mensew

One mans adventures in sewing…

About Buster

So when I was a baby, I was so fat I looked like I would explode. My family nicknamed me Buster. I wasn’t fat for long, and by the time I went to school, the nickname started to slide. Now, only a few friends call me Buster. I don’t encourage it, but I like it. 

I moved to London in 1988 aged 16 to attend full time theatre school and after, was a professional dancer for six years. I worked in the west end and abroad. 

In 1994 I met my partner (now husband) and a couple of years later I gave up dancing, went back to college and I studied and qualified as a hairdresser. I’ve worked in a central London salon for 20 years and am now a ‘senior-master-stylist’!

In 2012 I went part time at work, a four day week. This gave me more time to spend on my interests. The Great British Sewing Bee started the same year, and got me thinking… But it was 2014 before I mustered up the nerve to get in front of my mums old Singer 99K. 

I started making bags & wallets. Practising zip insertions & getting my head around making everything inside-out. Then I moved onto clothing with waistcoats, shirts, boxers and trousers. About a year in I splashed out on a Janome DKS30. The orange one; my favourite colour! And I love how the interface looks like a 1980’s calculator! 

The investment in my new machine (& it’s extra tricks!) encouraged me to branch out to try stretch fabrics, t shirts & underwear. This also gave me the confidence to try new & more challenging projects. 

A few (more!) ‘me-me-me’ facts:

  • I teach two adult tap dancing classes a week. General and intermediate level. And I love it!
  • I learnt (the basics of) wiring and plumbing and even built my own kitchen!
  • I am qualified to teach and assess NVQ hairdressing. 
  • I was a magicians assistant. 
  • I have studied British Sign Language (to level 2) and used to run a monthly BSL conversation group in central London (I could currently use some serious brushing-up!).
  • I have sung Copa Cabana (lead vocal, one verse) with Barry Manilow on piano & backing vocals!
  • I really enjoy carpentry, especially if it’s coming up with storage solutions in our tiny one bedroom flat. 
  • When MrA & I got married, I made our waistcoats and used Hermes scarves to make the backs. 
  • I’ve been to Glastonbury Festival five times (one year we took my mum along!)
  • I LOVE sewing!

Blogs and YouTube have taught me to sew. And I am lucky to have a good (& patient) & ‘sew’ knowledgeable (see what I did there…?) friend in ‘LadyP’, who mentored me through my first ever garment, a waistcoat. She also brings me gifts of fabric and never (noticibly) tires of my incessant musings on all things stitch related!

I’ve read so many blogs and tutorials, and continue to learn so much from them. One thing I noticed quite quickly was the scarcity of information about sewing menswear. Not scarcity as such, but way-less than the info on sewing womenswear, so I decided there was room for my voice too. 

In 2014 I started my Twitter feed @BusterSew and the hashtag #mensewtoo. In 2015 I switched to #mensew as I felt it represented not only men-sewing but also sewing-for-men. Not to mention I often needed the three extra characters on my tweets! That was the year I made my first jacket and was moved to start this blog. I really enjoy the outlet it gives me to witter on incessantly about sewing. I’m not professing to be any expert, far from it! I’m just writing about the things I’m learning, and I’d like to encourage thoughts, comments and suggestions from anyone who takes the time to read any of this! 

Now that my wardrobe is almost 100% me-made (excluding shoes, big winter coat & socks ~ but I’ve got my Mum working on that!) I’ve been able to spend time making bigger projects for my friends and family. More recently I’ve been making a mixture of womenswear and menswear. I’m enjoying learning about the range of fabrics available for dressmaking, and the techniques involved in putting women’s clothes together as they differ so much from men’s clothes. There’s so much to learn, and I hope I can keep on learning and improving. 

Thanks for reading,

Happy sewing!