Undies from an old T-shirt

Undies from an old T-shirt

I mentioned in a post recently, the dire state of my undies. They are an embarrassment. If I’m having a massage or risking being seen in my underwear, I have to put on a pair that’s too uncomfortable for daily use (hence they reason they are still in public-worthy condition). However, I don’t want to go out and buy new ones, for reasons outlined here.

It turns out, however, that you can make them from old T-shirts! I don’t know why it took me so long to work this out. Check out this great tutorial, and this one. Well I stocked up on old T-shirts from the op shop, grabbed my bag of elastic (also collected from the op shop), and while I was on holidays at the beach recently, I got to it. First problem – it turns out people only give elastic to the op shop when they have pieces that are too short to be useful. Bummer (so to speak). I really couldn’t go, aesthetically, with one leg of one elastic and one of another type. Yuck. If I’m going to make my own undies they have to be at least moderately stylish. I searched and searched the internet until I found out how to sew elastic-less undies, and set about making a test pair.

The secret to elastic-less undies, btw, is to cut from stretchy fabric a band for each leg and for the waist, 5cm wide and about 5cm shorter in length than the circumference of the leg/waist.  Use these bands instead of elastic.

Second problem – my sewing machine is yet another of those items that still feels very new to me (I bought it new 15 years ago), and is on its last legs. I’ve had it serviced several times, but it’s just missing too many stitches, the zigzag doesn’t work any more – it gives me grief. Now for a big batch of undies, I’m intending to hunt down a friend with an overlocker, and go round for a good stitch-up. But before I do that I want to have cut out a whole pile of undies so I can do several in one go. And before I do that, I wanted to make a test pair – I’d be really spewing if I sewed seven pairs of undies and found out they were uncomfortable. I couldn’t even massage enough goodness out of my machine for a test pair, but I didn’t want to waste the opportunity down at the beach to cut out the entire pile. So – I did what women probably always did, many years ago, and sewed them entirely by hand. Actually it wasn’t too bad – took two, maybe three hours. And the advantage was that I could stitch them in a way that they would stretch nicely around the leg and waist band (on my machine either the thread ends up too tight and cuts into my skin, or else it stretches the fabric badly and makes it buckle).

So, I’m wearing them right now, as I type and guess what? The are gorgeously comfortable. No wedgie. No too-tight leg. And not only that, but I’m rapt with how they look!

Now.. to find an overlocker…

PS – my plan for my sewing machine is to replace it with a seriously old one, the kind that was made back when they were built to last.

One thought on “Undies from an old T-shirt

  1. Jill Winchester

    Hello! I just want to leave a big thank-you for your wonderful article about making knickers from recycled t-shirts. I have been doing this now for a couple of years, and am currently making some for Christmas presents, and it has given me the greatest pleasure! I have to admit to buying some of the t-shirts from op-shops as I hardly have any of my own, but they can be had for as little as 50 cents or a dollar in some shops, and the choice of colours is extensive. Added to the aesthetic pleasure there is the instant comfort when you put them on for the first time. So thanks again, and I hope I never stop making them (and you never stop thinking up ingenious ideas and spreading them !)

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