Making “Nude” Personal

As mentioned in previous posts, I’m making myself a whole new wardrobe. Due to circumstances in my personal life, I may be unable to sew in May and June, possibly longer. Until then, I’m cram-sewing multiples of things to get myself ready for spring, which is every bit as exhausting as it sounds. And every bit as productive as it sounds! It’s thanks to cram-sewing that I will soon have 10 amazing pairs of nude bicycle shorts.

This pattern is a second generation McCall’s 6173 leggings pattern. There are lots of leggings pattern in the online sewing community (including the Manila Leggings by Seamwork and Peg Legs by Patterns for Pirates) that are more popular than 6173, but I remain loyal to this pattern. With just one very simple pattern piece, it is personal-fit friendly and fast to make. So after watching Beverly Johnson’s Sewing Shapewear: Smooth Silhouettes class on Craftsy, I decided to use my personal fitted 6173 to make bicycle shorts.

In the class, she tells you how much negative ease to put into your bicycle shorts. I had ordinary spandex from my local discount fabric store, so decided to work with less ease – just 10%, instead of the amount she recommended. (Speaking of recommendations – I recommend you purchase this class! She teaches you how to make your own girdle, which is so simple but totally genius. Also, she’s a breath of body positive fresh air. And it’s currently on sale for $20. You’re welcome!)

I created the 10% negative ease by finding the center of the waistline and drawing a line through it, perpendicular to the DOGS – direction of greatest stretch. I multiplied my waistline length by 0.1, and then reduced that much at the line I drew by shifting and tracing the reference pattern. It was a bit fiddly and fussy, but I love fiddly fussy pattern stuff. :) And it worked! So yay.

My test version was a bit snug, so for the “real” ones I sewed a 1/4″ seam allowance instead of a 1/2″ seam allowance. Then I had a brain blast – what if my bicycle shorts weren’t just ugly, embarrassing Chub Rub Defense Collection items, but intentional lingerie? What if the brown fabric I picked wasn’t just to blend in with my skin, but to simulate a barely there effect that let other details shine more brightly? And what makes lingerie, lingerie?


There is no such thing as brown lace, so I knew I’d have to dye my own. It’s been awhile since I dyed anything, so I spent an afternoon with a friend dyeing pieces of stretch lace, while she dyed a huge piece of linen. My results:

Sure, not all of these are brown. But it helped get comfortable with the dyeing process, and what tools I’d need. Armed with this information, I set about creating my at home dye set up:

and got busy dyeing!


Want to know more about my dyeing set up and process? Email subscribers will get a free download and tutorial video, so make sure you join the mailing list to get this and other helpful downloads!

[ninja_form id=5]


It took a few tries and a huge mess, but I finally got it:

Buuuuut. Last piece of the dyeing puzzle. Your dyed textile will dry lighter than it is when it comes out of the dye bath! I didn’t realize that. Oops. But you know what? The slight variations in brown make the lace pop even more. So the brown fabric can blend with my skin, and the lace can pop a little. Now if anyone sees part of my bicycle shorts it won’t be embarrassing or shameful, it will be a titillating glimpse of a lady’s nude lingerie. #Winning!

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  1. These are such a good idea! And the lace definitely gives them that special lingerie look. Hope you get all your planned sewing in before your break!

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