Saturday, November 19, 2011


By Engelinne VonFoxridgeWhat the piece is called Period of origin
Machine or hand sewn:
The chemise I choose to make represents the 14th century. But chemises were all over the world in every culture, in every time period. I hand sewed this garment. In period they would of also hand sewed it.
How the project was constructed:
I started with linen that I bought at the store. I drafted my own pattern. Using my measurements I cut out the pieces. I sewed them together. I used a back stitch to sew the garment together. Once the garment was sewn into a dress shape I put the dress on and then fitted the dress to me. Then I adjusted to fit in the sleeves and body. When the fitting was done I finished the seams. I used my own way to finish the seam. In period they would have used a flatfeld seam. The reason I used a different way of finishing the seams is I think that with hand sewing that my way is better for washing in the machine. Materials I used to complete the project
I used light weight white linen I used cotton string to sew it together. I tried to use the linen strings from the selvage but the strings were too weak to use on this garment. Materials used in period: The material that was used in period was light weight white linen. In period they would have used linen material and linen string. History:A chemise is an important piece of medieval clothes for women. It was used as a kind of a slip. Today women wear slips under dresses; a chemise is the predecessor. The chemise helped prevent corsets or petticoats from sticking to the body due to sweat and helped prevent rubbing on the skin. The chemise also; keeps the body oils off of the outer dresses and kept them from becoming smelly.
A chemise was sewn at home. It was usually pieced together from triangles and rectangles usually from one piece of cloth, to prevent waste. Poorer women usually had chemises made from rough linen while women with money had chemises made from finer cloth. 1
Under some dresses it was used as decoration showing above the neckline of a dress. Some were embroidered with decorations across the front to decorate the garment. The illumination at right from the early 1400s, Dionysus I humiliates the women of Locri shows women removing their outer garments to reveal a plain white opaque smock or shift with a very low, wide neck which accommodates the low, wide fashions of the day without showing.
It is also recorded that in 1397 Margherita Datini owned a shift of fine linen over which in winter she wore a petticoat of wool or fur- otter, cat or miniver. Her gown and surcote were worn over those other two layers and a cloak over that. In 1313, Anicia atte Hegge, a widow from Hampshire, made a will on the surrendering of her holding to her son which included the stipulation that she would be provided with various items of clothing including a chemise worth 8d each year.
There were at least three different styles of chemises.
Style 1: Made from light weight linen made with fitted sleeves and not overly shaped in the body.
This piece is called the chemise. It represents the first layer, the underwear layer.

Tacuinum Sanitatis
Style 2: Seems to be sleeveless

“The artifact chemise pictured at right is dated from the 14th century and shows a sleeveless chemise. The detail shown at the top of the page is an illumination taken from the Wenceslas Bible, around 1390-1400. It shows two women in their underclothes tending to a man in a bath. The chemises shown there seem consistent with this second style”.

Style 3: Is a common chemise worn in the 1300’s through the renaissance. This is the one that can be seen through the slashed clothing and at necklines. It was probably used by
ladies that wore loose fitting cloths instead of the tight fitting dresses. 
Decoration: Generally, the chemise pictured during the medieval period is plain and white. Because of the sumptuary laws women were not allowed to wear their chemises with decorations.

In the 13th century, we read a poem by an unknown author who laments the Sumptuary Laws and the restrictions on her clothing and in particular, her chemise. She says that she can no longer wear her white chemise which is richly embroidered with silk in bright colours and gold and silver. She bemoans, Alas, I dare not wear it! indicating not only that in her time period at least, the chemise could be richly embroidered with silk and precious metal thread but that the Sumptuary Laws were partially effective”References:Article Source:
Some Clothing of the Middle Ages -- Kyrtles/Cotes/Tunics/Gowns -- Herjolfsnes 39, by I. Marc Carlson, Copyright 1997, 2003

Moxey, Keith. Aertsen, Beuckelaer and Secular Painting in the Reformation. Garland Publishing, c. 1977
Ashelford, Jane. Visual History of 16th Century Costume.Arnold, Janet. Queen Elizabeth's Wardrobe Unlock'd.Adrosko, Rita. Natural Dyes and Home DyingCarnegie, Gwyn. "To Make a Beautiful Color: Trade Dyes during the Elizabethan Era" Costume & Dressmaker

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. The man and woman working outside in the summer sun have both removed their outer clothing and are working in their underwear..

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