Author Topic: Revisited Mission Impossible, A Men's Sports Thong.  (Read 832 times)

hutch--

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Revisited Mission Impossible, A Men's Sports Thong.
« on: November 26, 2016, 05:20:08 PM »
About 6 months ago I bought 10 metres of a very light weight DuPont Lycra to make myself some new summer underwear but when it arrived, instead of being on a roll, it had been folded and crushed into a postage bag and when I got it out it was this incredible crumpled mess. I wasted about 1 metre of it playing with it and trying to work out how to handle it but it was so light that it would stretch just picking it up and handling it. I put it aside until I had a bit more time to work on it. Some months down the track I came up with a number of pieces of genius along with a lot of trial and error until I got it under control.

The reason for the requirement is I wear stubbies for most of the hot weather so I don't get cooked in the heat but you have to be careful what you wear under them as conventional men's briefs drag the behind up when you sit or squat. A thong of the right design does the job properly in maintaining normal modesty while not cutting you in half and staying up. A thong pattern for lack of better words is a simple thing to make but only if you can work out how to handle such a difficult fabric.

Step 1. Cut strips wide enough and lay them one at a time on your cutting table, a few weights helps to keep it flat. I used an iron with a teflon bottom cover to carefully iron it flat without cooking it, turning it over a couple of times to try and stop the edges from curling.

Step 2. Use some masking tape across the top and bottom of the strip to secure the edges and make the fabric so it can be handled and stop the top and bottom edges from curling.



I could not get the camera up high enough but you can see the strip of lycra clamped with plastic clamps at both ends off the edge of my cutting table. The next operation is almost impossible to photograph but it uses 2 strips of rubber edging that have glue from a craft glue pen on one side then carefully turn the rubber strip over, stretch it very slightly and press it down onto the edge of the fabric allowing a little overhang on the outside edge for the following overlocking of the rubber onto the fabric.



Overlock the rubber edging onto the edge of each side of the fabric, it should look something like the photo. In this case I used a 4 thread overlock but it comes too close to the inside edge of the rubber and while it works OK if you are careful, pulling out one needle in the overlocker to get a narrower overlock would work better.



Turn the overlocked rubber over then face stitch it from the front with a medium width zig zag.



This photo shows the technique for marking out the profile required using a template rather than a conventional pattern. Clamp the top and bottom of each side (one at a time) along the edge of the table making sure you only barely stretch it. Then lay the template on the fabric, line it all up straight and clamp the template into position. Then you very carefully chalk around the template profile without applying much pressure as normal chalking drags the fabric. You hold down the edge of the template as close as possible to the edge to make the chalking easier.



This is what the chalked profile should look like after you remove the clamps and template.



I used some miniature paper clips to hold the two outer edges together after folding the vertical strip length ways and lining up the two edges. I have tried pinning, basting is a waste of time in a fabric like this and it has been the most effective method and the easiest to use.



The next operation of making the main seam is a bit fussy. To match the stretch rate of the fabric I tested out a wide variety of techniques to get a stitching method that had enough stretch and the best I found was one of the cams for my old Elna's that does a sideways zig zag back and forth as this allows a stretch rate very close to the lycra. I am sorry if the stitching is a bit faint but I used a small automatic camera that was not well geard for this task.



This shows the item after it has been trimmed. The two ends have been cut off and the stitching like from the template markout has been trimmed to about 1.5 millimeters from the edge of the stitching. I tried a range of different stitches to stitch down the seam but the best of them still ruined the stretch rate of the seam so I decided to leave it unedged as the fabric is a stable knit and does not fray.



This is the finished garment from the front. The center zig zag line onto the elastic was done first after using the miniature paper clips to locate the front part of the strip to the elastic. The bottom line was done next so that the zig zag went over the bottom edge of the elastic then to top edge was trimmed to get it level with the top of the elastic and it was zig zagged so that the stitching went over and secured the edge on the elastic.



The back is attached the same way, the red top stitching was for sighting the long center seam so I could see it after the stitching and as a garment of this type is not normally on display while wearing it, I could not be bothered changing the thread colour.
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TTailor

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Re: Revisited Mission Impossible, A Men's Sports Thong.
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2016, 12:42:59 AM »
Well you seem to have reinvented the dance belt! :)
A modified version of one anyway.

All joking aside, dealing with lycra can be very challenging and I like the techniques you have come up with.

tombennett

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Re: Revisited Mission Impossible, A Men's Sports Thong.
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2016, 03:49:26 AM »
Glad they weren't being modelled there Hutch!  Good little tutorial though.

Greger

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Re: Revisited Mission Impossible, A Men's Sports Thong.
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2016, 04:30:03 AM »
My first thoughts were,  "I thought this was supposed to be a safe place for children."
Reading further,  "Oh,  some boys might find these handy, and something similar for girls, too."

Thoughts about techniques are very handy. Tailors should know the most about clothes. It is always sad to see tailors who only know how to make a few kinds of clothes. Once in a while I see other kinds of clothes that tailors have made.  They are so much better than homemade. The tailors knowledge can cover a lot of ground.

hutch--

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Re: Revisited Mission Impossible, A Men's Sports Thong.
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2016, 09:21:50 AM »
The problem was that the supply dried up locally and the last types that I could buy were poor design that were too narrow and could be uncomfortable to wear. While the design of the example is simple enough, the idea was a firm waist elastic and the shape controlled by the edging rubber. The very high stretch of the lycra then accommodates the body shape without the problem of them cutting the wearer in half.

Some of the types I have seen are aimed at a different market and they have string type sides and backs where the one I have above is designed to keep everything in and prevent "wardrobe accidents" for guys who play football, basketball and similar sports. I sent a sample of the lycra to a friend of mine as she was interested to see lycra that light (120 gram/metre) and her feedback was that it would be well suited for women's tights.

This much, the ones I have made are straight, strong, fit properly, are comfortable to wear and don't risk "wardrobe accidents", all of the attributes of making them yourself instead of suffering the rubbish that is currently on the market.
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Schneiderfrei

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Re: Revisited Mission Impossible, A Men's Sports Thong.
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2016, 11:23:33 PM »
But Hutch, How does that go on your foot??  ;p

peterle

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Re: Revisited Mission Impossible, A Men's Sports Thong.
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2016, 11:54:24 PM »
The very high stretch of the lycra then accommodates the body shape without the problem of them cutting the wearer in half.

Better a PITA while sewing than while wearing.  ::)

hutch--

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Re: Revisited Mission Impossible, A Men's Sports Thong.
« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2016, 03:02:23 AM »
Graham,

Truly I missed that one, must be Adelaide humour.

peterle,

There is great wisdom in what you say here. ;)
The magnificent tools of the professional tailor
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theresa in tucson

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Re: Revisited Mission Impossible, A Men's Sports Thong.
« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2016, 04:46:50 AM »
Sounds like you've made a better version of a jockstrap.  Good tutorial on how to handle the fabric and the rubber.

Schneiderfrei

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Re: Revisited Mission Impossible, A Men's Sports Thong.
« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2016, 07:27:34 AM »
Oh you know like a pair of thongs.  It was a bad joke, for sure.

G

Greger

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Re: Revisited Mission Impossible, A Men's Sports Thong.
« Reply #10 on: November 29, 2016, 06:25:29 AM »
Back in the sixties cut offs were really short, and the whitey tighties would show sometimes.  What Hutch-- shows how to make is less showy than whitey tighties. The long shorts of today are to prevent sunburns and skin cancer, though I think that is being forgotten. Short shorts gives a tremendous amount more freedom of movement for those who like athletic activities. Glad I was born before the cancer scare.

hutch--

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Re: Revisited Mission Impossible, A Men's Sports Thong.
« Reply #11 on: November 29, 2016, 12:15:35 PM »
Some time ago we had a freak hail storm in Sydney that ran up a narrow strip of a few miles wide up the coast where the hail was the size of baseballs and the damage was beyond what most could imagine. It lasted about 20 minutes and destroyed cars, smashed slate roofs to pieces, smashed car windscreens and bashed around the corrugated iron roofs that are common in many of the old houses. I did a quick patch up to stop most of the problem but waited until summer to re-roof the house when it was predictably dry which also meant really hot.

Took me nearly 2 weeks to do the job as I had to replace the main structure holding up the roof as well but it meant working in 40c heat on a reflective roof that just about doubled the heat and where you lasted about 10 minutes at a time before climbing back down the ladder, sticking your head under a running tap to cool it off. Its here that stubbies, a T shirt and an Akubra (hat) stopped you from dying of heat exhaustion.

I had run out of underwear around the end of last summer and when I looked around on what you could still buy, most of it was truly rediculous and trying to aim at a different market so I had a go at making something that actually worked properly. The main difference in the pattern is the under width (thigh gap fit) and the width of the back section going back up to the waistline instead of the silly string varieties that are being peddled these days. It seems that the Chinese rag trade are trying to target the "sex appeal" market rather than produce functional garments and the quality was really trashy.

The magnificent tools of the professional tailor
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hutch--

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Re: Revisited Mission Impossible, A Men's Sports Thong.
« Reply #12 on: November 29, 2016, 09:57:46 PM »
I have been playing with getting the process more efficient, clamped the fabric with a better technique and using a three thread overlock.



The photo shows the clamping technique, the main idea is to get it as flat as possible without stretching the lycra and you will see that the two 12 inch rulers are used to hold the two ends flat on the table.. In the photo one side closest to the table edge is already done, the two rulers are set back from the other edge to allow the rubber to be glued down across the ends. The rubber is cut to a bit longer than the fabric strip then I used a craft glue pen to put a fine coating of glue on one side of the rubber strip.

Once this is done you carefully pick up the rubber from both ends, turn it over so the glue side is facing down and carefully place it on the fabric edge leaving an overlocking allowance. Once you have the elastic glued down you put a strip of ordinary masking tape across both ends, trim off any ends and you now have a cranky fabric that is under control for handling it.



A three thread overlock is better suited for attaching the rubber to the fabric, a 4 thread is stronger but this task is one of location and edging so strength is not the factor here. I took out the left side needle in the overlocker so that I got a narrower seam and it gives a cleaner and safer result. You then turn the overlocked rubber over and zig zag it from the front so that you have a clean secured edge.








The magnificent tools of the professional tailor
http://www.movsd.com/tailors_shears/  ;) ;D

Schneiderfrei

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Re: Revisited Mission Impossible, A Men's Sports Thong.
« Reply #13 on: November 29, 2016, 10:41:04 PM »
How are you feeding the elastic into the mix?

hutch--

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Re: Revisited Mission Impossible, A Men's Sports Thong.
« Reply #14 on: November 29, 2016, 11:42:13 PM »
I cut the rubber strips to the length I want first, then use the craft glue pen to coat one side of the rubber strip, turn it over then carefully place it where you want on the fabric, press the two ends down with your thumbs then carefully pat the whole strip down so it sticks evenly. The rubber is a continuous box of 1000 metres that is 6mm wide so you just pull out as much as you need and cut off the lengths you require.
The magnificent tools of the professional tailor
http://www.movsd.com/tailors_shears/  ;) ;D