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Tips & Techniques > Copy RTW Underwear

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Posted by: Kim Winson

About Kim Winson starstar
Member since: 2/2/02
Reviews: 86 (tips: 12)
Skill level:Intermediate
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Posted on: 1/28/08 10:19 PM
Review Rating: Helpful by 2 people   Very Helpful by 24 people   
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I have a pair of underwear that I just love (you know you have one too!) and I wanted to copy it. A YouTube video by David Page Coffin inspired me to make this tutorial. The underwear on the left is the original, much-loved store bought undies; on the right is my copy. As you can see , the copy is slightly larger than the original, due to some slight over-stretching that I did when I was copying them. Not a problem at all, as the new undies fit like a charm. Now on to the directions.

1) Fold the back of the underwear in half, and mark the mid-point at the waistline and crotch seam line using pins. Using your favorite marking tool, connect the waistline and crotch seam midpoints, as shown in this picture.

2) The following marking technique is adapted from David Page Coffin's YouTube video. Lay a piece of paper on a piece of foam core board. I've used craft paper in the picture, the corners and sides pinned down to keep the paper flat.

3) Lay out the underwear with the back facing up. Make sure that you can see the side seam and the crotch seam. Notice how it doesn't lay flat? Stretch and smooth out the fabric until it lays relatively smoothly, pinning where necessary; see this pic. Now, here's the ultra cool part, take another pin and pin-prick along the outside of the top and leg openings, see this series of pictures: a) step 1, b) step 2, c) step 3, d) step 4, e) step 5. Did you notice how in each successive picture my hand had moved from right to left? I would make the pin-picks at least at every 1/2 inch. Make them closer if you are marking along a curve. Do the same along the top, and stop at the mid-point that you marked earlier. Now do the same at the crotch seam.

4) Now take out all of the pins and remove the underwear from the paper. You'll see a series pin-pricks on the paper. Simply connect the dots.

5) Add a 1/4" seam allowance to the crotch seam. Mark a line where the CB was as the "fold of the fabric." You now have a pattern for the back of your panties.

6) Repeat the above process for the front of the underwear.

7) The crotch is done as one piece since it's so small. Lay the crotch against a new section of the craft paper. Smooth it out and pin as before to keep the fabric flat. Make pin-pricks along the sides of the crotch and along the front and back crotch seams as above. Once you've done marking thep in-pricks and you've removed the undies from the paper, remember to add a 1/4 inch seam allowance to the front and back crotch seams.

8) Now cut the patterns from the kraft paper, remember to mark the CF of the front pattern piece as the fold of the fabric. Here is a picture of my pattern pieces cut from white paper.

9) Lay out the pattern pieces on your knit fabric. You need one each of the front and back pieces and two of the crotch pieces. Remember that the direction of greatest stretch goes around the body. I used a two-way stretch knit. Since my pattern pieces are kinda small, I used spray adhesiveto secure them to the fabric, instead of pins. Cut out the fabric. Mark right sides, if both sides of your fabric look the same. I use blue painter's tape.

10) Lay the back piece right side up. Lay one of the crotch pieces right side down, matching the crotch seams. You'll probably have to stretch one of the pieces so that the seams match complete, pin to secure.

11) Now pull back the crotch piece, so that the two pinned pieces lay open like the pages of a book ( the pins will flip beneath the pieces of fabric) .

12) Lay the front piece right side down over the free edge of the crotch piece and match the two seams. Once again, you'll probably have to stretch one of the pieces so that the seams match completely. Pin to secure.

13) Fold the front piece, accordion style, as shown in the picture. Fold the back piece, accordion style, as shown in the picture.

14) Lay the remaining crotch piece right side down over the whole assemblage. Match the front seam, stretching as necessary and pin to secure. Repeat with the back seam. The finished sandwich should look like this.

15) Sew through all three layers of the front crotch seam. Repeat for the back.

16) Now pull one side of the front/back folded pieces through to the other side, like this. Finish pulling all of the front back pieces through and you will have something that looks like this. Voila, all of the raw edges along both crotch seams are neatly encased inside of the crotch. Neat, eh?

17) With right sides together, sew the front to the back along the side seams. Sew lingerie elastic or fold over elastic to finish the waistline and the leg openings. You now have a new pair of underwear. Go you!

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thaiyal said... (12/17/12 8:53 PM) Reply
Kim, thank you for the detailed sewing instructions. I have looked at my RTW underwear where both crotch seams are enclosed and wondered how on earth, they did it! Now I know!
nickie63 said... (2/18/08 1:07 AM) Reply
This very helpful, I have never made my under ware but with the price they it sure would be cheaper.
seaweed said... (2/17/08 9:42 AM) Reply
Thanks for the tip and link to DPC's video. I can't wait to try this.
li'l miss muffett said... (2/4/08 11:15 AM) Reply
thank you fo rsuch a great tutorial. I've just started making undies and I'll definitely try this!
utz said... (1/30/08 8:26 AM) Reply
Thanks this a great tip! The photos are really helpful. Got to do this!
ryansmumAria said... (1/29/08 7:00 PM) Reply
wow, thanks for taking the time to do all that. That is so interesting and motivating.
Jodi B. said... (1/29/08 1:13 PM) Reply
Thanks very much for such a detailed review of the process!
Asa Hagstrom said... (1/29/08 9:43 AM) Reply
Thanks for this tutorial! I really should copy my favorite underwear before it's too late... The store where I bought them doesn't sell them any more.
maidathome said... (1/29/08 8:03 AM) Reply
Great photo tutorial. I have been wanting to try copying my favorite pair and you just made it incredibly easy. Thanks
SewVeryTall said... (1/29/08 7:01 AM) Reply
This is how I copied my RTW undies too. I use a full pattern [not to be cut on the fold], so I can cut out two pair at once on regular fabric, or for placement when using a logo Tshirt for its fabric. Good description of how to do this Kim.
Rebecca D said... (1/29/08 6:34 AM) Reply
What a great tip. I found this incredibly helpful.
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