The Lady Adventurer

Costuming shenanigans

Blackwork Chemise

Ah, chemises!  I have worn many different chemises:


A drawstring chemise. Comfortable, adjustable. The key to fabulous drawstring chemises is elastic in the sleeves. The neck on this one adjusts with a ribbon


This one is an old men's shirt, given to me by a friend. Pros: Interesting neckline. Cons: Stupid sleeves that tie shut.

Then, I made a wedding outfit for a friend, and it included, as an attempt to look more “upperclass”, a square necked chemise.  I really liked the look, and since new chemises are a constant in life, I decided that my next one would be a square necked chemise.  The following chemise is made of linen, with a very simple decoration of black machine stitching around the neckline and cuffs.  One problem:  I got lazy, and just used the neck hole measurements from my friend’s outfit.  My friend is larger than me, and so the chemise constantly fell off my shoulders:


Pretty soon, I got sick of it, and made version two, with a smaller neck hole, and little machine embroidered flowers.  One other innovation that I also like is a permanently closed cuff; there are no buttons, it is just barely large enough to get my hand through.  I find that with linen and being sunburn prone, the ease of not having to find someone to button the cuff outweighs any passing desire to roll up your sleeves.  The version that I currently favor most is one that I hand blackworked, in a pattern of oak leaves.  It is the same cut as version two, but with more attractive decoration:


The blackwork, like my other blackwork, is counted threadwork, using a modified pattern from the Blackwork Embroidery Archives.  So far, so good for this chemise!


~ Sarah

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2 Responses to “Blackwork Chemise”

  1. Hello! I came across your blog randomly while searching on Elizabethan blackwork shirts. ^^ I have to say, I love the last picture, you look so happy!

  2. admin says:

    Heh, thanks. Are you looking to make your own blackwork? If so, the Blackwork Embroidery Archives are a great place to start.

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