Thursday, September 28, 2017

Coverstitching Underwear

A short post today showing off my newest me-made undies, and talking a little bit about my new favorite finishing method.

No extra seam allowance

Over the years, I've made a lot of underwear and tried many patterns, but I keep coming back to my favorite, the free one from So, Zo... For everyday pieces under jeans, they can't be beat. The pattern is drafted for use with fold-over elastic (FOE). I'll be honest...I HATE FOE. Every single time I use it, it's instant regret. Inevitably, I end up stretching out my fabric and my stitching also looks sloppy and uneven. Take these two pairs, for example. Same pattern. Same fabric. Look how stretched out the bottom pair became after sewing on FOE!

I decided to try something new, and use my coverstitch with picot elastic. Normally, you would sewing picot on once, turn it under, and sew it down (scroll down for info on this technique with a coverstitch!). Since I didn't have the seam allowance for turning under (fabric was already cut) I figured I could sew the picot directly to the edge. The ladder stitching of the back of the coverstitching finished the edge on the inside of the underwear.

I LOVE this technique! It was so much faster than FOE and I had more control while sewing. I put the leg elastic in flat, sewed up the side seams, and then applied the waist elastic in the round. Having made this pattern before, I was at an advantage knowing exactly how long I wanted my elastic. In no time, I had three new pairs of undies that fit and are lovely too!

Coverstitching underwear
Contrast stitching can be fun too!

Extra seam allowance

If your pattern has been drafted with extra seam allowance, then you can still use your coverstitch machine to sew on elastic. Instead of sewing it once right on the edge, like above, follow these steps.

First, place the non-picot edge of your elastic along the edge of your fabric, right side of fabric facing right side of elastic (if your elastic has a right side, it might not). Using a zig-zag stitch on your regular machine, or your serger with the knife disabled, sew along the edge and secure the elastic to both leg openings. 

This task is much easier if you do it flat, without the side seams sewn.

Next, turn the elastic to the inside of the underwear. Try to align the fold of the fabric just beneath the picot edge.

With the underwear right side up, sew along the elastic with your coverstitch, without stretching anything.

At this point, you can either sew up one side seam (allowing you to work flat) and then repeat the process for the waist elastic, or sew up both side seams and insert the waist elastic in the round the same way. My preference is to insert the leg elastics flat and the waist in the round, but you do you!

Rebecca Page Cheeky Underwear
Rebecca Page Cheeky Underwear pattern

I love using my coverstitch in this fashion on underwear elastic! I know a coverstitch is a big investment, but I've never regretted mine. I got mine in 2014, you can read more about that here.


  1. I love making underwear. It sounds silly but I get such a thrill from it. Like "Hey I can make literally anything!" :) I am going to have to try your straight on cover stitch method to the elastic. I hate FOE too. These look great and I'm also going to have to try that So Zo pattern. I've had it for ages and never made it; though I have made many other pairs

  2. Wow, you seem to be very knowledgable about this kind of topics . seamless underwear

  3. Hey, nice post. I also use my coverstitch machine for elastic, but, when i can (when i dont use picot elastic) i use the serger first (1 needle) and then the coverstitch. Its a very clean and professional look.


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