I have a massive drawer full of underwear and wear maybe 10 per cent of them. I buy panties so infrequently (don’t judge) that companies change their patterns before I can bulk buy the undies I have figured out I like.
In my last batch of underwear, I discovered the most comfortable pair of briefs I’ve ever owned. They have no elastic, which is a huge plus for me as I find that waistbands and legbands (?) squeeze and are never comfortable. This one magical pair was a basic boy-cut style with unfinished edges – they stayed in place, caused no visible lines and looked ridiculously simple to copy. If you’ve got your own pair of favourite, unicorn underwear read on to learn how to replicate them.
Make sure that your fabric has the right amount of stretch. My favourite pairs are made of “athletic knit” cotton and have about 30 per cent stretch. (You can check by holding your fabric up to a ruler, grabbing the fabric at the 10-inch line and stretching it. If it stretches comfortably to 13 inches, that’s 30 per cent stretch). Compare the amount of stretch to your existing undies. I made a pair out of a lighter jersey with about 50 per cent stretch, so I made the pattern about a half inch smaller around the waist to ensure they didn’t slide off.
First, say goodbye to those favourite undies before you slice and dice them. Next, carefully cut along any seam. If you spot any seams that are purely for decoration (or side seams -they’re kind of redundant), you can skip them. You want your pattern to be the easiest, fastest make ever. I basically cut down the butt seam and cut out the liner.
Fold your cut-up briefs in half and lay them out on pattern paper. Trace around the shape of your pattern, adding a 1/4 inch seam allowance along any seam lines. If you decide you’re going to finish the edges by folding them under and sewing or adding a band (or elastic), add the appropriate amount of allowance. This is totally optional as knits don’t fray. As I said earlier, I prefer these raw edges as they don’t pinch and add no visible bulk under your yoga pants.
Mark a line across the crotch where the liner will extend up to. Trace this little part on a second piece of pattern paper. Don’t forget to mark the fold on both pattern pieces. If you have lots of little scraps, but none long enough to make a full brief, add a seam around the narrowest part. Don’t forget to add 1/4 inch seam allowances!
Now, we get to sew. You can serge or do a zig zag stitch. You want to keep bulk to a minimum, so I reccomend serging with only 3 needles if you have the option. Choose the needle that gives you the narrowest stitching on your serger. If you wish, finish the shorter edge of your liner.
Next, sew the butt seam of your undies, right sides together.
Now, pin the liner and the front and back crotch pieces together. You want the front and back crotch pieces right sides together, then the liner goes on top, with its right side touching the wrong side of the butt. The butt seam will be sandwiched between the crotch and the liner.
This part is the trickiest, but also the last step, so take heart!
Pin the sides of the crotch and liner together, making sure the butt does not get caught. I found it easiest to pin and sew one side and then move to the second side.
Once you’ve sewn both sides, tuck in your tails if you’ve serged or, if you zig zagged, trim any excess fabric. You want the smallest amount possible of bulk as this seam will be on your bum and you don’t want it to show through your leggings.
Turn right side out, tuck in any tails and voila! You have a new, handmade pair of your fave underwear ever.
Now, go batch sew a million using any scrap of cotton knit you’ve got! Beginning to end, making a week’s-worth of panties took maybe two hours total.