I’ve been wanting to make an Edwardian hand-embroidered eyelet lace camisole from scratch for a long time and now I’ve finally made one! Yay! 😀 I embroidered the camisole by hand, carefully cut along the embroidered scallops and then hand sewed the side seams together with Edwardian hemmed fell seams.
Eyelet lace – aka broderie anglaise – is a historical cutwork and whitework embroidery. Broderie anglaise looks beautiful, isn’t too difficult to make but takes ages to embroider! 😉 That’s why it took me a few years to finally finish my hand-embroidered Edwardian eyelet lace camisole!
In the Edwardian era, hand-embroidered broderie anglaise underwear was also known as French underwear.
‘French’ means that the underwear was made without store-bought lace. Edwardian French underwear was only embellished with hand embroidery! Because hand embroidery takes a long time to make, French lingerie was usually the most expensive lingerie in the Edwardian era.
‘A great deal of the very finest of the French underwear shows little or no lace as trimming, the ornamentation consisting entirely of fine embroidery in scalloping and graceful flower designs.
Of course, if bought in the shops, such garments are very expensive, but if the work is done at home the cost is very slight, as the value of such pieces depends on the amount of time used in doing the embroidery.’ (Los Angeles Herald, 1907)
Edwardian French lingerie was usually embroidered with broderie anglaise, satin stitch flowers and hand-sewn buttonholes to thread silk ribbon through.
‘French embroidery or white work is mainly satin stitch, relieved occasionally by seed stitch, matting, French knots and eyelets. It is used for decoration of lingerie and household linen, either in floral designs or initials and monograms’ (Clothing For Women: Selection, Design, Construction, 1916).
‘Fine scalloping, with eyelets worked below for the ribbon to pass through, makes a very attractive edge.’ (Clothing For Women: Selection, Design, Construction, 1916)
Related: How To Make Hedebo Embroidery
Antique Edwardian Eyelet Lace Inspirations
I drew my design for the floral eyelet lace yoke based on the following antique Edwardian eyelet lace designs: Edwardian floral lace corset cover, another Edwardian broderie anglaise camisole, and another floral eyelet lace corset cover, blouse with floral eyelet lace design, close-up of floral eyelet lace design, broderie anglaise lace design for a nightgown yoke, antique Edwardian broderie anglaise camisole, and another antique eyelet lace camisole, 1910s pattern for a corset cover with eyelet lace embroidery and another floral eyelet lace design for a camisole.
Hand-Sewn Flat Felled Seams
Because my Edwardian broderie anglaise camisole is all handmade, I also sewed the side seams by hand.
Seams ‘could be run by hand if all handmade’ (Clothing And Health. An Elementary Textbook Of Home Making, 1916).
The typical seam for underwear in the Edwardian era was the flat felled seam. If the flat felled seam was hand-sewn, it was called ‘hemmed fell’ or ‘run and fell’ seam in the Edwardian era.
Related: 34 Types of Historical Seams
Edwardian camisoles either had a button or snap closure, or were made without a closure. I made my hand-embroidered Edwardian broderie anglaise camisole to slip over the head without a closure. Then I finished the bottom of my camisole with a drawstring waist like on this antique Edwardian camisole.
In the photos, I wear my Edwardian broderie anglaise camisole over my Edwardian combinations with matching turquoise silk ribbons and my Edwardian cotton net summer corset.
Related: Edwardian Cotton Net Summer Corset