When I dove head first into sewing again, I made quite a few very simple things that helped me learn many things. What the grain of the fabric was, how to choose fabric, what kind of pins to use, and of course, it taught me how to get really frustrated with fabric and thread.
I then found a pattern group on Facebook called Stitch Upon a Time and in that group, all kinds of women were sewing these great shirts, dresses, skirts and pants and more importantly they were all making their own panties! I really thought they had lost their minds.
I had long ago sworn off wearing panties unless they were shape wear, none of them fit right they did not really cover right and things were more uncomfortable with having them on. I did not even think of sewing them myself, I really could not understand what the big deal was and why so many were doing it. Then…I sewed my first pair, and they were as ugly as ugly can be. They were at least a whole size too big, even when I followed the measurements perfectly. I did however, put them on and they were so comfortable, maybe everyone in this group was onto something, so the next time I was at the fabric store I looked for panty fabric. My whole family was convinced I had lost my mind.
So, the first thing that, sewing these panties did for me was show me the importance of straight cuts and how to measure and use a rotary cutter. This is very important when you are sewing anything, but even more importantly for this pattern.
You can see here how the straight cuts when doing the knit bands is crucial
Practicing this technique with your rotary cutter and your cutting mat will take you a long ways in being able to do it for different patterns. Doing it in a small scale with little bits of fabric is much better than ruining a fabulous cut of great expensive fabric. I am so much more confident when I do it now with other patterns.
The next thing I learned was being confident with my serger and making sure that I serge enough of the fabric and not try to eliminate the seam allowance. It was easy on my sewing machine to see exactly where my seam allowance. The serger is a whole new animal and it took me about 4 or so pairs before I could get it right. I used to only get the bare minimum of fabric in the seam and after a couple of wears I would develop holes where I had attached the bands. Worse yet I would miss the bands or the fabric and had to rip it out and sew it again and again. Practice this until its right it is so worth it. Now with everything I sew on my serger I know how to account for the seam allowance and sew it to last.
You can see how I have the raw edges on the other side of my presser foot
It also helps if your smaller pieces are on top of your larger pieces so that you can see. For me I can tell home much is underneath and keep my raw edges lined up easier this way. The process of serging on the bands to these panties taught me many skills, including sewing in a round, how to do knit bands, how to stretch as you go, and most importantly to SLOW DOWN! You just cannot do a great job if you are rushing through it, and I can almost guarantee that you will miss parts of that band.
I am going to continue this in another post but I wanted to point out that sewing underwear for yourself or your kids, or even for the men in your life gives you many lessons, and many of them you will use in sewing other things. One of those very important things is how to do a knit band, it is the EXACT same techniques you need for doing great necklines.
You can download the patterns here at Stitch Upon A Time, they have kids, women’s, and mens options. Enjoy!
***I was not compensated for this article I just love this pattern and the lessons I learned while doing it.