Edwardian Lace Chemise – Historical Sew Monthly

Edwardian Lace Chemise - Historical Sew Monthly

Today I finished my Edwardian lace chemise for the HSM. The chemise is for my Edwardian lingerie dress.

‘Remember in buying and making these garments that your lingerie with care will last for many years to come, and you can afford to put more time and expense on them than on your outside garments that change style, color and design to suit every whim and caprice of fashion.’ The ‘character of a woman is more easily discerned by the daintiness, prettiness and completeness of her lingerie, than by the beauty or elaborateness of her best gowns.’ (Coates sewing and dress making manual, 1912, p. 67)

nainsook batiste lawn lace chemise  edwardian victorian

I used sheer cotton batiste and vintage unbleached cotton Valenciennes lace. Valenciennes lace was often used for lingerie in the Edwardian era: ‘French and German Valenciennes laces, machine-made, suitable for undergarments’. (Clothing For Women: Selection, Design, Construction, 1916) Here’s a 1909 ad for chemises and combination suits trimmed with Valenciennes lace.

1900s 1910s sheer lace chemise

The batiste fabric is very sheer: I finally found a fabric which is suitable for Edwardian lingerie. Yay! 😀 Today, batiste is often not thin enough with a too low thread count.

edwardian valenciennes lace chemise

The Valenciennes lace was a bargain! Valenciennes lace which is manufactured today usually contains 10% nylon, so I usually search for vintage or antique Valenciennes lace. I got 16m for 7,15€. Yay! 😀

My inspirations for the Edwardian chemise: 1900s Valenciennes lace chemise, 1901 lace combination photograph, 1901 chemise or combination photograph, Edwardian Valenciennes lace slip, 1900s Valenciennes lace corset cover, 1905 ad for chemise or corset-cover and underskirt in one, and Edwardian lace combination. Here you’ll find my pinterest board ‘1900’s lingerie‘ with more inspirations for the chemise.

edwardian valenciennes lace chemise in progress
Planning the design of the lace insertion
lace insertion
Wrong side

The lace is inserted with straight stitches by machine.

flat felled seam chemise
Shoulder seam

All seams are joined with flat felled seams: ‘The felled seam is used any place where a flat seam is desired. It is particularly desirable in under garments, like drawers and combination suits. Any garment which is worn next to the skin should be finished with this seam.’ (School Sewing Based On Home Problems, 1916)

sewing placket chemise lace insertion
Sewing the placket
scalloped hem lace chemise
Scalloped hem

I’m thinking about adding feather stitching along the neckline and hem like here (the last picture). What do you think?

edwardian chemise scalloped lace insertion

I’ll soon post more pictures of the lace chemise.

Here you’ll find pictures of another Edwardian lace chemise with broderie anglaise lace.


Challenge: 1 – Firsts & Lasts

Fabric: white cotton batiste

Pattern: my own

Year: early Edwardian

Notions: unbleached cotton Valenciennes lace, white cotton eyelet lace

How historically accurate is it? Accurate

Hours to complete: I don’t know because I started sewing the chemise last year

First worn: not yet

Total cost: 2m batiste 17,50€ + 9m Valenciennes lace 4€ + 1m broderie anglaise eyelet lace 1€

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