Hi friends! Now, let’s just get this out of the way first….. this post is about underwear. Panties, to be specific, and I am more proud of my garment than embarrassed to have my underwear posted on the internet. But don’t get your panties in a bunch (see what I did there 😉 ); there will be no modeling of said garment, just cute pictures of them sitting on the sewing table!
When I pledged to sew all my own clothes less than a year ago, I said that my exceptions would be underwear and socks. However, when lingerie took the sewing blogosphere by storm these past couple of months, I decided I wanted in. All the gorgeous garments I was seeing looked complex. So I waited. They were embellished with delicate lace, or sparkly elastic and the designs looked seemingly out of reach for a beginner-intermediate sewist like me. But, when Hart’s Fabrics offered a class on sewing panties, I jumped at the opportunity! And it turns out, sewing underwear is super fun and surprisingly easy.
The class required any basic panty pattern, and I found one for free online. I chose a hipster fit, and it ended up being a style I really like. You can find it HERE on the MakeBra website. I didn’t expect the first pair to go well, so I used scraps from my grey striped jersey dress. This ended up being an awesome decision because that organic bamboo jersey is some of the softest fabric I’ve ever bought!! Perfect for underwear. Next up were the embellishments and the elastic. Hart’s has a good selection in their store (despite my picture only showing 1.25 racks, hah).
Our teacher, Katrina, kindly said we could get her help shopping for materials before class, so she helped me pick out the appropriate embellishment lace. This also double as the elastic around the waist and leg holes. I thought that doing some decorative lace would be tricky, but it’s actually super easy. There is a good blog post on doing a lace cutout on Hart’s blog. Here’s what i came up with:
My lace was relatively narrow, so I decided it wouldn’t be worth it to cut away the fabric behind the lace. The pattern says there’s no seam allowances in the pattern because of the way the elastic is sewn. Instead of trying to build in a seam allowance at the side seams and for the lining, I just used a 3/8″ allowance and called it good (I found out this value is typical for lingerie sewing). After finishing the waist and leg holes…. ta da! I have myself a brand new pair of underwear.
And the back:The tricky part about finishing these was actually top stitching the lace down. Do you see the zig zag stitches on the waist and leg holes, and how in some places it looks thicker than others? The needle kept pushing my delicate material down into the machine, and it would get stuck. Turns out that having a smaller needle helps a ton, and a gentleman in the class gave me one of his after the 17th million time my material got stuck. Fortunately it didn’t alter the look of my garment, and no one else will see the glitches when I wear them but me! Overall, I’m very pleased with how these turned out.
There will definitely be more underwear sewing in my future. I really do mean it. I finished these in under three hours, and a large part of that was dealing with the fabric getting caught, listening to Katrina talk, and watching what creative things others dreamt up. I think these would be really easy to do factory-style if you excluded the lace overlay: just cut out the pieces to make a dozen of them, then chain sew all the pieces!
And in case you’re wondering… they fit and are very comfortable! The bamboo jersey is sooo soft. Seriously, go out and buy some because you don’t know what you’re missing! Projects like these are one of the reasons why I love sewing. Something that seems complicated and daunting didn’t end up being that at all. And after only a few hours, I have a brand new garment that’s pretty, looks good, and is comfy. I feel like there’s a life lesson in there somewhere 🙂 Have you ever avoided a project because it seemed too complex? Or went in not expecting a good result, but ending up with something stellar? This happens in my research all the time, so I should be expecting a similar scenario with sewing. It’s completely worth the risk!