Satin and Lace

Hello! It's good to be back and to blog again! We are married and it feels wonderful. Our wedding day was incredible - very emotional! - and our honeymoon in Dubrovnik was perfect. I've got a few things to share with you over the next couple of weeks, while I'm trying to remain patient waiting for our wedding photos from our wonderful photographer. I'm so excited to see them, and also to reveal to you all my home-sewn wedding dress!

But for now, something else...

I made this silk slip/nightdress ages ago, before I even embarked on wedding dress sewing. I decided I needed some practice working with fine fabrics and finishing, and I'm really pleased with the outcome, especially for a first try.

Pattern: the great British sewing bee book 2 - sew you own wardrobe, silk slip 
Fabric: white silk satin from a1 fabrics on goldhawk road, 2m
Notions: 2m 4" wide lace, 2m 1/2" wide lace, silk machine thread 

I'm not going to pretend it's perfect! I know it is not, but I also know what I would change if making it again, and it's good enough for me, being nightwear! I can report it's super comfy to sleep in and feels very luxurious.

The process
I whipped up a toile in some drapey polyester I found in dad's loft. I knew I wouldn't use it to make anything as the 90s-ness is just too much for me, but it’s perfect for toiles. 

Based on my measurements I traced and cut a size 16 and sewed up the toile. I should have known there'd be ridiculous amounts of ease!! Who needs 2" of ease in a bias cut slip? Obviously you need enough to get it on and off and for it to be comfy. The cups fit well in a size 16 though, so I just took the side seams in another 3/8" on each side. Good fit achieved.

The stap making instructions say to cut one strip 20" long, then later cut it in two. I need longer straps than this and ended up cutting two strips 15" long instead. 

I only toiled the lace application on one cup and only toiled one strap, but was happy with how it all went and didn't feel the need to fully finish it. 

Then it was on to the real thing! Eek! And a little gelatine bath for my lovely white silk satin. 

Yes, a gelatine bath. Lynne at Ozzy Blackbeard tipped me off about this technique and sent me a link to an article about gelatine soaking slippery fabrics. Thanks, Lynne! I did some more searching and reading, and it looked like everyone who has tried it loves it, and Sew Busy Lizzy's testament to it sealed the deal. So I bought some gelatine and a bucket, and off I went. And.... It worked! It made the silk so easy to work with!! Wowee this was such a revelation!!!! I will be sewing silk everything from now on!!! I used this method from an article by Threads magazine . 

A quick hand wash after completion removed the gelatine and took my silk back to it's soft, silky goodness. If, like me, you've always been sacred to tackle sewing with silk, try this. It works a charm and makes it all slightly easier to handle. 

The only part that bugs me is that wrinkling under the cups. I know why. I was daft enough to French seam the whole thing, determined to have neatness and comfort throughout. Of course on a curve like that, not being able to clip the curve of the second seam in a French seam puts some strain on the fabric, and gives us those little wrinkles. It seems so obvious now. I should have finished the S/A a different way. 

My favourite part of this pattern is the neat way it has you attach the lace trim to the neckline and top edge. 

I did really enjoy my first foray into any kind of lingerie sewing, and would love to do more. I'm feeling a camisole version of this pattern coming on....


  1. This is so pretty Ree, and the finish looks great. Good tip about the gelatine bath-never heard of that before but that's going into the sewing memory bank :)

    1. Thanks Zoe! I really do recommend the gelatine bath for slippery fabrics. It makes a huge difference and the silk is just soooo much easier to work with! Xxx

  2. This is gorgeous! I love your toile version too, would it be worth adding lace and a strap to it to finish it off? I'm glad the gelatin worked out for you. It really does make life much easier with working with a slippery fabric, I also recommended it to some local sewists that I've met. And congratulations on your wedding! I shall look forward to seeing some photos of your dress.

    1. Thank you, Lynne! Unfortunately I think I threw the toile away already! A rare moment of ruthlessness from me. The gelatine really was a revelation!!! Xx