Chemise was an important female undergarment for many centuries and continued to be so in the 19th century. The basics of a chemise is very simple: it is cut out of the squares, similar to a male shirt. There were a few different styles of chemises in the first half of the 19 century. I based Jane’s chemise on this example from the V&A Museum (dated 1835):
I made the chemise from the same thin cotton (batiste) that I used for Jane’s pantaloons and Rochester’s drawers. The pattern was very simple: 2 large rectangular pieces, 2 narrow rectangular pieces which I cut diagonally (for the sides of the chemise), 2 rectangular pieces for the shoulder straps and squares for the sleeves and the gussets.
I started with the sides by sewing together the triangular pieces and attaching a gusset to each one.
Next I folded the straps (to avoid one seam!) and sewed them on. I attached the cord string inside the seam.
Then I stitched the sides to the main body of the chemise.
The next step was sewing in the sleeves.
The sleeves needed to be gathered to the strap. It was a bit tricky due to the small size of the strap (and also because of the very thin fabric). The sleeve was stitched to the outer side of the strap and then folded over and stitched on the inside (does it make sense?).
The other side of the sleeve was also gathered.
And here is the chemise.
And how it looks on Jane. The string is supposed to adjust the neckline for open dresses so that the straps are sort of hanging from the shoulders.
The photo gallery with a more detailed process of making the chemise.