Monday, December 23, 2013

Cinnamon slip in silk with small bust adjustment

Even with the onset of colder weather in California, I've not wanted to give up on wearing dresses.  But tights with dresses, and the static that clings them together, make me completely crazy.  So, with an opportunity to use some of Britex's beautiful silks, I just had to make a slip.   

The fabric I chose was a semi-sheer silk, in a dusty apricot color.  After washing (on delicate) and drying (on low heat), the fabric had an almost crepe-like texture.  The weight was perfect for this application, and it pressed and sewed beautifully.  Truly, this silk was an absolute pleasure to work with. And since the slip is cut on the bias, the silk is wonderfully drapey  and comfortable.  
The pattern is Colette’s Cinnamon slip dress, available as a pdf download.   The slip dress is very simple, with only a handful of pattern pieces.  However, knowing that Colette tends to design for a larger bust than the big 4 pattern companies, from the start I planned to alter the bodice of the slip for my smaller than normal chest.  In this post, I'll be giving the details of how I did a “small bust adjustment” for my Cinnamon slip.
In my adjustment of this pattern, I not only wanted to reduce the cup size of the bodice, but I also to reduce the volume of gathering at the shoulder straps, since I didn’t want a lump of fabric to be visible under a dress.  So first off, I traced the original pattern, keeping all the markings in place. Measuring the length of the bodice (from the notch to the center front) and midriff (from the notch to the apex), where they are are to be sewn together, there was a significant difference: for size 0, the bodice is almost 3.5 inches longer than the midriff, meaning all that fabric would have to be gathered to fit.  For my chest (which normally wears a 34A bra), I only wanted about a 1” difference between the two measurements, enough for a small amount of gathering to shape the bodice.
To reduce the width of the bodice piece, then, I folded a wedge out of the middle of the pattern piece.  At the top, the width was reduced by 1”, and at the bottom the reduction was 2”.   
To further reduce the length of the bodice bottom seam and get rid of some of the puffing that occurred with my muslin, I dramatically lessened the curve of the bodice bottom seam.  To do this, I placed another piece of tracing paper over the folded bodice pattern piece, retraced the piece, and hand-drew a new line, transferring markings upward.
Here, I've placed the adjusted bodice over the original. Even though the total bust measurement is decreased, the fit is just right.
During construction of the bodice, I concentrated the gathering near the center front, but the gathers can be shifted more under the breast, if that’s preferred.   From there, the construction of the slip was exactly as described in the instructions. 

Bias cut dresses give a very fitted silhouette without any closures, very important for the purpose of this sort of garment.  But even though the entire slip was cut on the bias, sewing wasn't very difficult, owing in large part to the texture of the fabric.  The pattern instructions also give several really useful tips on sewing on the bias, including using a very narrow zig-zag and stretching the fabric slightly while sewing, which allow for some stretch in the garment, and having the completed piece hang over night before hemming.  I hemmed the slip a few inches above knee length, since the vast majority of my dresses are at the knee.
The fabric of my slip is almost the exact shade of my winter-pale skin, so I felt a bit self-conscious modeling it for photos, but it's the perfect color and weight for lingerie or undergarments.  

By the way, the gorgeous ceramic and metal necklace was made by a local Bay Area artist.  Isn't it incredible?  

Thank you to Britex for not only providing the lovely silk fabric, but the perfectly matching silk thread as well!    ADDENDUM:  The thread was originally listed incorrectly.  It is actually this thread.


  1. Wow Nicole, that fits perfectly, it looks beautiful!! Sewing with silk scares me if I'm honest! x

    Merry Christmas x

  2. Although I love the Colette patterns I have avoided buying them because of the larger bust and I haven't felt comfortable with doing an adjustment. Thanks for this post, I am going to give it a go with your tutorial. And I just visited britex too!

  3. Beautiful! And thank you for the SBA tutorial. You've inspired me to take another look at this pattern.

  4. Anonymous2:51 PM

    Nothing like silk lingerie . . . used to be able to find slips and such from the 30s, but they finally wore out. Think I should make some more. Beautiful job!

  5. Beautiful slip.. Great job.

  6. That is some very brave sewing and beautiful modelling (and the other way around too!) Well done.

    1. Thanks! Yeah, posing in something thin and revealing is not my favorite thing, but I was taking one for the team. Pity it wouldn't fit over my dressmaker's form (since it doesn't have collapsible shoulders)!

  7. Anonymous8:11 PM

    Looks fantastic. And thanks for the SBA tutorial. I may give it a go. I just visited Britex's website and see that the thread is 54 yd/spool. How many spools did you need for this slip?

    1. Thank you! As for the thread, I didn't even finish one spool (and that's with zigzagging all of the inside edges), so you should be just fine with one! By the way, I've made a mistake with my thread--it's actually this one: So sorry!

  8. You did an amazing job on this. I am going to give it a go. thank you for the alteration of the pattern, Ia m small also.