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May 30, 2013

Men's clothing vs women's clothing -- Which is more difficult to sew?



Apparently it's Questions Week here at MPB.  (I don't plan these things, they just happen.)

Last month I received an email from reader Lynn S., suggesting an interesting blog topic.  Here's what Lynn wrote:

I used to know a lot of women who sew and there was an almost universal attitude among them that "Men's clothes are too difficult."  I can't honestly say that I will try anything but I decide for myself what's too difficult, so after I got married (over 35 years ago) I immediately started making shirts for my husband. I even made a couple of pairs of pants which didn't look at all professional.

I don't generalize. I think you can only judge the difficulty of patterns on an individual basis. But if one must generalize, it seems more logical to say that women's clothes are more difficult. Men's clothes usually don't have ruffles, gathers, princess seams, multi-tiered skirts or many other interesting details you commonly see on women's dresses.  Pants can be difficult but women wear pants too. If we're talking about jeans, men's and women's have all the same elements.


Frankly, I think Lynn is hedging a bit here, don't you?  I mean she's sort of saying women's clothing is more difficult, but then again the pants she made for her husband didn't come out so great.  And women wear pants to.  

Anyway, here's my response (a bit of a hedge too):

Thank you so much for your suggestion, Lynn.  I think it's a great topic.  I will say, however, that I once suggested (in an off-hand way) that sewing a men's suit wasn't as easy as whipping up a (women's) housecoat -- I've made both -- and someone accused me of sexism!

This is true.

So how do I answer Lynn's question?  Do I think men's clothes are harder to make than women's?   I hate to do this to you, friends, but I think the answer is, It depends.  



Just as there are the three "b's" of music (Bach, Beethoven and Brahms), the three "r's" of schooling (reading, 'riting, and 'rithmatic), and the three Powells of MGM (William, Eleanor, and Jane -- what, were they running out of names?); I propose that there are also the three "f's" of sewing: fabric, fit, and finishing (I like to think I invented the "three 'f's'" so correct me if I'm wrong).

Let's consider the difficulty of sewing men's vs. women's clothes according to the three "f's."

FABRIC

Women's clothes are often made from more challenging fabrics than men's clothes are.  You don't see too many silk chiffon men's shirts.  Traditional menswear fabrics tend to be relatively easy to handle: not too shifty, not too loosely woven, not too many sequins.  Therefore easier.

Men's clothing is more likely to be made from solid-colored fabric, however, and solids can be less forgiving of glitches, which can't be hidden by a busy pattern.  So you have to be very careful with all those piddly details when you're sewing menswear.  Therefore harder.

When you sew men's clothes, though, you're basically making the same three or four garments again and again and again: button down shirts, basic long trousers, notch lapel jackets, the occasional raincoat/overcoat, maybe boxers.   There's nothing like the variation that exists for women's wear, so with practice you really can master the basics of a standard men's wardrobe.   Easier.







FIT

The general consensus is that men's bodies are easier to fit (Kenneth King once told me so, so don't shoot the messenger).  We don't have boobs (well, not the kind we want to have stand up and out anyway) and we generally have narrow hips and less shapely...everything.  Exceptions exist, obviously, but I'm talking about what's most common.  Easier.

Men rarely wear clothing that wraps (and is therefore instantly customizable) and elastic waistbands are a bit of a cop out.  Clothes must fit.  Harder.

FINISHING

I think we can consider tailoring under "finishing" though it also is related to fit.

By tailoring, I mean all those fancy pockets and layers of special interfacings and all that careful fitting; it's not always clear just how tailoring is defined, frankly.  There's a lot of all this in most men's clothes and it's hard to do unless you have experience.  Of course women wear tailored clothes too, but most casual women's clothing these days consists of stretch knits.

Men's clothes are also held to a higher professional standard.  We're accustomed to a certain finish to a men's suit, for example: we don't see too many home-sewn suits out there and the difficulty of making them look professional is part of the reason.  It's not that there are necessarily more details involved in making men's clothes, but rather that we are accustomed to seeing men's clothes look a certain way with little variation: i.e., the fly zipper goes here, the shirt pockets look like this, the collar is this wide/long, etc.  Hence, harder.



I think rather than talk about men's vs. women's, we might talk about tailored vs. non-tailored clothing.  All those finicky details, whether on men's clothes or women's clothes, are exacting.  Same goes for precise fit and dealing with lots of itty bitty pattern pieces for things like inside breast pockets.

Readers, that's my take.

I'd be curious to know what you think.  Have I missed anything?

Which is more difficult to sew: men's clothing or women's clothing?   (If you've sewn both, I'd especially love to hear from you.)

Have a great day, everybody!

65 comments:

  1. I've often pondered this and I think it comes down to the amount of deviation from the norm. With menswear unless your trying to do something "different" then you have little to no wiggle room. Your garments will either look right or they will look wrong. Right as defined by my husband being looking exactly the same as store bought.

    If I make a mistake on my dress I can fudge it and make it a design element. Do it on a man's garment and well you just made yourself some pretty dusting cloths. Last thing I remember making for my husband was a perfectly sewn camp shirt EXCEPT I put the buttons on the wrong side and thus the shirt was never worn.

    I have not sewn anything for him since though I am about to dip my foot into the running shirt end since I scored some nice technical fabric for $1lb

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    1. "Last thing I remember making for my husband was a perfectly sewn camp shirt EXCEPT I put the buttons on the wrong side and thus the shirt was never worn."

      Thank God for the mnemonic for buttonholes: "Women are always RIGHT."

      It's very easy to forget something like that. I like sewing, but I do not find it relaxing -- so many things potentially to screw up.

      Delete
    2. Thanks for the mnemonic. You'd think I would have heard that one long ago, or figured it own my own, but I have to look at a finished garment to be sure every single time.

      Delete
  2. I haven't sewn men's clothes, but one thing that looks more difficult to me is that you have to have all the seams, collars, cuffs etc. perfect; because they are all on show. If you make a mistake in a woman's collar, you can add some fribble to it to hide your mistake. Most men don't want ruffles or such on their clothes, and ruffles can hide a lot of mistakes. Or you can change the neckline completely, which you really can't with men's shirts.

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    1. You can change the neckline, collar and collarband if you know how to draft the corresponding patterns, but it's not always a simple job. Don't ask me how I know this.

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  3. It depends on what you're sewing. I consider them about the same for casual clothing. Men are definitely easier in the fit department. When it comes to suits men are definitely harder to sew for. There is SO much inner structure that goes into a man's formal tailored suit. Women can get away with softer tailoring.

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  4. I am interested to read what other's have to say. I want to start sewing for my bf. I never wanted to sew for any ex's so he must be the one haha.

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    1. If you had written that you were going to knit him a sweater, I would have cautioned you about the BF curse. I don't think it extends to sewing.

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  5. I have taken several fashion design (women's clothes) and menswear construction and tailoring classes at FIT. The classes are taught on industrial machines because they produce a good stitch and are used in the industry. Their full-time students get internships at Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein, among many other distinguished companies.

    Both types of sewing are hard if you want to sew at a level that looks professional, but menswear is more difficult because there's nowhere to hide. There are many little details that must be gotten just so. Ideally, you only sew it once because taking out stitches is tough on the fabric. Taking menswear and tailoring classes has improved my sewing in general and if I had it to do other again, I would take Menswear Sewing at FIT first.

    Couture classes are very helpful as well because they teach precision and discipline, but in Couture you are expected to do things to control the material, such as basting, while in production menswear sewing you're only supposed to use pins.

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  6. If anyone's interested in higher end menswear and tailoring I highly recommend the Cutter and Tailor forum. www.cutterandtailor.com It was founded by a professional tailor and has many professionals and serious enthusiasts as members.

    You can post photos and request advice but beginners can only discuss trousers, skirts, shirts, and I assume, vests. You cannot discuss jackets because they're difficult and they don't want people skipping ahead without having first mastered the fundamental skills.

    They also make a point of saying that they're not a home sewer's blog. They'll help, but they're not going to tell you everything you did is wonderful just because you did it.

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    1. Thanks for mention the Cutter and Tailor forum. I just made an account with them. I haven't done any tailoring for quite a while. I'm hoping the forum will inspire me to make more pants and shirts for myself. Thanks again.

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  7. Fit is the thing, whether you are sewing for men or women. Part of the problem is that we all believe that patterns are going to fit straight out of the package, and that is unwarranted optimism. If you stick to one or two patterns and get to know your fabrics, sewing for men and women should be about the same. But fit!

    The garments I've sewn that fit me well are ones drawn to my measurements. Sometimes I use the formula in Mary Brooks Picken's Sewing Magic. Sometimes I draw on the fabric and wing it. I do not understand why I keep buying patterns for trousers and pants, but I do, and I'm always disappointed by the number and variety of changes I have to perform. I think my sewing abilities are stunted by my desire for a decent fit.

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  8. I tend to agree with all of the above. What also makes men's things less interesting to me is the restricted variety in both pattern/style and fabrics. When I quilt, I never pick a pattern where I have to make a large number of identical blocks in a limited range of colors and pattern; if I even use blocks, they will be different colors and styles. To me, most men's clothes are like a very basic, boring, and (usually) technically difficult quilt. Boring=more difficult in my book.

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  9. while a lot of my sewing is for myself, i have started making shirts for my husband. i think the difficulty in men's clothing is the finishing. i feel like his shirts (rightly or wrongly) need more precision than what is acceptable in women's clothes. as far as pants go, i don't see any difference between men's and women's makes, except that men are probably easier to fit! but, many women refuse to sew pants, so all in all it's really about learning *new* techniques, not *harder* techniques. someone who learned how to sew by making men's shirts would probably be baffled by a sheath dress.

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    1. I've heard the opinion expressed that if you can tailor men's clothes, you can sew (basic) women's clothes easily, and not the other way around. A sheath dress is a couple of darts, a few seams, a zipper, and a lining, maybe some facings.

      Of course, the more you work in one area the better (or at least the faster and more efficient) you are and fitting for women requires different skills. That's why most people specialize.

      I've been told explicitly in my classes that men's clothing is better made and is expected to last longer. The standard is higher. From my limited experience, that is true.


      ------

      If anyone saw The Great British Sewing Bee, the judges made a point of explaining how much harder it was to sew a man's shirt. They seemed to consider that the hardest challenge of all.

      The contestants were given a simple version that didn't have a sleeve placket, but they were expected to sew a shirt in 4 hours. Crazy!

      Delete
  10. Men's clothes, IMO. For example, if I make a blazer and the sleeves aren't long enough or too long, I can scrunch them up and throw on some bracelets. If I made my husband a suit or a blazer/sports coat and he wasn't showing the perfect amount of shirt sleeve cuff it's an EPIC FAIL!

    Men's tailoring is way more precise than for women. I compare it to cooking savory vs. baking. With savory cooking, you don't have to follow a recipe, you can eyeball and season to taste. With women's sewing, you can pretty much do whatever you like. Most things are preference and not "rules". With baking, you have to follow a precise recipe or your cake will be dry or not rise. With men's tailoring, the shoulders have to be perfect. The break on the trousers have to be perfect. There's no room to fudge.

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    1. Did somebody say fudge? Maple walnut please! ;)

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    2. I think menswear sewing is more like making marshmallows everything has to come together just so otherwise things just fall flat. Even the weather has to be just right. Now don't even get me started on vegan marshmallows thats more like couture.

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    3. Baking... fudge... you saw what I did there! LOL

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  11. Without question, women's wear is more varied than menswear, but menswear design students often produce garments much more creative than things you'd see in a store, although you might see them on the runway. Like other design students, they study fashion history and in their design and pattern making classes are exposed to a rich style vocabulary.

    Every year, usually in late May, the FIT Museum showcases garments made by graduating Menswear Design students. It's well worth checking out.

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  12. I love making men's clothes but in saying that, I only really make shirts (albeit a wide range of styles) and overwear. I don't do pants for anyone but me, and I don't have the time or patience to tailor a jacket. I just won the Newcastle Cardigan pattern from Thread Theory who are a new Canadian indie pattern company of just menswear. Yahoo for them!!! and am already collating boiled merino and leather samples to run past me three chosen testers. The husband declined as it is too hip for him.
    I think for women, sewing menswear is fairly obviously a selfless sewing task, and so it is essentially different from sewing for oneself. I am more used to sewing for others anyway, but it is still a job for love or money, not to indulge one's own tastes and self expression. That is a game changer. I sew the menswear I enjoy making and they enjoy wearing, and I enjoy seeing them in.
    You my friend are among the few truly able to compare sewing mens vs womenswear for oneself, so you are possibly uniuely able to truly answer this very question! x

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  13. Easy is what you are used to sewing.

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  14. It's tough to compete with RTW for men. Unlike women, men can often get decent clothing for good prices. For the higher end menswear, by the time one acquires the fabric, interfacings, and notions, a suit at Nordstrom's with free alterations is looking like a good deal.

    While it has become easier to acquire fabrics similar to better ready to wear, the notions and interfacings that are available to the home sewer are more limited. Discovering the quality interfacings at Fashion Sewing Supply has been a real game changer for me(not in any way affiliated, just very happy with the products!).

    While menswear does go through fashion trends, the standard wardrobe pieces such a good suit and button down shirt look good for years. For example, when my father passed away, quality suits he had bought over 20 years prior still look current and were passed on to a very grateful relative. Can't say that about most women's wear! ;)

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  15. I am a sewer of both and have sewn professionally for both men and women. Suit making for men seems to require more of my time. So much tailoring, thread and insides. Fitting however, is easier than for women by far but as you said in your post - I haven't made a chiffon suit for a man. :-) I no longer sew for the "public" and my husband reaps the benefit of my talent all alone and he appreciates the time I take on his garments. Just a thought - I recently purchased some beautiful wool Gaberdine to make him an all year coat and I paid a pretty penny for everything fabrics, insides, lining, buttons etc. I tend to spend more money on his fabrics then I do on fabrics for myself with that said - I tend to pay special attention to the details, because there are so many, when the fabric is expensive and I also take my time. So let me rephrase - They both have different levels of difficulty but Menswear takes me longer because of the details and what I spend on fabrics. Regardless of the details on women's clothing I don't worry about fabrics because if it is printed you can hide a fudge. I'll do fudge every now and again - when I get lazy but my husband - never and neither did any of my male clientele.

    My Conclusion - Menswear

    Great topic!

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    1. (OMG, I must have some fudge...)

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    2. I would like to see a chiffon suit for men. Sounds like something you would could see on a runwy.

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  16. I think your assessment is pretty spot-on, Peter. My mom made quite a few outfits for my dad back in the 70's, including a few suits of various styles and fabrics, including a mint green polyester leisure suit and a 3-pc suit in a peachy-tan polyester. He wore them all. I don't remember how long my mom spent on them but I do know they were time-consuming, since I spent my days sitting next to the sewing table, stealing scraps of fabric that I wrapped around my dolls.

    I sew a lot of clothing for my 4 year-old son and I think that while there are a few more variations in style for kids, the idea that men's clothing is simpler can also apply to clothing for boys. I spend far more time making sure that my topstitching is even and looks good than I do on the things I sew for my 2 girls. And the part about solid colors is also true - the details stand out more and so do the mistakes. I'd like to branch out into sewing men's clothing for my husband, but I really can't justify spending my time making something that will barely get worn, since his job requires him to be in uniform.

    And now I'm in the mood for some good old chocolate fudge. How I wish I was still living in Michigan!

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    1. So now if you go back you're a fudgie? :-)

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    2. Haha! It's just that there was a store near my aunt's house called "Oh, Fudge!" and that's what they sold. That and there are a few towns in Michigan on the lakeshore that are touristy and each town has at least 1 shop that makes and sells homemade candies and fudge. It's the thing to buy in the summer, for some reason. And anyone who has ever been to Mackinac Island knows that you can't leave the island without buying fudge to take home.

      As for going back to Michigan, just being from there makes me a Michigander, though my husband insists that a woman should be called a "michigoose".

      Delete
  17. I am costumier by trade and home sewer by night. I have made my man some shirts, historical costume wear for male actor's, massive 18th century gowns for men too.

    The only item I have tailored has been a jacket for myself, pad stitching you made my fingers bleed! That was hard and time consuming.

    I think it depends on the garment rather than the gender of the garment.

    Now pass the fudge... please :-)

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  18. Last year I decided to sew for my man (now husband) by making him some shirts - there was a nice prize for me after making 10 shirts all monogrammed and complete with collar stays etc. Shirts don't worry me now and he wears them every day (however rod and back come to mind).

    I then copied his RTW branded underpants/shorts (I think you guys call them) and they have also been a success, along with fleeces which he wears all the time when on his bike.

    These are still some steps away from what I call true men's tailoring, and I have kept back a pair of pants from an old RTW suit, which he loved, that I am going to use as a template for a pair of pants for him. Not ready to tackle a man's jacket yet, so will work my way up to it.

    Your jackets/suits are wonderful.

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  19. Great blog post:

    Analyzing a fitting and why we fit garments in the first place

    http://www.rubenbakker.nl/analyzing-a-fitting-and-why-we-fit-garments-in-the-first-place/

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  20. I'm going with mens. There are many articles of women's clothing that are just not that technical like a sheath or a simple skirt. A men's button up has to be the proper sleeve length if to work with a jacket and then it has to fit perfectly for a tie too.

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  21. Can we have a post on if it's harder to make fudge from scratch or sew clothing from scratch? Also be sure to discuss how you can fudge making fudge (i.e. not using a double boiler, for instance, and zapping the chocolate in the microwave, hoping for the best).

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    1. I've never used a double boiler for making fudge but I learnt how to make fudge in NZ so maybe we fudge it a little more.

      Delete
  22. On the whole men's wear is more difficult. Shirts can be pretty much the same, but women can get away with less detail. A really fine man's shirt has flat fell seams, a woman can get away with serged edges, though it's not high end.
    Men's pants must have pockets, front and back to be really acceptable. Women can get away with out those picky details like back welt pockets.
    Evening gowns are more difficult, but how many of those does the average home sewer make? A woman's suit can be perfectly acceptable with much less detail and softer tailoring. As everyone has said, menswear has much more interior work. As Erika said, a man's suit is not acceptable if the details are not perfect. The fabrics are also less forgiving than a boucle or wool tweed that are available to women. Women have a wide range of simpler, things like skirts and especially knits that are just not available in menswear. We have lots more choices than someone setting out to make menswear.
    However, when you started out you made simpler things and even then they weren't perfect and you happily wore them. It's when you get better and more knowledgeable that you start realizing how much more demanding menswear is.

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  23. I've made both, and in my house at least, the menswear is harder. I tend to wear simple skirts with knit tops, while my husband and sons wear trousers or jeans and button-down shirts. Add to that that all three are hard to fit (big and/or tall), while I'm more of an average-sized woman (with my own fit issues, of course).

    I do love to run up pajama pants in wild prints for my sons. They only take about an hour from start to finish since I use my serger.

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  24. Mmm...chocolate fudge, my favorite!

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  25. I think the level of difficulty follows the degree of formality of the garment. Also it is probably more difficult to sew clothes for the opposite sex because you don't have direct experience with wearing them- I have no ideal how much ease in the crotch area a guy needs to comfortably sit, stand, and walk around.

    It isn't fair to compare the level of difficulty in sewing a men's suit with a casual sheath dress. Compare it with sewing a wedding gown with unforgiving duchess satin silk, interior boning and lining structure, and the variability of curves and fit.

    True most women don't wear evening gowns or wedding gowns every day, but then again I know many men who don't own a tux and infrequently wear a suit.

    Prints aren't always a prize to work with- prints need to be matched and aligned with the seams and design of the garment. An awkwardly placed large flower on the back side of your dress can look like you sat in fudge. Womenswear uses solid colors (the little black dress for example) and menswear does use stripes and plaids.

    Are flat felled seams more difficult than French seams?

    At the moment the only article of clothing I am afraid to even try sewing is a bra.

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  26. I agree that the question is really "tailored or non-tailored". If you sew women's clothes like peasant blouses and elastic waist skirts then men's clothing will be really difficult. But if you make women's button-front blouses and fly front pants then you should be able to tackle men's clothing.

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  27. I don;t think there is sexism involved here, Peter. Trousers are tricky, whether the wearer is male or female. Housedresses are frequently easier to produce, again, irrespective of whether the wearer is male or female.

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    1. The sexism lies in the inferior construction and lesser value of women's clothes compared to men's, but that's partly because:

      1) Women, or Fashion, requires women's clothes to change constantly, and

      2) women are willing to put up with it.

      Delete
  28. Imho: precision of sowing is required to a much higher degree for male clothing.
    For female clothing I can dare to 'tweak' and 'pleat'/fold a few things into place and even declare them 'new fashion' afterwards whilst for male garments it's then wiser to unpick and restart to get rid of any flaw.

    Hence, my prayer whilst I was still veeery young and a luring unwanted pregnancy at this time would have set me back yet I wouldn't have wanted to part from it despite 'inconvenience': "Dear Lord, provide me at least with a girl; I'll get this through at all times with the labour of my hands in all levels of life - even when later on the typical Mom vs. daughter troubles might separate us!"

    Greets, Gerlinde
    (regretfully didn't work out to neither 'owner-ship' of any children ever - sigh)

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  29. I've done plenty of high-level sewing for both men and women and with the exception of fitting women's trousers, I believe that men's clothing wins for difficulty, hands down.

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  30. I'm pretty sure that of all the words I might use to describe you "sexist" would probably be the furthest from my mind.
    I think you're right as far as the tailoring aspect of things really upping the difficulty level (I'm in the thick of it all this month). I'm thinking that there aren't a lot of in-betweens for men's clothes the way there are for women. Either it's relatively relaxed "easy" clothes, or it's complexly tailored suits with all kinds of crazy pockets and linings and hair canvas and such. A lot of people wouldn't consider a knit shirt for a man to be interesting enough to be worth their sewing time, especially if the man doesn't want anything more than a plain navy polo shirt just like he could find in a store. As far as the assumption that it is "easier" to fit a man, I think a lot of times it gets assumed that because men have fewer curves, they will always fit everything right out of the envelope. That isn't any more true for men than it is for women, and while men might have fewer spots that need alterations, they also often have fewer seams where the adjustments could be made. In my mind, the fitting is almost equal for men vs. women.
    It's that homemade legitimacy thing that makes men's sewing the hardest. "I made it myself" = cool (at least in the area around Portland, Oregon). "My S.O. made it for me...and it shows" = usually lame, no matter where you are.

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    1. Thin men who are built straight up and down don't have as many curves as women, but many men do have curves.

      The way men's clothes fit today is partly a societal construct of how men are supposed to look: powerful, protected, not revealing too much. In past eras, men's clothes have fit much more snugly. One reason women often look or feel vulnerable is that their bodies are so much more on display.

      It's interesting to me that few people seem to notice this.

      Delete
  31. I admire those with the patience to tackle complicated patterns and clothing. There is no way I would even contemplate making a shirt for a man. However, I have sewn clothes for my
    daughter in the past and if I made a boo boo I could easily add an embellishment to hide it. You can always figure a way to correct something. I don't think you could sew a flower on a man's shirt, unless of course, my uncle was going to wear it. I have long since said good-bye to sewing garments and make home goods which for me are simple and more enjoyable.

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  32. I think, like the post: it depends. Ok, I haven't sewn men's clothes, but I can imagine. Also, what hasn't come up yet, is that it depends on the sewer. For some people it's easier to be creative on covering up mistakes (like me), but I have a friend who can't do that, but she's extremely good when you need to follow even hard instructions. She's very precise and the result is awesome. So, I would say that to her, it might be easier to sew men's clothes but for me women's...

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  33. Anyone who doubts the difficulty in tailoring for men need sit down and try their hand on making a good buttonhole.

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  34. In couture of course there are no distinctions like this although the workrooms for each are separate and workers skilled in one form or the other stay with that type of garment their whole career. Dressmaking is "flou" and tailoring is "tailleur" or what the Brits call "Bespoke". Each form is considered equally challenging.

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    1. I think "tailleur" is simply "tailoring." If it's couture, it's understood to be custom made.

      "Bespoke," which is usually a menswear term, is "sur mesure." It's literally "made to measure," not what Americans call "made to measure," which is the modification of a standard pattern to the client's measurements instead of creating a pattern from scratch.

      Delete
  35. Also adding that in couture it's rare for a designer to work successfully in both forms. In the modern era Alexander McQueen and Yves St. Laurent are two notable exceptions. For both their flou and tailleur designs were equally spectacular and astonishing.

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    1. First, and most importantly, I'm a "PHYLLIS PHAN"! Loud-n-proud!

      Now onto the business of the day: Can MPB ever have a "recipe swap"? Perhaps starting with...FUDGE??? Hmmmm?????

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  36. My response to Lynn is that all the "frills" that you can add to women's clothing can hid a multitude of sewing "oops" moments. With men's clothes you can't hide an ugly seam with a cute trim with butterflies on it and expect the average man to wear it. A woman's dress - the skirt is too short? add a layer of ruffles. A man's pants too short -- useless!

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    1. I have never thought of trims for hiding mistakes but I see your point.

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  37. Interesting. I think you've hit the nail on the head, altho it is also a fact that women's clothing needs to fit 126 measurements where men's need only 25. I sew for my husband and myself and several relatives; I think the men are less willing to wear anything that doesn't look commercial or professionally finished. By making the fit better they look better, but the technical standards are higher. An activist friend tells me that menswear is made of better fabric, better fitted, finished and reinforced because men are more important and powerful and their clothes reflect their status. Perhaps. And I don't buy the "women's clothes can hide mistakes easier" argument--the best of women's clothes are just as exacting as men's. Good clothes require good fabric, good fit, precise stitching and marking, careful finishing and infrastructure--for everyone. And it pays off for men and women in longer life, better looks and fit, better comfort, and beauty and versatility!

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  38. Thank you so much for your insights, Peter. You brought up a lot of things I didn't think about.

    I wasn't really hedging. At least I didn't think I was. As I said, I think you can only judge difficulty one garment or pattern at a time. It's just that all my life I've heard that "Men's clothes are too hard to sew," and I've always thought that was silly.

    By the way, right now I'm working on another shirt for my husband and the collar band is giving me fits even though it's the same pattern and the same kind of fabric as the last shirt I made and that one was a breeze.

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  39. Fabulous topic! From my perspective, I believe men’s clothing to be much more challenging than women’s clothing. But I certainly do not speak from experience, because I have never made anything to fit a male body! I am comfortable working around my own lumps and bumps and could probably figure out most other female bodies, but would not have a clue how to work with male bulges.

    I generally do not have to make many alterations to get a pattern to fit, which makes things easier as well and probably has changed my perception. So I would think that a particular body type is probably more important when classifying something as challenging rather than general categories like male or female.

    I do not see a “right” or “wrong” answer here. Some bespoke suits made for men are incredibly complex, and certainly a couture gown for a women is incredibly time consuming and challenging to create.

    And fabric choice can make even the most basic garment with two or three pieces a bear to put together.

    I think we learn to fear certain things like tailoring or set in sleeves when in fact, they just take a bit more time to master and stitch together.

    And now I should probably stop rambling on!

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  40. I 'm with the consensus that the degree of difficulty depends on the garment. But the perceived degree of difficulty depends on the sewer! I'm still too scared to try a notched lapel jacket even in soft tailoring regardless of who will wear it.

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  41. I think it boils down to mens and womens require a different skill set. For me, right now mens would be more challenging since I have less experience/skills with it.

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  42. My feeling is that there's a lot more easy clothing for women - namely, skirts. But you hit fitting issues sooner with men's clothing. So even though jackets, trousers, dress shirts are probably the same difficulty for men and women, the entry level is higher for men's clothing.

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  43. I agree that its more of a question of tailored vs. non tailored clothing. Of course tailoring is much more difficult! I have been venturing into tailoring and it makes a wedding gown I made seem easy. I love vintage patterns for both men & women. There are details that are time consuming but beautiful. Compared to say a knit dress pattern from today these old designs are so advanced. Not an elastic waistband in sight.

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  44. I saw all the comments and most of the comments are from women.
    Means women are much more interested in men clothing.

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