Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Free Downloadable PDF Pattern: Pants / Undies / Knickers. Plus, How to Use This Pattern

Dear friends, readers, visitors, etc., I have a present for you! It's my self-drafted, multi-sized pants/undies/knickers pattern available as a PDF file for you to download for FREE. Head over to my 'Free Patterns' page to download it. Then read below in this post for further information about how to use this pattern. Finally, head over to my previous 'How to Construct Undies with a Serger and FOE' post for instructions on how to sew together your pants/undies/knickers!

Materials and equipment required. 
60 cms or 1 yard of jersey or a large T-shirt
2.5 metres or 3 yards of underwear elastic
I have used fold over elastic (aka, FOE) for the undies pictured, but advice about using flat or edged elastic is below
Overlocker / serger (optional)
Sewing machine

Preparing the pattern.
The undies pattern PDF consists of 4 pages. When printing the pattern, make sure that you have do not have 'print scaling' checked so the pages print out at the correct size. When printed, measure the test square to check the size is correct. Align the pages by matching the numbered triangles to the corresponding ones. Cut off or fold back the margins and tape or glue together.

Choosing a size. 
This pattern includes sizes 8 -16. These sizes are UK dress sizes, if you do not know which UK dress size you are, check out the conversion below:

UK    USA      EU      AUS     IT      JAP
8          6         36       10       40       9
10        8         38       12       42       11
12       10        40       14       44       13
14       12        42       16       46       15
16       14        44       18       48       17

Please note, the pattern size you should cut may vary depending on the elasticity of your fabric. This pattern has been drafted for fabric with an elastane/lycra content, however other knits/jerseys can also be used to excellent effect. If you are using a knit/jersey fabric with no or very little elastane/lycra content (this may especially be true if using old T-shirts), you may have a better result by using the pattern size larger than you normally would pick.

Cutting out. 
Once you have selected the size you require, cut out the three pattern pieces. You will have one front pattern piece, one back pattern piece and one gusset pattern piece. All three of the pattern pieces are cut on the fold (as indicated on the pattern pieces). Position the pieces of straight of grain of your jersey/knit/T-shirt fabric (the grainline is indicated on the pattern pieces).

As mentioned at the top of this post, head over to my 'How to Construct Undies with a Serger and FOE' post for instructions on how to sew together your cut pieces. The seam allowance on the side seams and gusset seam is 1cm / 3/8".

If you do not have a serger/overlocker: 
The instructions I previously prepared used an overlocker/serger for stitching the side seams and gusset seam, but a normal sewing machine can do these steps just as well. If you will be using a normal sewing machine for all the processes of construction, then test out different stitches on a scrap of your jersey fabric to find the stitch you feel works best. Your sewing machine manual may have suggestions about what stitch type and needle would work best for jersey.

Personally, when sewing jersey, my sewing machine works best on a long but very narrow zigzag and I use a fine needle (I don’t bother buying special jersey needles). The zigzag gives a degree of stretch so the side seam doesn’t break when putting the garment on and off. The narrowness seems to prevent puckering. Some prefer to use a straight stitch and them zigzag along the edge of the seam allowance to finish the raw edge. Experiment and find what works best for you.

If you want to use flat underwear elastic not FOE (fold over elastic):
The instructions I previously made use FOE for the waist and leg holes. For that method the raw cut edge of the fabric gets trapped inside the FOE, which is then stitched on top of to secure it shut. But if you wish to use what-I-call-flat-elastic (basically any other type of underwear elastic that may well have a decorative edge like picot), that is totally do-able with this pattern.

There are two ways of using flat underwear elastic:
1) An easy, one-step way off applying flat elastic is laying it on top of the right side of the fabric slightly covering the raw edge, and then stitching on top of it (a three-step zig zag is usually used). You can see this method of applying flat underwear elastic in the picture below where I have used it around the waist at the top of the picture. This method will make the gusset width a tiny bit wider and the leg holes a tiny bit smaller (by the amount you allow the elastic to lay further than the raw edge). If you do not want the gusset to be wider, trim away a few millimetres (or imperial equivalent!) from all three pattern pieces around the edges of the leg hole.

2) The other, arguably neater and more professional way of using flat underwear elastic is more time consuming because the application of the elastic is done in two processes rather than one. First the right side of the elastic is stitched to the right side of the fabric along the edge (for this process I prefer a fairly narrow zigzag stitch). Keep the decorative edge of the elastic pointing away from the raw fabric edge. The underwear elastic is then folded under to the wrong side of the fabric leaving a narrow amount of elastic showing (usually flat underwear have a decorative edge for this purpose). It is kind of up to you how much elastic you want showing at this point. You then stitch it all in place, once again a three-step zigzag is a great stitch for this. In the picture above I have used this second method of applying flat underwear elastic around the leg holes at the bottom of this picture. I have used contrast red stitching so you can see what I'm talking about. This method of applying elastic will make the gusset narrower and leg holes wider by the amount you turn the fabric over minus the width of elastic you allow to remain visible. If you do not want the gusset to be narrower than the original pattern, add a few millimetres (or imperial equivalent!) from all three pattern pieces around the edges of the leg hole.

No matter what type of elastic you choose and what method you decide to apply it with, I thoroughly recommend having a good play about on some scrap jersey fabric until you are happy with the effect you are getting.

If you like this pattern.....
I really hope you do enjoy using this pattern. This PDF pattern is the result of a few years evolution of personal pant-making. Pants/undies/knickers making can be pretty addictive because it takes a relatively short time (once you get the knack of using underwear elastic) and a relatively small amount of fabric to make a finished, wearable garment. If you do use it, please pop back to this blog and leave a comment (or a link if you have blogged about it) and let me know how you got on.

Obviously I didn't create this pattern and instructions with the intention of making money, otherwise I would be charging for it! However, if you do download it and enjoy using it, feel free to by me a coffee by way of thanks! You can donate me a coffee by clicking here...
And lastly, a big thanks to Claire for helping me make sharing this pattern possible.


Tors Grantham said...

OMG, I have long loved your pants (and that sounded so much better in my head), thank you for making this pattern available. I shall spend Christmas making knickers now ... just as soon as I figure out where I've packed my sewing stuff

Anonymous said...

I'm looking forward to using your tested pattern. I have made a few for myself, but it seems I'm always a bit off.

Thank you for sharing, I love your blog!!!

cucicucicoo said...

i've been wanting to sew my own undies for a while, and now i have no excuse to! thanks so much!! :) lisa
oh, and btw, i clicked on the coffee link twice, but it doesn't work for me. is it me or is there a problem with it?



I need new underwear like whoa, and I've been putting it off because every freakin size I buy just becomes insta-wedgie :( I bet I can tweak this pattern to fit my arse (or maybe they already fit straight off the pattern MUST FIND OUT). And oh oh oh, I have yet to make a camisole... I see lots of matching warm-weather loungewear in my future.

Thanks, lady!

lisa g. said...

fantastic! can't wait to try this out sometime!

Donna said...

Thanks for sharing!

Crab said...

You're so awesome! I tinkered around with my own pattern (with mixed results) but would love to benefit from your years of experience! Thanks!

futurenakano said...

Thank you so much for this! I have been looking for a good undies pattern! :D Definitely going to have to donate to the coffee fund for this one!


Meg the Grand said...

I am so excited about making my own undergoodies!! Thank you so so much for sharing with all of us!

Sarah said...

Ooh, I'm amusingly excited to make undies now! I have used your method and a pattern made from an old rtw pair before to make undies, to varying degrees of success (the failures due to fabric choice). It will be nice to try out your pattern, see how it differs :). Thanks for sharing with us all!

fashion-meets-art said...

nice blog.
lovely greets


Trisha said...

Hooray! I recently tried the Lace Tanga pattern, but they gave me a super-wedgie. Can't wait to try out your pattern. Thanks!

Katrina said...

Zo, where do you go for FOE in the UK???

Maculloch & Wallis had some and a lot of picot colors, but it's pretty pricey and selling out fast! Where do you find yours?

Can't wait to try this pattern!

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to make these! Thank you so much for sharing!

Heather Rodman said...

Thank you so much for the pattern! First time to your blog- can't wait to explore. Happy holidays!

Beth said...

Thank you for sharing this! I've really wanted to try making my own undies for a while now.

Anonymous said...

Hi. I couldn't download the free pattern...

Elizabeth said...

Sheeyoute! I really wanted to try this out but the pattern isn't in my size. It's not too hard to shrink a pattern, but maybe I'll just take apart some old undies I no longer want! Thanks for the ideas and guide on what kind of elastic and stitches to use! :)

Josephine Callaghan said...

Thanks, my pants worked out great! Ended up using the size below my usual as I was using very streeeetchy lycra but otherwise no adjustments needed.

Jvonne Je said...


Sara said...

Been meaning to download and give this a pattern for ages! Hope you enjoy the coffee, thank you for all the hard work that went into making it!

Mark Lee said...

Great information provided. I appreciate your work. I like the way you write. Awesome, keep it up.

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Eliezel Ilano said...

I love it! Excellent article. I think it could also be useful for everyone to know how and where to merge documents online. So here is my saving grace: AltoMerge helped me to merge and manage files order. Just try it http://www.altomerge.com/ and also here PDFfiller.com, you'll love it.

Anonymous said...

Spot on with this article, I really think this website needs more attention.  I'll probably be back to read more, thanks for the info.
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Noelle White said...

:) Thanks for sharing your hard work. I have tons of contact allergies. I'd rather pull my tounge out than go shopping but, I love to sew! I've been playing around with this. I've gotten them down to where they look nice and bulk-free. I've just got to work on the sizing thing. It'sjust my perception is off. This helps me alot! Your directions are prefect.
(((((((Big hugs))))))

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Great blog you have here - market is very slow - Hopefully things will begin picking back up
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I like your post & I will always be coming frequently to read more of your post. Thank you very much for your post once more.
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Anonymous said...

What width of fold over elastic do you use? Jo

M RAZA ABBAS said...

It’s actually a cool and helpful piece of info. I’m happy that you shared this useful information with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.plak beha

unknow said...

I really enjoyed your blog Thanks for sharing such an informative post.
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