The things that are under things

Undies: the final frontier. I’ve knitted socks, gloves and scarves, I’ve sewn skirts, trousers, shirts, t-shirts, hoodies & hoods, but I’d never have thought that I’m actually going to be making my own underwear. I’m not actually sure why: perhaps because you can get five pairs of knickers for less than £15, perhaps because bras look so darned complicated. But since there’s a hot new trend for making panties in the Pattydoo Facebook group following the generous publication of the free sewing pattern for knickers called ‘Eve’ (with German-language video tutorial), I couldn’t resist and made a pair as well.

photo 2


What can I say – this is SO much fun. The sewing is easy, and the knickers are quickly finished. It’s a fabulous way of using up scraps of fabric. But I will say that sewing knickers also takes a little bit of patience: as with all close-fitting garments (and you’ll be wanting this to be a very close fit!) it is likely that the sewing pattern requires some adjustment before it fits perfectly. Also, even though the pattern only requires knicker elastic to go round the top, I’d suggest sewing some around the leg openings as well, otherwise they just don’t fit 100%. I’ve since tried another pattern, which worked perfectly &, thanks to fully elasticated leg openings, they fit like a dream.

Moo knickers photo

After this positive experience, I got a bit bolder. What about making a bra? I can’t bear those uncomfortable underwired things. I like my comforts & the best possible bra is the one that I don’t even know I’m wearing. Which is why I’ve always been a sucker for soft bustier-type bras. Essentially, they’re like sports bras, but softer. The best bra in the history of bras is Calida’s Body Time. I don’t even know whether they’re still making them & they’re about £35 a pop, which is expensive in my books. So, here’s my own, upcycled version.

Step 1: buy a really close-fitting t-shirt in a charity shop (this one set me back by £2).

photo 1

Step 2: try the t-shirt on & mark just where you want the bottom of your bra to go. Then be bold & start cutting… You can trace the shape of a bra you’ve already got or just go for it (like I did).

photo 2


Step 3: Add a cuff. The bottom bit of the t-shirt is long enough to provide material for the bottom cuff. Just make sure it’s really close-fitting – you may need to adjust the side seams again. I then experimented with double seams (made with a twin needle) but found that the arm and head openings were just far too large. So I ended up adding a cuff to the head opening, too, which provides shape.

photo 3


So far, this design works quite well – I’m wearing it know & I hardly know it’s there. Wonderful. I have a suspicion, though, that my next one is going to have elasticated head and arm holes, and that I’m going to alter the shape slightly. Even though this bra, just like the panties, do require some willingness to experiment, I’m astounded at how easily one can make one’s own underwear. Materials for ‘proper’ bras (straps, cups and the dreaded underwires) are sold cheaply in haberdasheries and online. And how much money as well as resources can be saved if one decides to upcycle old t-shirts! Win win win.

Update July 2010

I had more leftover fabric & made another pair of panties. This time I made them a size smaller than I normally take & they fit perfectly… I did sew in elastic around all leg openings, though.

photo 1photo 3

Update October 2015

Making panties is just so much fun. Here are a few more…

doggy panties 2 flower panties


Update November 2015



About alycevr

Academic, translator & maker of things
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5 Responses to The things that are under things

  1. Jana says:

    Very well done! Especially your refashioned bra! Best wishes from Toronto, Jana

    PS: Did you actually see that I’ve nominated you for the Liebster Award already a while ago?

    • alycevr says:

      Yes, I did, and I was flattered. I didn’t and still don’t really know what it means, though, and I was waiting for elucidation. I think you said something about sending it/something? Thanks anyway.

      • Jana says:

        Ah, I see. Thought you might not be interested in these I-want-to-get-to-know-you-better kind of games. 🙂 The rules are given in my post (you can easily find it if you click on my Awards tab and then on the Liebster pic). You basically need to do the following: Link and thank me (because I nominated you), answer the 11 questions I provided in my post, come up with your own 11 questions, and nominate 11 other quite new blogs (link to them; I searched their page to make sure that did not get the award earlier). It is important to let the chosen bloggers know that you nominated them (best is to write a comment in their About section). It is also not necessary to nominate 11 blogs. If you can think of only less, no worries. Last but not least, save the Liebster Award Logo on you computer and place it in your sidebar or wherever you want it. Looks pretty good. 😉 I really like the idea behind this: to get to know a new blogger better and to build a network. Hope this helps. Cheers, Jana

      • alycevr says:

        Dear Jana,

        thank you very much for the explanation. I’ll see what I can do…


  2. Pingback: The things that are under things #2 | Alyce macht Sachen

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