8.04.2009

to do: buttons

I've just gotten my sewing machine back from the shop from a much needed tune up. It's been sewing fairly wonky for awhile now. I am a bit ashamed, but I throw the timing out on it all too frequently, usually from hitting a pin while sewing.

Sewing with bad timing will create some strange stitching. Usually a bit too loose, though I tend to press on for a bit when sewing for my kids, since they never care what my stitching looks like and the tune up is frightening expensive. I hope to one day learn to reset the timing myself.

Straight sewing is one thing, but making buttonholes with misfiring machine is something I can not push on with. They just look awful and half the time pull out. So, I have a couple of projects that have been sitting for actual months, waiting for buttonholes. I know I shouldn't do this, especially with kids' clothes, because if I wait too long the kid will grow out of the clothes before they even try them on. I think I may get this from my grandma, who has a stack of knitting that fits... no one :(

A couple of days ago it was unseasonably cool so I decided to hell with it and got out a little linen jacket I had put together for Birdie Boy but never finished the buttons. Here he is, in his flowered linen jacket.



Birdie Boy loves flowers. It's one of his few non-family member words he says (the others are tofu, vacuum, and truck). The light jacket was made from the same Ottobre pattern I used for this polka dotted shirt. The sleeves are rolled back here, all stiff from the linen... really could use those buttons.



I hear a lot about how sewing for boys is either boring or restrictive. I know that handmade clothing for boys is underappreciated, even though they are often technically more difficult. I tend to disagree (or, rather, ignore) the idea that boys clothes must been plain and of traditional styles. I think sewing for boys can be a lot of fun, especially if you do not have to bother with tedious gathering (though, I do miss the twirling after). The main problem is a narrow idea of what boys should wear. I'm not so much about the shoulds. I suppose every once in awhile someone may cock an eyebrow at my son's flowered jacket (with pink and purple no less!), but when they see my what my Smootch is wearing, since she tends to dress herself in a Cinderella meets Pretty Woman meets Tank Girl sort of style, they generally forget all about the boy.


What do you think? After decades of discussion about what girls can wear, they can now pretty much wear whatever they want. Most boys' clothes aren't restrictive, ties not withstanding, which was a major problem with girls clothes in the past, but the do tend towards the dark colours. And, of course, boys can't wear pink! Okay, my boy wears pink, but I know many people think I dress my kid weird and worry about the long term affects (as if!)

I would love to read your thoughts on sewing for boys. Boring? Challenging? Underappreciated? Have no idea what I mean?

Oh, and if anyone knows of a good guide to resetting the timing on my sewing machine, you'd really save me a lot of money :)

27 comments:

  1. I have two boys and I would love to do some sewing for them but I have found it very difficult to find pattern let alone any inspiration for making clothes for them online. I would love you to have some tutorials on boys clothes.

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  2. flower, tofu, vacuum, truck. I think you've got a well rounded boy there!!

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  3. i agree. sewing for boys is underappreciated. my sons has pink or purple shirts. but often i just stitch a car on to make it look "boyisch".
    i love birdies shirt. especially the colors. where dit you say you got the pattern from?

    p.s. sorry for the grammar. i never learnt to write in englisch.

    greetings from vienna, austria

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  4. My little boy loves pink- it's his fave colour! For his b'day this year he wants a pink ladybug cake! I say let them wear what they want, especially when they're little. Once they get older, they tend to follow everyone else- so let them have fun now!

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  5. I don't have a boy, but my brother is a lot younger than me and my sister so he sort of stands in for one at times - he wore what he liked as a child and is possibly the most clothing confident man I know. He's not always good at taking care of clothes, but they're good choices and look good on him. And often the colours are pink, or lilac - but now he's grown up no one looks oddly at a man wearing a pink shirt, at least not in London anyway.

    Louiz.

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  6. How funny to see another reader from Vienna. Hi, Frauniepi!

    I haven't done any sewing for boys, but with a brand new nephew I've started looking for things (clothing and otherwise) to make for him. Boys are definitely under-represented when it comes to patterns. As for the colors, I think it's becoming more common to see boys in colors traditionally reserved for boys. Who cares if some people think it's strange!

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  7. I love your jacket!

    I have a boy who just turned 3 and I sew a lot for him. I love to (but do not always) use bright colours and also floral patterns, normally with big flowers since I think small ones often looks more girly and too cute. So far my boy proudly says "Yes!" when people ask him if mummy made what he's wearing :-) No one ever commented on the flowers - only how cool the clothes are. :-)

    I normally use a standard pattern from a book and make my own changes to make the garment look the way I want it to so I've never suffered from lack of boys patterns.

    Greetings from Sweden!

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  8. I agree that sewing for boys is underappreciated. Perhaps the lack of commercial "boy" patterns factors in, although now that I have found Ottobre, I LOVE sewing for my little man. Before that it was always the same button down shirt and shorts, which can get boring after a while.

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  9. I have an almost 4 yr old boy who "LOVES bright colors, Mama" so I sew a bunch of his clothes. I personally take issue with always clothing him in "masculine" stuff with trucks and trains and balls... and that's the cute stuff. So, he helps me pick out his cloth and patterns and away we go. I love Ottobre, too, it's the best resource I know of for new boy's patterns. But, I also just make him lot's of elastic waist pants/shorts out of bright colors (not very technical sewing and with a serger can be completed in 20 minutes apart from cutting). Those coupled with a plain colored bright t-shirt are his day-to-day clothes.

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  10. I come from a very "male" family in that, putting my boy in girlish colors would inevitably produce razzing to his mother who dressed him. Although I make him traditional boy clothes I like to make sure they are fun and at the least unusual in some way. If you search enough there are fun boy fabrics and patterns. Ottobre Design has the best boy patterns, hands down.

    Oh, and snaps are good to use, too, when your machine is acting up. I get mine from SnapSource.com and they have tons of fun colors!

    Amen, to the price of machine repair, too! I know they have to make a living, too, but geez it always costs so much to get my machines cleaned up.

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  11. My oldest is a boy, and I was heartbroken to see that no one really sews for their boys (which is a shame considering the extremely limited commercial imagination for boy clothes).

    For now, I'm sewing mostly toys and kid decor items. I really fear my own inability for clothing design, so the dearth of patterns for boys really shuts me down.

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  12. I wish I could find more "masculine" looking ideas for my boy. He's always wanting me to make him something, but there's just more out there that interests me for the girls. I am pretty traditional, though, and would choose to stick with the more masculine colors. The flowery purple jacket wouldn't fly at my house. I'm not all about trucks and such, though, either.

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  13. I like your forward thinking on this issue! Set a trend!

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  14. I have 2 boys. I'd love to do more sewing for them but nobody ever posts tutorials or patterns for boys.
    I would love to see more out there for boys.

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  15. Who wouldn't want to dress in a Cinderella meets Pretty Woman meets Tank Girl sort of style. I just think the older we get the more we're expected to limit ourselves, but I love how free kids are to do what ever!

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  16. I love to sew for the kiddos, but my daughter could sport a totally handmade wardrobe with all the great patterns and tutorials out there, but my poor boy gets almost nothing! Even when i sit down to sketch an idea for boy-o i draw a blank! When i do make him stuff, it's usually appliques or simple elastic pants.

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  17. I'm pregnant with my second and it looks to be a boy this time. I read your post the other day and it's really caused me to think ahead about what I want to dress my boy in when the time comes. I like kids to dress like kids, not like miniature adults, and that goes for boys too. I have a feeling I'll be purposely stretching myself to think outside the box when it comes to sewing boys clothes. I was kind of hoping for another girl, but with a little Man on the way, I am getting more and more excited about the challenges involved. It'll be a whole new adventure! And if I'm able, I'd love to post tutorials for what I do free on the 'net. Someday.

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  18. I've long given up sewing from patterns and purchased fabric...I find it much more satisfying to cut down hand-me-downs for my kids and create them a new garment. But, alas, the boy never gets hand me downs so I don't get to sew him anything...poop. All of his clothes are from VV or Goodwill. He has yet to choose a pink shirt, but that's ok. Orange is his favourite colour.

    However, he's learning to sew things on his own: he's nearly 8 and just completed a guitar bag with me. I'm very proud :D .

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  19. My four year-old son loves pink, mermaids and princesses - he would love that jacket! (He also loves trains and every bug imaginable.) I find sewing for him challenging because of those "shoulds." Family members don't think he "should" wear pink shirts or flower jammies. It's frustrating. So my hat is off to you for making your son a floral jacket!

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  20. Seriously I have been blessed with one girland three boys and sure sewing for her was fabby,but sewing for boys,this is an amazing challenge which I adore rising to,my boys never have looked traditional and in my world view this is A GOOD THING!!
    I adore birdy boys jacket more power to your sewing elbow!!!

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  21. My son has a big sister, so he loved everything pink and shiny when he was little. Now he won't touch anything pink or "girly" even though his dad has several pink shirts.
    This would probably be a bad time to bring out those photos of my son wearing the fluffy pink tutu...

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  22. Ottobre hands down for boys, for sure. I had a great time sewing for my boy...but yeah, definitely time consuming, with all the extra buttons, flaps, pockets, patches, gadgets, etc etc for each piece. Girls just need a cute fabric, and the thing is done. :p

    For the timing on the machine, I bet google is the place to go. I have reset the timing before on a machine, figuring it out myself, but it was an industrial, not a home machine, and was pretty straightforward. I've never tried on a home machine yet. The concept is pretty simple, though, so I'm sure once you can figure out which things to loosen and adjust, it will be a piece of cake. Come to think of it, I have a sewing machine repair manual around somewhere...if you don't manage to figure it out via google, give me a holler, and I'll hunt through it and see what I can find. :) And you should learn no-pin sewing. :p

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  23. I agree, people don't appreciate boys clothes. Even though I often spend a lot more time on my boys clothing people won't pay as much as they do for girls clothing.
    And I'm constantly being told "But boy clothes just aren't the same"
    maybe there is a few less frills, but i still think they can be pretty cute :)

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  24. I was looking up the button hole instructions for my machine and I came across a service manual with instructions on fixing the timing. The website I found it on is managemyhome.com but if you google your machine brand, model, and manual you may find the same thing. Amusingly, I wanted the user's manual so I'll have to keep searching. Good luck!

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  25. ottobre is definitely the way to go when sewing for a boy... or a girl. :) great boys patterns. neither i nor my boys ever understood why there are "boy colors" and "girl colors." aren't they are just colors? pink is gaining some acceptance for teen boys. think pink polo shirts... would love to see that barrier broken down.

    your son's jacket is fab. if other people don't like it, well, they just don't have any sense of style.

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  26. Seriously, you need to get yourself a resin snap press and use resin snaps instead of buttons - KAM is the place to look (or learn how to hand sew buttonholes ;) - was the first thing my mum ever taught me sewing wise and it's a really useful skill!)
    I also get grumpy at the rigidity and lack of choice given to boys and their clothes, absolutely love the jacket you made!

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