Make your own underpants! Pattern!

In this post you will learn how to make your own underpants from an old stretchy t-shirt (or fabric)!

I am terrible at throwing away old clothes, particularly t-shirts.  I get attached to them.  This t-shirt was a cheap buy from H&M in December 2011 (Sweden).  This is what it looked like new:
Such bright colours!  
I wore this t-shirt essentially nonstop for almost two years.  It started out fitting tight and looking flattering:
And then more recently I had to wear it tucked in...
And even more recently I began wearing it under a blouse!  But it was such a comfy fabric and a pretty design.  So when my friend lent me a pattern for underpants, I KNEW WHAT TO DO.
This is what it looked like yesterday:
Such dull colours!  And this is what it looked like today:
Undies!  Undy-chundies!  Underoos! 

You Will Need:
An old t-shirt, or some stretch cotton fabric.  PLEASE NOTE your fabric needs to be pretty thin!  A brand new t-shirt probably will not work unless it's a super cheap thin one.  The more worn out the better.  You'll be doing a seam on the gusset which will be annoying if it's too thick.  
Underwear elastic.  There are three types of underwear elastic: normal (just soft elastic), lace (stretchy lace), and lace-edged (normal elastic with one edge lacy).  Pictured here is two lace elastics, and two lace-edged elastics.

This pattern:
The first two images are either half of the pattern, and the third is the entire pattern.  Print the third image on A3 or print the first two on A4 and stick them together.  I included a test square on each page to make sure you're printing it the right size.

(Please let me know if the pattern doesn't print the correct size, I'll try to reupload a better size.)

Size, based on hip size (18cm below waist): 6 - 76; 8 - 81; 10 - 86; 12 - 91; 14 - 96; 16 - 101; 18 - 106. I made a pair from thick-ish jersey in a size 10, but my t-shirt fabric was super stretchy so I went for a size 8, and it fits perfectly.

There is an included seam allowance of 6mm, which is foot width!

Got it? Let's go!
First, cut out your pattern in the correct size and lay it out on your fabric, following the grain and maximum stretch guides.  I had to unpick my entire t-shirt to get it to fit properly.  You should have three pieces: a front, a back, and a gusset lining.

Next, you need to sew in your gusset.  This is tricky.  
Place the long end of the front together with the centre back, right sides together.  They curve different ways.  Now pin the gusset "back seam" to the other side of the back.  This needs to go on the opposite way than you want it to face.  I wanted mine to be the wrong side facing up, so I put it right side up.  So the back is sandwiched between the front and the gusset.  Pin it all together, matching the centres and edges, and sew across.  Opened out, it should look like this:

Now sew down the gusset.  Pin in place on the sides and front and sew across using a zigzag or other overlock-type stitch. (Not an actual overlocker though because that'll cut your undies in half).

 Now sew up the sides, right sides together. I also like to stitch down the seam allowance on the sides, using a zigzag stitch.
Now you should have what looks like a pair of un-elasticised underpants.  

If you have lace-edged underwear elastic, follow these instructions.  If you have lace elastic, scroll down!

To determine how much elastic you need, wrap some elastic around your waist and thighs and try to match it to how tight your actual underpants are.  That's what I did and it worked out well!  When you pin it on, make sure you pin it around evenly, and the halfway points match, etc. Or else it'll end up bunched up in one place.

Pin the elastic to the edge of the openings, with the lace edge on the inside, as shown:
Sew it right down the middle of the elastic, S T R E T C H I N G as much as you can as you go.  Seriously, stretch lots.  Then turn the elastic to the wrong side and sew it down again, stretching.  If you don't stretch, when you put on your undies they'll feel tight.
 Here's what it looks like from the outside:
 And from the inside:

Now to do lace elastic, you simply pin it to the outside of the pants, and sew 2 - 3 rows of stitching, stretching as you go. You can see the two rows of stitching here:
 Once you've sewn it on, use some scissors to trim the fabric around the top of the lace!  Done!

And now the part we've all been waiting for!
 Well I'm hardly going to show you my butt am I?
 So enjoy some tights from Black Milk.
 Australian Made all round :-)  Who knows, it might not even be my butt.
Let me know if you use this pattern and what you ended up with!  I'd love to see your creations!  

Many special thanks to my friend Veronica for getting me going on this!  I'm going to make myself another pair RIGHT NOW!


  1. These are way cute! You're so clever.

    1. Thank you! I encourage you to have a go :-)

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