A professional longarm machine quilter for hire and some of the work I've done.
She’s showing her undies on the web!
(You gotta scroll much farther down to find the undies.)
Re purposing has been around for a very long time. Even back in the cave man days people took items such as bones to make knives and sewing needles or rocks to make into weapons. What most people today think about re purposing is the Great Depression. I also remember the 70s when the flower power generation tried to live frugally. You don’t really think all those peace symbols and flags sewn on pants were just a fad do you? Many times the patches covered holes in the pants.
I see more and more people talking about re purposing items these days. To me its just natural to do so. Even though I had neglected that part of my life for a few years while I took care of my customer’s needs. Retiring has given me the time to go back to my old ways…. and I like it!
Something that really…. I mean REALLY bothers me is the store bought clothing women must put up with. Our clothes are made in some far off place where the manufacturer hasn’t a clue how to fit different sizes. The very same pattern used to make a size 5 is used to make a size 18. They just slide the pattern over to add more fabric.
I don’t know about you but I’m extremely tired of paying high dollars for clothes that are just crap. Especially undies. Undies are made so that if you get them to fit your behind then the waist looks and feels like its for a Barbie doll. Geeze, you’d think there was a shortage of elastic around the world. So you get something that fits your waist and the behind really droops. We pay high prices for such flimsy undies that they barely last a couple of washings. If we do manage to find a really good fitting pair then we tend to wear them until they are falling apart. Simply because its very rare to find some that actually fit.
I was absent mindedly complaining to my daughter the other day about having to start searching for new undies again. The ones I bought last time have barely lasted a few months. I hear something in the background of my thoughts. Huh? What did you say baby girl? Mom, you made ALL our clothes when we were little, even our undies, so why not make your own? Well gee whiz, I should have thought of that! I used to make my own. So why don’t I make them myself? I can think of no excuse.
I think some…. Hmm…. I could go to the fabric store and buy fabric for nice silky undies but I refer something more practical. I prefer cotton. Maybe its an age thing. I am a senior you know. So I ask myself what can I use that I own already? At first I thought of all the fabrics in my quilting stash. Naw, those don’t stretch enough. While looking around I happened to spot my t-shirt fabric stash. I save the left overs from making t-shirt quilts. I usually make rugs from all those leftovers.
Well heck, it’s the kind of fabric Hanes undies are made from so why not? It’s very durable. T-shirts don’t seem to ever wear out. Tons of them are donated to thrift stores all the time because people grow tired of them before the fabric wears out. So t-shirt fabric it is. What a fine way to re purpose old t-shirt backs and sleeves.
Just in case anyone wants to learn to make their own undies, I did this tutorial. Even if you don’t normally sew, it could be an easy start to learning. First go through all your best fitting undies. Find the crappiest pair. The pair ready to be made into dust rags because the holes are bigger than the leg openings. Carefully cut them apart. Cut right next to the elastic. Do not cut the crotch apart. Leave it for now. No, there’s no picture for this part. My old undies on the world wide web might be too frightening.
Ok, with the elastic removed fold them in half length wise and lay them on a piece of paper. It could be wrapping paper, butcher paper, wax paper, or even old newspapers. Now trace around them with pencil. Use pencil first so you can erase if you need to. After you get them traced then go back with a ruler and straighten your lines. It’s very hard to make straight lines when tracing. After you get them somewhat straight then go over the lines with a dark marker. You don’t have to but it makes the pattern look prettier.
Here’s my traced pattern. What are the black diamonds? Well, in pattern making these are match up marks. Usually a tiny triangle of fabric is added when cutting out your fabric. It is cut out from the cutting line…. not into it. You match these notches when pinning your pieces together.
After you get your undies traced, you need to mark your pattern so you can orient it right on the fabric. As you can see, I marked where the fold is. I marked what the pattern piece is, which piece among how many, and how many pieces of fabric to cut.
The crotch gets two pieces of fabric cut identical while the front and back only have one piece cut on the fold.
Ok, now it’s time to cut out your fabrics. For the undies there is no a seam allowance added. The t-shirt fabric is stretchy enough and the seams will be small enough so that an extra seam allowance is not necessary. I would suggest that you only make one pair for now. If for some reason the undies don’t fit properly when finished, you won’t have wasted too much fabric. See…. I really am going to use left over t-shirt fabric. Bright red for these.
Lay your pattern on the fabric so the fold line of the pattern is on the fold of the fabric. I folded the pattern back for this picture in order for you to see where I placed the top edge of the pattern piece. The t-shirt has a hem already in it so why not take advantage of it. The hem is where the waistline elastic will go.
Please let me know if anything about the tutorial isn’t clear. I’ll edit and do my best to make it more understandable.