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Sewing Books for Men’s Cl;othes

LizA270 | Posted in General Sewing Info on

My son in law has bought a second-hand sewing machine and has started to sew his own clothes. So far he has made a whole lot of boxer shorts and a pair of pants with a drawstring waist. He is now attempting a pair of jeans. He has a birthday coming up and also Christmas, so I am thinking of giving him some sewing books. I don’t want to give him books about how to sew women’s clothes. Does anyone know of any good books about sewing men’s clothes?


  1. Beth | | #1

    David Page Coffin's book "Shirtmaking" is very helpful for making shirts. I used it to make a shirt for myself as well as my DH. He really knows his subject well.

    I am not associated with Threads, just like the book.

    1. LizA270 | | #6

      Thank you, I had seen the David Coffin book on amazon.com and had thought it looked quite good. I think I will get it for him.

  2. DennisM | | #2

    David's shirtmaking is fine. I have that as well as his video. The video goes into details such as the sleeve placket. Your son might need to watch and practice before actually doing one.  Haven't really found any other books or videos on the subject. Lot of techniques used in women's clothing could be used such as collars and collar stands, the button hole placket and pockets. Just keep in mind the hand of the shirt and pants while doing buttonholes and zippers.


    1. carolfresia | | #3

      I think David's book would be great, with the video as an accompaniment. Another series of videos that are helpful are those by Margaret Islander. Go to http://www.islandersewing.com to see what the offerings are. The shirts video goes into the shirt-making process in a different way than David's book, but equally helpful. There's not a lot out there specifically for men's clothing (well, there are books on real tailoring but I'm guessing your son-in-law isn't going in that direction just yet). You might consider selecting some Kwik Sew men's patterns for him; they tend to have a good fit, and their instructions are very straightforward and produce nice, ready-to-wear results.


      1. LizA270 | | #8

        Thank you, I have found the islander site. Videos are a great idea. I have also looked at the KwikSew site and saw some nice patterns for sports clothes as well as shirts. I was unfamiliar with KwikSew, thanks for bringing them to my attention. Good to know that they are a good fit and have clear instructions. I will get him some patterns as well as a book and video. He's going to be really excited when he gets this "sewing packet" for his birthday!

    2. LizA270 | | #7

      Thank you. I didn't know there were such things as sewing videos! A video would be a great idea for my son in law. Some other people also recommended David Coffin's book, so I think I will get him the book and the video. Could you also recommend some on-line shopping sites that sell men's shirting fabrics? We don't have a great selection of fabric shops in New Zealand. 

  3. FitnessNut | | #4

    Unfortunately, good books on sewing men's clothing are few and far between, and those I know about have already been mentioned. A good basic sewing book might be handy for your son to have. I recommend the Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Sewing or one of the Singer books on various topics....Sewing Essentials is one that might be useful.

    Another idea for him which may or may not be applicable: check out courses at the continuing education level, often offered through schools in the evenings. Or if there is a college/university nearby that has a fashion programme, one can often take individual courses at a special student status. It depends on the school. I attended design college and in our final semester we studied both men's sewing and patternmaking. We made patterns for trousers, shirts, vests and jackets and sewed one of each, after making many samples of each technique that we would need (pockets, fly front zipper, waistband etc.) Many of the students were not skilled seamsters at the beginning, but they sure learned fast! Unfortunately, we did not have textbooks for these courses, but I can recommend a patternmaking book for men's wear if you are interested in going that route at some point.

    I wish your son lots of luck and success! It is soooo nice to see a man take up a very rewarding hobby that is usually seen as "feminine".

    1. LizA270 | | #9

      My daughter and son-in-law live on the edge of the world on the coast of the South Island of New Zealand (next stop Antarctica) which is quite isolated, so courses aren't an option, but I agree that a course would be more helpful than a book. I myself enrolled in a pattern making course last winter and found it really useful - I learned things that I wouldn't have been able to pick up from a book. I have also come across recommendations from other people for the Readers Digest sewing book, so I will investigate that as well. Thanks for your suggestions.  P.S. I would be interested in the title of the pattern drafting book you mentioned

      1. FitnessNut | | #11

        Wow....I can see that courses would be a bit of a problem for him, given his location. I noticed that someone else recommended Kwik Sew patterns and must let you know that I heartily endorse them as well. They were a staple when sewing for my boys and husband years ago....no other company has the breadth of options for menswear patterns. Having said that, there's nothing like designing and drafting your own, which you've discovered. The book I recommend is British and is available on Amazon.com - Metric Pattern Cutting for Menswear by Winifred Aldrich (her women's book Metric Pattern Cutting is also excellent). I do hope that you aren't put off by the fact that measurements are metric (do you use metric or imperial in New Zealand?)....metric is so much more precise and that is crucial when drafting patterns. This book contains patterns for basic blocks for casual jackets, shirts and coats, and adaptations, trousers, sportswear, suits, and even bathrobes and pyjamas. You will find it quite thorough and worth the investment. I hope this helps. Needless to say, if you have questions, ask!

        1. LizA270 | | #12

          Coincidence! When I did my pattern drafting course last winter, the tutor recommended Winifred Aldrich's Metric Pattern Cutting book, which I ended up buying. I used this book to draft a sloper for pants for myself and have since used the sloper to make various styles of pants - all have turned out comfortable and well-fitting. I'm tall, and have always had problems with commercial pants patterns. I've also made muslins from the basic skirt and the easy-fitting jacket blocks, both with good results. I didn't know there was also a men's patterns version by Winifred Aldrich, I guess I should get that for my son-in-law as well, but I'll maybe wait till he's clocked up a bit of sewing mileage! Thanks for all your advice.

          1. FitnessNut | | #13

            Glad I could help!

      2. JudyWilliment | | #14

        Good grief!  You make New Zealand sound like a deserted island a million miles from civilization!  I live in Dunedin (also on the coast of the South Island), and there are several good fabric shops here.

        Books on sewing in general - techniques for specific tasks, like sewing pockets, sleeve setting, zip flies - that sort of thing, would probably be of most use to a novice sewer, along with books on basic garment construction.  Or how about some equipment?  A good pair of shears or a rotary cutter and mat, quilting pins (better than dressmaking ones by FAR), or any of the tools of the trade that make sewing so much easier and more pleasurable.

        There is no getting aound the fact that most sewing books are aimed at womens garments, because it is mostly women who sew.  You could also try going to your local library and having a look at some of the sewing books to get an idea of content.  I currently have a couple out by Claire Schaeffer which are excellent for the couture techniques I like learning about, but there are endless titles covering all kinds of more basic sewing.

        On the subject of courses, they are available - just how isolated are your daughter and son-in-law?  Polytechs run quite detailed courses in blocks on pattern making and all aspects of sewing, but many craft or fabric shops also run smaller ones every now and then.

        1. Desiderata | | #15

          Well, isn't it! LOL

          1. JudyWilliment | | #16

            Hey! we have electricity here you know!!!!!  And those new-fangled auto-mobiles too!  Seriously, we are geographically pretty isolated, which I personally think is a great thing, but having access to the internet brings the whole world right into my living room.  Well, not all the world (it wouldn't fit, what with my sewing stuff taking up so much space, hehehe), but at least the portion of it that shares my love of sewing.  Being so far from suppliers, and being a small population means that there are many, many things I've never had access to.  Threads magazine was my intro to sewing websites, and my sewing has improved considerably because of what I've learnt.  Even better than that is the chance to discuss things with others who understand why choosing the right interfacing matters, and CARE about such things.


  4. 07ranch | | #5

    Perhaps you could research books for outerwear, polarfleece, hats that sort of thing, I don't know of any books per se, but there are tons of websites that should have resources.

    1. LizA270 | | #10

      That's a great idea - I saw some trendy looking patterns for polar-fleece men's jackets and vests on the Kwik Sew website. Thanks, I'm going to investigate that.

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