I took one look at my husband of 6 ¾ years, sitting on our coach, and realized I wasn’t going to make it through quarantine looking at his ill fitting tee shirt. Did I love him? Yes. Did I love these shirts he wore as his stay-at-home uniform? That’s an unequivocal no.
The good news is I loved him enough to try and get a better fit. My husband is workout aficionado. Someone who truly thinks of exercise as fun and his hobby. When he was nine, he started doing curls with his dad. By 12, he was on to full weight workouts. Exercise has saved his sanity during this pandemic and made the way his clothes fit aggressively painful for his maker wife.
I figured male bodies must be easier to fit than women’s bodies, right? Fewer bumps and less shaping? Right? Oh, how very wrong I was.
Using my first muslin of Jalie 2918, I saw the initial fit areas to tackle were his broad, rounded back, and defined lats. These three areas played into how the shirt fit across his chest, biceps and neck.
To address this, I did a few things with suggestions and encouragement from folks on Instagram. Here are the changes I made to accommodate his chest:
- Rounded back alteration
- Narrow back waist
- Widen bicep
- Widen neck
- Broad chest adjustment
After THREE muslins (I have only muslined this much for my dog), we were close to winner:
Voila! It’s not perfect. I think I err close to overfitting. But it’s far better than the ready-to-wear garments we started with.
When I first started this project, I made all kinds of assumptions about fitting my husband. What I learned is that YES: muscular masculine bodies have their challenges. Their chests also benefit from fit tweaks. And most importantly, it’s all connected. The back, the shoulder slope, the neck width, neckline depth… all of it impacts the final product and how it fits the chest.
I’ve actually scrapped my modified commercial pattern and next time will try drafting from scratch for him (using software, not my math skills). If they’ll have me back, I will update you here on Sewcialists.
Renee Samuels sews, teaches, and writes about sewing from Baltimore, Maryland, USA. She blogs projects at MissCeliesPants.com and posts more regularly at @MissCeliesPants. She does not have a pattern for Miss Celie’s Folk Pants.
The fit is exponentially better. Bravo!
I loved that post! Thank you so much for sharing. My Mister was a competitive swimmer in his teens then a bricklayer/ general builder for 30 years and that has had a marked effect on his posture and body shape (as has the “lockdown stone”!). He has asked that when I’m ready would I make him something and as I’m fascinated by tailoring I’ve said yes. It wasn’t till I read this I realised his posture and shape are fit issues, the same as those of us with feminine bodies. I just thought you got out the tape and bam! Ready to go with the pattern. A very enlightening post. Bookmarked!
Oh, yes. Lockdown Stone. I am familiar 😄. I honestly just figured I’d cut him a straight size and it would be fine. I couldn’t believe how wrong I was.
Certainly an improvement! Are there particular fabrics more suited to fitting the muscular masculine body? (100% cotton knit? cotton and spandex? poly/cotton blend? tri-blend cotton/poly/rayon?)
Oh! That’s a good question. I would say the thicker poly wicking fabric was more forgiving than the lightweight wicking. I do have some plain cotton knits I purchased recently to try a new draft for him with.
Much better! Men are just used to bad fit I think, and it doesn’t even occur to them it could be improved. Nobody goes out thinking “today I’m going to buy pants that give me plumber’s butt”. As long as comfort isn’t grossly impaired, it’s like fit is a natural disaster they must just endure.
I too have been looking at day-into-night pj’s much more critically.. Your remaining upper back wrinkles kind of say shoulder slope to me? But I second beefier knits giving better results in general, as tested on my own self.
You’re doing amazing here! I’ve tried to make my husband T-shirts a couple of times and always thrown my hands up in frustration as they’re never QUITE right. 👏 👏 👏
Thanks for sharing I’ve always wanted to try the male t shirt fitting but don’t have anyone who would be willing to go through the multiple fittings lol 😂 love the slider comparison
Yay! It’s looking good and you’re right, better than RTW.
I want to sew for my husband but am not looking forward to the fitting. Narrow, rounded shoulders, his 40+ belly :-p, disproportionately long arms with disproportionately slim forearms and wrists. And that’s just LOOKING! Who knows once I try to fit a pattern. bleh. LOL!
I remember a family member asking me to make her a dress and that she’s “thin so it should be easy”. hahahahahahaha Sewing for my 5’7″, 125 lb daughter taught me real quick that none of that matters. All that matters is the body as it compares to the pattern!
Nopity, nope, nope! 😄 I used to think I’d make my husband a fitted dress shirt and I know that is just never going to happen. I did once sew for a slim friend and realized it didn’t make a difference 😄
Yes! My dude is also a work-out fanatic & is built like a brick shithouse. On top of being really tall. His arms, legs, & torso are all unusually long. I am DYING to make clothes for him because it would be such a fun challenge. He just steals his son’s tees when his son is tired of them, cuts off the neck & sleeves, & calls it done. But having no proper shirts & almost no body fat means he is freezing when the temperature is below 70. So far he has not let me sew for him but I’m gonna keep working on it…
If you draft something won’t you be back at step 1. Having to fit toiles again? I love the fit of the final one, at the before and after slider. And he looks so happy! The difference in fit is amazing! Well done. You could run of half a dozen using this pattern. Only thing is, different fabric still seems to need a quick fit to check the side seams fit is still ok. You’ve done so well with this tee. Well done! Love it!