Friday, September 25, 2015

Simple Toddler Chemise

Towards the beginning of summer I started some mid-19th century undergarments for my Ben-Boy but alas I fell away from completing them. This week I finally pulled out his chemise and cut a larger one to sew up for Anne. I finished them today and am not without hope that this evening I will be able to sew up some drawers for each of them. Gotta continue to make progress. The ball is rolling. Isn't he cute? 

This style is super super simple. It's based on a rectangle and cut all in one piece and the neck is lightly gathered into a neck band. It really can't get much easier! Here's a very rough diagram of how I cut these:

Earlier this year I found an incredibly soft, luxerious, heavy white cotton sheet at a garage sale. It was $1 and queen sized so I was sure there would be enough fabric there to make some undergarments for the babies. The oh-so-soft cotton would feel so nice against their skin. These are made from that sheet and there's still an incredible amount left over, plenty for drawers and a set of undergarments for Rose, and then some.

My oldest three sons were very accustomed to wearing garments like these since back when they were little we often attended reenactments. This was Benjamin's first time wearing anything like a dress and he thought it was hilarious. 

It didn't stop him one bit from quickly finding some rocks and sticks to scratch in the dirt. 

He moves fast, so it was hard to get many pictures. 

He will be getting a bodiced petticoat to go over his undermost things, but Anne will have stays, a little hoop and a button-on petticoat. She is very interested in the hoop. Maybe I can get those knocked out this weekend. It's supposed to rain, so will be very pleasant for sewing. 


  1. Oh he is a cutie!! I'm always amazed with how much sewing you do with babies in the house! I just had my 8th baby 7 weeks ago and am struggling to get much accomplished. I do want to make a new dress for me(we are going to a historic living even in December) and something for the baby... can you tell me what would be appropriate for 4 month old boy in the civil war era?(we are in Maine, so it will be cold). I'm also trying to figure out a dress pattern for me too, would love recommendations(I can sew, but a very beginner dress maker, have only made one historic dress).
    So glad to see you posting so much again! Take care,

  2. Congrats Tiff!! :D Babies are so sweet. I totally hear you on getting much accomplished. . .my last one was born in April and only now I'm starting to be able to have a little bit of time for sewing things like this. It is nice to be blogging again. I've missed it!

    Hmm, for a 4 month old at a cold event I'd probably do the basic undies in white cotton, a wool flannel petticoat and a long sleeved light wool dress. A little sacque style coat and a warm cap or hood. And a blanket/shawl to wrap up the baby in.

    Period Impressions has a bad rap, usually, but I like their "work dress" pattern. It is very basic but has the correct shape and is easy to adjust size wise. You can just gather the edge of the bodice to a waistband and not worry about darting it. Especially if you are still at that postpartum stage where your shape is still changing some. You could even put drawstrings in the waistband to make the size somewhat adjustable.

    1. THank you so much Sarah :) I'm going to check out that pattern. Hopefully I can get the whole family done before December...I'm going to take some liberties with the big boys, and just go for a period look. But for baby Asher, I'm excited about getting to make a "dress" for's been so long since I made a baby dress(my girls are 17 and 20 yrs old!).


Thank you for your lovely thoughts!