We’re moving along here. Sometimes it’s helpful to read through the entire sew along and then begin to construct your undies. The entire sew along remain on the blog and you can access it any time. You can purchase your pattern, and it will ship out to you on February 3. Sorry for the delay, let us know how it’s going! Now, let’s the Monica take it away!
We are preparing to move so I have been systematically decluttering our house “Japanese style.” Category by category, I have filled more big, black trash bags than I will ever publically confess. And then yesterday came – it was finally time to tackle my personal sewing stash. One by one I held each piece of fabric and asked myself if it sparked joy (the premise of this method is that if an item brings you joy, you keep it and if not, it’s gone). You can imagine the rush of memories as I put a piece of sweater knit that I had saved since I was 13 in the discard pile – why did I keep it all these years if I never really liked it anyway?! The cool part is that I was left with a pile of fabrics that I absolutely love, which means that the chances of them finding their way to my machine are pretty good. And so it is with the fabrics that I have chosen to use for the sew along.
Now, I certainly never considered myself a lacy kind of girl. My standard “uniform” is jeans or yoga pants with a “nerd shirt” a la Sheldon Cooper. I have a pet snake and dig in the dirt to find worms for the worm farm that I built for my sons. So, yeah, not so much with the frills and girly stuff (and yes, as I’m writing this I see the irony of being a tomboy lingerie designer!). But last weekend I was teaching a panty class and when I talked about fabrics I decided to separate all of the sample panties
I have made by fabric type. Imagine my absolute surprise that the biggest pile by far was the stretch lace! What?! That could certainly explain why the fabric that sparked the most joy to make a pair of undies from was a printed stretch lace and a coordinating stretch satin that made it into my stash sometime in high school. I’m so glad that I decluttered enough to find these beautiful fabrics!
I quickly realized that these two pieces were just begging to be color-blocked. What is color-blocking, you ask? Oh, let me relive the 1980’s! Last week we talked about embellishing with edging lace and such, but color-blocking is another fun way to spice things up. You basically just piece different fabrics together to make a garment… let me show you how!
My first step is to decide where I want the different fabrics to land. I’m not much of an artist, but here is a rough sketch of my plan.
I usually make bikini style panties since they sit nicely below my mommy belly, but I want a little extra space to make sure there is plenty of room to color-block so I’m going to use a hipster this time. I’m also going to add a bit of ruching down the center back to give a little shaping to my otherwise not-so-shapely hind quarters.
Next step is to translate my design to my pattern. I traced off my basic pattern and just need to add the lines where I want the different fabrics to be. You can create a separate pattern piece for each area, making sure to add a seam allowance to each side where you did the color-blocking. I’m a bit too lazy for that, so I will just use my pattern as it is and cut each piece on the line, adding the seam allowance as I’m cutting.
Once the pieces are cut out, I’m ready to sew them together. I used a straight stitch, medium length to sew the pieces right sides together. I have a “V” on the front, which can be a bit tricky to get to lay nicely. I stole a technique from sewing a V-neck t-shirt to for my panties. I sewed a stay stitching at a scant ¼” on the “V” then cut a small slit to the point. This allows me to sew each side of the “V” very precisely.
Then I press the seams flat as sewn, then press again to one side. I chose to press my seam allowance toward the stretch satin since it is a heavier fabric. I topstitched the seam allowance using a medium width and length zig zag to give a finished look.
I also added a bit of ruching by sewing a piece of clear elastic down the center back. I marked 6¾” on the clear elastic for my size 6 – don’t cut it or you will have difficulty stretching it all the way to the end. I used my fabric marker to draw a line down the center back and a medium width and length zigzag to sew it down. After you have it sewn, cut the clear elastic off. Now I’m ready to sew!
Your first step in sewing a basic panty is the crotch seams. If your panty pattern does not have a front and back crotch seam I recommend creating one. That way you will have nicely enclosed seams on both sides with no raw edges that can ravel or leave threads where they don’t belong!
I call the method I use for putting the crotch together the “Hot Dog in a Bun” technique – it seemed fitting when I made that up at 5 years old, although in hindsight I probably should call it something a bit more appropriate now!!!
This technique is also used in reversible garments and to make pillowcases and is sometimes known as the “burrito” or “pillowcase” method. You can see a photo of the Hot Dog in a Bun method below.
First, pin the back crotch. Lay the right side of the panty back to the right side of the fabric crotch and the wrong side of the panty back to the right side of the cotton crotch. Use pin stitching (pinning parallel to the cut edge at the stitching line) to pin all three layers together. I use pin stitching in all my sewing so that I have better control of my fabric as I sew and I know that my seams will match up exactly (especially important when working with curves). Make sure to put your pins in and out twice and don’t overlap them, as this causes bunching and the fabric doesn’t lay smoothly.
Next lay the crotch pieces open and scrunch or roll the panty back towards the pinned edge. Lay the rolled up panty front on top of the rolled up panty back.
Pin stitch the right side of the panty front to the right side of the fabric crotch and the wrong side of the panty front to the right side of the cotton crotch so that the panty front and back are rolled up in between the two crotch pieces.
I use an overlock stitch for most of my lingerie sewing, but not all overlock stitches are the same! You want a stitch that goes, “Stitch, stitch, zigzag, stitch, stitch, zagzag…” because that will give you the look of a straight stitch and yet the stretch of a zigzag. If your machine does not have a stitch like this, use the blind hem and mirror image it. No mirror image function? Just turn your fabric and sew it “backwards” using a regular blind hem. Use the overlock stitch to sew both crotch seams.
Press flat as sewn then pull the front and back out and press again. Ta da!!! A completely enclosed crotch piece!
Although some patterns tell you to put elastics on the legs before sewing the side seams, I feel like you get a much nicer finish if you sew the side seams first, then put the elastics on the waist and leg. I use the same overlock stitch on the side seams.
Press your seams flat as sewn, then press the seam allowances towards the front of the panty. If you press them toward the back you get what I call a “seam lump” that can show through your fancy yoga pants – and we can’t have anything ruining the morning school drop off yoga look, now can we!
There, almost finished! Next week we will add the elastics and model our me-made undies! Okay, well, maybe modeling might be a bit much, but I at least want to see some pictures of your gorgeous creations! Until then, happy sewing!