I have a bias

towards slips. I am a slip convert, a slip missionary even.

Do you know that these days many women don’t own even a single slip ?!

Maybe because they think slips are prissy and redolent of prudish sensibilities: “The more fabric between your body and the world the better!”

Or perhaps they are haunted by memories of scratchy cotton-organdie slips that granny/aunty/mum made them wear under Sunday best ? 

There are some very contemporary and excellent reasons to wear a slip:

-A slip can help mask bumps and lines from your other underwear thus making your dress look smoother and hang better…especially under an unlined dress.

-A slip in cold weather can keep you warmer.

-A slip in hot weather keeps your dress from sticking to your body thus giving the visual impression of ladylike coolness.

-A slip can prevent unfortunate revealing moments caused by weather events like a surprise breeze or being back lit by sunlight

-In her 1950 Sewing Simplified book  Mary  Brooks Picken writes “Wear your dress proudly: When your dress is finished, the last stitch taken, hang it where you can see it. Consider when and with what you will wear it. If you haven’t the right slip, make one at once.”

And well, they just make for nice dressing/undressing wear.

Arm poses optional.


Are you beginning to think  “hmmm, well yes a slip might be nice…”

One more hurdle to jump. Welcome to the Slip Shopping Minefield-in one corner is cheap floozie’ wear…

 and in the other is crazy expensive ‘designer’ wear (and for that kind of money I’d rather buy shoes or even go on a weekend mini-break)

There is a simple solution and I know you could see it coming a mile away:  D.I.Y.

VVcream bias

VeraVenus Bias Slip Pattern

Just added to my FreeStuff page is the pattern for this cut-to-cling bias slip in 3 sizes (33”-39” bust, 35″-41”hips)  with basic sewing instructions. I’d say making a bias slip is intermediate sewing. However you learn sewing by doing so have a go with some inexpensive easy fabric regardless of your skill level.

There is quite a lot of sewing info in my French Knicker tutorial on cutting flimsy fabrics, doing french seaming, pin hems, attaching lace etc. all applicable to sewing slips too.

The pattern can be adapted to make a gorgeous nightgown and is also marked  for cutting off to make a camisole as well.


Before you rush off :

1) DO TEST (ie toile/muslin/prototype) the pattern FIRST to check fit. It is cut to fit neatly. The 3 sizes are nested so you can see how I did the grading and so could grade up yourself even further for larger measurements.

2) DO Choose appropriate fabric, one with a good bias stretch i.e. not a taffeta or a dupioni or firm cottons or polys that don’t give on the bias much. Silk crepe de chines, georgettes and charmeuse generally have a good bias stretch but certainly rayons, thin cottons, and many polyester fabrics work perfectly well cut on the bias too. My own most often worn bias nightie is made from cotton. You can blend one size top with a different size hip. For example  my hip measurement is on the border between Size1 and Size2 so  I used Size2 hip line for cotton or less giving fabrics as it gives me more ease and the Size1 for very bias stretchy silks as I do like a clinging fit in a slip. That’s why trying the pattern out first to see how it works for you is important before using a special fabric.

3) DO Pre-wash your fabric first. Silk, rayons and cotton especially can shrink a little with washing and better that this happens before you spend hours sewing something than after. Pre-washing gives silks a nice vintage feel. I put mine through a super short machine cycle and then hang dry and give a good iron on the wrong side after. If you’re in doubt wash a small sample and check the result.



Have fun sewing!

If you enjoyed this post make my day & let me know!

  1. Absolutely gorgeous. I’m not as skilled with self patterning, but I’d love one made. The pink nightgown is stunning.

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  4. Thanks for all your hard work! Will try it out and hopefully I can own a nice handmade slip too. Much love from pippa

    • Good luck Pippa, hope it turns out well for you. If you have any questions about making it just get in touch!

  5. Hi! I’m going to try this ASAP! Thank you!

    Question, though: I’ve made one bias cut slip before, from McCall’s 6696 (very simple), and I need to do a narrow back adjustment on that one. The internet is failing me here and I’m at a loss at how to do fitting adjustments when working on the bias. How do you transfer muslin markings onto the flat pattern? Is it as easy as working with a normal pattern/adjustments?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Diana, some aspects of fitting on the bias are similar to fitting on the straight but others not. You know 2D chess games? Well working with bias is like a 3D version because you have both up and down as well as the diagonals. If you know your figure requires the same adjustments over and over on most patterns you use then for adjusting the slip pattern for a narrow back try literally taking out a vertical pleat in the centre back of the bodice pattern. To get the skirt to match the new width just shave off a bit at the the top of the side seams and see where that gets you. If you get to the stage of a muslin and would like some fitting help just send me an email through my contact form

    • Forgot to say about transferring markings:I use a tracing wheel through the muslin onto the paper or simply “eyeball” the alterations and draw them onto the paper based on the muslin ones

  6. You are so right – very few slips these days! I own several in various lengths/colors. Thanks for the patterns – I need a FULL slip, so this is perfect. Thanks and keep up the good work.

  7. WEDDING!!! I have just been asked to be maid of honour for a 1930s wedding and my bride has the most amazing hollywood beaded dress that makes her look like a goddess…..I need to fit the theme of 30s and be glamour without distracting from her awesomeness – THIS IS THE DRESS! It will be in gold, copper or bronze – just waiting final colour scheme!

  8. I’m so excited to try this pattern but I’m in desperate need of help in understanding how to cut on the bias. If the pattern says to place the center front on the fold but on the bias. I don’t want a seam down the front so how should I place the pattern on my fabric? Thanks so much!

    • Nicole, Don’t cut until you do some reading!
      This from Threads may help: http://www.threadsmagazine.com/item/3745/bias-101

      So as I think a bias project is new to you it may be much easier for you to create full pattern pieces rather than working with 1/2 patterns so you have the complete front and back and cut your fabric out as a single layer.
      Just print a second set of slip pattern pages out but have your printer flip the pages so you have a mirrored 2nd half to tape to the first.

  9. How did I miss this awesome free pattern?

    You wrote: ‘A slip in hot weather keeps your dress from sticking to your body thus giving the visual impression of ladylike coolness.’

    Ah, so that is how it is done! I thought you just wore the slip on its own… 😛
    Thankyou for this! It’s gorgeous. I can see it in a soft drapey fabric for a nightgown. (it being seriously too hot here to wear a slip as well as something on top of it 🙂

  10. Thank you so much for this pattern! I have plans to make a whole set of slips (I’ve done one semi-full skirt slip so far and I wear it ALL the time!) and this would be a beautiful addition!
    One other thing I really like about the slip concept – you don’t have line every individual garment and you don’t have to feel guilty about it! This then saves both resources/money and time and I love that!

  11. Excellent! Thank you for this information! I have been all over town and can’t find anything but spanx. I’d much rather have an elegant lacy slip slipping over me than a torture device digging into me, so I guess I’ll be taking the time to make my own. I appreciate your trail blazing!

  12. Thank you for this pattern–it looks really beautiful! I’m always slightly shocked when people say they don’t like wearing slips; I can’t go out without one. Looking forward to making this up to add to my collection!

  13. I love petticoats, you are right they correct hang covering up the knicker line are such a feminine thing to own. Thank you very much for the pattern – now off to find some fabrics and trim.

  14. Wow, thank you! I wear slips all of the time and considering what I do, have been glad for that more than once (breezes seem to love whipping up behind me JUST as I’m leaning over to shoot a particularly fine detail on a car…).

    Great idea for modifying the pattern as a nightgown, too; yours is beautiful. The print is so pretty! In fact…true confessions of a vintage gal time…after particularly long and exhausting days I’ll just slip into bed still in my slip. I know that’s probably violating a rule, but I don’t do it too often, Hubby never complains, and I feel fabulous dozing off and waking up (despite a decent collection of vintage nighgowns)!

  15. Thank you for the pattern! I have a question: I’m petite and always have to make some adjustments to the back.I would like to know the distance between neck and waist for this pattern (back length)? Thank you again!

    • Hi Raquel, back length is 15″¼ -½”. It works on me at 5’4″ but when tried on by my daughter who is 5’2″ a good ½” horizontal pleat taken out above the waist front and back would have made it a better fit. Shortening the top of the bust sections as well so they come up less high on the upper chest would probably be a good idea for a petite fit too. Do keep the front edges on the straight grain if you make that alteration as well. Hope that helps.

  16. As a little girl, I wanted to wear my slip to school as a dress! It was so pretty with lace and that adorable rosebud at the top. Now, my favorite is a vintage one I bought on Etsy. It has pin tucks and lace and fits like a glove. However, I want a pale blue one for under a white linen cut work blouse with blue stitching. Maybe this is the one. Thank you!

  17. It;’s gorgeous, thank you so much!
    I never stopped wearing slips – if a skirt or dress is unlined, it’s impossible to wear tights with it without the awful creep thing…. I have a few waist slips that were mummy’s – coupld of M&S and couple of prettier Italian ones – but no full slip. Marks do have slips but they’re so boring and utilitarian. I actually bought a set of beige and black slips from them recently – they don’t do the fuller ones or even A-linish ones, they’re like a tube with a little slit at the back – anyway, I shorted one for knee length dresses and trimmed it with some pretty lace and it looks much better now :). But this will be gorgeous under voile fresses!
    thanks sovery much!

  18. You are the best Vera Venus! Thank you so much for the pattern. I have been hunting for a slip for summer dresses to no avail. The only offering I was able to find was hideous, scratchy, and I swear it was made out of the same material my air conditioner cover is made out of – canvas. I will now have some lovely slips for my summer dresses. Thank you again for being such a generous soul.
    PS: I love my French knickers!

  19. This is gorgeous, and I haven’t seen a slip like this since the 60’s!! Thank you SO MUCH! You are a generous and kind woman.

  20. Thanks for this. It drives me absolutely crazy that slips have fallen out of the mainstream. I’m always on the hunt for suitable undergarments and no one else my age seems to understand my search for the perfect slip.

  21. Thank you for sharing the pattern it looks so glamorous. I have a small piece of drapey viscose crepe in lavender which may just be the ticket for a camisole using the top part. Mmmmm.

  22. You must have been reading my mind. All weekend I have been looking up vintage slips and nightgowns with the lace cutouts. . I am so happy right now and on a Monday, that is great.

  23. Thank you so very much for sharing yet another great pattern, now to find some suitable fabric around here, but I will because I must make up this slip and nightdress and cami and french knickers need I say more..except once again thank you for being generous

  24. Thank you for this beautiful DIY slip. I remember sewing so many slips before, very useful to sleep in a hot summer nights.
    So much holidays souvenirs !

  25. When I was growing up my dad wouldn’t let me out the house if I wasn’t wearing my slip. He used to say “only certain kinds of girls go out without a slip.” Of course, as a teenager I thought this was totally unreasonable and ridiculous. Nowasays I love wearing my slip. At what point in life do we find that we have turned into our parents?

    • Lol, I don’t know but I have…. I look at my daughter and say “Really? You’re going out dressed like that??” I have a lot more sympathy with my mum now and what she had to put up with in me!

  26. thank you thank you! I am definitely on the same page about full slips being important, and i find it’s difficult to find one that’s priced affordably and looks nice (none of those stretchy, suck-you-in in many different places and then always roll up at the bottom ones for me). I will be making one up presently!

  27. Thank you for the great pattern! I’ve downloaded 😀 I’ve made one slip using a 1940s pattern which ended up quite nice and I finished it in a few hours, even with hand finished bias facings.
    Also made a pair of french knickers from the same pattern.
    Now, not having worked with bias very much, I’m not sure how to prevent the slight waving that happens at a seam when sewn this way. Is it my stitch length and/or tension that is causing this? Do you know how I would be able to avoid this happening? I notice it does fall out slightly after a bit of a hang but if I could stop it from being wavy in the first place, I’d be super pleased!
    I’m entirely self taught so sometimes these things are little mysteries to me which I’m sure most people figured out a long time ago and the answer is very obvious!
    Any help would be much appreciated 😀

    • Sadly I don’t think there is just one easy answer to that question… 🙁
      In the sewing pdf for the slip I have shared bias seaming info a very experienced professional gave me years ago and I’ve been using her method ever since. It has to do with both stitch length and tension and how the fabric feeds through. Have a look and see if that is different than what you do.
      I get more ripples in chiffon than in weightier silks and using small stitches seems to make for more problems too.
      Sometimes washing will help reset fabric grains that have been over stretched too.
      Its been suggested that seams ripple if the garment is too small. However a friend with 2 inch smaller hips than me tried on my cream slip and it rippled on her hips but is smooth as anything on mine, so I don’t think thats the answer either.
      I’m quite convinced stitch length/tension and how the seams are pressed are the main factors governing rippling.

  28. YOU have made me soooo very happy! I just washed a lovely fabric with the intention of making a nightgown cut on the bias – looked all through my patterns and could find nothing. :-0 Thanks to you, I now own a wonderful bias pattern! I am in your debt!

  29. Thank you for this! I used to wear slips. Got out of the habit and it is hard to find nice ones these days. I plan to sew more dresses and skirts so will definitely need slips.

  30. Lovely 🙂 I have made a couple of slips out of cotton voile (poplin doesn’t have enough give and hangs more stiffly), can’t wear synthetics here it’s just too hot, but you’re right, they finish a dress perfectly.