Instructions for a simple chemise. Great for 18th century costuming. Can be sewn with french seams.
Measure around the widest part of your body, usually at the bust or hips.
Your chemise width = _____________
The following formulas are an exercise in using the golden ratio to calculate length. You can use a tape measure instead, but you’d miss all the amazing math. Round up to the nearest 1/4”. Here’s a link to a handy decimal to fraction conversion chart.
Thigh length: Height / 7 * 4
Knee length: Height / 7 * 5
Floor length: Height / 7 * 6
Example: I’m 59” tall. I want a knee-length chemise
59 / 7 = 8.428
8.428 * 5 = 42.14 = 44 1/4 (rounded up)
Your chemise length = _____________
Sleeve WidthMeasure around the top of your shoulder through the armpit. Do not tighten the measuring tape. Add 3 inches for seam allowance and ease. If you want pirate-poufy sleeves, add 10 more inches.
Example: Shoulder measure = 16”. 16 + 3 = 19”. My sleeve width is 19”.
Your sleeve width = _____________
Short sleeve: Height / 7
Mid-length sleeve: Height / 7 * 1.75
Long sleeve: Height / 7 * 2.25
Example: I want a mid-length sleeve
59 / 7 = 8.428
8.428 * 1.75 = 14.75= 14 3/4”
Your sleeve length = _____________
Multiply chemise length x 2. There should be enough left over for sleeves.
- I recommend lightweight linen, cotton voile, or cotton lawn. Buy either 45” or 60” wide fabric.
- One roll of 5/8” wide ribbon, one package of 1/4” wide elastic or ribbon and thread.
Total amount of 45” wide fabric: _____________
- Wash, dry and iron fabric. Cut or rip fabric in half width-wise. This is your chemise length.
- With the two pieces together, cut or rip to half your chemise width measure plus ten inches.
- Sleeves: Cut or rip two rectangular pieces based on your sleeve width and sleeve length measurements.
Sew sleeves to chemise
Right sides together, place each sleeve on opposite top corners of chemise body. Sew a diagonal line of stitching 7 inches in from each corner. Sew the other chemise body to the opposite side of sleeves in the same manner. Cut inner sleeve seam allowance down to 1/2 inch. Press seams open.Sew side seams
Fold chemise at the middle of the sleeve, right sides together. Sew with a 1/2” seam allowance from outside bottom corner of sleeve to the bottom of chemise.Neckline casing
- Start at center back. Sew ribbon edge to top edge of neckline and around sleeves. Sew 1/8” away from edge. Overlap by 1/4”.
- Press ribbon up. Press to inside of chemise.
- Sew ribbon to chemise 1/8” away from ribbon edge. Be sure to fold in end before sewing down.
- Thread 1/8” elastic or ribbon in the casing.
- Put on chemise to determine width of neckline. The neckline width is based on your aesthetic and comfort. Add an extra 1” to desired elastic or ribbon length and cut. Overlap elastic or ribbon edges by 1/2” and sew together. Push inside casing.
Press up bottom of chemise 1/2”, then another 1/2”. Sew close to edge. Sew a narrow hem on sleeve edges.