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!!
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
Modification #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?