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sewing underwear: the (free) pattern

Underwear. Knickers. Pants. Undies. Whatever you call them, I have a free pattern for sewing your own underwear that I want to share with you! I’ve included several sizes; XS, S, M, and L – so I hope that is helpful!

I’ve been making underwear from t-shirts for years. My first undies-sewing attempt taught me that I should follow the grain of the fabric. The second time I discovered that twin needles are awesome. Most recently I’ve been playing around with different kinds of elastics to finish the underwear, and I’ll be showing that soon!

The “t-shirt underwear” pattern I’ve made is in the bikini brief style, but it can easily be tweaked to fit you perfectly. It’s graded in four sizes; extra small, small, medium, and large. I think the sizes should be pretty standard, but do let me know your feedback!

So if you want to make your own underwear, click the image above or the link below to download the pattern! The pdf includes the choice of 1 page in the 11″ X 17″ format, or 3 pages that you line up and tape together (it is formatted to work for both US Letter and European A4 – just make sure there is no resizing when you print).

Download the t-shirt underwear pattern!

I’ll be doing a couple of posts on sewing the underwear, the basics of how to sew them together, and then some options of how to finish them with different types of elastics. So be sure to come back for that!

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Did you miss a post in this underwear-making adventure?

• Sewing underwear: the basics
• Sewing underwear: the extras

If you make a pair (or five?) from this pattern, please share! Comment, link back, and show off! Note! The pattern has as of february 2014 been updated to fix an error in the length of the back piece’s crotch length.

43 thoughts on “sewing underwear: the (free) pattern

  1. I printed out your pattern – I love your idea for using old t-shirts as fabric – with my daughter, most of her old t-shirts are as good as new to me. My grandmother’s maiden name was Notvik – apparently my great-great grandfather was a boat builder in southern Norway. Thanks for the pattern!

  2. Oh, how funny! (I love being able to see traces of origin in names… “vik” means “bay”, she must have come from a place with a bay!)

    And I agree – t-shirts seems like such a waste to get rid of, and even when they are too well worn to pass on to Salvation Army or someone else, there still fabric there to be used!
    I hope you enjoy the pattern!

  3. What a great idea…underwear from t-shirts! My daughter just threw 3 old t-shirts in the garbage a week or so ago. I’m glad I rescued them. I have the pattern printed and I’m ready to give it a try. Thanks!

  4. Just finished 3 undies for my daughter. Love them. Love making them. I received an elastic order today from Sew Sassy. Can’t wait to make more!

  5. Ooh, this is fabulous! I’m just beginning to sew and was looking around for some underwear patterns. There’s a lot out there, but not very many with specific sizes like yours. At first I tried cutting up an old pair to make my own pattern but the fabric is stretched out and I’m afraid the pieces wouldn’t line up. This is much better. Can’t wait to try ‘em, thanks!

  6. just downloaded your pattern last week, found some thrift store .50 shirts and i will never buy underwear again! found a company here in the U.S that makes organic cotton knit and another that makes U.S. made thread and elastic. Im all set for my family now! thank you so very much for the instructions…. you rock!

  7. I’m studying your pattern, but am confused as to why the “Front” piece looks larger than the “Back”. Is this reversed? Shouldn’t the back be larger to accomodate the butt?

    1. Oh, they came out great! I agree with the fo-elastic, they don’t always end up totally flat. I’m so pleased you like the pattern and the instructions, thank you! And why yes – I *do* have other patterns in the pipeline! More to come! ;)

  8. Hullo, new to this and want to make some underwear so delighted to find your pattern! Heres the thing…I’m a bloke and the pants are for me…any sugestions how to adapt the pattern?

    1. Hi there Andrew! Sewing underwear is so fun – glad you’re getting into it! When it comes to the pattern, womens and mens garments, fit, and therefore patterns, really are different beasts, and therefore I wouldn’t advise you to alter this pattern to use for you. Rather, a better approach i believe, will be to trace or copy an exsisting men’s pair of underwear to create a template. Hope that helps you, and good luck Andrew!

  9. I’m confused about printing the pattern. It looks a bit small if I print without doing any resizing, but if I print at 100%, the preview looks like some of it will be cut off. Some printable patterns have a 3 inch box to check scale. That would be helpful.

    1. Hi Deena! The pattern is set up to work with both the A4 and the US Letter size, so that probably explains the cut off areas. I’d reccomend just centering the page, not resizing, to see if the box with the content is within the printable area. If not, send me an email and I’ll see what I can do!

      Thank you for your suggestion of the 3″ test box – if I update this pattern I’ll be sure to add one, but I’ll keep it in mind for future new patterns!

  10. The seam lengths on the back of the crotch don’t seem to match up for size M between the crotch pieces and the back piece. Am I doing it wrong? Should I be stretching the pieces to make it match up?

    1. Hi! You’re not doing it wrong – the lengths are actually a little off (so the pattern is incorrect right now!). The crotch lining piece is the right size, but the back piece is too wide at the crotch seam. You can trim the back piece evenly to fit, and I will adjust the pattern and upload the new correct version by the end of the week. Hope this helps!

  11. Thanks for posting this. I’ve been a bit too rushed lately to draft my own bikini style pattern for myself since it seems underwear manufacturers have recently agreed that people above a size 9 have no business wearing the bikini cut style – unless they want to purchase the impractical lacy individual pairs. You know, doesn’t matter if you’re tall – no practical daily underwear for you! I know I should just draft my own off my measurements, but it’s a bit easier to take my own measurements and adjust an existing pattern that I know works. I believe you were ok with someone else re-sizing for larger, correct? Totally just for myself for the guilty pleasure of having underwear that doesn’t peek over the top of my pants.

    1. My pleasure, I hope it is useful to you! You bring up a good point, which is a huge reason that a lot of people sew for themselves I think, and that is that we really are limited to what the current fashion dictates is “in”. I’ve had periods where everything in nearly every store was to my liking, when my taste overlapped with what was currently in fashion, and also periods where I’ve seen nothing I’ve liked.

      And I totally agree with you – it’s often much much easier to have a starting point to alter to fit you, than to start from skratch! Re-size as much as you want, I hope the pattern can help you get a good end result that fits *you*!

  12. Oh good! I feel kind of silly putting an underwear pattern out there, but I finally figured that if I’m into that, maybe other people are too? Please share if you make some!

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