Gown Construction Bibliography A Selection of Paintings
Sleeves Resources Embellisments

SECTION VII
Undergarments

Chemise
The chemise, predecessor to our modern slip, is not only a period garment to wear with your dress but also keeps your dress cleaner longer. It is much easier and cheaper to wash a chemise than dry clean your jewel encrusted garment.

If you prefer to use a commercial pattern , try the nightgown or slip section of the pattern books. There is also simple chemise pattern that works well with the Italian Renaissance gowns on the SCA market. If you lay the pattern out with the back along the salvage you can make a chemise out of usually 3 yards of 45" fabric for up to size 12.and who really sees the chemise back anyway?

Two styles of chemise will be described. The raglan sleeve and straight sleeve. The straight sleeve style will fit better under your bodice, especially if you use your gown bodice pattern for the chemise, but if you prefer a full chemise than use the raglan style.

Before starting consider:
Adding blackwork embroidery around the neck. It is an elegant touch to your undergarment as well as being period.
Choose from either making a casing at the bottom of each sleeve for elastic/ties, or making a casing 2 inches up so you have a little gathered ruff an the bottom.


Basic Chemise


1. Measure yourself from the waist the floor. Lay gown bodice pattern on material or paper and add the waist-to-floor measurement to the waist bottom of your pattern plus an inch for hem. Measure from under your arm to floor. Draw a line from underarm point on bodice pattern down to bottom plus an inch form hem as illustrated. Be sure to angle cut line out from under the arm so you will be able to get into the chemise (if you you want it tight fighting them you will have to add a front or back closing system) Repeat for back.

2. Measure from shoulder to wrist and underarm to wrist. Add 4 inches and cut out sleeves as illustrated.

3. With right sides in stitch back to front at shoulders.

4. Pleat or gather along sleeve tops and stitch sleeves to chemise body.

5. Right sides together stitch from wrist to hem on each side. Hem bottom of chemise and make drawstring casings sleeves.

6. For around the neck either make innerfacings, or use seam tape, lace, etc.




Chemise With Gathered Skirt
1. Cut front and back bodice pieces. Be sure to angle cut line out from under the arm so you will be able to get into the chemise (if you you want it tight fitting them you will have to add a front or back closing system)
2. With right sides together, stitch back to front at shoulders.

3. Measure from shoulder to wrist and underarm to wrist. Add 4 inches and cut out sleeves as illustrated above.

4. Pleat or gather along sleeve tops and stitch sleeves to chemise body.
5. Right sides together stitch from wrist to waist on each side. Make drawstring casings for sleeves.
  6. For around the neck either make innerfacings, or use seam tape, lace, etc.

7. Measure yourself from the waist the floor and cut two lengths of fabric.
Stitch both sides and gather/pleat top. Attach to skirt to bodice waist and hem.


Raglan Sleeve Chemise:

4-5 yds lightweight fabric
cord/lacing for neck and sleeves

1. Measure from top of underarm to floor. Add 4 inches and cut two length of fabric.

2. Measure from shoulder to wrist. Add 4 inches and cut two lengths.
3. Lay out pieces as illustrated and cut off corners. Repeat on other side
using prior cuts as patterns.
4. Pin and stitch sleeves to chemise body. With right sides together sew from wrist to hem

5. Make casing around sleeve wrists and neck/shoulder edge of chemise (remember to leave an opening for cord) Thread cord in neck and wrist. Hem bottom of chemise.




Corset

For those of you who would like to go the full nine yards with your ensemble, here are directions for a reasonably comfortable corset. Corsets do serve an important function in 'bodice' style dresses in that they conform the body to the shape of the bodice thus eliminating the bumps and bulges normal to the female body. If you wear a corset you can then eliminate the extra boning and stiffening in your bodice construction.

You will need:
1 yard of muslin Boning/corset stays 3 yds cord/lacing

1. This corset is designed to basically "bind" the breasts and ends at your stomach. Refer to the diagram for the necessary detailed measurements. You can write in your book for future reference.

2. Using your measurments from step 1 make a paper pattern that look like this: Be sure to add 1 inch seam
allowance and note that the back is slightly lower than the front so that it will be below the shoulder blades.

3. Cut 1 piece from the muslin. Hold up to your body and make any adjustments necessary. Cut 3 more pieces out of the muslin. Set one aside and lay 3 pieces on top of each other. Using your measurements and following the diagram for placement, sew through the three layers making casings for the boning. Use chalk
or fabric marking pens on one
side to mark locations as you
will be covering up that side later.

4. After sewing all your casings insert
boning and stitch bottom edge closed.
Be sure boning stays 1 1/4 inches in
from the edges. Lay 4th pieces on top
of unmarked side and stitch around
the 2 sides and top, leaving bottom
edge open.


5. Clip around corset, turn right sides out, press, and stitch around the whole corset

6. Either make button holes or use
grommets for lacing eyelets.

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Gown Construction Bibliography A Selection of Paintings
Sleeves Appendix Embellisments