Tag Archives: Ruby Slip

A Silkier Slip

A gift slip

You may recognize this as the slip I teased about a little while back. Now that the gift is sent, I can talk a bit more about it. Ada, who has been one of my best friends since High School, is getting married.

Unfortunately for me, she decided to do it in Mexico, and between family and THESIS obligations and the eternal (lack of) money, I couldn’t go. This is the woman who came to prenatal classes with me, who was there when my kids were born. And I can’t be there for the most amazing day in her life since, oh—at least since she got her Master’s degree. POOPY!!!!

On the mannequin. Even padded out, the fit on my duct-tape-double is mediocre, but hopefully the real-life fit will be better.

But I could (attempt to) make something for her that would be, if not as awesome as she  is, at least really, really neat. And as soon as Sherry came out with the Ruby Slip pattern last Christmas, I knew what I wanted it to be.

Unfortunately, I also knew exactly what I wanted it to look like. Teal fabric with orange lace, her signature colours—a pairing as unique and awesome as she is.

The problem with having the exact image in your head is, nothing you look at in the store ever quite matches up. I even found silk charmeuse in the perfect slightly-burnt-orange shade, but couldn’t find a lace that was a worthy match. I bought four metres (!) of teal stretch lace (with sequins!) but while it has a certain coolness, it’s also tacky as hell, and I couldn’t bring myself to use it. This time. No promises for the future.

So, in the end, I settled. Despite being 100% polyester, this fabric feels just as nice as the above-mentioned silk (seriously, with my eyes closed I couldn’t tell the difference), and was a fraction of the price. Not that I was going for cheap here, for once. And while the print isn’t quite what I envisioned, it is very her. I think. Oona should be proud—I have such a hard time wrapping my head around prints. The lace is the same thrift-store stuff as my blue slip—as I said, I haven’t found anything nicer.

In theory, having just made the blue version, I should avoid making all the mistakes I made the first time around, right?



Sometimes that works. Other times, I just seem to end up paying less attention (because I totally know what I’m doing, right?)

So some things are better in this one (my bias side-seams, for example). Others… were not quite so smooth (some of my seam-matching on the bodice, eg.)

The fabric was slithery and slinky, as is to be expected. However, it mostly went together well. I think the most alarming thing about sewing on the bias is how the lovely 1cm seam allowance (my favourite seam-allowance width) can shrink to half or billow wider, all depending on how much tension you have on the fabric. Sherry suggests sewing the bias with a slight tension on the fabric, which is what I tried to do, but it’s still a bit alarming and fiddly. I didn’t have much trouble with riplling seams, though, except a bit around the bottom of the bodice that probably have more to do with the stretch lace and the clear elastic I added in there (probably not necessary) than the bias.

Now, those of you who just like to look at pretty pictures can probably go on with your lives. Those of you who actually enjoy obscene amounts of construction detail, read on. 😉

The shoulder straps

An adjustable strap

Not having the recipient available for fitting, I wanted to do adjustable shoulder-straps. Naively, I headed off to Fabricland to pick up little rings and sliders. I knew they had some bra supplies—underwires and formed cups and bra-hooks—so I assumed they would have little sliders, too.

You guessed it. Nary a little slider. There were two styles of complete, ready-made straps, with sliders on, one of which cost $12.95, one which cost $2.50. Of course, I didn’t want pre-made straps—I wanted gorgeous slinky silky matching straps—so, I went with the cheaper ones. Which means I basically spend two-fifty on the crappiest, cheapest plastic rings and sliders ever. I’m sorry, Ada. My bad. I promise I’ll replace them when they fuck up. I should probably have just bought a junk bra from the thrift store and scavenged off it.

Back loop

Other than that, making the straps wasn’t too hard, especially since I could compare them with the crappy pre-made straps for how the loops needed to loop together. I wanted the straps to fit the sliders (at least more or less) so I didn’t make the straps as narrow as I could have. I will say, turning spaghetti straps in this kind of slinky fabric is insanely easy. I would’ve used the bobby-pin method, but I couldn’t find my bobby pin, so I used a small safety pin instead, and it worked just fine, although it’s not quite as slick as the bobby-pin method. Stitching the little loops wasn’t too hard, although I initially tried to attach them entirely by machine, which basically flattened my slender bias straps into fat wads of ugly thread. Fortunately the straps were super-extra-long so I was able to just cut off the booboo and re-stitch by hand. Not exactly the flawless finish I was hoping to give Ada, but pretty enough.

The Hem

The Good

And then, when I had everything together, had hung the whole kaboodle, adjusted the length to be a bit more even (hopefully), I got a little crazy.

I decided I would try and do the hem with my rolled-hem foot.

Rolling the hem

Judging by the comments on my teaser, I am not the only one who has a love/hate (or hate/hate) relationship with this damned, deceptively simple little attachment. It’s not coincidence that Sherry, for the sewalong, advised sewing the hem in two passes. Not that that method doesn’t require skill, either ;). I’m not quite sure what possessed me to try the foot this time, either, except bloody-mindedness. And I was going to go into a bit of detail here on my history with this insidious foot and the things I do to (attempt to) master it, but it was getting really, really long so I think I’ll throw it up as a separate post. Gotta milk my sewing woes for all they’re worth. 🙂

The bad: messy seam area.

In short, I finished the slip, wrapped it up, and sent it off with a friend who was flying down for the ceremony.

So now my main fear is that it’s not going to fit. Ada gave me her measurements (high bust and full bust), and as she’s a rather well endowed lady, I did an FBA following Sherry’s method which I *hope* will be adequate. Part of it is that Ada’s lost weight since I last saw her (and probably more since she gave me the measurements after Christmas) so the Ada in my head is not the same size as the real-world Ada.

I seriously don’t know how people sew wedding-dresses. The hardest part of this make was that perfectionism (which I usually confine to areas of my life outside of sewing)  reared its nasty head. How can I send my BFF a wedding present with a wonky hem? With less-than-perfect stitching? That might not fit? That has cheap crappy strap sliders? Aaaaaaaaaah!!!

Breathe, Tanit. Breathe.

So that was my weekend. How was yours?



Filed under Sewing

A ruby in blue

Creek Springtime

I didn’t get a lot of time to sew this past weekend. We spent much of the weekend at the creek, checking out the changes winter has wrought (not to mention the changes between Saturday and Sunday!). But I did, in snatches here and there, get started on my (long awaited) Ruby Slip.


After searching high or low, I was singularly disappointed in the lace available to me. (I thought this would probably be the case, but I hadn’t done a truly intensive lace-hunt before, so I was hoping that perhaps I had just overlooked some fabulous finds.)

Cute Slip Pose

Apparently, not so. For the record, I carried a bolt of silk charmeuse around Fabricland for some time, looking for lace worthy of it, but how can you possibly sew a silk & lace slip when the only lace available is scratchy, crappy polyester?*

So, in the end, I went with some 4″ wide stretch lace from this thrift store lace bundle, (this pattern is not recommended for stretch lace, nor for such narrow lace) and for the skirt, decided to sacrifice some of a beautifully-coloured (if not so beautiful-feeling) polyester crepe, snared at a thrift store back home last spring. It’s probably not any good for an actual slip, but, well, it looks nice and has the right drape.

Em. So, this is my first time sewing with lace (other than as a trim), and my first time sewing with crepe, and my first time sewing something cut on the bias.

I’ll start with the sewing bits. As I mentioned, my lace was a wee bit too narrow. Fortunately, Sherry on the sewalong linked to this post on piecing your lace if it’s just slightly too narrow. Which is what I did. It’s a bit trickier on stretch lace, which wants to, well, stretch out on you, but by backing everything with tissue-paper (my new favourite trick; just like what Steph does in this post) I got it to work quite well, especially on the White. Unfortunately, something went kfzzzt in the foot-pedal halfway through and I had to switch to my modern zig-zag machine, the Janome. Funny, the Janome has better stitches overall, but I really like how the White handles delicate (and stretchy) fabric with its adjustable presser-foot pressure and semi-drop-able feed dogs. As I understand it replacing foot pedals is dead easy, so I’m not panicking quite yet. For a thrift-store gamble that didn’t initially impress me, I’ve actually gotten quite attached to it, so I hope I can resurrect it without too much trouble.

ANYWAY, so I squeezed the bodice out, and while the join isn’t invisible, it’s subtle enough that I don’t even notice it any more (did you? it’s on the side-front bodice piece. 🙂 )

I had a hard time matching the notches on the skirt, although it’s hard to say if that has more to do with my sloppy cutting (I am better than I used to be, but that’s a relative improvement and I usually avoid slinky fabrics like the plague 😉 ) or with the weirdness of bias. The side-seams are a bit woobly, mostly where I narrowed the seams (at the top) and then tapered back to the original seam.

Fit photos.

I cut the size 8, which according to the sizing chart should’ve been a bit snug in the chest but spot-on in the hips; I figured my ill-advised stretch lace would probably make up for the difference. As it turns out, it’s snug/fine in the bust, and a bit too tight in the hips. If there is a next time, I will cut a 10. I made a small swayback adjustment (shaved of 1cm from the CB of the bodice, and 1 cm from the CB of the skirt, curving to nothing at the side-seams), but there’s still quite a bit of pooling/puddling above my bottom—which I think would be be fine if the skirt were wider. Look at that backwards-slanting side-seam.  And this is after I released the side-seams as much as I could…

Random Creek Shot, for interest.

The appropriate thing to do, of course, would be to unpick it all, and slice off and re-shape the top as I did for this dress last summer. (I’m not too fussy about the length.) I’m not sure if I have the oomph, though as the seams are already serged and topstitched. We’ll see where my mojo is at in a day or two, because I am really not liking the back view. I’m glad I took the modeled photos, though (even if they required photoshop de-niplifying) because it really brings home the back-tightness issue. And now I can see that the  front of the skirt is definitely hanging lower than the back, something that wasn’t obvious when it was hanging on my dressform. Yes, the dubious duct-tape double got some use, although again, her usefulness appears to have been limited. I think in this case because the direction she hangs naturally isn’t quite the direction I stand in. I think the width in the front is fine, it’s just the back which is too narrow.

Anyway, that was a lot more than I was expecting to write about something that’s not even finished yet (and really requires some re-working). At least the bodice (which I had sort of thought would be the worrisome bit) is pretty much perfect.

So, fix the damn skirt, Tanit, and then you can obsess over bows and other pretty finishing details…

And, just because she’s wearing jeans I made her, I’ll leave you with a picture of Tyo re-arranging rocks at the creek.

Rock work

*Disclaimer: there is, in fact, a very high-end bridal fabrics store in town, which I have not scoped out. I have no doubt they have all the lace and silks I could possibly want. However, they are a) located downtown, where I never go, and b) would no doubt break the bank, so would probably not be the best choice for a first trial of the pattern anyway.


Filed under Sewing