I used my old Simplicity 3635 pattern as a base:
But instead of cutting out the full length of the chemise in the pattern, I used the selvedges as my hem:
It only needed to be long enough to tuck into the bodice of my dress, after all. My fabric was a very lovely, sheer, slippery silk chiffon, and I wanted to do as little sewing on it as possible.
I didn't use the sleeve pattern at all, but drafted my own with some very basic math. First I used my measuring tape to make a loop that my hand could easily pass through without it being too wide, and added 1/2" for seam allowance. I used this to mark the width at the hem of the sleeves (again using the selvedge), and also marked the center of the width, as well:
Then at the top (fold) of the fabric, I measured out how wide I wanted the top of the sleeve to be where it would attach to the shoulder of the chemisette:
After I cut away the main body piece, I folded the remainder over on the halfway marks between the top and bottom measurements:
I pinned the layers together, and cut both sleeves out at once:
|The top sleeve was treated with gelatin before sewing; the bottom one was not.|
It made a huge difference! On the first sleeve, I had to hand-baste the edges together, pin it every inch, and it still fought me the entire way. With the second seam, treated, I didn't need to baste it! And the whole thing lay much more flat and neat when it was done.
I used the same treatment method and mantua-maker's stitch to attach the sleeves and sew the side seams, then I added a channel to the neckline for the drawstring. I used bias strips of cotton voile left over from another project. I used 1/4" twill tape for the ties.
Simple! However, I didn't want the ties of the drawstring to hang down on the inside, so I tried it on and drew up the neckline until it sat where I wanted it. Then I trimmed off the extra twill tape and sewed the ends together permanently. There is still quite a large enough opening to get it on over my head with no problems. In the car on the way to the ball, I stitched the gold braided trim along the top, covering the drawstring casing. It's not perfect, but it worked.
The full look:
I would have liked more square corners at the front neckline, but all in all I think I did a pretty good job of bringing this particular look to life. It was such a fun project, and very silly and fun to wear!
The dress fits much better with my stays underneath, which makes sense since it was drafted over the stays. And I felt much more covered with the chemisette!
Left - at the Regency Ladies' Retreat with a bodiced petticoat underneath
For the ball, I threw together a makeshift turban in the car, using the leftover blue silk strip from cutting the skirt to length, wrapped with the remaining gold braided trim I had just used on the chemisette neckline. I pinned a butterfly brooch to the side and stuck some feathers in behind it!
I love how it turned out, but I know I'll never get it to look that good again. :p And it was heavier on the side with the brooch, so it kept drooping and sliding throughout the night, which was annoying. It never quite felt secure on my head, which is unsurprising as it was held together with safety pins and attached - very loosely - to my hair with bobby pins. But darn it if it didn't look cool!
Here are some more pictures from the ball - I don't have enough to do a full post on it:
|Brian the Engineer wore his Black Wool Tailcoat, Purple Velvet Waistcoat, and new trousers.|
We got a group shot of all the ladies wearing blue - there were a lot of us!
And then one of Stephani, me, and Stacy in our nearly-identical-color silk gowns:
One other addition for the ball was these shoe clips to match the lace medallions on my skirt: