It’s a good thing that I sewed for Scraptember in August… because suddenly it’s days away from the end of September and I haven’t posted yet! In the last month I’ve started at a new school, which means setting up a new classroom, meeting new coworkers, breaking in a whole new class to my way of doing things, and adjusting to teaching not one but two grades in the same classroom. We leave the house at 7am in order for my husband to drop me off at my school and then drive north to get to his school by 8:45. Then the whole thing repeats at the end of the day and we get home around 5… in bed by 9, and the whole thing repeats. Not a lot of sewing or writing been going on around here!
On the upside: my Scraptember project has been getting nearly daily wear! And that’s because I made… underwear!!!
I’d toyed with making underwear once before, and tested out a bunch of different patterns. I like a full-coverage brief so I ended up with a version of the Ohhh Lulu Betty undies, unwittingly modified to look basically like her Ava pattern. (Side note: Sarah/Ohhh Lulu lives just an hour north of me, so I’m glad to support local patternmakers!)
Now, I’m not going to show you any full pairs of undies, because, well, you never know who will read this blog. But close-up shots, I can do!
I have a lot of ITY scraps, so my goal here was to make lots of undies at once. I cut them all out, including cotton gussets and the right lengths of fold-over elastic (FOE). I made each pair with a slightly different colour combination. Then I bagged them up into sets with the same colour elastic – that way I didn’t have to change my sewing machine thread for each pair!
The next step in mass production was chain-stitching all of the loops of FOE. This really saved a lot of time! The underwear seams were all serged together, and then it was time for sewing on the elastic.
I initially found sewing on the FOE a little tricky, so I asked Ohhh Lulu for advice on twitter: more pins or less? She said she doesn’t use pins, so I went with that too. After a little practice it did get much easier! I pinned at the side seams, but nowhere else.
In the pics above, to the far left and far right, I’m trying to show two different ways I figure out how much to stretch the elastic. On the left, I’m finding the half point of the fabric and elastic, then I’ll match them up. The one downside of this method is that sometimes the elastic or fabric pulls out of place under the sewing machine foot. On the right, I’m finding the half point by pulling the loops towards me, which keeps things in better alignment. Once I’ve found the half points using either method, then I pinch the fabric and elastic together like in the centre picture and stretch while I sew that section. Not sure if that makes any sense, but that’s how it works best for me!
Once the FOE is attached on the inside of the opening, it’s easy to fold it over and zig zag from the front. Mine certainly aren’t perfect, but they look pretty good to me!
In the end, I made 10 pairs of underwear in a day with just fabric from my stash! Some are scraps (from teal leggings, the black and white paint splodge Myrtle I made my sister, and my birthday dress) and other are yardage I didn’t know how to use. Because of the high-waisted style I chose and size of my tush, I found I could make about 2 pairs from 1/2m of fabric.
The best news is: WOW, these are so comfy! The waistband sits nice and high, so it works perfectly with my leggings and dresses. The legs stay in place, and sit low enough that the VPL is pretty subtle. I really couldn’t be happier! I’m really glad Morgan’s Scraptember gave the push to try this project.
And one last Scraptember project to squeak into the post – the day after writing about how much I dislike the term Selfish Sewing, I did some #sewwhatyoulove present-making for my sister-in-law and niece. It was really relaxing to make some simple knit projects, and I was happy to give them away to people who appreciated them. Both pairs of toddler leggings shown above are made from old RTW shirts using the Hosh Pants pattern. And lo and behold, when i showed up to see my niece she was wearing some Hosh Leggings I’d made her last year. Now that’s how to convince people to keep sewing for you! 🙂 Thanks, Sister Kate!
Have you sewn anything for Scraptember? Morgan has been doing a great job sharing inspiration over on the Sewcialist blog. For October, Jo and Claire are going to be leading a Grease-inspired month. I’m so very grateful to all the people who have stepped up in the last few months to help keep things lively on the Sewcialist blog. Thank you, folks!
Me-Made underthings – yea or nay? Have you been able to sew the kind of underwear you like, or is RTW better for you?