This heroic feat of table-top clarity was achieved partly by moving everything onto the guest bed, but even that accomplishment would not have been possible a few weeks ago.
I took advantage of the clear table to photograph an original Civil War-era chemise my friend Pat gave me.
While all of the whitework is hand-done, the side seams are machine stitched, and the whitework pieces are machine sewn to the chemise body.
This technique of having the whitework as separate pieces attached to the chemise body makes sense--when the chemise body got ripped or stained, the embroidery could be cut off and re-used. I pretty regularly find chemise tops (usually in fillet crochet) in piles of scrap lace.
I'm not sure what this embroidery represents. Wheat? Field peas?
The placket doesn't button; it's just tied shut with some twill tape.
The bottom of the placket, where presumably the chemise could rip, is reinforced with a piece of twill tape.
The armscyes themselves are crazy narrow.
The sleeve trim mimics the border at the top of the chemise. I love the buttonhole stitch on the scallops, which wouldn't be too hard to do.
For some reason, little gussets are at the top of the body, filling in the wedged space between the body, trim, and sleeve.
I have a few more original garments to photograph in the coming weeks, so stay tuned. In the meantime, I am enjoying using my sewing table for sewing.