I mentioned the lingerie week on Fehrtrade earlier this week didn't I?
Although I've been planning to draft my own patterns for panties and bras for a while now, I downloaded Melissa's pattern straight away.
I thought it was a lovely design, of a type of panty I would wear. I also hoped I might be able to give some well grouded praise and/or advice about the pattern and instructions, not just because Melissa is a great blogger, seamstress and person but also because I think the selfless act of sharing a self-drafted pattern should be supported. And, added to all that, it seemed like a great short-cut to finally get into making lingerie for real (I tried before but was held back by such things as an un-cooperative sewing machine, a lack of bra-supplies and struggles with the patterns).
This week, I really wanted to make that stretch velvet dress, but when the completed pattern turned out to be quite considerably too large for the amount of fabric I had, I decided to give it a rest.
Instead, I made these panties.
I'm a Burda size 36 at the waist and a 38 at the hip, so I cut the size M (quite a serious effort at not using 'vanity sizing' by the way, usually 32 and 34 are XS, 36 is S, 38 can be either S or M etc. Not that it really matters because the sizing is quite clearly explained in relation to the sizing of Burda and other pattern companies).
I used the lycra and elastic I bought at Kantje Boord and lace I've had for quite a while. In size M, those side pieces were narrow enought I allow me to use both scalloped edges for the lace, so very little material was wasted.
The instructions are excellent. I have made lingerie before and, more succesfully, swimwear, so I know what to do. I did read all the instructions though and I'm convinced they would be quite clear ever to a complete lingerie sewing novice. Also, great job on calculating the lengths of elastic to cut. I found these to be very well-balanced with the pattern.
If you are sewing these as a newbie, please bear in mind that a huge part of sewing good looking lingerie is practising you hand to get that nice even stitching, on stretchy stuff, close to the edge.
There's just one little thing I'd like to add which is this: When applying elastic to leg openings, it's difficult to start at one end because you need to stretch the elastic. If you don't stretch the first centimeter or two, there's no problem but because this is a fairly short piece of elasticated edge you will want to distribute the stretch evenly. I solve this by starting in the middle (which will be between your legs in the finished product, so no-one will ever see any double stitching there) and sewing from there to each end.
You don't have a problem like that with the waistband because there, you're applying the elastic in the round.
I think the finished item looks great. The panties fit me really well. I like the rise (low-ish but not to much so) and there's no elastic digging into the flesh at my hip. For a next version (and there will be one) I would narrow the center back piece a little bit because there is a bit of a fold there. This may very well just be down to my shape though.
One little point of criticism: I think if you have a Burda size 36, you should cut between the sizes S and M. The panties are really comfortable for me, but they might not stay on a pair of hips 4 cm smaller.
This fits with my first impression that the gaps between the sizes are rather big for such a small stretchy garment. Grading is really tricky, so I don't have a solution to this. Normally, there's a difference of 4 cm in overall width between each, numbered, size. For stretchy things, fewer different sizes are made. I completely understand the decision to take two sizes together which results in an 8 cm difference between each letter.
In RTW, in my experience, the usual difference between, say S and M, is usually 4 to 6 cm.