A Victorian/Edwardian Chemise

After the 4 month marathon of the last dress, I needed something nice and chill to get back into the swing of sewing.

Since none of the summer session sewing classes at Canada College appealed to me, I decided to pay for the Historical Sewing Late Edwardian Corset class, in hopes of actually finishing the long line corset I threw into the corner in July.

And then figured, if I was going to make a corset, I could probably use a chemise to wear underneath. I planned on scaling up the pattern from The Edwardian Modiste, but in organizing the sewing room I found that I had Truly Victorian 102 in my box of patterns.

Aside, you know you have problems if your pattern stash is big enough that you forget what is in there. I honestly have no recollection of purchasing this.

Since chemise shapes didn’t change all that substantially, I figured this would be just fine to use.

This is an era when supremely frilly undergarments began to take off – insertion lace, embroidery, ribbons – but you can still find simpler examples.


1918 Lady Duff-Gordon Corsets

1918 Lady Duff-Gordon Corsets

From Demode Couture

This took a few hours longer than it should have because in a fit of temporary insanity I cut 1.5″ off each of the shoulder straps, then realized it was way too tight, and had to enlarge the arm holes substantially.

And now what you really care about, some pictures:

full length

At the beginning I was concerned about telling the back from the front, so I freehanded my initials (MEW) on the back.


To finish the armholes and neckline, I used The Dreamstress’s tutorial of using lace to create a clean edge. I’d like to replace the black poly ribbon with a silk ribbon one of these days (maybe light blue?) but this is the only 1/8″ inch ribbon I had in the stash.


This also happens to fit in perfectly with this month’s Historical Sew Monthly! Man I love when that happens.

What the item is: A chemise that would plausibly work from 1870s – 1910s

The Challenge: Holes. There are decorative holes in the broderie anglaise ruffle, as well as the lace. The lace neckline holes are also functional for running a ribbon through to somewhat adjust the size of the chemise.

Fabric/Materials: 2 yards combed cotton lawn

Pattern: Truly Victorian 102

Year: 1870s – 1910s. The pattern itself was based on an 1885 pattern.

Notions: 2 yards broderie anglaise, 2 yards cotton crochet lace

How historically accurate is it? The shape and materials are pretty ok. I think there are some problems with the fitting – too long and too tight up top. Looks like most chemises of the 1900s were loose enough that you could push the straps off your arms, and I definitely can’t do that.

Hours to complete: 4-5

First worn: Not yet, although I’m hoping to get something Edwardian put together in time for Costume College.

Total cost: Everything was from the stash, so free! If you were to add up the materials when I bought them, it would be something like $12 for fabric, $0.66 for lace (on sale at Joann for 3 yards for a dollar), $10 for broderie anglaise, and $15 for the pattern.

This entry was posted in 1910s, Edwardian Chemise, Undergarments. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.