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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

How to make a chemise gown that won't make you want to hurt people/won't look like the mumu from hades!

The chemise gown is a tricky thing. So I decided to post a little how-to with tips for making a totally awesome one! If my dear readers have any tricks of their own, I'd love if you left them in the comments below!

  • Step 1: In my humble personal opinion, the key to making your chemise gown look less like a mighty poof of material/your grandmother's curtains is a fitted back. No matter how little or big you are, a little fitting goes a long way. For my gown, I used my standard quarter back pattern that I drafted for my gold polonaise. I lined the back but not the front.
  • Step 2: Next, I cut two panels the width of my fabric and stitched them together, then sewed a channel and the top and, using a cord, gathered them to fit the back of my gown. I think that the gathering added just enough poof, which I don't suppose I'd get from pleating. These panels were cut with a slanty hem so I'd have a little train for the skirt.

  • Step 3: I attached shoulder pieces to the back, which also formed the arm holes and attached to the front of the gown.
  • Step 4: The front is actually just a single, 1-piece panel of material! I stitched a channel in the top, which the blue ribbon is threaded through and comes out through an eyelet I put in the middle. The top of the panel was attached to the shoulder pieces, and the rest of the arm holes were cut out of the first panel. The front and the back were then attached together.

  • Step 5: To form the waist, I sewed a channel down the center of my fabric using bias tape and ran cord through it, then made a buttonhole for the cord to come out in the center front. The channel starts at the 'waist' of the back and continues up to the center front waist, arching up just slightly, as you can see from the picture.
  • Step 6: Add your sleeves of choice! Instead of a more fitted sleeve, I made poofy ones, similar to the ones on my shift.

  • Step 7: Use the cord and the ribbon to gather the front! :D

  • Step 7: Hem it, trim it, and wear it! A sash and a GREAT hat (with feathers, ribbons, etc.) complete the awesomeness.

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