if I could get their cardi to fit me rather than him… )

    Like

    • Ahahaha! You sassy minx, looking at men’s patterns for ladywear! OK, I was tempted by the same idea, but stayed strong and made the cardigan for my dad (Man Friend doesn’t like the TT patterns, picky boy!).

      Like

  33. I think this turned out really nice! I love the contrasting undercollar, and overall the fit seems to be right on. You are brave in my book for using plaid, something I have yet to find the courage to do with a men’s shirt. Great job!

    Like

  34. I’ve just done my first ever dude sewing, and my second ever make for someone who isn’t me.. I was totally over ambitious, and made my fella a pea coat, but it turned out really well (although I haven’t posted it yet). Went to a friend’s place last night, and he wore it, and all the other guys started dropping hints to their girlfriends, so I’m pretty proud of it!
    I love the colours of the flannel you used, and the contrast details, by the way- I’m planning to make a man shirt soon, so I will have to do something similar, I think.

    Like

  35. What a lucky dude! I think I might just start doing a bit of sewing for my husband (although, really, plus-sized men’s wear for the over-6′-tall? Never gonna find patterns for that!) I’m hoping I can just draft my own undershirts, t-shirts and hoodies for him. Your plaid shirt looks fab (and I would expect nothing else from you!) Well done!

    Like

    • Is Jamie able to find RTW that fits him? If so, can you just make a pattern from stuff he already owns? I need to do that for my fella, but I’m kind of intimidated by that process.

      Like

  36. Great shirt, but be aware…you have created a monster! My husband has a “honey do” sewing list for me that’s a mile long. Next up for man sewing at my house is a utility kilt.

    Like

  37. This is such a great post! I love the shirt – it looks fantastic – but even more than that I love your blow by blow of getting the steps out of order! I was laughing out loud seeing myself struggling in the same way! It happens all the time when I get fancy adding a detail. As far as man sewing — my husband’s gonna get a tie one of these days 🙂

    Like

    • Oh man, I get a little too cute and get in wayyyy over my head allll the time! SO silly! You’ve reminded me that somewhere in the depths of my sewing space there’s a tie cut out for Man Friend… that I bought the fabric for in 2011. Embarrassing!

      Like

  38. The shirt looks great! I really like the way you used the contrast fabric. I make my dad and husband short-sleeved shirts with crazy prints and they’ve worn several of them to death. (I should’ve bought the whole bolt of that Ford Mustang fabric….And no, I don’t make them matching shirts. That would just be weird.) I wish I could find good pre-man patterns. I’m having a heckuva time finding a cargo shorts pattern for my 13-year-old. I’ve found one or two patterns that look like they’ll work style-wise, but the he’s too big for the boys’ sizes and too small for the men’s sizes that the patterns come in. I finally gave up and copied a favorite pair of RTW shorts – what a lot of work! (He has dubbed them “the shorts of awesomeness” so I guess it was worth it.) He’s had a growth spurt this year, so I’m crossing my fingers that a man’s size small will fit him this summer.

    Like

    • I hadn’t thought about that, but there aren’t many patterns for older boys, are there? That’s too bad. Hopefully he’ll bump up to a larger size soon and you’ll have more options for him!

      Like

  39. Tower placket! I learned a new sewing term. This shirt looks great. I’ve never ventured into men’s sewing, but if I ever do there’s certainly a wealth of blog posts like this one to go by. 😀

    Like

  40. This shirt is ace. Seriously! I totally hear you about cheap flannel shifting like crazy. The one and only garment I have ever made Mr. Stitch (the Negroni) was made of some inexpensive flannel that was a pain to sew with. That was a year and a half ago and despite him asking for more shirts I have sewn him none. It’s all about me.

    Like

    • I’m the same way- it’s terrible! I’m thinking the next one will be a solid color in a non-shifty fabric just to remove those obstacles. Besides, won’t your hubby need some new duds for his country livin’? 😉

      Like

  41. Ah! This is such a neat shirt! My guy is super hard to please sewing-wise, but he does wear all the shirts I made him (although he only likes either very strange or very bland fabrics… Odd!) and the jeans occasionally (the Jebediah pattern is great!). I love the back yoke on this shirt and the way you’ve used the plaid is genius!

    Like

Got something to say?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: