Friday, August 19, 2011


Why do you sew? In my conversations with people who sew, I conclude that there are (basically) four reasons. Some of us sew for a combination of these reasons, some for only one.

1. Creative expression.

2. Fit. Customizing the way the garment feels and or looks so that it is comfortable and flattering (although overfitting can result in very unflattering garments, but let's keep this simple for now.)

3. Style. Getting exactly what we want in the fabric, color, length, and so on.

4. Cost. We can make great quality things for a fraction of the cost of ready to wear. I'm not talking about competing with Target, folks. I'm talking about going into Neiman Marcus, seeing what's there, and making something that's similar for a fraction of the cost.


have been sewn entirely for the "fit" reason. These bikini underwear are not very exciting, but they're functional. They're made from powerdry (a Malden Mills product), which sews pretty much like tricot. I made several underwear from black powerdry a long time ago, and they're still going strong. I use them for hiking and kayaking. They work for me because they do not ride up. I find that most purchased underwear rides up, and I hate that. The reason for the ride up is that the elastic is never tight enough around my upper thigh. I guess my butt-to-thigh ratio is higher than the normal person's, so ready to wear underwear is not built for me. To get enough fabric to cover my butt, but to make the elastic tight enough to ride up is only something I can do by sewing the underwear (or buying the brand, "Jockey for Her").

So, I wanted more underwear but I did not want to make it. Normally, I don't like sewing basic things because it's not very exciting. So, before Nick and I left for a backcountry hiking trip to the Sierra Nevada mountains, in California, I bought several pairs of 'antimicrobial' and wicking underwear. I REALLY did not want to have to make underwear for myself. I spent a pretty penny, too. Over $20 for each pair of underwear. I had high hopes. But after wearing them for two hours, it was no go for those babies. So on the hiking trip, I just wore my usual older black power dry ones that I made a long time ago.

When I returned, I knocked out a few new pair, using white, and some lavender elastic I had on hand. I used a pattern which comes with this book, "Stretch and Sew Guide to Sewing on Knits", which I've had and used since the 1990's. If you ignore the styles, which are outdated (unless you're looking for a "Big 80's" theme), it's quite an instructive book. It gives lots of ideas and options for creating knitwear. I recommend it.

The pattern in the book is for waist high underwear. I took off the top three inches at the waistline and created bikinis.

It looks like from now on, I ignore the hope that beats strongly in my heart that the undies in the store will fit, ignore the tempting undie offerings at REI, and make my own power dry creations, boring or not!


Marie-Christine said...

I too have spent too much for quick-dry undies at REI that mostly saw use inside a pack. Not worth it. Check out Jalie when you're tired to the 80s theme. Excellent fit, no riding up anywhere, and current styles. All that in 25 sizes :-). Seriously, I find KwikSew not to be as good for people with -ahem- butt challenges, but Jalie is as good on fit as Stretch and Sew was.

Barbara said...

New bought undies are usually ill fitting on me and it shows. They do not feel good and the lines are visible on the clothes. That's why I traced my own pattern based on a pair of streched out most loved undies. So comfy!

Lisette M said...

I too resist making basics, lately I have been having a hard time finding panties that fit well, I might have to join you in the dark side ;-)

Moonwishes said...

I may have to try making my own also. Although I bought some of what I thought were the same as I had bought several years before, the panties that came not only didn't fit right, but for 'no ride up' panties they had at least an inch of space in the leg hole that didn't even touch skin. Most uncomfortable. I hate wasting money plus the shipping to keep trying out different kinds, so making them myself will be a big possiblity since you make it sound so easy.