Sunday, December 16, 2012

Chemise, ca. 1840

I'm pretty impressed with myself for how quickly this one came together, by my standards.


I took this pattern from a chemise at the Chapman Historical Museum.  The original was made of a very fine linen, so worn it was kind of shiny; mine is a cheap muslin.  I did sew it by hand, however, using a fairly logical sequence of steps:

I first set the underarm gussets into the sleeves, sewing the seams with running stitches (as in the original) and felling them with underhand-hem-stitch, because I really like that one.  It's very neat.

Then I mounted the sleeves on the body, doing the seams in the same way.  I lined up the body with the gussets - which was actually wrong.  When I look back at my crappy pictures of the original, I see that I should have set the gussets further down the side of the body to make the armscye larger.  It's not unwearable, it's just tight.  If you zoom in on the picture below, you can see that there's about a half inch of the sleeve attached to the body in the original; in mine, the corner of the gusset is at the yoke.


And for attaching the yoke ... I'm pretty sure my method was modern and not period.  Which I will fix next time I use this pattern.  I gathered the front, back, and sleeves, sandwiched them with the yoke pieces, and backstitched over.  When I took the pattern I was moving quickly and didn't note many construction details, and my pictures are generally bad, but I think now I should have folded in the bottom edges of the inner and outer yoke pieces and whipped them separately to the gathers.  Well, next time.



I haven't yet done the button and buttonhole, or topstitched around the neckline, or done the little reverse box pleat at the bottom of the sleeve, but it's basically done.  And I don't have a button.


From the back.  You can see that it's tight over the top of the shoulder.  My first impression when I was making it up was that the yoke needed to be lengthened there, but I really think the fitting is all in how low you set the sleeve on the body instead.

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