Friday, January 30, 2015


For many years I have loved costume history. When I was a young teen, my sister Heather worked at a living history museum, and I had my first taste of recreating historical fashion. Sadly, though, it wasn't until a couple of years ago that I finally learned how to sew. I've been trying to make up for lost time!

Last year I discovered the Historical Sew Fortnightly and joined the group. See: for more information. At that point, and for several years the challenges had been fortnightly. For various reasons, one of them being moving house from Glasgow back to Utah, I was only able to complete two of the challenges! Which is appalling. This year, however, I am determined to complete them all. And I'm off to a good start: I completed the first challenge today: a chemisette.

One of the challenges I attempted last year was a chemisette, which I tried to hand-draft from the example below. It wasn't a complete success - mostly as it was rushed and not large enough. This year I used a pattern from Sense and Sensibility.

My first chemisette attempt.

A chemisette is a wee under-garment worn under a dress (though, intriguingly over a dress too sometimes). It has been seen in fashion throughout history. The one I chose to make is suitable for 1800-1820, but they were used all throughout the 1800s. The 20th century even had an equivalent - the dicky!

An extant example of a chemisette

A chemisette over the dress.

My chemisette completed today.

Under my Regency gown.

Under my 1830s dress.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely! I had no idea they wore them over the dresses. Some fashions are just timeless. A chemisette is so practical because it gives the illusion of a full blouse underneath, but it's far less than that - easy to wash!