I’ve gotten so confused about which day of the week it is that I’ve missed my regular Friday posts for the past couple of weeks. Can you relate? I promise to have a new weekend links post for you next week, but in the meantime here’s a question to discuss. Why do you think more men don’t sew?
Oh sure, there are a few men out there who sew, but there numbers are small compared to the number of women who sew. Do you think that will increase because so many people are making face masks now?
In the meantime, I hope you’re doing well! We get to go outside and run or walk tomorrow for the first time in almost two months, so we’re excited for the weekend! See you next week, and I hope you have a good project to work on in the meantime. Are you joining us for our Spring Pattern Challenge?
It’s a challenge to teach my boys needle craft because the art is so girl-centric. Even sewing books called “for boys and girls” heavily favor dresses, headbands, and tea cozies. Likewise cross stitch pattern kids tend to be unicorns and sweet teddy bears.
Fortunately Etsy provides good resources for patterns which interest boys.
My son landed in a class in middle school where he learned to sew & he thought it was fun & empowering…it IS a MACHINE after all. I think men’s clothing has a wider variety of sizes, so I think men in general struggle less with fitting (one of the reasons 6’ me learned to sew! I also think that men tend to care less about clothing. So for me the creative nature, making something unique that fits ME is the draw. I do know that both sons are in the Army & they teach basic skills: sew on a button, stitch a seam!
I think pants are hard. They really need to fit well and there’s not as much room for error. Women have the option of skirts and dresses, also flowy things which men traditionally don’t. (Men can wear whatever they like, as far as I’m concerned, but they mostly don’t wear skirts and dresses). I think those things are easier to sew in some ways, than the classic man outfit of dress shirt and pants.
And of course, just the whole thing of cultural norms, which are slowly changing.
I find there are extreamly limited paterns in circulation for mens clothing.
I was more interested in the sewing class instead of the woodwork class which were at the same remote location which we all attended via a coach. The sewing teacher thought that I was ogaling the girls. She pulled me in and made me stand in front of the class to humiliate me. It worked.
My mother knew that I was interested and taught me how to sew and embroider. I have made a two piece suit for a freind of my wife’s besides making a bridesmaid dress. I have made Funstar costumes for my granddaughter. Curtains for a caravan, etc..
It has always been looked apon as a feminine skill.
Men who enjoy a bit of sewing are usually put off the idea, by women.
The men who do sew often sew for the same reasons we do, to get the fit they want and the details they want. Sewing menswear is often easier than sewing for women because once you master shirts and trousers variety is in the details. I have an old book written by Jane Rhinehart in the 70s. She says “… in sewing for a woman you solve the intricacies of a pattern only to put it away and go on to the different problems of another style. Sewing for a man depends on three or four basic patterns, well worth perfecting because of their continued usefulness.” And from what I’ve seen on the net, men who sew often have other “hand craft related” skills such as woodworking, carving, machining, engineering.
There are so many reasons. Some obvious, some more subtle.
I’m currently teaching my six-year old son to sew in the lockdown because he’s been curious about all my tools and machines for a while, and because he’s growing out of all his shorts! He’s learning fast, and we’re both enjoying it, but on some level I’m still nervous about him telling his friends what he’s been learning in case they tease him about doing something they perceive as being only for girls. Clearly this is daft, but it feels like a real possibility, and I’d be upset if he were upset by his friends being sexist.
Adult men interested in learning to sew have to face this peer pressure head on. If they decide to take a beginners’ class in person, they’re likely to be the only man in the group, and they may find the classroom decked out in pink bunting, or that the specified pattern is a skirt. If they take an online class, they’ll find it hard to locate a course taught by a man, or centred on a men’s pattern. A female teacher might have limited experience in fitting menswear, or feel uncomfortable carrying out the physical aspects of the fitting process on a male student. If male beginners decide not to take any classes, they’re going to find it harder to learn and make more mistakes along the way, which is discouraging in itself.
I’m always impressed any men learn to sew, given the cultural barriers they face, and I think it’s important we do what we can to make our community inclusive for everyone who wants to sew.
But men do sew, and when they do they are tailors and get to be purveyors of bespoke clothing and it is seen as more than just a crafty hobby. It’s okay to sew if you are “a master artisan’. It’s sort of like when men are chefs and women are just cooks.