Introduction: Soccer Ball Boxer Shorts

Boxer shorts are cool. As is the truncated icosahedron (a.k.a. the traditional black-and-white soccer ball pattern). Put them together and you have a great fashion statement for both men and women. Frankly, this creation was intended to replace towels as cover-ups for women in pool-side or beach settings. After all, underwear no longer wants to be underneath all the time.

Surely you can get this boxer shorts design anywhere, right? In my brief search (groan now for that pun), that seems not to be the case. Why not? Is it aesthetically challenged? Nope, this bikini example proves otherwise.

It turns out that the soccer ball's pentagon/hexagon arrangement is impossible to precisely map onto flat fabric. And while the aforementioned bikini example hardly has, um, flat surfaces, it still could only use an approximation of the pattern.

After a bit of trial and error, I came up with my own approximation that works on surfaces larger than a bikini. I think it looks decent, but I'll let you decide. Remember that the main take away from this instructable is that you have a template for building a soccer ball pattern on clothing. You can certainly use any means of getting the pattern physically onto the clothing (e.g., magic marker, spray paint, iron-on transfers, etc.), but I've simply documented a sewing example.

Step 1: Get Materials and Equipment

You should have the following:
• A pair of plain white boxer shorts
• About 2 square feet of black fabric, maybe a little more (no specific kind is necessary)
• A pair of sharp scissors to cut paper, cardboard, and fabric
• Thin cardboard to use as a cutting guide (shipping company mailers work great)
• A non-permanent marking pencil to mark up the shorts and cardboard (or just use a regular pen for the cardboard)
• A printout of the attached pattern to use as a layout template
• A sewing machine or a fabric-friendly glue (sorry, I have no recommendations on which brand of glue to use) to attach the patterns
• An iron to remove wrinkles from the shorts and fabric
• Optional -- masking tape to help with sewing and/or holding the patterns temporarily in place

Step 2: Prepare Materials

Cut around the border of the printed pattern. You don't need to be exact. While you may optionally modify the size of the template to adjust for your size of boxers, it's not necessary because the attached pattern size works as one-size-fits-all.

Use the pattern to mark up a single pentagon (the 5-sided shape) on the cardboard. This also doesn't need to be exact, but try your best. Cut out the shape from the cardboard.

Iron the fabric and shorts so they are wrinkle free.

Step 3: Cut the Fabric

Now to cut pentagons. Using the cardboard guide, draw a pentagon on the black fabric. Cut an extra 1/8 inch around the border to create a little wiggle room when attaching. If you're unskilled with a sewing machine like I am, you might want to leave a little more material around the border and trim it later. As a start, cut out about 18 pentagons.

Step 4: Attach the First Pentagon

Choose any place on the shorts to attach the first pentagon with the first horizontal seam. This seam will line up with the same-named edge in the template. Place the extra 1/8 inch edge of one fabric pentagon along that intended seam. Again, this doesn't need to be exact. To make sewing easier (at least for me), first tape the pentagon in place, and sew the edges straight onto the shorts. Or you can glue the pentagon in place.

Next, fold the shorts material inward along the edge of the attached pentagon and sew a seam from the inside of the shorts (or glue the seam from the outside of the shorts). Create similar seams for each edge of the pentagon. The original loose edges of the pentagon fabric should be completely folded into and hidden in the seam.

Step 5: Follow the Template

Place your template against that first seam, as indicated on the template. Use the pen to mark the additional seams (the black lines between pentagons), as well as the positions of the pentagons. Also mark the "Top" and "Bottom" of each pentagon on the shorts. (The markings are too hard to see in the pictures, but I'm sure you get the idea.)

Attach two more pentagons as you did the first one onto the markings. Don't forget to create the seams that correspond to the black lines between pentagons in the template. Do this by folding the shorts material inward and sewing/gluing, just as you did with the pentagon edges.

Step 6: Continue Attaching Pentagons

Place the template on the shorts as a guide to extend the pattern across the shorts. Line up a pentagon in the template with a pentagon on the shorts, making sure that "Top" and "Bottom" ends align. Continue marking up the shorts. The template was designed to ensure no conflicting pentagon layouts, so you don't have to worry if your next placement will work or not. And as you can see in the included photo, other than the intrusive octagons in the pattern, the pentagonal pattern holds up pretty well over larger surfaces.

Keep adding pentagons and creating seams until the shorts are covered. You might have to cut more pentagons from the fabric depending on how large your shorts are.

Step 7: Final Preparation

If you used glue, give it a day or so to fully dry. Then wash them to clean the markings off. Then you're ready to show them off!

By the way, I tried sketching this thing out on Autodesk SketchBook Pro 6, but my drawing was so horrendous that I was afraid I would get expelled from But I'm sure my sketch would've looked awesome had I been using a Wacom tablet with a full copy of SketchBook Pro...

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