Beginner sewing projects for men?

I bought a sewing machine. I know how to use it; I took Home Ec in high school and I got an “A.” Now I just don’t know what to do with it.

Background: I am a short man. 5’3". 5’4" on a good day. As a short man, you learn very early in life there is no such thing as “pants that fit.” The usual solution is to buy any pair of pants that fit your waist, then either get them professionally tailored, or just roll up the legs to the appropriate level. Rolling them up works fine in a pinch, but it makes the bottom of the pants heavy and IMO looks terrible. So rather than spending the money to hire a tailor, I took to cutting and hemming them up by hand, which is a very time- and labor-intensive process, for me at least, and the results are utilitarian at best.

After doing this for many years, I recently bought a bunch of new pants and I’m sick of hemming by hand, so just last week I bought a sewing machine. Fixed all my pants over the weekend, and that problem is solved.

But now I have a new problem: I have this sewing machine just sitting on a desk with no tasks until the next time I buy new pants. It was relatively cheap; I bought a basic Brother beginner’s model for $80, and it worked great with my pants, but now I just feel like I should be doing something else with it.

Anyways, anyone have suggestions for simple projects for a beginner? A male beginner?

What difference does being male make? About all that I can see is that you probably won’t be making dresses for yourself (though if you are, that’s your business).

If you have any young relatives, or children of friends, you could make stuffed toys for them. And of course, you already know that you can alter and mend your clothes.

I have zero experience here, but my wife has a sewing machine and I was thinking about attempting to make my own pants. I know suit jackets are basically impossible to make without a five year apprenticeship with a bespoke tailor, but pants and shirts seem entirely possible for a hobbyist. I read the Fedora Lounge forums sometimes and there are guys there that make their own pants and shirts. Some guys there make suit jackets, too, but it took them years (and lots of second-hand jackets to take apart and study) to learn.

Anyway, I’m not a tailor, but I’m kind of in your shoes, in that I’d like to learn to make some of my own clothes. Stick with pants and shirts for now. Maybe even try making a pair of boxers or something to start with.

Go to a fabric store and get a pattern for pyjamas. Also choose a fabulous fabric, by colour and feel!

Take it home and have at it! It’s not so hard you can’t have a good result, pjs are easy! And the fit is relaxed, it’s a great starting place.

You should be able to navigate the instructions pretty well, there are illustrations, after all! If you hit a snag, go on u tube and look for a video. It’s there, I promise.

You’ll get a lot of great experience and surely love the out come!

(Currently teaching an 8 yr old girl to sew!)

If you’re at all interested in home decor, things like pillows, curtains, etc. are pretty easy and give you a lot of room to be creative. Plenty of patterns, books, and magazines at your local crafts/fabric store.

I second the pajamas suggestion. It’s the place most beginning sewist start. (Sewist is the new term. It’s stupid, but what can you do?) Pillow cases, book bags, and scrubs are also typical beginning projects.

I would do some reading about fabric before you start. Every pattern is made with particular weights and weaves of fabric in mind. Doing something else can work, but it’s usually best as a beginner to stick with the suggestions on the pattern. You need to be able to recognize different fabrics at least at a basic level. You must know the difference between woven and knit and you should know something about weights. Bottom weight twill is different from broad cloth. Don’t get too hung up with this, though. The people at the fabric store can usually help if you have a question.

You should be able to move up quickly in difficultly. Within a few months you should be able to do a button front shirt. I would start with one that has a one piece collar and integrated button placket. Probably with short sleeves as well, because cuffs can be tricky for a beginner. looking at pattern pieces on the directions will tell you a lot about the construction of the pattern. It will tell you how many collar pieces are needed and whether or not it has a separate button placket. This pattern is a good beginner shirt. You can tackle this one next.

Sewing is a hot hobby right now and there is a ton of information on the internet. Sew a longs, where they do several blog posts showing step by step how to complete a pattern, video tutorials, and pattern reviews are all over the place. If you want to learn how to sew, they make it very, very easy.

Who knows, maybe someday you could sew a daughter’s wedding gown and be father of the year. :slight_smile: I had a lot of fun making my girl’s dress.

I’m fairly irritated by your insistence that it be a project for men. So what sewing projects are inappropriate for men? I suppose you could hand-stitch your own saddle, but that wouldn’t be using your sewing machine. Wear glasses when you sew with it, by the way. The needles can break and go flying. They *are *power tools.

man vs woman doesn’t matter that much - just means that if you’re making a simple dress or skirt, you’re going to be putting it on someone else to test the fit (and honestly that’s easier to deal with than measuring on yourself anyway).

  1. kids in your life, or have a local hospital and you like being charitable? Do hats for children/babies or quilt squares to make into crib blankets for them. Quilt squares are very good for working out your technical cutting and measuring skills while not being too much of a pain in the ass to sew - as long as you choose easy square patterns to start with - they’re easy to find in books and to find suggestions for easy ones online, and the patterns change amazingly depending on the colors and contrasts you choose.

  2. easy stuff to wear? pyjama pants are a good start. Next up in difficulty would be some sort of vest; polar fleece is pretty easy to work with, and fairly forgiving. Next up I’d suggest a loose collared shirt - think madras or a linen beach top. After that, you’ve got just about all the experience you need to TRY just about anything - just be prepared to pick seams and curse a lot.

  3. home decor stuff? Tablecloths or curtains are dead easy (and imo, boring as SHIT, but mileage varies), pillow covers are a little more fun (especially if you pick tufted or buttoned ones) and furniture covers can be a very challenging task simply because of the size and weight of fabric involved, even though the shapes and sewing tasks are pretty easy (usually just requires velcro or a zipper insertion).

  4. aspirations to fashion design, and tolerant ladies in your life? go to the fabric store and page through the “it’s so easy” section in the middle of any pattern book - pick an interesting dress (ask the lady if she knows what her SEWING PATTERN SIZE IS, if not, you have to get her ACTUAL measurements) and go to town. It’s so much damn simpler to see how a pattern comes together when it’s draping on a body that isn’t yours.

Have fun!

(If the machine starts getting snags and breaking threads, and just being messed up always stop and simply rethread the machine. This will solve any problems, almost always.)

Either that or check your bobbin. Next step is to twiddle your tension GENTLY one step one way, and then one step the other, to see if it is any better that way.

Apologies. Perhaps that was not the appropriate wording to express my meaning. I really just meant that I have no interest or need to make dresses or doilies, nor am I going to be doing any quilting or making window treatments (and sorry if that’s sexist as well).

I do appreciate all the of the suggestions. Thank you!

I will look into getting some fabric and making some pajama bottoms, to start. The “house pants” I’ve bought that I like are made of what I would describe as t-shirt-like material. What is that called?


Good old Jersey knit, for all your T-shirt and pajama needs.

Aw. Since you were all nice about it, I feel bad.

T-shirt material is called jersey, like the previous poster said, and sewing with it is a PITA. Here’s the 411.

I’ve been sewing most of my life, nothing too complex, but last summer I made a pair of nice roomy pajama bottoms with elastic waist out of a cotton sheet, it took me a couple of afternoons. My cousin’s husband made himself a sport coat a few years ago, I don’t know how well it turned out but it kept him engrossed for quite a while. (tailoring is a separate art from sewing.)

Working with jersey is not a good idea. Ugh, what a pain.

When I first started, I made shorts, which were so easy. I even added pockets after the first few. Baby clothes are pretty easy too if you know anyone with a baby. The onesies take no time at all.

Have fun.

-Consider an adult education intro-to-sewing class.

-Look for patterns that stress ease of construction: 1-2-3 hour; weekend project; beginners; tres facile

  • Find someone with sewing expertise. People who sew invariably like to pass along their wealth of experience.

-Keep a notebook, record successes and failures, and questions you need answered.

-Start by making a simple quilt top( I AM prejudiced in this regard) It will teach you various basic skills, and you’ll gain confidence with having mastered them, AND completing a project.

-If you become unbearably frustrated, just walk away and return later on, or the next day. It’s amazing how a brief respite will have you in a better mood to continue.

Let us know how you get on.

Nobody wants to be a sewer.

As mentioned, home design projects like curtains, pillows, place mats, napkins, coasters, etc. are an easy place to start (basically you’re cutting and sewing rectangles).

Weiner cozies. Make cozies for your weiner and sell them on Etsy.

Taught myself how to sew many years ago. My first project was new curtains for the house. Turned out great. Most of my projects have been relatively easy, reupholstered some chairs, new pillows, slipcover for an Ikea couch.