Bonjour dear readers!
I’ve decided I need a little more French culture in my life so I’m making some cute little French knickers as the bottom half of a summer sleep set.
As you may already know, I’ve taken a lingerie making class at TAFE and learned some nice techniques for finishing lingerie and best of all I got most of my teacher’s patterns!!! These French knickers are one of those, so you can’t buy them in the store. Having said that, there are a lot that are available and they’re pretty simple to make. So, why not pick up a pattern and sew along! They’re super easy and make great sleep wear.
I chose a super cute white cotton with little pink roses! C’est bon!
A couple rules of lingerie sewing I learned was that wovens need to be sewn on the bias for a nice drape and fit and use french seams. An interesting little factoid is that bias cut garments can give you a whole size extra! Knits should be cut on the straight grain.
So, I cut out my pieces and they look like this
First, sew the front to the front and the back to the back at the centre seams using a french seam. If you’ve never done one of these, they’re fabulous! They’re great for light weight fabrics and lingerie because they’re fully enclosed. For heavier weight fabrics they tend to add a lot of bulk.
Here’s the centre french seam step by step if you’re curious.
Pin the seams together WRONG SIDES TOGETHER. This is tres important! Sew a seam half the seam allowance width. For example…my seam allowance is 1.2cm, so I’ll sew 0.6 cm from the raw edge.
Trim the seam by about half and press open
Fold the fabric at the seam so it’s right sides together and press
Now sew 0.6cm (or whatever half your seam allowance is) from the edge and press seam to one side.
Press to one side
Lurvly. Now, just sew the other centre seam and then the side seams in the same way using french seams.
Word to the wise here. Make sure you press the french seams for the centre front and centre back in different directions. If they’re pressed in the same direction, you end up with a big lump at the crotch when you sew that seam…and that doesn’t feel very nice!
Sew the crotch seam using a french seam. Here is the first stage of the french seam so that you can see the advantage to pressing the centre seams in opposite directions!
Fantastique! Now you want some elasticity in the waist, don’t you? You can make a casing and insert an elastic, but I wanted to use some lingerie elastic for the waist. It’s this stuff.
Cut the elastic to your waist measurement plus 2cm (for overlap) and divide it into quarters by making a small mark on the elastic. You’ll want to match the quarter mark with each of the seams. Pin the elastic to the centre back seam having a small overlap (about 1cm). You’re going to sew just next to the pique (scalloped) edge of the elastic as shown.
Sew a few stitches and then, with the mark matching the next seam, pull the elastic so it fits the fabric and continue to sew close to the pique edge of the elastic.
Trim the fashion fabric to about half the width of the elastic.
Now flip the elastic so that the pique edge is towards the top and sew very close to the bottom (straight) edge of the elastic again stretching the elastic to fit the fabric length.
Fini! Doesn’t that look very very cute! Now you’ll want to finish off those lovely legs with some lace!
I chose a nice simple cotton lace. Attaching the lace is very similar to the elastic. Sew the lace onto the leg opening so that your stitching line (close to where the lace starts) is 1.2 cm (or whatever your seam allowance is). I marked this on my lace with a lead pencil.
Sew close to the lace edge and trim the fashion fabric to half that of the lace.
Fold the lace edging over and press so that the raw edge of the lace matches the stitching line.
Flip the lace so that the lace is pointing downwards and press. Sew close to the folded edge of the lace.
Here’s a nice piccie of the front and back views of the lace
Magnifique! Now you need a nice bow for the front!
You can make this yourself out of self fabric by making a rouleau (French for roll)! Just cut a length of fabric on grain 2cm wide. Fold in half and sew about 0.5 from the edge, right sides together. Turn the fabric right side out and make a bow!
Now sew it on!
Seriously, folks…how cute is that!!??? Now step back and admire you’re new knickers en francais!
Now I feel like a cafe latte and a croissant! I hope you enjoyed my little tute and you’re all inspired to make some of your own! If you’ve already made some, why not tell us about it! What pattern did you use?
Relax and Enjoy,
I’m also making a matching cami and robe so stay tuned for final piccies of the entire ensemble!!!