sewing underwear

Final update, January 2017 – I have decided not to do any more work on this underwear pattern, and in extention I won’t be making the old pattern available again either. The reason for this is two-fold. First off, I’m was no longer comfortable sharing the pattern when I stopped being happy with the quality of it. I had every intention of working on and improving the pattern to share it again, but life. Which is the second reason. I am in a different place in life and I have taken a new direction with my job (teaching! Loving it!), and I am simply no longer as driven or interested in working on sewing patterns to be shared and potentially sold, like I was a few years ago -when this was a fun and learning-driven side-project for me.

I sincerely appreciate all the interest you guys have shown in using the pattern, and I hope you will find another pattern to help you among the many that are available online. Please also consider buying a pattern from one of the talented drafters who put a great deal of time, effort and care into their products. :)

Underwear. Knickers. Pants. Undies. Whatever you call them, I have a free pattern for sewing your own underwear that I want to share with you! I’ve included several sizes; XS, S, M, and L – so I hope that is helpful!

I’ve been making underwear from t-shirts for years. My first undies-sewing attempt taught me that I should follow the grain of the fabric. The second time I discovered that twin needles are awesome. Most recently I’ve been playing around with different kinds of elastics to finish the underwear, and I’ll be showing that soon!

The “t-shirt underwear” pattern I’ve made is in the bikini brief style, but it can easily be tweaked to fit you perfectly. It’s graded in four sizes; extra small, small, medium, and large. I think the sizes should be pretty standard, but do let me know your feedback!

So if you want to make your own underwear, click the image above or the link below to download the pattern! The pdf includes the choice of 1 page in the 11″ X 17″ format, or 3 pages that you line up and tape together (it is formatted to work for both US Letter and European A4 – just make sure there is no resizing when you print).

I’ll be doing a couple of posts on sewing the underwear, the basics of how to sew them together, and then some options of how to finish them with different types of elastics. So be sure to come back for that!

*     *     *

Did you miss a post in this underwear-making adventure?

• Sewing underwear: the basics
• Sewing underwear: the extras

If you make a pair (or five?) from this pattern, please share! Comment, link back, and show off! 

85 thoughts on “sewing underwear”

    1. Ed – I am flattered my inactivity bothers you so much. Life ebbs and flows, and spare time activity (and inactivity) with it. I’d reccoment this blog post by Karen of didyoumakethat, that speaks of how creativity and motivation is fluid, and influenced by all sorts of surrounding factors: Moreover, I intend to keep my blog up for as long as I feel like it, and having a free pattern available is not, and was never, the driving purpose of this site of mine.

      All my best, Birgitte

    1. Hi Mary! Thank you for your interest! I’ve been mulling over this for quite a few months, and my heart isn’t in what started as a fun, learning-driven side project. So, I’ve decided to not do any more work on this pattern, and therefore I won’t be making it available again. My apologies. Best, Birgitte

  1. is it at all possible to still get the pattern? I see the link for the pattern is no longer working, so maybe the pattern is no longer available? Either way, great work on the undies!

    1. Hi Kathy! I’ve decided to make the pattern unavailable until I’m able to upload a new version. There were several issues – the format on one page coming out wrong, mislabelling of the front and back pieces (woops… that was a brain fart), which meant that the pattern no longer was up to the standard I was comfortable sharing. I plan to make it available again when I have a chance to work on it! I’ve just started a new and demanding job, so unfortunately I’m not able to make this top priority. Thank you for your interest, I appreaciate it. :)

  2. Hi. Could you send me a copy of this pattern? I downloaded it and it didn’t download correctly and I went back and now it’s not working. Thank you. :)

  3. Ive tried to print this several times now and I just cannot get the scale right. Can you email it or let me know where Im going wrong? Thanks :)

  4. I was excited to try these, but when I tried to print, they’re wanting to print on11x14 paper. Is there another version that prints on 8×10 paper? If so, how can I get it?

    1. HI Amanda! Sorry for the delay in responding. The last page is set up for 11X14 paper, but the three first pages are for lettersized/A4. Perhaps try printing only the first three pages? If that doesn’t work, email me and I’ll try to help! :)

  5. I’ve fixed the scale issue with the 2nd page – I’m so sorry for those of you who printed and couldn’t make the pattern line up! Thanks for the comments on this, so I was able to fix it. :)

  6. Hi, I’m having the same printing problem.. I printed this like 5 times before coming back and reading all would you be able to email me the pattern, pretty please??

  7. Hi Birgitte, I wanted to try the free pattern but I’m facing the same problem as Laura. The 2nd page prints with a different scale so the pattern lines don’t match. Do you have a new version available? I would love to try your undies! Thanks a lot! Marte

    1. Hi Marte! I’m so sorry – I know there is something wonky with the current version, and it has completely slipped my mind to fix it! Or, I got to thinking that I’d like to redo the pattern from skratch and maybe add some sizes, and that turned into a bigger project than I could do in one night and I got sidetracked. Anyways! I will email you the previous version (it got replaced because of a minor labelling error of front and back pieces).

      1. Brigitte, Could I bother you to send me the updated pattern as well? I’m also having an issue with the pattern not lining up. Thanks so much!
        rpsandbag at gmail com

    1. Hi Rage. I needed to make an update to the pattern, and I’ve now added a page showing how the pdf pages are put together. You’ll need to download the pattern again. Hope that helps!

  8. Hmm . . . I just made a pair of these in large and they don’t fit at all!!! LOL So I have to check if my pdf printed correctly. If it’s just I need a larger size do you think I can just magnify the pattern on a photocopier? Or would that put out the measurements in some way?
    I did use type of jersey that doesn’t have as much stretch as my other t-shirts and underwear so it could be a combination. If you are ever going to add that test block to the pattern (that you mentioned below) maybe you could add a comment on what degree of stretch to go for in the fabric. Cheers

    1. Hi! If you need a larger size, scaling it up by magnifying the pattern on a photocopier should work alright. It wouldn’t be perfect, but it’s a starting point! We all need to make different adjustments to get it “just right” on our unique bodies anyways. I would think the low stretch in the fabric also could be a challenge – I’ve certainly had underwear that turned out waaay too small due to low-stretch fabric!

      Thanks for your input, and good luck!

  9. Yay, thanks for the pattern, so excited to start sewing these! I’ve run into a bit of an issue with the pdf though (which I’m not sure if it’s me or the pdf). Page 1 prints at a different scale than 2 and 3 so that the lines don’t meet up and parts of 2 and 3 are cut off. When I look at the pdf at 50%, it does appear that pages 2 and 3 are scaled larger, and I’m not sure why. Just thought I’d let you know in case anyone else seems to be having the same problem :)

    1. I think I’ve solved my own problem. There seems to be something wrong with the pdf linked here, but the one linked from your old wordpress blog looks ok. I think the bad pdf has page 1 scaled for A4/US letter but pages 2-4 for 11×17.

      1. Oh, goodness – you’re absolutely right! I’m so sorry I haven’t caught and fixed that. Thank you for alerting me, I will put up a fixed version soon!

  10. Thanks for posting this. I’ve been a bit too rushed lately to draft my own bikini style pattern for myself since it seems underwear manufacturers have recently agreed that people above a size 9 have no business wearing the bikini cut style – unless they want to purchase the impractical lacy individual pairs. You know, doesn’t matter if you’re tall – no practical daily underwear for you! I know I should just draft my own off my measurements, but it’s a bit easier to take my own measurements and adjust an existing pattern that I know works. I believe you were ok with someone else re-sizing for larger, correct? Totally just for myself for the guilty pleasure of having underwear that doesn’t peek over the top of my pants.

    1. My pleasure, I hope it is useful to you! You bring up a good point, which is a huge reason that a lot of people sew for themselves I think, and that is that we really are limited to what the current fashion dictates is “in”. I’ve had periods where everything in nearly every store was to my liking, when my taste overlapped with what was currently in fashion, and also periods where I’ve seen nothing I’ve liked.

      And I totally agree with you – it’s often much much easier to have a starting point to alter to fit you, than to start from skratch! Re-size as much as you want, I hope the pattern can help you get a good end result that fits *you*!

      1. Thanks a million! I believe I even have the perfect t’s in mind for this too that I’ve got cashed away in a box.

  11. The seam lengths on the back of the crotch don’t seem to match up for size M between the crotch pieces and the back piece. Am I doing it wrong? Should I be stretching the pieces to make it match up?

    1. Hi! You’re not doing it wrong – the lengths are actually a little off (so the pattern is incorrect right now!). The crotch lining piece is the right size, but the back piece is too wide at the crotch seam. You can trim the back piece evenly to fit, and I will adjust the pattern and upload the new correct version by the end of the week. Hope this helps!

  12. I’m confused about printing the pattern. It looks a bit small if I print without doing any resizing, but if I print at 100%, the preview looks like some of it will be cut off. Some printable patterns have a 3 inch box to check scale. That would be helpful.

    1. Hi Deena! The pattern is set up to work with both the A4 and the US Letter size, so that probably explains the cut off areas. I’d reccomend just centering the page, not resizing, to see if the box with the content is within the printable area. If not, send me an email and I’ll see what I can do!

      Thank you for your suggestion of the 3″ test box – if I update this pattern I’ll be sure to add one, but I’ll keep it in mind for future new patterns!

  13. Hullo, new to this and want to make some underwear so delighted to find your pattern! Heres the thing…I’m a bloke and the pants are for me…any sugestions how to adapt the pattern?

    1. Hi there Andrew! Sewing underwear is so fun – glad you’re getting into it! When it comes to the pattern, womens and mens garments, fit, and therefore patterns, really are different beasts, and therefore I wouldn’t advise you to alter this pattern to use for you. Rather, a better approach i believe, will be to trace or copy an exsisting men’s pair of underwear to create a template. Hope that helps you, and good luck Andrew!

    1. Oh, they came out great! I agree with the fo-elastic, they don’t always end up totally flat. I’m so pleased you like the pattern and the instructions, thank you! And why yes – I *do* have other patterns in the pipeline! More to come! ;)

  14. I’m studying your pattern, but am confused as to why the “Front” piece looks larger than the “Back”. Is this reversed? Shouldn’t the back be larger to accomodate the butt?

  15. just downloaded your pattern last week, found some thrift store .50 shirts and i will never buy underwear again! found a company here in the U.S that makes organic cotton knit and another that makes U.S. made thread and elastic. Im all set for my family now! thank you so very much for the instructions…. you rock!

  16. Ooh, this is fabulous! I’m just beginning to sew and was looking around for some underwear patterns. There’s a lot out there, but not very many with specific sizes like yours. At first I tried cutting up an old pair to make my own pattern but the fabric is stretched out and I’m afraid the pieces wouldn’t line up. This is much better. Can’t wait to try ’em, thanks!

  17. Just finished 3 undies for my daughter. Love them. Love making them. I received an elastic order today from Sew Sassy. Can’t wait to make more!

  18. What a great idea…underwear from t-shirts! My daughter just threw 3 old t-shirts in the garbage a week or so ago. I’m glad I rescued them. I have the pattern printed and I’m ready to give it a try. Thanks!

  19. Oh, how funny! (I love being able to see traces of origin in names… “vik” means “bay”, she must have come from a place with a bay!)

    And I agree – t-shirts seems like such a waste to get rid of, and even when they are too well worn to pass on to Salvation Army or someone else, there still fabric there to be used!
    I hope you enjoy the pattern!

  20. I printed out your pattern – I love your idea for using old t-shirts as fabric – with my daughter, most of her old t-shirts are as good as new to me. My grandmother’s maiden name was Notvik – apparently my great-great grandfather was a boat builder in southern Norway. Thanks for the pattern!

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