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?
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
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!
Cut out two rectangles that are the width and length of the measurements you figured out in Step 1.
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.
Sew along the pin side seam at 3/8″ seam allowance.
Trim the seam allowance down to 1/8″.
Press the seam allowance to one side. Be sure to use a press cloth for all the pressing steps, if necessary!
Flip and press on the opposite side of the seam.
Press the seam flat.
Pin along the side seam, keeping the seam sewn in Step 4 centered.
Sew along the side seam at 1/4″, totaling the 5/8″ seam allowance you figured in when cutting.
Press the seam on both the inside and outside of the French seam. Repeat Steps 3–10 on the other side seam.
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.
Pin the hem in place and stitch close to the upper fold. Press again when finished stitching.
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.
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.
Divide the elastic into quarters and mark with pins. Repeat and divide the slip waist seam into quarters and mark with pins.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Take the elastic to the iron and steam it to shrink.
Add a bow or any other detail at the center front of the waist with needle and thread if desired.