Introduction: Panties

Picture of Panties

Panties are not actually all that difficult to make, if you have a bit of experience sewing. A serger is preferable but you can make them with just a regular zigzag sewing machine too. They're not expensive either; there's not much material required. You need about a quarter to a third of a yard of a knit fabric (nearly any kind will do) which will easily make 3 or 4 pairs, plus a couple yards of lingerie elastic per pair. If you make thongs, you can probably do 10.

Step 1: Pattern

Picture of Pattern

Take a pair of panties you own that fits how you like, and make a pattern from them. Lay them out on a piece of paper and draw around the edges, making sure to stretch the elastic just enough that the fabric lies flat. I find this is easiest to do by pinning half of each piece to an ironing board with a piece of paper underneath. See the pictures for more detail.

You'll end up with two or three pieces: front, back, and crotch (often the crotch piece is cut in one with the back or front). Make sure the side and crotch seams are the same length on each piece so they'll match up properly when sewn.

I made two patterns, one with side seams and one without; the side seams one turned out better so all the pix, except for those on this page, are of that one.

Step 2: Cutting

Picture of Cutting

My pattern is cut with the front and back on the fold, but not the crotch piece. If you have half a crotch pattern, just cut that on the fold too, twice. You want one front, one back, and one crotch piece of the main fabric, and one crotch piece of lining. An old t-shirt works great for crotch lining!

Step 3: Sew Crotch & Lining

Picture of Sew Crotch & Lining

Lay the two crotch pieces down with the back piece in between in a sandwich, edges together, in this order:

# crotch lining, right side up
# back, right side up
# crotch main piece, right side down

Using a serger, or a wide zigzag stitch, sew along the edge through all layers. Roll the back piece up in between the crotch pieces, and lay the front piece in between (probably a little rolled up too) in a comparable position between the remaining ends of the crotch pieces. Stitch these too. Turn the whole thing inside out through the sides of the crotch pieces to get your panty base.

Step 4: Leg Elastic

Picture of Leg Elastic

Take your elastic and wrap an end around your leg where you want the leg holes to sit. Mark the end with a pin but don't cut it - sewing the elastic is easier if you have a tail. Make one more pin mark at twice the distance as the first, for the other leg.

If you are using lingerie elastic with a clear right and wrong side, check that the decorative edge is on the right (not left) when the elastic is facing up, as this is the position it will run through the sewing machine in. If the edging is on the left, transfer the pin marks to the other end of the elastic.

Pin the end of the elastic to one end of a leg hole, and the pin you used to make the mark to the other end. The elastic should be quite a bit shorter than the panty leg; if this isn't the case try remeasuring the elastic. You want to sew the seam with the elastic stretched out the length of the panty leg, but it's hard to start that way so sew a half inch or so without stretching just to get it started. You may need to pull on the thread tails to get the elastic and fabric to start running through the machine.

Stitch with a multi-step zigzag stitch if you have it, or a regular zigzag otherwise. Once you get going, sew in segments with the elastic stretched appropriately. Pull the whole piece out to the length of the leg hole with your left hand, then grab a point 6 or 7 inches out from the needle with your right. Now you can use your left hand to guide the fabric.

At the end of the leg hole, cut the thread and the elastic. Now sew the next piece of elastic the same for the other side.

Step 5: Waist Elastic

Picture of Waist Elastic

The waist elastic is done nearly the same as the leg elastic, but stitch one side seam first (serger or zigzag). Measure a piece of elastic by wrapping it around your waist or hips where the panty top will sit, at a comfortable tightness. Again just use a pin to mark the length instead of cutting it.

The sewing is just like the leg holes except that you'll need to pin one additional point. The rest of the panty prevents you from holding the waist out straight, so you can't just pull the elastic to see how stretched to make it. Pin both ends, then hold them both in one hand and find the middle of the panty waist and the elastic, and pin them together there. Note that this probably won't be very near the completed side seam, as the front of the panty is rather smaller than the back.

Step 6: Finishing

Picture of Finishing

Sew the last side seam. Take the thread ends and fold them along the seam, then fold the seam to one side over the thread ends. Topstitch through the three layers (top and two seam allowances) just over the elastic bit, to hold it firmly and finish off the seam ends. Do this on both waist and leg elastic of the side you just sewed, and on the leg elastic of the other side (the waist elastic is unbroken on that side).

The last thing is to trim any edges that stick out past the elastic, being careful not to cut the elastic of course.

Once you've made a pair or two, you'll find that they go very quickly. You can make several pairs in an afternoon, they'll be completely unique and fit like they were made for you!


Izabelling (author)2016-04-07

Panties in real life are not that wrinklie. Theres a saying, a crinkle in the rong place on ya britches, can make you look like your one of the mitches....

Ryansmith2658 (author)2016-02-22

Awesome thanks

afzal37 (author)2015-04-02

usbmod (author)2009-08-14

yeah tha'd be nice

Goodhart (author)usbmod2009-08-14

ack ! Am I that old and out of the loop? Don't they have a half year of Home Ecc in schools anymore for the guys?

Thundermoon99 (author)Goodhart2012-09-09

in my school its rumord there is but i dont think there is the closest we have that i know of is culinary arts but if it does exist in my school it is not required

Goodhart (author)Thundermoon992012-09-10

Well, when I had home Ecc it was in the 9th grade IIRC, and that would have been in .... 1972 or 1973 .

kissiltur (author)Goodhart2009-08-14

I'd put money on not, although I don't know enough about the US school system yet to be sure (my boys aren't old enough to be in school yet). I know the home ec stuff in Britain has been trimmed drastically, though, along with metalwork, woodwork, or indeed anything which isn't on the core curriculum.

Goodhart (author)kissiltur2009-08-14

That's just plain sad, really. I had had 1/2 year of cooking and sewing, etc. I am GLAD I have those skills, they have made life so much easier....

kissiltur (author)Goodhart2009-08-14

Yes, me too. It was a regular part of the school year for me in middle school - I had options for it at grammar school (what my high school was called) which I didn't take, but knowing how to use a sewing machine has been an invaluable skill. If Instructables had been around in the 90s I would have posted something about the superhero costumes I made. Not doing that stuff is very sad. There's a whole discussion to be had about the direction that education has taken both in the US and the UK, but probably not here.

Saturn V (author)kissiltur2010-11-17

apperently the schoolboards just want us to know about science, math, english, and history we'll never use. Cooking, sewing, woodworking, and metalworking are a few valuable skills. Much more useul than Ancient Rome or diagramming sentences.

_soapy_ (author)Saturn V2011-08-18

That's a broad generalisation, and it does people a disservice.

Many people will need to use cooking skills, others will need to use maths, others still will use neither, and a few will be Heston Blumenthal. (If you don't know, he does mad cooking with science and maths - think deep fat frying a frozen chicken to get a sunday roast, or using a pure essence as flavouring)

The disservice is the "one size fits all" 'comprehensive' education system, where competition isn't allowed, and everyone has to come first, and all must do the same things and thinking.

Bring back the two tier system - polytechnics and universities. Then add a third tier for the useless stuff like "American studies" and other 'fries with that' degree courses.

Goodhart (author)_soapy_2011-08-19

Yes, sadly the One size fits all actually fits the fewest number of people "best". If I'd been given more Geo-trig while in high school and less algebra, I would have graduated with math honors. When the teacher couldn't explain quadratic equations to me, I was pretty much at a loss. . .

Bad Maxx (author)Goodhart2011-02-13

For the guys?? Erm yeah perhaps you are out of the loop.. I know most teenagers (more so it seems the girls than boys!) have no clue how to cook anything that doesn't go in the microwave and no desire to learn how! I'm not sure what state you are in, but most schools no longer have Home Economics. It is really a disservice to both boy and girls. Just what it is imagined this will do for nutrition for not only themselves but their unfortunate children is beyond me. I had it in 8th grade and again in High School, and darned glad I did as I do the cooking for the most part in this household. (Unfortunately I'm "too picky" to eat what would be passed off as a home cooked meal around here if I did not.)

etw (author)Bad Maxx2011-03-18

when i was in my senior year I wanted to do home economics, but I was not allowed to 'coz i was a guy' (this was mid 70-s. It did not really matter coz I learned cooking from my mother, just by watching how. I can cook pretty well now. Better than most of my (usually younger) girlfriends. When I met a lovely girl who also could cook pretty good, I married her right away ;-)

Bad Maxx (author)etw2011-04-30

Sorry it took me a month+ to reply but read your last post and had to say: Right On! Marrying a lovely girl, let alone one that can cook!?! That sounds like the path I should have followed!

Goodhart (author)Bad Maxx2011-02-13

I enjoyed Home Ecc. as much as I did Shop class (and didn't break as much in Home Ecc either LOL )

Ieatbabiez (author)Goodhart2009-09-07

We don't even have Home Ecc in our school...Or wood shop...Or metal shop....

ktalex (author)Ieatbabiez2009-09-08

ur school must be poorn.

Ieatbabiez (author)ktalex2009-09-08

My school is extremely poor...But we're the 3rd ranked school in our state :P

Saturn V (author)Ieatbabiez2010-11-17

My school doesn't have wood or metal shop, probably because they don't trust a bunch of teenagers with a blowtorch.

Goodhart (author)Saturn V2011-03-07

Reaaly ? In middle school metal shop I was building a radiation cloud chamber.....those were the days

ktalex (author)Saturn V2010-11-17

wow i just noticed i almost typed porn.. Damn im actually surprised of the maturity here thats nice. :) Being mature FTW

Bad Maxx (author)ktalex2011-03-06

I live in a definitely not poor school district! And have the same thing to say as leatbabiez, (although I'm far from school age!) the school here has none of the life-skills classes Home Ecc, Woodshop, Metal Shop all gone.. We had all of these and optional small engine class, as well as electronics class. Now they have a huge indoor/outdoor pool at the middle school and three gymnasiums at the senior high but none of the aforementioned classes.

Goodhart (author)Ieatbabiez2009-09-07

Well that is a bummer.

maxpower49 (author)Goodhart2009-08-14

in my school we have a full year of home ec that you have to take in 8 th grade and we still have wood shop but no metal working but you can take a extra thing with metal working or allot of other stuff but that is only in 11th and 12th grade

Goodhart (author)maxpower492009-08-15

That's good. I had 1/2 year of wood shop after 1/2 year of Home Ecc. and metal shop came in one of the subsequent years.

maxpower49 (author)Goodhart2009-08-15

i have had a year of wood shop and a year on home ec this year i'm taking a year of heave equipment at boces

Clayton H. (author)Goodhart2009-08-15

At my school we have home ecc. 4 years of woodshop and a metalshop that is used for the graffics class.

D.L.H. (author)Goodhart2009-08-14

No cooking is not mandtiory at all at my school i wsih they still had wood and metal shop oh we also do not have sewing. But congrats on the nice designs Rachel.

=!snap!= (author)Goodhart2009-08-14

Not any more, when you get to highschool most schools have stuff were you can take astuff like that though

Goodhart (author)=!snap!=2009-08-14

That saddens me....

Foxxglove (author)2011-04-25

Lovely tutorial. I have a load of scraps from old t-shirts (that got used for other DIY projects) that are now calling to me.

jokerprincess (author)2011-02-03

Love it, and just to say that home ec' should be manditory like gym. Males and females do not always learn how to take care of themselves from parents. I think things would go smoother with a home ec class for middle and high school students.

WillTheRescue (author)2010-08-12

Couple this with some screen-printing 'ibles and you've got endless creativity :)

AlvinMaker (author)2009-10-26

I saw when you first posted this & i thought I'd never need it. but now I want to make some nintendo panties for my girlfriend, So thank you for the wonderfully well put together ible. & by the way, you look very good :)

Forkable (author)2009-08-19

This is great! I can extend laundry time even more. Love the instructable! except for one small microscopic concern- I hate the word "panties"! AHHH!

shop dweller (author)Forkable2009-09-11

It's a word that somehow "feels" a little personal. How about "knickers" instead?

Madrigorne (author)Forkable2009-08-21

Just use your built in mental autocorrect to exchange the word panties for underpants - and then you'll be okay. There, there...

SirBrittanicvs (author)2009-08-24

I could say this delicately, but that wouldn't be as funny... I've wanted to make a pair of leopard skin man-panties for a while now. What would you suggest I do to give the crotch more room to effectively contain my thunder?

Buy some cheap underwear and open it up. Cut all the stitches. Use these peices as references for your undie.

Goodhart (author)2009-08-14

I'm with jessy on just seems like time is never on my side though (and I would have to get the wife to remove all her stuff from the sewing machine so we could use it again).

Madrigorne (author)Goodhart2009-08-21

...or you could run to your local thrift store/goodwill/StVdeP and pick up an inexpensive used sewing machine of your very own...

Goodhart (author)Madrigorne2009-08-21

space is not a commodity I have until my wife removes some of her stuff from the apt. :-)

Madrigorne (author)Goodhart2009-08-23

oic - my regrets...

hamwitch (author)2009-08-20

well very interesting (even being a dude)

could be a good project for valintine'sw day thanx _

p.s. i do all the sewing -_-
damn me for living with my mom and her sisters

c130mom (author)2009-08-20

ty,ty,ty..panties are so show me how to make a bra,my unmentionable drawer thanks you too.

icelandinthesun (author)2009-08-20

I would like to knit some or crochet, that would be awesome! With a matching bra :-D

silencekilla (author)2009-08-20

Somebody's lookin sexy in her panties 0.0

syphek (author)2009-08-20

I LOVE this

About This Instructable




Bio: I run Neal's CNC in Hayward, CA, an expert CNC cutting and fabrication service. Check out what we do at ... More »
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