Adventures in Panty Making

So lately I’ve been reading some wonderful blog posts by extraordinarily talented people who have successfully sewn their own bras and underwear.  Madalynne is one such seamstress, I drool over all her beautiful pictures of perfectly sewn lusciousness.  But what really convinced me to give it a try is  verypurpleperson.  Her tutorial is so clear, and the pictures so detailed, I immediately thought – I CAN DO THIS!

That thought was ambitious.  And premature.  And so, so naive.  But I’ve gotten ahead of myself.

First came the search for an easy, comfortable, and FREE underwear pattern that I might actually like.  After an exhaustive search of the interwebs I had a grand total of 1 pattern.  Maybe I’m picky, but it seemed like slim pickins’… but thank you makeBra for providing your hipster panty pattern for free (link here for anyone who needs to learn their lessons the hard way).  I printed out and assembled the pdf pattern (hint:  print 2 copies – the pattern pieces overlap), taped it to our sliding glass door, taped a piece of freezer paper over it, and traced the pattern pieces in the size that their measurement chart said I was (EFFING LIARS, but again, getting ahead of myself).  I wrote on each piece what it was, the size, the fabric fold line, and that there was no seam allowance added yet, and cut each piece out of the freezer paper.  Apparently I am selectively illiterate, as I completely forgot to add the seam allowance when cutting my fabric.

Oh, I haven’t told you about the materials I used?  Ooops…  I found a marked down 1 yard piece of black cotton jersey at my local Goodwill a few weeks past for $.50.  Seriously.  $.50!!!  But then I spent $2.99 that we didn’t have on 1 yard of FOE (that’s fold-over-elastic for you noobs), but still, $3.49 spent on learning how to make a pair of panties for myself isn’t too bad.  Except the panties I tend to buy are the multi-packs for dirt cheap (they just need to cover my ass, right?) so I had already exceeded my normal per-pair-cost, and they weren’t even made yet.  *sigh*

Anyway – I persevered and, after downing a glass of wine for courage, dove in with my Olfa rotary cutter.

Don’t drink and sew people, just don’t.

Other than omitting the seam allowance, the cutting process went smoothly.  I determined the right and wrong sides of my fabric and did a zigzag stitch on the front part of the lining (as per makeBra’s instructions) and got a hint of what was to come.  My sewing machine is prejudiced against knits, the racist bastard.

The feed dogs did not feed, the throat plate ate my fabric, and many birds nests developed.  As we are BROKE, I couldn’t buy any stabilizer (that would have helped immensely) so I had to continue with the hope that the machine would learn tolerance.  It didn’t.

My naturally stubborn nature fueled by wine, I continued.  I WOULD HAVE A FINISHED PAIR SO HELP ME…

I sandwiched the pieces together as per makeBra, switched my machine to a 3-step-zigzag, hoping that it was operator error (cause the problem couldn’t be the machine – it is, after all, just metal and plastic, right?), put the sandwich of fabric under the needle and hit the gas.

NO BIRDS NESTS!  Emboldened by my minor success, I measured out FOE for the leg holes and cut 2.  I was slightly alarmed at what little FOE was left for the waistband – would it be enough for my post-kiddo-belly?  I stretched it around my waist and breathed a sigh of relief – it was BARELY enough.

I pinned each end of 1 piece of FOE to each end of one of the leg holes and evenly distributed the excess knit fabric along the elastic, then stitched the length, stretching the elastic and trying not to stretch the fabric.  I repeated this on the other leg hole, then sewed each side seam with only 1 birds nest incident!  Woot!

Then I noticed that one leg opening was bigger than the other.  WTF?  It was only one glass of wine!  I looked at my seam ripper with apprehension – pretty sure it would destroy the knit – and rejected that idea.  Well, maybe the elastic would relax once they were washed.

The waistband construction was fairly uneventful, other than my inability to sew straight (must I repeat – DO NOT DRINK AND SEW), and I excitedly skipped off to the bedroom to try on my new skivvies… which were too big.  *sigh*

Guess I’ll be starting over with the next size down.  Tomorrow.  Because I truly need my lessons to be repeatedly drilled into me.  I hope you do too, because you just might be BRILLIANT at panty making, but you’ll never know if you don’t try…. and, well, my motto IS just craft sh*t.

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