Thursday, January 24, 2013

Vintage French-back boxers

A proper sized head is on the way for my SD male body, so I got inspired to pick up the boxer pattern again.

I bought a rather beat-up but intact 1945 Simplicity sewing pattern for boxers. After scaling it down, then up, then down, then finally arriving at a reasonable draft, I set out to make a pair "for real".

I had intended to list this pair on my Etsy store (The Educated Flea: see side bar) but this is a time-consuming pattern. Like, 2 hours for cutting and assembly, not including buttonholes and buttons! So I would have to charge between 20 and 30 dollars just from the time involved. And I think that is a bit steep for a pair of doll underpants.

But they are COOL

I do have some problems still to solve with the pattern: It is not left/right symmetrical. You can see this a little bit in the photo. The left and right waistband are not the same length (this is supposed to happen): the difference is made up by cutting off the left hand side of the waistband. Somehow, in combination with my 1/4" seam allowance, means that the right side of the boxers is too long. So I suppose the way to solve this next time is to NOT cut off the left hand side short.

I also had to change the order of sewing quite a bit to get the boxers assembled without a lot of swearing.

I used pima cotton batiste and 1/4" buttons for this. If the pattern draft had been any smaller, the buttonholes would never have fit. As it is, I had to pick out and re-do two buttonholes.

You can see in the front picture that the buttons are very close together. I really like the three-button front, but I might change subsequent versions to 2 buttons. The buttons are right next to each other, adding to the difficulty already built into such small buttons.

The back should have had two button holes in each side of the waist band back extensions, but there is just not room at this scale for two. These buttonholes were made with the automatic buttonholer for my Singer Featherweight. They are 5/16", the smallest cam I have.

The next version will be in striped fabric, like the version on the original pattern's cover.


  1. Fabulous! I adore them and my boys would too.


  2. Those are NICE! I like the ones with the striped material.

  3. Thanks, Teddy (do I remember you from H-cost?) and oddball. The more I think about these, the more I'm itching to try them in different fabrics. I used a scrap of typing paper as tear-away stabilizer when putting the buttonholes in the back waist extensions: the extensions were just about the same width as the opening in my buttonholer!