Friday, October 14, 2011

Little Girl's Panties - A Tutorial

This is a tutorial for making a comfy, modest pair of little girl panties.  These panties are easy to make, are upcycled and earth-friendly.

One of the misnomers about thrift stores is that the donated clothing is worn out.  The clothes are usually a collection of outgrown garments, clothes that went out of style, and then there are the clothes bought on a whim that have never even had the tag removed.

You will need at least one t-shirt…two if you want contrast bands. Look for t-shirts with a little spandex in them especially for the leg and waist band, 95% cotton and 5% spandex is a good blend. If there isn’t a content tag just stretch the fabric and see if it springs back or has memory.  If you find a really nice shirt that is 100% cotton with no spandex you can use it for the body of the panties and use spandex fabric for the waist and leg bands.

Let‘s get started.

I started with a pair of panties that I picked up at the thrift store. Actually these are training pants (size 2) but they had a nice shape so I used them for my panty pattern.  Cut the bands off the legs and the waist.

Set the leg and waist bands aside you’ll need them later on to use as a pattern.  Cut the sides of your panties open so you can lay them flat.  When you finish this step your panties should look like this.

Are you with me?  Good!  My panty pattern fit on the sleeve so I cut the sleeve off of the shirt and cut it open along the underarm seam. Lay the panties out on the fabric. If your pattern is a larger size and won’t fit on the sleeve just lay them out on the front or back of the shirt where the fabric area is larger.

Add seam allowance by cutting around the panties about 3/8” around on all of the edges.  Don’t measure with a ruler just pick up those scissors and go for it. We'll straighten it up in a minute if it needs it.

Fold your panties in half lengthwise to see if the sides match.  Trim if necessary. This is a forgiving pattern so don't worry if they aren't perfect.  Just tidy them up and then let's carry on!

Cut open the leg and waist bands that you removed earlier lay them down without stretching, let’s start with the waist.  My waist band measures 15 inches long, so I am going to cut the waistband 15 x 3.5 inches.

So go ahead and lay out the shirt with spandex in it and cut the waist band out.  Your length may be different but the width will be 3.5 inches.

Repeat this step for the leg bands the band make the band 2.5 inches wide.  Set your waist and leg bands aside for a minute.

*Optional step: If your fabric is thin you may want to add a panty liner. If you do scroll to the bottom of the tutorial to see how to cut one out.  After you cut it out come back to this paragraph to continue. 

Now that the pieces are all cut out put the leg bands aside and let's start putting these sweet panties together.

Fold your panties right sides together and sew the side seams.  When you turn your panties turned right side out they will look like this.

Let's move on to the leg and waist bands.

Sew the waist band ends right sides together with a simple seam.  Fold it in half so that the seam is on the inside or wrong sides together.

Mark the waist of the panty with pins on both side and mid-front and mid-back.  Now do the same thing with the waist band.  Match the pins up starting with the band seam on one of the side seams of the panty. There may be a lot more panty fabric than there is in the waist band.  That’s okay.

Keep your panties right side out and put the presser foot on the inside edge of the panty fabric so that you can ease in the extra fabric.  Sew (beginning at the side seam) all the way around the waist stretching the waist band just enough so that there is an equal amount of fabric.  Now zigzag around catching all the layers.  It should now look like this.

If yours does then you're ready to put on the leg bands.  Put the leg bands in exactly the same way.  Put the pins in the band and around the legs and match them up.  Stretch just a little while you sew around the leg and then zigzag.  

Turn your panties right side out.  Do they look like this?  They do?  Fantastic!

There is only on thing left to do to complete your panties.  Leave the panties right side out and stitch the legs and waist bands on the inside as close to the edge while staying inside of the zig-zag.  

Look at the inside and outside stitching.  You'll have to look close to see the stitching.

TA DA you’ve finished.  Make yourself a cup of tea and admire your work.  

Panty liner instructions:  Using a scrap, lay the panties on top of the fabric and trace the leg opening with a washable marker or just cut out the opening.

Then cut it out free hand so that it looks like this.  

Zig-zag the curved top and stitch the top and bottom of the liner piece and then sew the curved top and bottom right onto the panty.  No need to do the sides they will be secured when you attach the leg bands. Now scroll back up to the top.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Warm Winter Dress Project

Andrea Wilson, Dress a Girl representative from Fredericksburg, VA asked me several months ago about sending dresses to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

A Christmas project we originally thought but we soon realized that the need of these little girls was much greater than what we would be able to do in Virginia. We decided to enlist others to make warm dresses for the Lakota girls.

Pine Ridge Reservation, located in South Dakota. There is an estimated population of 40,000 the reservation is 2,000,000 acres in size, unemployment is over 80% compared to the rest of the country where unemployment runs about 9%. The average salary is $8,900 for a family of 4 or even more. The weather is extreme, most families most live in poverty, many do not have adequate heat, food, healthcare or clothing. They struggle from one day to the next.

Our warm Winter dresses will be send to Lakota Oyate Wakanyeja Owicakiyapi (LOWO) which is an service that provides care for children who have suffered from the effects abuse and neglect. These children are transitioning to foster care families or with relatives.

One of the many challenges is to provide seasonal clothing to children that have little or no clothing when first coming to LOWO. Many of the foster families or relatives do not have the means to purchase clothing for these children and that is where Dress A Girl Around The World comes in.

Dresses and other articles of clothing will be distributed by case workers to assist in the care of the fostered children.

Because of the severe weather we decided that dresses needed to go as they are made. If you have the means please consider including an extras- such as panties, tights, leggings, hat, and gloves or mittens.

This is a difficult time for all of us secondary to the economy but it is particularly difficult for the Pine Ridge Reservation. We are all called to share what we have, and make certain that every girl on the Lakota Reservation has a warm Winter dress of her own.

Thank you so much for joining the effort to lend a helping hand by sewing dresses and purchasing supplies to send to the girls on Pine Ridge Reservation.

If you have any questions at all you may contact me at my name is Karen

A skirt pattern which include elastic length and skirt length are available free at I would probably increase the length of the skirt by 2“ so that it covers the knees.

A warm dress pattern, and dress lengths are posted on my warm dress tutorial.