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Mar 5, 2013

Peter Models the 1940's McCall's Boxers or "Back in My Underwear"



OK, do these boxers make my a** look big?

Yes, and I love that about them!

After a marathon morning of sewing on my Singer 15-91, I finished my French yoked boxers, made from McCall's 4474, which I have learned is from 1941.  Seventy-two-year-old underwear, people.

Hope you vegetarians aren't offended by a little beefcake.





I think Michael finds these more amusing than sexy, but what does he know?



I love these boxers and they're extremely comfy.  I haven't tried putting pants on over them yet; one thing at a time.  The only alteration I made was to take 2" off the rise, front and back.  As you can see, they go up to my navel, but no higher.



My fabric is a beautiful gray shirting that arrived in my twenty pound gift box from MPB reader Babe.  It's perfect for a project like this: super soft and appropriately conservative.

These boxers are complicated to put together.  I was fortunate that I had my Simplicity boxers to refer to since they're nearly identical in construction.  The instructions are dense and a little hard to follow, frankly.  While the illustrations are excellent, there's an awful lot of information crammed into half a page -- very typical of vintage pattern instructions.





Some details:  the waistband.



The vertical slit that the right side of the waistband passes through is a little too narrow, hence the bunching (below).  Next time I'll have to make the slit wider or make the bands a little narrower.  My largest buttonhole template is 1 1/16"; perhaps next time I'll try my old Singer buttonholer that doesn't use templates.



This is the center back; as you can see, the boxers are adjustable and there's no elastic.  As a result, they're extremely comfortable in the waist.



Here's the buttoned front yoke:





Boxers like these are ideal for a man with a "prominent seat."  Notice that the Simplicity boxers I made a few years ago have a separate seat panel -- still common in men's boxers today -- while my McCall's has a single center back seam and lots of gathers.







Next, I want to make the woven undershirt, which should be much easier.

In closing, readers, have I sold you on making vintage men's undershorts -- or scared you away?  Do you --

1.  Love 'em.

2.  Hate 'em.

3. Plead the Fifth.

Have a great day, everybody!

39 comments:

  1. LOL....They're a riot! But hey, if they're comfy and Michael doesn't bust a gut when you wear them around the house...enjoy them!

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  2. Beefcake is always on the MENu.

    Babe did you proud!!

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  3. Those look great! You did an awesome job.

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  4. I gotta say, I'm diggin' them.

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  5. SOLD! Love em. Gathers are great and your top-stitching is, as always, first rate.

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  6. Brooks Brothers used to carry similar (within the last 20 years), with a tie adjustment in the back instead of the buttons.

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    1. They still sell French back boxers:

      http://www.brooksbrothers.com/French-Back-Boxers/009B,default,pd.html?dwvar_009B_Color=BLUE&contentpos=91&cgid=0226

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  7. OMG! IVE ALWAYS WANTED SOME LIKE THAT. I hope I get good at sewing and can make some.

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  8. Great details. Not sure if they would be comfy as undergarments?

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  9. I think they look fabulous! and I love all the construction details--so much more beautiful than elastic and knit briefs.

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  10. Alex in CaliforniaMarch 5, 2013 at 5:11 PM

    I like them. I would wear them to sleep in with a t-shirt.

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  11. "Hate" is too strong a word, but not loving the look either. The diaper-effect backside just doesn't have any visual appeal--to me, anyway. But, to each his/her own.

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  12. I don't like the buttons. They look like pants for someone who wears a diaper and has incontinence problems. Now, if they didn't have the buttons then I could probably go for them.

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  13. I have to say, they make me think of something that might be part of the required dress code in a mental institution. But thank goodness we don't all like the same things. How boring would that be.

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  14. Just love them. I love the buttons. You could even use mother of pearl. I collect buttons, for re-use. The back is roomy so sitting is easier. I did have a pair of men's boxers with a seat like that, aqua with lime dragonflies. I am a woman, and thought they were terrific. Beats drafts in winter when wearing a thong outside. Great sewing, and topstitching. I also have searched for years for comfortable walking shorts, and have some patterns like this, one from Esprit . Of course, with a different back. Lowering the rise did it. Cathie, in Quebec.

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  15. Beautifully done!
    I'll bet you could add a piece of elastic to the underlap adjustment strap, to get a bit of stretch.

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  16. I love them. Beautifully executed. The pale grey is elegant. Brooks Brothers only sold them in white, so Republican. I'd love to see them in
    pale blue or stripes. Lavender? I want to know how they feel under trousers. Is that fly wide enough for easy access when nature urgently calls.

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  17. Impeccable stitching and i'm jealus of the beautiful detailing. However they look like a tent for your rear so i'm going with #2. You could hide a monkey tail in all that fabric. Btw, Micheal's expression reminds me of those "dat @$$" memes. I literally laughed out loud.

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  18. I think they are incredibly cute! I'd whip up a few for my Wally if he so desired!

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  19. OF COURSE they'd have to be baggy in the back...this was PRE-stretch fabrics, don't forget! If they didn't fit like this you probably wouldn't be able to sit down in them AT ALL.

    People tend to forget what it was like not to have 'stretch fabric" to hand; that sort of thing, like electricity, is a relatively RECENT innovation in the history of fabric which stretches back [sic] THOUSANDS of years! There was only "knitted" fabric for stretch, and while it 'stretched', the "spring-back-into-shape" wasn't all that great!

    "Elastic" as such dates back only to VICTORIAN times, and "Lycra" dates back only to the 40s or 50s. So have mercy on these poor antique-style shorts and their baggy back; they probably fit PERFECTLY under the pants styles of the day!

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  20. I'm really wondering if they don't just feel a bit breezy. I like them though. Is the male version of tap undies. I was going to say *panties* but its one of those words that makes me gag a little.

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  21. Love 'em. They're a lot classier than what's out there now.

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  22. Love it! I will look sexier and more comfortable wearing that vintage design of boxer short. I will give you two thumbs on your creativity.

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  23. I love them. very vintage-y. I think it's very flattering to your physique-----actually thought you were showing a model's torso in yesterday's photo until I realized it was you....show's off those stomach muscles so nicely.

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  24. I like the idea and I might try the pattern in a light cotton knit or light flannel. That would be so cool.

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  25. I think they're cool but I suspect they will bunch up under a pair of modern pants, I suspect they are meant to be worn with the pleated trousers men wore in the past

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  26. Hi, I've been a reader for ages but have yet to comment (also, being a techno-boob, not sure how to leave comments - sorry for anon - real name Ron. I really do exist and really do read you). Anywho, I've been working on pattern 1960 and have been tweeking it. And since I'm switching to self made slacks this year, I think I'll be pretty successful. I think these older style boxers have a very cool aura to them.

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  27. I like them in theory. This particular pair could use a few less gathers in back, IHMO. Not so few you can't move, but definitely less than these have.

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  28. I love them! What style and detail just for underwear! They are so much more sophisticated than jockeys.

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  29. numero uno, and i think they would be hot in stripes as beachwear... seriously...

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  30. They remind me of what my father (b. 1927) wore. I remember from the 1970s how much he hated the "new-fangled" boxers because they didn't have buttons on the waist and fly. He had to mail-order the kind he wanted; maybe it was Brooks Brothers.

    As much as I love you, Peter, I think I love Michael more. The expression on his face when you have your behind turned towards him is priceless.

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  31. I love Michael's reaction. I have to wonder about the comfort factor as worn under pants. By themselves, they are great!

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  32. I think they could be shorts - but shoving all that fabric in a pair of pants? All I can imagine is the clumping and clinging going on - and after an hour firing them for insubordination.
    That being said - the waistband is really cool and as an overall look pretty nice - by themselves. Maybe as sleepwear...

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