My second attempt at sewing lingerie

So Zo undies - first two pairs

Ladies and gentleman, I am very happy to report that I finally sewed some non-heinous lingerie.  : )  Do you remember my Epic Panty Fail of 2013?  I still get the chills when I look at those awful panties!  After such a disaster, I had set aside my lingerie sewing aspirations for quite some time, but the lovely ladies over at Sewaholic have been luring me back in with all their beautiful creations.  Have you seen Caroline’s latest lingerie set?  Wowza!

I’m not quite ready for bras and lace, so I decided to dive back in with some simple panties.  I used the ever-popular So Zo undies pattern and accompanying instructions, and I managed to make these two pairs over the weekend.  Many thanks to Zoe for this free pattern and all her helpful tutorials.  Not only did the panties come out fairly well, but they actually fit and are quite comfortable!  Yeah!!

So Zo undies - pair 1 front

For the first pair, I used some leftover teal jersey from this Renfrew and some fold-over elastic that I got at Gather Here.  I love this jersey with a passion.  It’s a bamboo/soy/organic cotton blend with just enough lycra to give it good recovery.  It’s super soft and lofty and has held up really well in the wash, so I figured it would be a good choice for underwear.

I cut a straight size 10 and voila!  Finished panties!  The game-changer was getting the appropriate elastic – lesson learned from last time.  I didn’t stretch the elastic (or the jersey) at all while sewing, and I used a 3-step zig-zag throughout.

So Zo undies - pair 1 side

I followed the instructions exactly, with one exception.  Since I don’t have a serger and am sewing these on my regular sewing machine, the side seams don’t get nicely enclosed like they would on a serger.  I wasn’t crazy about the ends of the elastic sticking out and forming a bump on the inside of the panties (on the top in the photo above), so I tried overlapping the elastic instead (on the bottom).  I definitely prefer the smoother finish with the overlap!  I just have to work on making it look neater.

So Zo undies - pair 2 front

After tying on the first pair and walking around a bit, I decided to make a few minor changes for the second pair.  (By the way, these are made with that same luscious jersey, only in the “blue stone” color.  Gather Here seriously has the best jersey!  It’s not cheap, but oh man is it soft and comfy.)

So Zo undies - pair 2 back

Modification #1 – The back waist was just a little too roomy on the first pair, so instead of cutting a smaller size for the second, I just stretched the elastic a bit at the back waist.  You can see the little gathers in the photo above.  It doesn’t look particularly flattering when flat, but the gathers smooth out nicely when they’re on.  Easy fix!

Modification #2 – The pattern drafts the back waist about an inch higher than the front waist (you can see it in the photos of the teal pair), and I found that the back was a little too high for my taste.  I didn’t want it popping out of my pants when I sit down!  So, I just re-drew the back waist curve about an inch lower at the center back, blending to nothing at the side seams.  I like the rise much better now.

So Zo undies - pair 2 size 1 So Zo undies - pair 2 side 2

Modification #3 – I overlapped all the elastic edges this time.  Some of the joins came out neater than others, but hopefully I’ll just keep improving with practice.  I really do like the smooth finish and added comfort of the overlapping method.

So Zo undies - added bum coverageModification #4 – Added bum coverage!  To use Tasia’s phrase, the first pair was “just a tiny bit cheeky.”  Ha!  I felt I needed just a bit more coverage to help the panties stay put, so I re-drew the leg opening to be a little wider at the lower back.  You can see how much I added in the photo above, where the second pair is peeking out from underneath the first.  This seems to have worked well, but I guess I’ll find out once I wear them for a full day!

I’m so happy that things finally seem to be looking up in the lingerie department after such a rocky start, and I can’t wait to sew more panties!  I’m now fully stocked with jersey and fold-over elastic, and perhaps I’ll move on to a more challenging pattern or venture into embellishments.  Oh the possibilities…  : )

Have you tried the So Zo undies pattern?  Are there other good ones that you would recommend?

6 comments
  1. Emmely said:

    Looks good! Perhaps I should give that pattern a try.

    • Thanks Emmely! They were much easier than I thought they would be.

  2. Hey, they look great! Good for you for persevering and not hanging on to the “Epic Panty Fail of 2013″. And you know, if you have nothing better to do in September, you can come to Vancouver and take the bra making class with me. How fun would that be?! ;) (I signed up right after Tasia & Caroline took their class so I can join them in their fun!)

    • Thanks Corinne – yeah, I had to move on from that disaster eventually. :)

      Oh man, I’m so jealous that you’re taking that bra-making class! If Vancouver were even remotely close to Boston, I would consider joining you. Have a fantastic time. Can’t wait to see what you make!!

  3. Yay, congratulations! I hope your undies end up being comfy – they sure are cute! I’m a huge fan of Zoe’s pattern, too; I spent a good amount of time last year practicing up on the techniques to make a basic pair and now I sew a couple up when I’m feeling like a quick scrap-busting project.

    • Thanks Morgan! I’ve worn both pairs to work this week, and I’m happy to report that both were comfortable all day. I think you’re right – sewing lingerie definitely takes a bit of practice, but I guess all new things do. : ) Yay for handmade undergarments!!

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