Hot! The “Homage to Elizabeth” Slip

Gertie-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!

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The Facts

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

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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.

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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.

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Author

Gretchenhirsch

49 Comments

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  1. That is totally beautiful and you are rocking the HECK out of it. Thanks for the review!

  2. It’s so pretty! And fits perfectly :) I did wonder what you were sewing with white silk when you mentioned it on your facebook page!
    Ashley x

  3. Gorgeous! Beautiful use of the lace. Way to overcome a few setbacks and finish with a stunning project!

  4. This project has been fabulous to look at! Your slip is gorgeous and you make it look even better.

  5. Oh Gertie – it’s beautiful! Fantastic work, as always!

  6. lovely! Very inspiring, seems like you used to be able to find great vintage slips, but they’ve become impossible to thrift these days. Nice work.

  7. Perfect fit!!! Just gorgeous.

  8. Gertie, you look stunning. That is such an amazing fit.

  9. This is so lovely! And kudos on the courageous photo shoot. I had never thought about using 4-ply silk for a slip before seeing this. Brilliant! I’ll be going through the silk box today.

  10. I’m not a tattoo person, but the way the slip frames your tattoo’s is simply stunning. A stunning slip that makes your tattoo look simply amazing.

  11. This is phenomenal. Wow. You look great and the slip is just perfect. What a great tribute.

  12. Gorgeous! What a beautiful project.

  13. I’m reminded of the Seinfeld episode where Elaine gives her rival a bra, which she wears as outerwear, wreaking havoc on a wide swathe of Manhattan. :)
    Your slip rocks and is so gorgeous, I think you could totally wear it as outerwear. Frankly, it’s too pretty to play second fiddle!

  14. Don’t worry Gertie, having tatoos is like being always dressed up (it’s as if you had sleeves made of colorful lace!). Besides you look gorgeous.
    Gorgeous slip too, although I wouldn’t have thought of a zipper. I’m more and more drawn to sew lingerie and constantly look at slip patterns and never noticed that, but maybe it’s because I’m rather into 30′s styles. As usual, I’m amazed that you designed your own pattern!

  15. The draping and design of the slip is amazing! Great job and now you can wear it under all those top secret projects you are making for the book :)

  16. Ha! Thanks for the idea, I may just use the pattern for a summer slip dress!

  17. Thank you! The 4-ply silk was perfect, though it wouldn’t have been my first thought either. I like that it has more opacity than a single ply crepe.

  18. Wow! That look amazing!
    I just bought a 1940s slip pattern and some cream coloured silky viscose (I’ve never made a full slip before, so I figured I’d give it a go with a cheaper, but still nice and pretty authentic, fabric first). If it turns out even half as pretty as this I’ll be thrilled.

  19. Sooo GORGEOUS!!! Great job!!!

  20. It’s completely fabulous! I adore the cut and how it just hugs your hips perfectly! It really turned out wonderfully and gosh I can only imagine the comfort value. Nothing like “traipsing” around in a piece of silk all day.
    Sorry to hear about the ham incident. I know EXACTLY what you are talking about having it happen numerous times with other things myself. My favorite is having dupioni silk bleed all over something else when I’ve just hung it next to something to dry (after hand washing of course).
    Lovely, lovely job Gertie!
    xoxo,
    Sunni

  21. Wow gorgeous! I’m so keen on making a slip too but that slinky fabric is a nightmare. Yours looks absolutely amazing and you definitely paid homage to the lady herself :-D

  22. Beautiful! You have made this to fit perfectly – I don’t think I would ever want to take it off. Simply stunning!

  23. Wow wow wow! Love it! It really makes your tattoos look fabulous!

  24. So many lovely comments! Thank you, everyone! It’s so fun finally getting to share this project.

  25. Absolutely stunning! You totally channelled Liz!

  26. WOW Gertie, amazingly well fitted and I really want to make one myself now! But so much hand sewing – EEP!

  27. Lovely! But $70 for a slip? Eek!

  28. simply stunning.

  29. Color, fit, fabric; great success and a great tribute.

  30. You did such a fantastic job on this iconic dress, and the combination of your tattoos with the lustre of the silk is so totally elegant.

  31. Yep, and worth every penny! :)

  32. I daresay you are right about vintage slip patterns having zips, but I’ve not seen one that does – a placket fastened with hooks or poppers(snaps) perhaps, but in the days before flexible invisible or nylon zips a metal one would have been thought too likely to rub on the skin, surely? And slips like that were worn partly to protect from rubbing by the zips in the outer garment. Isn’t that one of the reasons slips are cut on the bias – to stretch over the head and then mould back to the body without an opening? I’m nearly old enough to count as vintage myself, and that is what I remember from my childhood.
    I do think your final result is stunning and I know, form having made several myself, that silk does make a superbly comfortable slip.

  33. WOW! *Jaw dropped*
    The fit is fantastic and the slip is stunning on you!

  34. What a beautiful piece, Gertie! Bravo! There is nothing quite like custom fit, silk lingerie is there? (Certainly sewing my silk cami knickers this year have meant I’ve past the point of no return. Uh oh!) What a gorgeous job and tribute to one of Hollywood’s most beautiful women!
    - Casey

  35. The slip is beautiful. You’re gorgeous. Good job!

  36. this is breath taking!

  37. Wow that’s beautiful!

  38. butch_and_dot@yahoo.com

    Perfect!

  39. Meow! Great job with this, Gertie – it looks fabulous.
    xx Charlotte
    Tuppence Ha’penny Vintage

  40. Fabulous darlink! Looks great – hope it makes you feel as fabulous as it looks!

  41. Amazing. I love vintage lingerie patterns. They were so beautiful, I think many of them can be used as evening wear.

  42. Alice's Closet

    Great work and you’re really lovely! ^__^

  43. That is lovely. I also approve of your black apple prints in the background! :D

  44. Wow this looks so amazing! Liz would be proud! And your sleeves look awesome with it!

  45. Gorgeous–both you and the slip! Fantastic job!