Friday, 14 February 2014

Getting my knickers in a twist

When Sonia posted about some super cute knickers she had made using this adorable kit from Trixie Lixie I though it looked like a sweet easy fun little project and a nice way to use up a couple of fat quarters. Then she announced the Valentine's knicker swap and I thought well why not? I haven't participated in any swaps yet for fear of inflicting my lacklustre skills on someone way more talented but my confidence has really improved this year, boosted greatly by the STQB. Count me in!

So I ordered my pattern and some pretty elastic and set to, whipping up a quick pair of knicks in just an hour or so.

A quick pair of too big, saggy, scruffy, badly finished knicks.

This is not how I like my finished items to look. Wobbly seam lines, bunchy zig zag stitch, unfinished edges, mismatching side seams. What a mess. Not a happy Hannah at all.

Well no matter. I had bought 6m of elastic (enough for 3 pairs) and seeing as I have enough fabric to stock an entire lingerie shop with homemade panties I thought right, another (better) pair for me then onto the swap pair.

Except 2m of my elastic looks like this.

Purchased before I had read the pattern I have no idea to attach this double edged pretty without it looking like a total dog's dinner.

Straight onto swap pants it was then.

Luckily Sonia posted some incredibly helpful tips which revealed the cause of the sagginess. You have to pull that elastic TAUT. So taut. I hadn't done that, particularly on the back edge. I had pulled, but not enough.

So I stalked my lovely swap partner Jo for a while and decided she had a fabulous enough sense of humour to handle beaver pants. Childish, yes, I know, but amusing nonetheless and I love this Art Gallery print. <snigger>

And so I got cutting. While watching Grey's Anatomy, planning dinner, mentally packing for my holiday and generally not even thinking about the fact that I was cutting a directional print.

On the bias.

On the bias but UPSIDE DOWN.

Seriously. Falling out with these knickers pretty fast. And with sewing time running out rapidly.

Back to square one, pulled  a load of prints, went with the awesome that is Lizzy House. Already pre-washed Lizzy House, bonus. I made a badminton dress for dd1 with this print last year and had enough leftover for Jo's knicks.

Cutting, done. I hadn't been at all pleased with the finish of my first gusset so I used a spot of glue to ensure it all stayed tidy and neat. If you can sew it you can glue baste it, that's my motto. And onto the elastic.

I practised and practised on some elastic and fabric scraps but just couldn't get it to look right at all. The only downside of my wondrous sewing machine is that the 9mm hole (there's a technical term for that I'm sure, it is eluding me right now) loves to gobble fabric. I solve this when piecing by using my single hole plate but that obviously doesn't help when a zig zag stitch is needed. So lots of fabric gobbling. Too small a zig zag and the elastic edges were curling up, too wide and I was dropping off the side. I emailed Sonia in a perfectionist panic and she talked me down wonderfully. 

So I selected a stitch width, secured that elastic with a spot of glue, pulled myself together and got on with it. Pulling that elastic so taut that at times my machine was struggling to feed it through! Oops. I also took Sonia's wise advice of going very, very slowly and it all started to come together nicely.

Hurrah! I even boldly added a little label and happily sent these on their way.

And then yesterday my parcel arrived. I was so excited to see the return address was Lisa from LisaSew. Lisa had posted a sneaky peek of her swap knicker gusset on Instagram and I had hoped they might be mine as the print was just so perfectly me.

And they are!

Grey geometric print with awesome red heart elastic. Beautifully sewn. Thank you Lisa I love them! Oh and congratulations on your new job!!

After the great knicker battle I had decided that me and knickers were done. But then I've worn these lovelies all day, and there's talk of another round of Sonia's swap .... so .... we'll see ;-)


  1. Aww bless! I found that pinning the elastic a gazillion times was the way to do it for me, but I had to unpick a whole leg hole that had a very tiny zig zag because it was fold over elastic and I hadn't thought that it wasn't like binding a quilt.... LOVE the idea of beaver pants so freaking much by the way!

  2. Beaver pants?! You're a genius! You did an awesome job and got some awesome pants!!! And there's rumours of another swap, is there?!?!??!?!?!!?

  3. I'm so gutted the beaver pants didn't work out for you, that was a stroke of genius like Sonia said!

  4. This has had me laughing! Not that I don't love my new brilliant new pants but beaver pants, maaaann, they would have been cool, even upside down! Awesome job, lady hahahaha! XXX

  5. Your pants looked amazing, so much better than the ones you received from me. I do hope they stand the test of time, but I'm not so sure. I enjoyed taking part in the swap none the less and already have plans for more.


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