It seems like a truism to state that home sewing has largely been part of the women’s sphere. Historically, men have been involved in the so-called needle trades, dominating the fields of tailoring and fashion design. Domestic sewing, and the industry that supported it, however, was marketed to a strictly female audience.
From sewing books to sewing classes (perhaps at the local Singer sewing center) and from print advertising to packaging, sewing catered to women.
An online community sharing resources
As someone who came to sewing a decade ago as an adult male, I was fortunate to have access to the internet. The online world is diverse. Through the Pattern Review website community, I became acquainted with experienced male sewers who guided me, something which would have been impossible a decade or two earlier. From them, I learned about relatively obscure men’s sewing books, hard-to-find vintage men’s sewing patterns, and instructional videos about sewing menswear (specifically Margaret Islander’s tapes from the 1980s). Thanks to online booksellers and sites like eBay, I found many of them through the years.
Editor’s note: Margaret Islander’s teaching legacy continues through books, classes, patterns, and videos sold by Islander Sewing Systems, which is owned by Margaret’s niece, Janet Pray.