Italian Camicias

Everyday Camicia

October 2017 – June 2018/ Updated January 2022

An everyday Italian camicia in’s 2.8oz linen. The pattern is a modified version of 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.
* The fabric has held up fine. See below for latest Camicia sewn.
January 2022 Update:
The neckline was resewn. It is now finished with tiny cartridge pleats and a straight grain binding. The final width is close to 40 inches.

Updated neckline: cartridge pleats & straight grain binding
Cesare Vecellio, 1589-90: De gli Habiti antichi et moderni di Diverse Parti del Mondo

Original neckline: flat pleats & bias binding

Portofino Camicia

June – August 2022

This camicia, meant to be worn under court gowns, was more extravagant. Cut along the lines of the Festive Attyre pattern: 45″ long so nearly reaches the floor, with sleeves 26″ wide by 35″ long. Sadly, the extra long sleeves had to be shortened many inches as the sleeve puffs weren’t draping well. What you see here is the before picture. A new-to-me vendor, Linenenvy, carries this portofino. It’s lovely and affordable. But not quite as fine as linen I used to get locally and is much stiffer. I hope it softens with age.
Completely hand-finished per my usual methods, it has narrow flat-felled seams. The neckline is a straight grain binding. I’d like this camicia to work under multiple styles. And sometimes it’s more convenient to have a gathered cuff than a wide sleeve. The best solution I found was to run a fine silk ribbon through the 1/4″ hem. The drawstring wrists make the sleeves adjustable, if needed.

Upper Class Camicia

December 2023 – January 2024

Unfortunately Linenenvy’s portofino was not suitable for sleeve puffings. (The fact that it was necessary to pleat the neckline, rather than gather, should have informed me.) So another identical camicia was whipped up. This time in the nice, sheer, 2.8oz linen. I’m confident that the extra long sleeves will drape and puff properly in this latest version.