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I have never really taken the time to design and make menswear, but I know I have always been interested in it. As a fashion designer and sewer I really appreciate a well dressed man with his own sense style and didn’t just simply purchase an outfit off the mannequin. I’m not talking suit and tie (we all love that in its own way), more like a casual day to day fashion that has some thought and style-sense put into it. Two menswear styles that I love are novelty and edgy. I have altered two of our best selling menswear shirts and made these lovely male models new styles that are far from generic. Check it out!

I was a bit intimidated by menswear at first. How the sizing worked in terms of fit and were there different sewing processes? But in reality sewing menswear is really not that different from menswear I took my measurements and crosschecked them with our Men’s Size Chart here, and with no fit alterations (except for some length) the patterns turned out to be a perfect fit!

Here are some designer and runway inspiration I used when created my looks. I absolutely LOVE Jeremy Scott (above right) for womenswear, and he always does fine menswear. He has a great sense of humor that is portrayed in his fashions impeccably without looking to cheesy. On the above left we have fashion style blogger Bryan Boy wearing a fun printed Prada shirt. These novelty printed shirts are fun for the guys to wear, and it does take a certain guy to pull it off (he can’t be to serious).

On the lower half we have some edgy menswear fashions. I am a huge fan of leather accents in menswear, there is something so sultry about it and almost mysterious (I think it may give off a bad boy vibe). Streamlined designs and panels of leather really scream edgy to me both in mens and womenswear, so I went with this when designing my edgy men’s T-shirt. I like this kind of style to be a feature in one’s outfit, just add one garment or accessory with edge so you don’t overwhelm the streets with ‘biker’ vibes.

For my men’s shirts I used our classic Men’s Hawaiian Shirt pattern and also our Pete T-Shirt. Even though we don’t offer too many men’s pattern on BurdaStyle.com one pattern can be altered many different ways! Be sure to also check out our Dapper Style menswear pattern collection for some vintage inspiration.

For this style I made two different shirts using the Men’s Hawaiian Shirt pattern. I have made this pattern several times, it is super easy to modify and sew. Remember when I made that awesome Mustache Shirt? This button-up style shirt is the perfect backdrop for a crazy, novelty, printed fabric cotton.

For my first shirt I used this delicious doughnut printed fabric, which later lead to inspire my Mash-up and Doughnut Skirt. To be honest I think I like his shirt better! For my second shirt I used a zebra printed cotton in two different color-ways. Not only were these novelty fabrics but I always paneled them together, using the brown as a contrast pocket, sleeve cuff, and under collar. These pops really make the shirt special and unique, and totally Jeremy Scott right? I’m not quite there yet, but I know I will continue to make these fun printed men’s shirts. Perhaps I am going to try a long sleeve style, maybe this Rustic Men’s Worker Shirt.

One sewing trick I came across in sewing this particular pattern is how to sew on the collar. First I pressed (not topstitch yet) the front button and buttonhole plackets (1 1/4", and then another 1 1/4"). Then I placed my finished collar on the shirt at the first press mark and folded the other placket pressed edge on top of my collar (sandwiching my collar between the plackets). I sewed my collar on my neckline edges catching the plackets as well in one seam. Then when I turned it out to the right side I have a beautifully finished edge both from the wrong and right side. Now I topstitched my center front plackets down in place.

This is the edgy men’s T-Shirt that I made. I didn’t want to make another button-up shirt because let’s be honest, men just love to throw on a T-Shirt. So that’s why I wanted to vamp up a basic design and make it easy to wear. I used our Pete T-Shirt pattern and made pattern alterations from there. In this style I used a fine stretch jersey for the main, and then a leather spandex for the accents. The color combination (of olive and black) actually was inspired by a women’s shirt that I own, and it translated just as well in this men’s shirt. I also love the military vibe that this shirt gives off, and those leather accents really give it that fashion-edgy.

I made more alterations to this pattern than I did the button-up shirts. I first drafted a V-neckline on the front by measuring down approx. 7" from the center front original neckline and used my hip curve to blend a new front neckline into the back. I then measured my new neckline edge and cut a 2 1/2" band one third of that measurement. This makes sure that the neckline fits nice on the body. For the yoke I simply cut my back pattern approx. 10" from the center back neckline. I cut the yoke and the sleeves in the spandex leather. I also made the sleeves fit a bit tighter along the hem, there is something about a tight men’s sleeves on a shirt to make him look muscular!

Here is a style collage I put together that is going to inspire my next menswear look. I thought of someone on their fixed gear bike pedaling to work in an urban setting like Brooklyn or Portland. I love this style of mixing together classics with almost ‘punk’ accents. I can’t wait to start making all my new menswear designs! As much fun as it is sewing for myself, there is something I love about creating garments for others to suit their style and taste. I am even more inspired by the fact that I am surrounded by men who like and appreciate fashion!

Happy Sewing!


Meg Healy is BurdaStyle.com’s Online Editor and eCommerce Manager. She has an education in fashion design and earned several awards for her technical skills in pattern making and sewing.

1 Comment

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    Dec 11, 2013, 04.56 PMby ali0423

    Thank you for this interesting article on mens wear. I wish there were more patterns out there. I am always looking for patterns to make things for my husband and have decided to start making my own patterns. Burda seems to have the most variety for patterns for men. Also, do you think Burda will be creating more??

    Thank you again Meg!!

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