Thursday, 25 April 2013

Undies Update


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!!!!



20 comments:

didyoumakethat said...

Patty's Pants! That's hilarious and crying out to be a clothing line. I love those Berlin undies - what a great combination of prints and colours.

yesilikethat said...

Those Liberty man pants are amazing, they look like the sort of thing you'd pay £40 a pop for in the department store itself!

Love the brightly coloured Berlin ones too, I have a feeling that stitch is called a flatlock? I keep meaning to master all my overlocker stitches... one day...

Sew little time said...

oh i love the brightly coloured ones - you couldn't have a bad day wearing those pants could you?

Dilliander said...

These are great and such fun in all the different colours! I think the overlock/serger seam may be flatlock stitch, which would also make them more comfortable to wear.

Madalynne said...

Wow. You sure have been up to a lot of pant sewing lately, dudes and ladies!

Thank you for sharing Berlin Underwear with me. It's so easy to get wrapped up and follow what everyone else is doing when it comes to sewing techniques. But taking a look outside the norm - what other people in your circle are doing, can open the eyes to new techniques (such as the way they apply the leg elastic/jersey)

Norma said...

The Berlin knickers are really fun. That stitch they used to attach the elastic bands is called a flatlock stitch. Such a great idea!

I love the Liberty jersey print knickers. I must find some of that fabric!

Get Crafty said...

Pretty fabrics! ;)

Philippa said...

Heehee where else but on a sewing blog would you get an undies update!! I love all the pairs you have shown, but my favourites are the liberty ones you made. Classy colours!

Christina said...

The stitch is called flat-locking! I used it for my halloween costume. It is such a good idea to finish seams with a combination of flat-locking and bands, super strong! Love the combos, those are some wild colors.

Christina said...

I think I have an idea which weekend you went now - I have had a stall at an indoors handmade/second hand fair and everyone else was outside in the sun... the first sunny & tolarably warm weekend in 6 months. ;o) I loved to hear that you enjoyed your trip and it even inspired your undies collection.

Sewing Sveta said...

Hehe! I saw them at that market at winter and pay attention to their tops with different front and back%)

sophie (monbouton) said...

interesting idea to use stretchy jersey instead of elastic - I always find elastic a little too bulky! oh and using flatlock is a brilliant idea too - I really need to make some new undies, mine look so dull now :)

emily said...

Those are some fancy pants there Zoe! I would find it hard not to dance around in those Berlin undies, and the blue Liberty ones are just gorgeous!

Grace said...

The Liberty knickers are lovely! Thanks so much for the free pattern can't wait to try it out!

Jen said...

Yay for undies making! I'm going to be making my first pair soon!!

I love your liberty fabric by the way, it's gorgeous for a lovely pair of pants :)

Anonymous said...

When I started making undies for my husband I did an informal poll of the men in the house (3 sons and a husband) and it turned out that none of the used the "access window"-love that name! It was a very interesting conversation, lets just say. Anyhow I use the Jalie pattern without it, and take an abnormal amount of pleasure in the fact that my husband is wearing skivvies that I made him.

Tanit-Isis said...

Love the Berlin undies AND the idea of using jersey bands instead of elastic. Some of my fave RTW pairs have no real elastic around the legs, or very soft elastic. Sadly, I don't think I'll have me-made underpants by Wednesday. /cry. The dude pants are great, too. I had gone as far as cutting up a pair of the hubs' old ones and tracing a pattern yonks ago, but never went anywhere with it. :(

Lovenicky said...

Love those pants! Great job! I have wanted to make my pants for a while too because of my weird body shape. I have traced a current pair of mime and tried to make it with scrap knits but haven't been successful yet. I think the stretch of the knits were different so I will have to dig through my stash to find another kind of knit. Most of all, I would like to make a pair like the ones you have made for Mr. So, but for myself!

monique's mess said...

I think its called a rolled hem - a stitch that can be done on the overlocker. if you have an instructuion manual for your overlocker its usually printed in there otherwise let me know aND iLL LOOK IT UP FOR U - BEEN A WHILE SINCE i USED IT

indigorchid said...

Oooh, looking good! Great fabrics! I have a question - I make dude pants too, but I've had the hardest time finding suitable elastic for it. Any reccomendations?

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