Tuesday, August 25, 2009


When you think of Regency, do you tend to think of the very low necklines Lizzy and Jane wear in Pride & Prejudice? Maybe you think, "That was a terribly immodest era!" Actually, proper young ladies usually wore higher collars or fill-in pieces called "chemisettes" for day wear and saved the lower necklines for evening wear. Chemisettes were like modern dickies. Here are some very cute ones from different period dramas.

Lydia (left) and Kitty (right) from A&E's Pride and Prejudice

Henrietta (left) and Anne (right) from Sony's Persuasion

Harriet (left) from A&E's Emma. (Emma's collar [on the right] is not a chemisette, I don't think.)

I had such an itch to sew the other day, and was kind of let down that I didn't have enough fabric to make a whole new dress. Then I was looking at screencaps of Anne's brown dress in the second picture above (I'm planning on recreating that one :-) ), and noticed her pretty chemisette she wore with it. I then remembered that we had some sheer material left over from Amanda's graduation dress. So I decided to use it for my own chemisette. :-)

I learned a new "skill" while I was at it (though it is a very easy procedure; it doesn't really take "skill"): French seams. It encloses the raw edge in the seams so that the thin fabric does not unravel.

"Marianne" was going to get pictures of me in my new creation. Ze Kitty (spoken in Italian accent) saw the camera and told herself, "Hey, I wanna be in the picture too! They always tell me I look so cute in pictures!" So she joined me. Therefore, you get an extra treat with the pictures-- a sighting of our queenly cat. ;-)

For a closer look, you should be able to click on the images and they will open up in a new page in a larger format.

Kitty looks like she's slipping in this picture. :-P
I hope you are all having a wonderful summer and that you are continuing to grow in God's grace! He is SO GOOD and deserves all the glory in all that we do!! :-D


Rebecca said...

what a lovely dress! I just found your blog and I love it. Its so wonderful to see like minded sister in Christ wanting to glorify God in everything including feminine and modest clothing! I do not have a chemisette for my regency dresses, but they are draw string and quite modest in the neckline using Jennie Chanceys pattern. God bless and thanks for the sewing inspiration. My three regency dresses were made by my sister for me, I want to make my own soon. I am a new seimtress, trying out my sewing skills with modern and civil war clothing right now.

In Christ,

here is my blog- www.xanga.com/icebluechick

Elinor Dashwood said...

Rebecca, thank you for your sweet comment! It was very encouraging! :-D May the Lord bless you too as you desire to sew for His glory. :-)

~Melanie :-)

Adelheide said...

Excellent post! I love the look of chemisettes, and the function (modesty). Yours looks beautiful!

Ana said...

Your dress is so beautiful. The blue is such a pretty color!

Pure Little Ladies Ministry said...

You MUST teach me how to do that!! Looks beautiful...and French seams sound wonderful as my sheer overlay is frazzled to the core. lol


Shannon said...

Beautiful! The color of your dress is delightful, and it looks lovely with the chemisette!

Yours in Christ,