It’s been ages since I bought any underwear. Decent pants are expensive, going into Primark is terrifying, and I can never get knickers that fit properly. Low rise is all very well and fashionable, but I have quite the belly to contend with over here. Of course, I always have the option of making my own…..
I started out using the free pants pattern from ‘So Zo, What Do You Know?’, a blog I have literally read from start to finish (Incidentally, there’s a cami pattern to go with the pants, because Zoe is apparently a very generous soul). Zoe has put a high rise on the back to keep all the junk in your trunk, and gently shaped the front to sit a bit lower than the back; as previously mentioned, all my excess weight is in the front, rather than being bootylicious, so this set up doesn’t work for me. I gave it a go with an early prototype made from an old t-shirt, but I just don’t find them comfy, alas.
Damn shame. I really fancied having some Rum Knickers.
You might notice that I have already jettisoned the fold over elastic around the leg holes by this point. All my RTW pants are not elasticated in the leg, and I just couldn’t get used to the feeling, so I unpicked it all.
So, the changes I’d made so far were to straighten off the top edge on the front and back (essentially raising the front and lowering the back), and to finish the leg holes by overlocking and folding them under. In the proto-pants, I’d tried to use a straight-as-possible zigzag stitch, to try and make it seem as much like they’d been coverstitched as I could. Not only was it not straight enough to look RTW, it wasn’t zigzaggy enough to stretch. Fail.
I left it a couple of months, finally got round to getting a twin needle for my sewing machine to sew down the leg holes, and thought I’d have another bash at it. I wasn’t a fan of the fold over elastic look either, so I ordered picot elastic from eBay in a range of colours and set myself to making the Perfect Pants. The blue ones were first, cut from a Primark tube skirt I’d picked up in a charity shop. Picot elastic and the straightened top were a good combination, I was happy with the waist. I now found that the legs holes came up too high, and didn’t cover all of the, ahem, bikini line. Back to the drawing board!
I’m not too good with a french curve, so I created a new curve using straight lines and a bit of eyeballing, like this:
See, maths was a useful subject after all…
I cut this pair with the red dinosaur fabric, initially destined to be a t-shirt that I would realistically probably not wear (but also fabric I can get more of if I change my mind about that…). Lowering the leg worked pretty well – remembering to adjust the gusset piece to match – but it still wasn’t perfect. One more adjustment to the leg, and I tried it again with the nautical fabric.
Spot the difference!
Third time’s a charm! I’m super happy with the fit now. I made a pair in some unicorn fabric too, because who doesn’t want unicorn knickers?
I never need to go pants shopping again, and I’ve filled the (very literal) holes in my underwear drawer. They’re not the sexiest knickers, so I’m sure I’ll try some other, lacier kinds at some point, but right now I’m happy enough. I think I’m past the point where I need to wear sexy knickers all the time ‘just in case’, ha ha.
And if anyone ever gives me shit, I can just smile a little and think ‘well yes, but I’m wearing handmade pants’, and know that I am, in some way, a little bit better than them. That’s a pretty cool superpower.