It was way back in 2018 that I first attempted sewing undies. I still have the pair but I never wear them. I used fold over elastic on them and initially thought they were comfortable enough to wear but after a couple of times I realised I didn’t like them. They were too tight and the elastic irritated me. Back in January of this year the Rubyjam Fabrics Facebook group ran an undies sew-along where in a series of videos they made a pair of undies. At the time I watched the videos thinking I really should make them again this year. Prior to making these I went back and watched the videos again to refresh myself on how to do them and listen for any tips they had. By chance they made one of the patterns I tested out.
Over the years I have downloaded and purchased numerous undies patterns. There are a heaps of free ones online if you don’t wish to buy them. Undie patterns tend to be very similar but they are slightly different in the size, shape, fabrics and methods of construction. Finding the undie pattern that is right for you is like finding gold. I have scars on my hips and groin so didn’t know which pattern or style would be best for me as I didn’t know how my skin would feel in them. My biggest worry was that the seams would irritate my scars if done on the overlocker (serger)
For my 2nd attempt I decided to test out 3 patterns
Bunzies by Stitch Upon A Time
Scrundlewear 2.0 by Stitch Upon A Time
Quicker Knickers by Little Finch Sewing Patterns
The Stich Upon A Time patterns are purchased patterns, they tend to have a bit of a cult following. Scrundlewear is better known as Scrundies. The Little Finch Patterns was a free pattern which I think may no longer be available as I couldn’t find a link for it. Each pattern has various styles within that you choose depending on how high/low cut you want the leg holes and how high you want the waist to sit. You also have the option of using bands or elastic for the waist and leg openings. I was going to try the Kwik Sew pattern again that I tried the first time but I really wasn’t happy with how wide they were in the hip area even though I picked the bikinni style. For the fabrics admittedly I should have used the same for all 3 but I was quickly raiding my knit scrap box and found 2 cotton lycra fabrics and one cotton jersey knit fabrics. Cotton lycra has more hold to it, jersey is a little less structured. You can make undies in either fabrics.
When making a new undie pattern for the first time sizing can be an issue. If you go by your measurements you could end up with a pair that are very big so you may need to go down a size or 2. In the sew-along they suggested using your store brought RTW (ready to wear) undies folded in half as a guide to picking your size, you will need to take into consideration seam allowance. I took my measurements than held up my RTW undies to pick a size.
My measurements which were
Low Waist 44″ (about 3″ below belly button)
Some people can make undies look nice in a photograph, I never can. Undies are full of curves and are stretchy, they don’t sit flat. After making them I tried each one out including wearing them with cloth pads and my verdicts are below.
Bunzies – Booty with knit waistband band and leg bands
My measurements said I should make size XL but I ended up selecting size M. I used cotton lycra. I’m happy with the fit of these. They aren’t too wide in the hip area on the sides. I can’t feel the seams at all. They were a tiny bit tight the first time I wore them and overnight the seams did leave a marking on my skin. The 2nd time I wore them I had no issues so I think the fabric just needed to be washed a couple of times. Even though the crotch is wider than RTW undies the cloth pad had no problem fitting around snapping closed. Initially I thought the bands would annoy me as they are wide but again I had no issues. I had never worn undies with a band at the top but I found these very comfortable. The first wear I did think they rode up a little around the butt but the 2nd time I don’t think they did.
Scrundies – Brief with knit waistband band and leg bands
My measurements again said size XL but I made size M. I used cotton lycra. Like with the Bunzies I was worried about the bands and hip area. Once again I had no issues with the bands. They are wider in the hip but not uncomfortable wide. I couldn’t feel the seams at all and they left no marks overnight. With the cloth pad the bands just kind of scrunched in a bit when I snapped the pad closed (as did the Bunzies) but these did it a little more. The bottom area didn’t ride up at all.
Quicker Knickers – Foxy (bikini style)
My measurements said size 18 based on my hip but I made size 14. I just the jersey knit on these. They were comfortable but were more loose fitting. I think it was to do with the fabric not having the same recovery you get with cotton lycra. I wasn’t in fear of them falling down or anything. They left no markings on my skin. I had no issues sleeping in them. The cloth pad fitted the same as the others in the bands scrunched in a bit but with all 3 it never made it feel bulky. The width of the hip area was more inline with my RTW undies.
After testing out all 3 I think I need to make a few more before I finding my golden pattern and go crazy making all the undies. In all 3 the size I made was different to what the instructions said. The foxy’s I would like to make in a cotton lycra in the same size. The Bunzies I would like to try the full coverage version which has more coverage over the butt. The scrundies I was pretty much happy with that pair but I might make them in a cotton jersey to see if there is a difference. None of them irritated my scars even though they were all wider in the hip than my RTW ones.
My intention long term is to never buy RTW undies again and one of the reasons for trying them again is that my RTW ones are starting to become unwearable. Undies are a great scrap busting project providing
a) You have the right type of knit fabric
b) Your pattern pieces fit your scraps size
It is seeming that I have a preference for cotton lycra for my undies. My knit fabrics box is mostly jersey scraps, I struggled to fit my pattern pieces on the cotton lycra scraps that I had as the scraps weren’t big enough to cut a front or back on the fold or even for the bands. I do have cotton lycra in my stash but I haven’t made a project with it yet so I don’t want to cut out a pair of undies from it first. On the Love To Sew podcast they mention having your favourite undie pattern on standby so when you cut out a project you can cut out a pair of undies as the same time from the scraps. Long term that’s how I want to make my undies. In terms of undies I am pretty boring and tend to go for neutral colours such as black, white, grey and cream. I am going to have to buy white and grey cotton lycra as I have none in my stash so once I settle on a style/s I can replace my RTW ones. Providing you can’t see them through the fabric I’m wearing I don’t care what colour or prints are on my undies. I do draw the line at Sesame Street though, I can wear a Sesame Street skirt but I can’t wear the undies.
I’m happy with attempt 2 of sewing undies. I have 3 functional pair of undies that will get worn. Attaching the knit bands was a good exercise as many of you who sew already know this but there is such thing as over pinning knit bands. Normally with bands I pin less than every inch but on these I only put in 8 pins per band and was able to stretch the bands and make them fit better. To be honest I never followed the instructions which were provided in each pattern but they were all done in the same way. Each pair has 3 seams (back of the undies and the 2 sides) In all 3 the lining piece in the crotch was left open at the front end. After the 3 seams are done the waistband and then the 2 leg bands (which holding the lining piece in place) are attached. I repeated the same step on each pair at the same time. They are a quick project.
As mentioned all my fabrics came from my scraps box. Making these my inner 2 year old was screaming “My Undies Match My Skirt!” as I went to bed wearing my heart ones “My Undies Match My Top!” No matter how old you are some days you do still get excited over your undies.