3 Menswear Sewing Patterns for Beginners

I remember my first (and failed!) attempt at taking up sewing as a hobby. I was just a teenager, fuelled by my passion for Project Runway, and in a spontaneous move I decided to buy a sewing machine, sewing pattern and fabric to get stuck in with no research! The problem was I had no idea about fabric choice or using a sewing machine and, after much frustration, the garment went in the bin and the sewing machine sat gathering dust for a long time.

This short post has a few tips and menswear pattern recommendations for beginners, so you can avoid my mistakes!

1. Use woven fabric

I made the silly mistake of thinking because a T-shirt was a simple looking garment it would be simple to sew. WRONG! Jersey fabric (stretchy, knit) is not a good place to start. Instead look for a woven fabric because it is rigid, non-stretch and comes in a range of weights. Something like a simple 100% Cotton poplin or shirting would be a good start.

Avoid anything very lightweight or superheavy (if you can see through it, it’s too lightweight and if it’s more like jeans denim than shirt material, it’s probably too heavy).

If you’re in a shop, ask the staff to help. Most places will stock a range of good value cottons or polycottons. If you’re shopping online, then this cotton from Minerva Crafts is a nice (and cheap) pure cotton that is a good weight for beginner sewers.

2. Check the sewing pattern’s difficulty rating

Many brands of sewing pattern have a difficulty rating. Burda mark their patterns from 1-4 depending on difficulty (1 is easiest), Thread Theory Inc label theirs with 1-5 ‘needles’ (1 needle being the easiest).

Many brands do ‘Quick and Easy’ or ‘Fast Sew’ patterns, but be careful with this…I found this ‘Super Easy’ Burda pattern in my collection which is quick and simple, yes, but would only work in jersey fabrics, so it’s still not suitable for a first-timer, in my opinion.

3. Keep it cheap

Yes, it’s tempting to reach for the silk, faux leathers or designer cottons BUT there is a good chance you will make mistakes on the first project. In fact, it’s almost a certainty, and the garment may end up being unwearable (though I hope you will keep it proudly hanging in your wardrobe as your first ever sewing creation!) It’s important to be realistic and stick to a cheap fabric that won’t leave you heartbroken when you make mistakes.

Here are 3 menswear sewing patterns that I think would make a great place to start for beginners. All of these could be made with woven fabrics.

Burda 7230 — my first every make while I was learning. Try making these elasticated joggers in linen or cotton for an airy, breathable pair of lounge pants.

Eastwood Pajamas — so I haven’t actually made these, but I have all the other Thread Theory patterns and they go above and beyond with their pattern explanations. This pattern has three variations with different difficulty levels (though all suitable for beginners.)

Burda 7381 (View A) — A nice pair of elasticated shorts with some topstitching detail and pockets, maybe a touch more challenging than the others because of the pockets.

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