Files: Chemise Size 5
Recreated by La Signora Onorata Katerina da Brescia.
As usual, there is panic when there is an event to go to,
and there is the sudden realisation that your 4 year old has grown an
inch or two and will not fit her garb! Luckily, in this case, it was
just the chemise that was waaayyy too small.
So... into the stash I ventured. There, I found some linen and some
purple embroidery silk.
Some time ago, I had been collecting research on the 1630 english
chemise from the Victoria and Albert Museum. I still intend on making
this for myself, in the future. For now, I can practice on the 'look'
with Morgan's chemise.
Lace (which looks like a bobbin lace) is on the collar, front
opening and cuffs.
The original extant 'smock' is made from linen, with red/
pink silk embroidery in stem stitch and hand sewn with linen
It can be found at the V&A website.(museum no.
The pattern is made from flaura and fauna (right). Examples
of the embroidery is can also be seen in Janet Arnold's
Queen Elizabeth's Wardrobe Unlock'd.
Morgan requested purple embroidery (her favourite colour) and to have
'dogs' (her favourite animal). So I made it 'to order'.
Dogs were within the fauna theme of the time. Though not found in
'blackwork' and not English, there is an Italian camicia ( found at
the New York Metropolitan Muesum) that has lavender and gold
embroidery. So, lavender was not 'unheard of' for embroidery on
I made this one a size larger than I would normally. I figured, if I
was going to embroider it, I wanted to get as much wear as possible.
I have added 6 inches to the sleeves (and hemmed up) to be let down
later, by removing the lace, embroidering on another 'creature' and
reattatching the lace. I did not use cuffs, as this will make
adjustments much easier, at a later stage. The hem has at least 4
inches extra to allow for growth spurts also.
The embroidery on the go.
Left is the finished sleeve, with bought
machine-made lace that approximates bobbin lace.
Again, Morgan requested purple. Usually this lace
could be white, black, silver or gold. Below is a
close up of the collar and ties.
The lace was 'blanket stitched' onto the chemise.
Unfortunately, the embroidery had to be done after the
chemise had been completed, so the underside is now visible
on the collar. This was necessary, as I had to sew the
chemise one afternoon to be worn to an event the next day. I
did not have time to embroider it until now.
The tie cords were made from cotton and hand -knitted.
Finally, the finished article.
First, a close up of the front embroidery (above), then the final
article and, for comparison, the original in the V&A Museum.
Morgan wore the chemise for the second time, and for the
first time (with embroidery) today for the Baroness's tourney.
Follow these links for my HANDSEWN camicia with patterns.
UPDATE: I entered this into the Lochac Kingdom A&S competition
for An item of children's clothing. It won first prize.
- Crowfoot, Elisabeth, Pritchard, Frances & Staniland, Kay.
Textiles and Clothing c. 1150-1450. The Boydell Press. Museum of
London, Woodbridge, 2001. ISBN:0851158404
- Kohler, Carl, A History of Costume, Dover Publications, NY,1963,
- Konig, Eberhard, Masters of Italian Art: Carravaggio, Konemann,
Cologne, 1998,ISBN: 3-8290-0243-2
- Willet, C. & Cunnington, Phillis, A History of Underclothes,
Dover Publications, NY, 1992, ISBN: 0-486-27124-2
- Levey, Santina & Payne, Patricia Le Pompe: Patterns for
Venetian Bobbin Lace, Ruth Bean, Bedford. 1983. ISBN: 0 903585 16 2
- A Reconstructed Chemise by Kass McGann
- V&A web site: http://www.vam.ac.uk/ (May, 2004)
- How to make an easy Italian chemise - Festive Attyre (May, 2005)
- "How much yardage is enough" Susan Reed, 1994.
- Suggested Yardages for Elizabethan Garments by Drae Leed.
- Archeological Sewing by Heather Rose Jones (2001)
new site: 10/05)
- Oonagh's Own, http://oonagh.actewagl.net.au/gruesome_truth.htm
All intellectual content, photos and layout are copyright to La
Signora Onorata Katerina da Brescia (K Carlisle), except those
original renaissance artworks and extant articles whose copyright
remains with the current owner.
If you would like to use something from
this site, please contact me, and cite this website reference.