I’ve been meaning to write this post for years now; I have been making underwear since 2013 so there is a lot of information in this post. Some of these undies have been blogged briefly in the past and many have not been blogged yet at all.
I own over a dozen underwear patterns now (16 to be exact). I’ve tried a lot of them. I am very particular about my underwear. They must meet certain criteria: comfortable, full coverage with no riding up, very little to no latex (I.e. exposed elastic), and no bunching. Many patterns claim to be full coverage and they end up not covering my cheeks. I need them to come under my cheeks fully or there will be riding up. I have had to modify almost every pair of underwear I’ve sewn to date to make this happen.
Patterns I have tried:
· Jalie 3242
· Jalie Julia 3886
· Stitch upon a time (SUAT) scrundies
· SUAT bunzies
· Made for Mermaids (M4M) Sabrina shorties
· The plucky butterfly hipster
· Self-drafted Beverly Johnson 1
· Self-drafted Beverly Johnson 2
· Apostrophe Myfit
· Mash up of Jalie 3242/bunzies/scrundies
Things I have found out along the way:
· I like my fabric to be cotton lycra or athletic wicking fabric (I have heard bamboo spandex is also good).
· Double brushed poly is too hot and makes me sweaty, this is not an area I want to be sweating no matter how soft the fabric is
· I prefer fold over elastic to keep my bands tight with no sagging during wear and sewn in one pass or the extra thread bothers me
· I much prefer a triple zig zag stitch because it allows more stretch and is softer – for my machine this setting is (#12 triple zigzag stitch) width 5.5 and length 1.2
· Cotton lycra bands sag over the day – K tried swim bands and liked them, I need to try sometime. I also read to zig zag 1/4” elastic encased in the cotton lycra bands and use them that way.
· I don’t like lace, it itches.
· I love how hipsters/boyshorts look, but they do not work for me with my large thighs
· Underwear is a very personalized thing. What works for me might not work for you. Luckily altering them is fast and easy and they take very little fabric and time.
In the first picture on the top left, the dashed aqua line is where I want my underwear to sit, compared to the gray underwear where patterns usually end up. In the second picture on the top right is how I usually alter all my underwear varying from 1/2” to 1” where the aqua line is. The third picture on the bottom is what I want my underwear to end up like.
My top 3 favorite patterns with the least altering:
· Jalie 3242 (includes kids, adults, female and male patterns)
· Stitch upon a time – Bunzies
· Self-draft #2 from Beverly Johnson’s class on craftsy (link to similar free instructions at bottom of post)
Style: full coverage
Size: Y waist to BB hip; View A, low waist and modified eventually for enclosed crotch seams
Thoughts: I love these. They are my TNT and have been for years. This is my most made underwear pattern to date. If you want to buy one pattern and have a great fit this is the one to get.
Makes: 2019 – black lace with blue foe and teal with black foe and vinyl butterfly – unblogged, love these, wear them often. Mar 2019 gray space dye with Black FOE – unblogged and loved
Also Mar 2019 Black lace with green foe – unblogged and loved
June 2018 charcoal with blue foe, and blue space dye with gray foe; both unblogged. The top pair I made the elastic too tight so I do not wear them but I love the bottom pair and wear them often.
Dec 2015 a seven pair set that I loved. 1 pair has even lasted 6 yrs as I still wear the teal with yellow
Jan 2015 purple with binding on legs and picot on waist – I used regular picot elastic for the waist and sewed right on top of it with the cover-stitch. I should have made the leg binding tighter. After wearing them a day, the leg elastic became a bit loose over time – these were tossed after 1 day.
Jun 2014 orange and blue stripe – I really loved these but they were too tight on me so I wasn’t able to wear them more than once or twice. I still have these saved in my “small size” clothing bin –hoping to wear them someday. Feb 2014 black and green chevron – My very first pair made for myself. Can you believe I still have these?!? They are just a tad too small now, but I squeeze into them nonetheless; sadly these undies days are coming to an end as they are getting really worn after 7 years
Aug 2014 set of 6 – these worked out great for K and she wore them often.
Feb 2014 another pair for K blue with pink picot – she loved these and wore them until she grew out of the size
Nov 2013 blue umbrella for K. I loved these cute little undies so much. July 2013 yellow popsicle – the very first pair I made. My husband thought I was nuts and K thought they were swim bottoms.
Jalie Julia 3886
Style: briefs/full coverage
Size: CC; low waist, added 1” out on cheek
Thoughts: Initially these were too cheeky for me so I modified them and they are ok. They are also way too low in the back and my rear shows when I bend over. I don’t love them but I like them. The design of them is cool
Makes: Mar 2019 purple with pink foe; I made these again in Aug 2017 V waist to Y hip with 1” added to crotch height and ¾” to back waist height as well as 1.25” to cheek coverage – Charcoal with teal foe; The first (purple) undies fit good except that they didn’t cover my cheeks at the bottom. They did not ride up, however I like to have the fabric cover my cheeks, so on the second pair I added about 1.25” to the width there. The charcoal pair of undies fit better with alterations but wearing them I found they are really low rise in the back; I need more height there so when I bend over the top of my rear doesn’t show. (Both these pairs have been tossed). I still think the design is cool and I will make them again when I alter the pattern more.
Style: full coverage
Size: M waist to L hip
Thoughts: These are great. I do like them better with FOE and not cotton lycra bands. This is close to a TNT for me. If I had to choose I would make Jalie 3242 first, but if that wasn’t available, this one is the next best.
Jun 2018 blue with blue foe and blue with black foe – both unblogged. The top ones were fine but a little tight in the elastics. The bottom pair was the boyshort version and they didn’t fit right on my thighs. No boyshorts for me!
July 2017 teal with butterfly vinyl – unblogged. I so loved the look of these but the boyshort part just didn’t fit right so they were only worn 2 or 3 times before sadly being tossed. Jun 2017 Charcoal with embroidered heart – unblogged these were awesome and loved until I sized out of them.
For K 2020– light blue. unblogged. One day K tells me “mom I am out of clean underwear, I’m going into the shower, please make me new ones before I get out.” um… well I did and they are great. Dec 2019 – Rugrats for K – unblogged, she likes these a lot. wears them often
K: Jul 2019 purple Zelda and red and black link – unblogged but loved
Sept 2018 for K: red with infinity and black bands, black lace with red bands, green/yellow Zelda crest, orange athletic with black bands – all unblogged – She wears these still – a lot
Thoughts: These were great, until I found fuller coverage in the Bunzies. K likes these a lot. I cannot find any pictures of the pairs I made for myself though I have made K quite a few pairs.
Makes K : Jul 2017 Llama and Pusheen also penguins – unglogged, the left were too high cut for K and the right didn’t have enough stretch, sadly all were tossed.
Aug 2016 adventure time set I made for Miss K from scraps and clothes she wouldn’t wear. All characters were done with my Silhouette and Heat transfer Vinyl. Miss K wore these until they were worn away and needed replacing, claiming them to be the most comfortable ever. I used size XS for her back then.
Bunzies, Scrundies, Jalie 3242 Mash up
Style: full coverage
Size: I took what I liked in all 3 patterns and mashed them together. They offer full coverage and an enclosed liner.
Thoughts: I love these. They fit great
Makes ME: Aug 2017 sadness, horde – unblogged, I looooooved the look of both of these so much. This is when I realized boyshorts were not for me. I have too large of thighs for them to be comfortable or look good. The pair on the right didn’t have enough stretch either. I had to toss both (and shed a tear).
Self-Draft1 & 2 from Beverly Johnson class
Style: full coverage
Size: my size, self-draft
Thoughts: These are awesome. A definite TNT, similar to my Jalie 3242. It took a second draft to tweak them to my liking but now they are almost perfect. I would recommend this class as it was very informative and helpful. I have also included a link at the very bottom to a near identical web post on drafting your own undies if you want something free.
Makes: Draft 2 Mar 2019 ITY tie dye teal white and navy as well as blue space dye with black FOE – both unblogged. the ITY on the left didn’t wear well, not enough stretch and no recovery. The ones on the right are one of my absolute favorite pair! I love them.
Jul 2018 blue ity Aztec – unblogged. I find ITY fabric doesn’t hold it’s shape well or stretch enough for underwear – sadly these are not worn
Draft 1 Jun 2018 Gray silky and light gray cotton lycra – both unblogged and both these were a first draft and they needed some tweaking to be comfortable so both were tossed
Style: hipster boy shorts
Size for me: L waist to XL hip
Size for K: Straight M
Thoughts: terrible fit for me, K likes them a lot. I did not enjoy this pattern at all and I regret buying it.
Makes: 2019? Red cotton lycra symbol for me and Jack for K – both unblogged. I tossed mine after the photo they are too large and also look terrible; K wears hers all the time.
Apostrophe My Fit
Style: full coverage
Thoughts: just ok. I don’t love them. They bunch up too much I the back so I threw them away after 1 wear. I do not like the lace bands. I just do not feel like the Apostrophe patterns are worth the price tag. They sound great “put in your measurements and get a custom pattern, yay!” but they never really work out without tons of modifications. At that point I might as well take a cheaper pattern and work off it.
Makes: Jan 2021 gray with teal lace – unblogged. I hate the lace. It stretches too tight and is itchy. These also bunch up under the cheek too much. I tossed them after 1 day.
M4M Sabrina Shorties
Style: boy shorts/hipster
Size: Green, midrise with lace legs and waist
Thoughts: I don’t like the lace bands. Boy shorts/hipsters do not look good on me with my big thighs. I do like the fit in the rear – it is nice and snug, full coverage, no riding. I am in the process of altering these to be briefs. I am taking off where you see the white chalk in the photo below. I also need to raise the crotch seam. I think this is a good pattern for someone who likes boy shorts.
Makes Jan 2021 – blue with Ewok – unblogged.
Patterns yet to try but want to:
Vintage Sew Lovely – P504
Ohh Lulu –
- Jane undies
- Grace panties
- Hilda tap pants
Made for Mermaids
- Luna undies
There is a fantastic web post on how to draft your own underwear and the process is almost exact to what I used in Beverley Johnson’s class. You can check out that post on Craftsy, just search for her name.
If you have read all the way down to here, thank you! You are awesome!
Very informative! I’ll keep these suggestions in mind as I embark on the journey of finding my own TNT underwear pattern. Can’t seem to find any ready to wear that are comfortable.
Thank you Linda! RTW are certainly not comfortable any more
Liz Sews has several videos on drafting your own underwear also for free. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLYT36pajS6oxFT6TPjfqLIXHgDi4h16oS
My most used patterns have been the Simplicity 8229 and Emerald Erin’s Tuesda boyshort (I love the solid front). I think I would like to try out Bravo Bella bottoms.
Thanks Char! I will check out those videos for sure! I will also look up those patterns. Thanks for reading!
I have Jalie 2568 and love it; my girls love it, too. I like that you can have low or high rise, bikini cut or hip-hugger. I like a higher cut leg and a full backside, and I’m with you on CL + FOE. You’ve inspired me to work on my underwear drawer!
Thanks for the this great, informative write-up! So many options!!
My biggest barrier is fabric. I find the knits I use for clothing too heavy. But the store bought ones I like the most are modal so maybe I need to try with a modal/lycra blend.
Going to check out that link to draft. Thanks!!
The “I am out of clean underwear” story is hilarious!! 🤣
[…] to try these because I’m all about trying different underwear patterns as you can see in my super long underwear post. I sewed the underwear with the tie dye fabric to match on August 15th. I originally took two […]