Or should it be "self-made underwear"? Or does that sound like the underwear made themselves?
Much like camisoles, underwear use up tiny amounts of fabric and satisfy the urge to sew something even when I'm not feeling like (or am putting off) a big project. I first made my own underwear several years ago, when I was living off of sporadic temp work: I could not afford the money to buy new undies, but I could afford the time and scraps to make some.
I should note that this post contains no pictures of me in my underwear, so if you clicked from prurience, no such luck!
The first challenge I faced was that I had no knits and no elastic. Nowadays, women's underwear is nearly always made with negative ease, in stretchy fabrics, with elastic at the three openings. But I had neither the stretchy materials nor the know-how to work with them, so I used a woven printed cotton.
I made my first pair to fit me snugly, with the leg-holes just at the joint and the waistline low (since all my jeans were low rise at the time). Then to get into them, I made an opening on the left hip, so I could open up the waist/left-leg-hole, step into the right leg hole, and close the waist/left-leg with buttons. While a clever solution to a foreseen problem, the buttons ended up being superfluous: the low-hip fit of the underwear meant I could just pull them up and down, and never needed to undo the buttons! When I stood naturally, the underwear stayed on, but when I scrunched my glutes and tugged, off they came. So later iterations of the underwear didn't get the clever side closure. (If I ever decide to make these underwear high-waisted, I would definitely need a placket or something to get in and out!)
NEW STASH FABRIC: DEPRESSION-ERA-CHIC!
MAKING THE UNDERWEAR
Here are the pieces: the front and back cut on the fold, and the crotch piece cut double. I start by sewing the crotch pieces together, right sides together, on their long curved edges. I turn them right side out and press.
I attach the crotch to the top at front and back, sewing just one layer of the crotch at first, then tucking the seam allowances into the crotch's double layer, and top-stitching it all closed.
The penultimate step is to hem all the openings, which is easy enough, and hides the last of the raw edges.
The final thing I do is add a teensy bit of elastic, or simply non-stretchy gathers, to the center back, where my body curves inward and the underwear are prone to gaping.
Quilting, dressmaking, and history plied with the needle...
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