View Full Version : Tales of the Chemise... or Why I Don't Sew

02-17-2003, 06:03 PM
{The following is in NO WAY meant as a slam or anything negative against either the e-pattern or talented lady whose website I got it from}

Warning number two--this is a loooooong one!

A while back I asked for some advise on making a chemise. Several of you were generous with your advice.

So, after procrastinating FAR too long, I played hookey from work today and tackled the trial run chemise.

Good thing I didn't use the good lace fabric.

I followed the directions from Lara's site. I happily ripped my muslin into four pieces. Gleefully I began sewing. I was entranced and rather proud of myself. Steps one and two were completed with no major snags. Time to lug this huge bunch o'muslin to the mirror to see how its shaping up.

And then. . . tragedy struck.

You see, I'd sewn the arms into the body of the chemise. So unless I planned to walk around without my bodice and *with* my arms pinned to my sides, this was not going to work.

I swore. And I sat on the couch and carefully unpicked the seams (and learned to serge the egdes BEFORE I begin construction, not after, because now I had to rip all that out and resew that, too! Lesson number one for today)

Fabric unsewn, I return to the dining room table, re-read the directions I'd printed from the website. And read them again. And again. after about the 12th read thru, when I realized I didn't have a single, solitary clue of how to put this cursed chemise together, I decided it was time to take a break. Shower, lunch and then I was ready to tackle this project once again.

This can't be *that* difficult, can it? I'm a reasonably intelligent woman who has a bachelor's degree--not to mention 18 months experience teaching computers. If I can do that, I can do anything.

Except sew, it seams. Or seems. Whatever.

Re-read the directions again. Go get my favorite chemise. Study its construction. Study directions. Twist pieces of fabric around like jigsw puzzles, trying to get them to fit. Cry. Stick pins into fingers. Re-read directions. Get an idea. Get smart and pin the @#$3 thing together this time before sewing to see if its right. Drag fabric to mirror. Pull on, poking self in boobs several times with straight pins during process.

Realize that it's *still* not right. Cry some more. Swear blue blazes and call best friend names, since this is all HIS fault you need a new chemise. Vow to learn to sew well enough to make voodoo doll in his image so you can stick pins in him. Remember that you often have to pin his sash on him before faire and swear at Save the Boobies he will feel your wrath for this day. :cuss:

Feel the cathertic relief of blaming all this mess on someone else. Return to drawing board. Remove pins. Study favorite chemise. Study scraps of muslin that lay on the cutting board, taunting you. Pick up shears and threaten to turn them into confetti. Realize you are yelling at fabric. Put down the scissors. :augh:

Re-read instructions. Hurl instructions across room, swearing that access is easier to learn than sewing. Get an idea. Sew some, rip out some seams, pin like mad and grin proudly. NOW it is right. Take heap of muslin to mirror once again, this time prepared to do a victory dance.

Only to discover...

the sleeves STILL ain't right. Crumple to the floor in a heap and cry. No new very cool black spider web lace chemise. No new plain white muslin this-is-a-test-only-a-test chemise.

And that's why I don't sew. :tantrum:

Mad Kestrel
02-17-2003, 10:39 PM
Okay, honey, hang on....here's some chocolate, and some tissue. It'll be alright.

Sleeves are a pain - there's no question. I have taken apart more chemises than I care to recall. The trick I have found is that I pin the sleeve in the way I think it's supposed to go. I use three times as many pins as I need, so that it's nice and secure. Then, when I've got it all pinned, BEFORE I go near the machine, I turn the sleeve right side out, and look at it. If it is upside down, or backwards, or pinned to the wrong part of the body, I'll be able to tell before I've sewn a stitch. Once I'm sure it's on right, then and only then do I go to the machine.

If the accident is happening after you get to the machine, try slowing WAY down while you stitch, so you can keep a real weather eye on the fabric as it wiggles around.

If you're coming next weekend, bring me the pattern and fabric and let's see what we can figure out. :) Meanwhile blow your nose and eat some chocolate and repeat this mantra: "I am smarter than this fabric and I will not let it defeat me".

02-17-2003, 10:57 PM
And I know I'm a zillion miles away, but if there's anything I can do advice-wise, let me know!

02-18-2003, 02:28 PM
*hugs* Although I can feel your pain (I have a few pieces of garb in boxes thanks to bizzare pattern instructions!), I can also understand... I've made millions of chemises, and I can't quite figure out the pattern on Lara's site.

When I make a chemise, I make the raglan-style sleeve chemises... I don't know if they pass garb-nazi standards, but I think they're pretty easy. :) Here's a link to a layout of the pattern:


And if all else fails... take up your local wenches on their offer to help. :)

Good luck!

Devon Dalaigh
02-18-2003, 03:06 PM
I definitely can empathize !!!!!!! I'll hopefully be trying some of this sewing stuff soon - and I just KNOW that I'll sound exactly like you !!

Hang in there !!!


02-18-2003, 03:13 PM

Jumpin' Jesus on a pogo stick, yes-- that's the easiest chemise EVER. It's how I do mine, and they all come out very easy and whimper-free. Matter of fact, I have to whip out three or four of those puppies this week.

Remember that your chemise will be squished under something else, so it doesn't matter if it's form-fitting or a marvel of engineering. All it has to do is give you freedom of movement and stay where it's put.

Have some tea with your chocolate?

02-18-2003, 04:25 PM
Bring the thing to the meeting on Saturday. We can take a look at it:) At the very least we can taunt it and make it feel bad LOL I know I have done my share of headbanging when i have sewn something in the wrong way.:augh:

Much love!

02-18-2003, 08:14 PM
Ladies, may I say this please?


Thanks for the words of encouragement and support. I hope all of the experienced seamstresses as well as those just starting out got a giggle from my post. I was at the apex of frustration when I wrote it.

And Lara, dear, dear Lara, when next I see you, the first drink's on me. I checked out the link you sent me and realize that THERE is a chemise that's idiot proof! So simple that in fact I am considering unstitching what I have already done, doing a bit of snipping and tackling that bad boy tonight for my trial run.

And for everyone else who offered their assistance, either long distance or at the next local 96 meeting, thanks bunches. I think with your support and the latest how to I *might* be able to manage this without hurling my sewing maching out the window. But hey, who knows??

Thanks again, Ladies. You're the best!

02-18-2003, 09:03 PM
Okay...I was almost sliding out of my chair at work laughing because I saw myself in all that you said..in my case it was a drop sleeve shirt...glad the ladies here are so helpful

02-19-2003, 12:01 PM
Youn can do it, I know you can:) :bananada:

Devon Dalaigh
02-19-2003, 05:46 PM
Jumpin' Jesus on a pogo stick

Dead Milkmen ????????????? Oooohh say yes !!!!!!! *LOL*

That was my band !!!! Loved 'em !


02-19-2003, 05:55 PM
Jumpin' Jesus on a pogo stick

Dead Milkmen ????????????? Oooohh say yes !!!!!!! *LOL*

That was my band !!!! Loved 'em !


Heh-- I started using it independently, I'm afraid. But I DO know where the Philly Pizza Company used to be!

Devon Dalaigh
02-20-2003, 09:47 AM
Heh-- I started using it independently, I'm afraid. But I DO know where the Philly Pizza Company used to be!

Cool - haven't been back there in wayyyy too long - but I'm originally from Bristol and lived in Philly for quite awhile ! Nice to see a back home girl *L* 8)