Elizabeth Stewart Clark & Company


What’s the best way to stay comfortable and confident in period clothing?

Have an adequate supply of chemises (or shifts) and switch to a fresh one as needed during your living history activities!

Chemises are most often made in tight-woven cotton or linen for the 1840-1865 era. The generous fit makes them easy to wear, and plain white textiles keep them very easy to launder. When you get a pattern that fits you comfortably, you can use like-sewing or “railroading” techniques to sew a whole batch of chemises quickly. With like-sewing, you complete the same construction step on each garment, one right after the other. Making a batch of chemises from our free Make a Simple Chemise pattern (just scroll down!), you’d:

  • Draft and test the upper portion of the pattern (waist length, just to make sure you don’t want to fiddle with things),
  • Cut all the chemises,
  • Sew all the shoulder/sleeve seams,
  • Sew all the side seams,
  • Put in all the hems (sleeve and lower edge),
  • Put on all the neck bands,
  • Have a cup of tea, and enjoy your accomplishment!

Like-sewing also lends itself well to sewing with tight schedules. If you will commit to sewing for 15 minutes a day (by machine) or 1 hour a day (by hand), you’ll make steady progress on your wardrobe! Work to complete each construction step on every garment of that type before moving on to the next step. You gain efficiency by repeating the same process multiple times.

It’s just one strategy to get you well-dressed for the 2011 event season!

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About The Sewing Academy
With a focus on the 1840-1865 era, The Sewing Academy is your home on the (internet) range for resources to help you meet your living history goals!

Elizabeth Stewart Clark has been absorbed by the mid-19th century for over 20 years. She makes her home in the Rocky Mountains with her husband, four children (from wee to not-so-wee), far too many musical instruments, and five amusing hens.

Email Elizabeth Or call 208-523-3673 (10am to 8pm Mountain time zone, Monday through Saturday)
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