A vested interest -grey to glorious cosy underwear

It is cold, blustery and wintery, being a chilly morsel I am reluctant to turn the heating up too much out of respect not just to my purse but the planet. I am not a fan of jumpers – they seem to make me into a blob with mono boob!

I wear dresses mostly, some of them are cotton so I need a little extra warmth. These little vests might be a little old fashioned, but they are so delightfully warm without bulk and slip easily under a dress. Pretty they aren’t!

Grey lace top

Revamp, top, sewing, lace, insert

I like to wear pretty things especially underwear but these scream out old lady! bear with me, this can be beautiful with a few little tweaks.

Remove old elastic

recycle, upcycle, revamp

Cut off the knicker elastic edging – it is a good time to consider lowering your neckline if you don’t want the vest to be seen. If you aren’t sure try it on under one of your dresses and mark where you want the finished edge to be.

Adding lace panel

adding lace, replacement, upcycling.

There are so many beautiful little lace panels available – this pretty little design was relatively inexpensive – and it is beautiful!

Marking lace edging

use a marker pen to indicate where the lace panel will be.

Mark your positioning with an erasable pen, or tailors chalk. Check to see the lace is balanced and central.

stretch needles

Always use stretch needles when working with knits.

You can get lovely stretch lace from eBay or your local fabric store, I bought this on eBay for about £2.99 per metre, the rickrack  looks like little hearts to me. You will also need stretch needles, these are rounded so that they push between the threads rather than breaking them. Ordinary cotton thread is perfect.

The stretch zigzag allows the item some movement when sewn.

The stretch zigzag allows the item some movement when sewn.

Set your sewing machine stitch to a stretch zig zag  – it looks like a broken zigzag, this allows the stitches to stretch with the elastic. You can see what the stitch looks like on my machine.

Attach the elastic edging around the neckline right side of the vest to the wrong side of the elastic. The decorative edge should be on the outer edge and the flat edge of the elastic should be lined up with the neckline.

with the decorative edge pointing away from the neckline.

with the decorative edge pointing away from the neckline.

Set the zigzag stitch width to cover  the elastic, but leave the ricrac edge free. Stitch between the two marked points, while slightly stretching the elastic lace.

Turn the elasticated edge under and top sttich.

Turn the elasticated edge under and top sttich.

Turn the elastic under and top stitch around the neckline using a 3.5 stitch length once again stopping at the marked points.

cut to the zigzag edge of the lace.

cut to the zigzag edge of the lace.

Lay the decorative lace in place and using a narrow stretch zigzag follow the lower edge of the lace attaching it to the vest.

Trim away the vest to the zigzag edging and then you are done!

with new lace edging

with new lace edging

Your pretty lace detail can peek from your neckline, no-one would guess you are wearing a vest!

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French knickers



satin and silk french knickers
I have been experimenting with French Knicker patterns. There are a number of them available on ebay but I can recommend the Vintage pattern company. 

Vintage pattern instructions

The instructions are very clear, and the pattern is a good quality copy and far more robust than an original pattern.

Vintage pattern copy

You can see from the little circles that the pattern was from the 1940’s these circles indicate where the pattern pieces should meet. Darts, grain line markings all came later and give us much more details than early vintage patterns.

Cut on the bias

The important thing to remember when making lingerie is to cut on the bias, which is 45 degrees from the selvage edge. It is what will make your lingerie cling to you.

light weight fabrics

These were an early experiment and they are cut on the grain, when I wear these it feels as if I am wearing shorts!  French knickers are really just fancy shorts! You can use any short pattern as it is the fabric you use that makes it lingerie rather than outer wear.

The Vintage pattern creates a skirt that you cut along the front and attach a gusset

cut on the bias

Which is far more flattering than shorts and they flow around the body better than short patterns do.


06-DSC00695

I love the idea of buttons up the sides, but for my initial practise garments I decided to use an elasticated waistband, its kinder to wear as my tummy size alters quite a bit during the course of the day.

Zig Zag Stitch for attaching elastic

Attaching elastic is relatively easy, you have to select a broken zig zag stitch on your sewing machine, the gaps allow the elastic to move. An elasticated needle is essential as it is blunt it finds a way between the elastic threads rather than piercing them.

attaching elastic

I firstly stitch the decorative knicker elastic along the top edge with the frill facing downwards and the right side of my fabric facing. Stretching the elastic slightly as I sew along the waistline.

Top stitching elastic

Once attached I turn the edge over and top stitch – it makes the most of the decorative edging.

Adding lace trimming

Lace trim is easy to add to the bottom edges, simply stitch along the middle of the lace and then re-stitch following the contours of the lace.

French Knickers vintage patternIt is difficult to photograph these – and while they look enormous, when you wear them it is similar to wearing a miniskirt! It looks beautiful – no more muffin tops and elastic cutting into the top of my legs causing bulges! It simply skims my body, flows and caresses my skin with no chafing! No panty lines!

Edge lace enhancement

Try them yourself, using different luxurious fabrics, bows and trims. Once you wear these you will never go back to shop bought briefs!

ttfn x