Can You Make Knickers With Love

No. Of course you can't. It takes years of experience to be able to make a pair of pants.


I've been sewing since I was 13, before that if you count sewing tiny barbie dresses (I'd usually stitch the barbie into them, being too lazy at 8 years old to do a buttonhole). But proffessionally, at the local dressmakers since I was 13.


Bonus for my boss, who chain smoked the entire time I was there, I was too young to be paid. Bonus for me- I could alter a pattern and overlock a 15mm seam allowance, by eye, at 15 years old.


I was good at fitting- so when it came to fitting 150 mini green crushvelvet leotards for the 'National' (irish), at the local dance school's bi annual showcase, there I was, pinning tiny adjustments into little seams. Gradually working out how not to stab the little divas.


The ambition of that production certainly had a lasting effect on me. We made three part russian tutus for the three act ballet (not a stretch panel in sight), and 10 pairs of chiffon pantaloons for the 7 year old 'genies'. Looking back, I couldn't be more grateful that I gave up my weekends to be part of it. What I learnt about movement and support, when to gather, when to cut on the circle, has been invaluable, it's my arsenal when faced with a 34G 'light and delicate' slip.


You need determination.


The overlocking machine is unthreading itself, ALL THE TIME. Depending on the temperature and humidity in the studio, the tensions need to be adjusted. Oh, and the elastic you bought last time is out of stock, so you need to adjust everything for the new one. 'I've lost weight' since you measured me for that bra, I think. Fine, make a new one, send it out, hope Royal Mail deliver. Every time you unpick a seam to get it just right, that's a shaving of your margin.


But there's nothing better, than a stack of knickers ready to send out; the same but also a tiny bit different, because they were made by a human, like every knicker ever worn (except those 3D knitted ones).


Slowly but surely you get a bit more experienced, more consistent, incrementally quicker. The memories sinking into your body til you stop thinking and just make.


It takes Money.

You can't make knickers out of love and you can't make them out of air either. Not good ones anyway. I suppose you could make a sort of idea of a knicker, and sometimes I feel like that's what certain people are doing.


But a really good pair has to be made of quality materials. Which means the people growing and picking and carding and spinning and dyeing and knitting and inspecting and packing and transporting that lovely soft jersey are going to need a bit more than love as well.


For most people money is the symbol of their access to resources. For about 1 per cent of people, it's what they use to bathe with. If you love someone, you don't want them to slog their guts out just to live in a barracks and eat rice.  


So No. No matter how much I love making knickers, it's never going to be enough. I've got the experience, the determination, and, thanks to this club, the money. I'll leave you members in charge of the knicker love.