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Embroidery for Men & Boys

by Julie Mueller
Recently I was sewing out some pillow cases with the Jacobean Duck designs on them:


This project was for a friend and stitched the project, I reflected upon the fact that there are not many projects for men and boys these days… and even less for teenage boys.  They don’t like angels and teddy bears on their shirts and they don’t want tote bags, flip flops, change purses or Kleenex box covers with, fairies, cutwork or roosters on them.

So what will interest boys and men when it comes to our embroidery addiction?

After all, it’s oh so simple to sew and embroider for baby boys and younger boys. They will love anything with snips and snails and puppy dog tails and if it uses glow in the dark thread all the better.  For little boys, dinosaurs, trucks, animals (both friendly and fierce), letters and numbers, and alien creatures will appeal to all of them.  
Teens present an ever increasing challenge both in their social skills and in gift giving to them!  Whatever was recommended for baby boys and little boys – forget about those ideas for any boy past 10 and skip right to the Men’s section!  It’s hard to spend our hard earned time and money on a gift that will never be worn simply because we were out of touch with what was wanted.  Believe me; a teenage boy will never wear a shirt embroidered with a puppy unless the puppy is a pit bull with a spiked collar! But there are some things that teens like, will really enjoy, and we as the adults around them, would approve of them having or wearing.  

Fellas want gifts that reflect their interests like sports teams, gambling, hunting, reading, computers, golf towels and cooking.  Men want gifts that show you love them and that you are in tune with them.  Men like useful items such as golf towels, bookmarks, hot pads, and oven mitts, formal monograms rather than their name in flowered lettering.  Men also generally like things to match, so be sure to make their golf towels to match the color of their golf bag or that their gym towel matches the gym bag. When selecting colors, resist hot pink, lavender, lime green and turquoise and head for plain white, navy blue, dark green and beige.

Here is a short list of 10 projects that you can make tonight that will both surprise and delight the man in your life:

  1. Custom pillow cases or bed linens
  2. Personalized bathrobe or towel set for the gym
  3. Bookmarks – with a tassel
  4. Golf ball towel with grommet and ring hook
  5. Hot pads and dish towels that match (that’s 2)
  6. Hats (with your hat hoop, if you have one)
  7. Lace Bible cross – that’s the only time lace is permitted with men
  8. T-shirt with grandchildren’s names and stick figures
  9. Microwaveable heat neck band
  10. Wine bottle holder (with the wine, of course)

Here are some design suggestions that men and older boys & teens might like:

Monogrammed anything (bathrobes, towels etc) there are lots of nice monogram type fonts available and even some software to help you make your own monogram design.

Teens like designs that look like tattoos, skulls, tribal art; try them on t-shirts or sweatshirts. You may not like the designs yourself, but I assure you your young person will love them!

Your biker buddies will like flame designs, skulls and tribal art. Decorate appropriately with heat set jewel stones as just one example (red stones for skull eyes? Why  not?).

Remember the Jacobean ducks I mentioned? Those were a big hit with my friend. And now that’s got me thinking how nice those ducks could look in a row on a shower curtain for a men’s or boy’s bathroom.

Sports team style designs – Just be sure not to violate any copyright laws; there are designs available that one could make work well in such themes to accommodate your guy’s favorite sport. Make a matching pillow or polar fleece throw for the couch, which can always be stored away when your fella is done watching the game. You may know some gals who enjoy sports as well, don’t forget them in such projects too.

In short, match their interest to the theme.  Do they like to bar-b-que? Golf? Cook? Game?  

More Suggestions: For the cooks in your life, consider designs such as coffee cups, pigs, cows, food, chefs or chef hats, winery themes or grapes.

For the gamers in your life consider designs such as: cards, spades, hearts, diamonds, clubs, playing card faces, and slot machines, dice, billiard balls, etc.

How about hunters? For them there are: game animals, camouflage, trees, pine cones, guns and dogs, as just a few examples which could all be appropriately sewn onto hunting jackets, jump suits or thermal under shirts.  

Readers or computer type fellas will likely enjoy designs such as books, microchip,and perhaps even some fantasy themes like outer space or techy type themes .

In fact, many men don’t get many gifts for ‘no reason’ at all.  So, next time you’re browsing through your design library, consider surprising the guy in your life with a custom made embroidered gift, whether he’s two feet or six feet tall ‘just because’.

Important Note: Remember ‘Safety First’! When it comes to small kids, avoid having things that dangle which could present a chocking hazard or get tangled in a way that could hang them thus causing strangulation (yes, it’s an unpleasant picture, but it does bear mentioning, we cannot be too careful with our young ones) and also remember NOT to put children’s names on their clothing, outerwear, lunchbags or boxes, backpacks, etc. where such will be easily visible by strangers since these can present a danger in some environments. Such practices make it all too easy for a stranger to strike up  a conversation with your child.

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5 Responses to Embroidery for Men & Boys

  1. gina button says:

    Thank you for your great ideas! I didn’t give to much thought to the teens and men in my life, how selfish I am. Thank you again!

  2. Carol Tiffany says:

    It is great to see more suggestion for teens. It is so hard for them to fit between all of us. This last winter I bought camoplague sweatshirts and put a
    4-wheel design on the front and filled the pockets with wrapped candy. They loved the whole idea. I love doing anything I can for that age group.

  3. Alice says:

    As the mother of 3 sons, three grandsons, and only one DIL, I really appreciate your list for men and boys.

  4. Nancy says:

    I also very much appreciate your ideas for men and boys. As a wife, mother of 3 sons and grandmother of 7 grandsons (#1 is almost 9 and #7 is due in July), it’s been difficult throughout the years to find patterns, fabric and embroidery for the boys in our lives. Thank you 11 times over!

  5. Heather Lee says:

    Hello: I do alot of dragon designs as they have turned out to be a big hit with the guys of all ages. Use different types of thread, such as your metalics for extra POP any you will find the teens and men love them! I started them for my grandson and now have had to move up to Dad and Uncle. Keep up the good work and enjoy!

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