My Third Bra, Part 3: Making a Coordinating Bikini Panty

Now that I’m finished making my third bra, I wanted to do a quick follow-up about the bikini panty I made to go with it. I’ve used the same pattern as for my thong, Kwik-Sew 3881, which includes a total of 4 styles; hipsters and briefs are the other two.

After making some fairly substantial changes in the bra pattern, I’ve decided (for once) to keep this panty simple: just coral poly/Spandex (the same fabric I used for the bra cups) and foldover elastic. Oh, and I saved one of the little flower thingies to use as an embellishment!

Panty materials
What I’m using to make the panty that will coordinate with my third bra. 1. 1 3/8″-wide foldover elastic (for waistband). 2. Poly/Spandex fabric. 3. 5/8″-wide foldover elastic (for legs). 4. Cotton knit (for crotch lining). 5. Flower embellishment. And Kwik-Sew 3881, View B (bikini).

Tip: I dyed all these materials except the main fabric (2 in photo); they were all dyed in the same fuchsia dye bath, but there’s quite an interesting range of hues! Personally, I prefer this kind of tonal range to struggling to exactly match a given color (it’s just easier, for one thing).

For more about dyeing your lingerie materials, see these posts: All the Pretty Pieces: Dyeing to Match (or Not), and All the Pretty Pieces, Postscript: Dyed to Match.

One thing I’ve learned from the other panties I’ve made so far: I definitely prefer to have the crotch lining installed so that there are no exposed seams or raw fabric edges. (Both the high-waist panties and the thong have one seam that’s enclosed, but the opposite end of the lining is just sort of lying there.) Fortunately, this pattern shows how to put in the lining so that the seams attaching the separate crotch piece and the crotch lining to the back and front are both enclosed! (Note that this only applies to patterns where the crotch piece is cut separately from the front and back.) Here’s how it’s done.

1. Pin the crotch piece to the back, right sides (RS) together. Then pin the RS of the crotch lining to the wrong side (WS) of the back piece. Stitch seam.

Enclosed crotch lining 1
I’ve just put 1 pin in here, so you can see how the separate layers fit together. After pinning the whole seam, stitch, using a short zig-zag stitch (I use stitch length 2, stitch width 2). Take your time sewing this seam; you’re sewing an inside curve to outside curves.

After stitching the seam, turning it right-side out, and pressing, this is what it looks like:

1st enclosed crotch seam
Looking at the outside (RS) after stitching the first crotch seam.
Enclosed crotch seam, inside
Here’s a look at the first enclosed crotch seam from the inside. See? No exposed edges anywhere!

2. Lay your front piece down, RS facing up. Lay the back/crotch on top of it, WS facing up. Pin the crotch piece (not the lining) to the crotch edge of the front piece.

Pinning the 2nd enclosed seam
First pin the crotch to the front, RS together. You’ll sew this seam after pinning the crotch lining to this same place.

Tricky part: Now pick up the free end of the crotch lining piece, and pull it upwards, towards the top (waist edge) of the pieces, then all the way around the back, under the front piece, until it lines up with crotch seam you just pinned; pin the lining in place so that you can sew through all 3 layers once again.

Here’s what it will look like (weird, I know, but oddly fascinating, like towel origami):

Pinning 2nd enclosed seam
Yes, this part requires a bit of fabric gymnastics, but the results make the effort worthwhile! With all 3 layers pinned together, the second enclosed seam is ready to sew.

Once the seam is sewn, flip the whole thing right-side out, and…

Enclosed seams finished!
…it’s magic! 2 completely enclosed seams! At upper right, you can see what the seam looks like on the outside of the panty. Also, in this photo, I’ve stay-stitched the crotch and lining together (about 1/8″ from the edge) to make it easier to put on the elastic; repeat this on the other side of the crotch pieces.

And that’s the hardest part of this panty, done! All that’s left is sewing the side seams and putting on the elastic trim!

After sewing the short little side seams, I pressed my seams open and topstitched on both sides, to keep these seams as flat as possible:

Topstitching side seams
I’ve used my short zig-zag stitch again for this topstitching. (Wow, my stitching is not very even! I’m sure you’ll do a better job.) After topstitching, trim whatever’s left of the seam allowance close to the topstitching line.

I like to stitch across all my elastic pieces at the same time; I’ve double-stitched each seam.

Seaming elastic pieces
Using a fairly tight zig-zag stitch, I’ve sewn across all 3 of my elastic pieces. I’ll snip the little threads to separate them next. (The wider piece is for the top of the panty, the narrower ones for the legs.)

Since I’m really new to using foldover elastic, just to make sure I put it on the right way, I like to pin it in half to find the side that’s just slightly narrower than the other; the wider half goes on the WS.

Finding narrower half
You can just barely tell that one side (on top in this photo) of the foldover elastic is slightly narrower than the other. I’m going to stitch the wider side down first, to the WS of my panty.

Tip: I know some people sew on their foldover elastic all in one step, but until I get more practice with it, I find it much easier (read: less stressful) to do it in 2 stitching passes. This is, of course, a matter of preference.

With WS together, match the elastic seam with one of the side seams, lining up the fabric edge just under the fold line of the elastic.

Applying waist elastic
You want to align your fabric edge just under the fold line of the elastic, so it will be easier to fold it to the front after your 1st stitching pass. You may need to stretch your elastic slightly as you sew. (I use the same small zig-zag stitch for the 1st pass.)

Here’s what it looks like after the 1st stitching pass:

After stitching 1st pass
Here you can see both sides of my elastic after stitching the 1st pass. (I know it looks like the RS and WS are the reverse of what they should be, but they’re not. It’ll make sense in a minute.)

After folding my elastic over the edge to the RS, for the 2nd stitching pass, I use my 3-step zig-zag (but you can use a regular zig-zag if you like— just make it fairly wide).

2nd stitching pass
I’ve finished my 2nd stitching pass to complete my waistband. I’ve used a 3-step zig-zag stitch, and kept my stitching very close to the edge of the elastic. Note how this stitching lines up on the WS.

Now I’m just going to repeat this whole procedure to attach the narrower foldover elastic to the legs. After that’s done, I just want to put on my little embellishment:

Adding embellishment
Since this embellishment is going on a stretchy band, I decided to stitch it on by machine.

It’s done!

My bikini panty is finished! You can just see a bit of the cotton crotch lining there, as well as the finished leg elastic bands. Smashing!

And just for a bit of context, here it is with the coordinating bra:

Panty with matching bra
Wow, they really look good together, don’t they? I love the way these colors work together!

Aaack— I just realized that, now that this project is finished, I have to decide what to do next! There are lots of things on my want-to-make list, including a bra with a foam cup, a front-closing bra with something really cool on the back, maybe a sports bra… Stay tuned to find out what’s up next!

Update: I’ve just listed kits to make this panty in my new Etsy shop, theBratelier!


3 thoughts on “My Third Bra, Part 3: Making a Coordinating Bikini Panty

  1. […] Before I put on my mesh trim, I think I’d better take care of the crotch lining. Since this pattern has a separate crotch piece (meaning it gets seamed to the panty at both ends), I’m going to use my both-seams-enclosed method for a nice finish. You can find complete instructions for this method in this panty post. […]


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