Scrundlewear 2.0: A Pattern Review
Updated: Nov 5, 2021
Scrundlewear 2.0 women's underwear pattern by Stitch Upon a Time (SUAT) has several options for the first time underwear sewist and is an excellent foray into undergarment sewing and working with knit fabrics.
Total time to complete: About 1.5 - 2 hours for one pair
Note: If you make several pairs at once using an assembly line method, you can cut down on time significantly.
Fabric - I will discuss types of fabric below - you'll need somewhere between 1/2 yd and 3/4 yd of 60" wide fabric with at least 40% stretch - less if making multiple pairs. I've gotten 5-6 pairs with fabric bands out of 2 yds of 58" wide fabric before
Elastic - this is optional and only needed if you will use elastic instead of fabric bands (discussion below)
Sewing machine with zig-zag or other stretch stitch OR a serger / coverstitch machine
Ball point / stretch / jersey machine needle or similar
Fabric scissors and snips (rotary cutter and cutting mat optional but useful)
Fabric marking tool (I like a fabric pen like this for marking on knits)
Notes and Thoughts on the Pattern
Prior to purchasing this pattern, I tried my hand at copying a pattern of a pair of very popular large brand briefs that were literally falling apart after 3 months of cyclical wear (read: I think I wore them three times before they starting coming apart at the seams). I had some success with this but realized that I just wasn't getting the right fit.
I'd already seen some other patterns by SUAT and joined the Facebook group there, which meant I had read a lot about the Scrundlewear vs. Bunzies debate (check out Bunzies and more SUAT patterns here). People were absolutely raving about how scrundies stay in place - this I had to try. $10 may seem like a high price to pay for such a physically small pattern. Friend, let me tell you how it is worth every penny.
I made my first pair of scrundies out of some leftover Lyocell knit I had purchased for another pattern. After wearing those a few times (washing in between, obviously), I was hooked.
I did, however, find that the back rise was a touch high. To adjust, I measured the difference in where it was to where I wanted it to be and dropped the line on the pattern that amount. I then blended the lines of the pattern so that the line of the pattern that goes on the fold maintained it's 90 degree angle with the top of the back piece (important for a straight line across the back). That was the ticket! I immediately made another pair and then set off on some other experiments for the next few pairs.
Note: This review pertains only to the briefs pattern. Boyshorts tend to just roll up on me so I have not tried that version of the pattern and don't plan to.
We'll look at fabric and bands vs. elastic in a moment - the first thing to discuss is a big question when working with knits: to serge or not to serge? I've tried both as you can see from the comparison shot above. Of course, it comes down to personal preference. Serging your seams will cut down on time since it eliminates the need to trim after stitching. However, if you have sensitive skin like I do, you may find the serged seams to be less comfortable than those done with a narrow stretch or zig-zig stitch. I encourage you to try both and see which you prefer.
For those opting to stitch with a regular sewing machine, you've got some options for which stitch to use. I typically use a stretch stitch (on my Brother, it's stitch number 3 and is labeled in the manual as "Stretch stitch") with a 1.0 mm width and a 3.5 mm length. I use this stitch for every seam. However, if I choose to use elastic, I will attach it with a 3-point zigzag stitch (stitch number 5 on my Brother), adjusted to suit the width of the elastic.
Really, you can use any stitch that has some stretch to it. If you're new to working with knits, I'd recommend starting your test swatches (because you always check your tension, right?) with a stretch stitch, zigzag stitch, and maybe an overcasting stitch. Consult your manual for how these are numbered - your manual will also probably include a brief description of what the stitch is for!
Let's move on to a look at materials.
A Discussion on Fabric and Band Options
Choosing the right fabric for underwear is a very personal choice. Consider the fabric's breathability (how will you feel in summertime?), appearance under other clothing, stretch and recovery, and cost.
I've tried a few options, my thoughts are as follows:
100% stretch cotton
This will only work if you use elastic or make the bands out of a different material as it does not have sufficient recovery
Breathes well but does not wick away moisture (typical for cotton fabrics)
Can sometimes bunch up under clothing and along the thigh
Listed as safe to machine wash and dry, but may shrink a bit in the dryer
Relatively inexpensive fabric, but remember you will also need to purchase elastic or a different fabric for the bands
Bamboo Rayon Jersey (Bamboo/Lycra)
Bamboo Lycra is a very popular choice for underwear overall and you've probably seen it in ads from an internet-based company that has a flair for fun pattern prints
This particular fabric includes 5% Lycra spandex (Lycra is the brand, spandex is the fabric)
Breaths well, moisture wicking is middle of the road but a step up from cotton
Stays in place, does not bunch
OK to machine wash cold with other clothing, line dry only
A bit pricey
--> Note: oddly enough, many of the available prints do not show in the Joann's search function. However, if you click on one, you should see related fabrics at the bottom.
Lyocell is a natural fiber made from beech trees (which makes it a kind of rayon which is made from viscose (usually wood pulp)) and rates pretty well on the eco-friendly fiber list. The brand name is Tencel. Lyocell spandex typically includes 5%-7% spandex (this one is 7%).
Breathes exceptionally well and is the most moisture-wicking natural fiber I've come across
Stays in place, does not bunch
OK to machine wash cold with other clothing, line dry only
A bit pricey BUT JoAnns regularly has deals and coupons that make it affordable. Never have I ever paid full price for fabric at that store.
Lyocell spandex is my personal favorite and will continue to be my fabric of choice moving forward. If you want to just give the pattern a good mock-up fit, an old t-shirt is a good choice as long as the fabric still has some recovery.
Regardless of what fiber you choose, I recommend 5 - 10% lycra/spandex content for good recovery. You will also need at least 40% stretch (4 inches of fabric will stretch to 5.6 inches).
Let's move on to elastics and the bands. The bands/elastic at the leg and waist openings are how the scrundlewear will stay on your body and stay put. You've got some choices:
Make these of fabric with at least 40% stretch and 5 - 10% lycra/spandex content for good recovery. Even if your main fabric has poor recovery, you can make up for it with good fabric bands.
Easy to add some mix-and-match style here with different colors and patterns
VPL (visible panty line) is a problem under slacks (I haven't noticed an issue under anything else, however)
Size is adjustable (you may have noticed the lemon pair above has 1/2 size bands), but after experimentation, I do recommend sticking with the sizes given in the pattern.
My personal favorite
Fold over elastic (FOE)
Inexpensive and can be purchased in large quantities (I bought 100 yd from Elastic by the Yard to make a full wardrobe of briefs for my husband)
Comes in a variety of sizes, colors, and finishes
Requires intense patience to work with as you either have to attach one side at a time (and have double the thread on your skin) or attach both sides at once and work very slowly so as not to miss any fabric
Slim line under clothing similar to store-bought briefs
If using FOE, you must first get rid of the seam allowance at the leg and waist openings
My mortal enemy (go sew 15 pairs with nothing but FOE at the openings and see if you feel differently).
Shown in the blue floral pair in the photo to the left
Sewn on at the edge first, then "flipped" in to cover it and top stitched with a 3-point zigzag stitch
Also easily purchased in large quantities
There are many varieties of flat elastics - I'm partial to the cotton swimsuit variety myself. I'd recommend trying a few types out before making any large purchases.
The type of flat elastic chosen can affect its stretch, so be careful to check it's comfortable before cutting the bands.
Different types of flat elastic can be bulky or quite flat which will affect the lines under clothing
Commonly used in store-bought briefs that include the name of the brand on the waistline.
Often one side is "soft," meant to sit against the skin, and the other side is shiny, meant to be the outer side
Comes in many varieties of size and color
Some varieties are decorative, like picot elastic, and can provide a traditional lacey look.
Typically creates slim lines under fitted clothing (I can't speak from experience here as I haven't got around to buying any yet)
Just like with the main fabric, the bands / elastic are really about personal choice. I encourage you to play around with options and find what works best for you!
Lessons Learned and Tips for Newbies
Working with knit fabrics can be tricky if you've only worked with wovens before. While it can sometimes be frustrating, the results are always worth it because the final product is typically quite comfortable and forgiving of a little weight change here and there.
Whether you're trying the Scrundlewear pattern for the first time or the thirtieth, I hope you find these thoughts and learnings helpful.
(Tip 1) If you can use the rotary cutter, use the rotary cutter. I don't know why it took me so many pairs to realize I could use a rotary cutter to trim the side seams. Sure it's only marginally faster than scissors, but it requires less dexterity and I'm here for that.
(Tip 2) Experiment with pins vs. clips then make a choice. Personally, I find that knits try their hardest to run away and the clips pop off when I need them to stay put, so I only use straight quilting pins. Also of note, the clips are so big that if I'm stitching in the round, they can get stuck or pulled off by the bottom of my sewing machine. Not something you want to discover on your first knit project! Also note that when using straight pins, your pins should be at a 90 degree angle to the seam. This will hold the fabric better but also means you can stitch right up to the pin before removing in - much easier for beginners!
(Tip 3) Decide whether you really need to stitch down the inner liner before sewing the leg bands. On my first pair, I stitched it down because it made the leg bands easier to sew on. However, I later found the seam to be irritating to my skin so I no longer take this step. That said, if you're new to sewing with knits, it's a good idea to do this for your first pair as the leg bands can be tricky. Once you're comfortable sewing on the bands in the round, you may find it simpler to only pin in place.
(Tip 4) When trimming seams with scissors, it's easier to leave the fabric flat against a surface than to hold it in midair. This feels counterintuitive, but the fabric actually tends to behave itself a bit more this way. Still be on the lookout for fabric trying to bunch up around the seam as you trim (you'll feel it if you hit extra fabric layers), but figuring this out has definitely decreased my seam trimming times.
(Tip 5) When preparing to attach the bands, use pins to hold the band folded in half (hotdog style) and mark every 1/4 of the way around the band. I typically put the first pin at the seam, then put the band on my finger and gently pull to find the 1/2 way point. Match the pins up and repeat to find the 1/4 and 3/4 marks. If you're new to sewing on bands, you might also find it useful to mark additional points (e.g. divide the band into 8 even parts). Once marked, repeat for where the band will attach, then match up the pins. This process is laid out in the pattern with pictures - don't skip it! As you get more comfortable, you might adjust the process for speed, but I really wouldn't recommend any fewer than 4 pins to divide the band up before attaching (unless you're working with very small child-size clothing, in which case 2 may be appropriate).
The video above shows me sewing on one of the leg bands. There are a few techniques in the video that I would like to highlight as things I've picked up to get great seams every time.
(Tips 6-11: Sewing the leg and waist bands) When setting up to sew the band, put the foot down in front of your first pin. Now put the needle down. This will let you adjust and fuss with your fabric without any fear of the first bit slipping away. With very slippery knits, sometimes the foot won't be enough pressure to keep the fabric from slipping, hence putting the needle down.
Work in quarters (or eighths or however many divisions you marked with your pins), adjusting the fabric so the edges align nicely between each section. You will need to pull on the fabric you're about to stitch to get the layers to match up (e.g. they should both lie flat, neither bunching up). Be careful not to pull too much! The more you stretch the fabric, the longer the stitches will be. So try to stretch the fabric the minimum amount needed to get the layers to lie flat. You may notice in the video I'm pulling just a bit too much - this is a skill I'm still working on!
As you stitch, you may need to use your left hand to pull (not too hard!) the fabric through the machine, depending on how much extra tension you've created to get the top and bottom layers to align. This is especially true when working with elastics which, in my experience, really want to eat the bobbin thread and fly off the machine to attack your face.
As you work around curves, you can use the edge of the machine to "hold" the edges in alignment with tension. This is especially clear around the 1:20ish mark in the video and is very useful when there's a good amount of space between your pins and/or you have small hands like I do.
When you get to the end, run over your first stitching for 1/2 - 1 inch to reinforce it. Stretch and zigzag stitches typically do not backstitch, so this is needed to help keep the seam from pulling apart.
Lastly, and perhaps the most important tip for leg and waist band newbies - don't be afraid to work slowly. This is the trickiest bit! You'll feel more comfortable the more you do it but remember to be patient with your own progress - everyone learns at their own pace and this is a learned skill not a talent.
Thanks for reading! I hope you've found this review to be helpful and maybe you've picked up something new!
Please feel free to reach out through the comments with questions or leave more great tips!