Tutorial: Lekala Underwear for Men (#6134)

I already spoke about this pattern in the past. My boyfriend is picky with his underwear, and can’t have anything strangling the family jewels. After looking here and there for a pattern that would suit him (I like the Comox Trunks from Thread Theory, but that was a no no for my boyfriend), I found this one, and I knew it was exactly what I needed. This underwear for men from Lekala was the most similar to the ones my boyfriend wears and prefers. The good news is that the pattern is very cheap ($2.69 right now) but the instructions are sparse to say the least, and it doesn’t include facings. You can very well make it without facings, but the result will be less neat. After making some here I’m going to show you my way, and I hope it can help to those of you with doubts about it.


I made two last year, and after how popular they became (they are really getting worn out), I took the time to make three more this February. I wanted to share this tutorial much earlier but several commitments left me with no time to post anything decent. Now that I have finally gotten my motorcycle license (phew!) I expect to have more free time again.


The pictures in this tutorial are from the one in the middle. The right and wrong sides of this fabric are different, so I think this will make it easy to follow.

One thing to take into account is that you can buy this pattern with and without seam allowances. You can save a bit by doing it without (as I did), but just do what is comfortable for you. Also, if you get it without seam allowances, this means you can customize them.


So you will need:

  • The 4 main pieces (front and back, right and left).
  • Right and left fly extension interface pieces.
  • Facing to cover the right fly extension.
  • Elastic.
  • Markers (I use Frixion Pen, it goes away with heat).
  • Pins.
  • Iron.
  • Sewing machine.
  • Serger (optional).

The first thing you need to do is pinning both front pieces together and draw the line where you will be sewing. Use a ruler.


For the straight part pick the longest stitch on your machine, since this will be ripped later on. We will be basting this to make things sit right and in place to get a perfect crotch. This was what I didn’t do the first two times and what prevented those two trunks from being perfect (but still good enough to still get a lot of wear nowadays).


For the curve switch to normal stitch length (2.5) and back stitch at the beginning of it to prevent it from being undone when we reap the straight seam. And don’t bother with zigzag, since this part won’t really stretch. A regular straight stitch will do, like for the previous seam line.


Then you will need to fuse some interfacing to the both fly extensions. I cut my interfacing pieces excluding the seam allowances to avoid having too much bulk.


Do this for both fly extensions.



And now we need the facing to cover the right side of the fly extension.


Fold and press the seam allowance.



And stitch the fold in place.


Now open both fly extensions and place the facing on top of the right one, right sides together.


Snip just where the curve for the crotch seam starts.


Sew the facing to the right fly extension, where the pins are placed in the picture above. I serged this part, but sewing is also fine here. You can do it with a straight stitch, since due to the interfacing, this part won’t stretch.

After turning it to the right side you should see something like the picture below. The right thing here would have been to serge the seam of the left fly extension. I forgot here and I did it at the end but now it would be the right time to do it. Serge also the crotch curve edge if it was not done when serging the facing and the extension together.


And now we need to draw the line to complete the fly.


Remember to open both fly extensions before sewing over this line, since we just want to join the left part with the left fly extension. The right fly extension should be left free here. I pined it to the side to avoid accidents.



Then sew the horizontal line at the bottom of the fly. This will secure the bottom part of the fly. You can use a straight stitch for both seams, the interfacing will prevent things from stretching out.


Open the basting we initially did, stopping at the horizontal line we previously sewn.


Open both sides and stitch the left fly extension to the front with a straight line, just where the fly overlaps. The trick here is leaving the little threads after reaping the seam and sewing over this line using it as a guide.



And you see that the trickiest part is already done!


This is the wrong side. My left fly extension is raw here, and I finished it afterwards, but it should be done where I specified before.


After the fly is done you can now construct the rest of the trunks. Sew (or serge) back pieces together and join them to the front pieces on the sides. After that just press the top and sew it to create the channel for the elastic. I usually leave a little gap at the center front where I feed the elastic, and then close it from the outside to make sure it’s neat. For this part I tested several things. My first times I did it with a zigzag, but I didn’t like the look of it. I tried with the bolt stitch and the triple stitch (both elastic), but these tended to stretch the fabric and were prone to accidents (having my fabric hooked in the plate hole and getting holes in it), so I finally set for a regular straight stitch, a bit longer than usual. If we think about it, the finished waist will be smaller due to the elastic, and it will never need to stretch out more than the original waist circumference. At least in my boyfriend’s case. Take this advice with a pinch of salt.

Hem both legs with a twin needle or a stretchy stitch of your preference (or use a cover stitch machine if you are so lucky ;).


Now that the hard work is complete you just need to sew a couple of buttons or place two snaps. With my old machine I couldn’t dream of making decent enough buttonholes, so I have a good stash of snaps, and it’s what I used on these again.


And voila! Here you have, perfect trunks.


The birds also wanted to try them out.


But after a while they were more interested in my fabric stash. This drawer looks like a nice nest!




Life is still changing here. Marvin, another rescued lovebird, joined Billy, Daisy and Colin. The group dynamics still need some more time but they are progressing favorably.

Billy is being treated right now for a bacterial hepatitis. He was not himself lately so we decided to pay a visit to the vet, and after an X-ray and a blood sample he confirmed the diagnose. He’s been on antibiotics for almost two weeks and he’s much better now.

And Colin, the most lovable bird in the world.

Colin says hi #lovebirds

A video posted by @elena_knits on

We will moving soon again. If you remember, we moved about a year ago but this apartment never lived up to our expectations, apart from being freackingly expensive and quite far from Koen’s work. Also the landlord is the most irresponsible person I’ve ever known. We had continuous toilet clogs since the beginning of spring and had to wait days with the whole mess in the bathroom. So we’re leaving. Soon. We went yesterday to see a beautiful apartment. It will be available at the end of the year, but we don’t mind waiting since we need to give a two months notice at the current apartment.

As I’ve said before, my sewing and knitting mojo left with my beloved Gerry, but I made an effort for two important babies:

Koen’s newest nephew


And of my friends from university’s first baby

I used the Peekaboo Lullaby bodysuit pattern. As I made them already some time ago, I don’t remember a lot, except that my sewing machine chewed up one of the sleeves when hemming it, so I decided not to topstitch the neckline to avoid making a mess. I do this more and more with knits, as my machine is quite unpredictable on them. Probably I will get a new one when things are settled down (I have my eye on the Elna 3210).

And as I had quite some fabric leftover I made another Kitschycoo Barrie Briefs. I barely wore the other two I made this summer because the double fabric made made me sweat (we had the hottest summer in the last 10 years), but for fall and winter they are nice and cozy.

Aren’t they nice with their knights and dragons?


Completed: Second Pair of Mens Trunks

Do you remember the pair of trunks I made last month for Koen? Well, they have become his favorites and he even gets them from the unfolded laundry to put them on, so I think he deserves more. I went to a local shop last week and bought two meters of this navy knit and I’m roughly aiming at making a pair a month. I’m saying roughly because I don’t want to impose crazy deadlines on something that is just my hobby. Some time ago I learned that stress should stay at work where it belongs, and my hobbies will only be where I shelter myself after a hard day at work.

Sorry for the wrinkled fabric and the light changes. Today we’re not having the most luminous of days and there were sudden changes of light due to the clouds and the wind (is it also freaking cold over there?).

There’s not much left to say about this pattern, just that I hope I’m going to get that crotch right one day, but making more of these should help me to reach this goal. I thought this one was going to be better than the previous, but I almost cut too much and I had to mend it on the wrong side by hand (ouch).

Sorry for so many photos, but I was having a fun time with Gerry. Aren’t his wings totally awesome? Look at those feathers! Then he wanted to play peek-a-boo while hiding inside the trunks. He loves doing the same with towels or skirts hanging on my mannequin.

The topstiching on the fly is done with a straight stitch this time instead of a zigzag. With the interfacing in place this part doesn’t stretch, so the zigzag makes no sense, and I have an unexplained aversion to exposed zigzag on knits. I still had to zigzag the waist to encase the elastic, but there are so many things you can’t do without a cover-stitch…

I put two snaps again from my stash, trying to find the ones that matched better but I’m not 100% happy with the color. They were the best though.

And this is the back, also wrinkled. The reason is that I finished them two days ago and they were piled with the previous ones (for comparing) on a chair. Yes, I hate folding clothes :/

And I leave you here a last photo of a headless Gerry. You do need to be a bird to have those postures! He could twist himself completely just to be able to bite a snap!

Completed: Lekala Trunks, underwear for men

Before buying the serger for my birthday, Koen was doing thorough research about what it could and what it was good for. He knew that if I had a serger, sooner than later, I was going to make him underwear.

I searched online and I first came upon Thread Theory Comox Trunks, but Koen was not convinced about the style and having his precious so tightly fitted, so I searched further and found this Lekala pattern that matched exactly the kind of underwear he has.

As I’ve mentioned, I used my new serger to make this. Side and inseam seams are serged. The crotch, waist and fly were sewn using a zigzag stitch, and the hem was done using a twin needle.

It was my first time using knit interfacing and there’s nothing special to say about it. It just works as expected.

My serger behaved quite well, but my sewing machine gave me the usual little issues when sewing knits (fabric jammed under the walking foot, tiny stitches, etc). I’d like to own a cover stitch machine one day but serging the edge and then sewing it with the twin needle gives a very neat finish.

I would like to say that the construction of these was smooth but, alas, it wasn’t. I was stuck for a complete day on the crotch part, unable to wrap my head around it. I pulled some of Koen’s trunks from the drawer just to inspect crotches and flies, crotches and flies.

The secret was adding an extra facing that I drafted using the original pattern. I get that Lekala won’t include facings, but this piece was not even mentioned in the pattern instructions. Latter I found an old pair of Koen’s trunks without this facing, but I was not convinced by the lack of structure, so I was happy I’ve added it. When sewing this I was not 100% happy with the zigzag. It always gives me a dodgy feeling, but I didn’t want to use a straight stitch on the fly just in case it could rip with the use. Seeing it now doesn’t bother me so much.

The pattern instructs you to add buttons, but I didn’t want an extra fight with my button foot, my machine and this knit fabric, so I added two snaps. Fast, efficient and painless.

When Koen tried them for the first time, he said that they pulled a bit on the crotch area. It didn’t surprise me, since I fought quite a while over there and who knows if I messed it up; but he’s wearing them today and he mentioned that he finds them very comfortable, to the point that he forgot he was wearing them. I think that counts as a win, don’t you think? Gerry apparently likes them too.

I would like to add that I purchased this pattern according to Koen’s measurements and without seam allowance. Adding one costs some little extra money, but could be worth it if you don’t especially like tracing. I think I’ll do that next time and see how it goes.

As this pattern is was also published in Craftsy, I’ve added my project there. I swear the pattern was there yesterday, but today it’s gone. Weird.