Drafting a Semi-Fitted Chemise from a Princess Line Pattern

full front view of the Kohler chemise
setting up for the sleeve
Now we will set ourselves up for the easiest sleeve draft in the history of ever... Start with a corner. At the top, mark a line the same length as the angled armscye on the body pattern.
placing arm pattern on corner
Place your arm pattern so that the highest point of the arm is centered on your downward line. I made a dot at the wrist - this will be the length of my sleeve. I made another at the outside of the thimb - my sleeve must be at least this wide.

Tyler’s little fingers don’t flex, so it’s pretty important to make sure the sleeves are wide enough. If you are using your own human sized sloper, and you don’t have an arm pattern, just use your arm. Really – flop it right down on your paper, and mark the top of your shoulder and your wrist. Your arm has a pretty good idea on how long it really is. ;)

finishing the sleeve draft
The bottom of the sleeve should pass through the wrist point, and extend as far as the thumb point. The slanted line connects the top and wrist.

Really, easiest sleeve ever.

cut pieces for the chemise
When you go to use this pattern, you're going to cut two body pieces on the fold. One will have a neckline, while the other will be straight across the top (per the diagram). Cut two sleeves, with the fold along the not-slanty edge.
full front view of the Kohler chemise
And that pattern will make you this festive little number.

6 Comments

  1. Just out of curiosity, would it make sense for ease of movement to add a gusset under the arms? I know it’s not in the pattern diagram, but I weave and like to raise my arms …

    1. Hi, Eowyn – If the sleeve head is gathered, and the fit across the chest isn’t snug, you’ll have room to raise your arms just fine. You might run into problems if you have a really snug belt or bodice that prevents your chemise from moving. At that point, yes, by all means, add a gusset for movement. Happy sewing!

  2. Second question; in the original princess seam block we made with the velcro, I definitely needed darts. (Big tracts of land.) Do I just use the pattern without sewing in the gusset? (This seems wrong to me.) I’m trying to figure out how to adapt the dart …

    1. Eowyn – do you know how to close a dart? You’ll want to close the side-bust dart. This will open a new dart at the bust point, which we can translate into ease (which I hate in a princess line, but it will work fine for this draft).

      If not, it’s super-simps. Trace out your side front block on paper. Mark notches (match points) 2″ up from, and 2″ down from, the bust point on both your center front and side front pieces. Mark a line from the end of your existing side-bust dart to your bust point. Cut on that line from the bust point to, but not through, the tip of the dart. You want a little bitty-bit of paper holding the pieces together. Now bring the existing side-bust dart legs together and secure them in the shut position. This has opened a new dart on the other side of the piece. Conned the dart legs with a smooth curve.

      If you were sewing this as a princess line, you’d use your notches to help you match the fullness of the ease back into the center front princess piece.

      Note: depending on the hugeness of the tracks of land in question, you might want those notches to be more than 2″ away from the bust point. If the new dart opens out with more than a 1″ uptake (space between the legs), you will need to go larger. I wish I could give you a definitive guideline, but I really don’t have a set of rules in my head on this one. :{

  3. Hmmm. No; I don’t think I know how to close a dart but I think your explanation makes sense. Basically you’re switching the seam that forces the change in geometric plane from the side to the front.

    Would it work if I took the front block, taped the dart “shut”, creating a 3 dimensional sheet of paper, and then cut a line up from the bottom towards the pointy bit until it lay flattish? And then fill in the triangle for the vertical dart, of course.

    And after that I can work as before; the extra fullness underneath the tracts of land is really not a problem in a kirtle, I think. (The tracts sit on a generous bellyfull so …)

    (Side note: I have next to no sewing experience. I’ve made viking rectangle construction tunics and disliked them because I couldn’t get the arms to fit right (large tracts of land implies back width is less than 1/3rd of circumference, rather than being closer to half.) On the other hand, I am a mathematician, for what it’s worth …)

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