1812 Sleeveless Undergarment Research

As I mentioned in my last post, the one where I shared pictures of my new 1812 under garments, there aren’t a whole lot of extant examples of sleeveless undergarments from the Regency period, so I had to take the research images I could find and extrapolate what was necessary for my dress from that information. Here are a few extant examples of sleeveless underdresses.

Early 19th century. Petticoat. The Met.
Petticoat. 1800. Cotton. National Trust.
Early 19th century cotton petticoat/underdress. MFA Boston.

It is fitting that this last one was worn by someone who lived in Boston, MA (that’s where I live). Neat! And isn’t the whitework at the hem lovely? Fashion plates and extant underdresses and petticoats from the early 19th century not uncommonly have hems that had white work and lace decorations. I didn’t incorporate that into my underdress… but maybe in the future I can make another such garment and include that detail!

Natalie Garbett also wrote a blog post about a sleeveless underdress that she made, which you can read by clicking this link. It’s super cute (and has hem trim)!

I actually didn’t find any sleeveless chemises, though I did come across mentions of them. I suppose a lady could have tucked up the sleeves of a normal chemise, or worn a sheer dress with the sleeves of the chemise showing through. Here’s an example of an early 19th century chemise with sleeves. This one is pretty ruffly, but the basic shape is the same, as is the gathering tie at the neck.

1810s linen chemise from the Met.