Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Chemise Under It All

I made the chemise for "under it all" for Historic Sew Fortnightly.


I wanted to make my chemise from pieces similar to what would have been used in the early 1700s. After some google searching I found the commonly referred to pattern here.
I had a hard time understanding the instructions so on my first attempt I had the arm gussets wrong. After some futzing around I figured out how to do the gussets properly. My first attempt was also big enough to use as a chair slipcover!  I decided to Start over and leave out the extra pieces on the bottom.  And again, I used the sewing machine and did not flat fell the seams.
Here are the pieces cut out. One body with the fold at the top to later cut the neck hole into. Two sleeves and two underarm gussets.
I placed the gusset square on the sleeve and sewed down to half an inch before the end.

I then pivoted on the bottom point and brought the adjacent side up to match the sleeve.  The pivot point is by the middle pin.

Then I sewed the rest of the sleeve down the underarm from the pivot point to the elbow edge.

This is how it should look. I measured the sleeve opening plus gusset and marked the side seam on the body.

I pressed the elbow edge under one quarter inch then another quarter inch, then sewed it down.

I sewed up the side seams to where the sleeve opening mark was placed.  Then I fit the sleeve into the opening.  I made sure it all lay flat and I would not be making any pleats when I sewed the underarm pivot point.

I used a three inch wide piece of fabric, folded it in half and applied it as binding around the neck.  I hand stitched an eyelet in the center front to thread the ribbon through to draw the neckline up.

Here it is all laid out.  As you can see from the pictures of me wearing it, it is still too large around

I don't know if you can see the pencil lines but I am going to  cut the sleeves off at the seams, cut the body on the pencil lines and then redo the set in sleeves. Maybe then it will be narrow enough and the sleeves won't be so far from my actual shoulders.

That's my chemise story.  So I will be altering it as well as making a completely new set of stays that are two sizes smaller.
Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Pink 18th Century Stays-A Learning Curve

This is the story of my first attempt to sew some proper 18th Century Stays.
It was frustrating. I read through all of the instructions and thought I understood the process. I found different bloggers' tutorials and saw the work they had done.  I thought I was ready.
I traced out the size that should work for me and made a muslin mock up. When I fit it on me it was way too small.  When all the channel sewing and boning was done it would have never worked for me.
Back to the drawing board. I traced out the next size up thinking that would be perfect and proceeded to cut out and sew up the different layers.

Here is the stack of my supplies. Pink outer layer, two layers of canvas, an inside lining, and then the hot pink  for the inner lining. And since it was my first attempt, I went with the 14 inch zip ties as my boning.  I bought a package of 100 for $14.00 approximately. I rustled up a paint stir stick from the Home Depot as well for my busk.

All five layers cut and the pieces properly sewn in order.

I layered the outer fabric and the two canvas linings together and sewed channels in the area where the busk will go.  These are just decorative to keep the look continuous. Then I added the inner lining and began the arduous task of marking and sewing the channels for the boning. The channels were able to be a perfect 1/4 inch.


Here is the completely channeled and boned stays.

Back side.

Close up.  this fabric is actually a reprint of a late 1800s shirting fabric from my quilting fabric stash.  The other fabrics are all modern.

After reading and rereading the instructions for finishing the stays I still could not figure out how to proceed.  I did not purchase kid leather for the tabs and the pieces just would fit.  So I discarded using the hot pink lining and instead used the fabric and made bias French binding.

I machine stitched the binding to the front side and then hand stitched it over the edges.
Here is the finished project.  I also decided against making the straps as they would be added after the binding.
According to the instructions, this set of stays should have a gap of about three to four inches in the back once it is laced up properly.

As you can see, I have no boobs. So even when I get my chemise done, this set of stays will not give me the proper cleavage.
And it had to be laced up so far to fit me that it overlaps in back.  It still is too loose up top.



I think if I make another set, I will size it down at least two sizes so that I will have the proper fit at the top and can cinch in the waist for the correct conical shape.  I will trace the pattern so that I maintain the length of this set of stays as I am long waisted..
This was definitely a learning process.
I submit this as my Pink project for the Historical Sew Fortnightly challenge number three. It is not historically accurate except in form and function.  I have arthritis which has started to gnarl my fingers a bit and I no longer do much in the way of hand sewing. I chose to use the zip ties because I am cheap frugal. My lacing holes are metal eyelets which my husband applied because I haven't the hand strength to use the tool.
Thank you for stopping by.