The Fall issue of Stitch sought projects for men, so as a member of the male species, it seemed me duty to contribute a few—but what? Handcrafting gifts for men is a perennial challenge. You want people to ask the guy, “Hey, where’d you get that cool sweater?” instead of “[snigger snigger] Did your mom make you that lame sweater?” Earth tones and sports themes typify much of the sewing world’s attempts at “masculine,” but I tried to think what the boyfriends and husbands of the average Stitch reader would be interested in—guys who are more likely to shoot zombies in a video game than shoot deer on the first day of hunting season.
I’d been toying with the basic idea of my Gadget Messenger Bag for a while: a built-in USB hub gives a place to stow flash drives and receiver dongles, then its concealed cord plugs everything into a laptop at once. It makes the bag a little more “techy” to excite a gadget freak, and it’s a little something extra to differentiate the bag from an off-the-shelf version—if you’re going to the trouble of sewing something, I figure there should be something to take it beyond what you could just go out and buy. The USB appliqué motif on the flap is another bit of geekery.
Staying with the computer-geek theme, I designed a scarf loosely inspired by circuit boards. As with the USB flap appliqué on the bag, I limited the color pop to a single shade on a neutral background—I think most guys these days appreciate some color but don’t want to be too flashy. The couched yarn lines hint at classic pinstriping. I don’t know about other guys, but the Other and I would be fighting over the Circuit Scarf if we lived in a place where current temperatures were dipping below 75°F. Poor us, right?
I’m not much of a car guy, but I know lots of guys have near-symbiotic relationships with their cars, so I also wanted to come up with a good gift for car lovers. A look at the wad of papers in my glove compartment was all it took to inspire the Road Warrior Organizer as a place to corral registration and insurance papers along with the vehicle owner’s manual. And you can download the pattern free from the Stitch website! For the messenger bag and scarf patterns, you’ll have to check out the magazine.
On a somewhat related note, may I just say that finding hardware for these projects was the hardest part? Square rings for the bag strap were impossible to locate (I ended up using key rings from the hardware store). And I had to jury-rig a way to install the snap on the organizer since none of the fabric stores in the area carried the actual installation hardware for the type of snap they’d sold me. If you’re making any of the projects, I wish you better hardware luck!