Sewing your own Ladies Underwear

Sewing your own Ladies Underwear

Sewing your own Ladies Underwear
As promised last time, I'm here to chat to you all about sewing ladies underwear today. Having recently tried out 5 FREE patterns, I can't wait to give you my verdict! Are you ready to get personal? What's more? I'll also mention a few other free options at the end of this post for you to check out, too. 

Let's begin!

Sewing Ladies Underwear

Stevie Knickers by Paper Theory
This one is free when you subscribe to the Paper Theory newsletter. It comes in UK size 6-20.

The pattern asks for a fabric with a minimum stretch of 20%, so I used the dinosaur origami single jersey from the value jersey collection which has decent 2-way stretch. 

Sewing your own Ladies Undies

As far as pattern descriptions go, this one is absolutely spot on. These are indeed medium rise, with full bum coverage.

In terms of construction, I used the burrito method (see below) for the enclosed gusset, and also sewed the fold over elastic ("FOE") in the round as a last step. I have a strong personal preference of not risking side seams that may not line up properly. 

One additional thing to note here is that the elastic chart is incorrect, as it only counts one length of the leg elastic, rather than two. You might want to take this into account when buying your elastic. Speaking of elastic, note that the rise and the crotch width are as high as the pattern allows, because I used FOE to finish the waist and the leg holes. If you use picot or normal elastic, you will end up with slightly less coverage in these areas. 

I can confirm that they are really comfy, even though the rise and coverage are both a little higher/more than I prefer. I coverstitched the FOE because I happened to have thread cones which happen to match the FOE exactly. However, compared to the leg holes that I zigzagged, these feel the least stretchy.  
2. The T-shirt Underwear by Indigo Orchid
This was not from a designer that I had come across before, so I was pretty keen to try it out! You can get the free pattern just by clicking a link. 

I love that this pattern focuses on up-cycling an old t-shirt, but since I have a pretty impressive scrap pile, I decided to use this single jersey (last used to make Freya a flutter sleeved top here). This is a fairly lightweight cotton jersey with a slight 2-way stretch, which is comparable to a t-shirt jersey in my book. 

Make your own ladies undies - knickers

Although this pattern comes in sizes XS to L, there are not size chart or elastic chart. I would therefore not recommend this pattern for a complete beginner, or for your first underwear project. I don't mind a bit of free-styling, however, and had no issue with this. 

I must admit, when this came out, I was a bit shocked by the size of them. They looked massive (even though I made an XS). However, they fit perfectly. The crotch and bum coverage were also full. 

The burrito method was explained pretty well in the instruction post here, with good photos, and I also liked the additional post on using other elastic options. 
I finished the leg holes and the waist with FOE again (mainly because I managed to get lots of lovely scalloped edge FOE in different colours recently), but I used a sewing machine zigzag. Note that strictly speaking, a 3-step zigzag is better and more secure for lingerie making, but I was feeling pretty lazy (have you ever tried unpicking a 3-step zigzag?) so just used a normal zigzag. If I was making bikinis, say, I would definitely use the 3-step option. 

3. Noelle underwear by Madalynne
On the other hand, Madalynne is a well-known lingerie designer, and produces some amazing ready-made kits. In case you don't already know, she also offers the Noelle bralette pattern for free, as well as a few other really nice freebies that are definitely worth checking out. 

I'm totally out of my comfort zone with this one, because I have never worn high waisted underwear in my life. No specific reason, it just never occurred to me to try it. Until now! I chose these over the Maxine High Waist Panties by Evie La Luve (another lingerie pattern heavyweight) because the waist looks a little lower on the Noelle. 

I should warn you, these do not come with instructions. Also, These are the only pattern that I've tried which does not come with an enclosed gusset. Whilst I do tend to have an issue with open gussets (hands up if you need a pocket down there... no, didn't think so), I wanted to try these out because they could be a good pattern for a future bikini or pole shorts (I'm a keen pole fitness addict). 
I made these using the midnight gardens premium jersey which has 4-way stretch, as the pattern requires a minimum 30-40% stretch. 

Ladies knicker sewing patterns

If I was shocked by the last pair, I was flabbergasted by the size of these. What am I supposed to do with these gigantic underwear?! Giggling as I stepped into them, I was even more shocked that they actually fit quite well. I clearly have a bigger bottom that I think I do! 

These come up higher than I expected (I am only 5'3), and the waist could do with taking in slightly, but overall, I think they are pretty wearable. I would certainly consider making these as pole shorts or bikini, with some minor modifications. 

4. Cheeky Revolution by Seen and Sewn
I was pretty excited about these! Again, a new-to-me designer, but a pattern trying to recreate Victoria's Secret undies. I'm in!

This one also doesn't come with a size chart, but I'm an XS in most places so cut that out. I have a personal preference of low rise, slightly less bum coverage, and hemmed leg holes (though I am happy enough with soft FOE), which are exactly the features that this pattern offers. I therefore had pretty high hopes for these. 

I used another premium jersey for these, as it contains 5% spandex as the pattern suggests/the designer used. You will see that I've also made a matching pair for my daughter, using the Nifty Knickers pattern discussed in my last post here.  

Sewing ladies pants with Single Jersey Fabric

Due to the design of these being close to what I look for in ready to wear undies, these are the pair that came out looking the least like "granny underwear" to me. They fit in nicely with the rest of my underwear drawer, even though these would be the first polar bears to feature in that drawer. 

They are the lowest rise of the bunch, with a medium width and relatively short enclosed gusset, and a bit cheekier compared to the others. I liked these. 

That said, I did have some trouble with the construction. First of all, I couldn't find the seam allowance information, so asked the designer directly, who promptly advised that 1/2 inch was included in the pattern pieces. Also, I struggled with lining up the pattern pieces properly. There were quite significant bunny ears and steps at a few joints, which I needed to trim off. But the overall results were pretty good. I appreciated my coverstitch machine for these, but you can do the turned over hemmed leg holes with a regular twin needle set-up on your sewing machine. 

5. Acacia Underwear by Megan Nielsen
Acacia is probably the most well-known and popular free underwear pattern out there, and I made this pair a while ago before the size update and this comparison project. They now come in sizes 0-20, and you can get the pattern with full instructions by signing up to the newsletter. 

These are your everyday underwear, guys. They are relatively low rise, have a fully enclosed gusset and medium bum coverage which includes an attractive curve. 

I mentioned that I made these a while ago (in fact, at the start of my underwear making journey), using the scrap from this project, which was a 4-way stretch premium jersey. I also used picot elastic here, but sadly it was too delicate to survive a few washes. Definitely a lesson learned here - always use robust elastic!

Make your ladies underwear

The other issue I had with this pair was that the elastic dug into my bum slightly, creating an unattractive line through the jeans. This is a pet hate of mine, but I think I could improve things by using longer pieces of elastic for the leg holes or maybe cutting a bigger size. 

How to Sew Ladies Underwear

I have to say, I'm really pleased (if a little surprised) to report that they are all perfectly wearable for me. They all ended up comfortable and functional. But I don't think I will stop here. I have moods where I prefer certain styles, and have scraps of different fabrics to use, so I will tweak some of the patterns above, and try out new ones in the future, too. 

I wanted to mention a few additional freebies for you. I didn't choose them this time for my own reasons, but as I mentioned before, underwear is such a personal garment, and what works for me may be very different to what will work for you. So please do check these out and see what your favourites might be! 

Celeste Panties by Ohhh Lulu - these look so fancy and sexy. I will definitely be making these - just need to source the right stretch lace first!  

Be Bashful Bikini
by At First Blush 

by Evie La Luve - as above, waist is too high for me personally

by So Zo - sizing is slightly too big for me 

by Melly Sews/Blank Slate patterns - crotch looks a little narrow for my preference

Rosy Lady Shorts
by Cloth Habit - this one has a different design/construction, with a central front and back seam. Crotch also looks a bit narrow for my personal preference

Hipster pattern
by Make Bra

That's quite a list, don't you think?

I hope it will help you turn your scraps into your favourite underwear! Famous last words... but I'm not sure I'll buy underwear again! 

Until next time, take care and stay safe!

Alice from Queen of Darts

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  • Hi Leno, any of these patterns would work great with 95/5 cotton lycra! Can’t wait to see what you make ;)

    Alice Wang on

  • Hi Alice,

    I love this honest review, thanks a lot for doing it. I have been toying with the idea of sewing some undies but there are so many options out there and many reviews are promoted so you never know whether they are honest or not….
    But I have a question. I mostly have 95/5 CL jerseys. Which pattern would you recommend to use with it, pls?

    Leno on

  • Hi Ursula,

    You could, but you’d need to alter the pattern pieces for the Noelle. To have an enclosed gusset, there need to be 2 gusset pieces (one inside, one outside), and the Noelle just has the one.

    I would recommend trying to Maxine by Evie La Luve. It comes up higher in the waist than the Noelle, but already has an enclosed gusset and AMAZING instructions. (Evie La Luve is a specialist lingerie pattern designer, and has a Youtube channel).

    Hope this helps!

    Alice Wang on

  • Hi Ruth,

    Great question. Maybe we will do a post on where to start another time.

    You can totally sew with knits with just your sewing machine! I have a couple of posts on my blog about sewing with knits (first encounters and what I wish I knew), which you may want to check out.

    I would also recommend a book called Sew U Home Stretch, which explains things nicely. Hope this helps!

    Alice Wang on

  • Hi Gillian, that’s very exciting. Aerial fitness is so much fun, and it’s always nice to “recruit” more aerialists that sew. The best resource, I think, is a group called “Sew Aerialists” on Facebook. Lots of patterns are discussed there, and you will be able to find something that suits your daughter’s shape. Hope this helps, and see you there :)

    Alice Wang on

  • Hi Clare, I’m afraid I don’t really wear thongs, so I don’t have a recommendation. The only one that I know of, which is no VPL is the Greenstyle No Show Thongs. I’ve personally tried and liked the No Show Briefs, but that does have an open gusset. Sorry to not be overly helpful. Maybe ask the question on the Facebook group?

    Alice Wang on

  • I’ve read all through this blog and it’s really interesting but I’m not clear which would be best for someone not over new to sewing but new to stretch (def never seen pants before!) and who has only a sewing machine?!
    Thanks Ruth x

    Ruth Rowland on

  • Are there any free or good thong patterns you know of? I usually where primark stretch lace on cl thongs as you don’t get vpl and so soft you don’t feel anything between your cheeks but I hate the really short open gussets of all ready to wear! Thanks

    Clare on

  • Hi. Do you have any recommendations for pole outfits. My daughter loves pole and has just started teaching hoop! She has also discovered her love of sewing this year! I would love to be able to source some good pole outfits for her and make her some bits and pieces.
    Thank you!!! 😊

    Gillian Bacon on

  • Do you think you could combine stevie knickers, instructions for enclosed gusset, and noelle knickers, no instructions and pocket gusset, but a better shape (for me)?

    ursula stahton on

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