Crafty by Nature

Crafty by Nature

How to Make Your Own Underwear

comments (30) May 19th, 2009     

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CalPatch cal patch, contributor
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Homemade undies for all!
Lay the underwear on top of the shirt to use as a pattern reference.
You may have to work in sections if the whole front wont lie flat at once.
Homemade undies for all!

Homemade undies for all!

Photo: Cal Patch

Over the last three or four years, I have been slowly converting my wardrobe to entirely self-made clothing. When I originally undertook this somewhat ambitious endeavor, I assumed there would always be a few categories that would remain exceptions to my "rule," like, for example, jeans, coats, and underwear. But little by little I am coming around to the idea that no garment should be excluded from my quest. I've tackled jeans (well, OK, they're corduroys), it's not the right season for coats, but underthings seemed like the next challenge whose time had come. So I grabbed a pair that fits well, an old partial T, and some quarter-inch elastic, and here's what I did:

1. Cut out the pieces. Fold your underwear in half along the center front, carefully lining up the side seams and leg openings. Lay it on top of the folded T-shirt, aligning the folds.


Lay the underwear on top of the shirt to use as a pattern reference.

Try to get the whole front piece to lie flat, but you may only be able to work with one section at a time. Cut around the edges, adding 1/4-inch seam allowance as you go. Only cut around the parts that lie flat, then flatten the rest and finish cutting.


You may have to work in sections if the whole front won't lie flat at once.

Repeat for the back.


Here are my cut-out front and back pieces. Note that I had to piece together the shirt to get a big enough piece for the back because I was using scraps.

Lay the cut-out front piece on another folded scrap of shirt and cut around the crotch area as shown, for the separate crotch panel found in most undies.


Use the front to cut out the panel piece.

 

2. Sew the seams. With right sides together and the front piece on the bottom, line up the back and front along the crotch seam. Lay the panel piece on top, face down.


Stack the three pieces together to sew the crotch seam. The front will be on the bottom (face up), the back in the middle (face down), and the panel on top (face down).

Seam all three layers together at 1/4 inch. Flip the panel up so it lies against the front and the seam is enclosed inside, and pin it in place along the leg opening edges. (The front edge of the panel usually remains unseamed, but you can stitch it down now if you want. I used the hem of the T-shirt for this edge so it was already finished, but you could hem or serge it, or leave it raw.) Now put the front and back together, with right sides facing, and pin and sew the side seams.


The pieces are all assembled.

 

Turn the underwear right-side out.

3. Sew the elastic edges. Starting at one side seam, lay an end of elastic on the right side (seems wrong I know, but trust me here!) edge of the waistline, matching the edge of the elastic to the waist edge. Begin stitching (I used a three-step zigzag, but a regular zigzag works, too), stretching the elastic ever so slightly as you go.


First, zigzag the elastic to the right side of the waist edge.

You don't want it to gather the edge, but you do want a snug fit. Work around the entire waistline, overlapping the elastic 1/2 inch where you began, and cut off the excess. Be sure to backstitch securely.


This is how it will look from the wrong side after the first elastic seam.

Then flip the elastic down onto the wrong side (inside) of the pants and stitch again, this time working from the wrong side (elastic side up).


After turning the elastic to the inside, zigzag again with the elastic facing up.

Repeat the process for each of the leg openings, enclosing the panel into the seams as you go.


Here are both sides (in and out) of the finished elastic edge.

 

And they're done! Once you've got it down, experiment with decorative or fold-over elastics, appliqués and trims, or play with old concert or logo T's for fun graphics...

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Check out my upcoming book, Design-It-Yourself Clothes: Patternmaking Simplified, due out in September 2009 from Potter Craft! You can also keep up with me at my blog http://hodgepodgefarm.net and etsy shop http://www.hodgepodgefarm.etsy.com.

posted in: sewstylish feature, underwear

Comments (30)

nasrilee writes: useful information
Posted: 8:24 am on October 7th
4mythreads writes: You can use any new, type/size DISPOSABLE vacuum bag. For larger size undies, use larger bags. I buy them from a local thrift store. They're usually packaged in lots, from 3-6 bags
(ea. single/vacuum bag holds about 3-6 bags) ranging from large canister to small stick bags. Use the bags for other projects too!
Posted: 2:58 pm on July 12th
4mythreads writes: I've made my underwear from soft fabrics/knits/etc. When you sew your own, you can fit elastic comfortably so it doesn't cut into your skin like the store-bought do.
I use vacuum cleaner bags for panty patterns. The cloth-like paper is strong, won't tear easily/lasts forever! Just cut the top/bottom (folded "hems")off. Rip/cut off the cardboard collar. Cut off the glued parts/flatten out the bag. Remove any uneven edges. Should be enough for Front/Back/Crotch pieces. If not repeat with another bag. If you have to peice just join with clear tape. To store, fold pieces together, put in ziploc bag, write a name/pattern design # on the front! :)

Posted: 2:45 pm on July 12th
fairysale writes: you so made my day!!! I was close to bringing tons and tons of kids shirts to charity. Well, I still will bring them there, but I will keep a few and get new hotties :-)
Posted: 2:53 pm on July 2nd
SewUNeek writes: Awesome tutorial. Been wanting to do this but seeing it makes it seem possible Thanks
Posted: 5:02 pm on June 30th
ustabahippie writes: I love the idea of using nice soft old cotton t-shirts for this. My one suggestion would be to use a well-fitting pair of worn-out undies. Then you can cut the elastic off the edges and use the smoothed out panties as a pattern, or trace it on paper and add seam allowances.
Going to look for my old t-shirts right now.
Posted: 8:19 pm on June 29th
Tess1960 writes: what a wonderful idea.....
Posted: 6:46 pm on June 29th
sewmuchfabric writes: If you hate pants that ride up in back stretch the elastic as you sew half way up the back piece. this will make them cup under


Posted: 3:43 pm on June 29th
bmck97004 writes: A nice tutorial - my only suggestion would be instead of cutting your new garment directly from the old one, take a few extra minutes to make a pattern from the old garment. The you can use your pattern to make as many new garments as you wish with no hassle!
Posted: 3:12 pm on June 29th
evaggelos writes: I can't wait to start this project. I think it will be a lot of fun and very challenging for me. Great idea.
Posted: 8:19 pm on January 16th
whiteheather writes: I would loveto be able to make all my own clothes etc, i am going to give the underwear a try , looks like fun, what else does a girk do with a weeks holiday, apart from all the half finished projects in my craft room ( or do i mean junk room)!!!
Posted: 9:28 am on January 15th
creepermitten5252 writes: hi i have two daughters is your underware for purchase??
Posted: 1:26 pm on November 28th
Barefoot_Liz writes: I'd LOVE to make my own! Now if only I had a sewing machine.
Posted: 1:57 pm on October 8th
JasonLovesPanties writes: Homemade panties??? Sign me up! When I was a wee lad, I could never find the right pair of panties to suffice. My mother made my panties homemade from the time I was 6 to the ripe old age of 54. My daughters, against their wishes, had their panties made from scratch as well. My son's panties were also homemade. He gets beat up quite a bit at school. Poor fella.
Posted: 6:05 pm on February 16th
LauraCruz writes: Love this tut! I made one yesterday for the first time and I love it! If you ever get to make a bra, I'd love to see a tutorial from you as well! :)
Posted: 3:24 pm on January 14th
berkley123 writes: these panties are soooooo cute and hot i wonder if my daughters would like these there names are rosie 3 months old tina 16 years old lilly is also 16 tina and lilly are twins and i am going to have a boy if he has brown hair we are naming him charlie if he has blonde hair we will name him avery and if he has black hair we will name him jayden!!!! i wonder if i could make some blue boxers for him?!!!! cuz these are soooo cute oops i have to go pick up lilly and tina from there friends house now.
Posted: 10:37 am on January 9th
sewinl0ve writes: I've been making my own undies too! So glad someone put a tutorial on here to show others how easy it is! I had this great pair of boyshorts from Victoria's Secret and I loved the design and the fit was perfect, but couldn't find other colors I liked... So I found a similar poly-spandex fabric on sale and bought some cute colors. It doesn't take a whole lot of fabric and you can get several pairs from one yard. I used a technique kind of like this to copy the pattern of my fave panties onto heavy paper so it would lay flat as I pinned it to the delicate fabric. The pattern I made was only one piece and has a scalloped edge to prevent fraying at the unfinished edge which looks super cute! Clear elastic is great for keeping the shape of the inside seams in panties - if you have a serger you can serge the elastic right into the seams. You can also find decorative elastic specifically made for the edge of panties. Just an extra tip: It's important to lay your pattern on the grain line or the panties will get warped, not to mention it's a pain to sew fabric when it's been cut off the grain.
Posted: 9:45 am on September 23rd
LastChance writes: Great idea, and great photos!

Now I know what to do with all of my dad's old soft white t-shirts. They'll make great panties for me, since I only buy my larger size when I can find them. My husband wears colored pocketed T-shirts, and has alot of them in the rag bag. He's worn out the neck, or a spark from work burned a small hole. I might try to use them to make his colored underwear/briefs. He is a small man and it's hard to find his size. Thanks for the instructions.
P.S. I'm also saving jeans to make purses and tote bags, eventually.
Posted: 11:32 pm on August 26th
BzeGirl writes: Great idea... this is definitely worth a try.
Posted: 1:17 pm on July 16th
KathyKathyKathy writes: i never thought i could make one like this! fun =]
Posted: 11:32 pm on June 18th
sissym writes: THIS IS SO FASCINATING. WOW!!
UM..LIKE..DONT TELL ANYONE...SHHHHH...MUMS THE WORD...BUT I DONT WEAR UNDIES. BUT.... THESE ARE SO CUTE AND I THINK THEYD BE COMFY. MAKES ME WANNA TRY THESE ON... THANKS FOR SHARING THIS... ID LIKE TO LKEARN MORE ABOUT MAKING UNDIES...
Posted: 8:34 am on June 18th
Jen1964 writes: Grandma used to use existing clothes (seams ripped out) as patterns for new. Makes sense.
Mom tried making the homemade underwear back in the '70's. I'm telling you gently that the quality of the elastic is EVERYTHING. It's improved since then.
Is there a brand you find best?
For slacks, Mom used scavenged elastic from the guys' worn-out ftl briefs. It was encased, so no one knew, and it was the softest stuff she could find. What couldn't be made into something else had a reserved place in the "rag bag" for dust cloths. Makes the best, as a matter of fact.
Posted: 2:35 pm on June 15th
myrtasews writes: What a great idea! Since I only shop for undies every five years(having gained weight and changed shape), I find that I don't know what size I presently wear. This puts me in a 'trial and error' nightmare. The rest of the story is heartbreaking. With this idea I should beat the 'wrap'.

Posted: 4:21 pm on June 2nd
luscher writes: and all this time i've been doing it backwards : making hats out of underwear !

this is clearly a great idea, and is so well illustrated that even a novice like me can try - thanks for the detailed photos (learning to sew has been a challenge largely due to the lack of clear images)


Posted: 6:49 pm on May 23rd
cucicucicoo writes: I'd heard of making t-shirt undies and am really glad to have this to go by to make mine! Thanks!
Posted: 5:47 pm on May 22nd
DamarisA writes: This is too cute!!! The possibilities are endless and exciting.
Posted: 9:11 am on May 22nd
Sweet_Dee writes: T-Shirt Undies! What can be cuter than this! LOL! Imagine the possiblities!
Posted: 2:43 am on May 21st
clux64 writes: This is FABULOUS...my 10YO daughter is extremely picky about undies and will only wear a handful that she feels are comfortable. If I could copy them using this technique--wow! Plus it will keep my on pledge with wardrobe refashion...even better!
Posted: 11:15 pm on May 20th
mommaviv writes: How fun... I can see this as a great girls night out activity. Some snacks, some drinks and some old t-shirts. woo-hoo!
Posted: 11:52 pm on May 19th
Menna writes: it's a good idea to make my own
Posted: 6:35 pm on May 19th
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