March 10, 2013

Next Project: 1860 Chemise?

Since fitting these trousers is so difficult, and most of what I like to wear is fitted, I thought of a new sewing project in a different direction.  A 19th Century chemise, either with a vintage crocheted yoke, which I own, or embroidered trim.  It may lead to a similar style top also, I do like less fitted tops in hot weather.

Embroidered trim chemise
The fitting would be minimal, I'd have a lovely fancy nightie at the end, and a pleasant combo of hand and machine sewing to keep my hands busy.  I'd wanted to start historical costuming before my health turned worse, back in the early days of the internet, though sadly I've forgotten most of the details.

The chemise pattern at left is from Peterson's magazine Dec 1960, but has no scale.  The layout is based on the width of cloth, each body piece being 2 widths, but I don't know the standard width of cotton in 1860.  I know fabric widths ranged from 20 and 35 inches until very recently.  22" wide seems a decent guess, given the couple existing garments I've quickly researched plus common sense.

I'll have to buy some cotton voile or other fine cotton or linen cloth, plus desired trim.  A chemise like this could work belted as a dress in summer, under a corset for a Steampunk party, or just to keep cool on a summer evening.


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