Tag Archives: boy crazy

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?

149 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Patternmaking for Menswear Giveaway Winner!

Hi, guys!  I’m a little slow posting this, but I hope you’ll forgive me when I offer you this token by way of apology:

To be perfectly clear, this little fella is included in the book so you can photocopy him and sketch garment ideas to your heart’s content and DEFINITELY not so you can make paper dolls of your favorite boy toys and dress them in every outfit you’ve ever wanted to put them in!  So don’t even THINK about making paper dolls with little tushies!

I was so pumped up to see how many selfless seamstresses want to make garments for the men in their lives!  I was even more pumped up to see comments from male sewists (bro-ists, if you will) who are looking for more options for their own wardrobes.  Sew on, bros and kind ladies!  I wish I could give a copy of the book to everyone!

Alright, after duplicate comments and comments from folks who weren’t entering, I counted 76 entries, so without further ado, the winner is:

#23…

… saro!  Why, you clever minx– you’re sneaking a little selfish sewing into this party!  No judgment here– the pea coat sounds scrumptious!  Send me an email with your address and we’ll get this shipped out!

Alright, guys, don’t be sore losers– here’s a little consolation prize for you, from the pages of Patternmaking for Menswear:

Man candy that delicious just CAN’T be nutritious, can it?  Don’t say I never gave you anything!  ;)

15 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Book Report: Patternmaking for Menswear!

Oooh, you guys– I have a super fun book to show you today!  It’s Patternmaking for Menswear by Gareth Kershaw, sent to me by my friends at Laurence King Publishing.

I was really excited to see this in my mailbox for two reasons– firstly, because I’m suddenly feeling comfortable enough with my sewing skills to want to sew for my fella, and secondly, because I’m about three-quarters of the way through my first patternmaking course at FIT and ready to delve more deeply into that world.  Folks, this puppy does NOT disappoint!

The book draws inspiration from the world of fashion, but the pieces are classic and wearable.

To make the projects in the book, you create basic pattern blocks, then use them as a jumping-off point to create patterns for different looks.   (I have to say, after spending a semester drafting for women, the lovely straight lines and dart-free lines of menswear really appeal to me!).

At the beginning of each project, the author lists the changes you need to make to the block and the techniques you need to learn.  It’s all laid out in a simple and straightforward fashion, which I appreciate.  The drawings and instructions are much clearer than the textbook my patternmaking teacher references (an older, out-of-print book with small, hard-to-see illustrations).

There are enough patterns and variations in the book to dress a dude really well.  Also, not to be TOO much of a superbrat, but lots of the details and skills included in the book translate to women’s sewing, too.  I would TOTALLY wear this shirt (I KNOW, I KNOW, I’LL MAKE SOMETHING FOR MY DUDE FIRST).  In the project shows above, you need to create cuffs, yokes, plackets, a curved hem– all kinds of things that would come in handy for guys and gals alike!  Did I mention that I would TOTALLY wear this shirt?

There are twenty patterns included in the book, and they’re a great mix of basics and hipper garments.  For example, there’s a basic buttondown and basic pants, but there are also cargo pants, a hooded sweatshirt, a henley, and a lovely trench coat.  This is about as much bang for your buck as you could possibly get sewing for guys– I don’t think you could buy 20 patterns on sale for the amount this book retails for on Amazon ($38!!!)!  I should also mention that I think this book would come in handy even if you’re not interested in drafting patterns from scratch.  If you want to change up favorite commercial patterns, there’s lots in here to help you update basic patterns and turn them into new looks.  Also, in case you were wondering, the book uses the imperial system– no metric measurements.

If I sound really excited about this book, it’s because I am!  And, the good news is that I have a copy to give away!  Sadly, I can only send it to U.S. residents, but I will plan a giveaway soon for international readers.  I’ll choose a winner at random one week from today, at 10P EST on Thurs., Nov. 21st.  If you’re interested, leave a comment below!  I’d love to know what you’d be most excited about making from this book!

96 Comments

Filed under boy stuff

Dude Sewing: Thread Theory Newcastle Cardigan

O, Autumn!, fairest of seasons, when the air is crisp and clear, lattes are pumpkin-spiced, and a sewist’s heart leaps at the thought of wrapping herself in wool from head to toe!  Just kidding, guys, I hate cold weather and I don’t like dropping an extra buck just to have someone dump nutmeg in my coffee.  But I do turn into a whimpering baby and reach for sweaters the second the temp dips below 65 degrees, so I hit the wool section at Mood Fabrics NYC determined to find the perfect cocoon to shelter myself from autumn’s advances!  They have beautiful fabrics for fall up there, and when I found this luxurious wool double knit, I knew immediately I had to make a sweater for my dad. It just looked like something he would like, you know what I mean?  He’s always cold, but lives in a cool climate (if you haven’t experienced it, you don’t want to know what Michigan feels like in the wintertime), so he layers up nearly year-round!

(Special thanks goes out to Man Friend, who graciously volunteered to model the cardigan for these photos despite the fact that it’s a good size and a half too small for him. He was a lovely model, so I’ll have to think of something special to make for him!)

Newcastle Cardigan made with wool double knit from Mood Fabrics

This is the closest thing I could find to a smile in the photos…

I used Thread Theory‘s Newcastle Cardigan pattern and cut a size small based on measurements my mom took of a few of my dad’s sweaters. The pattern comes together quickly and is pretty fun to sew. I chose version 1, with front and back yoke details, but cut them in self fabric as my pop’s a pretty conservative dresser and probably wouldn’t appreciate any extra “flair” in his garment! I opted for the larger shawl collar as it seemed cozier. The topstitched yokes are a really nice detail, even if they’re mostly covered up by the shawl collar. I added an extra button (pretty arbitrarily… six just looked better than five in the button size I selected!). If I made this for someone else, I would lengthen the body a bit– it seems a little short, especially in comparison to the length of the sleeves. Luckily my dad’s pretty short-waisted, so it won’t be a problem for him. I would also draft a waistband for the cardigan, I think. I feel like a hem band would look a little nicer and more RTW.

Newcastle Cardigan made with wool double knit from Mood Fabrics

“Oh, wow, this pipe is so INTERESTING! I think I’ll keep staring at it!”

The fabric is perfect for my pop– it’s warm and soft, but without any of the scratchiness that often deters people from wool. It’s got some heft, but it’s still drapey, which seemed like just the right weight for a cardigan.  To help it keep its shape, I used pro-tricot deluxe fusible interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply for the collar, plackets, facings, and yoke pieces.  I really liked this interfacing– I was amazed to see that the fabric still retained its stretch after fusing!  I also stabilized the shoulder seam with twill tape, following the pattern directions to topstitch from the right side on either side of the seam. The fabric is stretchy, but not CRAZY stretchy, so I used a ballpoint needle to avoid skipped stitches, but stitched the vertical seams with a regular straight stitch. I used a zigzag stitch on anything that needed to stretch horizontally (like the cuff seams), and I used my Janome’s special stretch zigzag stitch for the hem to make sure it had plenty of give (I just discovered this stitch after, oh, two years sewing on this machine… facepalm).  Buttonholes… well, they LOOK pretty good, but my feed dogs couldn’t move the fabric forward while I was sewing them, so I had to sort of manually shove the fabric underneath the buttonhole foot.  I was trying to match the speed I thought the sewing machine would move to keep from stretching out the buttonholes, and I think I was fairly successful, but it was pretty nerve-wracking!

Newcastle Cardigan made with wool double knit from Mood Fabrics

The major difficulty of using a fabric like this for this pattern is BULK.  In some places, like where the collar attaches to the neckline, you’re sewing through six layers of fabric (not counting interfacing!)– whoa, Nelly!  My poor sewing machine was pretty sad trying to chomp through that much fabric.  I graded the seams and notched them aggressively, but there’s still a bit of bulk in some of the seams that just couldn’t be eliminated.  If you’re making this pattern or something else with a shawl collar, it might make sense to cut facings or the undercollar out of a lighter-weight fabric, something I routinely do when sewing with wovens but didn’t consider on this project.

Newcastle Cardigan made with wool double knit from Mood Fabrics

Better keep inspecting that pipe– you might miss a detail!

So, brief sidebar– guys, it’s WAY more fun to be on the other side of the camera telling someone how to model than to pose for pictures yourself!  I was nearly mad with power and really had to dial back the impulse to shout things like, “What’s your character’s backstory?”  Man Friend was worried that he looked too much like His Excellency, the Duke of Fall.  There’s definitely a resemblance, huh?

HOLY CRAP, LOOK OUT! YOUR HEAD IS GLOWING, MAN FRIEND!  Someone take the camera away from me, please.

How about you– are you a wool enthusiast?  Are you a fall junkie?  Are you a member of the pumpkin spice latte cult?  What’s on your sewing table these days?

Bathroom graffiti at FIT where I’m taking night classes. It’s a cult, people!

125 Comments

Filed under boy stuff

Ginger Made: McCall’s M6016, or The Tiniest Magnum P.I.

This is, hands down, the best thing I’ve ever made.

Rock the hula, kid!

Before you’re all, “Hey, girl, enough with the hyperbole!”,  just stop for a second and look.

IT’S A TINY HAWAIIAN SHIRT.

I can’t even look at this without laughing.  There aren’t many things funnier than babies dressed like strange adults.  I’d like to imagine this shirt worn by a baby with a mustache and chest hair.  Possibly a crime-fighting, convertible-driving baby with a mustache and chest hair.

This is a gift for one of Man Friend’s oldest friends, who just had baby #3.  She and her husband met while living in Hawaii, and all three kids have lovely Hawaiian names, so this seemed like a good gift.  I used M6016 and a cotton print I scored during a sale at Jo-Ann.  The pattern was super easy to put together  and everything went smoothly and uneventfully.  The toughest part was getting over my fear of making buttonholes!  I did a few practice versions, and while these aren’t perfect, it wasn’t anywhere near as tough as I thought it would be.  I was all worked up over nothing (story of my freakin’ life…)!

I’ll have to get pretty comfortable sewing for little boys– it’s recently been revealed that my due-in-January niece/nephew is in fact a nephew!  Anybody have any favorite patterns or projects to make for boys?  My previous go-to boy gifts, if you knit, are The Brown Stitch’s Chunky Monkey Vest and/or Linden Down’s Baby Sophisticate sweater.  What about you guys?  Other than PJ’s for Man Friend, this is the first item I’ve sewn for a dude!

In other news, I found myself completely overtaken by a fit of insanity and signed up for a 5K yesterday.  This may not sound very eventful, but as Man Friend pointed out, it’s doubtful that I’ve run a total of 5 kilometers in the last 10 years (I was a bigtime runner in high school, but realized that I actually hate running and haven’t done it since)!  Here’s the kicker– it’s two weeks from today!!!  Am I totally screwed?  People!  I know!  This is crazy, but it’s a benefit raising money for walruses!  WALRUSES!  I can’t think of a more hilarious reason to run!  And my dear friend and also-reluctant-runner, KristyWes, is doing it with me (and inspired me to sign up!).  So.  We’ll see.

What about you guys?  Any novelty 5k’s on the horizon? Have you tried anything new (or done anything a little crazy) recently?

90 Comments

Filed under boy stuff

Ginger Made: Boy Pajamas!

Hi, everyone!  Thanks for all your warm wishes– Man Friend is back in good health!  To celebrate that, and our 6th anniversary (tomorrow), I stitched him up a fancy new pair of PJ’s!

He’s quite the Star Wars fan, so I used a sheet set.  The fabric is really weird, some kind of strange, stiff poly-cotton blend, so maybe not the nicest for pajamas, but he loves the print, so I guess that’s OK.  Maybe they’ll get a little softer after washing them a few times.

Look at puggy adoring his pop!

As you can see, I made no attempt to match the print.  I probably should have positioned it a bit more strategically– it looks a bit sloppy.  Oh, well!  I also didn’t use a pattern– I planned to trace a pair of Man Friend’s pajamas, but I couldn’t find or he doesn’t own any actual pajama pants (just track pants or sweats… so fashionable…), so I traced a pair of sweatpants.  The sweats are a bit too big for him, I guess, cause these turned out a little large.

Bad news– Cap’n Crunch has defected to the Dark Side!

Man Friend requested that I not show his face to “cultivate an air of mystery” about him.  Hahaha!  Don’t you just want to know more about this mysterious, pajama-ed stranger??

Hope your weekends are going swimmingly!  I’m looking forward to jumping back into MMM tomorrow!

34 Comments

Filed under boy stuff