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How to Sew a Simple Chemise with a Square Neck and Loose Sleeves

Sewing a chemise can be as simple, or as difficult, as you want it to be. This is version has a slightly more advanced finish on the neck than the simple chemise with drawstrings, but it’s got an easier sleeve. You will need your Simple Chemise Pattern. This method produces one of my favorite festive peasant chemises, but with a little decoration and nicer fabric, it also produces a neckline that’s a good fill for any square necked bodice.
During this demo, I use the following skills:

  1. Hairline Seam
  2. Ribbon Hem
  3. Using the Selvedge Edge

If you're working to human size, use these instead:
  1. French Seam
  2. Ribbon Hem
  3. Using the Selvedge Edge

I apologize in advance: these directions are very similar to the drawstring chemise directions, and I’ve done a bit of copying and pasting at the beginning. (I can really only come up with so much to say about cutting rectangles….) There are some crucial changes, though, and I’ll try to make them good an obvious.

Please note: I’m using fully finished seams because, outside of Dollandia, chemises get washed. Ideally, they get washed a lot. I want to protect my seams from degrading in the wash. I’m using a similar, smaller technique to sew for dolls because I like the pain the way it looks. I’m a very hyphenated little girl sometimes….

The simple chemise pattern.
Start with your simple chemise pattern. Cut out the pieces along the seam allowance and fold lines.
laying out the body
Place the Body piece of the pattern on fabric that has been folded in half. The long edge of the piece, marked 'fold' should be placed exactly on the folded edge. Pin in place.
cutting the body piece
Cut the fabric along the edges of the pattern piece. Take your time - you can only sew as well as you cut.
placement of sleeve pattern on selvedge edge
We're going to use the selvedge edge of the fabric as our sleeve hem. Place the pattern piece on the fold, and line the actual bottom (not the seam allowance) up with the edge of the selvedge. Remember, you need to cut two sleeves, so you might have to re-fold the fabric for the second!
pinning the body pieces
Unfold each of the body pieces, and pin them together at each side (from armscye notch to bottom).
The body, sewn at sides
Sew the side seams at the designated seam allowance. Turn the body right side out. I've used hairline seams here, but you could just use a straight stitch (read: normal) seam.

Next: the sleeves….

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