I'm going to gross someone out here, aren't I?
How to make an evening bag from the unused contents of your lingerie drawer...
- a pair of knickers (panties, briefs)
- a piece of matching, solid cloth, approximately the same size as the knickers
- half a metre of 1cm wide ribbon
- 2 bra underwires (you can buy these in haberdasheries if you don't want to dismantle a bra)
- half a metre of thick elastic thread
- small safety pin
This is not a good project to get rid of those grey-ing knickers that really ought to be replaced. And there's no way it's going to work with a thong...
It is, however, an ideal way of using pretty knickers bought by you or your partner in an optimistic moment of sexy lingerie that now languish at the back of the drawer. Shortie knickers with flimsy gussets work best: the longer the leg, the deeper the bag that can be made.
Here's what to do:
Turn the knickers inside-out, cut off any labels. Match up the top edges (this will make the bottom edges sit a little out of shape), pin the front and back together just above the gusset.
Cut a straight line across the bottom from one side of the knickers to the other. The cut should retain the full length at the sides and remove the gusset completely.
Sew this line, leaving 0.5cm seam allowance. This needs to be a strong seam: if using a machine sew the seam twice, if by hand use very short stitches. If the fabric will fray or is very delicate, zigzag or blanket stitch the edges.
Cut the lining to size. The lining gives the bag its strength so it needs to be made from a solid fabric. I used a piece cut from a tshirt which matched perfectly but the stretchiness can mean the bag gets pulled out of shape. A canvas or upholstery cotton might work better.
You need two rectangle shapes (or a larger one folded in half): width, the measurement across the top edge of the knickers plus 1cm seam allowance: length, the measurement from the top edge of the knickers to your new seam plus 3cm for the elastic channel.
Sew one side of the lining, leaving a 0.5cm seam allowance (these seam allowances are small because otherwise they will show. You can always cut bigger and trim after sewing). If the material will fray, zigzag or blanket stitch the edge.
Turn the top edge over and then over again to create the channel for the elastic. The turnover should be on the 'wrong' side: the same side as the seam. Sew along the bottom of the channel. If you use fabric from old clothing like I did, save yourself a job by using the existing hem turnover as the channel.
Sew the bottom of the lining and three quarters up the other side. If the material will fray, zigzag or blanket stitch the edge.
Turn the knickers the right way out and insert the lining, 'wrong' side to 'wrong' side. Turn over the top edge of the knickers and pin to the top edge of the channel on the lining. Sew along this edge. You may find it easier to handsew this seam.
Leave a cm or so not sewn on either side of the unfinished lining seam.
Measure the length between the points of a bra underwire. Cut the elastic twice this length plus 6cm. Attach a safety pin to one end and then push it through the channel.
Once it's through, knot the ends tightly leaving about 1cm of tail on each end and distribute the gathers evenly. Tuck the elastic in and handsew the final piece of lining together and to the top edge of the knickers.
At this point, the knickers will be wider at the bottom than the lining. Push your finger into the bottom corner of the lining and meet it with the same bottom corner of the knickers. Pin and make a small stitch attaching these together. Do the same with the other corner, then distribute the gathers evenly.
Cut the ribbon into two equal pieces and fold each piece it in half lengthwise and pin together. Sew the edges together. I found this much easier to do by hand than by machine. Feed the underwires through the tube you have made (the ribbon will twist a little) and sew the tube shut leaving a tail of about 2cm at each end. Trim off any frayed ends.
Position the underwires centrally on each side. Fold the tails of the ribbon in half and pin to the lining so that the end of the tail is undermost, next to the lining. Don't try and sew the underwire 'handles' to the knickers, it will put too much strain on the delicate fabric. Sew all the way round the ribbon tail, firmly attaching the handles to the bag.
There, you're done. Go out and let your knickers have some fun :)