Well hello! It’s been a very heavy week for me on the work front and also on ‘life’ – but I shall tell you all about that next time (& it’s all mega exciting!) Today I feel it’s important to get some tips out for any of you who want to make Christmas pressies for your nearest & dearest. Are you thinking about Christmas yet? Have you ever made boxer shorts? Well here are my tips for making boxer shorts out of just 1 metre of fabric which means you could even justify buying a metre of Liberty fabric to make some really special undies for someone deserving & with impeccable taste 😉
So what’s the deal? Is it important to minimise yardage required? Absolutely! Especially if it enables you to buy more expensive fabric- you see I bought some Liberty lawn from Sewbox with boxer shorts in mind. Just a metre as it had been a while since I’d last made them (last Christmas perhaps) & I erroneously thought a metre would be adequate. I use Simplicity 9958 here.
and let me show you the Liberty Lawn I bought
And you need to know this about me (if you don’t already) – my motivation for sewing has always been to make clothes for less than they would cost if I bought them from a shop- allowing me to have lots more clothes! So buying a metre of Liberty Lawn was completely opposite to this stance – boxer shorts can easily be bought for under a tenner – but not Liberty Lawn boxers. My men deserved the best.
So the fabric arrived, I swooned & whooped for joy. But before cutting into the mega posh cloth thought it best to work up to it using some posh & fun fabric to make the first pairs (and cool enough to be destined as gifts as well) – Marvel fabric from Plush Addict – cool or what?! You’ll see more varieties of this through some of these pictures!
So it was when I came to make the first pair of boxer shorts of the season that I realised my mistake. Let me describe the issue. Boxer shorts are made from a single pattern piece – cut twice. This pattern piece has a curved edge so that it forms the shape in 3D it needs to become in order to fit around half a body & upper thigh (don’t imagine too hard, I am not branching into chick lit!) The pattern piece is also cut with enough allowance on the upper edge to become folded over to form the tunnel for the elastic.
When I came to cut out my first pair of boxers I cut the fabric in half along its length & placed the two pieces right sides together with the directional print the same way up. And when putting the pattern on top my heart sank – NOT ENOUGH! I could not believe it. I almost cried & my smug organised early buying evaporated into despair (maybe I was going to have to make myself three one metre tops with that Liberty Lawn ! horrors!) With this metre of fabric cut in half I could see that the & the total vertical length of the pattern required more than half a metre…
But necessity is the mother of invention, right? I conspired to find some shop bought boxers to compare final leg length so that I could see how much I could get away with at the hem edge.
I then also worked up a different way to attach the elastic so that I could also reduce the depth at the top edge previously ear marked to make an elastic channel.
See the pattern shows where the foldline is – all i needed to allow was 1/4″ seam allowance at this foldline. I then cut out pairs in size small, medium and large.
Here’s a larger pair I cut – a large out of one metre. I folded over the pattern where I saved fabric – you can see there isn’t much- but enough to take into the next metre …
So far I have made one pair in a medium (the finished pair at the beginning of this post). I’ll show you the outcome & how I handled the elastic.
So instead of making a channel for the elastic, I minimised the depth of fabric needed to attach the elastic more like you would for leggings:
- Cut the elastic to the length needed & sew into a circle. Mark half & quarter points.
- fold the top edge over to the wrong side by about 1/4″ & mark the quarter points using the back seam & centre front.
- Pin the elastic at the quarter points & sew with a straight stitch to the upper edge- stretching the elastic in between the pins to fit the fabric underneath. (It’s a good idea to keep the machine needle down each time you stop. My machine has a setting that always puts the needle down when you stop).
- Once you have sewn the top line of stitching, make sure the fabric is straight behind the elastic so that you can sew the second row at the lower edge of the elastic.
Now isn’t that more simple than sewing a channel & threading the elastic through?
So are you going to make posh boxers for gifts? It really doesn’t take long. I think I have quite a few in my gift-sewing pipeline….