Many people today have become disillusioned by the “fast fashion” industry. There are environmental concerns as well as ethical concerns about an industry that creates inexpensive clothes that are considered “disposable”. These concerns have encouraged many people to consider the values of the stores at which they shop. Many people, if they are able, are investing in higher quality clothes that will last longer. These concerns have also led some to shop at thrift stores in order to opt out of the “fast fashion” cycle. However, one category of clothing that may be less practical to purchase from the thrift store is undergarments. Although they may be perfectly clean, some people can’t wrap their head around wearing underwear that someone else has worn. If you are one of those people, you may want to learn how to sew your own!
I’ve enjoyed making underwear for years, not just for environmental or ethical reasons, but also because it’s super fun and you can customize the materials so your undies are of high quality and completely unique to you!
Before we get into the techniques, let’s talk about supplies. I used Jalie Pattern 3242. It’s a great value with multiple styles for the whole family ranging from children’s to adult’s sizes. I selected a nice, heathery blue shade in Fabricana’s high quality organic cotton knit with 5% spandex. Some high quality contrast elastic and matching thread round out the supply list.
There are simply two pattern pieces for the boxer briefs; the main back piece that wraps to the front and the pouch piece. I cut one of the main pieces on the fold and 4 of the front pouch pieces – two for the outside and two for the lining.
The next step was to connect the pouch to the main piece on one side. Because this is a curved seam, I basted this seam first and then serged it (option 2: you can stitch the seam with a stretch stitch on your sewing machine). I then repeated the same process on the other side.
The first thing I did was stitch the centre seam of the pouch pieces. I layered two pieces (face in) on top of the other two pieces (face in) and stitched through all four layers with a stretch stitch down the centre front seam. Then I pressed the top layer and the bottom layer to the left creating the lined pouch.
I then topstitched the seam allowances toward the body of the briefs (i.e. away from the pouch) to keep the seams nice and flat. At this point they’re starting to look a little more like boxer briefs (but extremely breezy!).
The inseam is a little finicky, so I basted this seam first and then serged.
For added comfort (optional) I topstitched the seam allowance of the inseam toward the back of the briefs.
Fabrics like this tend to want to curl up on the edges. To keep it from curling too badly, I serged the edge of the leg openings.
I stitched the hem from the inside using a zigzag stitch for maximum stretch. I didn’t mark the depth of the hem, but simply used the presser foot and the throat plate as a guide (the throat plate is the metal surface with the seam allowances marked).
Okay. We’re almost finished, but we’re missing a crucial element – the waistband! I selected a nice soft, wide elastic and cut it to the size specified by the pattern.
I then stitched the ends together in a manner that enclosed all of the raw edges for maximum comfort and durability.
I then stitched the waistband to the top of the briefs, easing it in evenly around the waist, and using a ¼” zigzag stitch. I then pressed the seam allowance down toward the briefs and used the same zigzag to topstitch the seam allowance in place. Voila! We have finished our new undies. What you can’t see from this article, is that I actually made three pair at the same time. I figured, as long as I had the machine set up for this colour, I should make the most of it; you can never have too much underwear!