Hi everyone, it’s Dani from Pocket or Two. After my last Pin & Sew blog post, I spoke to Aga about sharing some patterns for underwear on here and I’m pleased to say that she thought it was a good idea. I am a big fan of making my own underwear as it is a great way to use up jersey remnants and to have fab pairs of pants at the end!
Depending on how wide the fabric is, you can get at least two pairs out of a half a metre. However if you don’t have enough fabric for all the pieces, you can always cut your inside gusset piece out of a different fabric as it's not visible on the outside anyway.
There are quite a few underwear sewing patterns around. The three patterns I have chosen are all for stretch fabric and make comfortable, practical pants which you can make truly your own by using fab patterned jerseys and coloured elastics. They’re all available as pdf files so you can download and start sewing straight away! Aga has very kindly sent me the pineapple and striped fabric remnants for this blog post. I also ordered the grey melange jersey, as I wanted a basic colour to balance my underwear drawer. All fabrics are incredibly soft and perfect for underwear.
The first pattern I used is one of my tried and true: the Megan Nielsen Acacia Underwear. It comes as a free pdf file when you sign up to the Megan Nielsen newsletter. It’s a great basic pattern, which I’ve sewn quite a few pairs from. The instructions are illustrated and very clear. There are options for using both underwear or fold-over elastic. There is very minimal sewing with this pattern and it uses the burrito method to sew the gusset so that it is fully enclosed (unlike some ready to wear underwear!). I find the Acacia pants a little wide in the gusset, so I have trimmed down my pattern pieces to make it narrower. What I really like about Acacia is that the pattern pieces curve out around the bottom area to give you full coverage.
The second pattern I chose is the knickers from the Scroop Patterns - Wonder Unders Set. The pattern includes a vest (singlet camisole), a slip and knickers so I think this pattern is a good investment. The knickers are a full coverage kind of pant; they’re the biggest pair out of the three. They’re another straightforward make. The instructions for the actual sewing of the knickers are more diagram-heavy, especially when explaining the burrito gusset method. As I’ve used the method before, I didn’t find this a problem. It’s a great pattern for those who prefer to learn through diagrams. The part that I found the trickiest was the elastic. For this pair, the elastic is quite a bit shorter than the pattern piece, so keeping the tension between the pins, whilst making sure your fabric remains enclosed in the fold-over elastic is more of a challenge. It might have been easier for me to use the flat elastic first just to get the feel for the sizing. Nonetheless the finished pants are fab and I love the full coverage!
The third and final pattern is one that I’ve been wanting to try for a while now: the Sophie Hines Arccos Undies.The Arccos is again, a simple yet customisable pattern. Sophie shares some beautiful examples on her website and Instagram feed if you are looking for some extra inspiration!
Options include having mesh panels or changing the coloured fabric for the front and back panels. The side seams are on the front of the pant (rather than at the sides), which is a subtle but really nice design feature.
I’ve used a Sophie Hines’ pattern before, as I’ve made a wearable toile of the Cartesian crop top/soft bra. Sophie’s patterns are incredibly detailed (there are 9 pages of instructions) and, as such, are ideal for beginner underwear sewists. The Arccos instructions include a diagram of different types of stitches used for sewing underwear and also have a space to write your own machine stitch settings on the instructions for future reference. As with the other patterns, they also provide you with different finish options.For this pair, I used a wider fold-over elastic. I learnt patience when using fold-over elastic whilst sewing these pants! Sophie recommends pinning every two inches and checking that everything has been enclosed between each pin. This makes it worthwhile – if you’ve missed some fabric, you only have to unpick a small amount.
Overall I love all three patterns I tested. They are all available as downloadable pdf patterns and they all use the same burrito method for enclosing the gusset. They also include instructions for both fold-over and underwear elastic finishes.
I would recommend the Arccos for sewists new to sewing underwear, because of the detailed instructions. It is also the most costumisable pattern.
The Acacias, are great for sewists on a budget – they’re free!
I recommend the Wonder Unders for those who have more experience of working with elastic or sewing underwear. If you like a full pair of pants, these are for you. They make such a great pair of big pants! I also think this pattern would be ideal for bikini bottoms.
Have any of you tried sewing your own underwear? What’s your favorite undie pattern and why do you love it?