Making underwear, or those things I don't want to sew.....
I am wearing out most of the underpants I last bought. I have some pairs that I bought last year, maybe 18 months ago from Soma (not a company I can endorse), that are splitting at the seams, and the elastic is unraveling. Then I have the pairs of good old Hanes that I must have bought over four or five years ago, although most of those are barely limping along. Jerry Seinfeld has a great bit about how men don't throw out old underwear, they just wear them until they literally disintegrate and float out the window on a breeze. I am not quite that extreme, but I don't love shopping for these foundational garments. Bras are a bit better, I have a store in Portland called Etain that sells beautiful, affordable bras, and I love doing business with them. So for the time being that method is secure. But the underpants (and no, I will not add the 'ies' to the end of that word, I am a grown-ass woman who wears underpants), that's a bit more complicated. I am from the old school of only wearing cotton underwear for breathability and hygiene. Cannot tolerate any man-made fabrics near my womanly parts. I don't want man-made fibers anywhere on my person for that matter. I want very simple basic briefs or hipsters, maybe a bikini. No thongs! So where do I procure basic cotton underwear? I avoid the Mall like the plague, only visiting that location for the Apple store. Used to buy handfuls of cotton briefs from Macy's, a week's worth at a time-cheap, effective, serviceable. Now that my consciousness has been raised about slave labor, unethical production, toxic cotton, I am unwilling to go that route anymore.
I find myself at a crossroads. A cursory look around informs me that I have to pay more money that I previously ever would have for underwear. I can swallow paying between $50 and $100 for a bra, but $35 for a pair of underwear? Gulp. I can hear what you're thinking. Doesn't this woman make all of her clothes already? Why doesn't she just make herself some damn underpants and move on to other projects? I am asking myself the same damn question. I currently own no less than four different sewing patterns for various versions of a basic bikini. I have a cool retro book on making underwear of all sorts. I have yards (!) of foldover elastic in my stash. I have been setting aside my jersey scraps of suitable sizes in a pile for just this purpose. I could have some very cool underpants out of some lovely fabric. I have cut out and sewn muslins of two different pairs.
Neither of those pairs fit the way I want them to. They both need some tweaks to function properly.
I must confess, can you guess? I don't like sewing underwear. I made myself a swim suit this Summer, a Closet Case Patterns Sophie, from some luscious lycra I bought from Mood a couple of years ago. Navy with white polka dots. The suit fits well, even the underwire bra top. I swam quite successfully in it this Summer. I posted an image of myself in the suit on Instagram and received more likes than ANYTHING I have ever posted anywhere. How's that for positive reinforcement? I thought after making the swimsuit I would be energized to sew some unders. It's not like I can't do it. It's not particularly challenging. I make T shirts with little issue. I took a pause from business after Slow Stitching in the beginning of August. I thought that might be a good time to whip up some underpants...... Can you guess what happened?
Yup, no unders.
I studiously avoided pretty much any garment sewing for all of August. I pulled out quilts I had started and put aside months ago. I knit. I read. I took a mini-staycation upstate. I made no underwear. I even took the full instructions for these puppies home to read at a leisurely pace. (Alert: use of the P-ty word...!) Thought taking some quiet time to absorb the instructions would help get me motivated.
Just ordered four pairs of these..... I think Katrina Rodabaugh told me about this company. They are also on this list, and if you don't know about Project Just, I recommend you spend some time with that website. I do make most of my own clothing, but occasionally I need to buy something made by someone else. This is a good starting place to find ethically made goods. I'm kicking the proverbial can down the road with the underwear. Perhaps when Fall is fully upon us and I have less access to outdoor time, then I will not feel so resistant to sewing my own unders. But for now, I await my delivery of ethically made, organic cotton briefs.
So how about you, is there some item you just can't bring yourself to sew?