If you’ve ever sourced out all of the materials to make your own lingerie, you’ll quickly learn why lingerie is so expensive to buy! All of the specialty trims and findings add up and can be difficult to find.
You’ve already got what you need to sew your own panties!
You may be surprised to learn that you likely already have everything you need in your fabric stash to make a comfy pair of panties.
Using knit bindings and bands instead of lingerie elastics is a great way to create soft, comfortable underwear. I especially like this technique for kids’ underwear and for sewing mock-ups of new patterns, as there is no need to waste your precious specialty elastics!
The band and binding techniques outlined here work well on classic cuts, like hipster, boy leg, or bikini cut panties. Avoid the binding finishes on delicate garments like thongs, as the binding can add unwanted bulk.
I recommend avoiding flimsy knits, like rayon blends, and opt more for rib knits or cotton lycra jersey knits.
Whether finishing your panties with a knit band or more traditional binding, you’ll need to start by cutting 1½“- to 2″-wide strips of knit fabric. Cut your strips of fabric so that the majority of stretch is running length-ways. The total length of binding or banding that you will need will vary based on the pattern you are using, amount of stretch in your fabric as well as the size you are making, but as a starting point, cut your bindings and bands approximately 1” shorter than your openings.
Using knit bands instead of elastic
Substituting knit bands for elastic is the simplest solution for making panties without elastic.
Step 1: Cut and press the fabric band
Cutting a strip of knit fabric about 1½” to 2″ wide, making sure that the majority of stretch is running lengthwise. The total length of the band fabric will vary based on your pattern, size and fabric, but to start, cut the band fabric approximately 1″ shorter than your openings.
Once cut, press your strip of fabric in half lengthwise.
Step 2: Attach the band to the leg openings
With the fabric band still folded in half, place the band right sides together and raw edges aligned with the panty leg openings. Sew along the raw edges using a serger or zigzag stitch.
Just like you would if you were sewing an elastic edge, gently pull on the elastic as you stitch it on. This tension is what creates a snug edge and prevents your panties for slipping out of place during wear.
Step 3: Complete the seams
Once both leg openings have a band, you can sew up one side seam. Then, attach a band around the waist in the same method.
Press all the bands open and flat.
Step 4: Top-stitch the seam allowance in place
You may choose to top-stitch the seam allowance in place, or leave it loose.
I like the look of a twin-stitched edge, but a zigzag stitch works just as well! Whichever stitch you choose, just make sure it is a stretch stitch.
Use knit bindings for a classic finish
Knit bindings are found on many ready-to-wear panties and are perfect for kids underwear. If you’ve never made a knit binding before, check out this tutorial to see how it works.
Step 1: Cut the binding fabric
Cutting a strip of knit fabric that’s 1½” to 2″ wide, making sure the majority of stretch is running lengthwise. If you find the stretch-and-sew method tricky, try cutting your binding 1″ shorter than your opening.
Step 2: Attach the binding to both leg openings
Stretch and pin the binding evenly around the leg openings, with the right sides of the fabric together.
Once in place, sew the binding in place along the raw edges. To attach the binding, I like to use a serger, but a zigzag stitch will also work.
Step 2: Sew the side seams and attach the waist binding
Sew together one side seam. Apply the binding around the waist opening in the same method as you used for the leg openings, and continue on with the final side seam.
Step 3: Completing the bindings
To complete your binding, simply fold the binding over and toward the inside of the garment. Using a twin needle or a zigzag stitch, topstitch around each of the openings.
Trim back the excess binding, cutting as close to your stitching line as possible. Be careful not to clip any stitches!
Create a custom look
Whether you choose to use a band or binding, these finishes can create a truly custom look. Choose coordinating fabric for a more seamless look, or high-contrast fabric for a bit of interest. Experiment with both methods — bands or bindings — and discover which style works best for you.