18th Century, Sewing

Chemise a la Yay!

I finished my chemise a la reine well over a year ago, and you know what?

I have never worn the completed garment myself.  Not once.

It’s been on quite a few models, but it’s never been on me!  How is that possible!?!

Just too busy I guess, and no good excuse to wear it.

Last Thursday I finally had the perfect excuse; I gave a talk to the Wellington Quilters Guild on Marie Antoinette and the chemise a la reine (provocatively titled ‘The Queen’s Underwear: How Marie Antoinette’s Un-dress Caused a Revolution’ – because a catchy title is always a good thing) and of course I needed to wear the chemise to make the talk come to life.

At the last minute fate tried to conspire against me to force me to get a model for the talk.  I was a bridesmaid on Sat and had to schedule a haircut and style before the wedding, and when was the only appointment I could get?  That’s right – right before my talk.  Eeeek!

No point in getting your hair done if you immediately put it up in an 18th century ‘hedgehog’.  And wearing a wig isn’t ‘keeping your hair looking salon perfect’ friendly either.  The smartest thing to do was obviously yo have a model wear it and hedge her hair.  But dang blast it, I wanted to finally wear the chemise myself!

So I crossed my fingers, prayed, went to my hair appointment, raced home, and carefully pinned my lovely fresh hair over a rat to form a plausible hedgie ‘poof’ with no hairspray or product.  Then I put on a my stays and chemise and raced off to the talk.

And I looked amazing.  I wasn’t expecting that, so I don’t feel too vain saying it.  I only got two bad photos, but you can still get the idea:

Yay! Prettiness! Even with scary flash eyes!

It's poofy and blue and bow-y and has a great hat!

Best of all, when I came home and took out my hair, it smoothed out into almost salon-fresh perfectness.  Win all around!

Now I’m very motivated to finally have a proper photoshoot in the chemise a la reine.


  1. Puts me in mind of – ‘girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes – these are a few of my favourite things’. You look really lovely in these photos – its a beautiful dress and hat.

  2. Every time I hear about your talks and see your charming outfits I decide that I need to move to New Zealand; especially this one as I in the midst of reading “Queen of Fashion: What Marie-Antoinette Wore to the Revolution.” I can’t wait to see a full photoshoot!

  3. Elise says

    I just love love LOVE that time period. Also, I love getting haircuts. Have fun at the wedding!

  4. You look gorgeous and should be modelling more and again I am in awe of your talent you being so young.Seriously !

    • Oh, thank you! I’m not that young though. I just started looking 24 at 16 and haven’t looked any older in the decade+ since, which isn’t as fabulous as it sounds 😛

  5. What a pretty dress.
    I do prefer the 1780-1799 fashions over the true regency styles.

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