The other night Kendal tried on her newly hemmed chemise and pantaloons. She was fresh out of the tub and was just so pleased with her new little outfit. I sat back and watched her and it was like a trip back in time. The fire was crackling, the house was nice and cozy, she was clean and her hair was free and curly all over her pretty little head, and the muslin underthings just made me smile. I thought I had stepped back 150 years for just a second or two.
Girls in the mid 1800s used to wear pantaloons/drawers on the bottom and a chemise on top. The chemise served as a guard to keep the dresses cleaner from body oils, perspiration, and extended the wearing interval of dresses. The chemise length was usually worn around the knee. Kelsey's chemise is a little long, but now I know the pattern. The drawers were between the knee and mid-calf length and helped keep sweet little somersaulting girls modest.
Here is Kelsey with her 2 petticoats, chemise, and drawers. The petticoats added loft and softness to the dresses of the day and also helped insulate the girl. Winter petticoats were often made out of wool flannel.
Kendal only has one petticoat as of right now. She needs a few more. I love the trim I put on the bottom of her petticoat - it is so darling and so 'period.'
Now I need to get my dress finished I started a few months ago. I need to add a little more trim to the skirt and attach it to the bodice. THEN I will make the girls their dresses. I have some fabric I purchased a few months ago that at the time I thought was 'ugly' reproduction fabric. Now I must say it has definitely grown on me - I think it is quaint and quite lovely now.