Woven undies. Does that idea scare anyone else? I have visions of bloomers made from bum-scratchy calico. I quite possibly have no idea what I’m talking about, but I was still intimidated at the idea of making something that really needs to be flexible, out of something that isn’t. When I did a bit of research, I discovered that there are some awesome patterns for woven undies (Susan from Measure Twice, Cut Once has some beautiful ones in her range, and they’re on special at the moment – get on it!), but I’ve committed to the Noelle, and needed to figure out how to make it work.
So I did what every good strategist would do – I cheated. I made PART of this pair out of woven, and the rest from some delicious bamboo knit. I was really torn when trying to choose a feature fabric, because, let’s be honest, my stash is ample. Eventually, I decided to continue on the upcycle theme, and used some truly amazing Italian silk charmeuse that once toured the country as a sample for some fabric wholesalers. I have a couple of boxes of sample sized fabric, and to find a use for them is awesome.
In order to make the most out of the limited amount of silk, I hacked the pattern a fair bit. When you’re using a woven fabric to make knickers, you really need the stretch of the bias to make the fabric wrap around your body, and move when you move. Unfortunately, cutting on the bias can be fabric-hungry, and these pieces really aren’t big.
That ruled out cutting the whole front out of one piece of silk, and instead I pieced the front so that I had a silk panel in the middle, and what looks like side seams moved forward and sloped. I did actually keep the side seam though, because I wanted to keep fabric waste to a minimum.
Silk can fray easily, so I went all fancy with a french seam for added strength.
One thing to keep in mind when using a woven cut on the bias is that while the fabric will ‘stretch’ in one direction, it will shrink in the opposite direction, which is why this pair of Noelle knickers looks like they have a lower rise than the other pairs. They are exactly the same pattern piece, but the vertical stretch is gone.
So far, I think these are my favourite pair. Although we have amazing suppliers like Orinoco Designs creating stunning cotton lycras, being able to use a woven opens the possibilities for some really stunning everyday undies. I think I have enough silk pieces to make a lifetime of seriously gorgeous and glam knickers.
Oh, I forgot my funny story! I went shopping with my mum yesterday, desperately needing a zip and more picot (seriously, buy that stuff in bulk!). We were at Brian’s Fabrics, an institution on the Sunshine Coast. Brian would be pushing 70, is a bit hard of hearing, and is not the most effusive character, but he’s still a great supplier. Anyway, he had this beautiful bamboo lycra , a stunning warm rose. I asked for half a metre, and he looks up and asks, “What can you make with only half a metre?”. I respond with, “Knickers, Brian. Big girl panties.” He blushed. I don’t think he’ll ever ask me again!