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Nov 17, 2012

Let's Make Boxers (Again)!

Friends, it's time once again to make boxers -- the perfect holiday gift for you or the man in your life, by the way!

I'm using one of my favorite men's underwear patterns, vintage McCall's 3438 (someday I'm make the knit brief, View B, but not now).

Here's the style I want to make, View D, with the contrasting trim.

And here's my fabric, a good quality cotton gingham I picked up a long time ago at Metro Textiles.  I thought I'd want to make a shirt out of it but I really don't.

I used McCalls 3438 last year for my Men's Boxers Sew-Along, but this time I've decided to make a few minor changes.  I really liked the striped boxers I made (below), but I noticed that the right front fly (which is overlapped by the left front fly) was a little shallow.  

In the pattern, the two front sides are cut from the same pattern piece, but in reality, the right front's fly shield extension needs to be about 1" longer.  This helps to -- ahem -- keep things from slipping out when you don't want them to.

I sacrificed an old pair of cotton/poly Jockey boxers to see if both left and right front pieces were identical, and sure enough they are not: the right front fly shield extends twice as far, so that it can be folded back and stitched and still be deep enough to be completely covered by the left front fly shield.  I'll explain more about this on my next post.

I'm also using, for the first time, the special sports elastic I bought on Amazon a few months back.  This will (or should) allow me to stitch horizontally across the waistband with the elastic held taut, and have the elastic spring back completely.

In the pair I made for the Sew-Along, my elastic never quite sprung back all the way.  This gave the waistband a slightly stretched out feel.  They looked nice from the outside but I'd have liked them slightly snugger.

You can see that the elastic Jockey uses is similar to my sports elastic, with channels you're supposed to stitch between.

I'm excited to see how all this turns out!

OK, I'm off to work on my boxers and I hope you're busy on your projects too -- that way I won't feel like such a weirdo sewing on this gorgeous sunny Saturday.

Have a great day, everybody!  Any boxers in your future?


  1. That looks like a great idea! I've been toying with the idea of making my own girdle and garter belts. I love both or these items but good one are SO overpriced and usually not in my size. Can't wait to see the finished product.

  2. Peter, sorry for a personal question, but do you have a non-sewing job? You sew so much that I amazed that you have the time! I am envious.

    Blondie in yellow on that envelope is HOT.

  3. Obviously the pattern was made for lesser men... ;-)

  4. Funny you should post this: I just bought two lengths of soft t-shirt fabric to make hubby a couple more pairs of boxers! I am using the Kwik Sew boxer pattern I picked up out of the bargain was the one sized for boys but the biggest size plus a couple of inches added on makes it suitable for him... I might address this fly problem, though; it seems to me that he in fact suffers from 'fall-out" with the other pairs I have already made...thanks for the fly construction "heads-up"! [sic]

  5. This is so cool! I love that you're making your own boxers! I haven't sewed today but I'm planning to tomorrow so you're not on your own!

  6. Over a year ago I made my husband some boxers using the pattern from Diana Rupp's SEW Everything book. They have ended up being his favorite. Unlike a lot of his dept. store undies, the elastic has not crumpled up. I really need to be nice and make him some more.

  7. As to that sports elastic. Wrap it around your waist where you will be using it. Subtract 1 to 2 inches and cut. (This should make the elastic snug enough for wearing.) Stitch together using a 1/2" to 5/8" seam allowance. Open up seam. Divide circle into quarters and mark with a pin or disappearing marker. Match these marks to seam lines. (I put the seam at the back of the garment.) Stretch and stitch in "channels" between quarter section Repeat in each of the channels.

    I used this elastic on many a set of shorts for my children when they were little. I was so much happier with its performance and look.

  8. No boxers but I spent 7 hours of this sunny day making my first pair of jeans...7 hours in and maybe half way done?

  9. So funny -- I was just cutting an apron/dress out of the same fabric from Metro this afternoon -- I have yardage in case you need a smidge ....

  10. Sewing zig-zag stitches on the elasticized waistband will make the elastic spring back to shape. Trust me.

    The straight stitches that you see on your older used shorts's waistband are actually chain stitches. Chain stitches are used for areas of a garment that need to stretch.

    The thread used for these chain stitches may very well be fine elastic thread.

    But I seriously recommend sewing zig-zag stitches on your short's waistband because it may be quicker for you to do it this way. I hope this helps! :)

  11. I would LOVE to make some boxers (or briefs, as I think he prefers) for the man in my life. Do you have any recommendations for in-print patterns for male undergarments???

    1. I mention at least one here, in a post from last year's boxers sew-along, plus a few others that are OOP but easy to find on Etsy and eBay:


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