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Need help with fabric selection

cloetzu | Posted in General Sewing Info on


I was asked to make a slip for a friend.  She doesn’t want one ‘off the rack’ because she can only find poly ones which don’t breath.  I need a fabric that is light, slippery, has some stretch and can breath well.  Any and all suggestions welcome and appreciated!



  1. rekha | | #1

    I would suggest silk or 'muslin' (cotton), swiss cotton

    1. cloetzu | | #2

      thanks - i was thinking cotton (muslin) too but i used it for a lining once and it was a little too stiff...

      Edited 6/24/2008 1:47 pm ET by cloetzu

      1. starzoe | | #3

        Muslin comes in many weights. Swiss cotton (if it is still available) is silky smooth but pricey.

        1. cloetzu | | #4

          ah - i didn't know that!  thanks! my local fabric stores are pretty limited in selection but I'll go check it out!

    2. User avater
      ghis | | #14

      Hi !! I am back,was really very very busy with 4 weddings and 4 dresses to make,I cant leave the machine for very long.About the slip you need to make, I tried the cotton the muslin and swiss cotton and it was not slippery at all,the dresses or skirts would really cling to those material,silk should be the best,but a very good quality lining ,the one that is washable is very nice and with a little trimings and lace it should look very good.I need some help and I need it urgently,it`s about an invisible zipper
      on a bias skirt the fabric is a very light polyester satin and the zipper is making bonps and frankly I dont knough wath to do.Please HELP!Thank you.Ghis.

      1. rekha | | #15

        You could stabilize with a light fusible fabric and then tack the zip in place by hand and that may be enough. Is it going to bear a lot of strain where it is located?

        1. User avater
          ghis | | #16

          Hi Rekha
          thanks for your suggestion,I did everything that you thing I should do and it did not work either so my husband ,who is a taillor(Italien) took
          a look and simply said "you have to much fabric at the waist" meaning that the skirt on the vertical I had to take about half an inch off and
          you know what IT WORKED!!.Thank you very much for your help and we will speak again.

          1. rekha | | #18

            I am pleased it worked as they say by hook or by crook. Good on you

      2. sewchris703 | | #17

        Stablize the seam allowances with strips of iron on tricot interfacing, about 1/4" wider than the seam allowance.  Iron the invisible zipper open, baste and then sew.  I use a Singer zipper foot to sew invisible zippers instead of the speciality zipper foot.


        1. User avater
          ghis | | #19


      3. BernaWeaves | | #20

        Don't use a zipper in a bias seam.  It will always make bumps because it can't stretch like the bias does.

        Use snaps or hooks every inch or two.  That's how they did it in the 1920's and 1930's and the seams can flex without bubbling.  If you use hooks, alternate the hooks and eyes on the same side.


        1. User avater
          ghis | | #21

          I just read your suggestion and this must be terrific look as well as a
          vintage way of working,how come you know all that? It is wonderful to speak with people who know all those things and share them with us.
          Thanks a lot and I am sure that a lot of the girls will appreciate it to

          1. BernaWeaves | | #22

            I love vintage clothing.  Bias clothing was very popular in the 20's and 30's and zippers were not used for women's clothing back then, so I looked up what they did use.

            According to Wikipedia:


            Clergy in the 1920s and 1930s described zippers as allowing one to take one's clothes off too quickly, thus hastening illicit sexual activity. Clothing with zippers was seen as inappropriate to be worn by women because of this belief, and was not fully adopted until the late 1950s.

            Funny, but the snaps (or hooks and eyes) work much better and look much better anyway.



          2. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #23

            The elegance and finesse of these types of vintage clothes sure says something for doing things the "old fashioned" way. The fact that there seems to be many good pieces still hanging around is a testament to the fact that good design, fabric and technique make for timeless classics. Other than I hate putting in zippers, and usually try to use another way of fastening things, you have given me yet another good example of why we should not always use zippers. I would have hand picked (sewn in by hand) a zipper in a bias garment. Cathy

          3. User avater
            ghis | | #24

            You gave me the idea about going on wikipedia for information concerning sewing and design,what a smart cookie you are. I cant believe how far we
            woman have come; for the clerge to decide for us what we can and can not use for our dressemaking is quite astonishing.Well we showed them
            anyway,that we are there"equals" by them I mean some men.I must say ,I still love them specialy my good looking Italian .Well enough said and lets go to the sewing machine.

  2. Josefly | | #5

    Rayon is a fiber that has most of the characteristics you mention - except stretch. Bemberg rayon, brand name "Ambiance" is a wonderfully slippery fabric for slips and camisoles, which is still cool like other natural fibers, but unless you cut it on the bias, there's not much stretch. I've used it and been very happy with a flared half slip and camisole with narrow straps.I've made several slips out of 100% cotton batiste, cut on the bias to provide some "give" -- it's cool and comfortable, but not slippery. You have to be careful, I find, because some fabrics labeled batiste are not all-cotton, but are a poly-cotton blend, which isn't as cool or nice-feeling.

    1. sewslow67 | | #6

      "I've made several slips out of 100% cotton batiste, cut on the bias to provide some "give" -- it's cool and comfortable,  ..."

      I agree, as I have done this as well.  However, I did find a piece (I think it was intended for Christening dresses), that was a bit slippery, but the cost was outrageous.  Still, it was worth it, as it was so very comfortable - esp. in humid climates.

  3. sewingkmulkey | | #7

    What about some lovely silk charmeuse cut on the bias?


  4. Tatsy | | #8

    Have you tried nylon tricot? It's what most slips used to be made of. It breathes, dries quickly, has stretch, and body. It's a very easy knit to sew on.

    1. cloetzu | | #9

      thanks everyone! - I'll head to the fabric store and look for some of these - although their selection is limited they have to have at least one of the ones suggested!  again thanks for giving me some options!

      1. fiberfan | | #10

        I love slips made from ambiance lining.  I still have a couple of nylon and poly slips that I wear in the winter.  In the summer I wear the rayon slips.  For a half slip, stretch isn't an issue.  For camisoles, I use a well fitting bodice pattern, cut the armhole a little deeper and use a old bias poly satin camisole to shape the neckline.  Slips with a slit will need to be reinforced at the top of the slit.


        1. User avater
          ThreadKoe | | #11

          I love the Bemburg Rayon as well.  It is my first choice in linings as well.  Non static and luxurious feeling.  Feels like silk.  A lightweight silk would be nice for a slip as well.    Cathy

  5. cloetzu | | #12

    I fogot to mention - she wants the slip to be made like a short pair of shorts - to wear inside pants or a skirt during the summer... thus 'breathability' is the number one priority then some stretch for comfort.  The slipperiness is just so that it doesn't cause any 'cling' and make the outer garment bunch or ride up...

    Edited 6/26/2008 3:43 pm ET by cloetzu

    Edited 6/26/2008 3:58 pm ET by cloetzu

    1. User avater
      ThreadKoe | | #13

      Sounds like she wants a pair of silk bias cut tap pants.  Kwik sew has a nice pattern for those.  Cathy

      Edited 6/27/2008 8:17 am ET by ThreadKoe

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