A few weeks ago I stumbled upon this awesome panty-sewing tutorial over at verypurpleperson, and I decided that sewing underwear was something that I had to try like right now. So I gathered up some jersey from the depths of my sewing bin, purchased various types of elastic and some ball-point needles, and hunkered down for a Friday night panty-sewing party. Umm, it did not go well. Above you can see the fruits of my labor: two of the most ugly, ill-fitting, and grandma-like panties ever. Why did I think this would be a piece of cake? EPIC PANTY FAIL!
Instead of buying new jersey for such a perilous endeavor as sewing underwear, I turned this old bamboo jersey dress that I had made last summer into scrap fabric for my insane panty escapade. This was my first (and only) serger project, and although I was proud of myself for completing it, I was never quite happy with the fit. I never wore it outside of my apartment, so I figured the fabric would be better used as something else!
Yeah. It didn’t quite come out as expected! I suspect it’s 100% user error, as this was my very first attempt EVER at attaching elastic to anything. It was pretty hilarious to watch myself do this, as I clearly had no idea what I was doing. : ) I deviated from the pattern in quite a few areas: using jersey instead of a woven, attaching the elastic on the inside instead of the outside, and generally being a clueless noob. The fact that the elastic doesn’t match the fabric isn’t helping either. Also, why did the crotch area come out so much more narrow than in the pattern photos? My bits and pieces aren’t quite that narrow!
I learned many things about elastic from this project. Most importantly, all elastic is not equal, and you have to use the right elastic for the job. The elastic I used here is 3/8″ flat elastic, and I think a picot lingerie elastic or fold-over elastic would have worked out much better. The amount of stretch, however, was pretty good.
To make the waistband and leg openings, I first folded over the edge of the fabric and zig-zagged it down, and then I attached the elastic on the wrong side with another zig zag. The area in the photo above is not bad, considering how awful the rest of the panty is. However, this method made absolutely no sense, and I have no idea why I did it this way, even though this is how the pattern instructions are laid out. For a WOVEN. Hello?? Clearly this was not going to work!
When I tried on the panties, they looked like a hot mess. (Sorry, no photos of me modeling them – I’m not that brave!) Then I made a pair of hipster panties (see below) and decided that the sweet Amerson wasn’t so bad after all. The hipsters were so. much. worse.
Panty attempt #2: I tried this free hipster panty pattern from makeBra, thinking that they were pretty different from the Amerson, and how bad could they possibly be? Hahahahaha. Again, I think my disaster was 100% user error, as the panties in the photo actually look very cute. Are you ready to see my heinous creation?
Avert your eyes!! This has to be the absolute ugliest, most ill-fitting, most uncomfortable, and most FRUMPY pair of undies I have ever seen in my entire life. These remind me of some horrible underwear that I had as a kid, before I knew that I could pick out my own undies and actually wear something flattering and comfortable.
I think the worst error I made here was using the wrong type of elastic. This is 1/2″ braided elastic that I picked up at Michaels (man, why do I ever buy anything from that store?), and it is not very stretchy at all. At all. The waist and leg openings threaten to cut off my circulation after wearing them for only a minute or two, and the 1/2″ thickness is just too wide to be flattering. The texture is heavy too. Overall, just not a good fit for panties at all.
I cut the elastic about 20% shorter than the openings, but I guess I should have cut them about equal considering the lack of stretch in this stuff. Well, really, I just shouldn’t have been using it in the first place. Live and learn!
To attach the elastic, first I zig-zagged it to the wrong side of the fabric, and then I flipped the edge over and used a 3-stitch running zig zag to topstitch it in place. The overall effect is not bad (despite my awful execution here), and I can see how this could look nice if done more professionally. However, I still think using a picot or fold-over elastic would be better than flat elastic.
Anyway, despite my epic fail here, I’m still pretty excited at the thought of sewing my own undies, and I’m not giving up! : ) I want to locate and purchase some panty-appropriate elastic and practice attaching it over and over again until it starts looking respectable. I also want to try out a bunch of different patterns (maybe this or this?), and maybe even come back to the Amerson. It’s just so adorable!
And yes, I do laugh at myself when I sew horrible garments like this. If you can’t laugh at yourself, then life is just not going to be a very fun ride, is it? : )
Do you have any advice on sewing panties or favorite patterns to recommend? Any advice on what type of elastic to buy and where to buy it?