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Burnaby workshop: How to make your own panties

This workshop will answer the age-old question: “What's the mystery of sewing underwear?”
A Burnaby-based business is hosting a day-long workshop on how to sew underwear this month.

She’s not being cheeky: Burnaby business owner Denise Jones-Chu is teaching a workshop on the ins and outs of sewing underwear.

On Feb. 11, intermediate and advanced sewers can take the “Everyday Panty Workshop” to learn how to sew panties and fit them to their own shape.

Jones-Chu, the owner of Hello Beautiful Sewing and Design, said she’s hosting the workshop after sensing an interest from sewers.

“A lot of sewers want to learn … ‘What’s the mystery of sewing underwear? How do you put on a crotch?’”

She said it’s tricky – but not as tricky as you might think.

Jones-Chu, who has sewn all her life, will explain the intricacies of underwear creation, including the proper ratio of elastic to the circumference of the leg, sewing with knits and on elastic, and fitting the shape to your form.

“Once you know how, it’s not tricky at all,” she told the NOW.

Hello Beautiful is planning ahead for more workshops, including different styles of everyday underwear, fancy panties and naughty panties, Jones-Chu said with a laugh.

“We’ve got lots of materials, lots of things that go on panties, but we want to start with the basics.”

Sewing underwear doesn’t require that much material – “We always end up with small off-cuts of beautiful bamboos and cotton, and really nice, soft, beautiful fabrics,” she said.

That’s important because Hello Beautiful is a zero-waste studio.

“All of the scraps and even the threads from the serger, we keep them all.”

Based in Burnaby for the last four years, Jones-Chu has been involved with non-profits and social enterprises for years, teaching sewing to people with disabilities and work barriers. She also manufactures for local start-ups.

Hello Beautiful hosts workshops for beginners, including a tote bag workshop, and an intermediate “pouf” workshop using all the scraps and leftover threads from the studio.

“We keep them all … nothing goes into the garbage,” Jones-Chu said. “And so all of our textile waste goes into little bins by each machine, and then we use them in products and our workshops.”

The Feb. 11 underwear workshop will teach two different styles and include a wide range of sizes.

Jones-Chu said participants should have a basic sewing knowledge and confidence in using a sewing machine independently.

She noted people need lots of underwear, adding that it can be quite expensive to purchase quality items.

“You have your own preference, it’s a very personal thing. So if you know how to sew, it’s a wonderful thing to … have your own underwear that feels the way you want it to.”

Everyday Panty Workshop in Burnaby

When: Saturday, Feb. 11 from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Bring your own lunch – tea and coffee supplied.)
Where: Hello Beautiful Sewing and Design studio at 211-5108 North Fraser Way, Burnaby
Cost: $209, including taxes. For more information and registration, go to Hello Beautiful’s workshop website.