Introducing the bifurcated slip

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.

This is not how I look when I cycle.

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.

Oh, Pepin. People just don't talk about 'simulated circular panties' these days, and for good reason. 'Panties' is a truly dreadful word. Shudder.

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.

Simplicity 6491. Not-so-smalls.

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.

Butterick 4894. Work those skorts, ladies.

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.

The Bifurcated Slip.

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.

7 thoughts on “Introducing the bifurcated slip

  1. That Chinese poster is too much! Bifurcate – divide into two branches, fork. Lets hope this doesn’t happen to you on that bike. Meanwhile happy, silky cycling.

  2. Oh that’s hilarious (the poster) whatever is it advertising? I think everyone should ride their bicycles that way it’ll cause less accidents because all the car drivers will be slowing down for a look 😉

  3. Do you still have the bodice of the dress? I see a super cute halter style top to match – you’ll have the Cutest Sun Suit ever! And the extra 1″ of bodice length might just come in handy.

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