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…..