A “How To Draft and Make 1930’s Style Circular French Knickers” post.

Just what it says on the tin: how to draft and make knickers like these.

A few weeks ago while digging in a scrap bag for a bit of fabric to trial a 1940’s bra pattern I’ve been working on (more on that later) I unearthed a very fragile and disintegrating pair of 1930’s black chiffon French Knickers …. I don’t think they’ve seen the light of day for 25 years and it’s anyone’s guess why I ever stuffed them in that bag in the first place as I usually keep study pieces in a more accessible place. However, a timely rediscovery as they’re simple to draft and make, so perfect for this ‘long time a comin’ post .

The style I’m demonstrating has a flat waist and is based on a full circle pattern and cut without any side seams. There is a left side opening finished with a straight grain continuous placket and the waist is finished with either a bias or straight grain binding. Inserting the crutch gusset is the trickiest part if you’ve never inserted a pointed piece into a slash opening .

As the style is full and fluted making them in very soft thin fabrics like silk georgette, lightest weight crêpe de chine or cotton batiste or lawn will work best.

I used a silk mousseline (satin faced chiffon) for this first green sample and the apricot fabric in the pdf pictures is a light weight c. de c.

Theres a 5 page PDF *How To* with all pattern drafting and sewing instructions.

I’ve included some helpful (I hope) pictures incase my text isn’t clear enough.

Have a read through the PDF and if you are inspired just download it and have a go.

I’d really love to know if you make a pair 🙂


About the bra in the photo above:

It’s based on an original 1940’s cotton sateen and lace bra I have in my collection. The pattern turned out well and the sample bra fits my house-model daughter perfectly but I’m now having it graded from a 32B to different sizes.

After I’ve made more samples to test sizes I’ll be doing a give-away of a few copies of the finished pattern.

A matching knicker pattern is in the works too.

So stay tuned!

Pink original 1940

If you enjoyed this post make my day & let me know!

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  2. I am so surprised to see this pattern share; didn’t think I’d ever find one. Bless you for being so kind, Ms. VV.



    • You are very welcome… I hope it works well for you. Just remember a very soft fabric is key to success or you will end up with a skaters skirt!

    • Thank you!
      And you’ll certainly be able to make georgette ones just like in the link with my pattern…. just drop me a note if you have any questions about making them

  3. Hi there, I love this! Just clicked on the ‘how to’ link on both the bottoms and bra, but unfortunately the page can not be found on either, any help with this? Many thanks 🙂

    • Hi Lindsay, link fixed now, thanks for bringing it to my attention. It was still working on the free-stuff page at least so hope you already found that.
      There is no bra tutorial however, it is just for the circular knickers. The bra is a pattern I have for sale.

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      • Hi Nelly, there was a small issue with how I said to draft the waist measurement and I never seem to have a spare minute these days to fix the instructions. It will be back very soon, and I know I’ve been saying that for a while…but it’s really looking like I have some free time this weekend to redo it so do check back next week.

        • Thank you for fixing the waist drafting instructions and putting these back up! I am looking forward to making a pair SO much!

  5. My 83 year old Mum wants some French Knickers the loose type similar to your 30s style but they can’t be found for love or money, any ideas please? I can’t sew anything this complex.

    • Hi Kat, do you have a friend or a local dressmaker who sews who could help perhaps? Someone used to sewing could make these in a very short time. I’m awfully sorry but no other solution comes to mind that I can suggest.

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  8. Both the bra and the french knickers are lovely pieces of classic lingerie. Would that we could return to the days when romance and elegance were valued as much as utility. The younger generation simply don’t understand that more is less from an erotic perspective. These demuere garments are far sexier than the minimalist styles of today, although there are occasional revivals of traditional styles among the younger designers. I have employed vintage patterns, such as those found on ebay, to make my own lingerie for years, including 1930s and 40s era tap panties, cuff-leg briefs, and bloomers. Making my own pieces allows me to indulge my preference for feminine detailing, including lace, ribbons, and bows. My husband appreciates them too.

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  11. I have at long last made a pair of these this afternoon and I am quite pleased with them.I just have to find some poppers and then they are finished.
    If you don’t mind I shall post about them on my blog with reference to yourself of course and without any pictures of patterns etc. If you object please let me know.
    I hope you will approve of my efforts!!

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  13. ‘You are very welcome’ to all the thank yous …

    and a BIG ‘thank you and welcome aboard’ to my many new subscribers 🙂

    2 weeks ETA on the bra pattern and tutorial (considering my current costume work load) but I am getting there!

  14. You made my day! I really mean it, I’ve been thinking of making a pair of 30’s undies, but I haven’t really workt out how to draft them…These are just lovely! Now I can start emediatly! Thank you so so much!!!

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  16. The knickers are beautiful and it’s great that you’re sharing the pattern, thanks, however I never wear this style so won’t be making them. The bra is gorgeous and I’m looking forward to hearing more about that, plus will be looking out for the giveaway! I’ve drafted bra patterns before, but never gotten past the toile stage.

  17. These are lovely! I’ve been dreaming about making floaty, flirty tap pants, and I love the look of these knickers! I suspect bra-making is a bit too advanced for me, but I think I can handle the bottom half 🙂 Thank you!

  18. This is fantastic! I’ve been meaning to make at least one pair of knickers for the fall, and I love how full and swingy these are! Printing off the directions now and hoping perhaps I can tackle these soon! Thank you so much for sharing. 🙂 The bra looks fantastic too–can’t wait to see more details about that!