Thursday, May 30, 2013


Helmet covers, jammer panties, whatever you want to call them, every derby league needs them sooner or later. In our case, it was sooner- we had a last minute chance to do an exhibition at our local "Wearable Arts" show (Fresh Meat skating down a 3-foot runway? No problem!) and someone said, "wouldn't it be great if we had panties?"

Well, not only do I sew, but I have daughters, and that combo also means I have sparkle spandex in my fabric stash, and/or know who else has it in my island Alaskan town. So I looked for a pattern and whipped up some panties. I have since made a set of reversible panties in my newly-selected team colors, and this post is as much about what I learned in the process as anything, since I can't claim to have made up the pattern.

  • I used this pattern from BurdaStyle
  • If you need a basic tutorial, this one is pretty good. 
  • I found the pattern to be quite large on my helmet- you can see this in the jammer panty on the left and in the pictures on the WoM: Mom blog. To fix that, I just sewed inside my top seams until it fit more snugly. Sorry I don't have a picture- it had the effect of reducing the seam allowance along the top of the curved piece and on both sides of the rectangle by about 1/4". I think I trimmed some off the bottom too.
  • On my second set, the reversible panties, I trimmed the pattern off first to make it smaller- but they ended up a little too small. Better too big than too small!
  • You also don't have to fold under the raw edges for the elastic casing, because jersey knit doesn't fray, it just rolls.
  • BEST HINT EVER! Sulky KK 2000, or if you can't find that, 505 Spray Baste. Both are the same concept- you spray them on your fabric and then it sticks and resticks like a Post-It Note.
    Sulky is great because it just dissipates or you can iron it to make it disappear more quickly; 505 stays longer and doesn't iron off, which if you overspray can cause problems with the foot sticking, causing the fabric to bunch. It might seem expensive, but with any kind of slippery fabric (velvet anyone?), it's magic. No pinning, no slipping, and it was really great for the star- I just sprayed it on the star, stuck it where I wanted it, and zigzagged over the edges of the star.

    I also used it to stick my layers of fabric together so I could cut out up to 4 layers of thick sparkle spandex accurately at one time. 

The ongoing saga of the reversible panties:

Why, pray tell, would we make a reversible panty? Well, what are you with a star showing on your helmet? What are you if your panty goes on inside out, with no star showing? Yeah, that's why*.

I tried making a reversible panty by making two panties and sewing them together, one in and one out. The truth is... it just didn't work very well. They're bulky and unless you tack them together, they're confusing.

So my new idea is to spray baste a flat piece of fabric to the inside of the side and a star to the outside, then sew around the star, and trim off the inside piece for a second star. I think it will work since the fabric doesn't fray.

*If your panty is inside out, you are a non-scoring jammer. BUMMER!