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I sometimes feel like I talk about underwear a lot! At first I just used underwear to make things, like my stain-covering ruffle shirt and quick lavender sachets. Then I moved on to making underwear from old t-shirts, first with my own size 2T girl underwear pattern (download the pattern for free!) and then using a bought pattern to make all of my son’s underwear when he ditched the diaper. I wanted to make some more t-shirt undies for my daughter, but I just hadn’t gotten around to drafting the pattern for her current size. Then my buddy Irene from Serger Pepper came to the rescue with her amazing Big Girl Briefs pattern!*
You can of course use regular jersey yardage to make these undies, but we refashionistas and upcyclers obviously prefer using old t-shirts for fabric, that way you don’t spend a dime! This pattern is more or less a girl’s version of the boy’s underwear pattern I used last year, using jersey for the main fabric and jersey with an elastane/spandex content to make it more stretchy for the waist and leg bands, which is awesome because there’s no elastic to dig into legs or bellies. You can feel the difference in the fabrics, but you can of course always just check out the t-shirt’s tag to see what’s in it.
Another reason I love to sew underwear from t-shirts for my kids? The pieces are small, so you can really use up all your fabric scraps. (Don’t pay any attention to my ugly printed pattern. My printer was acting up on me and didn’t print out all the information, so I had to add it in myself, but I promise that the pattern does have everything included on it!) I was able to sew two pairs of these undies from the sleeves and neck scraps of the t-shirt that I used for my t-shirt pajamas (yes, another Serger Pepper project! I think I’m obsessed!).
There was a lizard sequinned appliqué on one of the stretchy t-shirts I used for waist/leg bands which I couldn’t just throw out, so I appliquéd it to the front of one pair of undies. Needless to say, my daughter loved it!
Another awesome thing about this pattern is that it comes in two versions: high waist (comfortable and more modest) and low waist (great for pot-bellied kids and for use with low-rise pants).
See the difference in how big they are? (That’s paint on her arms, not bruises!)
This is the first pair I sewed up. As you can see, I got a perfect fit right from the start!
Just look at how aDORable they are! There is an optional stripe detail which Irene suggests making from woven fabric, but I had no problems sewing it on with the same binding fabric in one pair. You can also use ric rac, lace or other fun things, or just leave it out completely. The undies I made are pretty simple, but some of the talented ladies in the testing group made some absolutely gorgeous versions of these undies that I want for myself! (You can see a few here.) Another thing that I loved about this pattern is how the crotch is put together. In my girl underwear pattern, one of the raw edges stays visible. Irene’s pattern, on the other hand, shows a great way to keep all fabric edges enclosed, for a much nicer look. You can use an overlock machine for some steps, but you can also use just a regular sewing machine.
And guess what else? Irene includes 12 sizes, so you potentially won’t have to buy your daughter new undies until she hits her teen years! (When I’m sure she would turn her nose up at mom-made undies anyway.) I just love this pattern and so does my daughter. When I asked her if she prefers the high or low waist, her reply was, “Well, they’re both really comfortable, so why don’t you just make me a whole bunch of each?!” As you wish, my love!
So all in all, I give this pattern two thumbs up! Read more about the Big Girl Briefs pattern here and buy it in Irene’s shop* with a limited time 20% discount with the discount code “BIGGIRLDISCOUNT20” (valid until July 2, 2014)! And thank you for supporting independent designers!
*This post contains affiliate links.