26 August 2009

170. Wednesday Workshop: Bikini Undies to Hipster Undies

Last week, Gattolina responded to my Wednesday Workshop tweet/ post on copying your own undies. The pair I chose were bikini-style undies and she asked for suggestions for hipster or boy short-style undies. So I decided to try converting the bikini undies pattern to hipster panties. The short story is that is was very simple to do. The longer story is that so much depends on your style, preferences, etc. I grabbed two pairs of hipster-ish undies to study them more closely:

The top pair are from AE, and they are probably a size too small. They are more bikini than hipster, but the leg openings offer much more coverage than a bikini. The waistband and legbands are elasticized, and the casings are sewn from a coordinating solid knit. The bottom pair are from Target. I think the center front and center back seam are a big mistake, though they obvz do lend some, well, definition between the cheeks. There is no elastic at the waist or in the legs -- the raw edge was turned in and coverstitched.

Two extra notes: From a design perspective, the leg openings on hipsters are much lower than on bikinis. And these undies are made of 94% cotton, 6% spandex, which have so much more stretch than 100% cotton jersey that they are tiny and have negative ease. I worked with the remains of the kelly green t-shirt from last week's Wednesday Workshop, so here's how to modify the bikini pattern without adjusting for negative ease:

I decided to lengthen the side seam for a total length (incl. seam allowances) of 5". I suspect this will be longer for taller folks. Then I used my french curve ruler to connect the bottom of the new side seam with the point where the panty front will meet the crotch piece.

Then I lengthened the side seam on the panty back to the same 5" as I did on the front. I drew a line connecting the bottom of the side seam to the bottom of the pattern piece using my hip curve.

And I sewed the waistband with elastic and did a simple hem at the legs.

Original vs. new DIY pair. I know the new ones look huge, but they do fit. Not sure about the non-elasticized leg openings though. I'll test them out and let you know. I also don't have any shirts to cut up that are knit w/ spandex but I'd like to modify the pattern with negative ease and a stretchy fabric to see if they are more comfortable, etc. Stay tuned for the next Wednesday Workshop....


  1. those look super cute (and comfy!)

  2. Ooo... I LoVE hipsters! Thanks for posting this! :)

  3. Awesome! No pics of you modeling them? :) jk

  4. One major advantage of bikini over full-brief is that they require much less fabric and therefore look much smaller whilst hanging on the clothesline...

    I agree about the badness of having a centrefront seam on undies, especially if they haven't thoughtfully added a gusset!

  5. Ah, brilliant stuff! I really want to try these ones. :)

  6. Yay, thanks for trying this all out for us. I'll probably put this on my to-do list since I have some pairs I actually do like but can't afford buying any new ones anytime soon. They would be perfect right after my next project: two slips using Gertie's tutorial. ;)

  7. I am so impressed with your ultimate recycling sewing!

  8. Nice fresh colour for a pair of panties .. another beautifully presented tutorial for the die hard 'never say goodbye to your favourite t-shirt' seamstresses out there.

  9. Awesome information!! I posted a link to your tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing:

  10. Oh! Thank you, I was hoping to come across an how-to for boy-shorts. Yay!

  11. @Trish, @Laura Gerencser, @NGLaLaLa - Thanks. They are pretty comfy but there's too much room at the leg. I will probably sew in a very thin elastic and post new pics next week. :)

    @dana - HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! *draws deep breath in* HAHAHAHAHAHA! Hahaha. Aha. Aaaaaahhhh. No.

    @Violet - You know, these look very big next to the other undies because they are at least a little too big. What is up with the center front seam on undies??? Designed by a man, probably. Frankly, I'm not a big fan of the center back seam, either. (Can you guess there are no thong-style anywhere in my universe?) LOL

    @Gattolina - Thanks for the question. I am going to try boy short-style, probably next week, along with an update on how these hipsters wore.

    @lsaspacey - I have so many projects on the brain that I think at least a few people out there will relate to and get some use from! Undies are def. one of them. Let us know how yours pan out.

    @Pam - Thank you! I bet I have some other knit in my stash that will work well for undies, not just the recycled fabric. I was thinking about going down to the dungeon (garage) to scope it out.

    @Mary Nanna - No kidding, the color is bright, yes?

    @casserole - Thanks so much. I plan to post something every Wednesday, so come on back for more!

    @Pranita - These hipsters are sort of between bikini and boy short... I am going to try for a full-on boy short next week. Stay tuned.

  12. I agree--center seams on underwear is a very very bad idea. Ugh. And the Target underwear never fits me. You're awesome for posting the tutorial and all the pix!! and it is a great way to recycle old favorite t-shirts.

  13. Ditto on the center seam! I tried sewing one of those and it went straight to the garbage bin. Regarding elastic around the legs, I find that I need those, even when using lycra fabrics, since the legs have a tendency to grow gradually with wear and wash. I really like foldover elastic, but on a Jalie pantie pattern I own they suggest encasing regular narrow elastic in the legs. Have not tried it though.

  14. @Kyle - Target underwear is the only kind that remotely fits well, though it's worth noting that a couple of the pairs are already falling apart after not too many wears. Waste of money! Drives me nuts.

    @Johanna Lu - I did wash and dry the hipsters to shrink back to size, and after wearing them once I think I will end up unpicking those leg hems and sewing elastic right onto the fabric. I don't think I will ever, ever buy undies again. Ever.

  15. NICE job on these. i really want to do this now.

  16. Thanks for taking the time to post this! I have a big piece of cotton lycra in my stash that will be perfect for this. If all goes well tomorrow, I might make underwear :-). I have become the Ultimate Clothing Recycler, so this is a perfect project. Thanks again!


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