This beautiful French chemise, from the first half of the 19th-century, is 100% hand-sewn. A memory of a time before machine sewing, and a testament to human skill. While this might seem like a far-away place, this class will give you the skills needed to join this lineage of fine stitchers through the hand-sewing of your own chemise.
While this garment was likely worn as a nightdress, it may also have been worn as an undergarment, to keep the wearer’s outer clothing clean. Today it would make the loveliest dress or smock. This class will teach, support and nurture you through a hand-sewing journey to re-create this style for either historical or modern wear.
This class is designed for both historical and modern sewist looking to root themselves in a hand-sewing practice. The recreated chemise can be worn as a nightgown, as a wonderful modern dress, or a smock.
The hand skills you will practice in this workshop are: cutting out a garment without a paper pattern, hand-sewing felled seams, hand-sewing a neck casing, hand-hemming, and cross-stitching a monogram. This class is more than sewing a chemise. It will connect you to a community of other makers and a lineage of those sewists who came before us, while grounding you in a mindful stitching practice.
Fridays, February 24th, March 3rd, March 10th and March 17th, 2023
3pm – 5:30pm Eastern Time
Zoom, a link will be sent to participants
the day before class.
*If you cannot attend the live sessions, a recording will be emailed to you for review in your own time.
A kit for this class is available for purchase. If you would like to purchase the kit, choose the “Virtual Class with Materials Package” from the drop down menu at checkout.
If using your own materials, you will need:
- 3 yards of 45” to 60” wide medium weight linen or hemp.* *A note about color of textile and thread: If creating historical recreation use a white textile with a white thread. If making for modern wear you can choose contrasting threads or different colored linen
- 2 yards 1/4” cotton twill tape
- 2 yards 5/8” or 3/4” wide plain woven linen tape
- Medium weight linen thread 80/3 or 80/2 weight.**A note about color of textile and thread: If creating historical recreation use a white textile with a white thread. If making for modern wear you can choose contrasting threads or different colored linen
- Cotton embroidery floss
- Hand-sewing needles size 9 sharps
- 8” to 10” dressmakers shears
- Small embroidery scissors
- Pencil or tailors chalk
- Dressmakers pins
- Seam gauge
- Measuring tape
- Large cutting space (can just be floor or dinning table)
- Supportive chair
- Optional but encouraged: Thimble
- Optional but encouraged: Magnification lamp
We have two scholarships available for this experience. To be considered for the scholarship please email [email protected] with some information about yourself, your making practice, and why you would like to participate.
Sarah Woodyard is inspired by the labor of historical dressmakers. She spent seven years apprenticing at the Margaret Hunter Millinery Shop in Colonial Williamsburg to learn eighteenth-century mantua-making (dressmaking) and millinery (accessories). After completing her apprenticeship she became a Journeywoman mantua-maker and milliner. Sarah holds her M.A. in Material Culture from the University of Alberta. After ten years of sewing and interpreting at the Margaret Hunter Shop it was time to take this knowledge into the twenty-first century. She opened Sewn Company in 2019. Sewn Company arises from a legacy of hand-stitchers past and present. Through Sewn she teaches historical hand-sewing to historical sewists and modern makers. She is currently taking commissions for hand-sewn items both historical and modern. She is passionate about preserving the skills and stories of hand sewing, through research, design and education. www.sewncompany.com