Children's Undergarment Help Page
One day my daughter decided she wouldn't wear undies. Bike shorts sufficed for a while.
My brother told me my niece decided her undies didn't come up high enough. His wife spent the better part of a Saturday driving the midwest to find "granny panties" for their little girl.
Last night, a fellow hockey mom described how her youngest daughter sneaks her sibs undies, because she thinks everything is "too tight" even when barely snug enough to stay up.
Sound familiar? Ready to wear undies are often not perfect and a lot of children will reach a point they don't love them. Sometimes kids can tell you what they don't like and sometimes they can't. Either way you are faced with the choice to scour the earth in search of the perfect undies or make them yourself!
These are the real life reasons to make your child's underwear.
Here are a few practical tips to get you started.
Elastic drastically improves your fabric economy. I could nearly double the garments I could get from a half yard of high quality fabric just by adding a few dollars more elastic. Bands and bindings are super comfy, but they are fabric hogs, so if your child doesn't need bands or binding for comfort, consider elastics. In our house, we've found that using a properly fitting pattern with elastics which are not snug, relieves a lot of the discomfort common with elastics. Check out this post for links to patterns.
We've put together a general chart of what to expect from your fabric economy. Obviously, this will vary significantly with the type of pattern you are using.
|Garment type||# of garments||Fabric||Elastic per garment|
|Girls undies size 12M-10||2||F1/4||
|Boy briefs size 12M-10 (without operational fly)||2||F3/8||
|Long leg briefs 12M-10||1-2||F1/4||
|Short Cami/Bralettes 12M-10||2||F1/4||
|Full Cami||2||1/2 Y||
If you've got a sensitive child- The softest edgings are bindings and bands. Any undies pattern can be made this way, but cut your bindings 90% and bands 85%. Sew the seams flat on bands, or even put the seams on the right side of the garment. Using Wooly Nylon thread makes the seams even softer.
Next softest would be Fancy Foldover elastic. It's got a super plush side that is very kind to skin. Regular Foldover Elastic is smooth and cool. A good rule of thumb is to make your elastic 95% of your leg opening. 1:1 often leaves elastic edges sloppy, and 90% is still a tad snug for the sensitive kiddos- but there's a sweet spot near 95%. Even if your pattern has you cutting elastics snugger, try 95% if the child you are sewing for is sensitive. Put all that stretch at the area where the seat of the undies is widening out and at the tightest part of the curve along the front of the leg.
Fusible elastic can be a great way to make barely there undies, too, which can be exactly what some kids want. Make a high rise panty pattern from Microlycra, adding enough along the waist edge to encase the fusible elastic and leave the leg edges unfinished for a pair that fits smooth, cool and light as air. These are great beneath leggings, too, for a no-show undie.
Decorative elastics or narrow laces can be a simple way of elevating your child's undies into something truly personalized in a very economical way. This is especially important when your child is moving from little kid into the tween years. Just a little bit of fancy can make her feel more grown up without jumping too far ahead!
When your child begins wearing bralettes, a simple place to begin is begin is with a short cami style. Many girls prefer a wide plush lower band as it helps prevent the garment from riding up. A similar alternative to this is encased elastic, which is super soft when you use bamboo.
Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions about making your child undergarments! We love to help!