My adventures in sewing lingerie continue! I haven’t yet taken the plunge into bra-making like much of the online sewing community, but I’ve sewn plenty of handmade undies and swear by them. The latest addition to my lingerie drawer is a somewhat fancier pair of So Zo undies, my go-to pattern for comfortable, well-fitting, and flattering (seriously!) underwear. The pattern is free and easy to use – check it out if you haven’t already!
So far I’ve only used cotton jersey and fold-over elastic (FOE) for my handmade undies, which is a great combo for everyday wear, but let’s face it, not all that exciting. This time, I wanted to try a somewhat elevated version with different materials, both to inject a little excitement into my handmade lingerie wardrobe and also to learn how to sew with new-to-me elastics and trims.
I’m pretty pleased with the results. 🙂
For my first experiment (and yes, there will definitely be more!), I used a rayon/spandex jersey, 2-inch stretch lace, and picot-edge elastic, all purchased in person at Fabric Place Basement. I used a leftover piece of hot pink cotton jersey for the crotch, leftover from a winter Renfrew-sewing marathon. The rayon/spandex knit was a dream to sew with! It’s my ideal fabric for lingerie, I think. It’s cool to the touch and has a smoother hand than poly/spandex blends, and the drape is beautiful. It can be hard to find (in person, anyway), so keep your eyes peeled for it.
I had to make a few modifications to the pattern to incorporate the lace and picot-edge elastic:
- Since the lace was 2 inches wide, I cut off the top 1.5 inches from the pattern pieces along the waist, leaving a 1/2 inch seam allowance to work with.
- The pattern doesn’t have seam allowances along the leg openings (you don’t need any when using FOE), so I added 1/2 inch SAs around each leg to incorporate the picot-edge elastic.
I cut a strip of lace to the exact measurement of the waistband, with no stretching, and sewed the short ends together to form a loop. To attach the lace to the fabric, I overlapped them by 1/2 inch (the SA I left along the waistband) and topstitched the lace in place using a 3-step zig-zag. As an afterthought, I also ran a line of regular zig-zagging along the very bottom edge of the lace, following the scallops, to secure them nicely. Then I trimmed off the excess jersey from the wrong side. I think you really only need 1 line of stitching here – lesson learned for next time.
The incorporation of the lace worked out pretty nicely, I think! The lace join is slightly offset from the side seam on purpose (well, kind of) – I realized too late that I had pressed both seam allowances toward the back, so I offset the seams a bit to avoid having too many layers on top of each other. Another lesson learned. Are you sensing a theme here? This was a bit of an experiment. 🙂
To attach the picot-edge elastic, I used this method that was recently posted on the Colette blog. Perfect timing! Essentially, you zig-zag the elastic to the edge of the jersey (right sides together), flip the elastic to the wrong side, and topstitch it in place using a 3-step zig-zag. The stitch length I used was too long (another lesson learned…); it should have been much shorter, closer to 1mm as Colette recommends.
The reason I say my stitch length was too long is because these undies are *just* a bit too tight on me, oops! They do fit, but they’re nearly stretched to their limits when worn. The lace, elastic, and jersey all have a good amount of stretch, but I think I need to experiment with my machine’s stretch stitches to find the best combination for these fabrics. I can feel the stitching lines restricting the stretch a bit as I handle the undies. This is interesting because my cotton jersey pairs all fit great, with plenty of stretch. Different materials make a huge difference!
Despite the minor fit issue, I’m really excited about this little project. 🙂 The undies look great and are a bit more feminine than my usual style. I have lots more lace and rayon/spandex knit, so I hope to continue experimenting. Thanks to Zoe for such a versatile free pattern!
Has your lingerie sewing veered into sexy territory yet? 🙂