This post is about how to make a very simple pair of panties (bikini brief shape) for a doll, that have a clean look without visible stitching:
You’ll need to have a pattern in order to follow this tutorial. I’ve already covered how I make my patterns in a previous blog entry here: Making a Bikini Bottom Pattern for Knit Fabrics Here is the pattern I’m using, make by this technique for the Iplehouse nYID body. I made this pattern quickly today and it’s a bit asymmetrical because I haven’t scanned it and cleaned it up in Illustrator yet like I show in some of my tutorials:
It’s important that the pattern line up correctly at the side seams, so that the leg holes are round:
First, cut out two copies from your material(s) of choice. One will be the exterior, one the liner. I’ve cut both from the same material, a white cotton T-shirt in this example. Because there will be two layers, it’s nice to work with thin fabric so that the end result is not bulky.
After you have the pieces cut out, pin the right sides together. For those of you new to sewing, the ‘right side’ is the one you ultimately want on the exterior of the garment–for the exterior piece, this is the side of the fabric that will face the world and be seen, and for the liner it’s the side that will be touching the doll. The ‘wrong’ sides will end up inside the garment facing each other after this gets stitched and turned right-side out. This is a knit material, so I’ve pinned them together with the side with the “V” shapes facing each other, and what you’re looking at in the photo below is the side with the bar-like backs of the stitches. With all stretchy materials, I like to pin the ends first, then the middle, then continue this process of bisecting the already-pinned sections until there are as many pins in it as I want. If you instead start pinning at one end and work your way across, you will very likely accumulate small differences in stretching of the front and back pieces at the far end, resulting in an overhang of one part over the other, and possible curvature of the piece when you let go of it. This way minimizes distortion:
Next, sew the pieces across the waist lines, and around the leg holes, leaving openings on the 4 sides that will become the hip side seams. At this point, I should have trimmed the seam allowances smaller and even, as you’ll see from how the end product looks, due to the thinness of this fabric. But I was sloppy (I skipped this step because with the fabrics I normally use, it doesn’t show). If you’re sewing by hand, use a proper hand backstitch here, not a running (gathering/basting) stitch, or you’ll be sad as your stitching rips out during the next step of the process.
Turn it right-side-out. This requires some tugging, and pushing the whole butt of the panties through the small side opening. This is why you don’t want to join these parts with a big running stitch if hand sewing–that will not likely survive the turning.
If your material is springy, the thing will have a tubular, puffy look when turned right side out. If the material can tolerate heat and responds well to ironing, iron it flat now as this will make it much easier to pin the side seams accurately:
Pin the top edges of the waist together at the ends, with the outsides of the garment facing each other. Notice the pin in the bottom center that is pointed to where the front and back edges intersect. This is where you want to stitch across, so that the seams form continuous round leg holes with no offset misalignment:
Stitch across. Do it first with a long stitch, and no backtracking, in case you have to pull it out due to not aligning the parts correctly. This is a basting pass. Remember, you’re looking at the panties inside out now. These seams end up on the inside.
Check that the edges line up well, with no ugly misalignment. If they do, stitch over it again, with backtracking or your lock-stitching/tacking method of choice to create seams that will hold up to the stress of the pants being pulled over unyielding plastic dolly thighs:
Trim the seam allowances, if your fabric is thick, you can also fold over the seam allowances and tack them, to help the seams sit flat against the doll. I didn’t do this, I just trimmed them close:
Turn right-side out, finished:
Here in the butt shot, you can see why I should have trimmed the seam allowances. They show through the thin material. Next time…