Monday, January 2, 2012

Slip Half Full

If you can make heads or tails of the meaning of this post's title then I salute you!

But never mind you, friends. This is all about a little lady named Ruby... (Grab a drink, this is going to take a while):

I understitched the bodice to the skirt to give it a bit more structure, and to help to stabilize the lace.

See how much longer my bodice is than the original version? That's what happens when you add a bunch of inches to accommodate a full bust.

(All the best slips have mood lighting.)

I actually think the dress form looks a little sexy here. Is that possible??

Can you say gratuitous self indulgence??

The Good:
  • It's a wearable muslin, which is more than I can say about any other lingerie garment I've made before.
  • It's really pretty.
  • It's not hideously made - but I used cheap materials and you should never do that if you want something to turn out well. Note: If I'd used expensive materials and this thing fucked up, I'd want to kill myself, so it was a calculated trade off.
  • The thread could not have been a better-matched shade if I tried (it was in my stash?!). It means some of the dubious bodice seam sewing looks just fine when it really should not.
  • My franken-version of an FBA didn't work out half bad!
The Bad:
  • It really needs a bit more length in the bodice to actually seam at the narrowest part of my underbust. I have already cut the next version of the pattern, adding 0.5" to the bodice pieces. I hope that will work. It doesn't look that way on the dress form because the boobs on the form are slightly smaller than mine (and the ass is slightly larger, while we're clarifying).
  • I used cheap material and I'm sure it will impair the longevity of this wearable muslin. People, cheap lace is not strong. Keep this in mind. If I were able to make this slip without modification, I would only use the best lace. Hell, next time I make it I'm using the best lace.
Additional Info:
  • The short version is too short, IMO - and you know I'm not tall. I'm going to need to recut the skirt for the long version. (Note to self: Don't forget to recut the skirt for the longer size.
  • The bra straps work really well, as long as the lace to which you affix them has substance.
  • Handkerchief hems on bias skirts, using fabric that doesn't like to press are rather labour-intensive. Nonetheless, I like the finished effect.
  • I've adjusted the body so tremendously that I can't figure out exactly where the centre front notches should go anymore. I have tried to reason it out but my brain is tired.
  • I used a bra-making method to sew the bodice seams, which I think is slightly different from the many good seam-finishing methods that Sherry suggests. Because I didn't want any bulk at all, and because I know from past experience that closely top stitched seams on lace don't fray, I pressed open the seams (after checking fit 8 zillion times), topstitched about 1/8" from the seam and then used applique scissors to cut the seam allowance very close to the top stitched seam on the wrong side of the garment. I didn't overlock those seams.
  • It wouldn't have been a bad idea to underline the weak lace with power net (which I have) but I didn't know what I was doing and I didn't want to deviate too much from the plan.
  • I only increased the circumference of the skirt by about an inch on the front (divided over the 2 side seams). I did this to accommodate the reasonably small amount of extra width of the bodice (the result of the FBA). In a perfect world there would be no increase of underbust measurement but it's pretty tricky to make something this fitted with vastly divergent needs at underbust vs full bust. Remember, I've got almost a 5" difference in those measurements as a result of large breasts and a narrow frame. It's a challenging alteration.
  • I actually unstitched the seam of the skirt to the bodice after serging the seam, to get back about 1/4 of an inch of length. This is one of the reasons that I understitched. I felt it really needed some reinforcement.
Man, I'm tired.

Please write me a comment and tell me that you love this - or say anything else you'd like. Let's talk!


  1. A lot of the technical details flew over my head, but the end result is beautiful. Congrats!

  2. So pretty -- I think Ruby needs a story, Dress A Day-style . . .

  3. This is SO beautiful. You are always inspiring! For the length - don't forget that you can add a lace insert.

  4. This is absolutely fabulous and it looks gorgeous on the form even if the quality is not what you would want next to your skin.

    your pattern adjustments worked really well, which means you have learned a lot even if you don't always feel confident about your abilities. And the problems, or things that need to be fixed are really minor and easily accomplished.

    And yes, it really needs a story.

  5. When I first flipped in all I could think was wow, is that slip beautiful! For a wearable muslin this is awesome...I can only imagine what the really good one will look like! Great job!

  6. Stunning! Truly! And at least in the pictures, it looks expensive! (And I guess it is, in terms of your time input!)

  7. It's lovely! Well done you! I want to try tackling this, although maybe not for a month or two.

    I'm selfishly glad you did this, because the idea of doing an FBA on this really scared me. So happy to see how well it turned out! I just re-measured and the difference between my full bust and underbust is seven inches... uh, I'm not sure how well that will work, but I'll give it a go!

  8. Wow, really gorgeous slip! I've been following the sew along for this slip. I don't see making it for myself, but maybe for my one of my daughters.

    I do think it looks sexy on the dress form. Part of the reason, I think, is that your dress form is unusual in that it has arms, so it looks more "real" in the cropped photo. It's so unusual to see a dress form with arms!

  9. Looks beautiful! I think I like yours better than the original, maybe the proportions just look more like something I might consider making.

  10. Excellent result - even with substandard materials (we can't tell from the picture!). It really is a beautiful slip. I'd say you're close to a perfect tnt slip pattern!

    Congratulations - you are definitely in the groove!

  11. Wow, that's beautiful. I love it and all the technical details that went into the post. Thank you so much for diving into this project and posting about it.

  12. It is beautiful (and sexy!) and looks flawless in the photographs. WIN! And it looks like the fit is spot on!

    Man, it is taking every ounce of my self-control not to rush out and buy the most expensive damn lace I can get my hands on...

  13. Your slip looks wonderful. I know you're tired but once you get the pattern exactly the way you like it, I think you will be a very happy woman. Imagine making your own custom fit silk slip :)

  14. I don't sew, but I love reading about your process. This slip is absolutely beautiful. I love the color.

  15. Beautiful! It looks very professional to me, although I have never tried to sew lingerie. I did pick up a Kwik-sew pattern today for a slip and matching panties so that will be a project in the new year.

    I didn't see if the lace had stretch -- does it? Because my experience has been that stretch lace is actually more durable and less likely to rip (since it moves with your body). It's a lovely slip for a muslin and having the perfect fit will make it all worthwhile.

  16. This is so pretty and you've done a great job! You should have told us the materials were really expensive and we'd never have known!!
    Can't wait to see the next one. Most of mine are the longer length and hit the knee (I'm 5'6")- hope that helps!

  17. It looks really beautiful, and I can't see any flaws! Quite stunning! A lovely garment like this is well worth spending a bit more on the lace I reckon...
    my advice; if you plan to cut the skirt longer using the same pattern piece that you have used here, write on your paper pattern pieces along the hemline MAKE SKIRT LONGER, in big capitals... sounds silly, but I usually forget unless I do this!

  18. So lovely! I can't tell from the photo that the materials are cheap but yes, in my experience cheap lace on lingerie wears out quickly.

    Where did you get your dress form? Is it a custom order?

  19. Yowzah! Despite your "The Bad" comments, I think this slip is frickin' awesome! It IS sexy on your dress form.

    Happy 2012!

  20. Wow. You should be very proud of yourself for making such a beautiful garment, even if you now wish it were made of better materials. Now you can make it using better materials if you want to!

    It's hard to see from the form that the bodice needs to be a bit longer, but I believe you.

    So will you wear it?

    The form does look sexy in that last photo :).

  21. It's absolutely gorgeous, I love it!! I'm still unsure what to do about straps.

  22. Raven: Thanks! I always find it difficult to understand the sewing notes of others :-)

    F: OK, I need to come up with something, give me a few minutes :-)

    Elaine: Great idea!

    M: I must have learned a lot, even if it never seems that way when I'm going through the hard parts :-) I think I may actually have used my dress form in the way it's intended - not that I know for sure. I tried to buy a draping book but it didn't work out (hasn't worked out yet).

    Carolyn: Thank you so much!! It was a great sewing experience. I can't wait to try it again :-)

    Gail: Ha! Yes it is :-) Thank you.

    K: Use your dress form - it will help tremendously with the FBA.

    Shams: It is kind of strange to have arms :-) You should consider this for yourself at some point. It's only got a few pieces and they're scalable (as you can see!).

    daiyami: What a compliment! You should check out Sherry's gathered version. That one blows my mind!

    Pammie: I've had such a creative holiday time. It's been very energizing.

    Faye: Thank you!

    Sera: So happy if it helps to see my notes!

    Taran: Do it! Now! :-)

    Carla: I know! Can you imagine the joy. I can be like Elizabeth Taylor every day of the week :-)

    LSM: Thank you! I love people who love to read about sewing - even when they don't do it.

    LSCG: It doesn't have stretch but all lace tends to stretch width-wise somewhat. I too find stretch lace more durable. I think it has to do with the lycra in it - it gives stability, I think.

    Sherry: Can't thank you enough! And I'm glad to hear that. I've just added the length to the pattern for the next version.

    Carolyn: I went to do that and then thought, what the hell - and just lengthened it on the spot :-) It's never as easy to do that as I imagine it will be!

    Myrna: Thank you! I really love it! (It's not a bra but it's getting there :-))

    M: The dress form is Fabulous Fit. I posted about it on a few occasions in Jan 2011 (when I first got it). It works well - but it was a struggle to get it here (for you it won't be as you're in the same city), cost a LOT of money, and was rather difficult to fit (despite what they say). I don't know if I'd buy it again. But I am getting a lot of good use out of it right now.

    Clio: Why thank you!!

    Susan: Ooh, that's the probing question. I think I will, but not so often. It's too short to be of much use as a full slip - and I am worried about its resilience. It looks nice when lounging though - and I really hope the next version is the fix for the challenges in this version.

    Suzy: I like the bra strap thing, but the bias silk could look good also.

  23. Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous!

    I can't wait to finish mine now (it's been interrupted by flu, bluergh)

  24. Melissa: Thank you, thank you, thank you. I hope you feel back to health very soon so you can get on with your fabulous project (and other things) :-)

  25. Most of the time, I don't understand the technicalities of sewing, so I scan over that stuff. I wouldn't know how to comment intelligently on those things. But I do know that this slip is just beautiful. Again, I am really impressed.

  26. Hang on a minute. This is a muslin? Holy hell. Nice job - its lovely. I am going to look up the techniques you mentioned in the low down too - just that has taught me a bunch.

  27. Emily: Thank you! It was a rather involved muslin - but first try. It's a great slip. You should totally give it a go.