Readers, I work in a female-dominated field. (I'm a children's book editor. I don't know if I've ever actually mentioned that here.) Well, let me amend that statement. I work in a field where all the lower and mid-level employees are predominantly female and the majority of the head honchos are men. Interesting, eh? It's similar to the sewing world in many ways - home sewists are women and highly-paid couturiers are men. What I've noticed is that there seems to be a certain amount of delight when men cross over into the lower trenches with the women. I love to fawn over these men, I admit it (as does everyone else). A male editorial assistant! A dude who sews for pleasure! Good god!
So it's been with a lot of delight that many of us are taking notice of the funny and fabulous Peter, who recently started a blog on his garment-sewing adventures called Male Pattern Boldness. (If you don't already read it, become a follower now, please!) Peter wrote an excellent post this week called "Why Johnny Can't Sew."
Peter outlines the ways in which sewing has historically been marketed and targeted toward women. This will come as no surprise to us. But the thought that popped into my head as I was reading it was: This is why all men should be feminists. I don't think it's common for men to recognize the damage that a misogynistic culture does to BOTH genders. In no uncertain terms: it alienates half the population from skills and trades that might be useful and pleasurable to all of us.
Peter also mentions the lack of men's patterns, that we discussed here back in November. When Jeff asked me to make him his Urban Outfitters-inspired jacket I had to radically adapt a men's shirt pattern to make it happen. Peter is pretty adventurous with patterns - 70s caftans, flower-print trousers - so it will be interesting to see how he deals with this lack of patterns as he progresses in his sewing.
But I thought Peter really hit the nail on the head when he asked: "Finally, when we wonder why men don't sew, aren't we really talking about why straight men don't sew?" Bingo! Just take, oh, EVERY season of Project Runway ever televised. There's always that one straight dude who just has to assert his heterosexuality into every conversation. There is a rampant gay panic in our culture that keeps men from sewing, no doubt.
In any case, thanks to Peter for continuing this topic from a dude's point of view. Now I can't resist adding two of my favorite photos of garments he's made.
A corduroy coat for his dog Willy. Could this BE any cuter?
And an LBD for his glamorous "identical cousin" Cathy. She's a woman of mystery!
Check out more of Peter, Willy, and Cathy's adventures at Male Pattern Boldness.