Readers, I'm finished! I now have a lovely new pair of men's cotton boxers.
I attached the elastic early this morning and it went in (on?) without a hitch. I like the sport elastic I used a lot. I'd purchased a 25 yd. roll on Amazon — the brand is Stretchrite — and it's very lightweight and soft to the touch.
The elastic used on the Jockey boxers is something entirely different. It looks like a band of thin rubber encased in a soft knit.
Anyway, I measured my elastic (the degree of snugness is a matter of personal taste) and stitched the ends together at roughly 1/2", then finger pressed the seam open. I folded the top of the boxers down roughly 1/2" and ironed the edge flat. Rather than pin my elastic into my boxers (first dividing it into quarters), I stitched it vertically — that way I didn't have to worry about pins coming loose.
Then I just stitched the elastic down along the edges and in the channels — five rows total. After experimenting with straight stitches and narrow zigzags, I decided to use the zigzag — the elastic remains nearly as stretchy as it was on the roll, which is great. As far as the way the zigzag looks on a waistband (I'm usually not crazy about it — Becky Home-ecky), my zigzag is so narrow that you can barely tell it's a zigzag at all.
Since the elastic was already stitched down at those four points, I didn't have to worry about pins coming out when I pulled the elastic taut as I stitched it to the fabric.
So, having finished this pair — my first in a year -- here are some things I would do differently next time:
1) The pattern is designed to have 3/8" seam allowances for some reason. I'd widen these to 5/8" where the two sides come together under the fly, and where front and back are joined. A wider seam makes nicer looking flat-felled seams, imo.
2) I mistakenly made the flat-felled seam under the fly so it falls on the right front side instead of the left. It's a minor point, but it should end up on the left, so the topstitching on the seam runs right up into the left fly topstitching.
It also really should be made with the flat-felled seam on the wrong side of the fabric (like on a shirt) rather than on the outside (like on jeans) — again, a minor point, but if the seam is on the inside, the top of the seam (admittedly nearly invisible) won't be exposed.
3) I ended up needing to cut 1" off the top of the boxers so the rise wouldn't be quite so deep; I should have made the change to my pattern a long time ago.
4) Since the bias tape must also encase the side seams, you cannot attach the bias tape on the wrong side first and fold it over to the front. It must be attached from the front (right) side and folded over onto the wrong side (otherwise known as the inside). So if you're making your own bias tape, you might want to make the folded over edge a little wider, so it's easily caught when you "stitch in the ditch" from the outside. Does that make sense?
Alternatively, you can just edgestitch on the bias tape, which should easily catch the underside.
5) Finally, I left about 1/4" fabric visible above the elastic on the inside of the waistband. Next time I'd leave just 1/8" for a more RTW look.
I guess I really should make another pair of these while this is all fresh in my mind. I hope this has been helpful for some of you — and thanks for your many suggestions, too.
I'm a native New Yorker and sewing fanatic! I started sewing in 2009 and today make all my own clothes using vintage sewing machines and vintage patterns, in addition to sewing for private clients. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!