Tricks to Sewing Men's Underwear

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Underwear gives comfort and ease of movement.
Underwear gives comfort and ease of movement. (Image: Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images)

Men’s underwear is usually the last item of clothing a man thinks about, and the first one he puts on in the morning. The two general styles of underwear, boxers and briefs, have several subcategories within each style including boxer briefs, bikini briefs, men’s thongs and jock straps. Men have come a long way from the days of long-johns with a drop seat. The materials range from jersey knit to cotton, and polyester to silk. There are several tricks however, to ensuring a proper fit and comfort when sewing men’s underwear.

Selecting the Style

Many men retain a fondness for the traditional “tidy whitey” briefs that they wore throughout their childhood. While these briefs may come in different colors and materials, they are essentially made of a jersey or other knit material, are short, and the hem cuts at the bend of the hip. Boxers are looser and flow down the leg without the binding elastic at the hem. Sometimes, though, these types of boxers have the reputation of being "grandpa underwear," and are not considered cool to a younger or "hip" man. A compromise is available with a boxer-style brief, with a longer length made of stretchy jersey or T-shirt knit for comfort.

Selecting the Fabric

Making men’s underwear is not difficult, but the materials you select should consider a man's sensitivity or allergy to polyester, acrylics, wool, silk or even cotton. Some men are more comfortable in a traditional T-shirt style jersey knit, while others like more exotic materials like silk or satin.

Make Room for Legholes

Boxers can be tailored for a more comfortable fit. One way to ensure that the underwear you sew fits perfectly is to take a cut a pair of the man’s favorite boxers (or briefs) along the seams to create a pattern template. Account for the cod-piece, the front extra material that encases a man’s privates, with enough room to be comfortable. Trace each piece of the underwear onto some sturdy paper – freezer paper or white newsprint – so you have the pattern template. You may use this to make several pairs of underwear. The leg openings and the waist should have some give in them, so they do not constrict the man’s movements or cut off circulation to his legs.

Sew it Zigzag

After you pin all the pieces in place, sew the leg openings' hems. Turn it up about 1/2 inch and use a zig-zag stitch for some give and elasticity. Attach the cod-piece in the center front, and allow enough room. Create a casing for the top elastic all around the top edge, at least 1/2 inch wider than the elastic, and 2 inches wider than the waist, so it takes up slack, when threaded through.

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