Category Archives: Free Pattern

I made ALL THE UNDERWEAR

If you don’t follow me on YouTube (or Instagram) you may not have seen that I have made rather a lot of underwear in the last few weeks! I have a whole new underwear wardrobe, which is awesome because I was getting a bit low on pants – does anyone else find lots of pairs seem to wear out all at the same time, leaving you with barely a week’s worth? Well I no longer have that problem, lol.

Fair warning: there are a lot of photos in this post. You can see a video of all the combinations on YouTube or Instagram Reels.

The 2 patterns I used for all of these makes were the Sophie Hines Axis Tank – which I took off 5cm from for the bralette versions and added 7cm to for the vest versions; and the Megan Nielsen Acacia Pants – which is free, and which I added 4cm to the rise of as I like my pants to sit slightly higher. The Axis Tank goes up to a 50″ bust, 42″ waist, and the Acacia Pants go up to a 48″ waist and 58″ hip. It’s free to newsletter subscribers.

I decided I wanted most of my underwear to be made from nice, breathable jerseys. I did use some random stuff from the stash (the navy, mustard stripe and navy stripe) but I also ordered some bamboo jerseys from Ray Stitch, plus the mustardy-peach was a different organic jersey (but not bamboo).

This was my first time sewing with bamboo jersey and while it is really soft and lovely to wear, it wasn’t my favourite to sew with, if I’m honest. It’s very slippery and I’m often a bit slapdash with cutting out so some of my pieces maybe weren’t quite the exact right shape/size but it all seemed to work out okay in the end. I’m happy to have a break from sewing with it though!

I bought a bunch of foldover elastic from ebay and it obviously isn’t the best quality but it’s good enough and the thicker stuff I bought is actually a little too strong so it’s a delicate balance finding the right elastic, imho. I did have some bright blue elastic which was just about enough for one pair of pants so I used it on a white pair for maximum contrast and I do love this pair!

I know it might be kind of a boring colour, but I think the grey ones might be my favourite. I only ordered white, black and navy elastic so I decided to use white elastic on the grey (I briefly considered black but it didn’t look as good) and I’m really happy with how they look.

I just realised I didn’t mention the sizes I made – I made the size xs of the Axis tank and the size 2 of the Acacia pants. My measurements are 32″ bust, 25″ waist, 35″ hip.

At some point in the last 18 months/ 2 years or so I decided I didn’t want to keep wearing underwired bras. In the Winter, working in a freezing cold bookshop, I’d be wearing 8 layers of clothes on average, so it really didn’t matter whether I had a bra on or not and I got used to not wearing them. Then when I tried after a break, I felt like the wire was REALLY digging into my ribs – I guess that was always the case, but I was used to it? I then decided I needed some soft bralettes for when I want a layer underneath my clothes. Luckily I don’t feel like I need the support of underwiring.

I had a mammoth cutting out session of cutting out all the things before I moved (at the beginning of May) so I would have some projects ready to go for after the move. I thought batch sewing would be fun – and the actual construction seams are really minimal across both patterns (2 gussets via the burrito method and side seams for the pants; and one back seam and 2 shoulder seams for the tank). But then there’s the hem bands and the elastic. I definitely would be happy to not sew any elastic for a while!

In total I made 4 pairs of pants in each plain colour (black, white, grey, navy, mustardy-peach) and 2 in the mustard stripe. Then I made 2 bralettes and one vest in each of the plain colours, plus one vest in each of the striped fabrics. It definitely should keep me going for a while! I could maybe cut out individual items when I’m next making a knit project to use up any scraps but I don’t want to batch in the same way again!

This striped fabric is actually a ponte and it doesn’t really have enough stretch to be as easy to get on and off or as comfortable to wear.

I am digging how from the back it looks like an old fashioned style swimming costume! I was thinking before I took all these photos that actually these 2 patterns could make a good bikini-type swimming costume. I would leave the pants as they are and maybe use the original length of the Axis Tank for the top – I think the vest is a little too long and the bralette a little too short. Not that I ever wear swimming costumes, but I’m kind of digging the idea now I’ve thought of it! I might keep my eyes open for some nice swim fabric (oooh, maybe a mix and match set with 2 pairs….)

I do really love this fabric. It’s been sitting in my stash for ages, waiting for the right project and I’m glad I’ve finally used some up. I think I might still have enough left for a t-shirt so I might have to move that to the top of my to-make list. I’m definitely craving some simpler projects to cleanse my palette from the endless elastic and hem band sewing!

I said for the longest time that I wasn’t going to bother making underwear as it would be too fiddly, I can buy it and there are more fun and exciting projects to make! But then last year I was furloughed for months and months and so had the time to work through my whole back-catalogue of projects I wanted to make and so suddenly making underwear seemed useful instead of a waste of time. I maybe could have made fewer items (lol) but at least I’m all set for a good while. Now I’ve finished them all, maybe I can make some completely frivolous frosting makes to try different fabrics? Or do some proper full on tailoring? Or some hand sewn projects? Who knows…..

Making Period Pants

As I mentioned in my YouTube video about making underwear, one of the reasons I wanted to have a go at making underwear, and pants in particular, was to make some period pants – it seemed like this is a rare instance when making something could be cheaper than buying it!

Sophie Hines has some great tutorials on her website to help you know what supplies you need and how to alter your favourite pattern to be period pant friendly.

The main change you’ll want to do is to lengthen the gusset so you get better coverage than a standard gusset. I guess if you have some really light days you might be able to use a standard sized gusset for some pairs. I made 5 pairs in total, all with the lengthened gusset so I’d have flexibility for when in my period I choose to use them. I also bought a menstrual cup to have a fully sustainable period and I’ve been using that on the first couple of heaviest days, then the pants when it’s lighter towards the end.

You’ll also need to change the front and back pattern pieces by an equivalent amount to take account of the new longer gusset. I added around 6cm to the back and 5cm to the front of the gusset, then reshaped the other pieces accordingly. I made the size 2 of Megan Nielsen Acacia Pants, which is a free pattern and goes up to a 48″ waist and a 58″ hip. I already added around 4cm to the rise as I like my pants to sit a little higher than the pattern is drafted for.

The next thing you need to do is collect your supplies. This was the part I was most anxious about as I didn’t want to order the wrong things and discover at an inopportune moment that the pants didn’t function as I wanted them to. Muna and Broad also have a lot of good information about the kinds of supplies you need, which helped me a lot. Basically you need 3 layers: a moisture-wicking fabric, an absorbent later and a waterproof layer. Bamboo jersey, which I used for my underwear is actually a great moisture-wicking option. For the absorbent layer I ordered Zorb, which is a popular fabric for resuable nappies and period pants alike. I ordered a metre and I definitely didn’t need that much – you could definitely get away with half a metre (or maybe even less) for 5 pairs.

For the waterproof layer I ordered PUL (ProSoft Waterproof) in black – again I ordered a metre, and again I didn’t need anywhere near that much! I ordered both fabrics, which I’ve also linked in their names, from Cuddle Plush Fabrics, which I had not heard of before but they have lots of niche performance fabrics, so it would definitely be worth a look if you’re after some high performance fabrics (and you’re in the UK). Looking at their website today, it looks like they now have some recycled fabrics now, which is pretty exciting! The waterproof fabric has a right side and a wrong side, btw, and should not be pinned – I used some of those handy clippy things.

And here is the finished article – they’re not the most glamourous thing, and they look kind of badly made flat on the table, but they look okay on. I did have some wider fold over elastic for some of the pairs (but I ran out before I could do them all), also from Cuddle Plush Fabrics, and it was definitely better for the leg seams as they end up quite bulky and trying to neatly enclose everything with narrow foe was rage-inducing to say the least!

Some Homemade Presents

I know it’s February and maybe a little late to be sharing some homemade Christmas presents, but I actually sent these off in January so it’s not that late really!

My uni friends and I usually get together for a second Christmas (Christmas 2) in January or February of each year – though sadly for obviously plague-related reasons we haven’t been able to this year. I think it’s over 10 years we’ve been doing Christmas 2 but hopefully we’ll be able to get together next year.

Anyway to start with we all bought little presents for each other – there are 8 adults and 2 children usually in attendance so the presents got a bit much and we switched to secret santa. We thought about still doing that this year and did a secret santa charity donation instead of actual presents (where you donate to the charity the person you picked has chosen) but we girls in the group decided to exchange little things anyway to cheer each other up – but with the budget of free!

So enter trying to thing of things to make from stuff already in my stash – which is vastly depleted because of sewing all the things last year!

I decided to make them each some reusable make-up pads as I love mine so much! I used 2 different jerseys for the back to make them specific to the person.

I then crocheted a bag to keep them in – which doubles up as a bag you can wash them in so they don’t clog up your washing machine!

And then I made us each (I made one for myself too while I was making them) a sleep mask as I find it much easier to get to sleep, if I’m having trouble drifting off, if I’m wearing a sleep mask.

I also included some books from my collection for each of my friends to make the gift a bit more substantial – I’ve felt a desire to get rid of lots of stuff since being in lockdown for so much of the year. Maybe you just look around your house more when you’re in it for so much?! I found myself looking at my bookcases going ‘why do I still have that’ so I had a massive clear out and passed things I thought they would like to my friends – win win!

 

 

Masks galore!

I spent some of the very end of December, after Christmas, running up some more masks as wearing them at work made me realise that while I had quite a few, it was stressing me out to do washing in time to get them cleaned so I thought I’d make some more (and use up some fabric scraps at the same time) so I’d have plenty to choose from……..and then I was furloughed again. But I think masks will be with us to stay so I’m not mad that I’ve got a bigger collection now.

Some of these are made from more crafty cottons I had lying around and some are leftovers from garments I’ve made. They’re all the Good Neighbour Mask by Bayron Handmade.

I made a kind of flick book of all the masks! Lol! Also they’re all below in photo form!

I’m looking forward to matching them to my outfit, once I start going outside again!

I hope all of you out there – and especially in the UK – are coping okay with the ongoing lockdowns and everyone is well xx

Christmas Bunting Tutorial (and template)

A couple of years ago I made this Christmas bunting and have finally got around to blogging this tutorial so you can make some yourself. I went for the maybe slightly garish but traditional Christmas colours of green and red but I think it would look cute with gold or silver with red or green. Or all in the same colour!

I didn’t really write proper notes on how much fabric I used, but I would have thought half a metre of each colour would be enough and 3.1m of bias binding for the top.

You can download the background template and the Christmas tree pattern here. The text I used was stencil font in size 185pt but you can pick a font you especially like.

I cut out 18 red backgrounds and 16 in green – you need 2 pieces per triangle. I wrote out a plan of which letters I needed in which colours so that the colours were opposite to the backgrounds, making sure the Christmas trees were all on red – which worked out perfectly!

I stitched each letter on with a narrow zigzag stitch to minimise the fraying potential. You could, of course, use felt for your letters so then you could stitch them with a straight stitch.

The letters ended up looking a little hairy but from a distance I think they look fine!

For the Christmas trees, as well as zigzagging around the edge, I used some yellow thread from my stash to make it look like it had some tinsel on – without it it looked a bit bare and like…..just a tree, instead of a Christmas tree.

The background pieces have a 1cm seam allowance. Once you’ve sewn all your letters (and trees) onto a single layer of backing fabric, then place it right sides together with a matching backing piece and stitch around the 2 diagonal sides, but NOT THE TOP. Then trim the point, and turn it the right side out, pressing them so they lie flat. Then line them all up, in order, and stitch the bias binding on the top! And voila! A new Christmas decoration!

I know this Christmas is probably not going to be like it has been in previous years but I think making things feel festive at home is a small thing we can each do to try to celebrate however we can.

Do tag me on instagram if you use this tutorial – I’m @sewingmachinations.