I always wanted to make pretty infant things for a baby. When Ladybug was born I was so overwhelmed by being a new parent I did almost no sewing. Then the two boys came and somehow it just never happened. Then Kitten was on the way, and I was determined to make her at least a few pretty things. I started researching last fall, and promptly got sucked down a rabbit hole. I eventually came across Cassels Household Guide which gave illustrated instructions for sewing a babies layette. I was immediately hooked. How fascinating to try and follow period instructions to sew the garments! Then I was so sick at the end of my pregnancy that I did almost literally nothing.
Now with Christmas past and Kitten two months old, I am finally getting ahead of the mundane things like knitting mittens and hats and mending pants, enough to do sewing that's not entirely immediately neccesary.
Cassels household guide comes in the origninal version, dated 1869, and in a revised updated version, which I couldn't find a date for, although it is referenced as circa 1880. The updated version has slightly different, and less specific instructions for sewing an infants chemise, so I decided to go with the earlier version, which was more specific about construction.
the little garments finished from the back. There is no fastening, but since they are intended to be worn under a flannel, which ties about the body, they need none, since the flannel should hold them in place. It's a clever design. soft against the babies skin, and keeping the flannel clear of body oils where it's worn snugly, but so short as to be clear of the diaper area, and therefore unlikely to need changing partway through the day!
I am curious about the construction with the hanging flaps though. It seems that it would have been equally easy to cut them off and just hem the neckline square. I've been trying to think of some practical reason for leaving them, but for the moment have come up with nothing.
I will likely make a few more little chemises, either in this pattern or copying another historical garment. The household guide reccomends that an infant have at least six, and that seems like a very reasonable number even to this modern mama.
|gratitous baby photo. It's hard to get an accurately representative|
picture of this wiggly little thing!