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Eep! Crotch Linings Explained

crotch lining gusset in panty

Crotch lining is like the word moist. For some, it’s NBD to say. For others, let’s just say it doesn’t roll off the tip of their tongue mellifluously. I think it’s better than saying genital lining, don’t you think? Perspective people! It’s all about perspective.

Crotch linings are a necessary component of undies, however, they aren’t discussed much. Maybe it’s the word? Awkward or not, I’m here today to give some tips and tidbits about those little buggers. Seriously, they can a pain in the butt, errr… crotch?

  • Crotch lining and gusset – the difference? When it comes to undies, it’s the same thing. At least that’s my understanding. A gusset can also be a “triangular or rhomboidal piece of fabric inserted into a seam to a reduce stress from tight-fitting clothing.” In the case of active wear (i.e. yoga pants), it’s that little piece in the crotch area that is usually sewn in using a cover stitch. I’ve also seen it sewn into the underarm/armpit area of a top/blouse. It adds mobility to a garment (read: it allows you to raise your arms and do all those crazy yoga poses without experiencing a fashion faux pas).
  • A crotch lining is usually made of a moisture-wicking, breathable fabric such as cotton to keep the hoo-hah area dry and ventilated, and inhibit the growth of bacteria or odors. I strongly advise not to use a poly or synthetic fabrics because it will make it “moist” down there.
  • There are several ways to attach a crotch lining. Just three types that are most common – crotch linings that are completely enclosed at the front and back (tutorial here), crotch linings that are half enclosed (tutorial here) and crotch linings that are not enclosed at all. In RTW, the last is the most economical and usually found in lower priced undies. Let’s pretend a company makes 1 million pairs of undies a month and saves one cent per pair of panties if the crotch lining is not enclosed at all. That one cent sounds like nothing, however, multiply that one cent by one million, and you have the difference of $10,000. That’s a lot. For the home sewist though, we’re not dealing with millions. For all you me-made undie makers, there’s no right or wrong way. It depends on your preference.
  • I have read that having one end open (not enclosed on both sides) allows water and soap to get inside and do it’s job during cleaning/washing.
  • If the crotch lining is half enclosed or not enclosed at all, you can finish the front and/or back edges with a serger, or you can left it raw like the image above. The length/width of the crotch lining at the front and back is so small, usually between 2-3″ wide, that the jersy won’t roll back and the elastic sewn at either ends keeps it in place.
  • My tip to reduce bulk when attaching a crotch lining. Remove / cut off 1/4″ from the left and right sides of the crotch lining. Almost always, the seam allowances on an undie are between 1/4″-3/8″. If you’ve lined the undie with a stretch mesh, which I do about half the time, when you sew the elastic to it, there will be 3 plys of fabric in the crotch area. Add that to the thickness of the elastic, it will be bulky. If you’ve enclosed the crotch lining at the back, that’s 6 layers of fabric plus the thickness of the elastic at the seam. Oi vey! Eliminating even 1 ply really helps to reduce the thickness. Try it.

Now that you’ve got the 411 on crotch linings, why not make a pair? Or two? Or three?!?!? Swoop up a Madalynne x Simplicity 8228 kit and watch this full video tutorial. The kits come with a lace trimming that I apply at the waist in the tutorial (it is not demonstrated in the instructions with the pattern). If you sign up for the video, receive 10% off of the kit with the code TUTORIAL10. 

crotch lining gusset in panty

5 Comments

  1. Reply

    Stevie Bashford

    Hah! I’m with you on the word “moist” and “gusset!” Both made me shudder. But still as you said its a little more delicate than Genital lining! You made me laugh with that one, good tips though, I didn’t realise that leaving one end open was related to laundering, I tend to enclose at the back, at the seams and leave the top overlocked.

    • Reply

      Maddie

      I overlock half the time and don’t the other half. It’s sometimes hard to get the tension right on such delicate fabric, and leaving raw doesn’t look bad.

  2. Reply

    Clare Williamson

    I have had beach/swimwear only enclosed at one end and the gusset ended up full of sand!!

    • Reply

      Maddie

      Yikes! I’m sure that wasn’t the intended purpose!

  3. Reply

    Anna Kay

    “Crotch lining” is exactly what you want to say. The added fabric is not, in fact, a gusset, though old fashioned undies (I’m imagining my grandmother’s “tap-pants”-style underpants) did have an added piece of fabric between the legs for ease of movement and added comfort. And “genital lining” doesn’t work since you are lining the crotch of the undies (the “entrejambe” in French), not the “girly bits” of the woman wearing them. http://wearinghistoryblog.com/2016/06/how-to-sew-1940s-panties-gusset/

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