So You Had a Boy….

My first born, who was three in September, is a boy.

winter When I was pregnant with him, I blew the dust off my sewing machine, found the missing foot pedal, and made him a quilt. When he was born I looked around, got disgruntled with my choices, and packed my machine back up again.

Our second child is a girl, and when she was about 6-8 months old I was feeling guilty she didn’t have something I made, so I started looking around. I found the corner of the internet where those who sew and design great clothes hang out. It has been fantastic to discover that this corner is much bigger than you would think. Donna and I took this leap into blogging with the intent of sewing a good number of boy and girl clothes.  I was editing our tutorial page and had a realization…

We aren’t sewing for the boy.

In 2013 we are refocusing our efforts to create great boy tutorials and fashions. Here is the problem, though. I’ve been reading some resolution blog posts, and I’ve read this and similar statements in multiple places. The concern that struck me was this:

Saying you are going to sew for your boy in January is like buying a gym membership right after the holidays. Nothing ever comes of it.

In order to avoid this trap let’s be honest about why we all have to remind ourselves to sew for the boy to start with. These are our reasons.

  • Forget the patterns, have you seen the fabric?

I realize I need to change the way I shop. I like to decide on impulse to make something, shop for it, and start sewing, all inside of a 24 hour window. You can do this with at least satisfactory results for woman and girls. Not so for boys. Fabrics need to be ordered, they need to be snatched up when your eye hits something cool, or useful, or inspiring. Even if the project isn’t yet formulated.

  • He doesn’t stop moving- ever.

sewing for boys

Ok so maybe this is because he is 3. He is finally sometimes willing to take direction, and I’m hoping this, paired with plans to amp up the nonexistent lighting in my home, will mean better pictures of the boy IN the clothes we are going to sew.

  • It all looks the same.

I think this is the real kicker. This is at the heart of the issue for most of us. With  girls’ patterns, EASY changes can be made to create a whole new look. Swap out a sleeve style, or add a ruffle.

Boys’ clothing is more limited in what I would deem easy embellishments and adjustments. It feels like there are fewer options. When I was toying with the idea of sewing him a dress coat, I wanted to scream if I landed on ONE MORE STANDARD PEA COAT pattern. On the other hand, it seemed like I kept finding new and different girl coat styles. Eventually a twitter friend pointed me toward a pattern I really like- sewing friends are super valuable for tough finds.

laying down

We could go on. He finds modeling exhausting when there are dragons and dinosaurs to play. He went through a phase where he aggressively claimed everything I made itched… though around that time everything he didn’t want to eat was too spicy, including unseasoned green beans, so I have my doubts.

What are We Doing Different?

We are getting inspired and committing to it.

We hope to start a series in February featuring small to middle-sized blogs that sew for boys. You don’t have to be exclusively about boy sewing projects (we aren’t and plan to continue sewing girl, woman, and home projects). If you would like to be involved you can email us directly at

We are joining in more sew-a-longs, and planning in advance to include boy projects.

We will be actively compiling our new favorite places for boy fabrics, zippers, snaps, buttons, accessories, patterns,  tutorials, ect. We will put together a page when we have a good resource list going.

We separated out our boy sewing inspiration Pinterest board. You can follow it here.  Check out our full profile here.

What are you going to do to keep motivated to sew for the boy?


If you’re wondering, the dragon is our new friend Yoki. You can find the pattern HERE.

I increased the size of the pattern by almost 50 percent. I mean… Santa did. He wanted to Santa to bring him a dragon. Despite making it abundantly clear Santa would only be bringing a pretend dragon, I was still holding my breath until he was happily cheering for his stuffed dragon.

yoki the dragonThis maybe the beginning and end of my stuffed animal career. This is no reflection on the pattern, which was clear and easy to follow. I made 8 of those little arms before I had two I deemed keepers. Tiny sewing is just not for me!

Want to know more about our boy sewing project? Check out the Sew You Had a Boy Page

{ 23 comments… add one }
  • Stella Marie January 3, 2013, 9:36 am

    Yay!!! As the mom of a little boy, I am so excited to see more boy-inspired things to sew. Just like in the stores, there’s ALWAYS such a huge selection of girl’s sewing compared to boys. Looking forward to see what you come up with 🙂

    • onceuponasewingmachine January 3, 2013, 10:32 am

      I think part of the problem you’ll never really beat is girl clothing just brings in more money! But we’re excited to challenge ourselves to find more inspiration and create more projects.

  • Amy mayen January 3, 2013, 1:44 pm

    I can’t wait to see what you come up with! I’ve always struggled with projects for my nephews. Lots of boxers, jammas, capes…but I haven’t made any actual clothing. Found you on Pinterest and following some boards now. We have a lot of similar board titles and have pinned a lot of the same projects!

    • onceuponasewingmachine January 3, 2013, 1:51 pm

      That is what I have found we do also. Accessory projects or real basic things. Time to stretch the sewing!

  • Amy mayen January 3, 2013, 1:44 pm

    PS he’s a little cutie. <3

  • Angela Tobin January 3, 2013, 2:03 pm

    I too have a 3 year old boy and agree that it is harder to sew cool clothes for him than it is for girls. I have problems finding fabric – most of the great prints are on cotton, too thin for trousers and my little man is not a big fan of buttoned shirts.

    Although I’m not a fan of pink princess dresses for girls or blue uniforms for boys there is a different challenge when sewing for boys so I look forward to this series starting!

    • onceuponasewingmachine January 3, 2013, 2:09 pm

      I really agree about fabric! I find I tend to sew a lot of blue things for my girl actually, oddly enough!

  • Amy Mayen January 3, 2013, 2:45 pm

    I was thinking the coolness factor for boy clothes is the details. I’d like to see someone do regular khaki or denim pants with a contrasting fabric inside the zipper , pockets, and inner waistband. I’m too chicken.
    I’ll have to stay very basic for Julian, he won’t wear anything he doesn’t see other kids in. So for him I’d like to try contrasting stitches or some small detail to make them look designer.

  • Cindy January 3, 2013, 3:18 pm

    And as they get older, it gets even harder! One thing I’ve found (at least with my kids) is that my son appreciates the things I sew for him more so than the girls. Maybe it’s because I don’t do it as often? And that reminds me that I owe P a dress shirt and a new pair of pants…

    I think Ottobre Design has a lot of boy patterns that are interesting versus the standard pattern company’s offerings. I personally struggle with finding fabric as my 11 year old is too old (or plain dislikes) most of the “boy” fabrics that aren’t a solid color.

    Can’t wait to see the series!

    ps I love the dragon!

    • Amy Mayen January 3, 2013, 3:37 pm

      I recently posted a whole rant about finding decent patterns for boys. I just checked out ottobre patterns…they are adorable! I saw a finished projects at Sew Liberated:
      The clothes are so cute…but tracing the patterns looks tricky!

    • onceuponasewingmachine January 3, 2013, 11:02 pm

      Thanks for the suggestion! I have heard girls are hard to sew for as they hit that preteen stage, I can’t imagine that boys are twice as difficult!

      Good boy prints are so hard, I’m going to take advantage of my less opinionated or at least more likely to change his mind toddler for now!

  • Pam January 3, 2013, 4:08 pm

    I’m with you on all counts! I even find it hard to find suitable boy fabrics. I thought it would be relatively easy to find lots of good robot fabrics a couple of weeks ago. Not so! I found one in a flannelette, which I snapped up, but NOTHING else. Looking forward to your series for boys.

    • Amy Mayen January 3, 2013, 5:33 pm

      Fabric options for boys are plain, or cheesy. Cheesy is great for jammas…but I’m with you. I never know what to make for boy baby showers either-bibs and blankets are the only things in my arsenal. I’m going to make some baby boy cargo pants with simplicity 2292-I’m trying to think of ways to make them special. Boys are tough!!!

    • onceuponasewingmachine January 3, 2013, 11:04 pm

      Wow Pam I agree I would have thought robot print would have been findable! I’m glad you were able to find something that worked. I’m learning the hard way buy it when you see it.

  • Sandra :) January 5, 2013, 8:48 am

    Good morning! I just popped over from Threading Your Way – as the g-aunt to 4 boys (and one more on the way, and only one g-niece) I’m glad to find a boy-centric blog theme 🙂 I’ve been sewing for the boys for several years – there are a LOT more ideas/patterns/fabrics available now than there were when my own (now adult) sons were little – mind you, there was no internet back then, lol. I recently bought the pattern for a rocket toss game to make for the kids, and have made them baskets, and quilts, and monster bibs, and bucket hats, and zipper bags, and a backpack (that one isn’t finished), and stuffies … I haven’t made many clothes, but will be tackling that this year – embellished hoodies, and pea coats, and ??? 🙂 I bought the pattern for a monster themed “cuddle monster nap wrap” which I’m making for Christmas gifts, and would love to also make hooded bath towels in boy designs 😀 I know there are approximately 7 bazillion more ideas for girls than for boys, but I’m loving being surrounded by these wonderful little boys, and am looking forward to finding some fun new ideas for them 😀

    • onceuponasewingmachine January 5, 2013, 9:42 am

      Hi Sandra,

      I’m sure Donna would agree the ideas for boys are much more available then they were when she was sewing for my brothers! Thank you internet. We are exctited to get back to some boy sewing. It is so easy to be routed into girl sewing with so many ideas, fabrics, and patterns out there. Look forward to you joining us for our boy sewing.

  • Jill January 6, 2013, 9:18 pm

    Love this! We would love for you to share this at our Kitchen Fun and Crafty link party!

  • lisa January 7, 2013, 7:40 am

    Thank you~ It’s almways so nice to see more sewing projects for boys. You’re right, you can’t add ruffles and little flowers to make things cute. I can’t wait to see what’s out there!

  • Lisa January 8, 2013, 4:36 pm

    I’m so excited for more ideas for my two little boys – boys patterns are so hard to find

    • onceuponasewingmachine January 8, 2013, 4:51 pm

      Agreed Lisa! I’m finding that there are a lot more European patterns that are more modern boy styles.

  • Tara February 6, 2013, 6:24 am

    Yayyyy, I’m so excited! Hopefully I will get a blog up and running soon so that I can link up too 🙂
    I’ve always been a “mixed preppy” style person for my boys and I get a lot of inspiration on the web through UK styles & fashion shows as well as Mini Boden & Neiman Marcus apps. A lot of well known designers also have fabulous children’s lines to “knock off” like Marc Jacobs & Armani to name a few. I agree there are few ‘adjustments’ that can be made to the current state of boys clothing to make them different, but I was thinking the other day that some of the limitations might be our willingness to step out of the box a little bit with society’s rules on boys wear??? Can you tell I’m just SUPER excited??

    • onceuponasewingmachine February 6, 2013, 2:13 pm

      I agree! I’ve found more European style boys clothes offer many more options, they aren’t quite as “in the box” as US boys clothes.

  • Kate December 29, 2014, 4:40 am

    It says the pattern for Yoki is no longer available… I was really hoping to make one for my friends four year old who is in love with dragons… Is there anywhere else we could get hold of it?

Leave a Comment