Warning: this post is about underpinnings. It also contains some of the most horrible words in the English language. But it does not contain photos of me in underpinnings. Phew.
Slips are great for warmth and opacity. We love them. Oh yes. We don’t love making them on the bias out of slippery silk (boo, hiss) but we love wearing them. Don’t we?
Some of us, though, get about on a bicycle. Slips are fine, but I thought perhaps there was a better option for those of us who are active outdoorsy gels who don’t really want to flash unsuspecting passers-by. Something similar in principle, if not execution, to the immodest garment modelled by this saucy lass in the Chinese advertising poster on my sewing room wall.
I did a lot of scouting about for patterns and examples of divided slips, tap pants, and all those other strange names for what are, essentially, boxer shorts for the laydeez. The yoked ones are styley and also eliminate the bulk around the waist that gathered and elasticised versions have. I found a link to drafting your own but that all seemed a bit complicated, while this circular version is sassy but has too much volume for this particular job.
I consulted Pepin who reckoned that I what I was after was a shortened culotte. Egads! Culottes! There’s a word that needs a PR consultant. She claimed I could use an A-line skirt block and draft the extra piece for the gusset (ugh, possibly the ugliest word ever) which you ‘set into the slash’. First, extremely poor choice of phrase, Pepin. Secondly, too hard.
But what I liked about Pepin’s advice is the idea of closing up the waist dart and flaring out the leg.
From the pattern stash, I dug out a couple of options. The first was a 1970s pattern which seemed cunning… it eliminated side seams thanks to a (ugh) gusset. However it came out all wrong – tapered legs and so much volume that it looked like a nappy.
It was a very informative exercise though and encouraged me to turn to an ugly 1990s skort pattern. One of the options had eliminated the dart in the front piece, curved the waist seam and flared out the leg correspondingly. PRESTO. Exactly what I needed.
I whipped up a muslin to see how much to take out of the elasticated back. Then I slit the back waistline in three places and folded out the extra volume. I traced off the new curve to create a new pattern. I added 7cm length, a button placket on one hip and a bias binding around the top to replace the bulky waistband. Once convinced I was on the money, I hacked off the skirt from this dress disaster and made up a pair.
They are genius. I’m going to make a bunch of them. But don’t you dare call them skorts, cullottes, or bloomers. This is a bifurcated slip. No discussion will be entered into.