At long last, after considerable procrastination, here is my very first blog post. Back in December I was super excited one morning to open an email newsletter from Jennifer Lauren announcing her new pattern the Nixie Briefs, as I had literally the day before declared that I wanted to try making some knickers with cotton lycra. In the past, I’ve successfully made a couple of pairs of Flo-Jo knickers with woven fabric, however as I’ve been sewing mainly with cotton knit lately I wanted to give comfy knicker making a go. I have made a couple of Jennifer Lauren’s Bronte Tops and so I knew what a high standard I was expecting from the pattern and her very detailed and easy to follow instructions for construction. And I certainly wasn’t disappointed.
So far I’ve made two pairs of the Nixie Briefs, both have been high-waisted versions, one using the fold over elastic option and the other using lingerie elastic. The pattern also includes a hipster version, again with the option of using fold over elastic or lingerie elastic. Both pairs of knickers have turned out looking like the picture on the pattern, which is a good start.
The first pair I made, I used fold over elastic (the first time I’d used this) and I made a few boo boos. First of all, I somehow cut the gusset way too narrow, which was entirely my fault as the pattern has a perfect size gusset – I checked! Unfortunately, I didn’t realise my error until I was well into construction, but given it was stretchy fabric it didn’t end up being too much of a biggie, I just stretched it width wise and basted it to the other pieces and it took a bit more effort to get it all inside the fold over elastic. My second disaster occurred when I accidently cut the knickers with the tip of my dressmaking scissors when I was trimming down the excess elastic – I wanted to cry! However, as this is a cotton lycra it doesn’t seem to be the end of the world as I don’t think the hole will spread anytime soon… they are just a newly made pair of knickers with a tiny hole. Oops.
The second pair I made were a fun pair for Christmas using some crazy Christmas angel cotton lycra fabric I had left over and I opted to use lingerie elastic because I was being a cheap skate. These were fair easier to put together, firstly because I cut the right sized gusset and secondly because the lingerie elastic is so much easier to work with. I managed to sew up the second pair really fast and I was pretty impressed with how straight forward it all was and how cute they looked. I wore them the very next day and I was a bit sad to discover that they rode up in the legs. In hindsight, using the pathetically light lingerie elastic on the legs was a mistake, as it didn’t stand a chance holding my bottom in all day! If I had used heavier lingerie elastic or fold over elastic then these would have been a complete success.
- Measure your favourite comparable knickers before you start. The sizes were more generous than the RTW knicker sizes in that I am used to in New Zealand, which I wasn’t expecting given that Jennifer Lauren is from New Zealand too.
- Use the layered pattern feature when printing out your PDF pattern. This would eliminate the possibility of tracing and cutting the wrong size pattern piece like I did in my first attempt.
- During construction, whatever you do, don’t get excited and try the knickers on before you’ve sewn in the waist elastic. I excitedly did this on my second pair and overstretched the top of the knickers with my stomach, and it didn’t recover from being saggy in the stomach. They still worked fine once I had sewn on the waist elastic, but they shall forever more just appear a bit stretched in the front.
- Fold over elastic is fiddly and expensive, but produces good results. Or opt for a heavier lingerie elastic.
I love this pattern and I will definitely be making more pairs in the future and I recommend it whole-heartedly to others. I think that my next pair will probably be a hipster version using fold over elastic. I also think that it would be really fun to do fold over elastic on the legs and then team that with some speciality waist band elastic I have seen online in some cool designs.