Slip Dress DIY
Make an easy sewing pattern for vintage style slip dress
The idea to make a DIY slip dress came to me while I watched yet another victorian England drama. I love the feminine simplicity of the period drama costumes and one of them are the peasant blouses and night dresses. A while ago a friend of mine gave us a bunch of old cotton bedding – perfect for this project! One of them was an old soft douvet cover with a damask texture. It was great for both upcycling and natural dye! Natural dyeing is a great way to elevate an old piece of clothes. I have already tried natural dye with avocados or dyed an old linen shirt with black beans. I also tried a bunch of Easter eggs which was really easy and fun! This slip dress is amazing around the house, work on the garden or as a night dress!
Vintage style cotton slip DIY sewing pattern
The sewing pattern for this cotton slip dress is basically made of four long pannels. You adjust the top corner on each in order to accommodate the arms. Other than that you basically only iron and stitch nice slim hems all around. In fact, you may only need two pannels for the sewing pattern. I used four only because I like the stitched detailing across the front middle and the back of the slip. There is really no other purpose to this than visual and decorative. I didn’t make a PDF sewing pattern for this DIY slip dress because each of us has a unique figure. The pattern is mainly based on very simple measurements which I will show you how to do bellow!
Slip Dress DIY
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Sewing Time: approx. 1 hr and 30 minutes
The tools you’ll need:
- an old white sheets of cotton (old bedding is ideal but you can also use a table cloth or even large soft towels!)
- white/ecru sewing thread
- soft pencil
- measuring tape
- sewing machine
- three handfuls of onion peels (for the final dyeing stage)
- medium stainless steel pot with clean water
- cream cotton yarn
- 3.5 crochet hook
Making the sewing pattern on the fabric
To get your pannels of cotton fabric for the DIY slip dress, begin by measuring yourself at the widest part of your body. This would typically be the bust or the hip measurement. Take the measuring tape, place it all around your body and measure the widest point. My widest part was the hips and the measurement was 95 cm. Of course, I didn’t want the slip to be tight so I decided to add 25 cm to this measurement including the seam allowance (20 cm extra width and 5 cm for the seams). This gave me a total of 120 cm to work with all around the body to make sure that the slip dress will be nice and floaty.
Now – we need 2 pannels of the fabric, front and back. I decided for the slip dress length to be 120 cm including the seam allowances. Dividing the 120 cm width by 2 I got 60 cm. This gave me two fabric pannels of 60 x 120 cm. As mentioned above, I also cut these 60 cm pannels in half vertically and stitched them back together again. This was only to add extra detailing to the dress, you don’t need to do this unless you want to.
Adjusting the top corners of the pannels
Cutting the corners away at each top side of the pannels is to make sure that the slip dress isn’t too wide at the bust. Once the sides are stitched together and the top drawn by a string, you don’t want too much of the fabric gathered across the top. I did this by measuring 10 cm horizontally and 15 cm vertically along the edge as shown on the images bellow. Then I connected the measurements and cut the triangle off.
Stitching the pannels together, finishing hems
Now it’s time to stitch the pannels together – minding the slit on each bottom side of the slip dress. Begin by placing the pannels together with the right sides facing each other. Then pin the sides making sure that the last approx. 40 cm towards the bottom edge of the dress are free. This is to create a slit. Once you’ve stitched along the side to the slit-opening point, iron the seams open flat. Then fold the ironed seams inwards again all along the sides, including the slit opening part as shown. This will create a nice neat finish.
Final touches – crochet straps and onion peel dye
Crochet detailing is simple and looks beautifully vintage. Onion peels will give the slip a lovely autumn colour palette vibe. The string is a simple crochet chain which you can single stitch back to create a second row if you want it stronger. Before you make it take a long piece of yarn, pull it through both front and back tunnels and measure. It will give you an idea how long your crochet string needs to be to make the gathering as well as the straps.
Boil a stainless pot filled with clean water and add approx. three handfuls of onion peels. Then lower the heat and boil gently for about 10 minutes until the peels colour the water dark golden brown and you can’t see the bottom of the pot. Take a sieve and remove all peels and dip the DIY slip dress inside the pot. Take it off the stove and move the fabric gently around for even dye. As shown bellow different stages will give you different results. I left mine in for about 20 minutes.
And this is it!
You’ve made your very own vintage style DIY slip dress. With the simple pattern you’ve just learned you can upcycle many other textiles including trendy knits. The options are endless, enjoy your new comfy piece of handmade fashion!