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The Blog for Men Who Sew (And the Women Who Sew For Them)

Mar 11, 2011
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Peter Lappin, the author of the men's sewing blog "Male Pattern Boldness." Peter led 175 of his readers through a Men's Shirt Challenge in February. Next up: a Jeans Challenge in May.

I recently discovered the sewing blog “Male Pattern Boldness” by Peter Lappin of New York City. I came across it because it was recommended between readers in Gatherings, Threads‘ online forums.

Peter’s blog is fun, and his passion for sewing is so contagious, I wanted to share it. Let’s face it, men are a tiny minority in the community of home-sewing enthusiasts, and it was interesting, and refreshing to see “the world’s most popular men’s sewing blog.” Peter kindly answered some questions about “Male Pattern Boldness” and his enthusiasm for sewing:

SM: What inspired you to start writing “Male Pattern Boldness”?

Peter: I started sewing only in June 2009 but I caught the fever right away. I was writing a lot of pattern reviews (and posting photos of my projects) on the Pattern Review website, as well as writing about sewing machines and other sew-related topics on the Pattern Review message boards, and I wanted a place where I could do these things more expansively. I also wanted to create my own sewing community where I could discuss topics that interested me, and where my posts would remain archived and easily accessible to others.

A blog seemed like a perfect forum for me since I also love to write and entertain others. I started blogging in January 2010, so I’ve been at it a little over one (very full) year.

SM: Why do you think it’s predominantly women who sew?

PL: More women than men sew for many reasons. First, up until the last generation or two, women were taught to sew in school as part of a Home Economics curriculum, which has largely been abandoned in the United States. Sewing was something that a woman was expected to know how to do – part of her contribution to her future family. 

Clothes also used to be more expensive relative to other things and one could save money by knowing how to sew one’s wardrobe. More women had time for sewing because many middle-class women didn’t work outside the home.

Women also tend to be more interested in fashion than men (they’re socialized to care more about their appearance) and women’s styles change often and dramatically. Men’s clothes have changed very little over the years; a man can wear the same pair of pants, say, for decades.  There’s less incentive for men to learn how to make clothes for themselves in order to stay in fashion. 

Men traditionally have held a job outside the home so they have less time for pursuits like sewing. When they do have spare time, they’re still more likely to pursue more socially-sanctioned activities like carpentry, or home and/or car repair.

Finally, there’s no outreach to men who might be interested in sewing – not by schools, not by sewing machine manufacturers, nor commercial pattern companies. There’s no encouragement in the culture at large, though blogs are changing things a bit: a man who does want to sew can find a community of other men who share his interest.

SM: I love that you keep your readers engaged with challenges and giveaways on your blog. How often do you do that?

PL: At least once a month I give away vintage women’s – and men’s – patterns, often great styles from the ’60s and ’70s.
 
SM: What was your most recent challenge?

PL: We just completed our Men’s Shirt Sew-Along in February and we had nearly 175 participants, which is a lot of shirts!
I’m just about to run a men’s pattern giveaway in celebration of what I’ve dubbed “Guy Week” on “Male Pattern Boldness.” We’re talking about men’s fashion, style, and sewing, and I wanted to make sure I had something special to offer my many male readers. Some of the patterns I’m offering are wacky ’70s styles (like groovy jumpsuits) and some are more classic (vests).
 
SM: What’s coming up?

PL: I’m extremely excited about my upcoming Jeans Sew-Along starting in May 2011. There’s so much interest in menswear among both men and women who sew for men, and I’m thrilled to be able to focus and fuel some of that energy and interest into actual projects. 

SM: Do you have any advice for men interested in sewing?

PL: Give it a try. Pick up a vintage mechanical Singer or Kenmore machine (from the ’50s or ’60s) which can be had for less than $100, and give it a whirl. There’s a steep learning curve but there’s a ton of information online, both on blogs and on websites like Pattern Review and ThreadsMagazine.com. Start with something easy – boxer shorts for example – and work your way up from there. Find a beginner-level book or, even better, an online sewing buddy.


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  1. thezebcokid February 9th

    My wife bought me a sewing machine for my 40th birthday. She doesn't sew, but knew I had an interest. I am now 50.

    Over the years, I have sewn lined vests (beautiful, but not too practical), pheasant hunting vest (pretty cool), pajamas for my wife and I (me?....eek grammar challenge!), a decoy bag for duck hunting decoys (the synthetic material really put my non-industrial machine to the test), coveralls, and various repairs/alterations.

    I must say, what slows me down in terms of projects is finding patterns that don't look foolish. The industry is ripe for an update.

    Also, the instructions could be vastly improved. I've spent a week on a three sentence paragraph trying to understand what they want, and correlate it to the illustration. There is so much technology out there nw, that there is no excuse for not having instructions totally clear and easy to follow. Heck, how about the invention of the camera! We could actually use photographs instead of rough illustrations.

    Anyway, I stumbled into this very blog this morning while sitting in a cafe, doing a Google search for "Male Sewing Patterns". I found "malepatternboldness", which is great, but the quest will continue.

    Cheers!

    DG

  2. nelliev May 12th

    Please tell me how to measure for men sleeves

  3. moushka March 22nd

    Peter has written some of the most informative and amusing reviews on Pattern Review. The progress he has made in learning to sew is astounding. He brings wit, an acute, ironic eye, and sidesplitting humour to everything he does. Bravo, Peter! Thank you for so generously inspiring and entertaining us. I hope your blog will encourage more men to try sewing.

  4. User avater Mike_EB March 17th

    I'm really excited about the Male Pattern Boldness blog. The story is heartening. Sewing is such an enjoyable hobby and I'm pleased to see this article in Threads magazine. My only regret is not finding Peter's blog earlier. Great job.

  5. LaurieDiane March 16th

    Peter is one of my All time favorites via pattern review. I am in absolute Awe that he has come so far since just 2009! What am I doing wrong??? He truly is an inspiration to all of us. And I especially love his Novellas ...Extremely creative...I always look forward to seeing his work...in detail which he consistently provides. Congrats Pete...on making it to Threads

  6. User avater llynn_19 March 16th

    MPB is the best sewing blogs out there.
    Informative, educational, and most of all entertaining!!!!
    It is the highlight of my day.

    Thank you Peter for putting your heart and soul into it. It really show you care in every post.

  7. User avater LuvThreadsMagazine March 16th

    HIS BOLDNESS blazes a path for all.

    Used sewing machines, old fabric, new ideas, and a desire to create all add up to one site worth visiting and revisiting.

    Peter Lappin in 2012!!!!!!!

  8. PointPatou March 15th

    I read Peter's blog for a few months. But then he got upset that people commented (and not in a mean way) about personal details that he posted about himself.

    He removed the comments. I haven't been back since.

  9. russellgibson March 15th

    wow great news for me. another guy that sews
    so far all of my learning is from David Page Coffin
    who is fantastic will enjoy peters blog thank you Sarah

  10. User avater fotofashion March 15th

    Uh, it is kind of amusing that the column does not have any avatars to represent men.
    fotfashion

  11. User avater rharperny March 15th

    Peter's blog is informative, fun and entertaining. It is one of my favorite blogs to follow and never fails to brighten my day. He is also religious about updating every day, which is challenging at best -- I appreciate that I can check in for new wacky words of wisdom on a regular basis.

    And, as a man who's sewn since the age of 11 and attended fashion school (for my own edification), I can attest that the knowledge and skill that Peter has amassed in just short of two years is truly impressive.

  12. User avater rharperny March 15th

    Peter's blog is refreshing, fun and informative. It's one of my favorite blogs to follow and never fails to entertain. Peter is also religious about updating every day which is challenging at best -- I appreciate that I can check in for new wacky words of wisdom on a regular basis.

    And as a man who's sewn since the age of 11 and attended fashion school (for my own edification), I can say that the expertise Peter has amassed in just short of two years is truly impressive.

  13. Skymom March 14th

    Peter also has a great sense of style, so his creations are always inspiring--note,too, that many of his pieces are made of recycled materials. He's got a good eye for seeing how to remake an old sheet into current fashion, something that both men and women can learn from. I have a friend whose college-age son needs to know about this blog--I'll pass the word on!

  14. User avater 2tango March 13th

    I love Peters blog and his enthusiasim so nice to see a guy being fun and creative very inspirational

  15. User avater KennethDKing March 12th

    I think Peter, and his blog, are really good for getting more men into sewing! Really, if you think about it, the discipline of sewing is somewhat like woodworking, which is a traditionally "male" occupation. There's measuring, drafting, layout, assembling things in a particular order--and there are machines and hand tools involved.

    The fact that Peter started out, not that long ago, and he's making things that look custom made instead of home-made, should give heart to anyone wanting to learn the craft. His way of coming to the world of sewing shows in how he presents himself and the blog, in that he gives permission to just--GO!-- and give it a try.

    I'm glad that he's hugely successful.



  16. SarahRT March 12th

    Peter is one of my very, very favourite bloggers. He is witty, creative, genuine, and hilariously funny. There's never a dull moment at Male Pattern Boldness!

    Peter is also an excellent teacher and I have learned several new techniques from him. I'm looking forward to his next sew along.

  17. skey1952 March 12th

    Peter is an invaluable source of common sense, "go ahead and break the rules" type sewing. What I mean is he's a "try it" type person who is a great encourager to other sewing enthusiasts. Please check out some of his creations!

  18. User avater jothwade March 12th

    MPB is incredibly informative, inspirational, innovative and intertaining! Peter is a wonderful sewist and writer, not to mention photographer.
    Jotham

  19. User avater patsijean March 11th

    Male Pattern Boldness is one of my favorite blogs.

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