Underwear in 30 Minutes or Less

Random sewing project today! I made a pair of underwear in less than 30 minutes – not too bad for completing a new garment from start to finish! When I think about the amount of sewing involved, that’s perhaps a long time when it comes to something this simple. If I set up a panty assembly line, they’ll be even faster!

The pattern is Jalie 2568, my first encounter with a Jalie pattern. They’re huge! (The pattern format, I mean.) The pattern comes folded letter-sized, wrapped in plastic. Pattern pieces are printed on regular white paper, and include the biggest range of sizes I’ve ever seen – from a two-year old child’s size to a women’s 52″ bust. (No, the little lace pair that I made isn’t available in child sizes, just the classic cut panties.)

Lace panties might be the one thing it’s actually cheaper to sew than to buy. Victoria’s Secret sells pairs just like this for $12.50, or 3 for $33. I made these for way less! (If you don’t count the pattern, that is.) I want to do the math when I’ve made a whole bunch, as I still have plenty of lace left, but I’m going to say they cost about $5 in lace for one pair.

Inside-out shot! The cotton lining is cut from an old tee shirt. I collected a couple of old tees from Mr Sewaholic, as you barely need any fabric at all for the lining. I used a small section of the sleeve and could have got a few more out of the sleeve too.

Note: if you’re making this pattern, don’t snip the notches in the lining piece! I snipped mine but realized the lining is sewn down along the raw edges, so a snip would be bad. I had to recut my piece. Mark the centre using chalk, or fold the piece in half when you need to find the centre.

I ordered enough stretch lace from Sew Sassy to make at least a dozen pairs, but after the first pair was finished I decided to ‘wear-test’ them first. If you’re looking for wide stretch lace, Sew Sassy has a great selection! Shipping to Canada was reasonably fast and I believe reasonably priced.

My thoughts on sewing underwear, after making this pair? It’s not hard. Cutting takes more time than sewing, on a pair like this. The sewing is fast, there are very few seams, and most of the sewing can be done on a serger. I like the instant gratification of cutting and sewing a finished piece in half an hour. Most of the projects I work on are for new pattern development, so I’m used to labour-intensive projects that often involve writing my own instructions. It’s nice to whip up something quick and have it turn out!

Plus, I love being able to make everything in my wardrobe myself. If I were to do another Me-Made month, it would be so much easier now!

Have you sewn underwear? From this pattern or another pattern? How did they turn out?

PS. I’ll put together more Renfrew Top posts soon! I’ve made good progress on the purple top and have plenty of related tutorials planned. Just need to write them up, add photos and post!

PPS. Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! I feel like we’re heading into that crazy busy season with work, but also with shorter days and the upcoming holiday festivities. When life gets crazy, that’s when I’m extra careful with my time, making sure I still have enough creative time to keep me sane. Whatever your level of craziness in life, take time to keep on making things. Little victories like a perfectly topstitched seam or a tidy row of knit stitches help make me feel like things are totally under control, even when they’re not!

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51 Responses to Underwear in 30 Minutes or Less

  1. Dibs October 26, 2012 at 6:06 am #

    I love this pattern. I make it all the time. They turned out really good. If anyone was looking for an underwear pattern, I would highly recommend this one.

    • Tasia October 26, 2012 at 7:11 am #

      Nice! Did you make the same view or one of the others? I like how simple it is to construct, yet doesn’t look homemade.

  2. Jacey October 26, 2012 at 6:28 am #

    Very cute!! I’ve had great luck with Jalie patterns…yes, they’re humongous!

    My big question is — are they comfortable?

    • Tasia October 26, 2012 at 7:09 am #

      If you like this style of underwear, then they’re just as comfortable as the store-bought ones! I think the lace can make a huge difference. Scratchy lace makes for less comfortable underwear. I wore these and found them pretty comfortable but am hoping the lace softens a little after more washing.
      Talking about the fit of underpants is a bit weird, eh? For a slightly revealing style, they’re comfy. I’m going to try the regular cut in the pattern as well, I bet those will be super comfortable.

  3. Alexandra October 26, 2012 at 6:36 am #

    I haven’t tried making my own underwear yet… I keep thinking about it, but always put it off. It seems like it is going to be complicated somehow! I think I might try before the end of the year though!

    I love your PPS in this post, I know I’m getting to a point in the year when life is going to become even crazier than normal – and I always end up trying to sew faster to make sure that I get something ‘made’ as soon as possible, which tends to just stress me out even more. I need to remember to take my time when I’m sewing, which will surely calm me down instead!

    • Tasia October 26, 2012 at 7:05 am #

      It’s not complicated! The lace looks fancy but there’s hardly any seams to sew.
      Nice to know I’m not alone in feeling the pressure this time of year! Enjoy your sewing and try not to let it stress you out. It’s supposed to be fun, after all!

  4. Deby October 26, 2012 at 6:40 am #

    Looking fabulous – just what I need!
    Can you tell me the width of the lace you used here?

    • Tasia October 26, 2012 at 6:54 am #

      Pretty sure it was 6″ as recommended by the pattern. You could use wider lace and end up with longer legs or a higher waist!

  5. Lauren October 26, 2012 at 7:01 am #

    Ok, I’m dying to know – how did you feel about the fit?? As a fellow large rear/small waist gal, my underwear *always* ends up pretending like it’s a freakin’ thong – ughhh so uncomfortable! I’ve tried sizing up and that doesn’t help. Wedge city USA over here, guys. So what did you think of these? I’ve contemplated making my own undies, but I don’t want to go through the drama if the fit is going to mimic RTW, you know?

    • Tasia October 26, 2012 at 7:16 am #

      Well yeah, they fit comparably to ready to wear versions of the same style. So if those ride up, these will too. However, at least we have some control over the fit! I’d like to get a few more washes and wears out of these to see what I might change for round 2. I was thinking a slightly snugger fit would help them stay put.

      I suppose whenever it’s a thong-like style where the rear isn’t fully covered I expect them to not stay put. Anything that doesn’t curve under the rear and fit snugly around the leg, is probably going to ride up. So yeah, they do behave like purchased undies. I’m up to the challenge of trying to perfect the fit though!

    • Tasia October 26, 2012 at 7:17 am #

      I also wore them for the first time under pants so I’m curious to see how they fit under skirts and dresses. Under tights I imagine they’ll stay in place.

      • Tasha October 26, 2012 at 10:55 am #

        I also have a similar figure to you two gals, and I’ve had good luck tracing store bought undies and then adding some width in the rear. I haven’t quite perfected my pattern yet but I agree, definitely never buying undies again! The ones I have made are way more comfy and cute than store bought. I haven’t made a style like this, but I like to add a lot of lace, it makes the regular fit ones seem sexier I think.

  6. Agneta Olofsson October 26, 2012 at 7:30 am #

    I’ve seen a free pattern on burdastyle as well, similar style. :)
    I’ve got some of this very wide lace at home, maybe baby…… yours turned out really nice! Next – bra making? I know you have a very good website for that in Canada, bramakerssupply.com (or something like that). :)

    • Tasia October 26, 2012 at 9:37 am #

      I’d love to make bras one day, I have a feeling that will take even more tweaking to get the fit just right. I’ve heard of the bramakersupply website before, I like the idea of ordering all the bits and pieces at once, rather than hunting for little plastic or metal bits to finish the project. One day!

      • nothy October 26, 2012 at 5:16 pm #

        The bramakersupply patterns are fabulous. I absolutely love them…but the fabric in the kits are awful. I bought two kits and loved the colours on both and liked that everything came together, but I had to go buy new fabric it was just too …slimy? it was shiny and heavy and I think it is something was probably around in the 70s.

  7. Elise Lin October 26, 2012 at 8:26 am #

    Pretty! Sounds like it should be doable for a beginner like me :) It also seems like a good idea to enjoy the leftovers of stretchable pieces of fabric.

    • Tasia October 26, 2012 at 9:36 am #

      For sure! You hardly need any fabric to make underwear, depending on the size you’re making and the size of your scraps. Totally doable for a beginner as long as you’re comfortable working with knits and stretch laces.

      • Elise Lin October 29, 2012 at 2:37 pm #

        Well since I’m a beginner I don’t know too much about working with knits and stretch laces… maybe I should check out a little more about working with those before I try then.

  8. scuffsan October 26, 2012 at 8:38 am #

    I’ve made underwear. I basically traced an old pair and made my own pattern from that. Very easy and comfy. You can find pics on my blog. Somehow I thought it would be more complicated than it was, so I’d been thinking about sewing underwear for a long time before I got around to actually try. I also bought the betty high waist panties pattern from ohhh lulu, but I haven’t made them yet.

    • Tasia October 26, 2012 at 9:35 am #

      That’s a good idea too! I thought of that but then decided I just wanted to use a pattern, where all the work is done for me. I liked Gertie’s versions of the betty high waist panties too. I bet those are super comfortable!

    • Tasia October 26, 2012 at 9:35 am #

      The cupcake pair you made is so cute!!

      • scuffsan October 27, 2012 at 5:48 am #

        Thank you :) I do love both prints.

        I do see the point in taking buying a pattern and not having to do that work, I love that too. But if you have the perfect pair of underwear at home tracing and making your own pattern is perfect. I think it took about two hours to trace, make the pattern and then sew up the first pair.

  9. CGCouture October 26, 2012 at 8:59 am #

    I’ve made at least a dozen pairs of panties from a Kwik Sew pattern I’ve tweaked. I’d never buy underwear again, I am too spoiled by having some that fit and don’t ride up. I haven’t made any of the lacy ones like you posted above, but I have some lace to make some like that. I’m just not sure if they wouldn’t creep as they are worn, and I only need so many pairs of seductive panties. ;-)

    • Tasia October 26, 2012 at 9:33 am #

      They do creep a little, it’s my large rear end/thighs and small waist unfortunately. They look super cute though and I think the more practical pairs from the same pattern will be more suited to everyday, super-comfy wear. If you have a pattern you’ve tweaked to perfection, that’s awesome! It’s cool to hear you never buy underwear anymore because you can make them exactly the way you want. That’s encouraging!

  10. Ana October 26, 2012 at 9:26 am #

    I never thought I’d want to make undies but now I can’t wait to order the pattern and give it a try. I’ve never tried that style on before but I’m curious to see how they’ll come out. Thanks for sharing.

    • Tasia October 26, 2012 at 9:31 am #

      You’re welcome! I’m glad it inspired you to give them a try. It’s such a quick project that even if you don’t love the result, it won’t have been a huge investment of time! And you can tweak the fit a little. I always think it’s annoying how you can’t try on underwear before buying. Logical, I know, but a total gamble from the buyer’s perspective.

  11. Helen Gregory October 26, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    This style is my favourite. A no brainier for me I think… Now to find the pattern!

    • Tasia October 26, 2012 at 10:22 am #

      Here – http://www.jalie.com/ – or it may be faster to buy from your local retailer if they stock Jalie patterns!

  12. lynl October 26, 2012 at 10:41 am #

    Sewing lingerie is so completely addictive because you use so little fabric, it takes so little time and you can make them as lovely as you like…make it easy, too, and it’s hard to stop! I bought Make and Fit Panties (small coiled book) from Bra Makers Supply and I highly recommend it! It’s not a pattern but a set of instrcutions to draft any style underwear you want from thongs, tangas, bikinis, boy shorts, briefs even to cycling shorts based on your specific measurements. It is actually really easy even though that task sounds daunting. There is a tonne of information given throughout on how and where to pull elastic to get a hugging fit, draft changes and pretty, lacy alterations. I had to adjust ready-made patterns so much to get the fit I wanted that I almost gave up. This was much better because there is minimal tweaking on your specific measurements. Have fun:)

    • learningnewtricks October 26, 2012 at 1:26 pm #

      I, too, have made panties from rtw patterns, and wasn’t quite satisfied with the fit. I ended up buying them from Nordstrom’s Rack for $2.99 — and they fit great, are cute, and comfortable. I ended up deciding to just keep buying them through the Rack because they have a nice selection from $1.99 to the more expensive $5.99 a pair, which in the store cost a lot more. However, I still might consider buying Making and Fit Panties because I do love the idea of a custom fit pantie.

  13. Barbara Hewitt October 26, 2012 at 10:43 am #

    Wow! I would never have thought to make them for myself–but for my grandteens they would be extra fun.

  14. Andrea October 26, 2012 at 11:08 am #

    I’ve made both the lacey ones and the bikini cut of this pattern and I find them super comfortable. FYI I did find the bikini style a bit harder to sew, but my knit sewing skills aren’t great so I bet you’ll do way better than I did once you try that style.

  15. Deanna October 26, 2012 at 12:20 pm #

    I made underwear using a stretch and sew bathing suit pattern from the 70s (1390 from 1974 to be exact). Those older patterns mean you get a retro look and since it’s a bathing suit fit, it’s designed to not ride up. They are the most comfortable underwear I own!

    The best part is, I used 100% recycled material. I used a pajama tank top made out of really soft, stretch jersey. It was pink with white polka dots and had a black Mickey Mouse applique. One of the straps broke so I picked off the applique, made the underwear (so quick and easy!), and reapplied the applique. I used the same elastic around the leg holes and waist was the same elastic from the original top!

    I have pictures somewhere of the process somewhere. Maybe repost a link if I can find them.

    • Tasia October 26, 2012 at 1:52 pm #

      I love the idea of looking for retro patterns for 70s bathing suits! I can picture exactly the shape of the bottoms and the coverage they’d have. Great idea!

      I’m still going to try the others in this pattern but I do really like this idea, I like bottoms that cover my rear properly!

      I saved a ton of Mr Sewaholic’s old tee shirts and plan to do the recycling thing too! Great use for old tees that are well worn and soft.

  16. Tasia October 26, 2012 at 1:46 pm #

    Random thought – this discussion has made me really conscious of how today’s pair fit!

    It’s interesting, all this talk about fit of underwear. I think the underwear industry today doesn’t really care if our panties fit or not. Right? You can’t try them on, they’re covered with metal adornments, scratchy or superlong labels, and rarely do they actually cover our rear ends.

    Sewing really does make us more aware of how clothing fits and feels!

  17. Kelly October 26, 2012 at 2:19 pm #

    Have you seen this free pattern? I just recently started reading her blog and she is all about making panties. I haven’t made it yet but printed out the pattern and it seems very nicely done. And they look like they offer a little more coverage on the backside, so maybe they will stay put! I bought a bunch of wide stretch lace and lace trim recently but haven’t dove into the underwear making just yet. I thought it would be a good use for knit scraps too, with the stretch lace trim to make them look pretty :) Here’s the link: http://clothhabit.com/2012/10/lingerie-friday-the-rosy-ladyshorts-pattern/

    • Tasia October 26, 2012 at 2:38 pm #

      Those are super cute! Perfect for today’s discussion about underwear with coverage, that’s still cute. Thanks for sharing the link!

      • Tasia October 26, 2012 at 2:39 pm #

        I like that they’re called ladyshorts, too. Better than the dreaded word ‘panties’ and more descriptive than ‘underwear!’

        • Kelly October 26, 2012 at 6:01 pm #

          I know, I like the “ladyshorts” name too. I think I may sew a pair tonight, I’ll let you know how it goes!

    • Francesca October 27, 2012 at 11:40 am #

      Wow – they’re really cute – thanks for the link, Kelly! And great post, Tasia….

      I started making underpants reacently. Folliwng are all from Etsy… I bought the PDF Bettsy Kingston pattern for Women Action [pants, the Tried and True paper pattern from the Makers Journal, and the oooh lulu PDFs Ruffle Thong and Betty – the last is the only one I haven’t tried – oh, and I bought a pattern for stretch panties which I also haven’t tried. tio be honest, I got the patterns mainly because I have loads of tana lawn bits left over from dresses and blouses, and loved the idea – as I’ve always loved my pretty fabric panties, as opposed to knit. I have some cotton and silk woven fabric pants which are super comfortable, some have elastane and some haven’t.

      So – Women Action pants – great pattern, I adapted it a little – I took the idea from the Tried and True of cutting them on the bias, they are adorable. Very slightly bloomerish, but not so it’s noticeable under most clothes. Hit the top of my hip bone and give good behind coverage. My favourite. and so lovely and fresh in the heat!

      The Tried and True is cute, and the instructions are great. They – like ooh lulu – have great tutorials on their sites. They’re quite tiny in front, a little bit uncomfortable for me – maybe not so good for pears… YMMV.

      The ooh lulu thong is the only thong I’ve ever felt comfy in, It’s made to be cut on the bias, and I made it in tana lawn. love.

      I tried making the AW and the thong in silk too – on the bias again, made from old washed silk shirts – a stash from my sister from when they were the thing…. not that comfy. I prefer find cotton.

      Now I’m going to make myself a couple more AW pants as I still have some large scraps of tana, and then I am going to try stretch panties – I have loads of tshirts I just don’t wear!

  18. Mary October 26, 2012 at 6:18 pm #

    Deanna, my mom taught Stretch and Sew classes in the late 60’s, and made me one of those 2 pc swimsuits with the little boy legs… long time ago I never thought they would be good for pantys. I gave all the patterns from my mom to my daughter… she is currently sewing them up, I will suggest the swim suit one!

  19. M-C October 27, 2012 at 1:36 am #

    Love Jalie for undies :-). But don’t just make one pair, you’re cheating yourself by not taking advantage of economies of scale. I make at least 3 at a time, and can get down closer to 15mn, including cutting.

  20. Debbie October 27, 2012 at 4:58 am #

    Looks like a lovely pattern. I have been making underwear, but haven’t tried this pattern. I’ll add it to my list!

  21. Jessie October 27, 2012 at 1:37 pm #

    I was always afraid to sew underwear until I realized that my Halloween costume necessitated underwear made out of (non-stretch) fake fur. So my introduction to it was a. self-drafted, b. cut on the bias so it would have SOME stretch and c. fake fur. Luckily, said underwear is covered by an overskirt of the same material. They’re like cheerleading undies; a safety measure in case the skirt goes askew. But still.

    I’d really like to take a step back and try something a little more user friendly – thanks for the recommendation!

  22. Amy October 28, 2012 at 10:49 am #

    Tasia, these are really cute! I’m so addicted to making underwear and lingerie. It’s fast and easy and really gives me a sense of accomplishment when I’m working on other complicated things. I’m so glad to hear people enjoy my ladyshorts pattern, which I made exactly because I love the coverage in the back (and my favorite pairs were $30 a pop!).

  23. Sann October 28, 2012 at 11:27 am #

    Those are cute panties, I read two previous post on panties and am imspired to make panties, but these purple jewels are so simple, and few pieces that I a ready to make me some panties.

    I like the assembly cutting idea, I took some of my fabric stash and display them to help motivate me to sew more, but adding in the assembly cutting a few styles all at once, this could be the icing I needed to help me get more projects done. Thanks for the great idea.

  24. Meg the Grand October 30, 2012 at 10:24 am #

    Your underwear look marvelous! I’m definitely bookmarking that site for some stretch lace of my own. I made two pairs from a McCall pattern but they are wayyyy too big, nearly unwearable. Love the Jalie pattern! And how fabulous that it has so many sizes included!

  25. diane November 2, 2012 at 8:39 pm #

    i once tried undies and failed . i just visited Sew Sassy , inspiring, and i will try again with the proper fabric and trim.

  26. Sara G. November 13, 2012 at 2:01 pm #

    I made a free pair of hipster panties. I got the pattern for free at http://www.makebra.com and used old T-shirts and foldover elastic. It was definately a trial run but came out great.


    I’ve had my eye on the pattern you are reviewing above. I’ve heard nothing but good things about it.

  27. Jarrett January 27, 2013 at 10:43 pm #

    What’s the largest size does the pattern panty that you used go up to, looking into doing customs and need larger sizes (XL -3x)

  28. Debra L September 9, 2013 at 10:53 am #

    I recently took Zoe Edwards’s ‘Sew Your Own Knickers’ course at the Village Haberdashery in London. We used Zoe’s pattern – http://sozowhatdoyouknow.blogspot.co.uk/p/free-patterns.html – and I am very happy with my knickers. Zoe also did a Renfrew course, that’s how I came across Sewaholic, and I made a lovely Renfrew in 3 hours. Still not sure how that happened.