Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sense and Sensibility Chemise

Today is the end of the long Thanksgiving weekend here in the US, and I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of it! We visited with family on Wednesday and Thursday, and on Friday Chris and I met up with friends to go see the Debbie Reynolds costume auction preview in Beverly Hills. (other) Chris from wacky tacky and Lauren from Wearing History did write-ups of our visit, so pop over to check those out!

In other news, I've been buckling down and starting to work on some Regency wear in earnest - the annual Jane Austen Evening is at the end of January, so it's time to get going!

This week I made a chemise from the Sense and Sensibility Underthings pattern. It was nice to work on such an easy-going garment - I tend to get wrapped up in fitting, make 3 mockups, and then burn out before getting to the real thing! I'm usually of the tank-top-is-good-enough opinion when it comes to undergarments that won't be seen, but someday I want to make a nice sheer white gown, so having a proper chemise is important. It was very easy to put together, and I even did the flat felled seams. Loose fit and cotton? I might have to make more clothing like that...

I only have 2 comments regarding this pattern:

1) Even though I technically fall into the Medium size category, I made the Small chemise. It's plenty big enough! On the next one I might even remove some of the fullness - I'd rather have a slimmer chemise and add more fullness with a petticoat, if necessary.

2) For the bias casing around the neckline, the instructions say to stitch the bias tape to the neck, then fold back 1/4" on the other side of the bias tape. That's insanely hard! Press back the 1/4" BEFORE you stitch the bias tape to the neckline and you'll be much happier.

Here some photos of Beatrice wearing my chemise over the Mantua Maker stays...the stays are basically done, but I'm not entirely happy with them and still want to tweak them. But that's for another post!

Blurry Photo - whoops! :o) I shortened the chemise hem length only about an inch, and probably shouldn't have even done that. It rides up a little with the stays on.

I really like the drawstring at the neckline - it's adjustable so you can raise or lower the neckline depending on your gown. The strings are on the inside, and you tie it at the front.

Obviously, the back neckline is adjustable too. :) (Re: the stays, yes I did cross-lacing instead of spiral. I think it would be nearly impossible to get dressed in rear opening spiral laced stays without a maid!) 

Side View illustrating how the stays only come halfway up the breast, and the chemise holds in the top - here's a great post about the proper fit of stays on the Oregon Regency Society blog.


  1. My goodness Beth, I'm always so impressed with your skill and creativity! I have very little knowledge of Regency fashion but your posts do help educate me, and for that I thank you.
    Happy post-Thanksgiving!


  2. Wow Beth- impressive underpinnings! I hope you all have fun at the Jane Austen ball this year. Can't wait to see pictures! And that's a great link you posted- I'm going to have to check out the Oregon Regency Society now that we've just moved to OR!

    -Addi :)


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