09 10

SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER!

Monday, 25 May 2015

Sorry tired old black multi-pack pants. You have just been replaced by something prettier.

Psst! I'm having a couple of pant making workshops - Friday 19th and 26th June. There are a couple of places left - click here to grab yourself one of them... 

Hello, everyone.

A fortnight of homemade pants
The Bank Holiday is drawing to an uneventful close here - girls happily in bed, following an extended `use Daddy as a hair dressing guinea pig' session after their bath, and now for some rubbish TV, as I try and cope with the horror of realising there is currently no cake or chocolate in the house (how did I let that happen?).

Have you been participating in Me Made May this year? I have, and the first of the personal challenges I set myself was to replace my tired old pants with some pretty new handmade ones.

Allow me to bore you with the background to how I ended up sat on my sofa on a Bank Holiday Monday night, telling you about the drawer full of pants I have recently made.

Having teetered between thinking that making your own undies was a sure sign you have way too much time on your hands, and only for people who have not heard of M&S, and secretly feeling jealous of those that produce their own, and wanting to have a go at making some myself. I am not sure when the thought first came to me - I had my conscience pricked about the notion of factory mass produced pants a couple of years back, at the time of Mary Portas launching her British produced brand, Kinky Knickers. Then, as I read about another ethical brand - Who Made Your Pants - and the idea of subscribing to a year of beautiful undies made by women who were properly paid for their work, I came close to signing up... but, well, the joy/curse of being able to sew reared its head. I could just make my own. That was about a year ago, and I have remained in a knicker stale mate (not wanting to give in and buy any because I will one day make my own) until Me Made May came along. As I tend to wear stuff I've made most days anyway, I thought commiting myself to come good on this intention would be a good challenge.

So, how have I got on, I hear you ask?

It was exactly two weeks ago that I made my first pair. Unable to sleep for hours on end, I decided a sensible thing to do would be to get out of bed at 5.45am and start making a pair of pants. I had the things - pattern, fabric and elastic - lined up ready to go beforehand, so it was just a case of giving in to my lack of sleep, opting to plod downstairs, fill the kettle for a cup of tea and use the time to do something I'd been wanting to do. Thinking my first pair might not be brilliant, I used a scrap of leftover fabric and told myself it would become a practise pair. 

I am going to say it now. Making knickers - especially ones with elephants on them - is a joyful activity! And, even though it was a rainy morning, and I was feeling knackered after a night of insomnia, I could not help but grin with delight as we left for the school run. And, much to the embarrassment of my eldest girl, I could not help myself, and told a couple of school mum friends what I was wearing under my jeans. Not one bit sorry about this. If you are wondering what the rest of the fabric had been used for, it was a romper for Charlotte, ages ago.

Well, I think I may have found a new sewing obsession/love.

My undies drawer post clear out. It will never be this tidy again.
Knickers are relatively quick to make, once you have a pattern you like and have got the hang of how to apply the elastic evenly. After my first few, self drafted pairs based on existing knickers I own, I used Zoe's free pattern and instructions for all the rest. Super. If like me, you've been hesitating over this area of sewing, I can heartily recommend going for it. I tried out various types of knicker elastic, and liked some more than others, in terms of ease of use and overall finished effect. Practist, practise, practise was my mantra, and boy has this latest sewing adventure given me more respect for factory workers who turn out dozens of perfect pairs a day. Pleasingly, I have found that even the pairs that I made and thought were a bit uneven and ropey looking, are actualy a lot better and perfectly functional once on me. Who would have known?!

Zoe's pattern is for jersey use - and the favourite I found was Robert Kaufman in anchors and spots, both from Fabric Rehab. Who can not feel happy when wearing those prints all over their bum?! I had more mixed luck with my shopping at English Couture Company, where I gleefully ordered lots of different elastics, and also popped a metre each of stretchy satin in mint green and some cotton black jersey. That mint green choice will be a reminder of the need to feel fabric before you buy, as it is never going to be worn against my skin. Hey ho, eh?

My pant making spree did not stop with pants for myself. With my husband out on Friday night, I got a couple of sewing friends, Emily and Imogen, round for some chocolate and wine fuelled pant making. We know how to party! You can check out our happy faces at the end of our making session on my Instagram if you want more evidence of why making pants is good for you, he, he.



I have tried making other types of pants, too, now. Like these ones above, using Liberty lawn. Because the fabric doesn't stretch in the same way, these are easier for beginners to make - and, require an initially alarmingly large looking pattern for your size pre sewing the elastic in. I think I have room for a few more pairs of pretty pants in my life (I am secretly hoping to venture to Liberty for an hour or so during a family day out in half term, if that happens...). There is no denying the pyscological benefits of opening my undies drawer to be greeted by the colourful sight of my selection of homemade pants, versus the depressing sorry looking pile of faded black ones that have now been chucked in the bin.

15 comments:

  1. Love all the pretty colours. Wouldn't be quick for me with the size I wear!! xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I can definitely recommend having a go... X

      Delete
  2. Ooh gorgeous! Well done you - you have been productive.

    I'll have to put knicker elastic on my list of things to look out for :-) you might just have inspired me...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Go for it! I was pleasantly surprised to find some elastic lurking forgotten about in a corner of my local shop.

      Delete
  3. Oh wow, that is so inspiring. I had just assumed this kind of sewing was beyond me. I shall keep my eyes open for elastics when next out in town. I haven't ventured into buying online yet! These are fantastic, think I would want to share if I was wearing elephant pants too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Go for it, Louise. All of the pairs I made would no doubt end up in the reject bin if in a factory, but who cares, they stay up and look pretty, and that counts for something in my book. 😊 Elephant pants make you feel happy. Fact

      Delete
  4. These look amazing! I don't usually say this very often but your home-sewn pants look fantastic - I bet you smile lots more when getting ready in the morning!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love putting them on! A lot more inspiring than the pathetic looking pile of pants I had before... If only we all lived closer to each other for a pants night. 😊

      Delete
  5. Oh my. Two weeks worth of new pants? I too would be smiling if my bum was dressed in such pretties. And I was giggling my way through much of this post...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I can't lie - I love 'em. They are my favourite thing I've seen in ages... It is all I can do to stop myself flashing them at anyone who asks...!

      Delete
  6. Oh. Em. Gee - I have real life knicker-envy (those anchors!!) wow wee - they're so fab! What a blooming awesome thing to sew. Can't wait to finish my Megan dress with you later - wahoooooo!!!! xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pants are the next thing after the dress, no? Go on... I'll give you some of my anchor fabric. ⚓

      Delete
  7. Ah these look so great! It really is nice to have fun pants on, isn't it?!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thought they would be too hard to make, but it turns out they are just fun from start to finish. Thanks again for bringing homemade pants into my life. Getting dressed is more fun. ⚓

      Delete
  8. What a feast to the eyes!!! They all look so pretty. Love that you had a pant making wine fuelled party!! I love making pants too - so satisfying to spend a short space of time on making something that can be in everyday use and add joy when you get dressed in the morning!!

    ReplyDelete