“Granny-pannies” or when french knickers just won’t do.

1950's style viscose and nylon lace

Spent yesterday trying to drown my head-cold in Beechams Cold & Flu blackcurrant (tastes like medicinal Kool-Aid yummmm) and ignoring how vile I felt by trying out 3 new knicker drafts Ive been developing based on the bottom half of the Dorothy Lamour inspired swimsuit pattern I made this last summer … success! and 4 new pairs of “granny-pannies”; three pairs in a lovely soft pink viscose jersey and daisy lace from Ditto fabrics (they don’t sponsor me – it’s just a great fabric shop close to home) and one in a stretch silk satin from my stash.

I think high-waisted 1950’s style pants are great for occasions where French knickers are too airy …

Stretch silk satin

And yes, I totally agree that it would have been nice if I’d changed the bobbin to pink…

so the zig-zag stitching on the inside was less visible. But I get so fired up and eager to get a new thing finished that sometimes I’ll ignore those little details even though later I will be very annoyed about it. Do you do that too when in the throes of great creativity?

By the time I made the 3 pairs of pale pink ones I’d calmed down enough to change bobbins and match thread 🙂

Trying a 3rd pattern version out in a non stretch silk georgette later today…. and no, really I haven’t forgotten about my bra pattern I said I’d get up as a give-away!

Unfortunately I left all those patterns behind at the costume studio last thursday and haven’t been back so I couldn’t do any further work on it this weekend.

Silly me.

However last month I tried out this original 1940’s bra pattern I’d bought from Wearing History Patterns – it made up nicely but was just too big for me (I’d estimate it as a 34 large C/D cup) so I gave it to a (happy) friend whom it does fit.

Still intending to make the needed pattern alterations for myself  though as it’s a bra shape that would look good with my big pants.

I’m so pleased with this pants making project … retro style pants I’ve bought in shops are never quite high enough in the waist for my liking and the leg elastic always pinches.

Almost has made having a cold feel worthwhile…almost.

Anyway I’m convinced making your own underwear is the way to go.

Bra pattern from Wearing History Patterns

21 thoughts on ““Granny-pannies” or when french knickers just won’t do.

  1. I really love this simple but elegant pattern. Its nice to wear pants that are comfortable but also attractive. I used this pattern to create a lining for my running shorts and have written about it on my blog. Thank you VeraVenus for your kindness and stylishness. Also nice to hear from the Grannies above!

  2. I made a pair of from your “grannie pannie” pattern and they are soooo comfortable! My stitching is terrible, so I will be forced to make several other pairs to perfect it 😉 I used a tan coloured rayon knit with a black picot trim elastic. I love the high waist as they don’t create more bulges than I own. Instead they smooth things out. Great foundation garment! Will try these with a 4 way stretch lycra knit fabric soon too to make a kind of “shape wear”! Thank you so much!

    1. Yay, glad the pattern worked well for you! Thanx for letting me know.
      Yours are the same reasons they are my favourite underpants too… I have about 10pairs now. One pair is made in a medium weight power-mesh (crotch piece in cotton jersey) with a wide elastic waistband and I can say yes, it makes very good shape-wear 🙂

  3. OK, I use a combination of techniques for making my “underpinnings”! In my 30’s we lived very near a top of the line bra, girdle, slip etc manufacturing company (now long gone), So, I could buy samples, and end runs of fabric and findings.
    Moving from there, I began by cutting in half a bra that really fit well and taking it apart piece by piece and lining up the steps — leaving the other half “whole.” As my body changed over the years I drafted new sections or started from scratch using Ann Person’s Stretch & Sew Tank Suit F282 for shaping the shell for my swimsuits; body suits, jersey body suits with sleeves and stylish necklines to go with A line skirts and slacks and one piece foundations.

    OK, 50 years later…why not go and buy? I like bright underpinnings; and rarely wear white under anything. Fit is lousy…a D cup is still cut low and narrow at the arm pit and all companies assume your hips are much bigger than your bust…not mine. I also like close body fit and don’t wear nylon and the commercial laces are itchy. My husband of 61 years enjoys seeing me dress and …What better way to keep an 88 year old man happy?

    PS: I save my old T’s and Turtle necks for experimenting. If I mess up…they still make good cleaning cloths — even for small areas.

    1. Very interesting to hear how you got started and have gone about getting undies made. Thank you for coming back to tell. I definitely agree that taking something like a bra apart and replicating it is a great way to learn about construction. We also share a liking for colourful lingerie then ! 🙂

  4. Ah, “my” vintage! Love seeing the return of the real thing!! I’ve been stitching my underpinnings for years and will keep going for the next 18 = my 100th Birthday!!

    1. That’s inspirational to hear modgrannie! My mum will be 83 in a few months and she still sews. I hope I will be sewing well into my 80s/90s too.
      By the way, do you use commercial lingerie patterns or do you draft your own?

  5. I never liked the term “granny panties” for its negative connotations. It probably started with some wiseacre young person without any sense of historical perspective or sense of romance. Women of all ages wore high-waisted briefs, tap panties, step-ins, and bloomers in earlier decades. Those were the styles. After all, Mayiylm Monroe wore high-waisted briefs, Ginger Rogers and Carole Lombard wore side-button step-ins (or tap pants), and they looked fabulous in them. It’s not the style by itself, but how and by whom they are warn that is more significant. The trend in panties has been for them to get progessively smaller until they consisted of nothing but butt floss. But that trend needs to get reversed and you, Vera, are doing your part to get us to appreciate the more demeuere and feminine, and far sexier, underthings of yesteryear.

  6. ooooooh, yes please to a granny pannies pattern! the ones I buy are either uncomfortable or tight at the bottoms, and end up giving me an un-lovely ‘double bum’ look, not good for those tighter sailor trousers when good clean lines are in order!!!

  7. Hi Vera,
    I really like your pink with lace version. They look very comfortable like I’d wear them everyday. This weekend I hope to try your circular knicker tutorial. I’ll send pics when I’m done.

  8. I made a bra from that pattern, and it doesnt look even close to as clean cut and nice as yours. I tried to put inter faceing in the middle but it flopped. Do you have any tips on how to make it stiffer- but not too stiff? Yours looks great! and I love the color.

    1. Hi Olivia and thank you 🙂

      First thing I did was to cut the base of the bra double fabric but kept the cups single. I used self fabric there but you could use a thin but crisp cotton, like a shirt weight poplin or cotton sateen for the inside layer. I wouldn’t use an iron-on interfacing here. Just a double layer of fabric helps make it that bit firmer. And then just carry on and bind both layers together as an edge finish. The binding and rows of stitching all add to the structure.

      The other thing I did which really helped was to put a bit of very light nylon boning in each side.. I did that by making a casing out of my pink fabric, slipping the bone inside and sewing the top and bottom closed and then hand stitching the encased bones on the inside of the bra in the side seam area.

      I may get back to that bra pattern tomorrow as I still intend to make the cups fit me. While I’m sewing it I’ll take a few pics and make a mini-tute…. it is a nice pattern but the instructions are pretty basic!

  9. These are so cute! I love the coral satin version. Can’t believe you made the top ones – at first glance I thought they were a vintage pair you were going to copy! The lace with the pale pink fabric is perfect.

  10. wow do you know what I want for christmas? a “how to” on these hot grannies! It is impossible to buy high waisted in Denmark – they just don’t exist here;)

    1. Patterns for a couple of styles like these with a “how-to” are currently in the works!

      Fingers crossed they will be ready for release by Christmas! 🙂

  11. I love these knickers! I have not had the chance to try out your other knicker pattern yet but now that everyone is back at Uni I have regained use of the table so shall give it a bash along with this pattern.If they are successful I shall let you know.These knickers are just so pretty I just have to have a go!
    I definitely get carried away and don’t think of the finer details!!

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