Sunday, 2 February 2020

Laughing Moon #100 - making the chemise without a placket

Laughing Moon pattern 100, Ladies' Victorian Underwear, contains patterns for two different corsets, drawers, and a chemise. The chemise has front yoke consisting of two overlapping parts, which can be either fastened together with buttons or left to lie flat. The pattern details suggest that the front yoke can be made in a single piece with no placket if preferred (the neckline is wide enough to be pulled over the head without the need for the placket), but there are no instructions on how to do this, and part of the construction method given will not work with a single-piece yoke front.

I wanted to make the chemise without the placket, and I these are my notes on how I made the yoke.

Pattern illustration (top) and my single piece version (below)

Note: I cannot vouch for the historical accuracy of this construction method - indeed I suspect that it is not very accurate at all, as it is a technique used in modern dressmaking - but it does provide a neat finish.

My completed yoke

The first thing to consider is the cutting out. Pattern piece 24, the front yoke, allows for both overlap of the pieces and a seam allowance. For a single-piece yoke, the piece needs to be cut from folded fabric, with the 'centre front' line placed on the fold. To avoid any confusion, I traced off a new pattern piece. This also means that I still have the original piece, if I want to make a chemise with a placket in the future.

Place this line on the fold of the fabric when cutting out

Cut two of the new piece 24.

The instructions state to sew the yoke fronts to the back at the shoulders, and then repeat this with the facing pieces. Yoke and facing are then sewn together around the neckline and armholes, and the completed yoke turned right side out. However if the front yoke is a single piece, it is impossible to do this, as the yoke cannot be turned through.

This cannot be done with a closed front yoke

Instead, stay stitch all the curved edges of all the yoke pieces, then pin the yoke front to the yoke front facing, right sides together. Sew right round the neckline. Sew each armhole from the bottom to about three quarters of the way up. In the picture below, the pins mark the section to be stitched.

Sew the section between the red pins

Trim, grade and snip the seams (do not trim the unsewn sections of the armholes yet), then turn the yoke front right side out and press. Repeat the process with the yoke back.

Open out the shoulders of the yoke pieces, and with right sides together pin the yoke front to the yoke back.

Yoke front and back pinned together

Sew the shoulder seam of both yoke and facing in one continuous row of stitching. Press the seams open, and trim off the excess.

Press under the seam allowance of the remaining section of the armhole on both yoke and facing, you may need to snip the curves. Once you are happy that the edges of the yoke and facing match, trim off the excess fabric from the seam allowance. Sew yoke and facing together using either ladder stitch or overcasting, as preferred. I used ladder stitch, with a couple of overcast stitches at the shoulder seam to hold everything in place.

Sewing up the armhole

At this point you have a choice. The pattern instructions suggest you attach the chemise front to the front yoke and the back to the back yoke, then sew the entire side seam from hem to armhole. However to me this seemed likely to create a lot of bulk at the bottom of the armhole. I preferred to complete the yoke as a separate piece.

The way this is done is very similar to the shoulder seams. Open out the front and back yokes, pin the side seams right sides together, and sew in one continous line. Press the seam open, and trim off the excess.

The side seam pinned together

The result is a yoke with smooth seams.

My completed yoke on my dressform

I will cover making and attaching the chemise, and a bit about the embroidery, in my next post.

No comments:

Post a Comment