Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Heirloom Chemise/Cami

First, I'd like to thank you for your comments on my Ruana shawl.  I love hearing from you all.

Warning:  this post is very photo intensive! LOL.

Okay.  Now I know I've been promising this for a couple weeks and I'm finally getting around to posting it.  LOL.  I'll say this one more time.  I've no children or grand children but love heirloom techniques and try to translate some of them into grown up garments.  The following garment is really pretty simple.  I started with New Look pattern #6104 view D - the sleeveless one in violet. 
Any fairly simple pattern will do; this one caught my eye when I got the Simplicity email announcing new patterns for spring.   This pattern is deceptive.  I found it to be rather on the large side.  I cut my usual 16 at the neck, shoulder & bust blending out to a 20 at the hip.  I wound up making 1 inch seams at the bust and tapering down to normal at the hips.  Using some lightweight off-white linen (because quite frankly $30 a yard for Irish handkerchief linen is more than I want to pay) from Fabric-store.com.  They will send you a swatch card of their different weights and colors of linen which I find invaluable for planning.  This particular linen is IL20, in white, was just under $8 a yard.

First thing I did was layout the front pattern piece & mark all around it with an iron-away marker.  After marking where the darts were on the fabric, I plotted out an embroidery design to go the length of the front.  This particular design was repeated 3 times and you see the results above.
After the embroidery on both front pieces was complete, I sewed in 3 - 1/8 inch tucks with my edge-join foot.  Above is the second tuck being sewn.
 The second tuck sewn but not yet pressed.
Both fronts sewn and pressed.  Remember when pressing your tucks each side is pressed a different direction.
Now the really fun part!  Lace!  What you see above is called insertion lace.  Insertion has 2 straight sides.  Also pictured above to the left of the lace is entredeaux which I had to tea dye.  I tea dyed it because I only had white on-hand and it was a brighter white than my linen.  And since I was using ecru lace I dyed it to match.  Then I starched and pressed the "you know what" out of both the lace and entredeaux.  The starch give it enough body so you can sew it easily.   I trimmed the fabric header from one side of the entredeaux.  Using the edge-join foot, I start to sew the lace to the trimmed side of the entredeaux with a tiny zigzag stitch. 
 These are the zigzag settings on my Babylock Ellegante.
 Here I've trimmed the second piece of entredeaux and am sewing them together.
The completed piece of lace and entredeaux.  One piece like this will be inserted between the embroidery and tucks on each side of the chemise.

After trimming the entredeaux header down to a fat 1/8" and cutting the tucks and lace apart (take a deep breath here because a lot of work goes down the drain if you don't measure and cut correctly) I've pinned the two pieces together.
 First sewing with a straight stitch.
 Then with a tiny zigzag.
Viola! Completed fronts and the pattern pieces cut out, darts sewn.  I mocked up what it would look like on Ruby.  Ruby is a little perkier than I am in the boob department.  LOL.

 And the side view.
I used my embroidery machine to sew the buttonholes on the front.  I get perfect buttonholes every time using this method.  Then I hand embroidered golden bullion roses with pale green leaves into the buttons.
A close-up of the front.

That's all I have for today.  Next up will be a T-shirt for Alan.


  1. Wonderful! I am so drooling over your construction!

    I am volunteering for you to adopt me so you have a "child" to sew for.. now, it might look a bit odd, adopting a 55+ old lady.. ; }

    Lynn B in Manassas

  2. This is gorgeous! I'm drooling over the embroidery. Do share either on the Inspirations or TAM topic.

  3. This is magnificent - makes me want to run out an buy an embroidery machine. Going from this masterpiece to a t-shirt???

  4. I love your use of embroidery. Noticeable but subtle. And your heirloom techniques for an adult female human are wonderful. Thank you for this inspirational post.

  5. What a beautiful heirloom piece. Beautiful work.

  6. This is magnificent work! Inspirational and beautiful!!

  7. I really like how you used heirloom sewing techniques on an adult garment. Your chemise/cami is absolutely beautiful.