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. 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!

  2. 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!

    1. 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.

  3. 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 🙂

  4. Simply gorgeous – thank you for another fantastic pattern! It really doesn’t get more decadent than a bias cut silk slip!!

  5. 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!

  6. 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!

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

  9. 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)!

  10. 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!

    1. 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.

  11. 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!

  12. 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!

  13. 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!

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

    1. Don’t know if this will be your ‘perfect slip’ though I hope it’s a contender!
      I’ve made myself 4 so far…

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