Editorial Intern Casie Leigh Lukes recaps her recent project of sewing her first pair of underwear out of a t-shirt.
In my last Unedited post, I mentioned how my journey into purchasing ethical clothing and Elizabeth Cline’s book Overdressed, stirred a desire in me to regain (or rather learn!) sewing skills, a craft that was lost almost completely in a generation of time. Since fabric is expensive, I thought underwear would be a good place to start—small project, little fabric=easy on the pocketbook and time. (I even found a pattern from Indigorchid.com for free!) This past week I decided to get started.
Supplies needed: fold-over elastic, jersey needle, stretch elastic, t-shirt, Indigochid pattern, sewing machine, thread, and 1 mom to help out. I stopped at Jo Ann Fabrics and purchased fold-over elastic, jersey needles and stretch lace elastic. I printed the free pattern and cut it out. I grabbed an old t-shirt from my closet, figured out the grain and started assembling pattern pieces.
As I began laying the pattern pieces onto the t-shirt, I quickly became confused. I realized I didn’t know much about reading patterns. (I remember making pajama pants in 8th grade, and that seemed a lot easier at this point.) Luckily my Mom was available and she helped me read the pattern and set up her sewing machine. (It has different presser foots for each stitch-type, and I was grateful for her help.) We poured over the sewing machine directions together and replaced the current needle with the jersey needle I picked up.
I pinned the pattern to the t-shirt, cut the t-shirt pieces out, and re-pinned them during assembly three times before I got them in the correct places. Now I was ready to sew! The first few stitches are quick and easy. Then comes the fold-over elastic—which was much more complicated. I began by pinning the elastic to the t-shirt, which I eventually gave up on. I fought with the stretchiness of the t-shirt and the weight difference of the elastic, but eventually (and fairly quickly!) I had the legs done.
I sewed the sides up, but soon found I had extra fabric on the top insides of the waist band. My mom had me unstitch and sew this little bit by hand. The top was the easiest, as it was one zip around with the stretch lace elastic. It probably took me about 4 hours total.
Overall, I enjoyed the project. The underwear turned out well and even fit! If you’re interested in trying this out I would encourage you to do it with someone who knows a little bit about sewing. I couldn’t have done it without help. Next time, (yes, there will be a next time!) I think things will go more smoothly. I also found the fold-over elastic to be a little much. I liked the stretch lace elastic I put on the top much better and next time will opt for that on the leg areas too.
My biggest take-aways:
1. Sewing takes patience.
2. My appreciation for my clothes and the time it takes to make them has increased.
3. Experimenting is really fun and I look forward to my next attempt!