At risk of making you jealous, I recently went on a lovely mini-break to Berlin. The highlight of the weekend for me was going to an fantastic flea market on the Sunday attended by what appeared to be most of Berlin's under-40's. It was more than a flea market though, it was also a vintage fair, designer-maker handmade event and food market all rolled into one - heaven!!!
I was transfixed by the stall pictured at the top that sold handmade pants (knickers/undies) and vests (camisoles/singlets) in a rainbow of colours and eye-assault of patterns. The items in question are made in Berlin by the ethically-minded company Berlin Underwear. Even though I am more than capable of making my own pants and vests, I wanted to support their work and ethos so bought the beautiful pair pictured above.
I've found it really interesting looking at their cutting and construction method. They haven't used any elastic, instead used strips of jersey or dance-wear fabric with a high elastane content to form the leg holes and waistband. They have also used their overlocker on a setting that creates a stitch that is visible on the outside, I've totally forgotten what that technique/stitch is called though! Anyone?
Berlin Underwear's super colourful approach inspired me to get a teensy bit more creative and colourful with my own undies makery. I've found that recently some of my smaller pants no longer fit (which I'm hoping is the result of pregnancy rather than cake-intake!) plus the expansion of my belly and rib cage has had a similar effects with my vests, so I made a new set (pictured above). I used my free downloadable pants and vest patterns (of course!) for these. Normally I'd use the size 12 pants pattern if the fabric I was using had a decent elastane/lycra content, and the size 14 if the fabric didn't (e.g. if I were using an old mens T-shirt to make the pants). This time I went straight to the size 14 even though the fabrics I used were plenty stretchy.
Similarly, the vests I've made in the passed have been created using the size 12 vest pattern graded out to the size 14 around the hips. To accommodate my newly expanded form, I cut the size 14 at the top graded out to the size 16 around the belly and hips plus I added a couple of extra cms to the length. Most of my previously made pants and vests are still more than wearable so far, so I'm hoping I'm not going to need to make crap-loads of new sets before this baby decides to evacuate!
That said, I also made another set of pants from a scrap of this beautiful Liberty floral print jersey and matching grey-blue FOE (fold-over elastic) I had in my stash. This is such a lovely weighty jersey, these are now my favourite pants. I was careful not to pull on the FOE too much when applying it so the leg holes didn't end up too tight (something I find I've done with some of the pairs I've made in the past).
But don't think it's been all self-stitchery round these parts lately. Patty's pants collection was also in dire need of an update. I think I've finally perfected the fit, dimensions and construction method of the dude pants I've been making, and was able to make the two pairs (once again from Liberty jersey) pictured below in about an hour and a half.
The last pair were made using a small scrap of black striped jersey I'd had lurking in my stash for yonks. This time I used some grey camouflage print elastic, which I hope don't look too 'teenage boy'! As you can see, I cut the front and bum panels on the opposite grain so the stripes run vertically, because I isn't fancy trying to match stripes up on a pair of undies! Life is just too short, surely?!
If you are interested in making dude-pants for your own dude, all you need to do is snaffle away a pair of existing pants that they find comfy and trace a pattern from them. This is, of course, far easier to do if you 'decommission' that existing pair entirely and cut them up along the seam lines so you can trace around the panels. Don't forget to add seam allowance and hem allowance, and give yourself some extra cms around the waist for attaching the elastic. Whether or not you create an 'access window' in the front panel is up to you. Mr So Zo wasn't that bothered about having one of those so I haven't been arsed to figure out how to incorporate that into my pattern, but I'm sure it'd be easy enough to create of your dude wanted that.
Happy undies-making my friends!!!!