My Second Bra, Part 5: Making a Coordinating High-waisted Panty

My daughter came back from several years in Paris with the firm conviction that every bra should have at least one matching panty. And that every piece of lingerie should be the best quality you can afford. It took a little convincing, but now I quite agree with her. And I must say that, even in the short time I’ve been making my own under-goodies, I’ve noticed that there’s something about setting a matching panty down next to a bra that seems to make the bra look even better. Especially a beautiful, unique, hand-made bra!

So today I’ll show you the steps that go into making a color-blocked, high-waisted panty; I’m planning this to coordinate with my newly-finished second bra. I’ll be using my OhhhLulu Betty High-waisted Panty pattern (the same one I used when I made my first bra and panty).

Here’s my second bra, with some materials I pulled out to see if they’d coordinate:

Materials for panty
The materials I’ve chosen to make my high-waisted panty. 1. Turquoise hand-dyed nylon/Spandex. 2. Black elastic trim (the same used on the bra). 3. Black all-over stretch lace fabric.

This panty is divided into panels: center front, center back, and side pieces that connect the front and back (no side seams). These panels can be used to create color-blocking, so I’m planning to use the black lace layered over the turquoise for the front panel, black lace alone for semi-sheer sides, and the turquoise Spandex alone for the back panel.

Once my pieces are all cut, including the crotch lining cut from pre-washed cotton knit, the first thing I need to do is baste my 2 front panel layers together. But first, as with the pieces for my second bra, I’m finding it really helpful to lay everything out— it’s so much easier to understand what I need to do when I can see the whole project like this:

Layout of panty pieces
Front, side, and back panels laid next to each other as they will be sewn. Note that the 2 front panel layers are pinned together at this stage; I’ll baste them together before I start sewing seams. (Also note that only 1 of the 2 side panels is shown here.)

Tip: When sewing with stretchy fabrics, I almost always use a shallow zig-zag stitch, as shown in the basting here, which is quite flexible. Machine settings vary, but my settings are: stitch length = 3.0, stitch width = 1.5. (I use this when sewing garments with knits as well.)

Basting front layers together
Here, I’ve basted the lace front panel on top of the Spandex one; now I can treat this as a single layer as I sew. (I could have made the entire panty with just the turquoise Spandex, but thought that adding the black lace would help tie the panty color with the bra.)

Now I’m ready to start seaming! I’ll basically work my way around the panty, front to back: sew side panels to front, then back to side panels.

Sewing front to side panels
With one side panel sewn to the front, you can see the interesting effect created by leaving the side panel sheer. (Having that additional layer of Spandex in front gives at least a little control.)

Before I sew the side panels to the back, I need to take care of the crotch lining first. It took me a while to get this part straight, so I’ll show you how to put the layers together. (This technique, used commonly in ready-to-wear panties, results in an enclosed seam, rather than having an exposed seam in a sensitive area.)

Crotch lining layers
I’ve just put in 1 pin here, so you can clearly see how the layers stack up: front panel, right side (RS) up, followed by back panel, wrong side up. Last, the crotch lining piece goes on top, wrong side up.

And here, all 3 layers are pinned together:

Crotch layers pinned together
Now all 3 layers are pinned into place and ready to sew!

After stitching the crotch seam and turning the layers right-side out, here’s what it looks like:

After sewing crotch seam
Here you can see how nice (professional!) that enclosed crotch seam looks: no exposed edges on either side of that seam!

Now I’ll just finish off the crotch by stitching down the remaining turned-under edge. (Is it just me, or is there something strange about the word “crotch”?? Probably just me.)

Note: The pattern suggests either serging this raw edge or finishing it with zig-zag stitching; personally, I like turning the edge under and stitching it in place, although I might not always want that additional bit of bulk with certain fabrics.

Finishing crotch lining
And my crotch lining is complete! Important note: I used off-white thread on top and black thread in my bobbin to make this stitching virtually invisible, especially on the outside.

Now all that’s left to do is sew the side panels to the back panel, and add the elastic trim!

Sewing back seams
The side panels have been sewn to the back panel. Note about the turquoise fabric: This is one of the materials I dyed myself for this project, and the sort of marbling (not to say tie-dye) effect is mostly due to deliberately scrunching up the fabric in the container with the dye. Personally, I like this better than flat solid colors.

Almost done! Now for the elastic, which I’ll sew on with the same 2-stitching-pass method I used for the elastic on my second bra. The only additional thing I need to do is to seam the elastic ends together first; I’ll do this for the waist, and for the 2 legs, because I want a continuous loop of elastic going around these circular parts of my panty.

Tip: How big should your elastic pieces be? I cut mine to fit smoothly around the leg and waist openings, with no extra length; this means that I will need to stretch the elastic while sewing it down, but only very slightly.

It’s a little fiddly, seaming the elastic ends together. Use the same small zig-zag stitch as for the rest of the panty, and back-stitch the whole seam for security.

Seaming elastic pieces
The most important thing here is making sure you’ve got the right sides together before seaming. And for the least bulk, leave this seam open.

A look at the 2-step stitching process (for more details on this, see my last post):

Finishing elastic trim
Once you’ve seamed the ends of your 3 pieces of elastic, you’ll attach them all to the legs and waist of your panty in the same way, shown here. For the 1st stitching pass, sew as close to the picot edge of the elastic as possible; for the 2nd pass, the important thing is to come close to the straight edge of the elastic. Also, you’ll want to stretch your elastic as you sew, but only very slightly.

Done! (Wow, I’ve been saying that a lot lately— you have to love these projects that are so quickly finished!)

Here’s my finished high-waisted panty, along with the bra it coordinates with!

Bra with coordinating panty
Okay, I know you can’t see the whole panty here, but I wanted to show how well it looks with the coordinating bra! Doesn’t it look nice?
Finished panty!
Here’s the whole finished panty! Yes, there is a lot of coverage there, but to me, it’s like a pretty version of shapewear. I love it!

You know, it just now occurred to me to suggest that, even if you don’t want to tackle making your own bras, you can still make panties to coordinate with the bras you buy. You know how those matching panties add up when you’re buying them— making your own takes very little fabric, and most likely less time than a trip to your local mall.

Okay, that’s it for today! Next time, I’m going to step back for a minute and make some notes and observations about my bra-and-panty-making adventure. Nothing major, just a few things I thought you’d like to know at this point. After that? I’ve got an even quicker panty project planned: a lace-trimmed thong, which will also coordinate with this bra! (I can already see my lingerie wardrobe increasing exponentially!)

Today’s resources:

OhhhLuluSews (on Etsy)

The Betty High-waisted Panty pattern from OhhhLuluSews

To see some examples of their patterns already sewn up, visit OhhhLulu!

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