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Jul 4, 2013

How I Spent July 4th Sewing Underwear or "Let Me Be Brief"



Readers, today is a national holiday in the United States.  Traditionally, people go to the beach, attend outdoor barbecues, and watch fireworks displays.

Never one to follow the crowd, I spent my July 4th making underwear. 

As you know, I recently purchased Jalie 3242, a new release; I don't think anyone has even reviewed it yet on Pattern Review -- please don't try to beat me to it!   It makes three kinds of women's underwear (thong included) and three kinds of men's -- low rise briefs, trunks, and a jockstrap, in twenty-nine different sizes (!).



For my first attempt at this pattern, I decided to make the briefs.  I wasn't too sure what size to trace -- so much depends on the stretchiness of the fabric, but I chose size "Z" -- which corresponds to a 32" waist.

First I traced my pattern pieces with yellow tracing paper.  There are only three pieces: the main piece (comprising back and sides), the pouch (double-layered) and the covered elastic leg bindings.  I had to focus carefully on the size I was tracing since there were so many intersecting lines so close together.





After I cut my pattern pieces, I proceeded to cut my fabric, which I'd laundered this morning.  No pressing at all in this project.



It all went together in a straightforward fashion.  A big thank you to those of you who told me to download the instructions off the Jalie website so I wouldn't have to have the huge pattern paper open the whole time (the instructions are printed on the pattern itself).  I did just that.

There are no exposed seams between the side/back piece and the pouch, which I like a lot.  It took the most time to attach the elastic to the leg bindings, and then to attach the bindings to the leg openings.  (It goes on like double-folded bias strips.)







The pattern has you topstitch the leg binding with a zigzag stitch, but given the minimal amount of stretch needed for the leg openings, I could have used a straight stitch and had a more professional-looking finish.  Since I used gray thread on a heathered gray fabric, you really don't see the zigzag much.



The waistband is just a strip of black waistband elastic, 1 1/2" wide.  (The elastic in the leg binding is 3/8".)  Pretty much all the seam allowances on this pattern are just 1/4" so there's not a lot of trimming needed (I did trim a bit on the leg binding seam allowance to reduce bulk.).

I lapped the edges of the black elastic over each other and sewed a satin stitch over the raw edge on each side so it's all smooth and finished.



The waistband is attached by lapping the wrong side of the elastic over the top edge of the right side of the briefs at 1/4" and zigzagging. Since I used black thread on black elastic, the stitches don't really show.
 

OK, it's time for the big reveal -- there's not much more TO reveal, actually.  I hope my attempts at sucking it in aren't too obvious.





Overall, the fit is excellent; I have no complaints. The way the pattern is drafted, the straight lines are horizontal along the backside, but they angle a bit toward the front pouch. I would have preferred horizontal stripes in front too but that's the pattern.





I will definitely wear these briefs: they're very comfortable and they're fun -- well, fun for briefs.  I think the gray mixed with the red stripe is a nice touch, otherwise there's not a whole lot going on here.   Considering this was really a practice run, I'm pleased they fit so well.   

Curiously, this morning I set my serger up specifically for this project but I never used it -- I did the whole thing on my Bernina.  I'm not really sure what I could have serged here -- the narrow elastic to the leg binding, I suppose.

Friends, that's all for today.

For those of you celebrating July 4th, I wish you a safe and happy holiday.  Everybody else, Are you ready to make briefs?!

BTW, would any of you be interested in a knit briefs sew-along?  Let me know!

29 comments:

  1. I think you should consider a brief concession at the beach this summer. These are darling! Everyone would want them.

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  2. in honor (see, I even used US spelling!) of the holiday, you should have used blue starry fabric for the front bit.

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  3. Someone has been working out. ;) Nice briefs. Do you think the waist elastic could be encased in fabric? My better half HATES having elastic touching his skin. It makes him get a rash. And his unmentionables are almost ready for sainthood they are so "holy".

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    1. Absolutely -- you could make a casing of some sort to cover it for sure.

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    2. You could actually not use elastic, just use Jersey or spandex for the waistband. in the underwear I design and make,I use the elasticity of knits themselves. far more comfortable.https://www.facebook.com/pages/Llewellyn/162314823820?ref=ts&fref=ts

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  4. Hubba Hubba! nice gams!
    I'd be all over a brief-a-long, sounds like fun! I've been disenchanted with the underwear I've bought lately, really poorly cut, it rides up in the back and then the front gets too loose and ... well, not everything stays where it should. The compensation is that it has a picture of Darth Vader on the front.

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  5. I was equally scantily clad this Independence Day, but opted to post only my Jessica Rabbit version of the day http://appliqueaddict.blogspot.com/2013/07/jessica-rabbit-moment.html

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  6. You have obviously just been looking for an excuse to post semi-naked photos on teh interwebz :)

    As I was typing this I realised I was humming "Losing My Religion" - I guess there's something Michael Stipe-ish about you.

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  7. ;-) Shoving over some Vanille-Kipferls (= almond crescends) to fill the top over the undie - just as well good for use as a 'budgie-smuggler' - a bit more. ;-)

    Never mind Peter, thanks for sharing the know how skills, despite being considered 'too skinny' = have to talk to Michael ;-)

    LG, G.

    (dashing away fast ;-) )



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  8. Wow--those look great! I'll have to try and get my hands on the pattern. And I'd love a sew-a-long!

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  9. Count me in for a knit briefs sewalong! I have a ton of knit fabric in my stash And though I've done all your past sewalongs, I've never done one "live" before.

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  10. They look very comfy and well-fitting. Exactly what kind of needle and thread did you use? Ever use wooly nylon in the bobbin?

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    1. I used a regular Organ needle -- size 11 I think -- and regular poly thread. Never used wooly nylon!

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  11. Lookin' good, P! Underwear is one of those things I've never sewn because it's so cheap and plentiful. It would be fun to customize, though! Happy 4th!

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  12. Ah knickers! I'm sewing my own knickers at the moment as an exercise in thrift...completely mucked the stitching of a black knit dress and am now turning the fabric into several pairs of comfortable Bridgette Jones style granny knickers. I shan't be modelling them on the internet anytime soon...you could navigate your way to Basingstoke using the stretch marks on my mummy tummy!

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  13. I would definitely consider making my boyfriend a few pairs of these - he is up for wearing fun prints on his undies. Only problem is I can't find decent cotton jersey in my town, it's all polyester and rayon.

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    1. Try girlcharlee.com. And no, I don't work there!

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  14. Since I only wear boxers I asked my son if he would like a pair if I participated in a sew-along. He responded that I might reflect on the potential headlines - gay man forces son to model skimpy underwear for sew-along. So it looks like I will be missing the opportunity should it arise. However as a barely related side note, regarding the exposed zig-zag stitch. . . I just saw a hot off the press, Armani suit jacket with a plain old zig-zag top stitch all along the collar and down the back center seam. Maybe zig-zag is in line for a "professional" face lift.

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  15. I've taken the boyfriend shopping for new boxers recently and left without anything that he liked, so I'd love to make him something that f-ing fits and doesn't have holes!

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  16. Those turned out really well. I thought this pattern would be nice if I want to make the sils or the 4 grandsons some underwear. They think it is so cool I make cotton boxers now so I thought I'd try this pattern in knits. I am so pleased you are showing the close up shots of the construction phases.If the zig zag is something that bothers you ( it looks fine to me) just crank it down to almost a straight stitch and you get the look of the ss and still have the zz advantage. They told us once in a lingerie class to do this. It's really great that you are sewing such nice menswear. I have made shirts and a few sport coats at various times but until your blog had not made boxers. I look forward to trying this pattern after seeing how successful you were with the very first pair and I like that Jalie has so many sizes included in the one envelope-nice with grandsons in all sizes and growing.

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  17. Hello Peter,
    Nice work! Have you considered twin needling the leg holes of your next pair instead of zig zag?
    Love, LizzyDizzy

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  18. Your pants look nice! Great fit!

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  19. I just made myself some panties, too. One thing I liked was that there was no pressing and the whole thing could be accomplished without the need to ever stand up. Good after a long day on my feet!!
    I did use the serger to attach the elastic at the waist, but a zigzag for the elastic at the legs.
    Its a great way to use knit scraps up!

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  20. These look great, and way more fun than boring tighty-whities! I've never used a Jalie pattern before, but I'm impressed that so many styles and sizes are included in one pattern.

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  21. Cute!

    I'd be up for a sew along, though I usually wear knit boxer briefs. I'm well into year 2 of my not-buying-clothes challenge, and I can tell you my undies are in a sorry state. Some of them are more like a little ragged skirt at this point; probably more useful as a symbolic gesture than for any functional purpose. Plus I need something under there, what with all the holes in my pants! I've been meaning to sew something in the underwear department, perhaps a sew along would push me over the edge to actually trying it.

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  22. Did someone say Sew Along?! I love would love that! I also spent my 4th sewing, no briefs for me but a dress for my daughter. Our weather in Indiana was terrible so I didn't really miss anything and quite frankly I would rather be sewing. Great job. A few weeks ago I worked on a swimsuit top and could have used the insight you gave today. By the way, love the little skull heads! Nice heads up!

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  23. I usually don't wear briefs, but I'd totally be in for a briefs sew-along!

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  24. Oops, I goofed. I thought the newest ones were the briefs but see now those are the boxer briefs. These are the briefs. Boxer briefs are my favorite, but both styles look good on you.

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