Friday, January 17, 2014

Tatting for an 1850s/60s Chemise

Inspired by this lovely chemise, which was brought to my attention by the Sewing Academy, I decided yet another on-going project was in order.  Specifically, it rekindled my desire to make a nice set of mid-century underpinnings with hand-tatted accents, because a) very fun underwear is fun, b) the handmade trim gives me something small, yet period to work on a events, and c) one of these days I'm going to want a pretty set of underwear for clothing demos.

I like the lacy effect of the simple tatted edge here, and additionally like that it doesn't require button hole stitch filler (which I find a bit trying to get right), or excessive purls (which look great new, but quickly get bedraggled in my novice hands) as many of the more elaborate period trims do.

Between the pictures above, and the "Fancy Tatting for a Chemise Band" (Godey's, July 1864, reprinted in Virginia Mesher's excellent Flitting Fingers) I decided on rings of 12 double-stitches, joined at the 3rd and 9th stitch [2 ds, join, 6 ds, 1 purl, 2 ds, close ring and repeat].

I did short samples in both size 20(?) and size 30 cotton:

Tatting shuttle with two sizes of thread for chemise trim.

And decided that the larger thread looks more like the inspiration (or, at least, the ring sizes are of closer scale, with the number of stitches I decided to use).

And we're off:

Tatting shuttle with trim in progress.

The neckline of one chemise will probably take about 50" of tatted trim; if I decide to do the sleeves, that'll be closer to two yards.  (Expect some very triumphant pictures by this time next year.)

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