If you thought moms are the crafty lot with a stack of magical DIY skills up their sleeve, think again: dads too know how to make cool stuff other than shelves, birdhouses, and paper planes. News about dads who are not averse to knitting and sewing (looking at you, David Beckham) are going viral on social media these days, and everyone is loving them. Not sure whether, why, and how to jump on the DIY tailor dad bandwagon? Here are a few useful cues to nudge you in the right direction.
Needlework knows no gender – or does it?
Guys often shun sewing and knitting because needlecraft projects carried a gender-exclusive feminine label throughout history. Fortunately, the social perception of needlework has shifted in the last decade, and the credits for it go to fashion design greats such as Yves Saint Laurent, Calvin Klein, Jean Paul Gaultier, Christian Dior, Giorgio Armani, Roberto Cavalli, Tommy Hilfiger, and Ralph Lauren. Who would have thought that men (many of them straight, just for the record) know fashion better than ladies, right? Yet the tacit public consensus is there, and for the common good: men do know fashion, and daddies need not be afraid that they would come across as slightly queer (pun intended) if they decide to go crafty with needless, textiles, string, and yarn.
Fashion design: More than meets the eye
The list of needlecraft benefits is so compelling it is a small wonder more dads are not already at it. Here are just a few gains of needlework for artsy daddies (and male cousins, for that matter).
Needlecraft is an extremely relaxing hobby, and various studies have shown that it can help combat depression, anxiety, stress, memory problems, and cognitive glitches.
• Knitting, embroidery, quilting, and sewing are creative all-family projects which can help forge deeper bonds between dads and their daughters.
• Needlework is a cost-efficient way to repurpose and design unique eco-friendly getups for your kids (and even yourself, once you get the knack of it).
• Sewing encourages creative thinking, and it makes a great addition to an average Joe’s survival skill set – as a DIY tailor, you can turn your handicraft into a marketable hobby.
Convinced yet? Then it is time to go hunting for yarn, fabrics, and other needlecraft essentials!
The needlecraft essentials: It starts with a single step
As a needlecraft newbie, you will need a stack of textiles or old clothes to practice on, a sewing machine (this one is a real timesaver), a handful of basic sewing and knitting patterns (you can find tons of those online), and a bit of spare time. You can also expand your needlework toolbox with a pair of knitting needles, a few balls of woolen or cotton yarn, and a couple of wooden yarn bowls if you want to spice up your creations with cool knitted trims or make shawls and mittens to keep out the common cold on glum winter days.
As a general rule, you should start with the simplest stitches and basic sewing tasks. Once you learn a few different stitches, you can gradually work your way to more demanding projects such as sewing shirts, knitting jumpers, and full suit tailoring. For a cool project you can try as a needlecraft beginner, try making a DIY tie: it takes under an hour, but your self-made fashionista satisfaction is guaranteed.
Sewing is an extremely valuable skill which every dad should have up their sleeve, and for more reasons than one (every mom can tell you, dads who sew are very sexy). You never know when you little angel may come home with a few loose buttons or torn trousers – and if your daughter is a model of good behavior and never rips a seam in the playground, you can reward her for her fine manners by making a one-of-a-kind dress for her – or her dolly.
Zoe Clark is a mom of one baby girl and one miniature schnauzer. She is a visual storyteller and aesthetician by heart who often writes about decorating and DIY ideas. She loves sparking creativity in people and giving them ideas for their own projects.