Thursday, 30 May 2013

Knicker making - my first and last attempt

Sometimes in life, we just have to hold our hands up and admit we're rubbish at something. And sadly for me, that something is knicker making. I gave it my best shot but I'm clearly not destined to be one of life's knicker makers. Which is a shame really as I was getting well and truly carried away thinking up endless ways of incorporating gingham and polka dots into my frillies!   

First, I made a test pair from the Grace pattern by Ohhh Lulu, and although I really like the style, they were, as I suspected, way too low cut for my liking. Plus I wasn't too keen on the woven fabric sections - I've come to realise that I like my pants to have a good bit of stretch to them. 

Next I tried the Granny Pannie free downloadable pattern from Sew Vera Venus, which a kind reader alerted me to after this post. I was happier with the style and cut and the pattern is easy peasy to sew, but I just couldn't get to grips with the fold over elastic. Instead of sexy and retro glamorous, I ended up with baggy school knickers, fit only to be worn under a netball skirt. When I started this blog, I vowed to share with you all my sewing efforts: the good, the bad and the ugly. Well, what's about to be revealed is both bad AND ugly. Avert your eyes if you don't think you can bear it.

Ginormo pants from hell

By this point, my passion was waning and I just wasn't feeling it. To be honest, I think I was more in love with the idea of making myself some gorgeous, vintage style knickers than the actual reality of making them. It all boils down to my intrinsic laziness - at the end of the day I just can't be bothered. Especially when I can buy some instead …

Yes, my cunning plan involved downing my knicker making tools and purchasing my own handmade frillies from Ohhh Lulu. I had some craft fair money squirrelled away so I decided to treat myself for my birthday. 
These gorgeous, high waisted pants are handmade to your measurements and work out at about £15 a pair (excluding postage) which is what I would pay normally for a special pair. I chose the Pin-Up trio and they're so lovely and glamorous, exactly the sort of knickers I was envisaging when I embarked on this particular path.

In summary, you win some, you lose some. I think I'll draw a line under my knicker making escapade and move on! x


26 comments:

  1. Ha ha Jane!! I do know how you feel, you've got the vision, but the actual realisation might not come via romantic route of crafting your own. I have made loads of knicker fails, it's true, I'd say I'm a 50% success rate at the most, but every now and then I'll dabble. I'm not sure if dabbling will ever mean that my expertise improves, I just slowly add to the successes in equal measure as I add to landfill. You've now got dream pants though, lovingly made, if not by you. And....you could take up netball?!

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    1. I like the idea of building up a collection of lovingly made dream pants.... but not by me! I'd quite like to take up netball again, I LOVED it at school, maybe not wearing a netball skirt though! X

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  2. Oh pants! (This is a saying we have here in NZ, not sure of it's origins, or if it has an international reach, but it basically means 'crap' or 'damn' or 'sod it all', except 'sod' is more like that rude F work proper ladies should not use *wink*.) I too have very romantic dreams about underwear and (one day in the even more distant future) bra making, I think I shall keep romanticising it for a good while longer yet after reading this. On the upside, how damn cute are the ones you bought!!!

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    1. They're gorgeous aren't they? I love them! x

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  3. I've never been convinced by the idea of sewing my own knickers and bras, and I think you've just confirmed my every reason for never wanting to do so. This is one area where I'm more than happy to let the professionals work their magic, as they have all the right tools and textiles (and training!).

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    1. I will definitely leave it to the professionals from now on. And as for bra making, my standards are so high I wouldn't even dream of trying to make my own. I shudder at the very thought! x

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  4. If it helps, today I discovered that I am pants (see what I did there ;)! ) at making crinoline petticoats. After two attempts I have decided that tulle is not my friend. I also discovered that there are some very talented people who can wrestle tulle, and sell beautiful crinolines on etsy - so I ordered one. I, too, am moving on!

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    1. Good for you Lynne, I like your thinking! x

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  5. Oh no, what a shame! But at least you tried and now you can free your time up and get back to sewing what you really love and excel at! Plus, the trio of pin-up pants you bought are gorgeous...exactly the ones I'd go for!

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    1. Thanks Marie, I'm definitely looking forward to getting back to sewing what I love, it's no fun plugging away at something you're not enjoying! x

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  6. It took me a good three months to get the fit right on my knickers. I was so frustrated. It's three stinking pieces of fabric! Every pair I make fits a bit different due to the different knit fabrics. Fold over elastic? Never, ever again. Now I'm trying to figure out mens boxer shorts. I can't seem to wrap my mind around that fly extension. However, I have gained a good understanding on why undergarments can be expensive. Does anyone have an answer to this question: if the pattern says trace on the left does it mean the left side of the fabric that I have laying out on my cutting table?

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    1. Can't help with the boxer shorts but good luck with them, you have my admiration! x

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  7. I don't think you should necessarily say never, you might find a different style or pattern that works for you. With your above pair it looks like you might not have stretched the elastic as you were applying it, hence the wavy edges? I say don't give up! I've made two pairs of undies now and can't wait to have some time to make more. I love the idea of having undies that match my dresses <3

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    1. You're right, that's exactly what I did wrong - bloody elastic! I love the idea of having matching undies and dresses too but I don't think t's going to happen anytime soon! x

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  8. Is it the colour? Or just the shape? I'm trying to convince you that you shouldn't throw in the towel just yet.
    I've downloaded the the free Amerson Undies pattern but I've yet to make it... I fear sewing in elastic with a zigzag stitch will be like wrestling with my sewing machine.

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    1. The colour and shape are both fine, it's the rubbish fit and the fact that I just didn't enjoy making them at all! Good luck with your Amerson undies, it's a lovely pattern. Don't let my throwing in the towel attitude put you off! x

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  9. This was a great read!!! I am so right there with you on knowing what's for you and what is NOT!! I haven't given undie making the old college try yet, mostly because I anticipate a bad result. With funky FOE :o)

    I love that you choose to support a female businesswoman and got yourself some pretty knickers in the process! Good for you! And all of us!

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  10. I love the ones you have bought. I know how you feel when you try to make something and it won't go right. I find in this situation, sometimes it is better to leave it for a while and come back again later, you may have some different ideas to tackle the problems you have had. Whatever great post.

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  11. Well actually i am not looking for that.. but in other way... content was interesting.. process are good..
    and in future need more updates on MaƟgeschneiderte Kleider
    thanks anyways

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  12. Oh dear! I think those are what my husband would call "passion killers"! ;)
    The ones you bought are beautiful. But don't give up - I am sure it is just the combination of fabric and pattern like everything else.

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  13. The pants you bought look just like the Ohhh Lulu Betty High Waist pattern - I lowered the waist as it was way too high for me and now they are so comfy! The panels make them look smaller and less granny-ish than your plain black ones.

    I personally didn't bother with elastic round the legs and they stay in place just fine = less elastic to fiddle with.

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  14. Knickers in the US are knee length pants/shorts! Our underwear are panties.

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  15. Ah well, I have a feeling my own knicker making plans are even more on hold now I've read your post! I can imagine it's not nearly as easy as it might look to get them right and like you, I also get that you can buy some lovely ones for the same price you'd probably pay for the fabric alone. I have a lot of M&S 'big pants' that are actually very vintage looking (black and lace high waisted ones- officially 'control pants' but they look very, very vintage) and they do the job nicely. Beth/thelinencat xx

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    1. Yes, I think I have a few pairs of the same pants Beth! High waisted, vintage looking, control pants and M & S prices - what's not to like?! x

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  16. Wow it is a great post! I liked it. Thank you for this interesting post.............
    Ceramic vases, handmade pitchers, ceramic plates, handmade clocks

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  17. Ha ha, so funny. Don't think I could stand the frusration of making knickers.Thanks for sharing.

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