by Victoria Watkins
When we decided that each of us at the office wanted to make a garment from our 219 Intimacies pattern, I immediately had a vision. I love mid-century style clothing, and regularly choose foundation garments and shapewear to help achieve the look I'm going for. Despite this, I didn't have a one-piece slip to wear with my dresses.
The slip is no longer a staple in contemporary wardrobes, but for any detail-oriented vintage enthusiasts, it's useful. Whether it's to compensate for a lack of lining in a white dress, to smooth out the textures from shapewear, or to just feel more put together, retro fans will want a slip in their closet.
For fabric, I wanted something comfortable in a nude color close to my skin tone, as well as something high-quality that would last. For that reason, I chose a silk charmeuse from our friends at Dharma Trading Co.
This was my first time working with real silk, and I definitely learned a few things. This pattern is cut on the bias, which lends to its beauty, but of course it also makes it more unstable on the edges of pieces. I wondered before construction if I should stay-stitch everything, but I didn't. The instructions don't say to stay-stitch, but after finishing the slip I really wish that I did. If you're working with something slinky and slippery like a charmeuse, I really recommend doing a stay-stitch around the neckline of the shell and the facing at the very least. You can also read more about working with bias cut fabrics and slippery fabrics in this blog post. Using tissue under the stitching can also be helpful.
I also made some fit modifications to the slip. The first muslin I made had the lower points of the insets hitting somewhere between my hip and my waist. The fit looked okay, but it didn't look like it was made for me, and if I'm going to make something for myself, I might as well take the opportunity to make it perfectly to my frame. I decided it would look better if I raised the style lines of the inset to hit at my waist, and tested that out with an additional front piece mockup before sewing with the fashion fabric.
Difference between my altered bodice pieces and the standard ones. Mine is on the left, the standard cut of the same size is on the right.
I have to admit, this project strained the limits of my skillset. I decided to use French seams to finish the interior, because serging them felt a little crude for the luxurious silk. I found myself managing alright with this process, but the curves of the insets on the bodice were definitely a challenge with the French seams. What really gave me trouble was attaching the facing to the neckline edge. As previously mentioned, the lack of stay-stitching caused issues, and here's where they really showed. It felt like a fight to get them to match up after the insets had been manipulated to sew them to the body pieces.
French seam finishes on the interior of the slip.
After wrangling the neckline and facing together, I noticed that the facing wanted to curl and turn to the outside of the slip, even after pressing. I tacked the facing down at seams, but it still wants to poke out if I'm not careful. I think that this also has something to do with the lack of stay-stitching, so I really recommend doing that if you're working with a pliant fabric like this. I chose to understitch the facing to try and help with this problem.
All in all, I'm still very pleased with this slip. Even though there are some slight flaws, the fact that it's an undergarment means that I can relax a little. I learned a lot while working on it, and I'm excited to have it to wear under my vintage dresses.
Hopefully this gives you ideas for ways to use our 219 Intimacies pattern!
February 14, 2024