The way the weather has been going lately in my part of the world, underwear is greatly on my mind—long, woolly underwear, to be precise! Brrr!
But underwear has also been on my mind because I have something very neat to show you—a recent addition to my antiques collection!
As you can see in the closeup below, there’s a drawstring around the neckline to adjust the fit: the casing for it is made of twilled tape sewn to the body of the garment. The drawstring itself is interesting—it looks initially like a knit, but on closer examination appears to be woven on the bias, which surprised me—I had no idea bias tape dated back so far. And last of all, the chemise is marked with the owner’s initials, M R, cross-stitched in red thread. The entire garment measures 40 inches from the back of the neck to the hem (probably just below the wearer's knees), 25 inches wide at the top of the underarm seam, and 37 ½ inches across at the bottom. This chemise is on the plain side, but they might have lace or ruffles or embroidery around the neckline, depending on how much time and patience one had for fancywork!
So—what is a chemise, anyway?