Frilly knickers! or: Granny Undies aren’t actually comfortable.

18 Aug

Carolyn is right. Lingerie sewing is addictive!

The latest addition to my lingerie drawer is too cute for words. The photos don’t the cuteness full justice, but rest assured they look incredibly cute on me. (They were hard to photo. The elastic round the legs would not sit nicely. I ended up ironing the leg openings on a low heat to get them to look this good. That’s right. I ironed my undies. OMG someone call an ambulance O_o )

Pretty frilly legs.

The inspiration

These knickers by Free People via Pinterest.

Free People booty shorts

And these too via pinterest. Oh so pretty! I just wanted my own pair 😀 Have sewing machine, will sew! Undrest Signature Bloomer Short Natural/Watermelon: Clothing

Mine look just as pretty on!

But they started life far less glamorously

They used to be a pair of the wonderfully old-fashioned Bonds Cottontails Full Briefs.


I am still not sure why I bought the pair. An experiment I think. I blame Sewveravenus and her wonderful Grannypannie pattern (below). It gave me the idea that Granny Undies could be funky, chic, and comfy. After all, you can see the resemblance between the cottontails and the Sewveravenus Grannypannies, right? Right? Sure you can!

There were sadly three things wrong with the cottontails Real Granny Undies

1) The elastic round the waist was so strong it cut into my poor tummy and made me feel very ill. It’s not a size issue, it’s the elastic. It was so strong it could have been used successfully to catapult huge rocks in ancient Roman war machines.

2) The legs are finished with a thick band of non-elastic rib. A bit less elastic in the waist and a bit more in the legs would have helped.

3) When my partner saw me wearing them he said ‘They look … comfortable…’

Oh dear.

Hey I swear if there had been no problem number 1 or 2 I would have smiled sweetly at my partner and been too embarrassed to wear them around him ever again and worn them proudly, refusing to sacrifice comfort for any man, not even my beloved. And in his defence I know he’d have just been amused at them, and that would have been that. But … the existance of problems 1 and 2 could not be denied.

What I did to massacre refashion the Real Grannie Undies

I chopped off the leg bindings and waist elastic.

I cut two rounds of fabric about 4 cm wide from the top of the waist.

I sewed one round onto each leg opening using a 4mm seam allowance, to form the frill. The frill was about 1 1/3 longer than the leg openings so I just stretched the leg openings to fit the frill. (Basically I was using the stretch inherent in the knit to gather the excess length in.)

I folded the seam allowance back  toward the main bit of the undies and stretched elastic (decent, normal knicker elastic of the non-catapult kind) round the seam, sewing it down with pretty pique side facing the frill. I wasn’t sure if this would actually work but it did. YAY! And so easy!

I used the same kind of elastic to redo the now-hipster waistline.

Here is the leg-elastic application in progress. Elastic on the left,  frill on the right, the seam allowance folded back towards the main part of the undies.

I haven’t found out my partner’s reaction yet. But if (in the now very unlikely event) it  involves the word ‘comfortable’ I’m going to smile sweetly and say ‘Yes, indeed they are!’ because… they are!

4 Responses to “Frilly knickers! or: Granny Undies aren’t actually comfortable.”

  1. Josie Brady August 19, 2014 at 8:17 am #

    That was a successful transformation. I would like to be able to wear granny pants as they are comfortable, and keep your lower back warm in the winter, but unfortunately the large size I need to accommodate my non existent waist leaves the crutch hanging a long way from where it should be. Happily there is now a pair made with a reasonable amount of lycra in the mix, and they fit perfectly. I think they are Bonds, I can’t remember. I will stick with them in future.


    • Tropical Threads August 20, 2014 at 12:42 pm #

      I’m very pleased with them! At least the impossible-to-wear undie weren’t wasted in the end. Actually that sentence works both literally and figuratively, doesn’t it.

      Uh yeah, where was I? heh I never thought of the bonus of keeping your lower back warmer!

      Yup yup, I’d have had the same problem if I’d bought for the waist elastic to fit me, and I have a very defined waist. I think I know which undies you’re talking about with the lycra. Amazing how a bit of lycra can make SUCH a big difference.

      Maybe I should track some down for my next trip south to help keep my back warm too! 🙂


  2. Katherine August 21, 2014 at 5:41 am #

    These are cute. I bought cottontails once but could not wear them either. I wonder why they got such a good reputation.
    Thanks for your offer to catch up in Darwin. We are flying via Cairns. I still have not made it to Darwin, but I do hope to get there one day.


    • Tropical Threads August 21, 2014 at 3:45 pm #

      Years ago they had bikini cottontails that were really good. I wore them all the time. They weren’t like these ones at all. Maybe the reptuation was from those. I don’t know why they’re always fiddling with the good stuff and ruining them.

      Well the offer is there when you do get here! Best wishes for your relocation south.


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