One of the blogs I follow, Male Pattern Boldness (“the world’s most popular men’s sewing blog”), recently posted something that got me thinking.
Peter lists 7 interesting reasons why more men don’t sew on the Burda Style blog, and over at his regular blog he gives his own thoughts about being stigmatized as the guy who sews, and inspiring thoughts on how he’s gotten over that. I definitely encourage you to read it.
Why don’t more men sew? Targeted advertising, clear gender roles, homophobia, and limited availability all contribute. In school, girls took home ec and boys took shop. (Although, I remember that my school had both genders take both classes. How progressive of us!)
I recently saw a knitting book geared for guys, and I know a few guys who knit. But I’ve never seen a sewing book solely for men, and I’ve never known any men who sew. Peter points out that most guy’s patterns are for boxers, pajamas, or robes: not exactly high couture, or even fun sewing. If these were the only options for women, I’d be nowhere near my sewing machine.
I think women can push interested men out of that arena: “Hey, this isn’t for you. Go back to your power tools.” (As if a sewing machine isn’t a power tool. That needle is sharp and fast!) Shops are decorated with ruffled curtains and cutesy colors, fabric is hard to find in men’s themes past pinstripe, plaid, or baseballs. It’s all unconscious, but it’s not encouraging.
I refuse to believe that all men can be pigeon-holed into a certain type of hobby. Sewing requires math, geometry, and precise drafting for the science-minded fellows, and creativity and design for the artsy guys. It’s incredibly versatile in that you can make pretty much whatever you can dream up. And the results are so practical!
I’m lucky enough to be married to a man who’s comfortable wearing a pink shirt and even attempting to sew that shirt. Jesse successfully made a set of ties for Christmas, and is now ready to tackle his very own shirt. (That might be because of my huge failure at making him one. It was awful.) We’ve bought the Negroni pattern (click the photo to link), and some lovely emerald green shot cotton, and he’s getting ready to start cutting. A shirt like this is a tough challenge to begin with, but I have faith in him!
I’d love to hear anyone’s thoughts! Women, have or would you ever encourage a man in your life to sew? Even if you don’t sew? Men, have you ever thought about sewing? Why is this so uncommon?