To slip or to line?

by Always Alice

in Vintage Sewing

Hi y’all! I am about to start this great early 50s mail order shirtwaist dress and need your thoughts. The dress itself is only one piece, its fitted through the waist with 8 darts on the front and 4 at the back. The fabric is very shear and very floaty, cotton or a cotton blend I. So, I have to either wear a slip or line the dress. If I line the dress it will lose some of its floatyness but I won’t have to worry about having to wear a slip but, if I leave it alone I could wear a pink slip one day or a white slip or a green slip to make the dress look different. But realistically, I don’t have colored slips nor would it be easy to get a good colored slip. Sigh, what say the masses?

This post was written by...

– who has written 30 posts on WeSewRetro.com.

I'm a self taught seamstress with only a couple of years under my belt. I love to sew from 1940s and 1950s patterns and try to work a little vintage into my modern life. Each garment helps me get closer to creating and designing well constructed and original garments.

Always Alice's posts / Always Alice's website

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Always Alice February 3, 2012 at 12:47 pm

Sorry about the big picture size, I can’t seem to make them smaller on this infernal iPad.

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Katherine February 3, 2012 at 1:11 pm

No worries – I’m resizing them for you when I see them. As soon as a have a moment, I’ll figure out that app we spoke about :)

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janeray1940 February 3, 2012 at 1:01 pm

Maybe I’m just lucky, but I found a great assortment of vintage colored slips on eBay a while back – I think I paid under $20 for 8 of them. If you don’t mind buying used, they’re pretty easy to come by.

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Always Alice February 3, 2012 at 1:16 pm

Oh K, thank you! That app is wonky. I can’t seem to log into the site no matter what I do. It says I have no authority. I do feel bad making extra work for you just bc I’m computer deficient. The iPad is certainly a walled garden.

@janeray, I don’t mind at all buying used, I’ll have to keep my eyes peeled.

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holly February 3, 2012 at 1:22 pm

more work for you, but you could make colored slips so they fit how you want. but i can’t recommend any good patterns for that. maybe someone else could : )

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Ruth February 3, 2012 at 1:23 pm

I line practically everything that I make but I totally understand your desire for floaty. How about making your own slips in every colour you need? You get the right colours and more importantly the right length. Check out http://buzzybeesworld.blogspot.com/2011/12/ruby-slip-free-pattern-and-sew-along.html – a free pattern for a bias cut slip- perfect. What a wonderful pattern with only one piece. Look forward to seeing the finished version

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Lauren February 3, 2012 at 1:39 pm

I would just underline it with a lightweight cotton, like voile or batiste. Hold it behind your fabric and see if it gives you enough opacity – I personally don’t mind wearing a nude bra/undies and letting the light shine through my skirt, but some people might be horrified at the thought lol.

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amonik February 3, 2012 at 2:17 pm

I prefer slips myself. It’s easier to wash and dry unlined dresses, and a slip can be worn with any dress that is the right length. If you have trouble finding full slips, look in the sleepwear section – a lot of nightgowns make great slips.

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D'Ellis February 3, 2012 at 2:20 pm

You might also think about Folkwear’s #226 Princess Slip pattern… Done as totally separate garment it shouldn’t affect drape, and depending on fabric, could be worn by itself, too. Have fun with your project!

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Athene February 3, 2012 at 2:43 pm

Definitely a slip – you don’t want to lose that floaty, sheer look by lining!

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Always Alice February 3, 2012 at 2:50 pm

Thanks ladies! I think I’ll try the Ruby slip too. I don’t mind a bit of a sheer dress but this is quite sheer, like ‘count the freckles on my back’ sheer. I have never worked with satin or a tricot. Rolled hem?

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Cat February 3, 2012 at 3:19 pm

If you want coloured slips why not dye a few white or cream ones to the colours that you want? I come across good quality silk and rayon slips in my size at Goodwill fairly frequently and both materials take colour nicely (generally they’re older Nordstrom brand slips and probably worn to a single wedding ten years ago, only occasionally are they vintage, but really it’s not a piece of clothing that’s changed much in the last 50 years).

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LittleBlackCar February 3, 2012 at 3:39 pm

I always go with slips because they can be washed separately from the dress, which is a concern here on the Gulf Coast where it’s hot most of the year. Anything that saves soil and laundering on my dresses is worth it.

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kittysdrawings February 3, 2012 at 5:01 pm

I would line it with cotton voile or something else quite light – and instead of attaching the lining at the skirt, make it more like an underskirt – so that you essentially have two skirt layers that float free from the waist. :-)

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parismegs February 3, 2012 at 6:17 pm

I would go with the slip too. I always wear slips and I never line dresses :-)

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karen February 3, 2012 at 7:32 pm

I like the slip idea too – I think it would be more fashionable and fun

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Jill February 3, 2012 at 9:19 pm

I think a slip would keep the floaty effect you’re after AND preserve the life of the dress since it won’t need to be laundered as often.

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learningnewtricks February 4, 2012 at 12:05 am

I agree with Lauren — underline the dress in a light weight material that won’t compromise the floatinesss or add another layer of color.

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Doortje February 4, 2012 at 3:00 am

One more vote for a slip…

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Always Alice February 4, 2012 at 10:38 am

Brainstorm, dying slips is a great idea. Now I just have to keep my eyes peeled for some dyable slips. I could try attaching lace to plain slips too. When my friend was at Goodwill last she found 6 cards of lace with two types on each card. All 6 cards were $1.99 and had over 20 yards of lace per type. Crazy! I have done some fantastic fabric thrifting there too. I guess no one sews around here.

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Debbie February 5, 2012 at 1:01 pm

Another vote for slips.
Funny, I have been planning on making some pure silk slips for summer and was just drooling over the silks at the fabric store the other day.

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Always Alice February 6, 2012 at 11:28 am

I have never sewn silk before. I want to make some silk slips but won’t the feed dogs leave marks and snags on it? I haven’t sewn satin for this reason too. There is just so much I don’t know yet.

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