Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sewing Skivvies: I Made Some French Knickers!

Have you entered Ashley's pattern giveaway yet? She has 3 patterns to give away so head over to her site and enter!

And have you been doing your power poses? I swear, I'm feeling, well, maybe not quite like a million bucks yet, but I'm on my way. And I swear, I don't know HOW this is possible, but when I do my power poses in the morning, I don't have problems with my morning commute, i.e. people running into me or hitting me with their bags, briefcases, umbrellas, etc.

So this weekend, for the first time ever, I was able to knock out an outfit in a few hours, and it felt amazing. I did not feel so amazing about trying to figure out where to pose in my ugly apartment, but I came up with a brilliant plan. If you're feeling anxious about posing in your skivvies, stand in front of a bright window and a light curtain. It makes you glow and you look amazing.

So now for my make!

You guys, I had no idea that French Knickers were a legit form of underwear.

I knew about the sewalong from Sew Vera Venus last year and I had bookmarked the links on pinterest because I knew I wanted to come back to it. They seem so comfortable, so soft, and fun to lounge about it. But I guess because they are soft and comfortable, you can wear them under clothing as well!

French knickers were popular in the 1920s and 1930s - here in the states they were called tap pants because dancers wore them - but they fell out of popularity until the 1970s and 80s when they had a brief revival, but the ladies of the 1990s killed them (again) because they preferred thongs, the better to go under pants.

Isn't the perfume container the bf bought me perfect for this shoot?!
However as I only wear pants when I'm doing laundry (and even then I try to avoid it), I'm thinking of bringing these babies back!

I made mine with leftover satin and lace from my Pushing Daisies dress, and I also made a top to go along with it - did I mention that I thought it was lounge wear?

The knickers are so comfortable. I love wearing them and the length is somehow just perfect.

I used the 1940s French Knicker pattern and the 1930s pajama top pattern, both from Vera Venus and generally I loved it. But I had lots of issues, all of them user error.

When will I ever learn to read everything BEFORE cutting? Sigh...
The measurements are provided on the front, as are the finished measurements. I glanced over the measurements and thought, "Meh, I'm close enough and both of these items are baggy. It's fine," before cutting into my fabric. It was not close enough.

Just a bit tight.
I was only planning to do lace overlay on the knickers, but I had to add lace inserts to make it go over my hips. Plus, the lace meant I could skip a closing since I didn't want to use elastic or insert a placket. (I was feeling a little lazy this weekend...)

As for the top, I didn't have large enough pieces of satin so I had to use lace for the back and shoulders. I actually rather like the look, and for this top, I did actually try to plan ahead and, you know, look at the measurements first. I even tried on the pinned top, but somehow I was not as careful when I was sewing because the top ended up being ridiculously tight.

Except in the part covering the ladies, which needs to be taken in a bit.

Not sure if you can tell, but the mid-waist has these little tucks that I just LOVE.
For wearing this around the house, it works just fine, but I think I want to try again and make it in silk (and maybe jersey - ha!) and actually try to wear these out and about. I think they would go great under some of my fuller dresses and I don't need to worry about flashing everyone when the wind blows.

Anyone else love their French knickers? Looking to make your own? I'll link to a few other patterns that I've found shortly so others can revel with me in my new found love.


  1. They look great! I too looked at the tap pants pattern and thought that it looked/felt more like lounge wear.
    I love how you used the lace on the top! It makes me want to make this top (I already had pinned to do) that much more.

    1. Thank you! I hope you do make them, especially the top. I recommend the pattern wholeheartedly - I can't wait to see yours!

  2. I love this soooooo much! This is my idea of lounge wear for this ridiculously hot summer!

    1. Thank you! It would be perfect if only it wasn't satin, which feels like death on my skin. Thank goodness for the lace! And also cool summer nights... :-)

  3. Oh, commented yesterday, but it did not show up! I think your skivvies are just brilliant! I know you had some fitting issues, but the fabric and lace and pattern are just beautiful! And, you look gorgeous in them! I will have to look more closely into the power poses, I tried on my phone, but the video would not come through. I just posted something in the Skivvies Flickr group. it was to be a swimsuit, but has become a muslin. More work needed. :)

    1. Thank you so much! I saw your swimsuit and it looks almost perfect - too bad it doesn't stretch! And I hate to sound like a fanatic, but the power poses are changing my life. ;-)

  4. Your skivvies look great and I love the colour! I've had the same problems with the top. It looked okay when I measured the pattern, but somehow it was very tight when finished...

    1. Thank you! Interesting to hear about your top as well - I just assumed I didn't pay attention to the seam allowances (mostly because I didn't)...

  5. Cool, nice job! i love making swimwear and underwear for my GF and my self, normally its fairly forgiving.

  6. They're beautiful, I love them!