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Any ideas for natural fabric underpants?  RSS feed

 
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I am currently wearing out my panties which are made of some fake man-made fabric like polyester that is washing into our waterways and polluting the environment and killing the marine life.

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/sep/27/washing-clothes-releases-water-polluting-fibres-study-finds

I refuse to buy any more until I can find something that is 100% natural and compostable (is that a word?). The need is somewhat urgent as the current pairs of panties I have are getting threadbare but I will wear them until they are g-strings, if necessary.

Going commando is not an option. Or is it?

Any ideas? Options?

Thanks.

Sheila



 
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Cotton, linen and silk. Real rubber is both natural and biodegradable though I don't know if that's the standard material in elastics these days. There are actually some people who use ties or buttons on their undergarments.

A quick search on Google for all natural lingerie qickly produces several articles about companies that specialize in this area, such as this one http://www.thegoodtrade.com/features/ethical-lingerie-brands

Some of these companies recycle fabric to keep it out of the waste stream, so you will still need to pay some attention if you want to keep to natural fibers. Others only work with natural materials.  Maybe having particular brand names will help you find a local source,  if you're uncomfortable trusting online shopping for a comfortable fit.
 
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Can you sew?  Here is a very simple pattern for pants, which can be made to fit using a drawstring:  http://www.renaissancetailor.com/demos_recpants.htm

This has become my favorite pattern for shorts, and it could be modified to make comfy undies for wear under loose pants or skirts.
 
Sheila Mleziva
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Casie Becker wrote:Cotton, linen and silk. Real rubber is both natural and biodegradable though I don't know if that's the standard material in elastics these days. There are actually some people who use ties or buttons on their undergarments.

A quick search on Google for all natural lingerie qickly produces several articles about companies that specialize in this area, such as this one http://www.thegoodtrade.com/features/ethical-lingerie-brands

Some of these companies recycle fabric to keep it out of the waste stream, so you will still need to pay some attention if you want to keep to natural fibers. Others only work with natural materials.  Maybe having particular brand names will help you find a local source,  if you're uncomfortable trusting online shopping for a comfortable fit.



Thanks for the help. I am going through the companies listed at the Good Trade site and haven't yet found a 100% natural pantie. I will keep looking.
 
Sheila Mleziva
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Tyler Ludens wrote:Can you sew?  Here is a very simple pattern for pants, which can be made to fit using a drawstring:  http://www.renaissancetailor.com/demos_recpants.htm

This has become my favorite pattern for shorts, and it could be modified to make comfy undies for wear under loose pants or skirts.



No, I don't sew but perhaps it is time to start.

Love the pattern you shared. Looks like something I might be able to do.

Thanks much.
 
Tyler Ludens
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In general I find it much easier to sew by hand than with a machine, so if you don't have a machine or can't borrow one, you don't need to buy one!
 
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Sheila Mleziva wrote:Going commando is not an option. Or is it?



Since no one else seems to have addressed this particular option, I will. I've been "going commando" for over 30 years and will continue to do so until I die. The way I see it, there is absolutely no reason to wear a second layer of clothing on any part of your body unless you need it for warmth or protection of some kind. That is especially true in the genital area because of all places on your body, air circulation is most important there. I used to get yeast infections and bladder infections all the time when I was younger -- due, I think, to wearing nylon underclothes for so much of my life. When I eliminated undies altogether, I stopped getting infections. I think most people wear underwear simply because our culture tells us we have to. But when you think about it, there really are no good reasons for it at all. (Except in some very specific situations such as to hold a sanitary pad or something along those lines, but even then, it isn't just because you need underwear but because it is performing a necessary function.) If modesty or self-consciousness dictates that you MUST wear underwear, I would at least opt for the old-fashioned "drawers" worn by our ancestors (and many religious sects like the Amish, Mennonites and others of that sort). They are lightweight cotton bloomers or loose shorts (like men's boxers) that allow more natural air circulation.

If you can't find someone to make them for you and don't want to sew, you could always go for something along these lines. Underworks women's 100% cotton underwear. A bit pricey, and the narrow elastic at the waist may or may not be natural, but they look comfy.
 
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Until the late 18th century, women typically wore no underpants.  
 
Sheila Mleziva
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Deb Stephens wrote:

Sheila Mleziva wrote:Going commando is not an option. Or is it?



I've been "going commando" for over 30 years



Thanks so much for 'fessing up!  I totally agree with your point of view. We have been sold a 'bill of goods' in not only lingerie but in many areas of 'hygiene'.

Have you ever had any situations over the past 30 years in which 'going commando' caused an issue? Like, hmm, bugs or ticks in the nether regions?

Do you wear pants or skirts?

Thanks.

 
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I searched for "elastic-free underwear." I discovered two things.

(1) The elastic is usually made of latex, which is not plastic and is biodegradable. So, not terrible!

(2) I found 100% cotton underwear, some with drawstrings and some without.

Here's the link to the women's underwear. https://www.cottonique.com/collections/womens-bottoms

Here's the bikini underwear, made of organic cotton, no latex or spandex https://www.cottonique.com/collections/womens-bottoms/products/womens-bikini-2-pack

 
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This reminded me of an article I bookmarked a few years ago about fundoshi (traditional Japanese underpants) for women.  They look like they'd be pretty easy to sew, and a good way of upcycling anything like old t-shirts or bed sheets.

I also saw an article in the (now long-defunct) magazine Craft: about using your favorite underwear as a pattern to sew your own from recycled t-shirts.  It was basically just tracing each panel and adding a seam allowance, and I think the elastic was just zig-zag stitched on.  There are probably like a million different tutorials out there to do it, I think it was a "thing" like 10 years ago when trendy people were all over recycling last year's unfashionable t-shirts.

And here's a free printable pattern for mini bloomers.  You need to create a login with an email address to download the .zip file to get the pattern.

Personally, I like to go commando when I wear skirts, but I stopped doing that in public after I accidentally flashed a kid and probably scarred him for life (it was a calf-length skirt, too, but it got caught on a box I was lifting and it was comedic and mortifying and I still wonder if that kid grew up to think I was some pervert).  I don't like going without when I wear any kind of pants (except boxer shorts or super loose pajamas) because it's just physically uncomfortable for me, especially the seam of jeans, and also because I need to wash the clothes more often.  With underwear, I typically wear jeans a full week without washing (the jeans, not my bits!).  Without, I don't even like having them on a second day because I don't want bladder infections, which I used to get a lot more of when I was in my "totally commando all the time" phase in my mid-20s.  Everyone's undercarriage is different, though--try it a few times and see if you like it.  
 
Sheila Mleziva
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Nicole Alderman wrote:I searched for "elastic-free underwear." I discovered two things.

(1) The elastic is usually made of latex, which is not plastic and is biodegradable. So, not terrible!

(2) I found 100% cotton underwear, some with drawstrings and some without.

Here's the link to the women's underwear. https://www.cottonique.com/collections/womens-bottoms

Here's the bikini underwear, made of organic cotton, no latex or spandex https://www.cottonique.com/collections/womens-bottoms/products/womens-bikini-2-pack



These might be just what I am looking for, Nicole. Thanks for the share.

 
Sheila Mleziva
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S Tonin wrote:This reminded me of an article I bookmarked a few years ago about fundoshi (traditional Japanese underpants) for women.  They look like they'd be pretty easy to sew, and a good way of upcycling anything like old t-shirts or bed sheets.

I also saw an article in the (now long-defunct) magazine Craft: about using your favorite underwear as a pattern to sew your own from recycled t-shirts.  It was basically just tracing each panel and adding a seam allowance, and I think the elastic was just zig-zag stitched on.  There are probably like a million different tutorials out there to do it, I think it was a "thing" like 10 years ago when trendy people were all over recycling last year's unfashionable t-shirts.

And here's a free printable pattern for mini bloomers.  You need to create a login with an email address to download the .zip file to get the pattern.



Thanks for the info!

Personally, I like to go commando when I wear skirts, but I stopped doing that in public after I accidentally flashed a kid and probably scarred him for life (it was a calf-length skirt, too, but it got caught on a box I was lifting and it was comedic and mortifying and I still wonder if that kid grew up to think I was some pervert)



OMG, too funny and embarrassing!  

I don't like going without when I wear any kind of pants (except boxer shorts or super loose pajamas) because it's just physically uncomfortable for me, especially the seam of jeans, and also because I need to wash the clothes more often.  With underwear, I typically wear jeans a full week without washing (the jeans, not my bits!).  Without, I don't even like having them on a second day because I don't want bladder infections, which I used to get a lot more of when I was in my "totally commando all the time" phase in my mid-20s.  Everyone's undercarriage is different, though--try it a few times and see if you like it.  



I would rather wash my underwear daily vs my pants so I am tending against the commando thing.

Ideally, 100% hemp would be the best.

Thanks for your great input-  and the laugh!
 
Sheila Mleziva
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ok, I tried the commando thing and was liking it until I had an intensive gardening session on a hot day at the community garden, going commando and wearing just shorts, t-shirt. I sweat like a pig, even in my groin area. Well, it looked like I wet my pants! Yikes.

Thankfully, I was the only one in the garden that day!

If I do go commando, I will try it wearing a skirt.
 
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The Japanese cotton panties versions, are the only pants listed on here to date that are totally made from cotton.

The pattern shown for the mini bloomers could become 100% cotton if you folded the material at the top of the mini bloomers over a couple of inches and sewed around leaving a gap at the front. This would create a hollow band a material tie could be threaded through to act as a belt at the waist, or you could use button tabs on each side of the panties that would help them sit flat, instead of using the elastic they currently have.

All the others saying they are 100% cotton are not. Cotton DOES NOT STRETCH naturally or have "give in the fabric. Those panties show that they cling to the body so they MUST have some type of lycra or similar stretch fabric incorporated into the cotton, wool, silk or bamboo fabric, otherwise they could not cling to your shape like these are shown to. Not so ethical as they claim to be, but many people get sucked in by the word "ethical".
 
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Hello! Long-time (hobby) seamstress, medium-time lurker, first-time poster, so please excuse any inadvertent faux pas.

Annette Jones wrote:All the others saying they are 100% cotton are not. Cotton DOES NOT STRETCH naturally or have "give in the fabric. Those panties show that they cling to the body so they MUST have some type of lycra or similar stretch fabric incorporated into the cotton, wool, silk or bamboo fabric, otherwise they could not cling to your shape like these are shown to.


You're right that the Japanese loincloths are the only 100% cotton options listed above, but maybe not for the reason that you think.

Fabric has a number of features that can affect how much it clings to the body. Probably the biggest one is whether it's knit or woven. Woven fabrics don't stretch unless there is some synthetic fiber like elastic in them, but knit fabrics (like t-shirts) can stretch quite a lot, even when made from non-stretchy fibers like cotton. This is because knit fabrics are made from a single thread which loops back on itself quite a lot (just like the yarn in a knitted sweater or blanket, only much, much smaller). When you pull on the fabric it stretches because all of those little loops in the yarn are straightening out. In woven fabrics, the criss-crossing warp and weft threads run in more or less straight lines already, so there's no slack to take up (unless you pull them on a diagonal or bias, but that's a whole 'nother ball of wax). For more info, see this article from Threads magazine: Knits & Wovens: What's the Difference?.

That said, although 100% cotton knit fabrics can stretch, they won't necessarily cling to you tightly enough to hold themselves up without the aid of either a drawstring or a piece of elastic around the waist. So while the *fabric* might be 100% cotton, all of the non-loincloth options shown above appear to have an elastic waistband around the top.

Any of those designs could be made 100% by replacing the elastic waistband with a drawstring, but drawstrings aren't nearly as comfortable or easy to get on and off as elastic waistbands. (I know; I've spent several days at Victorian re-enactment events in drawers with drawstring waists.) I suppose you could try splitting the difference by making a drawstring using a narrow knitted I-cord or lucet cord which has a bit of stretch, again, due to loops in the thread being able to straighten out.
 
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felting underwear with wool would work.I made pants this way but don't see why you couldn't do underwear?Although you couldn't put them in the dryer.Or you could also weave underwear but you would have to use thin yarn.
 
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