Sunday, November 13, 2016

Modern Chemises

While working on my 1940s wardrobe over the summer, I decided that I also needed to make a slip/chemise for at least one of my planned dresses.  I had brought 3-4 yards of lightweight linen with me to Iowa for this purpose, and I dug through my mom's pattern stash for suitable designs.  I came up with these two:

I had also brought most of my trim stash with me, as well.  I chose this 1.5" wide lace for the neckline of my first slip.
The slip pattern was too small for me, so I traced the basic shape - with added width to bring it up to my measurements - onto newsprint paper.  Then I cut my pieces on the bias as the pattern calls for.

I added the lace to the front neckline, easing the fabric to fit the width of the lace and stitching it to the top 1/4" from the edge.  Then I turned in the raw edge and pinned it:

And stitched along the fold:

I flat-felled the side and back seams, trimming away half the width of one side of the seam allowance:

Then folding the un-trimmed side over it and pinning it flat:

And finally stitching down along the fold:

I used some old lace seam binding from my stash to turn under the top edge of the rest of the neckline, again easing the fabric so as to not stretch it out too much.

I also added shoulder straps.

The slip is very comfortable, and because it's cut on the bias it skims my body quite nicely.  It looks better on me than on Anna the dress form, but I'm afraid those pictures would be inappropriate.  :p

So far I have worn it with my 1940s Floral Dress, and the fit is beautiful.

For my second slip/chemise, I decided I wanted one with sleeves to wear with my planned winter wool wardrobe.  I used the dress pattern pictured above with heavy modifications.  I omitted the front slit and the yoke, cutting the neckline down a bit and making a casing for a drawstring instead.

I haven't worn this one yet, but it fits perfectly under my 1946 Wool Dress.  I plan to make more of these with various necklines, and perhaps a couple from black linen or rayon.


  1. These are great. Although my usual approach is to line every dress in sight, there are some where this is just too awkward, and I've been thinking that I really should make an appropriate chemise. This may just prompt me into action!

    1. Thanks! I like the look and feel of lined dresses, but I am often too lazy to add the lining if that pattern doesn't call for it.

  2. Those look very comfortable and practical. I'll have to keep them in mind as I start to head deeper into my vintage wardrobe.