Making Bruce

See also

Measurements

Documentation for the measurements required to draft Bruce

Bruce measurements

Options

Documentation for all the options that come with bruce

Bruce options

Save time, trees, and effort: go paperless

If you want to avoid printing your pattern, make sure to use the paperless theme so you can avoid the entire printing/sticky tape business altogether.

Read more about paperless patterns

Video

Text a bit dry for you? I try to make videos available as part of the pattern documentation.

I accidentally deleted the first episode, and I don’t have a backup :( However, episode 2 is where I actually make the boxers

Before you start

Your end goal
Your end goal

What you need

To make Bruce, you will need the following:

  • Basic sewing supplies
  • About 1 meter of a suitable fabric (see Fabric options)
  • Enough wide (3cm or wider) elastic to fit around your waist
  • A serger, although you can survive without one

Fabric options

You need a stretchy fabric for this pattern. Preferable something that is comfortable and soft to the touch, while allowing the skin to breathe.

I personally think that nothing can beat rayon for this pattern, although you can do with some other knit too, like jersey.

When in doubt, go for rayon.

Cutting

  • Main fabric
    • Cut 1 back on the fold
    • Cut 2 fronts on the fold
    • Cut 2 insets
    • Cut 2 sides
Caveats
  • back
    • Extra hem allowance at the leg
  • front
    • Cut this twice

Bruce consist of a back, and two sides, insets and fronts.

Below is a typical draft layout:

A typical Bruce draft
A typical Bruce draft
Check the printing scale

If you printed your pattern, use the scale box to double check that your draft was printed at the correct scale.

Notation legend

The notation legend explains all the different markings and lines on your draft.

Construction

Step 1: Join back to first side

Join back to first side
Join back to first side

Align the side of the back (piece 1) with the side (piece 3) making sure to put the good sides together. Since the side (piece 3) is symmetric, you can’t go wrong.

Serge them together, taking into account that the seam allowance is 1cm. So aim the outside needle of your serger 1cm from the edge of your fabric.

If metric is not your bag, 1 cm is 3/8 inch.

Some sergers have a a lever to choose between flat seams, or bundled up seams. If you plan to topstitch later (see Step 6), make sure to choose flat seams.

Step 2: Join back to second side

Join back to second side
Join back to second side

Align the other side of the back (piece 1) with the second side (piece 3) making sure to put the good sides together. Since the side (piece 3) is symmetric, you can’t go wrong.

Serge them together, as you did on the other side.

The back and sides are now joined together. Put them aside for a moment as we turn our attention to the other pieces.

Step 3: Join first inset and fronts

Start at one end
Start at one end
Continue to align the pieces as you move on
Continue to align the pieces as you move on
Until your reach the other end
Until your reach the other end

Joining the inset (piece 4) with the fronts (piece 2) requires you to serge them together across their curvy edges.

Remember that you have two fronts. You have to put them on top of each other and treat it as one double-layered front.

Faced with a tricky seam like this, you might reach for your pins or basting thread, but don’t. Pinning or basting this will make it harder to sew.

Instead, start at the top of the curved seam, aligning the pieces as shown, and slowly serge them together a few cm.

As you move along, manipulate the fabric to make sure both edges stay on top of each other as you feed them through your serger.

As you manipulate the fabric to get it aligned properly, it’s easy to stretch one part more than the other. The notch in the curved edge can help you make sure you’re keeping things even.

Once you’ve passed the notch, things will get easier. This would also be a good time to compare the remaining lenght of the curved seams. If one is a bit longer than the other, simply stretch the shorter one until they match up.

If the difference is too big however, just leave it. It will get get cut off when we do the crotchseam.

This is probably the hardest seam in the pattern. Take it slow, and you’ll be fine.

Step 4: Join second inset and fronts

Join second inset and fronts
Join second inset and fronts

After you have joined the first inset and the fronts, continue with the second one.

With the fronts and insets joined together, you are left with 3 parts:

  • The joined insets and fronts
  • The joined sides and back
  • The elastic

Step 5: Close the fronts dart

Close the fronts dart
Close the fronts dart

Fold the fronts double along the center fronts line, so that the tusks at the bottom line up.

Serge the sides of the tusks to close the fronts dart. For best results, start at the top of the seam (where the fabric is folded) and work your way to the bottom.

Keep that seam away from my ...

Alternatively, sew the darts on each piece individually so that both seams are folded inside. Arguably, not having an exposed seam in this area is more comfortable for the wearer.

Step 6: Optional: Topstitch

Boxers with (left) and without topstitching
Boxers with (left) and without topstitching

This step is optional. Topstitching adds a visual effect that emphasizes the individual pattern pieces. It’s nice to visually break up a solid fabric, but if you’re using a print, or when you’re colour-blocking, you might want to not topstitch.

If you want to topstitch your serged seams for visual effect, you should do so now.

If you topstitch, simply do it for every seam, making sure to do so with a flexible stitch. You can use a zig-zag stitch or twin needle if you don’t have a coverlock or specific flexible stitch setting.

When topstitching the seam that closed the fronts dart, start from the bottom, and let the topstitching run all the way to the top, where the waistband will come. The seam stops halfway through (where the dart ends) but your topstitching should continue.

Step 7: Join the first side to the fronts

Join the first side to the fronts
Join the first side to the fronts

Align the side edge of the first side with the edge make up of the fronts+inset (good sides together as usual) and serge them together.

Step 8: Join the second side to the fronts

Join the second side to the fronts
Join the second side to the fronts

Do the same for the second side.

Step 9: Optional: Topstitch

Boxers with (left) and without topstitching
Boxers with (left) and without topstitching

If you’ve topstitched before, make sure to do the same now for the seams you made in step 7 and 8.

Step 10: Finish the crotchseam

Finish the crotchseam
Finish the crotchseam

We will now serge the arched opening in the back part to the front parts of the boxers, made up of the fronts and insets.

The notches on the back piece will help you. There’s the center notch, and the other two notches should match up with where the fronts and inset pieces are joined.

It’s easier to start in the middle point and work your way to one side. Then start from the middle again to do the other side.

Take it slow, and be very aware of where your serger blade is cutting into.

Step 11: Hem the first leg

Hem the first leg
Hem the first leg

Time to hem the legs. Hem them as you would do any other stretchy knit. Go for a flexible stitch. You can use a zig-zag stitch or twin needle if you don’t have a coverlock or specific flexible stich setting.

I feel that hemming is much easier when you pin things in place first. So fold back your hem, and pin it in place. Even better: pin both legs in place and only sew when you’re happy with how it looks.

Step 12: Hem the second leg

Hem the second leg
Hem the second leg

You know it makes sense.

Step 13: Make your elastic into a loop

Make your elastic into a loop
Make your elastic into a loop

Sew both ends of your elastic together with good sides together.

Not sure how much elastic you need?

Simply wrap your elastic around your waist where it would end up sitting, and tighten it until if feels right. Make a mark of where the edge joins, add 2cm seam allowance, and that’s your length.

Step 14: Attach elastic to waist

Attach elastic to waist
Attach elastic to waist

Attach the elastic to the waist.

Do so good sides together if you’re using a flexible stitch or twin needle on a conventional sewing machine.

If you’re using a coverlock, put the elastic on top of the good side of the fabric.

The length of your elastic will probably difffer from the fabric length, as they stretch differently. Pinning will help you achieve an even stretch.

Divide both your elastic and boxer waistline into 4 (or 8) parts. Pin elastic and fabric together at these point.

While sewing, stretch elastic and fabric together between each set of pins, removing the pins as your move on.

Step 15: Trim and clean up

Yay! You've made it
Yay! You've made it

Trim any excess fabric you might have at elastic or hem, and any loose threads.

Congratulations, you did it!

You've completed all the steps to make this, well done you!

We'd love to see what you came up with. Make sure to send us some pictures, or even better: share them on social media.

Tip: Use the #freesewing hashtag when sharing on social media.