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Jul 18, 2013

Welcome to Waddersville + Y-Front Briefs: YEA or NAY?



Readers, I am fortunate that most of the clothes I sew turn out to be wearable garments.   Most.

Today I thought I'd experiment making Y-front briefs -- something I've never tried before.  I had all that knit fabric left over and McCalls 3438, my favorite vintage underwear pattern, which includes Y-fronts (view B, lower left hand corner).



Even though the color is vaguely orthopedic, I decided to use the solid stretch knit left over from Michael's rayon tee shirt project.  It has a lot more lycra in it than underwear I generally wear, but it was there and I was game.



But wait -- before I get into this project, could somebody please explain to me what the point of Y-fronts is?  I mean, I know what that little opening is meant for, but I have NEVER heard of anybody using it that way.  (Men don't talk about underwear much with each other.)  It's so much easier to just pull down your waistband and do what you have to do.  Or am I doing it wrong?

Seriously, guys, do you ever pull anything through that little Y-front opening?



The McCall's 3438 Y-front pattern is pretty accurate, even though it calls for a waistband casing rather than having you attach the exposed elastic (like the Jalie pattern I made recently).

I got off to a pretty good start.







But then I screwed up something that should have been a no-brainer -- the leg binding and binding elastic.  I should have just followed the Jalie instructions; they were much easier.  I tried using some sort of stretch blind hem stitch and it looked terrible.



 I could have left it as-is, but no: I insisted on trying to rip out all the tiny stitches in the binding.  Big mistake.



This underwear would have been ugly in the best of circumstances and with all that lycra, too hot to wear anytime soon.  Still, I hate to make wadders.  I spent too long trying to make something I wasn't really that excited about in the first place -- rarely a good idea.

In closing, is Y-front style underwear the proverbial solution in search of a problem?

If you don't wear men's underwear yourself, please ask somebody you know who does.  Tell them it's to answer the question --

Y-front briefs: YEA or NAY?

Have a great day, everybody!

30 comments:

  1. Umm, no. Briefs: yes, but Y-fronts - what's the point? I've tried to use the opening but it felt as if I was about do do some serious injury... I mean you have to be a contortionist!!
    Sloggi Easy horizontal opening briefs are a much better, logical option. Trust the Austrians to use anatomical logic & get it right!
    Look them up but I doubt there's a pattern to DIY.
    Those y-fronts... just chuck 'em. Nice try, though!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I learn a little something from nearly every blog entry. I found this article after searching for Sloggi briefs. "5 Reasons the Horizontal Fly is Totally Fly", by Michael Kleinmann. I never knew the differences/styles men's briefs were as comparable to the differences/styles of women's brassieres.
      I suppose the type of brief a man would wear would depend if he tucks, or not his member. My DH finds retrieving undesirable. He prefers to pull down. Plus I think his tushy looks sexy in his low-rise briefs.

      Delete
  2. Peter,I was curious about this a while ago. My husband agrees with you that it is easier to use the waistband. But... I have 2 brothers and a dad and I seem to remember them using the Y hole for its intended purpose. Neither of my brothers is handy to ask at the moment. I think the color of the fabric would be unacceptable for underwear. I would assume this was a "muslin" and not a wearable one.

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  3. I believe the y front is to give the user ease in the crotch when wearing it, it's not for easy access.

    ReplyDelete
  4. OMG, I snorted my tea when I saw what you were using for pattern weights.

    Sorry I have no opinion or knowledge of or about men's undies.

    still giggling......

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm missing something, what's the joke with the pattern weights

      Delete
    2. They're vintage glass paperweights.

      Delete
    3. ElleC
      Good to see I'm not the only one giggling. You may not know much about men's undies but you seem to have a fairly good grasp about what's in 'em.
      Yea, I meant that.

      Delete
    4. Too funny people. That was my first thought too, balls.

      BTW my husband never used the opening. It never occurred to me that anyone would use it. My current man says he does use it but I think he is doing it wrong.

      Delete
  5. Peter I asked my husband and teenage son. They don't use the opening.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I have to agree with Audrey that the Y front is for ease purposes, not ease-of-use purposes. I asked my husband, and I will quote is rather crude but succinct response, "No, man, no one uses the d--k hole." (Since you asked. . .)

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  7. IF the Y-front weren't for pulling yourself through, why is there a hole there ? However, I've always pulled the waist-band down. There are a number of guys at work who drop their trousers so as to do the same thing in the men's room.

    But I haven't touched a Y-front for about 25 years.
    Kudos for trying, Peter.
    -Babe

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  8. I recently decided to make my husband some boxers. He told me that he didn't need a fly as he doesn't use it. When I asked if other guys use it he said that guys don't talk about their underwear. Glad he likes the no fly option as making him boxers is very easy. I'm using the Kwik Sew boxer pattern which requires only two pieces. I say "only" because his RTW boxers have five pieces. Thanks Peter for enlightening me on the particulars of mens underwear.

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  9. My husband does wear y fronts but only when he works out on his spin bike.

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  10. I'd have to agree with Aubrey above. About a year ago, my husband switched to underwear without a hole and I was baffled and asked him how he was going to "get things done" without that hole! He then told me he always used waistbands and that he was under the impression the hole/y-fronts were there to prevent bunching and pinching.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hanes made a line of women's underwear that looked like men's but obviously proportioned for a female body. I absolutely loved them and am so glad that I obsessively bought them since they quit making the two styles. One was a "boy short" that looked like a shrunken boxer brief and the other was a bikini. Both had fake y-fronts and the wide elastic with the Hanes label in the front. I thought they were cute as hell and loved the fact that they were available in my "colors" black, white and grey.I guess they weren't that big a hit with the ladies since Hanes now makes just about every style in wild colors and patterns.
    Maybe making fake y fronts will be my winter project.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh my goodness I have those too, and they are positively ancient ( for underwear )! Now I feel like making some copies of them. I was sure I was the only woman who bought them. When I was still living at home, years ago, my brother saw me folding my laundry and was horrified that his sister was wearing "men's" underwear. LOL

      Delete
  12. Oh Peter! All I know is that I'm used to seeing your meticulously sewn, beautiful finished articles of clothing you make. So when I saw that sad little wonky pair of pathetic panties that I'm sure you struggled over so, I laughed so long that my son came in to see what was so funny. I feel your pain over having worked on them and having them be a bust! Oyvey!

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  13. Give them a decent (or indecent, if you prefer) burial. My husband stopped wearing these years ago and switched to boxer briefs. In fact, I was so impressed with the ones you made recently that I ordered the Jalie pattern and plan to surprise him with a few pair this weekend.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Consulted DH:
    He wore them as a child in Germany - but as an adult? NO WAY! "They squeeze everything." And...he would use the opening. "What kind of clown would pull down the underwear?" LOL! Back away from the wadder!

    ReplyDelete
  15. The only male in my house says "nay" to Y fronts, but claims that he uses the opening where one exists. He also uses the zip opening in trousers/jeans but says that some guys undo belt, zip, button etc and go that way.

    (He is also wondering what sorts of blogs I follow.)

    Your experiment looks like something I would have made. It's reassuring to know that you have the odd failure too.

    Spud.

    ReplyDelete
  16. It's a matter size. Sometimes (always for most men) the y-opening is an opportunity for calamity. Pouch front briefs to the rescue...

    ReplyDelete
  17. As an only child and with a father who apparently always went commando (insert shudder), I was oblivious to the ways of men's underwear until I married. I was curious about the ways of the cod piece and whatall. Upon asking my first husband about "how does that work exactly?" he replied, "I don't know. I always use the leg opening." So, there you have it.

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  18. PS: I just asked my current husband about them and he just cringed.

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  19. As a Y-front wearer of over 5 decades I’ve come to my own conclusion about over-the-waistband vs. through-the-opening. Hands down (pun intended) it’s easier to pull the waistband down. Most of the time I use this route. There’s one big exception. When I’m dressed for the office I wear a t-shirt and a dress shirt, both tucked in. They’re topped with trousers and a belt. Using the over-the waistband method inevitably leaves some combination of the shirt and/or t-shirt being bunched up at my waist. Correcting that means undoing the belt, unbuttoning the trousers, re-tucking, re-buttoning, and re-buckling. That’s a lot of work when I’m pressed for time racing from one meeting to another. So in the office, it’s through the opening. A little extra work in the process “up front” saves time at the end of the process. I may not use the fly opening all the time but I appreciate it when I need it.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Am coming up on my 30th wedding anniversary; the husband has worn this style of underwear the whole time. I have no idea how he manages the mechanics of it all--and no need to know.

    One thing I DO know: As I type, he's off to the mall to buy more underwear.

    ReplyDelete
  21. To those of you who have commented on men who use the fly front of trousers vs those who undo their belt, button and fly to drop their dacks at the loo, I have a story to tell (don't worry, it's short): First day for my daughter in high school, and she had to wear a skirt for her uniform (till then she'd always worn trousers or jazz pants to school, or when very young a tunic/dress). She came home and her skirt was wet and I asked why. She explained that the floor in the girls loos was wet, and the skirt got wet when she was sitting down.
    I had to explain to her that there was no need to drop her skirt, she could just flip it up and hold it above the waist! (Never occurred to me before that she might need instruction on this!)

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  22. DH tells me that back in the mists of time when he wore y fronts, he used the opening. /but he wouldn't be seen dead in them these days.
    I imagine that in the days when underwear went all the way up to the natural waist, the opening may have been useful. But in these days of the redefined male waistline being well below the navel, it is a surfeit of redundancy.
    Poor wadderwear. And poor you being defeated by the blasted things. I hope you'll see the funny side soon!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Pardon me for being a complete idiot on these matters (my husband is a plain boxers guy), but how is the Y front worse than the "traditional" style of briefs, which still has an opening on one side? I mean, the traditional briefs do indeed seem to have a bit of an "access port" in the side of the design.... (at least my son's toddler briefs do). Why bother with the "access port" at all in a traditional brief if it's hard enough to manage with the Y front, which seems to have significantly less fabric to fight one's way through to use the loo in the first place? Or is that hole there just for wishful thinking... as in, "hey, maybe I'll get REALLY lucky in the movie theater later tonight! Good thing I've got this little access hole so I don't have to risk getting caught with my pants down..." Could someone please explain the logic of this to me please?

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  24. Wife to husband: "Do you use the opening in your Y fronts?" Husband to wife: "Never, but there has to be a front opening or they're just panties."

    ReplyDelete

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