Fancy Man Panties: Jalie 3242

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Tom came to my house at the last minute the other night after a 12+ hour shift. He didn’t have a change of clothes on him so he soulfully requested that I make him some “man panties” so he could at least have clean underwear. I have Kwik Sew 3298 somewhere but wasn’t able to find it, so I went online to see if they had it as a download. Nope – looks to be out of print as well. So I went on Jalie’s website to check out their pattern offerings, and found out that 3242 was available as a download.

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This one pattern will take care of underwear needs for the entire family! Jalie patterns always include a huge range of sizes. The kids sizes go from an 18″waist/20″ hip to a 26.5″ waist/34.5″ hip for girls and 26.5″/32.5″ hip for boys. The adult sizes go from a 27.25″ waist/35.5″ hip to 44″ waist/53″ hip for women and 27.5″ waist/33.5″ hip to 48″ waist/51″ hip for men. The children sizes include only the bikini panty for girls and brief and boxer short styles for boys because obviously the lace thong and jockstrap styles are not appropriate for children.

The pattern download is split into three sections: women/girls styles and men/boys styles, along with an instruction sheet for all of them. I’m not sure how the women’s PDF is set up, but the men’s PDF is set up so you can print only the pages your pattern is on. There appears to be no overlap as far as two styles being on one page. I chose to make view E, the boxer briefs, and I only needed to print pages 7-12.

View E has only two pieces: the pouch and trunks. You cut 1 piece on the fold of the trunk and 4 of the pouch. Like their other patterns Jalie includes instructions in both written and in technical drawing format. When it came to topstitching/hemming I used a zigzag stitch. The seams where the pouch attaches to the trunk are topstitched; I also topstitched the inseam. Zigzagging instead of a coverstitch meant less thread and not having to slow down in order to convert over to coverstitch. Plus a zigzag stitch is stronger and more elastic than a coverstitch.

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Jalie has you run a basting stitch around the upper edge of the trunk to use as a guide for when you attach the waistband elastic. Unlike the Kwik Sew pattern you don’t lay it on top of the fabric with the edge of the elastic even with the edge of the elastic, sew it in place and then trim away the excess afterward. At first I was annoyed at having to run a basting stitch but then I realized the Jalie way is quicker – plus it saves fabric and you don’t need to worry about accidentally nicking your fabric when trimming away the excess.

The fabric I used for the first few pairs was a cotton/lycra jersey from The Fabric Fairy.

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Tom is a very masculine guy (burly build, car crazy, blue collar job, into beer and meat, etc) and wouldn’t be caught dead in a pink or lavender shirt, but he also has a sense of humor and thus enjoys  wearing the most ridiculous underwear I can possibly create. He particularly favors Hawaiian,  car/machinery, and animal (esp. dog and pig) prints but anything very loud and obnoxious will do.

After I got his input on how they fit (“I can’t even feel them, so they must be good!”) I made up a few other pairs in assembly line style. Since this pattern takes just under half a yard I was able to get a second pair out of the one yard of this blue/green/white hibiscus print fabric.

Here’s the other five pairs:

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The purple and green fabric is from Apple Annie Fabrics. The purple pair is cotton/lycra; I think the green pair is a bamboo/lycra. It is very soft. The automobile print cotton/lycra jersey is from the Etsy seller halfbakedbuttons.

You’ll notice I didn’t bother pattern matching. It just didn’t seem very important for this project…

Style Arc Alannah Tee

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The Style Arc Alannah is a basic tee pattern with a slim neckband (somewhere around 3/8″ to 1/2″ wide) and short sleeves. The neckline has is slightly scooped in the front. It hits around mid-hip level. I agree with Style Arc’s description of “not too tight, not too loose”.

I used a white cotton/bamboo baby rib knit I bought from Fabric.com sometime in 2010. It is soooo soft. For this tee knits with just mechanical stretch are fine because there’s no negative ease at the bust.

My fitting adjustments were:

  • Lengthened between bust and waist 1″
  • Added 4″ to the hipline
  • Added 3/4″ width to the sleeve
  • 3/8″ forward shoulder adjustment
  • Added 3/4″ width to the middle of the upper back (basically made the armhole less scooped out at mid upper back)

I’ve noticed that since I started doing a forward shoulder adjustment I don’t need to add length between the shoulder and bottom of the armhole. I heard some people say that moving the seamline to account for a forward shoulder is just “cosmetic” and the real benefit is if there is a sleeve it eliminates twisting. But I think the seam more as a “hinge”, and if that hinge doesn’t drape over the shoulder at the right spot (and angle) it puts the flexibility of the fabric in a different spot and then you start getting weird fitting quirks (like the back neckline falling backward, the front neckline gaping, or the back armhole pinching while the front armhole gapes).  I should also note that Style Arc is pretty good about having the back armhole be 1″ longer than the front. Not all patterns do this, and for the ones that don’t I’ll adjust by folding out width at the front upper chest and lengthening the back between shoulder and armhole.

When I constructed this tee I used clear elastic to stabilize the shoulders because this knit is would be a prime candidate for stretching out during the course of the day. Normally I avoid clear elastic in favor of interfacing because I have had so much trouble applying it with my serger. It wiggles, sticks, etc and I can never get it started and end up taking three times as long to apply it as if I used interfacing. I decided to approach it another way this time. I got the elastic started by serging maybe the first five inches of it alone. Then I stopped, lifted the presser foot, put the shoulder seam between the elastic and feed dogs, then very carefully kept serging. After I finished the first shoulder seam I kept serging the elastic for another three inches, then positioned the second shoulder seam between the elastic and feed dogs and sewed that one the same way. When I was done I cut the elastic and finally cut the serger threads and trimmed the clear elastic and serger thread tails from the shoulder seams. I suppose it is similar to how quilters just butt the quilt pieces right next to each other and sew continuously, chaining them together and trimming apart afterward, rather than stopping and starting for every new piecing.

I am happy with this tee. I like how the neckline is closed enough to be practical but low enough in the front so I avoid the choking feel that crewnecks sometimes give me. The slightly positive ease (1/4″) prevents it from riding up over my bust anytime I move my arms, unlike most tops with negative ease. I know some people say that it is a “waste” to make your own tees when they are cheap and plentiful in RTW, but when you are tall and pear shaped it means those RTW tees are also ill-fitting.

Unwrapping Marfy S820

Got this pattern in the mail last week:

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The first thing I do when I get a Marfy pattern is unwrap all the pieces, lay them out on the floor, and label them. When I first took out this pattern it was on a Thursday night and I ended up just folding it back into the envelope because there were a bunch of pieces that made no sense. I decided to approach it again during a weekend, when my brain is fresh and well rested.

When I laid out the pieces today I figured out that some of those weird pieces were parts of the skirt that needed to be spliced together. (Marfy does note where it needs to be spliced on the pattern pieces.) So I pressed the pieces and figured out which pieces needed to be taped together. After doing that suddenly the pattern pieces made a lot more sense!

I also discovered that the skirt pieces were HUGE. Here’s the second skirt tier pattern on my queen size bed. I drew a line in this photo to give you a rough estimation of where the grainline is marked. (The grainline also marks where the side seam would be.)

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I measured it and it is over 60″ wide. No WAY am I going to be able to cut this without adding a seam, especially since 45″ is the most common width for woven silks.

This was printed on both skirt tier pieces. I think this is Marfy speak for “if your fabric isn’t wide enough for a straight grain layout put it on the cross grain”:

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Laying the piece on the cross grain will work for the first skirt tier, but the second one is still be too wide for 45″ fabric. The only way I can see making it work is by cutting both tier pieces in half and adding a side seam. The seam will be completely parallel to the straight grain so I’m not worried about the addition of the seam making it drape oddly.

The overskirt is a simple A-line shape and has side seams, so I don’t see how the side seams of the tiers would look terribly out of place.

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I was extremely pleased to see that Marfy actually included lining pieces for the bodice! This is not always the case with them…

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The first lining pieces I showed extend to the waist. Since this dress has an asymmetrical, slightly dropped waistline there’s also lining pieces for just below the waist where the bodice attaches to the skirt.

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After holding the front lining piece up to myself I am 99% sure it will sit on the shoulder, and with the use of bra strap keepers for extra insurance I will be able to wear a regular bra with it (yay!). I wonder just how much structure this bodice needs, especially since I’m going to be using a lightweight fabric for most of the dress. Thoughts?

Here are the front and back bodice pieces. Notice how it is pleated and not gathered at the side.

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Marfy also included separate pieces for the lace overlays. I was originally thinking of having the scalloped lace edge along the inner part of the V, but now I think I’ll decorate it with self fabric flowers and petals instead.

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Overlaying the lining pieces

The pieces are tiny – I think 1/2 yard of lace will be plenty.

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Since this was an obscenely expensive pattern (around $140, including shipping) I REALLY want to make sure I don’t lose any pattern pieces. So I got out some 9″x12″ envelopes, separated out the pattern pieces by type, and put them each in a specific envelope and closed the clasp. I have one envelope for bodice lining pieces, one for the underskirt pieces, one for the lace pieces, etc. This will also make it easier when it comes time to do the muslin and figuring out the fabric requirements. I can grab only the pieces I need.

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I still have a hard time believing I spent this much money on one pattern! But when I thought about trying to draft/frankenpattern this myself and all the time and effort that would take I decided the pattern was actually a pretty good deal :). I definitely prefer to focus on fit and leave the design drafting to Marfy.

So far for materials I’ve decided on:

  • Silk double chiffon (aka silk georgette) from Dharma Trading for the fashion fabric sections (pleated front and back bodice, skirt tiers, underskirt). This is going to be a small and rather informal wedding and I’m very budget-conscious, so a lightweight and matte fabric like georgette makes more sense to me than taffeta or satin (the other two suggestions from Marfy for this pattern). Dharma has white silk georgette for less than $11/yard if you get at least 10 yards and I’ll definitely need more than that. (Sidenote: I love how Dharma posts their shrinkage test results for each fabric!)
  • Silk thread or possible the extra-fine Gutermann Mara 120 thread for the stitching. (After making my Style Arc Victoria blouse I discovered that silk georgette loves to be sewn with fine thread and a small needle.)
  • Cotton batiste for the bodice lining
  • I’m thinking of lining the underskirt with silk organza as suggested by someone in my previous post to prevent clinging, and combining that with a standalone petticoat so the skirt will have the proper shape. Usually tulle or netting is used for a petticoat, correct? I’ve never had to make one before.
  • I’ve been scouting Etsy and a bunch of online shops for lace and got in some samples from B&J. Tom may also take me to Banksville Designer Fabrics to look at lace. (I find the atmosphere of NYC very overwhelming and stressful so so I want to avoid a trip there if possible.) Since the rest of the dress will be so lightweight and floaty I want to make sure whatever lace I end up choosing isn’t too “heavy”, especially if I trim with the fabric flowers. After looking at the B&J samples I decided I don’t want anything that’s beaded/has pearls.

I would love to hear any feedback/tips you may have, especially about construction! My goal is to make a nice dress that fits well but not go too overboard agonizing about the details. (I am perfectly fine with imperfection!)