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. SO many slip fans… no need for a mission I see! Am looking forward to new-made bias slips around the web 🙂

  2. Yay! A lovely slip to try sewing. And I am needing a slip! Thank you!

  3. 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.

  4. That slip (and the nightgown) is absolutely gorgeous!! As an avid slip-wearer myself, I think I’ll have to make one or two of these

  5. 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.

  6. Wonderful. I need more slips, and I should work on my nonexistent bias sewing skills anyway. Thank you!

  7. 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

  8. 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 !

  9. Love bias cut slips!! thank you for another wonderful pattern and the inspiration to make it 🙂

  10. 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?

    1. 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!

  11. This is beautiful. Thank you so much for posting the pattern. I love slips!

  12. Hi! This is really pretty! I agree with other people here. Thank you so much!

  13. 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!

  14. 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 😀

    1. 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.

  15. 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!

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

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