1812 Short Stays, Sleeveless Chemise, and Under Dress

Remember I recently shared with you the square necked 1812 Ikea curtain gown? And I promised pictures of the accompanying undergarments? Now is the time! Please forgive the silly black and white checked walls in these photos… I took the opportunity of having people around to take photos of me in the garments, despite the lack of a fitting setting.

Chemise and short stays.

The chemise is constructed of linen, and despite its rather cute a line shape, it is actually just a tube with shoulder straps. The front has a draw string across it to help it shape over the bust, which I think is part of the reason the front looks so evenly distributed and full. As you can see, I chose to make a sleeveless chemise, specifically for the square necked gown.

Back view.

The back of the chemise is cut low and square to fit within the shape of the square necked gown. Next is a closeup of the stays so you can see more detail.

Short stays.

In this photo you can see the drawstring on the chemise. You can also see the front lacing stays better. They are essentially the same basic shape as my longer pink stays, with a few differences. The pink stays have a simple front, back, hip gusset, bust gusset construction, whereas these new stays have a back piece, side piece, and then front piece with the bust gussets. For this pair, I think I actually could do without one of the bust gussets, since it looks a little big. But it’s WAY too late now to change that! I had to cut the area under the arm pretty low to be comfortable, and I also had to move the straps a few times, especially in front. If they are too far out they cut into your arm joint when you try to move–not comfortable, let me tell you–but they needed to be pretty wide in order to accommodate the wide neckline of the square necked gown.

The stays are white cotton twill layered with two layers of cotton canvas, except the gussets and straps, which are just one layer of the canvas and one layer of the twill. The stays are bound with white cotton bias. They are boned (only at center front to stabilize the eyelets) with plastic wire ties. Despite the light boning they are quite stable when laced up. And let me just say how much easier it is to get dressed when your stays lace in front! So easy! Love it!

These stays were stitched by machine. I needed them done quickly and I wanted to be able to dance and sweat in them without having spent lots of hours hand sewing them. Also… at some point when I washed them (after the 1812 Guerriere weekend, when they were wet through from sweat) they got streaky. Now they are mostly off white, but still have bright white streaks. So I didn’t feel the need to make them super pretty and spend the time hand sewing them. I did hand sew the eyelets for the lacing. I thought about doing spiral lacing, but then when I made the eyelets I forgot to space them that way… so they don’t spiral lace.

Under dress.

The other new undergarment is this under dress–needed because of the sheerness of the dress fabric. So here it is. The skirt is the same dimensions as the square neck dress, and mounted to the bodice in the same way. The bodice also uses the same pattern, except that the front is not gathered. There is a small tuck on each side of the bust, but that’s it. The straps on the under dress are similar to the straps on the chemise and stays, so that they don’t interfere with the sheer sleeves of the gown. The under dress ties in back at the top and where the waist is. The day of these pictures one of the lower ties came off, so you can see the gap where a tie would normally be. Below the ties are an opening of about 8″ that allows me to get in and out of the garment. It all looks quite a-line in these photos, but with the dress on top the whole thing looks much more columnar.

Back of the underdress with the missing tie.

I think I’ll do another separate post with some of my research images for the sleeveless under garments. So for now, this is it!

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