Pattern Review: Bare Essentials Briefs

I purchased the book Bare Essentials: Underwear by Jennifer Lynne Matthews-Fairbanks a few weeks ago because I was interested in the section on pattern drafting and grading.  The surprise bonus is how much I love the traceable brief included in the beginner’s section.  It’s really comfy!

Sizes included: XS – XL with hip sizes from 32 – 51 in or 81 – 131 cm.

Size I used: XS. My hip measurement is 35″ which according to the chart is an XS (barely).  They fit just how I like them: snug but not tight.

Construction: Super simple.  These briefs have an enclosed gusset (so the crotch lining doesn’t make that weird “pocket” at the front) and the instructions were very beginner friendly.  This book also has the best explanation of how to know whether a stretch fabric is stretchy enough (often referred to as “stretch ratio”) for a pattern.  There is even an included printed ruler and table of ratios.  If this sounds confusing, I thought so too until I read it! Jennifer does a great job explaining it.

Changes I made: I used stretch lace instead of picot elastic to finish the waist and legs.  I also didn’t use the recommended lengths for my lace.  I applied them flat (no ease) because I know that I like them snugger than usual.

Fit: 4.5 stars.  On me they have a hipster/boyshort look with low, straight legs across the front. They feel great and they have awesome coverage which I love. AND they stayed put all day!  They did cut into the front of my leg a bit when I curled up on the couch, but this is most likely due to the way I applied my stretch lace, allowing it to hang over the cut edge.  If I’d used picot elastic the front/upper crotch area would have been narrower when finished.

Overall:  It’s a winner.  I’ll be making this pattern again, possibly adjusting the front leg a bit so my preferred method of applying stretch lace will have a more comfortable result.  These would also make cute bikini/tankini bottoms.

Disclaimer: None whatsoever.  No affiliate links, just a super cool book and I wanted to make it easy to find.

2 thoughts on “Pattern Review: Bare Essentials Briefs”

  1. Nice. I too have found this book, and the design blocks very helpful in the development of some fun and well fitting garments. I have used it to make all manor of panties, and swimwear bottoms. Great book!!!

    1. Yes!! I can tell it’s going to be a great resource. I just finished drafting a set of panties per her instructions and I’ll be interested to see how they fit in comparison. 😀

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