I have a bias

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  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-Jean Harlow in gown

(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.

VeraVenus Bias Slip

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.

bias silk georgette nightgown

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!


59 thoughts on “I have a bias

  1. OMG I finally found someone who “gets it”…..so…here is my deal…..im 56 and kinda heavy with nice boobs…..and bum….if I do say so myself…But…the girls are going a little south (like waaay south) after breast feeding two babies…I have to sleep with a bra but have always wanted to create a beautiful slip style nightgown with support and will have to custom make it….My nightgowns are the only time I ever wear anything super feminine….I imagine silk or linen (with a bit thicker straps over the shoulders) with little pink silk roses (which i can also make) I found a shop that makes INCREDIBLE mid weight linen ….is there a pattern here you would recommend? So I dont go and reinvent the wheel?

    1. Hi Annie, your dream nightgown sounds lovely! Blending a bra pattern (my 40’s one for instance or any bra pattern you can find that you like and that uses woven fabrics) with the body of my bias slip pattern could work… totally do-able but heavily dependant on your pattern hacking and fitting skills. I seem to remember bra-slips were a popular lingerie item in the 70’s but have sadly disappeared since. I always thought them a good idea but have never gotten around to actually making myself one so cannot offer any more concrete suggestions.

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

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

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

  4. 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!

    1. 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

    2. 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

  5. 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.

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