To begin my self imposed challenge I am making 7 pairs of underpants (enough for a week of wear without having to do a wash). I have been making these from old t-shirts for a few months now (see my first attempts here), but decided to make 7 new pairs for the project. My pattern has been tweaked and changed until it produces a REALLY comfortable pair of undies and is now a treasured resource (it even has an envelope to live in when not in use).
My latest pattern makes really comfortable undies.
I found some stretch material remnants in my stash that I thought might do the trick. All these remnants come from second hand stores and gifted items from other people’s stashes so they fulfil the up-cycled requirement. The materials ranged from cotton/lycra to full on stretch polyester but the gussets are all cut from t-shirt remnants which are 100% cotton.
Seven pairs cut out and ready to sew.
When I began sewing the sides up I discovered a real drawback to sewing stretch fabric: the machine doesn’t like it. I made a huge knot in my first pair as the fabric got pushed/sucked down through the dogs (the grid thing under the needle) and I had to dismantle the machine to get it out. After spending a half hour with a screw driver and a don’t-talk-to-me expression I got the lot untangled and had a think. This led to an hour of googling which turned up a great tip: use tissues under the seam to provide some stability.
Tissues under the seam, what a great idea
Some of the tissue stays in the seam after you tear it off, but it will wash out in the sewing machine, I promise.
Eventually I decided to try a more up-cycled option and tried newspaper strips, this worked really well too, but still with some small pieces left behind after it is ripped away. I guess the washing machine will have to take care of it.
Using newspaper to stabilise seams in stretch fabric.
The final hurdle in my sewing came when I realised how short of elastic I was…I used up every scrap I had on three pairs and had to go and order more (part of my 10% new materials). I mail ordered it from an Australian shop which has an Etsy store. Now the wait begins, I will finish my 7 pairs as soon as the elastic arrives, then it is on to making 4 bras. I wonder what my mistakes will teach me in that project?