Underpants Are Fun-derpants!

This blog has been pretty heavy on the food-related stuff, so it’s time to toss in a post about something else!

In an attempt to improve my sewing skills to the point that I can actually sew some of the bigger projects I’m holding onto, I decided to tackle a relatively easy pattern – underpants. I’ve had a bunch of instructions sitting on Pinterest FOREVER – but I ended up going with this instructional because it felt the most friendly to me.

First, I used one of my most comfortable pairs and created a pattern by pinning the existing pair to some kraft paper, sketching around each part, and then adding a seam allowance.

Then I pinned it to some fabric and cut it out.

I got out my sewing machine, put Oz on the TV in the bedroom, and painstakingly sewed everything together. My machine has three speeds and I spent a lot of time on medium.

The first pair was too tight. I had realized, while sewing, that I was using a bigger seam allowance than I had planned. Oops. But the bigger seam was easier to sew than a smaller one!

I retraced my pattern and added an extra inch to the side seams. Re-cut. Sewed all over again.

Played with elastic a bit (easier than expected to sew onto the fabric!) and .. shazam, I had a pair of lovely pink and purple underpants. I washed and dried them, and they still fit, so I’m considering that experiment a success.

I bought some lovely lime green fabric with which to make a few more pairs. If I start feeling fancy I might use some of my rubber stamps and some fabric paint to decorate a pair or two. As long as all goes well, I should be ready to start sewing dresses in, oh, a year or two.

Underpants!

Underpants!

So, the question – why sew underpants? A big part of it is because they require some degree of precision in cutting and sewing but also had a decent amount of forgiveness to them. I got to do some straight-line sewing, some curves, and attach elastic. I also got to use multiple type of stitches from my machine – a good experiment.

In theory, if I were faster at sewing, the cost to make my own would be less than it costs to buy underpants in the store – since I’m plus-sized, I generally don’t find my size at Walmart (especially since I prefer thongs over any other style) which means I often pay about $10 per pair (or I can shell out $25 for 5 pairs) at a minimum when I go to Addition-Elle. The cost of fabric and elastic, per homemade pair, comes to about $2 – not including the “cost” of my time.

At any rate, it’s fun and useful. Two things I like in my learnin’.

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Crackpipe Cosy.

One of the things that I do at my job is manage a harm reduction distribution program. Amongst other things, we hand out needles and crackpipes to people who are using drugs – science has shown that handing them out is a good way to prevent the spread of diseases and infections like HIV and Hepatitis C.

During outreach last night, I commented on how I’ve been greatly enjoying my crocheting lately – maybe even getting better! – and it was decided that I should try to crochet a crackpipe cosy. Not for actually handing out, but because, y’know, why not?

As it turns out, the answer to “why not?” is “because it just looks obscene.”

Side view (pipe inside!)

Side view (pipe inside!)

Top view! Pipe inside.

Top view! Pipe inside.

I think I’ll just call this an “experiment” and move on.

(For the sake of conversation, I made it by slightly modifying a pattern for a crocheted chapstick holder that I found on Ravelry. )

Ruby Slippers.

Ruby Slippers!

Ruby Slippers!

I am not very good at practicing things without a reason. I also wanted to see if I could make a pair of slippers. And, so, here I am wearing my new ‘ruby slippers’. All told, they took about 2 hours – much of which was spent swearing and googling for help.

But they turned out reasonably – I could point out all the various mistakes and I could show you where my tension went nuts, but they’re on my feet and no one is looking, so I’ll just smile. If they were a gift for someone, that would be a different story (and I’d have ripped out the stitches and started over in that case!)

The pattern for them is here. The yarn that I used is Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick and Quick in Poinsettia. You can’t see it very well in the picture above, but the yarn has a tinsel-like metallic thread running through it that makes the slippers look a tiny bit sparkly. I’m happy!

I might make a second pair just to see if I can improve on my speed and avoid some of the mistakes.