Sewing for Men: Men’s Button Up Shirt

Welcome to the Sewing for Men Series! Kicking us off is Melissa from Melly Sews with this wonderful men’s button up shirt! It’s perfect and she wants to know if you want the pattern for it. Read on!

Men's Button Up Shirt by Melly Sews

Hello, Train to Crazy readers! Today I’m here to talk about the fun and challenges of sewing for men.

I’m Melissa, and I blog over at Melly Sews

I also own and design Blank Slate Patterns,
PDF sewing patterns that are designed to give you a “blank-slate” so you can skip the pattern-making and go right into expressing your creativity through fabric choice and embellishments.
I’m also mom to two boys and wife to a football coach (and a former theatre teacher myself)
So I do a lot of boy sewing. But not so much MAN sewing. Before this shirt, I had made Hubby a grand total of two items – some mesh reversible gym shorts and a bathrobe. He wears them both, but never outside the house. So when I approached him about this series…
Let’s just say Hubby is picky about his clothing. And he is a guy’s guy – I mean, he’s a football coach – that means his job is a lot like hanging out in a frat house all day and talking sports with other guys (really, there’s probably more to it than that. He puts in tons of hours. But for the 6 months of the year that I’m a football widow, I like to pretend he’s just playing around – it makes me sound like more of a martyr).
So, the first challenge in sewing for men is patterns. There aren’t a whole lot of them. The ones that are on the market often stink and/or aren’t fashionable and/or are way too oversized. And since Hubby is so picky, I just had him try on a few non-sporting apparel shirts he owns and tell me what he did or didn’t like about the fit. Then I took two that were closest to being his favorite and used the rub-off method to make a pattern.

The next challenge in sewing for men is fabric. I had picked up this Free Spirit Novella Rayon in Rain Aqua at my local quilting shop (Remnants: Fiberculture) intending to make something for a boy with it. To my surprise, when I showed it to Hubby, he said he’d wear it. Another trip to the store (men’s clothing needs more fabric than boy’s, after all) and muslining my pattern with an old bedsheet, I whipped up this shirt.

Men's Button Up Shirt by Melly Sews - Novella Rayon Rain Aqua by Free Spirit

The fabric is just the right lightweight drape for this, and despite the bright colors, has a kind of hipster feel that works well in Austin. I left the hem straight because Hubby prefers it that way (no tucking required) and resisted the urge to put on pearl snaps instead of buttons (too far over the hipster line).

And the final challenge? Getting a good picture. He’s not used to being in front of the camera for my blog like the boys and I am.

Men's Shirt by Melly Sews

Thanks for having me, Andrea! I’m thinking about sharing the pattern for this shirt in the future – anyone interested? Pop on over through one of my social hook-ups below and let me know if this is something you’d like to see. I’m thinking it would be only the one size and free.

UPDATE: I’ve started a Sew for Men Flickr group! If you’d like, join the group and add photos of anything you’ve sewn for a man so we can all get inspiration! Find the Sew for Men Flickr group here.


  1. says

    I love how you collaborated with your husband every step of the way – from figuring out the shape of the shirt to picking out the fabric! No wonder he loves his new shirt! It looks great on him!

  2. Katie says

    Yes PLEASE share the pattern! I don’t know if my husband would ever wear anything I made him, but I am certain I could have a blast picking out fabrics with my hipster brother and making him some custom shirts! He would love it! PRETTY PLEASE!

  3. jan says

    love it! i made my husband a flannel for valentine’s day with the most amazing fabric and it actually fits great!!! would love to try out this pattern as well….thanks for sharing!

  4. suzanne says

    My husband has declared that the only thing I am allowed to make for him is PJ pants ;op This shirt is amazing though – I love the fabric and the cut!!! Honestly, my hubs isn’t too picky, but at 6’2 and broad through the shoulders, the amount of fabric I would need just makes it economically impractical to make him shirts for now.

  5. says

    I am completely in the same boat. All my husband will let me make him is night wear too! And he also is a big guy and thus, the fabric requirments for him are a lot.

  6. Gaz says

    Nice shirt and patterns are always helpful.
    ironic that Melissa says the hardest part is finding patterns – yet her own “basic” website has NO MEN’S PATTERNS on it. :)

  7. says

    Hi Gaz,
    I'm not sure what "basic" website you're referring to but her blog (Melly Sews) now has this pattern as a free download. Her shop, Blank Slate Patterns, carries mostly children's designs. Though you can find men's designs at the big 4 or small indie designers like Thread Theory or Collette Patterns. I know more men's designers are coming out too. Do you sew a lot of menswear? Any you can recommend?

  8. Gaz says

    Not sure why I typed “basic” when I was thinking “Blank Slate” but then fingers don’t always type what the brain is thinking – scary really!!!
    I just found it ironic that she mentioned that finding pattern was hard and the blank slate site had women & childrens but no mens
    anyways, I don’t sew a great deal, or sew mens clothing but I have made a few items. sadly I don’t have much room to work now so cutting out in almost impossible (have just come up with the idea of a board on top of the bed as a “cutting table” and I can stand that against the wall when I need to sleep)
    I am trying to learn, via youtube or where I can find them, how to draft my own patterns, only basic ones, but I have to buy fabric online, which is not bad but I prefer to see fabric before I purchase but alas. also, postage then makes it expensive to MIY (Make It Yourself)
    Drafting would mean I can get the sizes that the pattern don’t go up to, here in the UK they tend to not go above XL (46 chest) but what if you want 52″ chest? you have to redraw the pattern and try to figure out the differences – so better to start the draft from the beginning, or at least understand HOW so it should make the process easier.

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