Saturday, September 28, 2013

An Open Letter to Mr. Stan Lee

Dear Mr. Stan  Lee,
  I've lived in your universe for nearly my entire life. As a child I loved Spider-Man. (still do) Not because he was innovative. Not because he was different than any other super hero. Because he spoke to my heart with his sense of humor and his humanity. He was the reallest super hero out there. To this day I attribute a portion of my wacky sense of humour to an overdose of Spider-Man quips as a child.

 As I got older my respect for you grew immensely. Your heroes are truly amazing. Your sense of the world is so fresh and different. The risks you take with the genre are astounding. A hero based on a spider? What?!? Are you crazy? People hate, HATE spiders. Yet we root for him. Super heroes with no secret identity? How's that supposed to work? But it's believable that these figures walk among us in celebrity.

 Your heroes have always been richly imagined and wonderfully detailed.Your female supers? Don't get me started. Not merely the copycat counterpoint to some "super" male figure but strong, complex characters that shine on their own. Fire Star, Jean Grey, Storm and The Invisible Woman are all characters I am pleased to let my daughter watch.

 As for that daughter, she loves Spider-Man too. So much that she dressed up like him for Halloween last year. So much that we have countless Spider-Man figurines, watch countless episodes of Amazing Friends and own no less than four pairs of Spider-Man jammies.

 Mr. Lee, you taught us that spiders can be heroes and that women aren't just the less interesting side of the same coin. You're the same man who had the courage to portray gay super heroes and even more courage to stand by and let them shine.

  With all your forward thinking and innovation I have one question for you Mr. Lee. Why is it that no matter how much my daughter loves Spidey and Marvel, she can't have the holy grail of licensed products? Why can't I buy my daughter Spider-Man underwear?

 If she was a little boy I would have a treasure trove of options. In fact when she was younger I did buy her boys underwear because she wanted them so desperately. I can remember exactly how unjust it felt thirty five years ago when my brother could have super hero underpants and I was stuck with Holly Hobby.

 So sure boy underwear worked to some extent. However, Wub, for all her love of Spidey, is still a pretty girly girl. Y fronts don't exactly fit her sense of style. She needs something just a touch more delicate and feminine and a bit less easy open fly.

  So Mr. Lee I only ask that you do what you do best. Innovate. Blaze new trails. Break down barriers. Go ahead, license Spider-Man for little girl panties. You might be surprised by the results. (But I won't be.)

Kristi White
Wub's Mom and long time Spider-Man fan.

That being said...
You know the tune...

Sewing mom, sewing mom does whatever a sewing mom does. Fashions panties for a girl from a printed Spidey shirt. Makes pair out of two, too small pairs of boys pants. Because...she is a sewing mom!

Forgive the rough quality of the pictures but I wanted to show just how quickly you can fashion a new pair of undies from an old tee shirt.

You will need:
An underwear pattern.  I used a free one from Ottobre "Baby Undies". The largest size just fits Wub. You could also cut apart and trace a pair that fits your kid (or you)

A tee shirt with a cool graphic
A small amount of coordinating knit fabric with good recovery. (That means it bounces back when stretched.) This can come from the graphic tee or another tee you may have cut up for some other project.

A sewing machine with a zigzag stitch and all the stuff you 'd normally need to sew. 
You do not need a serger. You do not need a double needle. I have both of these and I chose to sew this with only zigzag because it can be done. Not having "fancy stuff" shouldn't stop you from doing something new. 
(See? One needle, set to a small zigzag)
First decide which side of the panties you want to have the graphic. I wanted it on the tushy so I could preserve as much of it as possible. Fold the graphic half of the tee in half and trace (or pin) your pattern.
Once I've got the pattern traced I like to pin the folded piece to keep it from separating when I cut it out. Now cut out it out
.Do the same with your other pattern piece. It's already starting to take shape. 
Next you are going to pin your crotch pieces right sides together (graphic on the inside) and sew them with a fairly narrow zigzag stitch. Try not to tug or stretch the fabric as goes through the machine. If your machine is struggling try increasing the size of your zigzag slightly until the fabric feeds through nicely. (You might want to practice on scraps first)
Repeat with the side seams.
Now you should have something that really resembles a pair of underwear. Turn them right sides out.
Use a tape measure to measure around the leg holes and around the waistband. Cut 2 strips of knit fabric 3 inches wide by leg hole measurement. (For me this was 3x13.5) and one strip of knit fabric 3 inches wide by waistband measurement. (for me this was 3x22)

Fold the strips in half and sew ends together to form a ring.
I'm going to admit it. I was being super lazy while I was making these so I didn't iron anything. Yes, these would be nicer if I'd taken my time and pressed a few things here and there. But they're still super cute and they were super fast. Iron if you must or just fold the tubes in  half  lenghtwise to form a double layer tube. You can either pin or just hold the legband to the outside of the leg hole. Graphic now facing out.

Using the same narrow zigzag sew the legband to the leg hole. Repeat on opposite side. 
Turn legbands down. 
Attach waistband in the same manner.
You do not need to finish the interior seams because the knit will not fray. You can if you want to though.
All told, from cutting out and taping the pattern to finished undies less than hour.
Not bad...
Tune in next time when our intrepid sewing mom shows you how to make one pair of girls underwear out of two pairs of boy underwear.

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