Sewing the Eleventh Century Chemise

neckline trimmed

Trim the seam allowance on the neckline down to 1/8". Clip the back slit open.

silk thread for embroidery

I'm going to do something a little festive, and use a blanket stitch in silk thread to bind off the neckline.

This is, incidentally, my token attempt at doing something officially Right(tm) in the course of sewing a costume. I’m not quite sure why I have silk embroidery floss, or why I have it in such a lamentable color. (It’s not pumpkin, it’s not old gold, it’s just sort of … middle-aged squash?) Normally, on a good day, I’ll use plain old cotton embroidery thread. We won’t talk about my bad days… ;) So, here you go – the last three days worth of skill tips and demos using real live, serious-adult silk floss. I gotta say, it doesn’t knot up near as much as some of the other options.

neckline, bound with blanket stitch

I've turned the neckline back just below the stay stitching - you'll have to snip the corners, or it won't turn. I used one row of blanket stitches to bind the edge, then added a second row to make it all purdy.

cuff bound with blanket stitches

Turn the cuff in, just past the stay stitches, and bind the edge with a blanket stitch. I've added some decorative knots, and I think it's looking quite festive.

decorative knots added to neck

In fact, the sleeve was so festive I decided to go back and add knots in the second row of blanket stitch around the neck.

the finished garment

I've added a square chain stitch and yet more decorative knots to the hem. And then she's done!

Now, by all the information I can find, I should not have added embroidery to the bottom hem. That had fallen out of fashion by this point. I just had some sort of extreme joy of decorative stitching, and it seemed like an adorable way to add happiness and hide the ugly machine stitching. I can’t explain. I never, but NEVER have the first bit of desire to embroider a costume for a human, even myself. It’s just, you know, dolls are smaller and it seems more manageable. Now that I’m down with the idea of doing a hem with a machine and then hiding it with a decorative stitch, well, you know, I think it might work it’s way into things. I use the blanket stitch a lot for utility sewing. I might learn to like it in colors that aren’t supposed to hide….

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