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Chemise also known as a Smock

I will document the making of the undergarment here.


I've been doing a bit of research, and I've decided to make a chemise that is not raglan but has a set-in sleeve.  I don't want to do a gusset that's just too many seams in one place. I'll be making a square neckline and ruffles at the cuffs.  I've got cream and white linen.  I think I'll use the cream and use the white when I get better.  The cream will be my muslin.  If I can, I'll decorate the chemise with some embroidery or ribbon

It will be simple with puffy lower sleeves to pull through the false sleeves. The ruffle will be open and wavy with perhaps a little bit of blackwork. I plan to use a theatrical cheat.  I'll use a black ribbon similar to what they did in "Elizabeth R".  check out the Gallery Page.

February 12, 2007

I've been researching the internet for smock, shift, chemise and have been unable to obtain a square necked pattern.  I'll use the Tudor Tailor's pattern and make a square neck.  To Gusset or not Gusset That is the Question...I'm going to see if I can make it without.

Washing the linen for the third time and the dryer twice.  I'll stop my abuse of it now.

February 13, 2007

Last night I had a dream about this chemise.  I made it using a set in sleeve.  My brain must have been working overtime for me to have a dream about it, so I'd better listen.  Also in all my searching for a tudor chemise from the web...I found the perfect one on the Elizabethan web site.  She has some fantastic stuff here.  So, I'm going to make this one of course with my modifications.

February 16, 2007

Weird, I had another dream about the chemise.  I do want to get started, but the Eowyn Green Gown is waiting to be finished as well.  I have to get the pesky zipper in first.  I don't have enough light and have to do the rip/sew in good natural light, so this weekend is the plan. 

Back on the Tudor front, I've got my patterns out and will work on cutting the fabric this weekend as well.

March 9, 2007

I don't know what I was thinking.  I cut the fabric out and started to put everything together and realized that I'd cut out a chemise with large puffy sleeves and I could not get the neckline squared because I'd cut an Elizabethan chemise.  ACK!  So now I'll finish this Elizabethan chemise up and use is with another dress.

I have some white linen but it's heaver.  I'll make a proper Tudor Chemise with it.  Square Neck and normal sleeves with a ruffle at the cuffs.  Photos to follow.

I'm still working on this chemise because I have to finish projects once started.  It's delaying my Tudor chemise but I'm learning some flat fell seams and combining patterns.  I've finished the collar and working on a sleeve now.  Sorry still no photos yet.


I have photos but I've put them on the Elizabethan Page since it's that period.  Now I have to start on the proper Smock or Chemise.


I've accepted the challenge.  Make this garment by hand, by end of August.  Will start today after all errands are done.  I'm going to take all my measurements once again.

Margo Anderson's Order of the Iron Hand

"The Order of the Iron Hand is an ongoing thing
that began as a discussion about how an Elizabethan housewife would have
done some of her family's sewing. It's to challenge ourselves to see if
we have the Right Stuff. Plus it's kind of fun. All you have to do is
state that you wish to try, announce what it is your making, take
pictures of yourself handsewing, and some of the finished object. "

The time frame is 30 days to complete your project all hand sewn.


I cut out all the pieces except the neck facing.  I'll try to use very small stitches.  The Tudor Tailor ladies had several smocks and they were finished in two different ways.  One had all finished edges then the pieces were sewn together.  The other one had french seams.  Both Smocks saw a lot of use so I guess they are both strong.  I may try both techniques with mine.

I'm going to sew the underarm gussets first.


Of course I didn't follow my first plan.  I didn't do the gussets first.  Sewed the sleeves in first then the gores.  I'm at the stage where I will do the gussets next. And, I have photos!

1st photo:  I have not cut out the hole for the neckline, that will be last. 

2nd photo:  My backstitches.  I've since learned that only the gussets and sleeves need be backstitched.  I'm doing the gores in running stitches. I can get 12 st to the inch with backstitching, but the running stitches are much much larger almost half or more per inch.

3rd photo:  my planned design for the ruffles.  This Tudor Smock is going along well, I'm still in June and it's taking shape.



I've sewn the cuff to the sleeve.  I still have the underarm seam open.  I traced with pencil the blackwork design I made and I hemmed the top of the ruffle.  I've place the ruffle strips into a hoop and will now do the design.  I've not really ever done blackwork and this will not be real, since I don't know how to do it, it will my best shot at it. 

Once done, I can add the ruffle and sew the sleeve back up.


I stayed up very late last night and finished one cuff.  The photos above show the 2nd cuff in progress.

1. Front Side

2. Back Side

3. Finished Ruffle (one)

This is a large design and not based on any historical image, rather it comes from my love of all things Tolkien.  They are the intertwined leaves from the Mallon Trees which grow in Lothlorien and one that grows in the Shire.  Planted by Samwise Gamgee.  My little secret and I love that I'm crossing reality with fantasy.


Got the Ruffle sewn into the cuff.  Since the cuff is a double layer, I didn't interface it. 

Now I have to figure how I want to close up the sleeve seam and the cuff.  The Tudor Taylor ladies had a chemise/smock that was totally enclosed (no opening) you just slide your hand through.  I'll have to check to make sure I have enough room to do that.

Then it will be the neckline.

You can see that she has a very very amount of chemise showing and that it has a very simple blackwork along the edge.
Here is another earlier chemise with the same kind of blackwork.

6_18_07 While watching LOTR - Return of the King, I finished one sleeve.  Tomorrow the other, then will be the task of making the neckline and finishing all those seams...

6_21_07  I'll finish up on the cuffs tonight.  Here are some progress photos.

inside outside
finished in progress: inside

I've not "graded" (I think that is the term) the inside seams yet, I'll have to turn them over and sew them down to prevent fraying.  I probably should have done french seams, but oh well, live and learn. 

Then the neckline.  I think I need a facing, but I'll have to figure out how to make it.

Progress Photo Progress Photo
Sleeve Flat felt seams inside
My undergarm gussett

Still working on those flat felt seams...that are taking forever to do and making hands cramp up.  I thought I was going to go over to a friends today so she could help me with cutting out the neckline, but I can't reach her by email or phone so looks like that will not happen today as planned.  I'm going to dig around my patterns and see if I can find one that I can use to help me make the facing and how to sew one up.


I finished up some things I needed to do on my Elizabethan Dress and I'm now back working on the Smock.

Today I decided to make my neck facing like Margo's.  I cut out the facing without the neckhole.  I traced the cut neckline onto the facing.  Then I started at the CB and stitched 1/4 away from the cut neckline.  I cut out the facing neckhole after it had been sewn.

fliped the facing inside and took a look.  Not too bad.  So now to do the front.  I'm pining the heck out of the front.  I don't have enough time tonight, but I hope to work on it this week.  I have to do a hat for Saturday too.  I'd like to make a coif as well.  I'll just have to see if I have enough time.


I traced the outline from an old bodice onto the linen and cut it out (1/4 inch seam alowence) I placed the neck facing over the neckline (right side out)and traced it on the facing and cut it out.
I placed the smock on the dressform and pinned the heck out of the facing to the neckline I hand sewed (well it's all hand sewn since this is my Iron Hand Challenge) and trimmed up the excess. Back is done.  7_3_07
I am going to the SCA Warlords Tourney, so I've been working on that dress I'm making a velvet hat and it will be able to go with this gown as well if it turns out.
Even though I spent all day at Warlords, I was able to work on the neckline facing in the morning. 7_7_07 Now just the hemline to do.  I did try on the smock and the neckline is just right. Goodie.  The Square came out nice and neat.
                          Front                        Back

7_8_07 FINISHED!!!

7_9_07 WOW look what I got from the Yahoo Groups for Margo Anderson:

Woo-HOO! And there we have our very first member of the Order of the
Iron Hand. Wonderfully done! I love the blackwork on the cuffs. Very
well done!



That is so well done! *applauds* As another TolkFan I simply must applaud your crossover... and it looks SO nice!   OK, so... where did you get that gloriously Elven-looking fabric out of which you made your 1560/1570s Elizabethan dress?? I want about eight yards of that.... *g*

VERY nice job!



Congratulations, it looks fantastic.

I am so happy!   Thank you to Everyone who said such nice things about my Tudor Smock.


Going to June Crown and taking my tudor underwear, scandalous I know.  Just a little tidy up on the neck facing which I finished last night.


The Chemsie is holding up very well.  So in trying to make the embroidery more realistic to the times, I'm making a black outline all the way around the edges.

Very period.


I'm using 4 threads of DMC #310 black cotton floss.  I tried 2 strands at first but it was not wide enought to cover the edge of the cuff.

Happy with the results.  Now to do something around the neckline area as well.

outline along the edge of the cuff
blanket stitch in DMC cotton
blanket stitch along the edge of the neckline.


Next the Petticoat.


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