Archive for April 2015

Sewing Patterns for Men’s Clothes

April 12, 2015

Inspired by the Great British Sewing Bee 2015, I’ve been looking for men’s patterns.
You might think there’s nothing for men learning to sew for themselves, between making a cushion cover and tailoring a suit, but in fact there are many options.

Learning to sew menswear

Even the simplest modern sewing machine is a complex machine tool. (Here are links to information about the mechanisms.) And it’s surprising how many different techniques are involved in making the simplest sewing project. Some people love challenges, some people prefer to learn one new technique at a time.

There’s a subscription service for men learning to sew from complete beginner. Taught by Mimi G, Sew It Academy, about $12 a month – videos with few written instructions.

If you prefer written instructions, here’s a “learn to sew” project book for complete beginners. The Merchant & Mills Sewing Book has a sequence of bags and home dec all suitable for both men and women (clothes patterns in this book are small and difficult to use, M&M single patterns are good).

The Sewing Guru is a trained tailor who has videos for making shirts and suits (and pyjamas), using speed and classical tailoring techniques. Projects vary in difficulty, and there’s no formal sewing school with a suggested sequence for learning sewing skills.

Burda Academy has an online video course for learning to sew menswear, which includes patterns for jacket, pants, and Barbour. This is also not for beginners.

‘Learn to Sew’ clothes patterns for men

V and crew necked tees : Kwik Sew 3878
Pyjama pants : Kwik Sew 3793
Elastic-waist pants : Kwik Sew 3345
Elastic-waist cargo shorts : McCall’s 6933
Vests : Simplicity 2346

There is a shirt pattern labelled Learn to Sew by McCall’s, which is best avoided as it is definitely not easy, McCall’s 6972. For some reason they chose the most difficult way of attaching a collar.

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General Patterns

When you’ve learned the basics of how to sew, where can you go ?
I haven’t linked to individual patterns here, as there are 100s of them ! These are just links to pattern sources.
Sections here for :
Casual wear
Activewear and Outdoor gear
Suits, vests, coats.
These are all paper patterns unless noted.

Plus a final section on making your own patterns.

There are about a dozen patterns for men in this list of patterns supposed to be sewable in less than 3 hours.

If you’re specifically looking for patterns for larger men, here’s a post from the Curvy Sewing Collective which lists some patterns for men which go up to larger sizes. (See also the ‘make your own patterns’ section below, if that interests you.)

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Casual wear
Some of these sites are not sorted for men/women.
Some are in several languages.

Burda tissue patterns (search for men)
Burda Style download patterns
Colette Patterns – Walden for men
Green Style Creations
Hot Patterns
Jennifer Lauren Handmade
Kwik Sew
Liesl & Co.
Merchant & Mills
New Look
Patterns for Pirates
Patrons les BG
ProperFit Cothing – caps
Seamwork (download)
Sew Sew Def (download)
Silhouette patterns
Stof & Stil
The Tailoress
Thread Theory
Wardrobe By Me
5 out of 4 patterns

’Made to Measure’ pdf download patterns

Most of these only use a few basic measures, such as height, chest, waist, hips.

Bootstrap Fashion has patterns for several shirts and jackets. (formerly Make My Pattern) has patterns for most garment types.

Lekala patterns include more than 120 patterns for men.

For more detailed personalising of design and fit, see the ‘Make your own patterns’ section below.

Pattern magazines
There’s the annual special family issue of Ottobre magazine such as 7/2017, which is mainly traceable patterns for men.
Many of the download patterns at Burda Style previously appeared in Burda Style pattern magazine.
Occasionally there are stylish patterns for men in Italian pattern magazine La Mia Boutique

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Many of these sites aren’t pre-sorted for men/ women.

Burda Style download patterns

There are several specialist pattern companies for historic styles.
Such as :
Laughing Moon
Patterns of Time
Reconstructing History
The Recollections of J.P.Ryan

Choose the era you are interested in at
The Great Pattern Review
That doesn’t link you direct to the pattern.
Here’s their list of links to sources.

Here’s a page of free download historic patterns.

The Great Pattern Review site also has a ‘futuristic-fantasy’ section.
For cosplay costumes for specific characters, you can usually find ideas on specialist sites for the character.
There are some ‘online only’ cosplay costume patterns from McCall’s : Cosplay by McCall’s.

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Active wear

Burda Style download patterns (scroll down)
Controlled Exposure
Daisy Kingdom
Green Pepper
Round Earth Publishing – martial arts
Shelby Kaava
Storm Mountain Designs

Outdoor gear

Here’s a guide to tips on sewing outdoor gear which aren’t in most conventional sewing books.

Pennine Outdoor (mainly tents and sleeping bags)
Quest Outfitters (tents, bivy bags, backpacks)
Rainshed (mainly special purpose bags)
Suitability (fabric gear for horses)
Many free patterns for bike bags available on-line.

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Moving on to shirts and suits (if you want to)

Video courses on technique

David Page Coffin, noted for his books and DVDs on shirts and pants, has video classes at Craftsy, David Page Coffin.

Burda Academy have an on-line video course on making menswear, which includes download patterns for notched collar and barbour jackets, pants, no shirt.

The Sewing Guru is a tailor who has many video courses on making shirts and suits.

Kenneth King has video tailoring class at Taunton Workshops, Smart Tailoring.

There are many video courses on making women’s shirts, which use the same techniques.

Patterns for Shirts

More than one at each of these sites :
Burda Style download
Islander Sewing Systems
Kwik Sew
(single shirts in some of the Casual wear listings)

Patterns for Suits, Vests, Coats

Burda Style download patterns

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Make your own clothes patterns

The University of Fashion has on-line video lessons on drafting patterns for men. These are standard industry slopers.

There are ready-made full size basic pattern blocks for men from Shoben Media (average body shape, up to about 110cm / 43” chest) :
hoodie, shirt, pants, vest, jacket, coat.

Custom fit patterns

Don’t expect a perfect fit from these tools unless you’re lucky. They only cover about a quarter of all fitting issues. But they may give you a better fit than patterns for ‘average’ body shape.

‘Connect the dots’ tracing from a master pattern, by Sure-Fit Designs :
Shirts and casual jackets (easy to make any height-collar-chest combination up to about 157cm/62” chest).
Pants for men instructions used with pants pattern (up to 62″ hips).

Pattern making software :
Wild Ginger PatternMaster Tailor Made (claims no upper size limits)

Formal Pattern Drafting books :
Patternmaking for Menswear : classic to contemporary by Kim & Kim
Metric pattern cutting for menswear by Winifred Aldrich
(There are several other general pattern making books for men, but these get the best reviews.)

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Other options :

Vintage patterns
There are many vintage pattern sites. Good places to start are :

The Japanese produce marvellous pattern books, with full size traceable pattern sheets. So long as you don’t mind they’re in Japanese ! with many good line drawings of construction. A fun challenge, but not for beginners. Sizes are small. Body sizes are given with the book information, in cm. Multi-size patterns, so they may be quite easy to grade up.
These are the books for men’s clothes at my favourite source, which shows many sample pages.
Simply Pretty

Free patterns – with very variable quality of pattern drafting and instructions.
Sadly there’s no obvious good source focussed on men’s patterns.

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It’s worth checking a pattern at Pattern Review, to see if anyone has helpful advice. (I find it quickest to search by pattern number.)
Pattern Review

Men’s clothing may not show the almost infinite variations in style elements that there are in women’s clothes. The differences are more in subtle details.
You do have to search thoroughly if you want something stylish, but there is a lifetime of possibilities to explore !

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Links available April 2015
Since then I’ve added a link whenever I come across a new source, but I don’t keep checking.

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