It’s a Thong Story… And Now It’s Done

After doing all my thong pattern modifications and getting the fabric and lace pieces cut and ready, I’m so excited to actually sew it together! I have a feeling this part will go faster. You know that saying, “Measure twice, cut once”? I think that applies perfectly to sewing projects— taking the time to prepare the patterns and fabric pieces maybe won’t guarantee a perfect result, but it does give you a heck of a head start.

Here’s where I left my thong:

Final mock-up of thong
All mocked-up and ready to sew!

You’ve probably noticed this already, but whenever I’m making something for the first time, I like to plan the steps before I start sewing; it helps me to figure out the logical sequence of construction. So here’s my plan for sewing this thong:

1. Stitch lace seams (center front, center back); press open, topstitch, trim excess.

2. Prepare crotch lining piece; sew front/back/lining seam; stay-stitch lining to front.

3. Add foldover elastic to thong edges.

4. Sew lace to top of center front and center back.

5. Admire my handiwork! (Natch.)

Not so bad, eh? I’ll get started by sewing the mitered (angled) seams in my lace pieces. After pressing the seam open, I’ll topstitch on both sides of the seam.

Tip: Use a narrow, shallow zig-zag stitch for both the seams and the topstitching. Machine settings vary, but what I’m using is 3.0 width, 1.5 length.

Lace seams & topstitching
I’ve sewn my center front seam, and topstitched 1/8″ away from the seamline on both sides. This will allow me to trim as much of the excess lace away as possible for a clean finish.

Aside: I realized too late that using black lace makes it pretty difficult to see details in my photos— I’m sorry! In an attempt to make it up to you, I’m including as many notes, arrows, and other bits of information as possible right on the photos. End of aside.

Trimming the excess lace away after topstitching:

Trimming excess lace
Use a small, sharp pair of scissors to trim the excess seam allowance; trim quite close to your topstitching.

I’ll repeat this same seam-topstitching-trimming procedure for the center-back seam.

After trimming excess lace
What my seam looks like after trimming the excess seam allowances. And for the first time, I can really see how all that scallop-matching work paid off!

Now I’ll set my lace band aside for a bit, and work on the crotch lining and seam. As for my high-waisted panty, I’m showing you the front, back, and lining piece come together for a completely enclosed seam. (Not to be indelicate, but the crotch is not a place where we want a seam showing. Or chafing.)

I’ll prepare my crotch lining piece by finishing the top edge.

Tip: Since I started this project with a regular thong pattern (meaning one made entirely out of one fabric), it didn’t occur to me to alter the crotch lining piece. After working on this one, I’m thinking that next time, I might just cut the crotch lining the same as my front fabric piece, and treat the 2 layers as one.

Preparing the crotch lining
Here, I’ve finished the top (widest) edge of the crotch lining by turning 1/4″ to the wrong side (WS), and stitching it down. I’m trimming the excess (what little there is) close to the zig-zag stitching, just as I did on my lace pieces.

Here’s how the 3 layers (front, back, lining) go together to create the enclosed seam:

Crotch seam layers
It’s really important to get these layers in the correct order, and with the correct sides where they should be. The actual seam is that little bit at the top of the photo.

After stitching the seam (through all 3 layers), and finishing the seam by zig-zagging, you can see the result: a beautifully enclosed seam.

Sewing the enclosed seam
This enclosed seam is such a nice professional finish, isn’t it? (Not to mention comfortable!)

In case you were wondering, here’s a look at how the crotch lining is oriented, relative to the front fabric piece. On the left is a detail of stay-stitching the sides of the lining to the front.

Stay-stitching crotch lining
Stay-stitching the lining sides to the front piece will let me treat these 2 layers as 1, making it much easier to apply elastic in the next step.

Now I’m going to trim the leg edges of my thong with foldover elastic. Wish me luck— it’s my first time sewing with this kind of trim!

Tip: How long should your elastic pieces be? That depends mostly on how stretchy it is; mine’s fairly stretchy, so I’ve cut my pieces about 2″ shorter than the edges I’ll be sewing them to. This means I will only be stretching my elastic slightly while sewing it down; it’s a good general rule with elastic to stretch it a little more in the curvier areas.

Foldover elastic 1st pass
Sewing the first (of 2) passes with my foldover elastic trim. Lining up the center line of the elastic with the edge of the fabric is really important; the center line is actually marked on the elastic. Here, I’ve stitched close to the center line, but you could put your stitching line a little more to the left (relative to this photo), i.e. closer to the elastic edge.

Important: When you fold your foldover elastic in half, you will see that one side is a tiny bit wider than the other; this is to ensure that when you fold the elastic over to make the second stitching pass, your stitching will stay within the boundary of the elastic on the other side. If you look at the very top of the piece in the above photo, you can just make out that the edge of the fabric looks like it’s a bit closer to the right edge of the elastic than to the left edge; this is what you want! Meaning: the wider half of the elastic goes on the wrong side. (See second photo below.) Actually, I didn’t realize this myself until after sewing on my trim, but I somehow got lucky and put it on the right way!

Stitching the second pass, after folding my elastic over the raw fabric edge:

2nd elastic stitching pass
For my second stitching pass, I’m sewing very close to the edge of the elastic, making sure the folded edge of elastic is right up against the edge of the fabric.

Ta-da! My first foldover elastic trim is finished!

Finished elastic trim
Doesn’t that elastic trim look nice? Here, you can pretty easily see what I was talking about— one half of the elastic is wider than the other half.

Almost done— I just have to sew my lace band to the tops of the front and back pieces!

Pinning lace in place
Match the center-front lace seam with the center point of the V of the front fabric piece. Overlapping the fabric by about 3/8″, pin lace in place. Repeat for the back of the thong.
Pinning lace in place (WS)
Here’s what it looks like on the inside, after pinning the lace to the front. You can use your stay-stitching line as a guide for your first stitching pass.
Stitching lines for lace
This is the back of the thong, showing the placement for the first stitching pass (1), and the second pass (2). The first pass is 1/8″ from the fabric edge. (This is easiest done with the wrong side facing you.) I like to make my second pass in a line that connects the low spots between scallops.
Lace close-up
Even with 2 stitching passes to secure the lace to the fabric, the stitching is virtually invisible.

It’s done!

Front of finished thong
Wow, that lace is wide! But even with narrower lace, it’s pretty hard to get it to be proportional to the actual panty part. I happen to think wider lace gives a smoother look under clothes.
Back of finished thong
A look at the back, where you can see a bit of the crotch lining.

And guess what? My new thong coordinates perfectly with my second bra!

Finished thong with bra
Although, strictly speaking, this thong doesn’t match the bra, it certainly coordinates well!

That’s it— my thong story is done! I hope you’ve found this tutorial useful, and I’d love to know what lingerie projects you’re working on!

Next up: What lingerie do you actually need?

In case you missed my last post, in which I started this thong project, and showed how to modify a basic thong pattern into this lace-trimmed version, click here.

And to find out how to shorten a lace waistband that’s just too big (oops!), click here.

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