Sunday, October 12, 2008

The chemise is almost there (yes.. more sewing)

For the last week I've been assembling a high-necked chemise to go under the corset I just finished. The pattern I'm using is An Elizabethan Shirt Instruction by Grace Gamble, available here as a free pdf download. I think it's working out OK, other than the problem that there is no mention of finishing techning techniques for fabrics that fray very easily. I decided to use french seams and modified the pattern intuitively. I wouldn't say that my modifications were perfect, but it's good enough for now, and if I ever decide to make a similar garment I will redraft the pattern properly in order to incorporate french seams. The hardest part was sewing in the underarm gussets (built into the body pieces) with a french seam; the surrounding fabric bunched at the armpit. I added some small darts to alleviate the problem and for underwear no one will see it anyways. But for the next one I will use separate triangular gussets incorporated into the side seam like on the medieval T-tunics I already made this summer. While I didn't french seam them, I did french seam the mockup so I know how to do it already.
My only other issue is that the pattern was quite vague on the topic of the ruffles at the wrist and neck. I know what pleats are. What kind should I be using here? How deep should they be?
I found the diagrams misleading as to the assembly of the pleats to wrist and neck-bands. So I winged it. I had to ask myself over and over - 'Does this make sense?'. I finally figured that part out yesterday and will finish the neck ruffle tonight.
Here is one wrist ruffle. I used cartridge pleats 2.55 cm deep, and while they are nice I want a bigger bolder ruffle at the neck.
So far my 5.7 cm deep cartridge pleats are just pinned in place, they need to be moved around a bit so that they are distributed evenly around the collar. This is fiddly business! Yuck!
And for those who are interested the material I'm using is white cotton lawn. I bought 3 m, good thing too, because I had just enough to cut a new front and back (parallel to the grain, not perpendicular as the pattern states - I don't think anyone will notice or care ;) ) when I made a pretty big mistake on the originally cut front and back. This stuff frays like crazy. There are bits of white fluff on my ironing board, rug, couch, table cloth, computer, and bedspread. How'd it get all the way to the bedroom? Did it grow legs and walk? I wouldn't be surprised...

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