Tutorial: Slip or Crinoline for Under a Wedding Dress

Floofy isn’t just for Little Girls

In our family, fluffy is pronounced “floofy” and it means you have a slip under your dress and it makes your dress puff out.  Truth be told, a crinoline petticoat is something that four-year old girls, teens of the 60’s and brides have in common. Referenced by the number of linear yards of netting, our 60’s style petticoats were dear to us,.

Bridal slips or crinolines are not nearly as fancy as the ones we wore in the 60’s but they are over the top expensive.  Bridal shops don’t hesitate to charge $100 for a slip which will be worn but not seen for one day (maybe bridal slips cost more, I don’t really go to bridal shops very often).  The good news is that internet sites have caught on and one can actually purchase a bridal slip for a reasonable price.  But for those of us who sew, a few hours of time and $10 or $20 of fabric and netting gets you the desired result.

About 25 years ago I made my sister’s wedding dress and a slip to go under it. It was made from muslin or lightweight cotton and netting.   In the years following her wedding she loaned the slip so often that it became a family joke – at times she couldn’t recall who had borrowed it.  For Liz it was great because for each lend she was rewarded with a bottle of wine and the brides were delighted to not purchase a slip.

As I planned to make a slip for Megan’s dress, I was sure there would be no need for a pattern as I’d be able to locate a tutorial on the internet.  Wrong.  I’ve searched about everywhere I can think of – maybe there’s a new name for a slip?  Call me clueless as it surely wouldn’t be the first time.

At any rate, since there wasn’t a tutorial or free pattern and I no longer own the pattern from 25 years ago, this piece of sewing knowledge is long overdue.  Here are a few easy steps to sew a slip or crinoline which has a narrow A as opposed to one which is wide through the hips.  I’ll start with a photo of the end product.

You will need:

  • 4-5 yards of lightweight lining or soft cotton fabric.  If it’s 45″ or for a longer size you’ll need 5-6 yards. This is the time to shop the sales.
  • 5 yards of netting – usually 45-60″ wide

1. Measure the length from the waist to 2-3″ off the floor –  33″.

2.  Divide into three with the skirt or top portion being the longest.  I settled on 13″ for the fabric skirt and 10″ for each of the ruffles.

3.  From the lining fabric, cut 2 A-shaped pieces for the top of the slip; one for the front and one for the back.  For a size 6 or 8, each the front and back piece was 20″ at the top and flared out to 32″ at the bottom.  Note:  each piece is folded so you are cutting a folded piece of fabric 10″ wide at the top and 16″ wide at the bottom.  I added a few inches of length, just in case.

folded fabric for top of slip

4.  Sew pieces together on one side and keep the other open.

5. Cut netting the long way to reduce the amount of piecing.  Since I wanted the end result to be 10″, I cut these pieces 11″ wide by 5 yards long.

You will now add the first ruffled layer to the bottom of the fabric:

6.  Use 2 layers of netting for this first layer but sew as a single piece of fabric.

7.  If you have a ruffling foot on your serger, this goes very fast, ruffling at a ratio of 2.5:1.  (The alternative is to do this the old-fashioned way by running gathering threads and sewing the ruffled layer to the top.)

Sewing the first ruffle to the top

8.  When done, it looks like this:

9.  Now you will sew another layer of netting to each of the two pieces of ruffled netting (remember that you sewed 2 pieces of netting to the top of the slip).  If you run out of netting before you’re done applying the ruffling, simply overlap the next piece – there’s no need to make a seam.

Yes, that's rain in the upper left corner

10. Serge or sew the side seam.

The slip

The last step is to make a overskirt and a underskirt.

11.  For the overskirt, cut another piece the same width as the slip top, but extend it to be full length.

12.  For the underskirt which is mostly so the netting doesn’t feel uncomfortable, I used very lightweight cotton gauze from my stash.  Cut another piece like the overskirt, but it can be much narrower toward the skirt bottom.

13.  Now pin the underskirt, the slip and the overskirt together.  You can either sew it into the dress (I’m not doing that), use elastic or make a narrow and lightweight waistband (my choice but it’s not done as yet).

Nearly finished - need to hem and finish the top

This project took me about 2 hours including cutting and sewing.

16 thoughts on “Tutorial: Slip or Crinoline for Under a Wedding Dress

  1. The instructions are very good, but I couldn’t see the pictures (and I’m VERY visual). Anyway you can email me the pics of what this is supposed to look like. Sounds like the kind of slip I want to make for my daughters prom dress,

  2. Thanks so much for this post. I am an accomplished seamstress who works without patterns but I needed a refresher on this item. Shhhhh…I made this crinoline for my wedding with baby blue netting. I was a total hit for those in the wedding party lucky enough to see my something blue!

  3. p.s. I love to dance so I used stretch tule as the fabric on all thee pieces so that I could move and stay a little cooler. The stretch tule also has a pretty scalloped salvage edge so I didn’t have to hem or add lace.

  4. Thank you so much for this, it’s near impossible to find a tutorial for this particular item.
    I’m just about to start making all the Disney princess dresses for my daughter and this will be perfect for her to wear underneath them.
    Thanks again xx

  5. I almost lost this when my computer updated stuff overnight, eek! thankfully I remembered about the 25 years part and was able to Google it. This is a life-saver pattern. thanks

  6. @Amanda, too funny, I’m doing the same thing for a different reason. I am making an American traditional gown for a bride in Nigeria. Their colors are going to include blue, so I am adding blue, two ways, Swarovski rhinestones and baby blue netting for the slip. Fire Mountain Gems has an amazing grouping of blues in their hot-fix crystals. I so hope it turns out as beautiful in reality as it is in my head, this is my first wedding gown endeavor.

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