Re: Where does a man begin to learn how to make his own clothes?

casioculture@xxxxxxxxx wrote:

I'm tired of clothes that don't fit well or don't quite appeal to me. I
think it would be a worthwhile investment of time and effort to learn
how to make my own clothes. How does a guy go about this? What
resources are there online that you guys know about and recommend? I
googled a bit and got frustrated, much of it is about making flowery
embroideries (no use for a guy), stuff for women, or pillow cases and

All I want is to learn how to make well-fitting basic stuff, t-shirts,
shirts, trousers, perhaps fleece jackets, perhaps jeans, corduroy and
so on.

Any hope?

Many thanks and regards.

Anywhere that teaches sewing can teach a bloke to sew as well as a woman. Once you have the basics under your belt, you might like to try tailoring for jackets. Tailoring *is* a little different, using a lot of hand crafting techniques as well as basic sewing. It's really no more difficult, but it takes more time and patience - a bit like couture finishing! :)

For starters, you could do a lot worse that stroll round my website. In the Learning Zone there are basic tutorials on seams and seam finishes, hemming, and reading patterns. There's also a section on measuring: measuring points for men are the same as for women, so just use the same chart. I use it all the time for male and female customers.

Others have recommended some good books, but here are a few I use:
Reader's Digest Complete Book of Sewing: Look for an older copy with the tailoring bit still in it. The newer one replaced this useful section with a rather brief one on using serger/overlockers, and there are MUCH better books for that!
Sewing for Dummies: takes you through the basics and removes the scare factor. Aimed at women, but fitting is the only bit you need to worry about, as all the sewing techniques are the same for both sexes.
Shirtmaking by David Page Coffin: excellent! he started as a novice and now teaches. His methods are drawn from his own experiences, and the book is an easy read as well as really useful.

If you don't already have a machine, my advice is to start with a nice pre-loved one rather than a cheap new one. Very few new machines under £300 are worth bothering with, but a good used one can be had for under £100. Look for one that does a decent straight stitch and a nice range of household stitches such as 3 step zig-zag, blind hem, and good buttonholes. Something like this one on my web site sewing machine gallery would be a good starting point: The kids like this one when I take it into school for their lessons. I picked it up a few years ago for £70.

For T shirts and fleece, nothing beats a serger! I don't bother making t shirts, but I like making fleece jackets: I've made about 20 so far! Again, a nice pre-loved serger like my Toyota will see you through a lot. It will also make finishing seams for pants/trousers and seaming shirts and shorts a lot quicker and easier. They can all be done on a decent ordinary machine, and I'd advise starting with one of those and progressing to a serger later, when you know more about what you are doing.

A bit of encouragement: for many years my father in law, now 86, has made trousers, both for himself and for his wife (now sadly gone). He was very tall with loooong legs (upper back has shrunk now), and she was petite (5 foot tall and size 2 and a half shoe, and light as a feather!). He made tailored suits and skirts for her (both the suit she got married to him in, and the one she wore to my own wedding), and most of his own casual trousers, as well as many other things over the years. he never had a sewing lesson in his life, and used nothing but an old black straight stitch hand cranked sewing machine! And a needle and thread! He learned by reading the sewing machine manual, an old pre-war sewing book, and dismembering old clothes. :) Lovely man - wish he wasn't 300 miles away!

To see my site (I don't sell anything through it, it's quite safe!), just hit the URL below and have fun! :)

Kate XXXXXX R.C.T.Q Madame Chef des Trolls
Lady Catherine, Wardrobe Mistress of the Chocolate Buttons
Click on Kate's Pages and explore!

Relevant Pages

  • Re: t.v. sewing and quilting shows
    ... to buy a serger and the materials needed. ... just having a sewing machine. ... guess you would call this "serger envy" LOL ...
  • Re: sewing vinyl
    ... > could scan just to show you what can be done on a regular sewing machine. ... >> a friendly neighborhood upholsterer and get them to just sew it for you. ... >> Also, on boat anything, I use stainless staples, they don't rust out. ... I just put some vinyl fabric in my sewing machine. ...
  • Re: Clueless n00b seeks advice
    ... >>>Some general sewing like taking up hems on trousers made for legs longer ... >Is this a special stitch you need to specify when buying a sewing machine? ... Oversewing on a sewing machine is done by using zig-zag stitch with one side ...
  • Re: question for those who sew
    ... Children's sewing machines these days are junk. ... If she is responsible enough to not run the needle into her finger and you can spend more money, a Janome Gem model or the Sears Ultra Mini model that costs about $100 are decent, albeit lightweight and limited, machines. ... And please, when you have a budding seamstress at that age, do all their ripping for them when they start out so they don't burn out on frog stitching (i.e. rippit, rippit, rippit) and don't have the chance to get the joy of sewing. ... But this is really a rinky-dink sewing machine, and I was wondering if anyone knows if they make a child's *real* sewing machine. ...
  • Re: oiled fabric - long
    ... Crackle tin from Moda's tin box samplers series when I paused from sewing to do some cleaning leaving the block I was working on on the sewing machine so I could resume work as soon as I had finished the cleaning. ... I did clean up the sewing machine which suffered no real harm from the oiling - I did have to replace the bobbin thread though as it was saturated with oil. ...