I did attempt to do some research for the project, but finding extant examples of undergarments for children is a hard thing to come by. The only things I found was this underdress from The Met.
|Petticoat 1838 - The Met|
The chemise/petticoat combo though, I decided to alter. Knowing that I wanted to make these usable over an extended period of time, I decided that I somehow I needed to get rid of the waistband. Instead of combining the two pieces together, I opted to split them apart.
A lot of times, the clothing of children mirrored the larger versions that were worn by adults. Going off that knowledge, I took the top of the chemise and started making adjustments. The back button closure was eliminated completely and to allow room for the garment to be pulled over the head, I added to the seam allowance under the arms. From under the arm, I angled the side seam out and took it down to the "hem." In other words, my approximate idea of where the bottom of the chemise would be at knee length.
|Mapping changes to the back after eliminating the button closure|
|Matching the side seams and hem for the chemise back and front|
I put the entire chemise together using french seams so that there wouldn't be any raw edges showing. The arm holes and hem were both finished with pre-made lace purchased from the store. For the square neckline, I finished it with some pre-made bias edging that I managed to pull from the same lace. This ended being a stroke of genius because the with was only 1/4" and would have been a pain to fold and iron by hand. Not to mention I didn't have to waste materials already available.
|Removing the bias from the pre-gathered lace|
|Bias attached to front and sewn in by hand|
The petticoat was easy to adapt to my changes, since all I had to do was cut a wider waistband to accommodate the fact that the top was not being sewn directly into the petticoat. I did find however, that if french seams were used with the pin tucks, it created a large amount of bulk. This was discovered while sewing the drawers, so I eliminated the french seams on the petticoat in favor of regular seams that had the edges overlock stitched.
The nice bonus to the drawers and petticoat was I had some lace laying around that I had bought on super sale at one point. There was just enough to hem both garments.
I just got these photos today of Lexie in her undergarments. This is probably the only kid I've ever seen who was excited to get underwear for Christmas!
* * *Pattern: Butterick B5901 Girl's drawers, underskirt, and hoop skirt
- Drawers - none
- Chemise - heavily, used top portion to create a chemise separate from the petticoat
- Petticoat - elimination of top, resulting in only minor adjustments to the waistband
Notions: Metal hook and eye closures, poly/cotton bias tape, poly/cotton pre-made lace eyelet in 1" and 5" widths, 1/8" blue poly satin ribbon, matching thread