The Knicker Report

I know I said I wouldn’t show you my knickers again, but I have been testing out the Scrundlewear pattern and I can now give you a preliminary report…

There are two styles available – shorts and briefs and I have made both. The waist and leg bands must be made from fabric with some stretch, so I bought some organic cotton-lycra jersey in amusing patterns to play around with:

Then I made versions of both styles entirely out of the new fabric and also with fabric from old t-shirts for the bits that don’t need so much elasticity, resulting in four fabric/style combinations in total:


Piles of pants

And then I wore each pair for a full day to road-test them!

So, here are my thoughts:

  • The pattern just gives dimensions for the waist and leg bands, but it’s easier if you make an actual paper pattern piece to work with – it just makes life easier and you don’t have to keep using a tape measure.
  • The original pattern is designed to print out on A4 paper which then has to be stuck together. I used these print-outs to create a template and transferred the pieces onto a single large piece of paper so there were no joins to act as points of weakness.
  • When it came to sewing, my machine struggled with the 100% cotton t-shirt fabric. I tried a variety of needles (normal and ballpoint), but still suffered from problems with tension and missed stitches. In contrast, once I’d got the tension/needle combination right, the new cotton-lycra jersey was easy to sew.

Missed stitches reduce stretchiness and mean weak joins, so minimising them is important. I need to do more trials with my machine to sort this out.

  • Once it came to wearing them, I found the most comfortable version, generally, to be the shorts with the reused t-shirt fabric (those are the ones with the black and white bands in the picture). However, it was a close-run thing and I have to confess that although they were good, none of them were perfect. It will be interesting to see how washing affects the fit and comfort.
  • In all cases, I thought that the leg bands were a little too wide, so I’m going to make these a bit narrower next time and see how that works out. The waists were fine.
  • They are quite substantial, so I imagine that if you lived somewhere warm you might like to seek out a finer jersey than I used, and perhaps use lingerie elastic rather than the fabric for the waist/leg bands (there is an option for this in the pattern).
  • I quite enjoyed making them and it does get easier with practice.
  • Out of interest, I’m going to dismantle some comfortable knickers that I have been wearing for years and see how the shape compares to this pattern… I will then make some modifications and have another go.

So, there you are. My conclusions? Give it a go – if you’ve got a sewing machine that can cope, I’m sure you can be successful if you are prepared to experiment. This way you can have ethical, organic pants and save a lot of money.

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  1. claire

     /  September 4, 2016

    Hello Mrs Snail, thanks for sharing your results with us. I’d be happy to hear about any update regarding long-term wearability. I’m adding this to my sewing project list. By the way, I love the fox fabric 😍

  2. Thank you for sharing your learning. I like the idea of making my own underwear but need to finish setting up my sewing room and work through the (long) list of more urgent projects first. Being able to profit from your experiments means I am more likely to try.

  3. Two knicker posts! I applaud the effort involved with making your own clothes. Upcycling old t-shirts is actually cool. My upcycling consists of using old clothes as dust rags for house cleaning.

  4. I’m so impressed with this endeavor. You really are “walking the walk” as they say, putting time and effort into making a difference. In Canada, Mum referred to these as “step-ins” or “underwear”. Here is the US they’re referred to as underwear as well or panties. I love the term knickers. Whatever you call them, I find it nearly impossible to find a comfortable pair. I’ve tried all the styles: granny, brief, short, thong (good grief no!), bikini, etc. The verdict is still out.

    Great post!

  5. So, pants that *aren’t* pants, then… I’ve always loved the expression that something was ‘completely pants’ if it was bad! Undies would be the word here, pants are trousers!

  6. Whatever you call ’em, they need to be comfortable! [That’s me wading in to the preceding comments/conversation 🙂 The thing that most appeals to me is that you can make your underwear out of all kinds of different patterns and colours and go about your business knowing there are foxes and butterflies and anything else that takes your fancy adorning your rear end where normally there is just boring old commercially made cotton gusset blah! Well done Snail – next step perfect a pattern and sell it on to all of us 🙂 xo

  7. Will have to check out the pattern. The fox fabric is the cutest. Well done to you!

  8. I find with shop bought knickers/undies/but-definitely-not-panties that when I finally get a comfy brand and style it has gone out of production when I go to buy them again. Grrr.However, it has never crossed my mind to make my own. And I love the notion that you are road testing them! Is that the mark of a real scientist?!

  9. As with Anne54, when I find a pair of underwear that are comfortable, they are often not available when I need more. Your created ones look great (I like the legs) I wanted to tell you, however, that I’ve been using your recipe for wipes–with pieces of an old t-shirt. I keep a jar in the bathroom and they’re really nice!

  10. You’re really getting to the bottom of all this, aren’t you!? Impressed 🙂

  11. hi Snail, I love the idea that knickers are easier to make than I thought. Just very short shorts!! But you know the next step has to be homemade bras – dare you!!!

    • Actually, there’s a pattern for one from the Scrundlewear lady and I’m tempted! I’ve also got a 1950s crochet pattern that I might have a go at one day!! If I do, I’ll bring it in to the shop to show you, although probably not modelling it 😉

  12. Foxy lady! Love your knickers!

  1. Knickers to 2016! | The Snail of Happiness

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