Victorian Era Undergarments: The Chemise Finishing

Project 7, part 7 – Who Needs an Iron? (Part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6 here)

My old friend, the buttonholer! 😀

Welcome back to the Victorian Era Undergarments project! It’s been a long road, but I finally was able to finish the chemise this week, and I’m SO delighted with it. It turned out way better than I expected!

Unlike this photograph, which is honestly just a little worse than expected, lol…

Adding the buttonholes was relatively easy now that I’m more familiar with my buttonholer attachment, although I do have to admit that I forgot to lower the foot into place properly the first time and then had to go back and rip out all the wonky stitches and redo it. Whoops! 😀 The instructions for this chemise suggested a flat button, but I’m living dangerously and using these adorable rose buttons – I bought two more matching ones for the drawers, as well!

I’m not gonna lie – I’ve literally stopped ironing when it comes to things like this for linen. It’s just not necessary!
I’m really glad I bought 10 yards of this lace. I’ve gone through a lot of it already!

I pinned the hem at 1″, and then rolled it under and sewed it right on the fold to secure it, then pinned the heart embroidered lace on and sewed that down as well. I learned from my lesson this time, and didn’t actually cut it off the roll until I’d sewn it down in case I ended up being short again. 🙂

I managed to get the securing stitches to show up on camera this time! Yay!

Then I cut it free, and trimmed and stitched the meeting point to look as neat as possible. It looks really cute – and also gives the hem more weight and volume to keep it from riding up or collapsing under the forthcoming petticoat.

And with that, at last, the chemise is done!

Ok. It is a little wrinkly overall. But I wasn’t going to iron it just for pictures, knowing that it’ll crumple again the second I put it on!

It’s SO light and airy, and very comfortable! It cinches up with the pink ribbon on the front as well as the back to bring it closer to my body and keep it from slipping off my shoulders. I could potentially cinch it to the right width and just leave it tied there, and use the shoulder buttons to get in and out of the chemise, or I could untie the bow each time and smooth it out for less-wrinkly storage. For now I’ve left it untied, and it’s been boxed up with some of my actual antique garments!

Close-up of the upper portion! ❤

It’s really exciting to be 25% done with this project! And it’s so satisfying to know that when I finally get around to sewing a dress I’ll have all the proper foundational garments – and I’m learning a ton about working with different fabrics and techniques as well! Although I’m not being a stickler for historical accuracy with regards to the trim or sewing, it still gives me a lot of respect for the Victorian women who had to go through this every time they wanted a new chemise. I definitely understand why off-the-rack clothing stores became so popular!

Although the chemise is done, the project is not – next up is a matching set of linen drawers – so join me next time to see how that gets going here on Mukashi no Sewing! ❤

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