Biggish smalls

One of the hardest things I find about dressing up in vintage (or vintage inspired) clothing is finding the right undergarments. Have you tried to find a nude coloured slip lately? One that isn’t a suck-it-in job, or made of terrible polyester, or one thats longer than upper thigh length? Maybe its just Wellington, but I never seem to be able to find what I need! Happily, I can make my own vintage inspired underthings, and play around with some different techniques while I’m at it!

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I had planned to just make up a pattern for a slip, its not exactly a difficult shape! Then the January version of Seamwork magazine came out, and I decided to just lengthen the Savannah Camisole. I cut the pattern at the lengthen/shorten line, and inserted the extra length I wanted to bring it to just below my knees. I found some nude cotton/lycra in the Fabric Warehouse sale, so that was handy! The whole thing only took an hour to cut out and stitch, so the quickfire patterns promised in Seamwork do seem to be fast!

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I didn’t add lace, because I didn’t want it to show through my chiffon dress. Instead, I bound the arm holes and neckline with self bias tape, which extended into the straps. To make things a little bit less utilitarian, I tried my hand at some hemstitching, guided by the tutorial in the same issue of Seamwork. A single winged needle has been sitting in my sewing caddy since I first borrowed my machine from Nana, and I never knew what it was for until now!

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My antique Bernina doesn’t have a huge number of fancy stitches, so I sewed two rows next to each other. It was quite a chore to try to get every third and fourth stitch through the same holes as the row above, but I managed! I should have used a machine embroidery thread instead of just standard cotton, but I still think it looks pretty. Delicate and understated, and not going to show through my dress!

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The other undergarment I’ve finished this week are a pair of white silk/lycra tap pants, possibly the oldest unfinished object in my sewing room! I started these in a sewing class nearly two years ago, but ran out of time to finish them. They’ve languished in a drawer ever since, very slack of me! When I tried on my cream linen Holly Trousers, I realised I would need more than just nude underwear underneath, so I dug these out to see what needed to be finished on them.

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All they needed were the snaps and hook and eye to be sewn onto the placket! I was so happy! The sewing definitely leaves a lot to be desired, but its nice to see how much I’ve improved since I made these. I think they were probably my first attempt at french seams, so they’re better finished than a lot of my early efforts!

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I feel like I should excuse the rubbish photography in this post, it was a very gloomy weekend in Wellington! The pale fabrics I used were super difficult to photograph against our white walls, and I couldn’t get my camera to focus for a full length shot of the slip. Annoying, but at least its only a boring slip not a gorgeous dress I spent weeks on!