Hand Sewn Underwear

A Virtual Class with Louisa Owen Sonstroem

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Treat yourself to some sweet hand-sewn underwear, stitched by your own two hands. With a bit of soft jersey, a needle and thread, and some elastic, you can sew a beautiful pair of undies. Wear them on days when you want to feel special, or make a few pairs to build a collection of hand-sewn basics. Either way, they’ll be your own little hand-sewn secret!

In this two-session live Zoom class, taught by Louisa Owen Sonstroem, you will learn how to hand sew with stretchy knit fabric. Try your hand at stitches and finishing techniques that are just right for knits. Equipped with these skills, you’ll be ready to hand sew lots of other stretchy clothes, too. 

The course will take place over two sessions, and will consist of:

  • several pre-class videos to help students prepare their sewing patterns, and to cut them out of the fabric
  • two live, virtual classes with Louisa
  • access to a private platform group for questions and sharing

Please note that hand sewing is a slow experience. Class time will include accelerated demonstrations, but there will also be some slow stitching work. You will need to do lots of stitching outside of class time if you wish to complete your underwear. Also, there will be several hours of prep work to do before the first class. Louisa’s pre-class videos will walk you through this work, but you will need to set aside time for it.

Two sessions: Saturday, May 21st and Sunday May 22nd, 2022

11am – 1:30pm ET

Zoom, a link will be sent to participants
the day before class.


This class is part of the Hand-Sewn Wardrobe Basics Series. You can purchase the entire series here: https://tatter.org/events/hand-sewn-wardrobe-basics-series/


  • An underwear pattern (Louisa recommends the Megan Nielsen Acacia Undies, which are free with a newsletter sign-up and come in sizes 0-30, accommodating up to a 58” hip. However, you’re welcome to acquire a different panties pattern with similar styling. Another good option is the Waratah Undies from Muna and Broad.)
  • Stretchy knit fabric — ideally a soft, midweight cotton jersey. Yardage amount will depend on your size and the yardage’s width, but you may need as little as ½ yd or as much as 2 yds. Check your pattern and size to determine the amount needed. 
  • Several yards of ¼”-wide regular elastic. This will be hidden away inside casings, so don’t worry about the color. Again, the amount needed will depend on size — you’ll need enough to wrap around your waist, and around both thighs, plus a little bit extra, just in case. You can measure your body or check the pattern’s recommendations to find this amount.
  • A spool of cotton or poly-cotton thread in a coordinating color.
  • Extra fine straight pins. (Size 20, 1 ¼” long, are good, but use what you can find.)
  • Ballpoint hand sewing needle. Examples are https://www.amazon.com/Singer-Point-Assorted-Needles-10-Count/dp/B002PQEZ3K and https://www.amazon.com/Dritz-10-Piece-Ball-Point-Needles/dp/B005573G3Q
  • Clear gridded ruler or other ruler.
  • Fabric-marking tool, such as a water-soluble marker or pencil, hera marker, chalk, etc.
  • Pencil, paper scissors, and tape.
  • Fabric shears.
  • Optional: beeswax, thimble.

Louisa Owen Sonstroem

Louisa Owen Sonstroem believes there is little more powerful than working with one’s hands, because manual skills are empowering, enduring, and slow. Whether she is drafting sewing patterns with a pencil and paper, hand-sewing “slow fashion” clothing, or foraging wild plant fibers to spin on a drop spindle, Louisa relishes using primitive tools in sophisticated ways.

Louisa holds a B.A. from the University of Connecticut and an additional degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology, where she studied patternmaking and fashion design. She also studied patterns at RISD and MassArt. She has worked in the garment industry for several years, most recently in technical design at Macy’s and now Eileen Fisher. During her time at Macy’s she also ran a weekly employee mending workshop, building skills, community, and sustainable momentum.

You can find Louisa on Instagram @louisaowensonstroem

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