debating. The subject up for discussion was elastic and if you can believe it, women weren’t the ones were fighting over the stretchy notion – it was men! There is a trend in men’s swimsuits for a revival of a well-cut and a well-fitted pair of swim trunks and while there are many designers fighting to get on top, two stood out to me because of their stance on the nature of the waistband – Orlebar Brown and Solid and Striped. Orlebar was launched in 2007 and when creating the line, owner Adam Brown looked to traditional patterns used to make men’s tailored suits, which involves 17 different pattern pieces for a single pair. On one side of the fighting ring is Orlebar, who doesn’t use elastic in his waistbands because according to him, “As a man in his forties with his clothes off in public, I want to feel confident and I want as much help as I can get. An elastic waist pushing into my stomach is not flattering.” On the other side of the ring is Solid and Stripe and the owner of the company, Isaac Ross, claims, “The problem with a fixed waistband is that they’re either a little too big or a little too small. There are a lot of different ‘mediums.’ You have to figure out a way that it can be fitted.”
This was particularly interesting to me because with each set of undies I make, the less and less I stretch the elastic. And it’s for the same reason that Brown states – I want to feel good when wearing my underthings and when I have something digging into my skin, well, you know how that feels. No bueno. When I first starting sewing undergarments, I reduced the length of the elastic the amount ALL the textbooks said – 10-15%. Then I read Beverly’s manual and started looking at my own RTW underwear and it was evident from both that elastic isn’t stretched close to what textbooks advise. If undergarments are going to stretch out when you wear them, what’s the point of making them smaller when they’re flat (or not worn)? The purpose of elastic when it comes to lingerie is to finish the edges in a way that will allow them to stretch out with the fabric when worn. If that’s the case, why not sew it flat except in those places that need extra tightness (i.e. at the underarm). Does anyone else have an opinion on this?