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Making underwear is my favorite way to use up scraps of knit fabric that are too big to throw away, but too small to really make anything out of. You can piece together undies from scraps of different colors or patterns to use up any fragment, however small.

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The pattern I use is more or less the same as my swimsuit pattern, with a couple of inches taken off the top. Since I didn’t use elastic, I don’t need a seam allowance for these and I also took off a bit around the leg opening. I recommend just trying them on after you’ve sewn up all the seams but before you finish the edges and trimming off a bit at a time until they look right. I add seams here and there to fit the shape of the fabric – I often divide the front in thirds and use a different fabric for the center from the sides, or divide either piece in half and use the same fabric for both.

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I finished these on the serger, but you can also use elastic as in the swimsuit tutorial. Or you can use decorative lingerie elastic. To do so, sew the elastic to the fabric with the right sides facing each other (as if you were making an ordinary seam) using a slight zig zag stitch. Then, fold the elastic under, and top stitch using a wider zig zag.

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16 Responses to Remnants

  1. Maggie says:

    I really want to make some undies, and I will one day. These look so fun and you make it sound so doable. Thanks for the tips!

  2. Mary Lynn says:

    You explained the elastic application so well! Can’t wait to try this! The ones you made are adorable!

  3. Kristin says:

    These are so cute! I love them and I never even thought of using scraps to make undies!

  4. Brook says:

    Do you have any tips on how to use a serger?

    • Naomi says:

      I’m not sure what sort of tips you need – did you just get a serger and you’re not sure how to operate it? Are you wondering what it’s useful for? Do you want advice on a particular project? I’m happy to help, but I don’t know where to start. I don’t have any general advice on sergers besides read the manual – it’s full of cool stitches you can use.

      • fayemccullah says:

        i have made undies and used a zigzag stitch size 1-1 1/2 they turned out well i trimmed the seam with pinking shears and my cousin swore i had used a serger,be careful and not trim too much or you’ll have to resew.

  5. Sherri-Lynn says:

    Hi, I just love this idea. I was just trying to print out the swimsuit pattern for this and it won’t print so that the “1 inch” is actually 1 inch….it’s 5/8″. Any ideas on how to print this full size?
    Thank you so much for posting this idea and others. Much appreciated…and very crafty/clever. :)

  6. Hayley says:

    I love this idea for using up scraps! I made my first pair of undies yesterday using an Ottobre pattern. I do like them, but the elastic kind of digs in (I will tension it less next time). I wondered if you had any trouble with these staying up if you didn’t use elastic? Because it certainly sounds more comfortable (and cheaper) to leave it out, if possible. Thanks!

    • Naomi says:

      Yes, they do stay up better with elastic. I wear these with pants and it’s not a problem. I generally don’t wear them with skirts. They sort of work with skirts, but they move around more than I like.

      Stretch lace is a nice option if you want something that stays up better than jersey on its own but is a bit softer than elastic. Or, like you said, you can put less tension in the elastic.

  7. Stephanie says:

    Is it wrong of me to say that I love your undies?

  8. melissa says:

    great tutorial thanks a bunch!

  9. Sandy says:

    Who’d have ever thought of this? I am bad about getting tee shirts then never wearing ng them… In fact I came across one of my stashes today. This will be perfect. Can’t wait!

  10. Thank you for sharing! I have inspired me to try and make some tonight :)

  11. Bee says:

    I have made several pairs using my sons t-shirts most of which were hardly worn,
    I found that if you’re careful you can get 2 pairs from one size medium t-shirt,
    Also if the t shirt has pictures on the front i have managed to get one with a picture
    and one plain pair.
    On the subject of elastic i find that its best to use a slightly wider elastic on the waist
    and then use either a narrow or a fancy elastic on the legs. When I used the fancy elastic
    on the waist i found they wouldn’t stay up very well.
    Hope this helps anyone who hasn’t tried to make some before
    Best wishes Bee

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