Archive for the ‘learning to sew’ category

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

If you’re looking for a “learn to sew” project book for men, 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 sized and difficult to understand, M&M single patterns are good).

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.

‘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.

– – –

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
Costumes
Activewear and Outdoor gear
Shirts
Suits, vests, coats.
These are all paper patterns unless noted.

Plus a final section on making your own patterns.

There are about a dozen quick-sew patterns for men in this list.

Looks like there will be a pdf pattern for men with each monthly issue of Sew Sew Def online magazine.

– – –

Casual wear
Some of these sites as not sorted for men/women.

Burda tissue patterns (search for men)
Burda Style download patterns
Butterick
Colette Patterns – Walden for men
Green Style Creations
Hot Patterns
Jennifer Lauren Handmade
Knipmode (in Dutch)
Kwik Sew
Lekala (download)
Make My Pattern (Belgium)
McCall’s
Merchant & Mills
New Look
Seamwork (download)
Silhouette patterns
Simplicity
Schnittquelle (Germany)
Stof & Stil (Denmark)
Thread Theory
Wardrobe By Me
5 out of 4 patterns

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

– – –

Costumes

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

Burda Style download patterns
Butterick
Folkwear
McCall’s
Simplicity

There are several specialist pattern companies for historic styles.
Such as (sorted for men) :
Laughing Moon
Reconstructing History
The Recollections of J.P.Ryan
Nehelenia (not sorted for men-women, and not only their own patterns)

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.

– – –

Active wear

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

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

Outdoor gear

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.

– – –

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.

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.

Patterns

Shirts

Burda
Burda Style download
Islander Sewing Systems
Kwik Sew
Vogue
(and check the Casual wear sites)

Suits, Vests, Coats

Burda
Burda Style download patterns
Vogue

– – –

Make your own clothes patterns

Ready-made full size basic pattern blocks for men (average body shape) from Shoben Media :
hoodie, shirt, pants, vest, jacket, coat.
If you want to see what some of these blocks look like, they’re here.

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).
Pants for men booklet used with pants pattern.

Pattern making software
Wild Ginger PatternMaster Tailor Made

Formal Pattern Drafting books
Patternmaking for Menswear : classic to contemporary by Kim & Kim
Metric pattern cutting for menswear by Winifred Aldrich

– – –

Other options :

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

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.

– – –

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

Man’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 !

– – –

Links available April 2015

= = = = = = = = = =

Knit top sewalongs

September 21, 2013

(Hey, not sure I would have chosen this topic if I’d realised it was going to be my 200th post ! Amazing what starting a blog can turn into 😀 Thanks for all your interest over the years.)

Knit tops are so popular as a quick make, I thought there would be many sewalongs. There are several ‘let’s have fun together’ sewalongs, but not so many with detailed instructions for a specific pattern (at least, not ones that are easy to find !).

The skirt sewalongs in my previous posts included all sorts of pattern-sewalong combinations.
These knit sewalongs all come from the designer of the pattern.

Many of these assume you’re working with a conventional sewing machine rather than a serger/ overlocker. I’ve noted what’s used in some sewalongs, but I haven’t seen all of them so don’t know about the others !
Some are video and some written materials.

– – –

Written instructions with photos
(most of these are free)

Child’s cut-on sleeve top from KitschyCoo

”cut-on-sleeve-tee”

download pattern

Sewalong
scroll to bottom of page to get first post
Uses a serger/ overlocker.
Many ideas for variants – apply them to adult’s patterns too !

Fishsticks’s Designs Charlie Tee

A sew-along for a simple tee with separate sleeves.
The instructions show a children’s version, but of course the same instructions apply to the adult sizes !

”charlie-tee-sm”

Pattern for adult sizing, tissue or download

Intro to the sew-along
For later steps click the link at the bottom of each post.
Sewing machine, includes sewing a twin-needle hem.

Renfrew top from Sewaholic patterns

”renfrew”

Top with variants of sleeve length, neckline shape, cowl neck
The Number 1 best pattern for 2012 at Pattern Review.

tissue pattern

Sewalong intro
List of links
Final step
sewing machine

The Sewing Workshop Trio pattern Tee – raglan

”sw-trio-tee”

tissue pattern (includes woven sleeveless jacket and pants)

Sewalong for tee only, sewing machine (not free, 62 pages)

– – –

Video, on-line, free

Ttutorial from Hot Patterns on making a basic v-neck tee.

Video demos, on-line or on DVD
(not free)

Basic Tee from Meg McElwee of Sew Liberated patterns

”meg-tees”

Craftsy on-line video class – Sewing with knits
download pattern included
sewing machine

Fleece Hoodie from Meg McElwee of Sew Liberated patterns

”meg-hoodie”

Craftsy on-line video class – Sewing with Knits
download pattern included
sewing machine

(See above for basic tee in the same class. Class also has patterns and instructions for knit skirt, pants, dress)

Pamela’s Patterns 104 the Perfect T-shirt DVD

”pamelas-tee”

tissue pattern

sewalong in ‘The Perfect T-shirt‘ DVD

Vogue 8793 from Katherine Tilton

”v8793”

tissue pattern – class price includes pattern
complex collar with zipper trim

Craftsy on-line video class – The Ultimate T-shirt – from Marcy and Katherine Tilton
includes fitting, and making variations

– – –

P.S. useful links not related to a specific pattern :

Sewaholic’s big list of tips for sewing knits is itself a collection of useful links
Noodlehead’s self-made pattern for racer-back tank with detailed sewing instructions
Crafts class by Linda Lee on Sewing Fashion Knits.

– – –

Of course there are many other good sources of useful tips on sewing knits. Though you’re expected to pick out for yourself the information you need. My focus here is on thorough guidance from project-based instructions, which give more help than there is in specific pattern instructions. “If you follow these steps one-by-one you’ll make this. . .”

Again I haven’t read or used all these instructions, so no guarantee of quality !
But I hope you find something useful and helpful 😀

– – –

Patterns and links available September 2013

= = =

Sewing skills lists

September 7, 2013

Are you the sort of person who likes to tick your skills off on a list as you learn ? or have some sort of structure to guide your learning ?

I don’t like exotic vacations away from home, but I do like to spend August as a stay-cation – sew-cation.
I usually take some sort of on-line sewing class.
And that makes me think about my sewing skills.

Three groups of items here :
Some .pdf lists of skills which I’ve produced.
These are project based.

Some .pdf lists about sewing education from 4-H.
There are several other 4-H sewing booklets which aren’t free.

And, for people who like to learn by working through a suggested sequence of projects, there are the increasingly difficult projects required in a couple of recent knock-out sewing contests.

My own lists

Beginners
Beginner skills list.pdf

Intermediate skills – based on the book Dressmaking by Alison Smith
31 projects.A4.pdf
31 projects.USletter.pdf

Taking it further, I haven’t produced my own list of jacket sewing skills, but there are comments on them in my post on Sources of jacket sewing advice. Jackets can be made at a huge range of levels of difficulty. All the way from advanced beginner ones which use the same skills as sewing a simple blouse. Through to advanced couture and tailoring skills such as underlining, pad stitching, roll line taping, sleeve head supports, welt pockets. . .

– – –

4-H lists

Different states use different systems.
Here are some .pdfs that are free and I’ve found worth a look.

Penn State
Sewing skills progress chart
(not sorted by level)

Washington State
Sewing skills checklist
(3 levels)

Purdue
Sew much fun
(3 general levels, 12 detailed levels)

Oregon State
Sewing advancement guide
(3 general levels, 9 detailed levels – general clothing skills, refers to Sewing skills checklist for sewing details)

– – –

Knock-out sewing contests

How about using extended sewing contests as guides to a project sequence to work through ?

Super Online Sewing Match

This on-line sewing contest used patterns going up to intermediate skills. Contestants had one or two weeks to do their sewing, in their own sewing space.
The entries show how much can be achieved from a simple starting point. The basic patterns may be intermediate, but the workmanship and richness of ideas in the entries were at a very high level.

Announcement

Round One – a-line skirt
Deborah Moebes’ Design and sew an a-line skirt Craftsy class
Challenge
Pattern
Entries

Round 2 – child’s dress
Oliver + S Roller Skate dress
Challenge
Pattern
Entries

Round 3 – bag
Cinch bag download pattern from U-handbag
Challenge
Pattern
Entries

Round 4 – men’s shirt
Colette Patterns Negroni men’s shirt
Challenge
Pattern
Entries

Round 5 – final – adult dress
Sewaholic Patterns Cambie fully lined dress with bustier style bodice
Challenge
Pattern
Entries
Winner

– – –

Great British Sewing Bee TV series

The Great British Sewing Bee TV series was a more advanced challenge, as it worked up to making jackets and using special occasion fabrics, plus fitting someone they hadn’t met before.

Sewing quickly in an unfamiliar environment – not something I would do well at all 😀
Though the building they sewed in looked delicious, a historic building bursting with fabrics and haberdashery, a sewer’s paradise.
Contestants could take their own tools, but had to use the sewing machines provided.

In the 2013 series there were 3 challenges each weekend, each with only a few hours allowed.
First day :
1. Make up a commercial pattern supplied.
2. Decorate a ready-made item.
Second day :
3. Choose fabric and pattern for a specific type of garment (contestants were given the brief a few days beforehand). Make up to fit a real person, who modelled it for the judging.
There was also a simple suggested home-dec project for viewers (not at all well explained !).

The episodes used to be available on YouTube, but sadly they’ve been deleted for copyright reasons. . . yet the makers haven’t issued a DVD – pooh !

Jan 2014 – the show has appeared on YouTube again – don’t know how long it will last !

Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 3

Episode 4

Round One

1. A-line skirt
2. alter neckline of RTW top
3. made-to-measure day dress
Project – drawstring laundry bag

Comments from sewing organiser
Other information

Round Two
1. men’s trousers
2. add patch pockets to RTW skirt
3. made-to-measure silk blouse/ shirt
Project – tied closure cushion/ pillow cover

Comments from sewing organiser
Other information

Round Three – semi-final
1. child’s sun-dress with shirring, french seams, rouleaux straps
2. change shape and embellish RTW shift dress
3. made-to-measure fitted jacket with lining
Project – simple curtains

Comments from sewing organiser
Other information

Round Four – final
1. men’s shirt
2. embellish ready-made fabric evening purse
3. made-to-measure special occasion wear (all contestants chose to use 2 difficult fabrics !)

Comments from sewing organiser
Other information

– – –

Do you like to develop your sewing skills ?
or do you like to use familiar sewing processes, and put your creativity into choosing what to make and how to embellish it ?
or just burble along for complete relaxation 😀

I hope you had a lovely summer vacation, whatever your vacation style 😀

– – –

Links and patterns available September 2013

= = =

Skirt sew-alongs – videos

August 3, 2013

The second section of my list of sew-alongs for skirts.
Sewalongs for people who like to watch rather than read what to do.
Videos are on-line or on DVD.

The first post in this group was about free on-line written skirt sewalongs with photos.

If you prefer to learn by watching video demos, they’re not free. Sad, but producing these videos and DVDs does take a considerable investment in time and effort, so it’s understandable.
And the videos often include much more complete guidance than the written ones.

Most of these guides aren’t pattern specific, so I’ve just given example pictures.

And as before – I haven’t seen most of these, so no guarantee of quality. . .

(Also at the end, some links to lists of free download skirt patterns.)

Elastic waist skirts for beginners

e-SewingWorkshop on-line

”e-sew-skirt”

sewalong for dirndl skirt.
Free videos on their site about using a sewing machine.

Beginner Basics on-line class by Deepika at Pattern Review

”s2258”

tissue pattern Simplicity 2258.
sewalong

You Can Make It DVD
pattern : any basic skirt with elastic waist
sewalong Level 1
YouTube sample excerpts
You need to be able to able to use a sewing machine, but otherwise for complete beginners.

Pencil skirts
usually darts, zip, waistband, may be hem vent, lining.

Most of these make a basic pencil skirt using any pattern, such as McCall’s 3830 classic tissue pattern.

”m3830”

Craftsy Sewing Studio class by Diana Rupp on-line,
includes making a fitting muslin, and adding a lining.
Use any pattern,
or the tissue pattern in her book Sew Everything Workshop.
sew along (includes beginner’s cushion cover)

eSewingWorkshop on-line
Use any pattern,
or follow their instructions for drafting your own pencil skirt with simple style variations. (These instructions draft a skirt to your standing hip measurement without added ease, skin tight. Do draft to at least your sitting hip measurement, so you’re able to move !)
sewalong

Sewing Guru on-line
Pencil skirt with waistband, CB zip, hemline slit
such as tissue pattern Butterick 5391.
sewalong
first 4 videos of Collection 2 on skirt pattern, and Collection 6 on sewing the skirt

You Can Make It DVD
Use any pattern for skirt with waistband, darts, zip, hem slit, also pleats.
sewalong Level 2 (scroll down)
YouTube sample excerpts.
YCMI DVDs are cumulative not stand-alone. Level 2 assumes you know the skills taught at Level 1 (elastic waist skirt).

Other

Craftsy class Design and make an a-line skirt, on-line class by Deborah Moebes.

Pamela’s favorite bias skirt DVD
no central seam

”pamelas-bias”

tissue pattern
DVD

– – –

P. S. Here’s a free video for sewing an a-line skirt with box pleat, zip, waistband. it’s the free Wear Everywhere skirt from So Sew Easy.

– – –

The written sewalongs for skirts (see my previous post) include a much wider range of style elements. Such as gathers, shirring, pockets, various waist treatments including shaped waistbands, faced waists, contour waists, and yokes.

Goodness, there are so many skirt sew-along choices it’s a bit overwhelming.
It would be easy to settle down to several years of guided skirt sewing 😀

There are also huge numbers of free skirt patterns on the web.
Many of them have primitive instructions, but once you have a few sewing skills there’s an enormous choice.
Here are some lists of links :
AllFreeSewing
Burda Style
Modern Sewing Patterns (the styles don’t all have patterns)
So Sew Easy

So, first learn from the sewalongs, then you’ll be able to tackle those patterns. How to choose where to start ?

What is your favourite support for guidance – reading or watching ?
I confess I like both – video for being sure what is involved, written so I haven’t got to remember everything and can take it at my own pace.

What is the right level of difficulty for you ? How many unfamiliar processes does each pattern include ? How many new processes are you happy to take on in one project ?
I’m a slowly-but-surely learner, not one for jumping in to a challenge.

Which style elements are most flattering to your waist-hip area ?
Sadly, with my high hip pads and protruding stomach, only the smoothest pocket-free fit over the hips is a good idea on me. And I need to take care with where the waist sits – only a little below the waist is best.

Can you alter the skirt length, for the most flattery to your length proportions ? your legs ?
I’m short waisted, and high waists just look ridiculous.
Knobbly knees are a family feature. And my ankles are not what they were. So it’s longer skirts for me.

Imagine yourself wearing a style, or try on something similar in a store.
Would you love to wear something like this ?
I continue with my choice of a near-maxi 6-gore skirt. With darts, zip, narrow waistband, lining. Pencil skirt instructions include the sewing processes I need.

Best Wishes for celebrating a beautiful finished skirt 😀

– – –

Patterns and links available August 2013

= = =