Sewing,  Vintage

I Made A … 1950s Slip – Vintage Sewing Pattern

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A slip is a vintage wardrobe staple that has been sadly lacking from my vintage wardrobe for some time. With the UK in lockdown, I decided to make the most of my free time and fill a few gaps in my wardrobe.

1950s Slip Video


1950s Slip Pattern – Simplicity 4126

I’ve had this 1950s slip pattern for a little while and I have been meaning to make myself a beautiful silk slip using it. However, with no chance of getting any silk any time soon, I decided to use what I had.

Vintage Slip Pattern Simplicity 4126

I only had plain white cotton and so to jazz things up a bit I decided to practice a new skill – insertion lace.

View 2 of this pattern came with instructions for how to add the insertion lace so I had a little extra help.

Vintage sewing pattern pieces with the punched markings

However, as you’ll know if you’ve ever used a vintage sewing pattern before, the pattern pieces have no markings on them only all these punched circles. Also, the instructions were, well, sketchy at best. This project took much longer than I expected as a result.

The Insertion Lace

For the insertion lace I pinned and basted the lace around the bottom edge of the upper band. Thankfully there were balance marks as a guide!

Pinning in the insertion lace to the bottom of the top band.

I then tacked this in place with long diagonal basting stitches.

Insertion lace tacked in place with diagonal basting stitches.

You can just see a narrow grove along the edge of the lace. I topstitched the lace to the upper band in this groove.

Trimming back the topstitched seam allowance.

Then the excess seam allowance behind the lace is trimmed away as close to the stitching as possible. You can see here how I pleated the lace at the corners. I also fray checked* the cut edge to stop it from unraveling.

Topstitching the lace onto the bodice

This process is then repeated to join the top band to the bodice pieces. The instructions said to ‘ease it in’ but I had to drastically alter the shape of the top line to make it fit! More details in the video. That’s what you get with vintage sewing patterns sometimes.

Creasing the seam allowance back on itself

I then creased the seam allowance of the bodice back along the stitching line and topstitched the lace again over my previous line of stitching. It was only then that I trimmed the seam allowance down.

1950s Slip Construction

I joined the side seams of the skirt pieces and ran gathering stitches between the balance marks on the bottom edge of the bodice.

I then turned the seam allowance of the top edge of the skirt over and pressed it in place.

Pressing in place the seam allowance of the top edge of the skirt

To stop this from moving about I tacked the fold in place by hand. Then I joined the skirt to the bodice by overlapping the two so that the folded top edge of the skirt sat 1.5 cm up from the bottom edge of the bodice.

Attaching the bodice to the skirt, gathering the bottom edge to fit.

I pulled on the gathering threads to make the bodice fit the skirt and pinned the gathers in place.

Topstitching the skirt to the bodice

I stitched the two together by topstitching from the right side of the skirt.

Topstitching the folded edge of the flat felled seams

Using my topstitching foot to help keep a straight line, I flat felled the side seams for a neat finish.

Making the straps by folding the pieces

The straps were made by folding the long raw edges in towards the middle. Then this was pressed in half. I used my new pressing bars* to help get a perfectly straight line. They were then stitched in place with two lines of top stitching.

Stitching the straps in place with the sewing machine

After a quick fitting where I adjusted the straps to the right length, they were secured in place. I stitched them with my sewing machine for strength and in several places to help support the delicate lace.

Shrinking out the excess ease from the hem with the iron

I measured and folded up my hem to the required length. This dress is going to go under another dress I am working on and I didn’t want it to show underneath. With the iron, I steamed the hem to shrink out the excess volume.

Hemming the 1950s slip with a blind hemming stitch on the sewing machine

I then stitched the hem in place with a blind hemming stitch on the sewing machine. I have a blog post on blind hems which explains the process in more detail.

The Finished Slip

After one final press the slip was complete!

I actually think that despite the pattern matching my measurements exactly, the slip is too big in the chest. It isn’t a huge problem and I will still wear the slip. But I will definitely change this when I make the pattern again in silk.

I am really proud of how the insertion lace turned out. It adds just a hint of delicacy to what would otherwise be a utilitarian garment. The Insertion lace was quite time consuming to do but I am glad that I took the time to do it right.

I find that I am guilty of only making things I know will be quick or easy sometimes. Challenging myself with this project has been really rewarding.

I’d love to know if you have tackled a project that really pushed you and helped you to learn new skills. Leave me a comment below or tag me in them on Instagram. I’m @retroclaude.

In the mean time, I hope that you are all staying well and staying safe. The lockdown has meant that I have had to put some projects on hold as I cannot get supplies. But it is making me more creative. Plus I am finally using up some of the fabric in my stash!

Claude x