The “Homage to Elizabeth” Slip
This week, we end the A Common Thread series with a bang (And a girl with bangs! Sorry, I couldn't resist). If you sew and you're online, you already know Gertie and her New Blog for Better Sewing. In between having a day job, writing her book and filming an appearance on It's Sew Easy! on PBS, Gertie still makes the time to sew and blog. She's been a total inspiration for me and I'm honored to have her wrap up A Common Thread with her homage to Elizabeth Taylor. Thanks Gertie for playing along!
Fabric: Amazing 4-ply silk from Paron's, originally bought to make an evening dress (long story)
Patterns: Draped it myself, inspired by Advance 2902
Year: 1960 (Butterfield 8), 1962 (Advance pattern)
Notions: Mena's lace, plus some other wide lace for the hem from Mood
Time to complete: Two evenings to drape and test, one weekend plus one more evening to sew
First worn: Traipsing around my apartment.
Wear again? Yes!
Total Cost: $70: About $60 for the silk, $10 for the extra lace
The slip that Elizabeth Taylor wears in Butterfield 8 has long been on my "to-sew list." Has anyone ever done more for a garment than Liz did for the humble slip? Since her passing last month, the slip has been more on my mind than ever. In a mad moment of looking for inspiration for the Common Thread project, I came across this white 4-ply silk in my stash and discovered that the answer was right in front of me: It was time to make Liz's slip.
I have a couple vintage slip patterns, but neither of them were quite right. So I spent an evening draping this design on my dress form, constantly referencing the film still above, as well as the Advance pattern. The next evening was spent perfecting the fit in muslin form, and then it was time to sew. The sewing process was fraught with mishaps. One night my red tailor's ham got wet and bled onto the slip. (Shouldn't those be, you know, colorfast or something?!) I had to replace a bodice piece and move on. Then there was the zipper. All the vintage slip patterns I've seen have zippers, so I thought I should use one to get that extra form-fitting look. But I had to insert and reinsert the darn thing several times (it buckled on the bias seam every time) until I decided I could probably just get the thing over my head if I removed the stay tape from the seams. Sewing: it's always a learning process, isn't it?
The slip is completely cut on the bias, which makes it super slinky. All the lace was applied by hand.
Once the slip was complete, there was the next challenge: photographing it. I'm not sure why, the entire time I was making the slip, it never occurred to me that I would be doing, essentially, a lingerie shoot of myself. I tried to mimic Liz's expression in the film photograph, but it all came out rather, um, boudoir-ish. I don't think Ms. Taylor herself would have taken issue with that, though. So I will try to channel her moxie and put these photos out bravely for the world to see.
Thanks for the inspiration, Liz. You'll be missed.