Underwear as Outerwear - Ella makes a Pauline Alice Bailen

Underwear as outerwear is very on trend at the moment from pyjama shirts with piped trims to kimonos as casual wraps and of course the famous slipdress. It reminds me of my questionable fashion choices during the 90s when my friends and I used to buy lycra slips from the Marks and Spencer lingerie department to wear to nightclubs over tight t-shirts. I think we were inspired by Kate Moss!

Slipdresses are a staple and versatile wardrobe item and I thought I would try out the free pattern from Pauline Alice - the Bailen slipdress. However unlike the 90s I wasn't going to go understated in black or beige. Instead I chose a fabulous Robert Kaufman lipsticks print cotton from Sew Me Sunshine which has a white background and pink and red lipsticks dotted all over with gold sparkly cases. 

The fabric is so wow that you only need the simplest of patterns like the Bailen. And it really is a dream to whip up quickly with French seams and bias binding. The hardest part was choosing which binding to compliment the lipsticks. I was torn between red, dark pink, gold sparkle and gold stripe. As a quilter I have a good stash of fat quarters so I can have a binding for every eventuality! I settled on two - pink and gold sparkle. 


My second version of the Bailen was an equally colourful print. I used the Sew Me Sunshine's bright 'That's bananas' cotton to make a Bailen top, adding a bright pink binding. It's such a feel good design you cannot fail to be happy when you wear it! 


As I was on a roll with this pattern, I thought I'd go for the hat trick! My third version was hacked it with a Sew Over It cami top; I liked the fit of the bust darts and dress shape of the Bailen but wanted a proper strap, so used the SOI neckline/straps by laying the pattern over it. It worked out well and this time I used a matching subtle binding. The fabric is a Japanese bird song pink cotton lawn which is soft and luxurious. I think a matching lightweight jacket in this fabric would be amazing. 


So what are my plans for wearing these beauties? I think the lipsticks slipdress has a boudoir feel and I may keep it as a nightdress (so much for underwear as outerwear!). The cotton lawn hack dress will probably also find its way as a nightdress but I could see it as a light summer dress too. But the bananas top is far too fun not to show off and I plan to wear that layered with denim.

If you're looking for a quick, cheap make to show off a lovely piece of fabric I would recommend the Bailen

If you want to see more of my makes then you can follow me on instagram @sewistella!

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