Undergarment TNTs!

Hi Sewcialists! Gillian here, to talk about the TNTs that go under everything else!

Ask anyone who sews underwear, lingerie, bras or other underpinnings, and I bet they rely on TNTs. Using the same pattern over and over makes a lot of sense when you either need to focus on fit (as in bramaking) or sewing multiples (as with underwear)!

Today I’m going to walk you through a few of my own TNTs, link to resources online, and perhaps convince you to sew some undergarments this November!


I first got into bra-making in 2015, when I took a weekend course with the Fairy BraMother, and I haven’t bought a RTW bra since! Bra-making is not as hard as it sounds (it’s just a bunch of straight seams!) but the real magic is in tweaking a pattern to get your perfect fit. It usually takes me 3 or 4 goes to get a pattern to fit, and that is a big investment in time and materials. Once I get a pattern to fit, I definitely want to reuse it again and again!

If you are interested in bra-making, there are a huge amount of resources now online!

  • We hosted a Lingerie Month here on the Sewcialists in summer 2015, and the posts are still really popular!
  • I also hosted Lingerie Month on the Curvy Sewing Collective in 2016, which has particularly great resources for folks with larger busts!
  • The Fairy Bra-Mother has three classes on Craftsy now, and I know lots of people who have successfully started sewing bras just from those courses!
  • I’ve got a bramaking section on my blog, if you want to read more about my attempts to find a TNT, and how I eventually had a custom pattern drafted!


This summer, I decided to try making bralettes as a comfy casual option. There are lots of bralette patterns out there, particularly if you are a D-cup or smaller. If, like me, you are larger, you might have to do some adjustments and chose your fabrics and notions wisely.

If you are looking for patterns, try Ohhh Lulu, Madalynne, Jalie, or Pin-Up Girls!


If making bras seems a bit overwhelming, may I suggest underwear as a super simple alternative? I made all these pairs with a TNT pattern for the Sewcialists Scraptember in 2014, and ever single pair is still in regular rotation and looking great! I experimented with 3 or 4 patterns before I found the fit I wanted, but from there, the sewing part is easy!

I did a round-up for the Curvy Sewing Collective of patterns that fit a bootie 45″ or larger. If you are smaller than that size, there are tons of options out there, from sassy thongs, to hipster panties and high-waisted retro styles. There are tons of pattern round-ups out there, like Maker.Style’s “5 Free Undie Patterns” or Tailor Made Blog’s 50 Pantie Patterns to Get You Started Sewing Underwear!


Now here’s another simple project that often goes under clothing: leggings! I honestly wear leggings about half the days in a year — short versions to prevent chaffing under dresses in summer, and long leggings to keep warm in spring, winter and fall! I fell in love with the first legging pattern I ever made and I’ve been sewing them for 4 years since. I bet I have made 30 or more pairs over the years! Here’s my most recent pair where I talk about why I love my TNT!

Leggings are a super-simple project that can be sewn on a normal sewing machine with a zigzag or a serger if you have one. There are tons of patterns out there now, from Big 4 to Indie. Once you find one you like, you can start playing around with fabric — I’ve made mine in cotton lycra, rayon, bamboo, sweater knit, ponte, scuba, jegging and even in super-stretch twill!

other options.jpg

Today I’ve rounded up my own personal TNTs, but there are of course other kinds of undergarment you might like to make!

Do you have any undergarment TNT patterns? Please link to the in the comments if you do. If you don’t, does the idea of sewing TNT underthings interest you?

22 thoughts on “Undergarment TNTs!

  1. I love the GreenStyle Creations Endurance bra ( http://bit.ly/2h7J6yQ ). I have large breasts and small band so the elastic at the band and the zip (or KAM snap) front is a great way to get a good fit. I use cut n sew foam (as per the pattern) when I want a supportive bra but I’ve also omitted the foam for bralettes. That pattern is the best of both worlds!

  2. What a fab post. Sewing your underwear would be so freeing and give so many possibilities for colours that you just don’t get in RTW. I would love to sew some undies and recently found this blog post about drafting your own (http://www.timelace-studio.com/how-to-draft-a-basic-panty-pattern/ ) that i am going to give a go. There are some excellent resources on the Foundations Revolved website about drafting your own bra patterns. I would love a bullet bra but have enough problems getting normal RTW wear ones in my size. One of these days I might just give it a go. Thank you for the links. I am off to give them all a read Xx

  3. Thanks for mentioning the unmentionables! How about a leggings sew along? Anyone else interested? (I’ve been dying to make some, but I fear sewing any and all knits… Soooo, I bravely ordered an EXPRESSO LEGGINGS pattern…) Can we sew your TNT along with you Gillian?

    1. MAKE LEGGINGS!!!! You are going to love it. Literally, it’s two identical pieces, then you sew the leg seam, and them you sew them together, and ta-da! You can try them on! Slap some elastic in, and you are all done. (I never hemmed leggings until I got a coverstitch – no need, I think!)

  4. Jalie 3242 is my absolutely favourite, because it has so many styles and sizes, from infant to adult. The men’s trunks are also very similar to the Comox, with the added benefit of having no back seam.

    1. Jalie is pretty amazing! I get excited for their new patterns every year, because when they do something right, it’s just perfect!

  5. Underthings are the perfect candidate for TNTs! I don’t feel that I’d need to be super creative with those, since I know the styles I like and wouldn’t want to spend a lot of time on them. I do like the Espresso leggings, and have a couple of undies patterns to try out. Bras, I’m not so sure. I found the nursing bras that I made earlier this year to be a little fiddly. I also prefer the foam cup bras for wearing under knits, and those look harder to sew. (Plus all of the underwires fell out of the bras I bought last year before I outgrew them with the latest pregnancy, so I literally don’t have any to wear when I’m done nursing!)

    1. Hey Becky. I’ve been sewing my own bras for a few years and this weekend I sewed my very first foam bra. I actually sewed two of them because they were just so much fun. It’s weird, but I actually find them easier to make than ones without foam. I think, in part, because once you get the fit of your foam bra right, you can use any fabric over top and the fit will still be spot on.

      1. I was always scared of foam too… them i used it in bralettes this summer, and though – oh, is that it? Super easy. I think leggings and undies are much for reliable, fast projects… it’s all to easy to put a lot of time into a bra and not have it work out!

  6. Okay….this is gonna sound weird but….I LOVE your underwear. So colourful and happy. You know…I’ve made one lone pair of underwear. I know. They sewed up beautifully and I can’t understand why I don’t have a drawer full. Maybe this is my time.

    I have, however, been sewing bras. I just finished two this weekend. Yep…new to me pattern…and oh the tweaking involved to get the right fit. Definitely TNTs, bras are!

    Off to check out your links…as well as the ones in the comments.

    1. Two bras in a weekend is a real accomplishment! I know I need to sew more, but the motivation just isn’t there… 😛

  7. I’ve had a go at making a bra and knickers but haven’t had great success yet, so I’m definitely searching for the right pattern to become a TNT. The panties class on Craftsy has instructions to draft your own, so I think I might try that next. Also, sourcing decent elastic can sometimes be tricky. When I find some I love I’ll be buying a reel!

    1. I like to get elastic (1” FOE) from diapersewingsupplies dot com. I also purchase clear elastic from there. Check to see if that site is an option for you.

  8. I’ve been making Bunzies from Stitch Upon A Time for over a year now and I LOVE them! You can use either elastic or bands on them. I never thought I’d like bands on panties but I really do. They sit flat and there is almost no panty line from them. And did I mention comfort???? The pattern includes sizes XXS to 4X so something for everyone and low or high waist. For everyday casual underwear I don’t think these can be beat. I also have the Craftsy class from Beverly Johnson and have made some using her drafting technique. They are nice too and I have a few pairs to wear when I get dressed up but the elastic just isn’t as comfortable for me since I’ve discovered the bands. Both patterns are certainly TNT’s for me.

    1. I”m glad to hear that! I tried an underwear pattern with fabric bands one and HATED it – they are literally my “I’m on my period and feel like crap” underwear. I know other people love them though, so i keep meaning to go back and try again to see if I’ll be happier with a different size!

      1. The trick with the bands is to make them out of really stretchy fabric so they don’t bag out of shape. When I make a cotton spandex pair I use that really stretchy wicking fabric for the bands. It’s quite stable and has really good stretch and recovery. I’ve made a few sets in leftovers of rayon spandex that I used for tops and they are really comfortable and the bands do well. I’m a lot older than you (64) and am at the age where comfort comes first before sexy so the banded underwear are right up my ally. :0). Sexy they are not but comfortable they sure are.

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