Thursday, July 26, 2012

1823 Goodridge Chemise

My wonderful friend Tamara loaned me this original "Goodridge 1823" chemise to share with all of you.
((Edit: T. tells me she paid $15 for this little gem at some random antique store in ME.))

(If this gets a bit fuzzy in some of the words, please forgive me... post-surgery days are always a bit fun when it comes to broken thoughts).  Fortunately for you, I took excellent notes & hopefully good pictures.

When Tamara offered me the opportunity to take a pattern & study this lovely piece of work, I hesitated only because it meant toting it through several states and/or sending it through the mail.  We took care to wrap it up & transport it safely.  Considering that it's rather small, this was not a problem.

Unrolling the shift/chemise for the first time was rather exciting.  It's a lovely piece, in excellent condition, only a few stains from the original wearer, with a couple age spots and one split in the CF from a grade-school show & tell mishap.  

Here you can see the 1/2 view of the chemise, which shows the shape of the side seams quite well.

 (I will try to get the pictures to orient themselves correctly, but no promises on this new format).
Here is the chemise laid out flat in all its wrinkled glory.

It is made from a very tight weave fine linen, with a small twill tape trim on the sleeves.  Seams are welted to the Outside, or butted and whip stitched.  Neck binding is pieced & cut on the grain, and folded over to the inside.   There are 11-24 stitches per inch depending on where & what technique was used.  It is a very fine piece of workmanship.

The chemise measures as follows:
Shoulder-hem: 43"
Front neck - hem: 38.5"
Back neck - hem: 40"
Back width: 21"
Neck-hole width: 13"
Shoulder width: 4"
Bust (flat) 24" (total of 48")
Hips: 29" flat (total of 58")
Hem: 76" total
Side gores: 20.25 long, 7.25 wide (2 on each side)
Sleeve length: 7.5" with 0.25" trim
Sleeve width: 12" (total)
Sleeve gusset: 4x4 finished
Sleeve set in: 10" down
Distance between gores on side seam 16" (side of chemise)
Hem turn-over: 0.75"

In no particular order...

The neckline is cut 13" wide, and 2.5" down in the back, 4.5" down in front (finished), on an oval shape.
The binding strip was cut on the straight, in pieces to help go around the corners, and then turned under and hem-stitched to the inside.  The first seam is about 15 stitches per inch (the one attaching the binding strips), which you can see in places on the outside edge.  The hemming was done with 11 stitches per inch. for a 1/8" - 1/4" wide finished hem... it is narrower going around the curves.

You can see (picture at top) where "Goodridge 1823" was printed in what I believe is walnut ink at the CF edge, (I can't be sure of this as age may have dulled the original color).

The sleeves and side seams were initially sewn with 6 tiny running & 1 back stitch on the outside, and then welted under with careful whip stitching, approximately 14 stitches per inch.

The side gores were first butted together on the salvage edges of the chemise body & gore straight edges and whip stitched in a tiny 22 stitches per inch seam. (The body & gore are sewn straight edges together).  Then the entire side seam was constructed towards the outside, and was folded over into a welted seam.  This leaves the center of the gores a bit lower than the rest of the hem, which was not evened out, it was just hemmed as-is (below).

The hem is a consistent 3/4" deep, with about 14-16 stitches per inch in a diagonal & straight hem stitch.

The sleeves were constructed as one component and set in the side seam... again, all seams are on the outside, except for the hem on the cuff, which is turned under and overcast, and the twill-tape trim folded into shape and tack-stitched to that.

The following pictures show the sleeves in various views.  Hopefully you will be able to make them large enough to see some of the details.

Left Sleeve.  You can see the trim, neckline & seams clearly here.  The gusset was cut on a square and folded over.  There was a bit of shaping to the armscye on a diagonal cut to help shape the sleevehead to the body.

Detail of trim & cuff hem.  I hope you can see the tiny stitches used to create the hem on this.

Finished Cuff Trim.  The twill tape was folded to accomplish this rather elegant trim detail.

Finished Cuff with a tape measure for sizing purposes.  The trim is remarkably even, but not perfect.  I did not find the starting & ending points of the trim, it was that well hidden.

Last detail of the trim.  If I ever get this ambitious, someone give me a gold sticker, please.

There are minor sweat stains on the front bustline where a corset would have pressed the cloth to her body, also around the back.

There is one small repaired tare along the bottom hemline that is so well done I was amazed that we found it.  It was certainly made by the original owner, as the stitching is identical to the rest of the garment.

The purpose of making this blog post was to show an original 1823 chemise to the public for free use.  The original "Goodridge 1823" chemise is privately owned, and I have full permission in the form of a big "Yes Please!" to publish the particulars.  It is our hope that this will help you in your research & costuming adventures, no matter what they may be.  We do ask that you not use this post to profit commercially (ie, make a pattern for sale), as those permissions are separate, but please do use it for educational & recreational reasons!
As this chemise is almost the same as any chemise/shift from the 1650's on, it would not be possible to prove our case, but please be honorable.

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