19th Century, Sewing

A luxurious late-1870s chemise for Nana

Another bit of my Manet’s Nana inspired ensemble is done. I’ve finished her chemise.

1877 Manet's Nana inspired chemise thedreamstress.com

 

It was done save for a bit of the lace trim before I got sick, but got put on hold while I slept for days on end.

1877 Manet's Nana inspired chemise thedreamstress.com

I used the free 1880s chemise pattern at Tudorlinks as a starting point.  It’s a decade later, but chemise shapes didn’t change a great deal, and the basic shape is a good for what you can see of Nana’s chemise in Manet’s painting.  It also matches the few extent late 1870s chemises that I could find that look like even slightly like Nana’s

Manet's Nana, 1877 (detail)

Manet’s Nana, 1877 (detail)

I’ve spent a lot of time trying to decide if Nana is wearing a corset with straps, or if she simply has blue ribbons in her chemise.  I’m leaning toward the chemise theory for two reasons.  First, strapped corsets seemed to have been viewed as more practical, less decadent corsets in the 1870s, and Nana is clearly not a practical woman!  Second, there is another Manet painting which almost certainly shows the same model, in the same corset, and it clearly doesn’t have straps.

Edouard Manet, Before the Mirror, 1876

Edouard Manet, Before the Mirror, 1876

So I’ve made a very light, very lace trimmed chemise, with lots of blue ribbons over the shoulder.

1877 Manet's Nana inspired chemise thedreamstress.com

 

The ribbons are rayon, and are a tiny bit too big for the lace they are threading through, so I may switch them out for narrower silk ones if I can find any.

1877 Manet's Nana inspired chemise thedreamstress.com

 

I’m also slightly less than thrilled with the lace I’ve used on the hem.  It’s effective from a distance, but up close it’s a little too 1950s curtain trim:

It was done save for a bit of the lace trim before I got sick,

It’s still the best I had in stash (hundreds of metres of lace and yet finding three of the right width and length that match each other and the fabric is always impossible), but if I manage to find something better I’ll switch it out.

It was done save for a bit of the lace trim before I got sick,

The Challenge: #10 – Art

Inspiration: Manet’s Nana, 1877

Fabric: 2m of cotton lawn, from the $5 bin at Fabric Warehouse.

Pattern: free 1880s chemise pattern at Tudorlinks

Year: 1877

Notions: Three different patterns of vintage lace (1.5ish metres of each), blue rayon ribbon (2m)

How historically accurate is it?  Reasonable.  The construction techniques are all period, and the lace is pretty good, except for the pattern of the hem lace.  Maybe 75%

Hours to complete: 3 hours

First worn: Not yet, I’m waiting to assemble everything so I can do a Nana photoshoot!

 

5 Comments

  1. Lynne says

    So very pretty! I’m sure you are right about the straps/no straps question.

  2. Elise says

    I always liked how painters represent lace. The bottom doesn’t look too 1950s-curtain to me, if that helps. Have fun with the whole thing!

  3. Lovely! The shape looks just right for the painting. And of course, I love the blue and white combination. 😉

Comments are closed.