Half and Hidden

Years ago I made cotton half slips but they weren't particularly successful. Most were too tight or too bulky (I even managed to rip one totally from hem to waist while wearing it) and I ended up resorting to store-bought nylon ones. But there's something about wearing a cool cotton skirt with a nylon slip that just doesn't seem right. It kinda defeats the purpose of the cool cotton. But going without is often not an option.

With our upcoming trip I've been going through my wardrobe and I've decided that I'll probably take a number of skirts with me. I'm just not that much of a jeans/slacks/capri/pants person. I wish I was. But I'm not. I feel more comfortable in a skirt - more me - even if they do make me look frumpy. And in hot climates, I think nothing beats a flowy cotton skirt.

So I had a dilemma. Cotton skirt with nylon half-slip or wear pants (since, as I've already said, no half-slip was not an option). And then I found this pattern. Its simplicity made me doubt its effectiveness. I mean, it's basically just a square or rectangle (depending on your measurements - mine were close enough to a square for me to wonder if it was going to end up super dumpy looking) and it's cut on the straight grain, which caused me some concern that it would not be roomy enough if I wanted to do something 'active' like walking from one room to another.

I'll be honest. I haven't actually tested this half-slip out yet. I mean, I've made the pattern up - in fact, I made three half-slips - and they all seem to fit fine and have enough room to move around in, but since I'm wearing a denim/jean skirt today there's not any reason to have a slip on as well. But I promise to update as soon as I do try them out proper.

I did make a few modifications to the pattern. Firstly, after sewing one side seam, I then sewed an edging to the lower hem with right sides together and using straight stitch (I also finished all raw edges with zig-zag stitch). This does away with the need to hem the lower edge and adds a feminine touch (well, I think so anyway). These edges can be bought in a variety of widths. It's not clear in the photos of the finished articles but I used a wide edging on two slips and a narrow one on the third. I also used wider elastic - 13mm/0.5" rather than the 6mm/0.25" recommended. I had both but thought the wider elastic would work better.

I bought 2.5m of what was called 'Bahama voile'. I have no idea what that is, but it's very lightweight and it was 100% cotton which is what I wanted. I prewashed it as cotton can shrink and the instructions on the fabric roll said to wash before using. I purchased 3m of edging and had almost another 2m of another edging at home. You will need twice the measurement from Box 2 for each half-slip.

I was able to get three slips out of this amount of fabric. To do this, I had to join narrower pieces to make the third slip. The easiest way would be to have seams centre back and front as well as sides - just half the Box 2 measurement and cut four pieces. I never do things the easy way and didn't think of this until after I'd almost finished sewing - but this is what I would do next time.

If you're on the small side, I would not use the width of the fabric for each panel (as suggested in the instructions) unless you are wanting a particularly gathered slip. My fabric wasn't 60" wide (I didn't measure the width but it was probably only around 40" wide) and my Box 2 measurement was a few inches over half the width of my fabric, so even for me it would have added a lot of surplus fabric (which could be okay under some skirts/clothes but not others). If your fabric is wide you may be able to double the measurement in Box 2 and just cut out one panel and have only one seam to sew.

For those who are pear shaped or concerned about their hip measurement, check that the measurement in Box 2 is at least the same as half your hip measurement plus 2.5 to 3 inches (or 2 x Box 2 is equal to or greater than hip + 5 or 6). This ensures it will fit over your hips and give you enough room to move around in (you'll probably find that there's room to spare).

So now they're finished and pressed and I'm thinking that it's a shame that what amounts to my most successful personal apparel sewing pattern to date is not likely to ever be seen!


Lisa said…
That sounds interesting. I have always had nylon slips and actually kind of like the feel of nylon better than I like cotton. Are you planning on getting rid of your nylon slips or keeping them for the colder months?
Jules said…
Hi Lisa, no, I'm not planning on getting rid of the nylon slips. They tend to be smoother and give a nicer line under a fitted or straight skirt. They're just not so great on very hot days and if you've chosen cotton for the coolness factor then it makes sense that what is underneath is also cotton.

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