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 (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.
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!