Sunday, January 8, 2012

True Blue

OK, peeps, this is yet another post which capitalizes on everything blue - for starters a great sale that Ms. Denise of Blue Gardenia is hosting - but only from Jan. 15 - 17. If you are even thinking about buying a vintage pattern in the next few months, don't be crazy. Buy it then and save a lot! (Note: you do have to buy 3 patterns to get the discount but, trust me, it will take about 4 minutes to find the perfect 3. Her inventory is extensive!) I've got my eye on a slip pattern from the 70s- like I need another?! - and a 50s dress that happens to be petite (and it has a 37.5" bust). Um, that's just like me!

But let's focus on today's slip: the Blue Ruby:

Very Elizabeth Taylor, no?

You can just vaguely see the asymmetry in the lace on either side of the centre bust. Do you see how one side (right as you look at it) has embroidered leaves and the other side has star-shaped flowers?

I'd have modeled this on the dress form but its shoulders are too wide. I can get it over my head and boobs (just), but I've already damaged the silk (ugh) by trying to get it to conform to the shape of an inanimate form.

At any rate, here's what I can tell you about this version:
  • The lace cost a lot of money. Probably too much.
  • And I don't love it. It's too mesh-y, which means a) it's effectively weak and b) very starkly shows a bra underneath it. And you know I'm not wearing this without a bra.
  • The pattern, asymmetry is almost indiscernible, however.
  • I've decided that I'll only sew with denser lace in the future.
  • Oh, apropos of stitching down the lace seams: this time I did press both seam allowances to one side before top stitching at 1/8". The lace was too transparent to do it differently. And this didn't add any bulk.
  • The bra straps were actually pre-made. I got them from Bra-Makers Supply last year and what good fortune. I hate assembling hoops and sliders. Hurts my brain. Also, these straps are 1/2 inch, not 5/8 inch wide - which makes the slip look more delicate. I mean, they're not holding up any weight to speak of so that width is just fine. That the straps are black is actually handy. Since I'll likely wear the slip with a black bra underneath, I'd prefer not to have 2 diff shades of straps to contend with.
  • The silk skirt is beautiful and fits perfectly. Alas, the handkerchief hem didn't go so well. It looks great from the right side (see photo above), but the inside looks a bit gerbil-sewn.
  • Once again, I top stitched (under stitched) the bodice seam allowance to the slip. But this time I didn't first serge that seam. It was too narrow.
  • Here's something I didn't mention the last time, but it's germane: Because I increased the length of the bodice, the scalloped lace is now too high under my arm pit. I'm going to have to shape the pieces that abut under the arm so that they don't do this again. Not exactly sure how I'm going to accomplish this.
All this being said, I think it's a pretty good second effort. I'm glad I didn't use cheap materials. You can really feel the luxury of these fabrics.

I really do think that, for a woman of ample bust, the Ruby Slip gather bodice will be easier to fit. Silk charmeuse has a lot of natural give and I have a intuition that an underbust gather will "hug" the breasts (depending on their shape, and the gathers, natch). Silk is also stronger around the upper back and over the chest. Finally, it's easier to work a garment in one fabric, than in 2 disparate fabrics which meet a stress-bearing join. A decorative edge of lace is pretty, but not structurally integral.

As always, I welcome comments. Which of the 2 slips do you prefer? The shorter pink one? Or this one? I only wish I could present them in the same way for better comparison...


  1. I have no construction tips to give since I haven't sewn a slip since I was in my 20s. However, this version is very pretty! Hope you get the slip of your dreams soon...

  2. I prefer them both! They are both just gorgeous!

  3. Ohmigosh, it's just so very pretty! Of course, I thought that about the pink one as well, but the dainty lace, especially with the window light behind it . . . oooh, pretty!

    I'm also loving what you're doing with your palette and croquis -- this is going to be such fun to follow along and I'm really admiring the organization that's going into it.

  4. That slip came out beautifully! I personally prefer using lace only as a trim because I always assume I'm going to shred something otherwise, but I like the lace bodice as well.

    Honestly, I didn't think you were going to wear these "slips" as slips. I was thinking of them as a chemise, i.e.., sexy nighties. So yeah, the lace is a bit sheer for a slip proper but perhaps it can be worn as a chemise?

  5. Lovely. I think I prefer the look of the lace on the pink one, as it's a little more sturdy looking? But both are great :)

  6. Gorgeous! The new lace is so dainty - is it an embroidered net? Net can be a lot stronger than it looks - my first Ruby has been stretched and pulled and put through the wash for a year and there are no signs of wear on the lace.
    The asymmetric border looks nice too, it sort of compliments the wrap effect!

  7. Lush, lush!! Gorgeous!! Difficult to pick a favourite but I think I'd choose this one!

  8. Wonderful and yes v Elizabeth Taylor - my goodness you are a whizz with a machine these days. I love a slip and the lace looks gorgeous, well worth the money

  9. Oh this is gorgeous. So luxurious! I think the pink one more for everyday wear and this one for special occasions.

  10. Carolyn: Thank you! I'll keep trying.

    Gail: That's my kind of comment :-) Thank you!

    Faye: Merci beaucoup!

    F: So glad you like the croquis. That took far longer than the slip :-)

    LSCG: Ha! I wish I were a sexy nightie kind of person. I'm more of a sock wearer. But don't tell.

    K: I know. I agree, I prefer the pink bodice. But the skirt on the blue one is so sassy.

    Sherry: Thank you! I hope it is stronger than I"m giving it credit for. It is an embroidered net. I wish I knew the names of all of these laces. I have to do some research.

    Suzy: Thanks! I really love the silk skirt.

    Kate: Thank you! So nice to see your comment. I love that Whistles bow top you've got on eBay, by the way.

    Katy: What a great idea :-)

  11. OK, I nearly fell off my chair laughing at "gerbil sewn". LOL

    Oooh, tough one. They're both so lovely, but I may have to actually dissent and vote pink here, simply on looks. But they are both LOVELY! I wear a lot of slips and camis too, under clothing, not as chemises, but I second the vote for slips as nightwear. You know, as a thank you to hubby, who did so much work on the Spring sewing plan.

  12. The blue slip is beautiful and, yes, it's very Elizabeth Taylor!

  13. I don't have a favourite, I've thought about this and they are both beautiful in their own way. Both are also keeping the Ruby slip near the top of my "need to sew" list.

  14. Oh, it is soo pretty! Your descriptions always make me smile, gerbil-sewn indeed.

    I think this version is very beautiful. As as slip I like the lace on the pink although it would be nice to be longer. The blue has more of a sexy negligee look to me, although it could probably work with the right bra, and I love the drape of the silk. How's that for wishy-washy?

  15. I love them both! What beautiful work.

    Blue is very Elizabeth Taylor, sexay lingerie, but I agree with Mardel you could make it work as a slip with the right bra.

  16. Clio: The gerbils represent, sometimes! And good plan on the usage of slips as nightwear.

    Thank you Rose!

    Sera: Love that kind of feedback :-)

    Mardel: It's so true. If only the pink were longer. But I wore the blue one today and it was an EXCELLENT slip. I don't know how I'll ever wear slips that aren't silk again :-)

    Susan: I wore a black bra with the blue slip today. It was just fine - though I would love to figure out how to engineer one of these things to act as bra and slip. Since I haven't mastered the bra yet, that seems unlikely in the short term...

    Dr M: Why thank you!

  17. I like this one, so simple and pretty.

  18. wonderful job as always! i know exactly what type of lace that is... i wish you could come back to NYC and i could take you to some of the fabric stores. you'd have a ball!

  19. I don't know how I'd choose which one I like better. I love them both for different reasons. It's an incredible learning experience, sewing silk charmeuse on the bias, and using such fine lace. Thanks for sharing with us.

  20. Stacey: Thanks! It is simple - but elegant (I think) :-)

    Stacy: How cool that you've seen the exact lace. You know, it's stronger than I imagined!

    E: It has been quite an experience. I love bias cut things but they really are a different animal!