So, here are my hints and tips on sewing knickers using cotton fabric. These are based on the Trixie Lixie pattern, so if you’re using a different pattern some of them may/may not be relevant to you!
Once you’ve cut out the pattern following the guidelines – very important as the patterns are cut on the bias which helps to give the knickers a nice bit of stretch! – the first bit is to attach the gusset and join the front and back pieces together.
I find it easiest to lay the gusset down first, then lay the front and back pieces (right sides together) on top so that I can measure the overlap before stitching it down.
To attach the gusset to the front knicker piece, I have found it worthwhile to smooth and pin the gusset in place, trim if necessary and then zig-zag down either side.
I often end up reducing the width of my zig-zag stitch by one or two notches, as I don’t want the stitches to be wider than those that I use for my elastic, if that makes sense?!
And then it’s on to sewing the elastic! Now, I’ll be honest, this is the bit that I was most worried about on my first pair of knickers, but I promise you it’s not tricky!
Firstly, have a look at your elastic to see how wide the tape is that you’ll be sewing through. I’ve found that I’ve had to decrease the width of my zig-zag a couple of notches so that the stitching sits neatly within the elastic band (the solid bit in the picture below).
Pin the elastic in position on one end of a leg hole and secure it with some forward/backward stitches before removing the pin.
Secondly – you can never hold the elastic too taut!!!!!
In the first photo, you can see that I’m holding the elastic with no pull, and in the middle picture, I’ve pulled the elastic really taut so that the ruffles have almost disappeared: this is how tight you want to hold it whilst sewing!
It is a little strange to get used to, I found myself working with just a couple of inches of elastic at a time holding it taut in my right hand and using my left hand to make sure that the elastic stayed in line with the edge of the knickers.
So there’s lots of stopping and starting at a slow-medium speed but it becomes second nature quite quickly and you will speed up.
I’ve also found that when I get to the gusset join I get a smoother result if I pivot (with my needle down on the bottom edge of the elastic) the fabric around and then carry on as before.
Repeat this for the other leg hole and the top edges, remembering to keep the elastic taut (have I mentioned that enough yet?!). And this is what you should end up…….it looks a bit bunchy doesn’t it?!
The last thing to do is sew the side seams.
The pattern sizes are banded (eg. a Medium is a UK 12-14) so for the seam allowance I’ve been using either a 1/4″ or 3/8″ depending on if I would normally go for the smaller or bigger size within that banding, I figure that an 1/2″ might make all the difference on a comfy pair of pants!!!!
Zig-zag (or serge) the side-seams to give a neat finish and you’re done! Ta dah!
They still look a little bunchy (I can’t help thinking of shower caps!!!!), they’re not the easiest thing to photograph!!!!
I hope this has helped you and let me know if you have any more q’s,
Todays sky ● rain, wind, more rain and more wind. It’s not good.