Regency Chemisette Course

Lesson 1. What is a Chemisette?
Lesson 2. Drafting the Chemisette
Lesson 3. Darts, Channels, Ruffles
Lesson 4. Pleating the Ruffle
Lesson 5. Attaching the Ruffle
Lesson 6. Finishing Touches

What is a Chemisette?

What is a Chemisette?

To put it in plain, modern terms – it is a 19th century dickey.  You know, those little turtleneck contraptions that tuck into your v-neck sweater to add style but not bulk or warmth?

Chemisettes are very similar in look, but have a different purpose, and thankfully, are much more attractive.  These delicate little accessories are designed to fill in the necklines of day gowns and they are actually used for a large part of the 1800’s, although the overall look may differ slightly.  But for this course, we are focusing on the Regency Era and having a chemisette (or some sort of neck filler) is a must.  

Let’s take a look at some examples:

If you are unable to see the images below, simply click on the blank space.

This painting shows a open-neck chemisette with a high, lace collar.  Most likely the ruffles holds their shape through starching (vinegar/water solution) as there is no neckline closure.

Painting of Empress Elizabeth Alexeivna, c 1800, artist unknown

This fashion plate shows a Spencer Jacket being worn over a day gown, with the collar of a chemisette pulled out.  

Fashion Plate c. 1810

This original chemisette is made of a very lightweight fabric, probably for warmer weather, and features a lace collar.  

This image shows a drawing of an chemisette, with a double ruffle, also know as a mushroom pleated frill.

Image from Patterns of Fashion 1 by Janet Arnold 
So now that we know what a chemisette is, looks like, and its purpose…let’s make one!