The Under Dress Lace Slip – A Gift Made In An Hour

under dress lace slip

The under dress lace slip is what my grandmother used to use under her dress in summers. My recollection of her wardrobe is of many above-the-knee sheath dresses and mid-calf off-the-shoulder 1950s cotton dresses. I used to admire the soft crinoline that made up the dress and her lovely matching pearl necklace.

To me, she was the epitome of beauty and strength. A beautiful woman widowed at 40 who never remarried because she was left with 8 kids and a farm to run.

under dress lace slip

I have pictures of her clothes hanging on a clothing line with wood pegs holding them up. It's so interesting to see how women's fashion has changed from that time, even the undergarments.

So I thought I'd share this particular piece of clothing. It's very easy to make and wear and has been a regular part of a woman's wardrobe for generations. It is A line-shaped to accommodate an hourglass figure. If you have a different shape you will need to make the required alterations. This under dress slip is especially helpful for a new mother who wants an easy-to-wear nightgown.

under dress lace slip

I have chosen stretchable lace, but you can use a very loose woven netting or silk/cotton jersey blend for sleeping.

It should not be surprising to you that this is the first pattern in a series I am calling “my grandmother's wardrobe” my take on the 1940s, 50s, 60s, and '70s to 90s where I pay tribute to the woman who helped shape who I am today. Hope you enjoy the ride and the modernising of these classic pieces.

Experience Level:

Confident Beginner

Materials

  • 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 yards of stretch lace, soft stretch tulle, silk/cotton knit with at least 50% stretch.
  • 1 yard of elastic for bra 3/8″ wide or the amount you use in your bras.
  • 2 sliders 3/8″ wide
  • 2 rings 3/8″ wide
  • 1 ballpoint needle
  • Gutermann thread to match
  • 1/2 to 3/4 yards of deco stretch lace for the cups

Tools

Fabric Suggestions

Here's the exact fabric I used on sale at Fabric.com

under dress lace slip

Pattern Layout

under dress lace slip

How To Download The Under Dress Lace Slip Pattern

Use the latest version of Adobe Reader with print settings for Actual Size and Landscape.  Print the first page first to test the 2″ x 2″ square to make sure the sizing is correct before printing out all the other pages.

Pattern Download

Our patterns are still free, but now you now have the option of making a small contribution if you like our work! We'd really appreciate it and it will help us keep going with new and fun designs like this. Even a dollar or two really goes a long way.

Finished Measurements

Size Cup Size Under Bust Hips
Small A 29″ 36″
Medium B 31 1/2″ 40″
Large C 37″ 45 1/2″
X-Large D 39″ 49″

Fitting Your Under Dress Lace Slip

The first thing you will notice is how short it actually is. It will only just cover your bum. If you want to lengthen it follow the following tutorial.

How To Sew Your Lace Slip

The construction of the cups is very similar to the bralette a favorite of mine because I think it is the perfect undergarment for summer.

Working with stretchable lace brings the difficulty of having a hard time knowing what is the right and the wrong side of the lace. Normally the front side will be shinier and smoother than the wrong side. My best tip would be to not separate the pattern from the lace until you are ready to sew.

The seam allowance for this project is 1/4″. There is enough space to use your overlocker without the need for the knife. I will be using my Bernina 350 Patchwork Edition and using stitch #8 with foot #2A.

Step One: Sewing The Cups

Join the curved sides of the cups. You will make two sets per side.

Joining the seams together, or wrong sides together.

Apply the decorative elastic on top of both layers covering the edge. Do not stretch the elastic unless you are very thin with large breasts. In that case, you need to stretch slightly so the cup can wrap around the breast.

Step Two: Sewing The Body

Sew the sides at 1/4″.

Step Three: Joining The Cups To The Body

You will overlap the cups. Check the pattern and match the middle of the cups with the marking in your pattern.

Pin the cups to the body aligning the sides of the cups to the sides of the body and sew at 1/4″.

Step Four: Adding The Straps

The easy way would be to buy an already made bra strap, companies such as Prim, Birch, Dritz, and Clover carry them in many elastic width.

But for those who rather make your own. I explain this step in the bralette video on our Youtube channel.

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Pass the elastic under one side of the slider, over the bridge, and through to the other side. Sew using a small zigzag.

Thread the ring on the other side of the strap.

Hold the slider facing up with the short end of the strap facing up. Take the free end of the strap and thread through the first hole.

Pass the strap over the bridge through the other hole. This is the end you will sew to the slip front.

Finally, take the small strap and thread it through the ring and sew it to the back of the slip using a small zigzag.

All you need to do it to turn the hem 3/8″ using a small to medium zigzag.

If you feel the slip is too short, you can add a 1 to 3″ stretchable lace to the hem.

It has taken me a few days to finish this post and sew this underdress slip, but I can assure you that you'll take only an hour to make it. The perfect gift for a new mother.

Years later, as I sit by my window looking at my grandmother's picture, remembering packing her clothes after the funeral, and looking through her trunks full of lace and silk, I see she was a different woman. For me, she was always sweet grandma, but for some who met her in another time, she was a beautiful, strong, independent, sexy woman.

I guess you never know what's going on under the skirt unless you lift it. What is under yours? Have you changed so much and have become complacent and comfortable? or are you a daredevil in sheep's clothing? or have you found a happy medium? Love to hear from you in comments section below.

Until next time, Happy sewing!


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Bernadette
Bernadette

This evoked some good memories if my own. I have and wear (when a slip is useful) a black slip which was my mother’s. I had had a part-time job giving me a bit to save and spend, so I was so proud to purchase this slip as a birthday gift for her when I was a teenager in the mid-1960’s. The store was Carson Pirie Scott in downtown Chicago, well-known as the “fashion” department store. Slips back then came in specific sizes, so I was able to buy her a “36-B, short” slip of Vanity Fair brand which fit her perfectly. My working class mom mother could spend very little on herself, sticking mainly to necessities. She loved this beautifully made, heavily lace-embellished slip and wore it only under her few “good” dresses whenever such occasions arose. By her age 60’s she preferred pants to dresses and gifted the lovely slip back to me since I was now that size myself. Slips are not worn so much now, but this one is still perfect under some special dresses. Thanks for jogging that happy memory!

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[…] This slip isn’t just pretty, it can be made in an hour! […]

Carol Dittoe
Carol Dittoe

I so related to Karen’s story! I’m not quite as old, but I did wear (and still do at times) dresses with slips underneath for school and for work. I can also relate to her woes of sizes for larger people, as I too, am one of them.

I cannot however, access the pattern to download. Is there a time limit that I missed?

Thanks!

Mary
Mary

Thank you, Mayra. This looks lovely. I hope to stitch it up soon. Have a beautiful day!

Barbara Grace
Barbara Grace

I wear slips under nearly all my dresses. Only the lined dresses are spared a slip. The slips I have now, except one, are ones that I’ve made. They work up quickly and are so much more luxurious than any you can find in a store – If you were able to find one at all! Great article.

Marie Leighton
Marie Leighton

Kudos for a good start on your series on your grandmother’s clothing. I’m 66 and I think about my grandmother every day. She was amazing, a beautiful woman who had a very hard life and dressed like a lady every day of that hard life. She bought me my first sewing machine. I love the clothing of the 30s, 40s, and 50s. My plus size and age make the 30s styles the most wearable for me. It’s my favorite era anyway, so feminine and modest. Looking forward to your series and thank you for always sharing so generously.

Wyn
Wyn

Hi Mayra, is stretch lace itchy to wear?

Susan
Susan

Karen, I too have a rectangular shape! I am 66 and have never had an hourglass shape, I always called my waist ‘wide’. Like my mother and all of us 4 girls are built that way.
Mayra, I too have trouble finding a slip that fits me. I really do appreciate this pattern. It is also so economical! I think I will make 2, one with a light color! Thank You, Susan

Shirley Eagle
Shirley Eagle

I’ve seen people who would wear this as a dress! Ugh! Leave a little something to the imagination. You don’t want to give away the whole ice cream truck to just any passer-by. Yes I wear a slip with my dresses. It feels nice.

DC
DC

Great pattern and I’m so excited to make it. Any plans on including instructions on how to alter pattern to accommodate larger cup sizes?

Lori
Lori

I am 5’9” and my measurements are: High bust 42”
Full bust 44”
Waist 36”
Hips 45”
I would also love to see more full figured patterns! I love your patterns and tutorials.
The link I received for this one is not working, by the way. Could you please check it and let us know when it’s fixed? I’m really excited to make it.
Thank you for all your hard work and for sharing your talents.

Nicki Kerns
Nicki Kerns

I too am a larger size woman who is also short and thus would love to be one of your testers for a larger size. I have had ZERO luck finding slips in stores; mine are so old they are stretched out beyond recognition. Would this pattern work with nylon tricot?

Karen Little
Karen Little

I am 71 and when going to public and secondary school we HAD to wear dresses/skirts — that was the dress code! When I went to work, I was in a printing plant where I was the only female in the group of compositors. It was 1966 when I started working there — the expectation of me — even though we were working with ink and lead was that I would dress as the office staff did — yep, dresses/skirts AND high heels! Such insanity! We wore slips under our dresses/skirts always — it helped keep static from plastering our clothes to our bodies 🙂 I didn’t have nice lace slips, I never was a “slim” person. Our slips were cotton or “nylon” (not sure what the fabric was exactly, but it was stretchy). The cotton was lovely in the summer, the stretchy ones were nicer in the winter. I still wear a slip with some of my dresses — when I wear a dress (not a common event these days) 🙂 I can’t find a slip these days that I would wear. I shall be getting your pattern to make one for myself. I especially like a slip if an item of clothing is not finished nicely at the waist — my skin doesn’t like the feeling of the bulky waistband of a fitted dress! I also appreciate that the slip holds in a bit of the “excess” that I carry on my body. I would be happy to be a tester for larger sizes — I’m pretty much built as a rectangle — bust 52, underbust 46, waist 52, hip 56. I don’t know how many people have those measurements and are only 5′ 1″. Let me know if you are going to do a test for larger sizes.

Suzann
Suzann
Reply to  Karen Little

I bet the stretchy fabric was tricot! I have some of my granny’s slips and one is cotton and 1 is tricot which is so lovely to wear.

I think I will make mine in tricot as I do feel more put together in a slip however have not had any luck finding what I love.

Suzann
Suzann
Reply to  Karen Little

Hi Karen,

I bet the stretchy fabric was tricot! I have some of my granny’s slips and one is cotton and 1 is tricot which is so lovely to wear.

I think I will make mine in tricot as I do feel more put together in a slip however have not had any luck finding what I love.

Yvonne Jinks
Yvonne Jinks
Reply to  Karen Little

Karen I remember wearing them as well. It would be one of many layers that my mother would put on me as a small girl. ( I lived in a cool climate) They were always knee length and referred to as petticoats. I wore them pretty consistently until the 1970s when i started wearing half slips. I probably still have a couple tucked away somewhere. . I have not thought about them in years. This was the time that dresses were the norm and many women wore corsets and other clothing of torture. Some things really have improved

Eva
Eva
Reply to  Karen Little

Very interesting to read about the dress codes you had to adapt to! Thank you ????

Carma
Carma

Really enjoy all that you offer – not just neat patterns but the memories shared. Please keep up your good work!!!!

Elaine Chapman
Elaine Chapman

Thank you for sharing that little bit of sentimentality about your grandmother. I look forward to everyone of your blogs, you are so personable. I have ordered several patterns but have yet to make any, I keep hoping I will get back to sewing some day. You inspire me.

Diane

I don’t have a serger. Would french seams work if I allowed an extra 1/4″ on the seam allowances?

cat
cat

Mayra,
Thank you for this pretty pattern! I love it and I’m going to make it. I just want to clarify: We cut four of each piece for the cups because they will be a double layer? So each cup will have an inner and outer layer? I’m think perhaps of using a lovely lining for the cups if that is the case. Thank you again!

Michelle
Michelle

I so gonna try this!! Hope I achieve altering the pattern to my size (46).

Annette
Annette

Lovely design, will try it as soon as I can get some lace. I tried to pay but the website displayed 0.00 and I did try to change that to a contribution but the 0.00 stayed the same.

Is there another way to contribute?

Alanna-Jane
Alanna-Jane

Thank you!! I just love that you are making this classic series. I have been meaning to make some slips, as well as some pretty-but-comfy nightdresses in some breathable, natural fabric (linen, cotton). I will just have to adapt the sizing to allow for the lack of stretch. I would also be happy to contribute a small donation to thank you for your hard work.

Just a note on sizing: I am an XL, and can happily fit into this pattern. That is a priviledge that I do not take lightly. But there are loads of larger ladies that also want to make cute, sexy things and often have been driven to making their own clothes because the world greatly restricts their freedom to dress as cutely as others. The world of indie pattern making is thankfully changing now to be more inclusive. It would be a great service to include larger sizes. You would make many people happy and likely pick up more followers.

Lena Cybulskie
Lena Cybulskie

Would you also wear a bra with this? I love the idea for sheer dresses and tops in the summer, but I hate layering more than necessary. What do you think? I’m a mother of 4 in my 40s, so something bra-like is sadly necessary. Thanks for the wonderful pattern!

Kitty Austin
Kitty Austin

I was born in 1956 in rural North Carolina, USA. Ladies wore slips under their dress to prevent any kind of “see-through” . That was an absolute, you did not leave home without one on! Oh I remember getting in trouble for going without my slip too, LOL! In today’s times, most of us seldom wear a dress but I would like to offer that if you do need to wear a dress for a special occasion, having a slip in your wardrobe to wear under it not only adds warmth in the winter but also takes the place of a tedious lining Your skirt will be less likely to cling to you with static as well as drape better. I still can’t wear a dress without a slip without feeling like I’m only half dressed.
.I have just found a lovely vintage slip pattern on eBay-didn’t know there would be one here and plan on making a couple out of different material to wear under dresses that need a wee bit of help. I also have my eye on a half slip version to wear under shear skirts. They are cooler in the summer than a full slip. And, yes, a slip can be very sexy, although my proper mom would argue about it being ladylike instead-LOL!

Joi
Joi

Love it! Think I need this to wear under a summer tunic instead of a plain unadorned cami!! Thank you…love reading your blog/emails and watching your YouTube channel.

Judy Jones
Judy Jones

Mayra, maybe I have missed it but I don’t understand how you pay with your new method. I live in USA and only use Paypal for international purchases or contributions. I would like to understand how it works. Can you post an article through the newsletter or email? Thank you very much for sharing your talent and passion with us. I really enjoy your posts.

So Sew Easy
Admin
Member
Reply to  Judy Jones

Hi Judy, thanks for letting me know this. Yes, I’ll do a post in the near future. If you want to make a contribution, you can just put your number in the price box and hit buy now. Because the pattern is free to our readers, you can just choose to leave the amount as zero and get the pattern for free. Of course, we really, really appreciate any contribution you choose to make. Kind regards, Mayra

Anne-Marie
Anne-Marie

Interesting post! Thank you for the pattern. My grandmother wore a vest, then a large, pink corset that had to be tightly laced at the back, then a nylon opaque slip and then a dress, topped by a tight perm and finished with sensible brown lace up shoes. She was born in 1898. She was not a sexy woman. Bossy, yes, and she knew exactly how others should behave. But she was my grandma and I liked staying with her.

Sharon Shortland
Sharon Shortland

Thanks for this, looks very feminine. i tried to pay but it took me to a website and it was free. i couldn’t alter it.

Linda
Linda

Very pretty. But please don’t forget us queen-sized ladies who also like to feel sexy!

Donna L Huston
Donna L Huston

I am sooooo going to sew this! I am thinking of making it shorter so I can wear it showing under a top that I want to be longer. I have been looking for something to make my idea with!

Nancy Connors
Nancy Connors

This is so special and really touched me. The pattern is lovely and I’m sure I will have several made by end of summer. Your grandmother’s story is one to be proud of. I come from a line of strong women and know that it has shaped me.

I will be purchasing your patter in a few days with a donation. It’s so good of you to make it available to those who might not otherwise be able to enjoy it. That having been said, I really hope everyone will make the contribution the can.