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.


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

Simplicity Vintage Patterns – For Your Body Shape

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Rectangular, Pear, hourglass, small bust.

If you are planning to visit Goodwood Revival or the Tinwood Festival, this dress will be perfect. You will step right into the 1940s.

The front panel and gathering hides a rounded tummy.

If you are curvy, this will enhance your shape, great for those with a smaller bust.

The Y shape balances pear shapes, and gives an overall slimming illusion.

Best in crepe or a polyester with a bit of a drape to make the most of this style.


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Hourglass, Pear Shape, Triangle

I love this 1950 vintage style dress it is such a flattering style especially for summer. I really like that there are two models on the front of this pattern, the one on the right looks much closer to my body shape.

It will flatter hour glass, and pear shapes as it enhances the waist.

Also inverted triangles, (wider shoulders narrow hips) as the gathering in the skirt balances out the hips.

The bust panel enhances can help if you are smaller busted.

This would be a lovely dress to dance in, as the skirt will billow out when you spin.

If you wish, team it with a net petticoat to give the skirt added volume.

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 Hourglass, Rectangle 

This pattern is for Mad Men fans! Classic 1960s style – make it in a lovely wool crepe with a chiffon blouse – it will be perfect for a summer wedding. This pattern offers great value as you get a jacket, blouse and skirt.

Hourglass figures look amazing in pencil skirts, the waistband enhances the waist. Cut the jacket at the waist rather than the hip it will be a more flattering line.

click for simplicity site

click for simplicity site


 Pear,  Diamond, Triangle, Hourglass, Rectangle

With its high empire line bodice and A line skirt, this is a very flattering dress style to suit all body shapes.

If you are pear shaped using a darker lower half will enhance the smaller top half.

Reverse for Triangular shapes with a darker colour on top and light skirt – creating balance.

Great in cotton which will give the dress a little structure.

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Diamond (O), Pear, Rectangle.

This dress uses a central panel creating a slimming effect. Great for those who are Diamond or O or pear or Triangle shapes.

The coat is very on trend at the moment, especially if you use a light weight linen for summer. O, Pear and Diamond shapes will look great in this style of coat.

If you are full busted beware it will affect the line and add volume.  If you are hourglass your waistline will be lost.

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click to visit site

Pear Shape, Small Busted, Petite, Rectangle,

Boho chic 70’s is trending everywhere

This is an ideal top for those with a smaller bust, as the fullness and gathering round the cups offer a little enhancement.

Great for those who are pear shaped, add a long A line skirt to create a lovely balanced dress.

The peplum will help add curves to rectangular body shapes – with the emphasis on the wide waist band – creates a ‘defined’ waist.

Perfect for cottons, chiffon, polyester or crepe

You could take the Style A and add a longer skirt and matching panties to create a lovely retro swimsuit right out of the 1940s.