Slip Making Tutorial ~ with less bulk at the waist

I have been refining the half slips I use under my doll dresses and wanted to share with you what I’ve come up with. This new way of making them cuts down on the bulk around the waist tremendously! There are lots of pictures so get ready…

The slip made for this tutorial fits the 13″ Effner Little Darling dolls. Once you learn this method, you can adjust your size for the American Girl dolls or any other doll. A couple of tries is all it takes to perfect your slips.

You can either use the tulle (netting) on the rolls or you can buy your tulle by the yard. If you use the tulle on the roll, you will still have to cut off part of it as it’s 6″ wide and that would make your slip too long.

I’m using 54″ wide tulle and cut a piece about 11″ wide.

Fold the tulle in half long ways…

Take it to your sewing machine and set your machine to a basting stitch (4) and stitch along the folded edge just a little bit from the edge… then stitch a second row along side it…

Lay the folded edge on your doll having the edge line up across the widest part of her hips. Mark where you’ll need to trim off the bottom edge of the tulle…somewhere around her knees unless you want your slip longer. (If you pre measure your strip can avoid this step, but I usually just guess and then trim some off. I generally just use a spot on my machine to guide my “cutting off” line. I used the crack in my machine as my guide. Baste your cutting off line keeping an eye on your guide. This is all just about keeping the slip fabric straight.)

Trim off the excess either below or above your basting stitch. If you trim off your tulle “below” the basting stitches, you’ll have to remove them. Gather up the 2 rows at the top edge. Pull the threads pretty tight…and keep your gathers even…

Next cut a piece of the tulle about 12″ long and maybe 2-3″ wide. You can even double this piece if you like.

Go back to your sewing machine and lay the flat piece down and place the gathered skirt piece on top, lining up the edges. Change your machine to a regular stitch… (2) and keeping your gathers pulled straight out and not folded over each other, stitch along the top edge about 1/4″.

Adjust the gathers as you stitch along, making sure you have the same amount of gathers to be evenly distributed on top of the rectangle piece on the bottom.

It should look like this…

Take it back to your machine and top stitch on the right side to hold the yoke piece in place.

Next take the slip to your dolls body and hold it where you think the length is right. The extra netting will be at the top and needs to be trimmed off. I make a mark where I want my elastic to be sewn on and trim across the “yoke” part of the slip evenly.

Take a piece of elastic and measure around your dolls body and add 1/4″ to the total.

Go back to your machine and set your stitch to the tiniest zig zag possible. Before you stitch the elastic on, stretch it just to make sure it will go from end to end on your “yoke” piece. ( Ilike a picot edge really stretchy elastic for my waistbands.)

Begin stitching the elastic just catching the bottom edge of it and go all the way across, gently stretching the elastic across the “yoke” piece and using your right hand to pull the back as you go. Keep the tulle’s top edge underneath the elastic. It might seem tricky at first, but it’s pretty easy once you master it one time.

I stitch a second row using a straight stitch on about the 2nd row of the elastic just to reinforce the tulle.

It should look something like this…

Take it to your doll and wrap it around her with wrong sides out…and match uo the top edges of the elastic. Place a pin where you feel it’s snugged up best. Gently slide it off your dolls body and go back to your sewing machine.

Starting at the top stitch down the length of the slip… If it seems okay, stitch it again at the top waist area across the elastic.

It should look like this.

Open up the back seam and place it down on the sewing machine. I stitch my seam flat at the waist and at the area where the gathered skirt section was added.

…and there you have it! One slip made for your doll…It’s pretty full the way it is, but if you separate the 2 layers of tulle, it becomes even fuller!

Here’s Isabelle showing you what it should look like…

Now, it comes very easy to me, but if you have any questions or if I glossed over something you didn’t understand, just ask… Sometimes I forget you might not think the way I do, so I may have taken something for granted that you didn’t know. With the 25 pictures I posted, it should be pretty easy to follow, but if not, just ask.

Okay, who’s going to give it a try?

See you tomorrow,
Blessings, Jeanne

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  1. Linda Doyle says:

    I am! I think you have been reading my mind! I have been wanting a slip like that for Betsy, and now that I am making a dress for her, I will add this slip to the project! It looks simple enough, but you never know what my machine will do sometimes. Since the netting is so thin, does it require a special needle so that it doesn’t take the netting down into the bobbin area? You know, when the needle seems to “stuff” material down and you have to stop the whole process and get it out, sometimes ruining the fabric. Things like that happen to me, unless I am doing something wrong, and it adds to the frustration of sewing. At least it is a smaller item, and it isn’t the end of the world when something goes wrong.

    Did you get a storm last night? We had hail and rain, but nothing too bad. I see this morning that Carbondale is in the red, you must be getting it now. Hope it isn’t as bad as Perryville, where they did have a tornado.

    • Carolyn says:

      Linda, Jeanne may have some other ideas, but I can give you some tips. First, change your needle. A dull needle will push the fabric into the needle plate hole instead of piercing the fabric. Depending what kind of machine you use, you may be able to order a needle plate with a smaller hole. You may not be able to use the smaller hole with all the stitches, but you can use it for a straight stitch. Also try putting a small scrap of folded fabric in front of what you are sewing, and sew onto that first, with your garment following immediately behind it. Does that make sense? I hope that will solve the problem for you.

  2. Charlotte A. says:

    I am thrilled that you made this tutorial, and I am definitely going to try it. Reading through it, it seemed easy to follow, and your pictures were great. It is very nice of you to offer to answer questions should we have any. Thank you!
    Hope you have a good day!
    Take care.

  3. Susette says:

    Me! Now you’re a mind-reader. I was going to look up the blog about making the slips again today. This seems to be more practical as the waists do get too many layers, especially on the smaller dolls. I’ll be finishing up a dress today and will make a slip for it and for the Valentines Day dress. Thanks for the wonderful tutorial.

    I looked up “Sleeves” yesterday and successfully made the net bolsters for the puffy sleeves for a St. Patrick’s Day dress. It’s the same basic principle using the net. Now I’ll have to figure out how to get a set stitched into the already completed Valentines Day dress. They really do help keep the sleeves puffed up.

    Take care and stay safe during the storms. I’ll be checking the radar for your area on AOL Weather today.

  4. Vicki Avery says:

    Thank you! I’ve often thought about trying to make slips like these. Now I can!

  5. Marilyn says:

    What a wonderful tutorial! Thank you very much. I think the net works better than hoops for Civil War era dresses, and the yolk certainly makes a difference. This was a lovely, useful surprise.

  6. Now, perhaps I too can make a slip! Your photos as well as your written directions make it look doable. It is so kind of you to share this with your readers. Love it. And a big thank you too. Think I need a trip to Joann’s today. 🙂

  7. Thank you so much for the tutorial. I know it isn’t historically accurate, but this would be much easier for Civil War dresses than the boned slips. I’m going to find time to make one.
    Keepers Dolly Duds is having a sale on their patterns and I want the 1850’s dress you just made, it says easy, so I hope it is, also the cape pattern and jacket and bonnet, they look lovely. I think I’ll buy them now and hopefully have time soon to make something.
    AG won’t have anything of interest for me for the foreseeable future. The prices are now beyond my price point. The next historical, if you haven’t seen her is Hawaiian from the 1940’s and although she’s pretty enough, the turn of the century is really my cut off with just a bit of 1930’s only because I liked Kit’s birthday dress, floral reporter dress and reporter accessories ( the cute camera).

  8. Ingrid B says:

    Hi Jeanne… what a nice thing to do for your readers. I love your tutorials, you are a wealth of information and it’s just so sweet of you to share your knowledge.
    Question.. is that my slip I ordered? 🙂 (fingers crossed it is)
    I got my new little darling last week.. when I opened the box and saw her it took my breath away she’s that beautiful in person.
    Hope you and hubby are doing well today

  9. Jeanne W says:

    HI everyone,
    Well, it seems this tutorial was timed perfectly… I’m glad you are all enjoying it.
    First thing… we are okay from the storms last night. It was pretty bad around here and just about 10 miles away was a tornado that did damage to several homes. Thank the Lord it passed over us. We did have very strong hail 2 different times.

    I am helping my mom with her taxes today and grocery shopping. I probably won’t get to individual comments, except for a few questions… but I’ll keep reading and enjoying your thoughts!
    Blessings, Jeanne

  10. Thank you so much for this tutorial, Jeanne. It’s really interesting. I will try it :).
    Happy to know you are safe from a violent storm. The weather is also bad in Normandy… Much wind and heavy rain. ..
    I wish you a good day.

  11. Carolyn says:

    What a nice tutorial! I know it’s a lot of extra time to stop and take pictures of each step, but you did it! I’m guessing a lot of little dolls will be getting new slips now. You are so good to help your mom; I’m sure she really appreciates all you do for her.

  12. Wonderful tutorial. I definitely will try your method! Thank so much.

  13. Charlotte Trayer says:

    Thanks for your tutorial, Jeanne! I’ve attempted a slip similar to this, although not as full, as it was going under a different-styled dress. I”m saving this post, though, and may even print it off (or at least the script portions), as it’s such good information.

    Sometimes I use a rotary cutter to cut my tulle, if I can fold and pin –and Tame!–it enough to do so. Makes a nice straight cut.

    I’m going to be going to Sewing Expo for the next three days–it’s in Puyallup (pew-AL-lup), Wash., and lasts a total of four days. It’s touted as the “biggest sewing and needlework show in America” and I believe it. People come from all over–every state in the union, and many countries, too!! Fun fun!! (I brought Ten Ping with me for show and tell with my buddies. Still need to make the poor dear something else to wear!!)

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