December denial? Men’s shorts and short-sleeve shirt!

Who sews short sleeve shirts and shorts in December? I do! This month I sewed for an upcoming vacation to a tropical clime where I’ll be needing warm-weather clothes. I had two great Mood Fabrics to inspire me: a unique cotton seersucker like shirting from Opening Ceremony (not available online, unfortunately) and a beefy black cotton blend knit.  (Mood sells some beautiful black knits online, in a variety of weights. Check them out here.) For my shirt, I used a vintage 1958 McCall’s men’s convertible collar shirt pattern, 4723 (below).  I love the boxy cut of 1950’s shirt patterns, a […]

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Men’s Bias-Plaid Wool Cape

Capes are back! I’ve made all kinds of men’s outerwear over the last few years — anoraks, parkas, pea coats, varsity jackets, raincoats — but I’d never made myself a cape. Readers, it was time, and what better cape season than fall? At Mood’s NYC store, I’d recently purchased four yards of beautiful plaid wool coating in red, creamy white, and blue. (Mood’s extensive online selection of wool plaids can be seen here.)  This was a large-scale plaid and needed to be used in a garment with enough drape that the repeat of the pattern would be apparent. After much […]

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Men’s Fitted Poplin Shirt (and Total Designer Knockoff)

Is it wrong to blatantly knock off somebody else’s design if you’re just sewing for yourself? I almost never do: menswear doesn’t really afford too many possibilities.  But I stumbled upon a beautiful white poplin shirt from the Fall 2016 collection of designer Hussein Chalayan a few weeks ago, and fell in love with it.  Unfortunately, at $520, it was way beyond my means.  So I did what any determined sewer would do: I decided to knock it off. Last summer, I happened to purchase three yards of gorgeous white mercerized cotton poplin shirting at Mood Fabrics in NYC.  (Also […]

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Men’s Organic Cotton Work Jacket

What can you make with two and a half yards of organic cotton twill?  Read on! Last year I’d purchased this red cotton twill in a shade Mood calls “tomato.”   It’s available not only in tomato (here), but also in a great many other beautiful colors (here).  It’s the perfect weight for jeans or a casual jacket and very easy to sew with.  It also has no spandex, which is my preference for cotton fabrics. For my project, I turned to the recently published Japanese pattern book, “Men’s Clothes For All Seasons,” which I’d picked up at the Japanese […]

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FIRST for FALL — Men’s Camo-Print Wool Jacket!

This month I decided I was through with summer sewing and ready to create some cool cool-weather clothes. Last winter, at Mood Fabrics in New York City, I had stumbled upon a wonderful piece of camo-print wool knit — the end of a bolt, alas, and only one yard. The fabric is soft and fuzzy (maybe some mohair in it?) on the right side and has a knit backing. I knew it would be perfect for outerwear but it would have to be combined with another fabric so I’d have sufficient yardage. I decided to match the camo print with […]

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Men’s Swiss Dot Cotton Shirt and Linen Shorts

The summer sewing continues! This month I created two garments for my partner, Michael. The first is a short-sleeve shirt made from a lightweight cotton Swiss dot floral fabric I found at Mood Fabrics in NYC. (Check out Mood’s online selection of dotted Swiss fabrics here.)  It doesn’t get more summery than that! The pattern I used is Butterick 5579 (below), in a Size 40. I made only a few changes to the pattern.  I shortened the sleeves (and cuffed them), eliminated the attached front button placket (opting for a fold-back front placket instead), and narrowed the collar to give […]

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Men’s Geometric Print Shirt and Linen Shorts

Hurray for summer sewing! Short sleeve shirts and shorts are two of my favorite things to sew, maybe because I associate them so closely with warm weather and summer vacations. I found a beautiful geometric cotton print at Mood Fabrics in NYC last month and decided it would make a perfect summer shirt.  (Mood has a vast online selection of beautiful cotton prints.  This one is similar to the one I found in the New York store.) I used vintage Simplicity 6955, a men’s shirt pattern from 1966, because I like the preppy cut, though I chose to narrow the […]

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Introducing the boxtop, a new menswear garment!

Men’s fashion doesn’t change very quickly, so every once in a while I like to give it a little push. The idea of combining a dress shirt with boxers isn’t original to me. Back in the 1920’s, Arrow offered something similar.  (Notice how the Arrow shirt buttons up the right leg.) More recently, a French company has begun marketing a shirt/boxer combo called the calchemise, which I wrote about earlier this month on my blog.  My readers were ambivalent and, initially, I was too.  So I decided to make one and see for myself. For my version, I used a […]

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Colorful menswear for spring!

Spring makes me want more color in my wardrobe.  And in everyone else’s! I worked on two additional projects this month I wanted to share. One is a wacky and wonderful knit sweater I made for myself and the other is a long-sleeved dress shirt in an Easter-y palette I made for my partner, Michael. First, the sweater. I found this wonderful wool blend Italian knit — a  one-yard bolt end — at Mood Fabrics in NYC. I loved the saturated colors, which immediately made me think of The Simpsons — very cartoonish.  It also has raised areas, like a topographical […]

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