Italian Camicia

October 2017 – June 2018

An Italian camicia in’s 2.8oz linen. The pattern is a modified version of my earlier ones. With 4 yards purchased, there was enough fabric to cut a 45″ long body piece, or a full length camicia.
This was my first time sewing with this lighter-weight linen. While nice and sheer, it’s rather loosely woven, and I found that my normal sewing methods wouldn’t work. I generally prefer to sew all the seams on the machine, then fell them later by hand. This leaves the seam allowances exposed for a time. They were fraying away before I could finish them. So I switched things up. Rather than my usual 3/16″ flat-felled seams, I made them 1/4″ wide, and nothing was trimmed narrower than 3/16″. Each seam was finished before moving on to the next. My necklines are generally bound in bias strips, rather than straight-grain. Due to the unraveling, it was necessary to cut the binding from a more stable 3.5oz linen. In the end, it all worked out. But I’m not sure I’ll use this fabric again for an undergarment.
At about 44″, the neckline is wider than it appears (it’s hanging toward the back of this dress form). But it’s a couple of inches smaller than my other camicias. To reduce bulk under the gown, I experimented with the neckline pleating. The pleats themselves are pressed flat, rather than stroke-gathered. And they’re less heavily gathered across the shoulders.

Cesare Vecellio, 1589-90: De gli Habiti antichi et moderni di Diverse Parti del Mondo
Flat neckline pleats