Editor’s Note: Meghann Halfmoon of Halfmoon Atelier taught a workshop at our last Craftcation: Business & Makers Conference based on the tutorial and her pattern below. She taught three sold out sessions of her underpants workshop and attendees fell hard for this simple and useful sewing project. Our friends at Spoonflower sponsored the fabric for the workshops and students got to choose or even design their own patterns for their fabric to create truly custom underpants! Meghann was sweet enough to share this project on the blog so you can get started sewing your own one-of-a-kind underpants! One of my favorite parts about this pattern, is the size inclusivity – It was drafted for a full hip measurement between 333/4” – 67″ making it one of the most size inclusive underpants pattern available on the market! Thanks Meghann! -Nicole S.
Sewing underpants is often seen as a “scary” thing to do. But it’s much easier than it appears and is crazy satisfying! It’s also a fabulous way to use up scraps of stretch jersey fabric, or to repurpose your old favorite t-shirt whose armpits are – let’s face it – beyond the point of no return.
WHAT TO GET:
- Approx. ½ yard of cotton stretch jersey fabric
- 2 to 3 yards of elastic (exact amount depends on your measurements) Before you buy your elastic, check out this post I wrote about choosing the perfect elastic for your handmade underwear.
- Coordinating thread
- Underpants pattern, or ready-to-wear underpants to copy
If you are copying ready-to-wear underpants, don’t forget to add about 1cm (3/8”) around all the edges to account for seam allowance.
WHAT TO DO:
Step 1: trace your pattern and cut your fabric. Be sure to make notches or markings where the pieces should meet up. You’ll need:
- 1 front panty piece
- 1 back panty piece
- 2 crotch pieces (1 outer, 1 lining)
One of the crotch pieces is the crotch lining. Your underpants will fit best if you use fabric with a bit of stretch (5% to 10% elastane or spandex). But, you may want to use a 100% cotton knit for the crotch lining piece.
Step 2: Sandwich the lower edge of the back panty piece with the 2 crotch pieces and stretch stitch. Be sure the outer crotch and back panty are right sides together. The right side of the crotch lining is touching the wrong side of the back panty. (Note that, in the illustrations, turquoise is the “wrong side” and white is the “right side” of the fabric.)
Step 3: Lay the back panty + crotch in front of you so the right side of the back panty is facing up. Then lay the front panty right side down, lining up the edge where the front panty meets the outer crotch, and pin. Slowly and gently roll the back panty up until you can wrap the panty lining around. This is called the burrito method! Pin and stretch stitch the front panty to the crotch.
Step 4: Unfold your underpants and admire your hidden seams! Then, with right sides of fabric touching, stretch stitch the front panty to back panty at the sides.
You’ve now got your base panty and you’re ready to attach elastic!
Step 5: When cutting elastic, a good rule of thumb is to use 10% less than the measurement of the opening. So, if you measure the waist opening of your base underpants (when it’s laying on the table, not when you’re wearing it), and it measures, say, 32”, you’ll want to reduce that by about 3¼ “… and then add some seam allowance back to it. I’m working with picot elastic here, but this is a general rule for all elastics. Of course, personal preference and comfort should be taken into consideration too!
Step 6: I like to sew the short ends of my elastic together first, then mark the quarters and attach it to my underpants. I also like to stitch the elastic to my underpants twice – one pass to attach, one pass to finish – which results in a nicer finish (in my humble opinion) as well as added security against popped stitches.
With picot, you’ll align the elastic so that the right side of the elastic is touching the right side of the fabric, and the decorative edge is pointing toward the panty. Stitch around using a zig-zag stitch (1.5mm length, 3mm width) as close to the decorative edge as possible.
Step 7: Trim the seam allowance – but not the elastic! – as close as possible to the stitch you just set in step 6. Fold the elastic toward the inside of the panty and top stitch, using a 3-step zig-zag, closer to the straight edge of the elastic.
Repeat steps 5, 6 and 7 for the legs, and you’ve got yourself a fabulous new pair of underpants!!