Free Pattern Month Day 8 - Gertie's New Blog for Better Sewing: Half Slip Pattern

May 4, 2011

Please give a warm welcome to today's guest, Gretchen, from Gertie's New Blog for Better Sewing.

(Today's featured pattern after intro)

I found Gretchen's blog after a fellow blogger recommended it to me. But I've also seen her via Burdastyle as one of their very prolific members! 

Her blog began in a sort of Julie & Julia style. In September of 2008, she came across Vogue's New Book for Better Sewing: a guide from 1952, that, through the completion of 14 Vogue patterns, promised to make one an expert home seamstress. She decided to track down all the patterns from 1952 and make them, documenting each on a blog. Then on June 22nd she wrote her first blog post and hasn't looked back since. Read her entire story here.

For all her sewing projects from the book see here.

See some of her projects from Vogue's New Book for Better Sewing below.

Gretchen's site has since grown into more than just a sew and see blog. If you enjoy my 'Frock by Friday' sewalongs you should check out Gretchen's most recent 'Lady Grey' sew along. The pattern (by Colette Patterns) is moderately difficult but Gretchen takes you through each step, describing the RIGHT way to sew a complicated coat.
Admittedly, I have a tendency to short cut my way through sewing at times, Gretchen shows you the RIGHT way ie. the better way;) 

Just love the retro style!
Love this red lace dress as much as I do? It's modeled after a dress worn by Michelle Williams.
But one of my favorite parts of Gretchen's blog is her talent for explaining techniques. Like I mentioned earlier, Gretchen is fantastic at explaining the right way to sew. In fact she teaches sewing classes in New York and is currently authoring a book out Fall 2012 from STC Craft/Melanie Falick Books!
In fact, she recently won the Burdastyle talent search for a guest apperance on the new PBS sewing program  
'It's Sew Easy'.
But now, let me allow Gretchen to show just what I mean when I say she's amazing. Here she is, explaining her half slip pattern!
 This was one of the very first tutorials I offered on my blog,
and I still think it's one of the most satisfying projects to make if you just have a
hour or so. I came up with this half slip project after I realized that most vintage
patterns aren't lined. What did ladies wear under their dresses? Why, slips, of
course! In my quest to understand all the intricacies of home sewing in the 1950s, I
decided that I needed some slips.

This is a make-your-own-pattern kind of project, but it only requires one pattern
piece. And it's a rectangle. What could be simpler?

You'll need:
-a yard of fabric. I'm using a silk jacquard, but you can use any fabric that you'd
normally use for lingerie (nylon, rayon, cotton, etc.)
-a yard of picot edge lingerie elastic (You can order this online at Sew Sassy Fabrics.)
-a yard of lace trim
-a bit of velvet ribbon trim for a bow (optional)
-a gridded cardboard mat or cutting mat (not completely necessary, but will be very
-tracing paper (I'm using Swedish tracing paper)
-clear plastic ruler
-measuring tape

Your pattern will be a simple rectangle. You just
need to get 2 easy measurements:
the width and height of the slip.

Measure the widest part of your lower body, keeping the tape measure relaxed.
Your widest part might be your hip measurement, but for some women, your
derriere will be the largest measurement. Add 3 inches of ease to this number.
So, if your measurement is 41, you'll get 44. Divide this number in half. Your first measurement is 22".

Figure out how long you want your slip to be. Make sure it's about one to two inches
shorter than the skirt you plan to wear it with. My desired length is 23 inches. Now,
add one inch to this number to account for the waistband and the lace application
at the bottom. Your second measurement is
therefore 24".

So, to make your pattern, draw a 22 x 24 inch rectangle.

I use tracing paper on top of my gridded cardboard cutting mat to make the
rectangle. Add a 5/8" seam allowance to the sides
This is your pattern!

Lay out your fabric and cut
two of the pattern

Pin the two pieces along the side edges with right
sides together, forming a tube
. Stitch with
a 5/8" seam allowance.
Press the seams open, and finish the raw edges in
your preferred method (serging, zigzagging, overcasting, pinking, binding, etc.)

Now you'll need to cut your elastic to the right
To do this, wrap the elastic snugly around your natural waist, or the

smallest part of your torso. (You'll want it to stretch a bit. Your cut length of elastic
should end up being an inch or two smaller than your waist measurement.) Mark
this length. Add 1/2", and then cut the elastic.

With right sides of the elastic together, stitch the ends together with a 1/4" seam
allowance. Stitch back and forth a few times to make sure it's secure.

Trim very close to the stitching.

Divide the elastic into quarters and mark with pins. The seam will be the first
quarter spot to mark.

With right sides together and the picot edge of
the elastic pointing down, pin the quarter marks
of the elastic to one raw end of the fabric tube
. Start by pinning the elastic
seam to the center back of the slip. Then pin the other quarter marks of the elastic
to the side seams and the center front seam.
Your elastic will be pinned to your slip in four places, and
you'll have a lot of loose fabric.

Now you're going to zig zag the elastic to the slip.

Starting at the back seam of the elastic, use a zig zag stitch to stitch the elastic to the
slip. Stitch close to the picot edge of the elastic. You need to stretch out the elastic to
fit the slip as you go. Pull with both hands, from the front and back of the fabric.

Trim the excess fabric from the top of the
elastic to neaten.

Next, turn the
elastic to the inside of the slip.
Now use a zig zag stitch again to stitch the
elastic onto the slip, having the your needle first catch the slip, and then the edge of
the elastic.

Here's how it will look as it's coming out of the
sewing machine:

And from the right side:

When you're done stitching, you'll see that the elastic has stretched out. You need to steam it to shrink it back to its original size.
(This is my favorite part!) Hold your iron an inch over the elastic and steam
the heck out of it. It will shrink up right before your eyes. Amazing!

Now stitch the lace to the bottom of the slip using a very narrow zig zag stitch. Use a thread to coordinate with the lace,
not your fabric. The scalloped edge of the lace will meet the raw edge of the fabric.

From the back side, trim away the excess hem
fabric, close to the zig zag.

If you'd like to add a bow, stitch it by hand to
the center front.

Voila! Your slip is done. Wasn't that easy?

Let me know in the comments if you have questions!

Spread the word! It's a 30 day FREE for all!

Spread the word! It's a 30 day FREE for all!

 Spread the word! It's a 30 day FREE for all!

Spread the word! It's a 30 day FREE for all!

Spread the word! It's a 30 day FREE for all!

Spread the word! It's a 30 day FREE for all!

Spread the word! It's a 30 day FREE for all!

Spread the word! It's a 30 day FREE for all!

Spread the word! It's a 30 day FREE for all!

13 {comments}:

Giulia said... Best Blogger Tips

thank you, she is very creative!
There is an award for you, if you want you can check it out and take it here

elizabeth said... Best Blogger Tips

I can't wait to attempt this--I tried to add elastic to the waist of a dress but the tutorial i was using did not explain about the stretching/steaming/etc and it came out all crooked and bunched unevenly. this is so helpful!! :) thanks!

elizabeth said... Best Blogger Tips

and thanks for telling us where we can buy the trim!!

Melissa said... Best Blogger Tips

Could you fix the broken tag? Half the pattern seems to be a link to the elastic.


Samina said... Best Blogger Tips

Gertie's blog is excellent! I've been reading it for several months now & have learned so much from her. Thanks for featuring her!

Grosgrain said... Best Blogger Tips

@MelissaShould be fixed now. Please let me know if it still is wrong.

Ashley said... Best Blogger Tips

Fantastic! I'm a huge fan of Gertie's Blog For Better Sewing, as I am of Grosgrain too, of course. ;)

Loving free pattern month, keep them coming!

:: Andrea :: said... Best Blogger Tips

I have been looking for an easy slip pattern and this looks perfect! Thanks so much for sharing...can't wait to head over and check out Gertie's blog!

Elegantpaws said... Best Blogger Tips

So cute and practical! Thanks. xx

Anne said... Best Blogger Tips

Great tutorial! And I love that you can add some fun to an otherwise entirely practical garment by making it in a fun color.

I linked to your tutorial on Craft Gossip:


Becky said... Best Blogger Tips

I love this! What a great project! Thank you!

Alice Tye said... Best Blogger Tips

I'm a bit late leaving a comment but I just finished making this and its great. It was a really simple first piece for me to make (I haven't sewn anything for years). I'll be posting a picture of the finished slip tomorrow on my blog. Thank you for this tutorial!

kiran said... Best Blogger Tips

Your so creative. I appreciate your step by step process to make a skirt. It looks very easy steps to make it, but we should have perfection in sewing. right.

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