How to Make a Half-Slip: A Sewing Tutorial

Posted by on Sep 26, 2013 in Sewing | Comments


I pretty much live in dresses, because they are easy to toss on, and chic to wear. It’s a win-win! But there is nothing chic about having the skirt of your dress cling to your tights or undies, preventing the skirt from hanging the way it was intended. Enter the slip. It might seem old school to wear a slip, but their purpose is valid. So instead of going to the mall to buy an old-fashioned granny slip, how about learning how to make a half slip, and sewing one for yourself?

Blue Slip Laying Against Patterned Fabric

I decided to make mine out of Bemberg rayon, which is slippery like silk or polyester, but breathable and cool. Most people think that rayon is a man-made fiber synthetic, but it is actually a natural fiber, as it’s made from wood pulp. Therefore, it breathes and doesn’t hold in the heat like a synthetic does. Silk is another good choice, but silk can retain a lot of heat and be warm under an already warm garment, whereas rayon is cool to the touch. An ideal choice for a slip!

For this project, I’m not using a pattern, since the slip is a simple pair of rectangles. You can use all these techniques in conjunction with a slip pattern if you like, but I just cut mine out and went for it. Let’s get started!

Handmade half-slip tutorial

Step 1:

Measure your hips, or the widest part of your lower body, and add 1″ of ease. Then add an additional 1 1/4″ for the seam allowance. This is the width of your slip to cut. Measure from your waist (or where you want to wear the slip) down to your desired length. Add 1/4″ for the top hemming and the desired hem amount for the bottom. I hemmed mine 3/8″ twice, making it 1″ total between the hem and the top. Add this 1″ to the desired finished slip length for the total length to cut.

Since this is not a slip with a slit, it is best to keep this at the knee or above. I made mine to fit under my favorite dresses. Check your closet to do the same!

Cutting Fabric

Step 2:

Cut out two rectangles that are the width and length of the measurements you figured out in Step 1.

Pinning Fabric

Step 3:

Sew the side seams. There are many ways to do this, but since it is a semi-sheer fabric, I chose to do French seams. To do them the same way, pin along one side seam, wrong sides together. Be sure to use the correct pins for your fabric. I used silk pins as to not mar the rayon.

Close Up on Fabric Beneath Presser Foot

Step 4:

Sew along the pin side seam at 3/8″ seam allowance.

Using Scissors to Cut Excess from Seam

Step 5:

Trim the seam allowance down to 1/8″.

Iron Pressing Fabric

Step 6:

Press the seam allowance to one side. Be sure to use a press cloth for all the pressing steps, if necessary!

Step 7:

Flip and press on the opposite side of the seam.

Iron Pressing Seam

Step 8:

Press the seam flat.

Fabric with Straight Pins Along the Seam

Step 9:

Pin along the side seam, keeping the seam sewn in Step 4 centered.

Pinned Fabric Beneath Presser Foot

Step 10:

Sew along the side seam at 1/4″, totaling the 5/8″ seam allowance you figured in when cutting.

Pressing Inside Seam Down

Pressing Outside of Seam

Step 11:

Press the seam on both the inside and outside of the French seam. Repeat Steps 3–10 on the other side seam.

Pressing Bottom Hem of Slip

Step 12:

Hem the bottom of the slip as desired. Many slips attach lace on the hem, but I find that it often catches on my dresses, making the slip’s functionality pointless. I folded the slip 3/8″ and pressed, then repeated.

Hem of Lace Beneath Presser Foot

Pressing Bottom Hem Seam Flat

Step 13:

Pin the hem in place and stitch close to the upper fold. Press again when finished stitching.

Pink Lingerie Elastic on Top of Fabric

Step 14:

Wrap your lingerie elastic around your waist (or hip, depending on where you plan to wear it) and add 1/2″ to that measurement. Then, cut to length. It should feel snug, but not tight.

Lingerie Lace with Pin Beneath Presser Foot

Step 15:

Pin the elastic, right sides together, and stitch together along the ends with a short and narrow zigzag stitch. Trim off excess elastic and press seam allowance to one side.

Sewn Lingerie Lace on Fabric

Step 16:

Divide the elastic into quarters and mark with pins. Repeat and divide the slip waist seam into quarters and mark with pins.

Lingerie Lace Pinned to Fabric

Step 17:

Line up and pin the elastic to the waist at each quarter spot. Place the elastic with the right side facing the skirt’s right side and the flat edge of the elastic in line with the top of the fabric at the waist.

Machine Sewing Lingerie Lace in Place

Step 18:

Sew on the elastic with a short and narrow zigzag stitch. Stitch just above the trimmed edge and pull the elastic as you go so it matches the skirt.

Scissors Cutting Off Excess Fabric Along Lace Seam

Step 19:

Trim the extra fabric on the inside of the waist to 1/8″. This can be tricky, so be careful not to cut your elastic.

Machine Stitching on Right Side of Waist

Close Up on Lingerie Elastic Sewn to Slip

Step 20:

Flip the elastic to the inside and stitch on the right side of the waist with a wider zigzag stitch. Keep the stitch on the elastic so they are fully attached to each other. As you did the first time, stretch the elastic to fit so you are not sewing over any bumps.

Pressing Elastic and Waist Seam

Step 21:

Take the elastic to the iron and steam it to shrink.

Hand Sewing Ribbon

Step 22:

Add a bow or any other detail at the center front of the waist with needle and thread if desired.

Bow Hand Sewn on Slip

Ready to sew some more undergarments? Check out our bra sewing tutorial and vintage-inspired panties tutorial. You may also enjoy our tips for sewing lingerie fabrics.

Have you made your own slips before? What’s your favorite lingerie to sew for yourself?

Comments

  1. Kristin says:

    I love it! I’ve never understood the purpose of slips (seriously) but as I’m starting to make and wear only dresses, I’m also understand the importance of lining them… and as I’m terribly lazy I feel like a slip could also make up for when I don’t want to line! Thanks so much for posting this great tutorial!

    1. MammaNene says:

      I agree, Kristin… a slip can be the answer to my lining lazyness!
      I can see more slips on my future!

      MammaNene @ SergerPepper.blogspot.it

  2. Rosemary says:

    Over the years I have made several slips using an old slip as a pattern. Slips are not always easy to find in department stores and if you do they don’t always fit. Another caution about fabric: make sure you use a fabric that doesn’t collect static or it will stick to you or your clothes. I made one cotton, even using the old lace from the worn out one, and one of tricot. It’s also handy to be able to make them the length you want as when long dresses were in style, it was difficult to find a long slip!.

  3. presstoplay says:

    Wonderful simple tutorial – will make one this weekend! Many thanks.

  4. sewandsing says:

    Great tutorial! Another idea (but thinking, maybe this makes it more like a granny slip…): cut it on the bias. It gives it the feel of a fabric with some stretch. Finish the hem with a flat lace – no need to turn the hem up; the bias keeps it from raveling. Just sew the lace on and trim the fabric close to the stitching. If you do choose bias cut, let the skirt hang for 24-48 hours before getting to make sure that the hem us straight.

  5. Thanks for this, especially your emphasis on proper pressing. You can really see how it helps to make a professional looking finished product.

  6. Camielle says:

    Christine, would you consider a tutorial on making a camisole, one without straps, so that my bra won’t be seen thru sheer fabric? I should have lined this top but was new to sewing and didn’t do it. Thanks, Camielle

  7. mgronan says:

    love it

  8. Thank you so much for posting this! I can’t wait to try

  9. Charleen says:

    This was just what I needed! I was ready to revamp a full slip into a half slip. Excellent tutorial.
    Thank you.

  10. Jo Mimms says:

    I wondered about the bemberg- if it was suitable and if it launders well. I’ve used cotton previously for half slip and camisole. I was able to finagle a light lace trim on both that laid flat. I hope to sew up a couple new sets and will revamp a too large half slip.