When I first did my underpants pattern, lingerie elastic was not readily available in stores in Australia, so I did the pattern using plain 1/8 inch (3mm) braided elastic that can be easily purchased. Now when you go into the fabric store, Spotlight here in Australia or Joann’s in America, you can find lovely lingerie elastic in a variety of colours, you know the pretty stuff with the little scallops along the edge.
So when I was asked a question about substituting this pretty elastic on my panties pattern, I thought the best way to explain it was to do a quick video. I figured there might be other people who are interested in doing this too so I’m sharing that video in this blog but I’ve also written some instructions to fill in any gaps as the video is only brief.
Do I have to alter the pattern? You need to cut a little off the pattern because you won’t be folding it over the elastic. Depending on how much coverage you want the underpants to have you may want to remove ¼ inch from along the top of both the front and back and around the leg holes or leave them to come higher up and just remove the ¼ inch from around the leg holes.
How much elastic do I need? My best guide is to stretch the elastic out until the scallops are ‘flat’. With the edges of the elastic and the fabric together attach with some forward and reverse stitches and with the needle down, stretch the elastic out until the scallops are flat and lay over the fabric.
I would have the edge of the fabric just below the scallops so you don’t see it through the scallops.
What stitch do I use? Because you are stretching the elastic out before attaching it, you can use a straight stitch and I would suggest something at least 3.5 in length because when you relax the elastic, these stitches shrink right up and look super tiny. Some knit fabrics tend to roll at the edges, this depends a great deal on the quality, and to prevent this from happening you may like to attach the elastic using a zig zag stitch. I would suggest something about 3.5 in length and 2.5 in width, but you can use whatever you prefer.
Do I need to overcast the raw edges before attaching the elastic? No you don’t have to because knit fabric does not fray, however some knits do unravel if pulled excessively and if you were worried about this happening I would just use a zig zag stitch when attaching the elastic. If you have a serger (overlocker) and are selling the underpants, you may like to finish off the edges with a three thread serge just to give it a professional look but this is not necessary. The panties to the right show the edges are unfinished.
My Underpants pattern is one of the bonus patterns that come free with my How to Make Doll Clothes Video course or you can purchase the 18 inch and American Girl size underpants, or 18 ½ inch Cabbage Patch Kids size underpants separately.
Please take a few moments to watch my short video and let me know how you go if you try this on your underpants.