I have recently been reflecting on my sewing journey, and how since Me Made May I’ve found myself wearing more of my own hand made garments, and pondering on what I sew and why. I have sewn so many different pieces over the years including dresses (11 Anna’s at last count…) self drafted skirts, uniforms for a “classy” gentleman’s club (an experience I will never forget, oh my goodness those bewbs!), 50 hot pink rock’n’roll skirts in a poly that melted under my iron and the odd pair of pj’s for B1 and B2.
One thing I have never attempted is the intimates side of garment making. When I think about why, what jumps out is the fear of the unknown (I know, how scary are knickers!) and reluctance to pour energy into something that was potentially going to disappear into dark recesses of time/space with no chance of return. On a side note I choose to wear knickers, undies, or if I’m feeling particularly masculine, jockies. I cringe when I hear the “P” word and given that I can’t handle Nick Cave singing about getting fresh around a pair, I will never be a convert.
Knickers have always been one of those items that I’ve had difficulty fitting, having the bigger bottom and the smaller waist. For the last 7 years I’ve been a Bonds hipster girl, size 12. I’ve tried several fancier pants and even splashed out on a $50 pair in the hope that since they were stupendously expensive the leg elastic would stay on the right side of the cheek. Alas this was not the case, and they were so uncomfortable they ended up in land fill. I also tried the whale tailer once (also known by some of my friends as a G Banger. Really?!) and lasted half an hour before deciding that commando was a better option for me that night.
When I found Susan from Measure Twice Cut Once on Instagram with her sewalong #everyonedeservesprettyknickers, I thought that it might be an opportune time to add smalls to my collection of sewing accomplishments. I chose to make the Charlotte knickers which are a woven cut on the bias with elastic on the waist and leg openings. Using my favourite Liberty fabrics I was able squeeze two pairs out of half a meter. That works out to be around $10 a pair, with scraps left over for my Liberty hexagon quilt which at this point of time is said still scraps. Out of curiosity I did a little lurking on the Liberty website, and discovered they sell similar for around $46 Aus. So I consider that I’m actually making money by saving so much. This is one of the reasons my maths teacher loved me so much at high school.
When cut out and flat they look like lovely large pretty nana knickers and once the elastic is attached, they look slightly less large. This is of course is due to the fabric being a woven and not a stretchy, so for comparison this is my current Bonds v’s Charlotte.
I’m always skeptical about new knickers and their intentions when worn so for my first outing I used my traditional knickers (Charlotte)/tights (Wolford)/knickers (Bonds) combination and was frolicking around home with no issues. I then moved onto the more risky combo of just skirt and knickers (and top coverage of course!) where again everything stayed where it was supposed to. The ultimate test was wearing them under jeans which can lead to all sorts of complications and some seriously creative moves to delodge any wandering fabric. These knickers are so good that I actually forgot I was wearing me made knickers, queue Ned Flanders: “It’s like I’m wearing nothing it all…. nothing at all…. nothing at all”.
So they have passed all my rigorous tests and I am now endeavouring to replace all my Bonds with Charlottes. They did take a little getting used to as the fabric doesn’t cling to the skin as traditional lady knickers do, and initially I did feel as though there were two rotti’s in a sack riding in then back*. I imagine it may also be a little like a gentleman transitioning from briefs to boxers but the effect happening with the junk in the trunk not the tackle at the front**.
Next on my list of pretty things to make is the bra. I’ve been following Maddie’s foray into sewing intimates and will most likely begin with this pattern from Oh Lulu. I just received this bra (with matching knickers, for a treat. I dream of having matching underwear…) so I can study the construction (read: so I could have a pretty hand made bra to motivate me to make my own).
So here’s to pretty knickers for all! Visit Susan’s web page here for the Charlotte and other styles. You can also find a free pattern here which she generously made available when recently featured in Peppermint magazine.
* Imagine if you will two very over exuberant Rottweiler puppies in a sack (not coming to any harm of course, they are just hanging out with ample oxygen), which is also reflective of what it usually looks like when people wear leggings as pants which is unconstitutional.
** I think I would have made an excellent English/Health teacher given my love of non standard descriptors for everyday bits and bobs. Ok. Vagaina’s and Penis’s and Buttocks. See, I’m not afraid!
PS. This is not a sponsored post. I purchased my own pattern/fabric/underwear myself because I do believe that everyone deserves pretty knickers and am eternally grateful to Susan for drafting such a wonderful pattern! My over exuberance is all my own.