Underwear is a great intro to sewing lingerie. You can use leftover knit fabric from garment projects, like bamboo, ITY knits, or cotton lycra, and once you find a pattern you like, it’s quick to crank out a pair for every day of the week!
I started sewing my own underwear a year and a half ago, and now I only wear RTW if it’s the last pair in the drawer. My personal preference is a retro high-waisted “granny panty” style, made with bright ITY fabric, colourful fold-over elastic, and a cotton gusset. I find they stay in place all day, smooth things out a bit, and work well with almost all of my clothing.
To each their own, though – here are some plus-size patterns you might like to try!
Jalie is famous for their skating costumes and gymnastics leotards, so O figure they must know a thing or two about drafting bottoms that will stay put! Jalie 3242 offers low- and mid-rise underwear, as well as a thong option. The size range goes up to a 53″ hip. Bonus: This pattern includes designs and sizing for men, women children!
Pin-Up Girls Basic Panty
Designed by the “Fairy Bra-Mother” at Bra Maker’s Supply, this pattern seems to only come in hardcopy. It offers high and low cut versions, with two different leg styles. The size range goes up to a 54″ hip.
Kitschy Coo Boy Cut Brief
This women’s pattern is based on the designers similar pattern for children. The waist and legs are finished with a folded fabric band, so it’s a perfect pattern if you don’t have lingerie elastics on hand. It comes in mid-rise and low-rise variations. The size range goes up to a 48″ hip, but I found the sizing very generous when I made a pair.
Barbara Deckert’s Girdle Patterns
Ok, these aren’t underwear… but they are undergarments! Barbara’s “Hunky Punky Panty Girdle” and the shorts versions, the “Gargoyle Panty Girdle” are designed to give support and shaping, but I imagine that in a light-weight fabric or a larger size, they could make equally nice knickers! Impressively, the size range runs from hips 57″-75″.
Kwik Sew 3881
Big 4 Patterns
I’ll be frank: It’s hard to find a true plus-size underwear pattern. Which means it’s time to get creative…If you have RTW undies that you love, try tracing them to make a pattern. You’ll want to stretch out the elastic as you trace, and be sure to sew thm up in a similar type of fabric.
Use a bikini or bathingsuit pattern
OhhhLulu Ava panties, available as a PDF.
Grading up a smaller pattern
As it happens, my TNT underwear pattern is based on a pattern by OhhhLulu that only goes up to a 42″ hip. My hips are 47″, but honestly, with a pattern as simple as underwear, it’s really easy to freehand a size or two larger than the nested pattern.
If you haven’t sewn underwear before, here are some tutorials to get you started:
- Sewing Panties Tutorial by A Very Purple Person
- Sarah from Ohhh Lulu did a series of video tutorials for Kollabora, and also has great technique posts on her blog
- Brigitte from Indigo Orchid explains basic construction and some option extras like different elastics or lace inserts
I’d love to hear about what patterns and fabrics are successful for you. Did I miss any plus-friendly patterns in the round-up?