Linen sheet, camisole vest


This is what the young call ‘a hack’. In the old days we called it ‘an alteration’. Much as I would like to sport a svelte profile as depicted by this young gel in shades, realistically that ship sailed years ago. Fortunately the Burda 7051 (bought for my daughter) is a multi-sized pattern ranging from size 6 to size 18. I know which one I prefer. So I traced off Look C in the more comfortable matron’s size and then did some changes. I want this garment to be a camisole top, to be worn under several other layers of clothing throughout the long harsh winters we get in Norfolk, rather like the goose fat bodice of yesteryear that children were reputedly sewn into. Or maybe it could just be a handy white vest.

I wanted to make it out of an old linen sheet I had, its middle section worn to a cobweb, but the outer areas still serviceable. I also wanted to  incorporate the decorative hem which has a line of faggoting between the folded edge and the main sheet.


Sadly, like so many words to do with sewing and needlecraft, the word faggoting has disappeared from the modern dictionary. Fortunately Mary Thomas has it in her Embroidery Book of 1936 – I feel she must have been like the Mary Berry of the sewing world from between the wars. I love the way she tells us to tack both hems to a strip of stout brown paper, which I believe also played its part in the goose grease undergarment arrangement.


Anyway, the original pattern uses a long zip down the centre back, not very camisole-like. So I decided to sew up the CB and cut a new seam in the centre front – adding buttonhole extensions and facings – thus making it more comfortable against the skin and easier to put on. The faggotted edging looked as though it might work well as the hem of the two fronts, unfortunately not enough to do the back as well.


This is half way through, pinned, part machined, part tacked. At this point I was still wondering what to do with the armholes. The pattern says bind them, so I did, using this cunning gadget.


This is a new acquisition for me, having managed for years cutting and guessing and folding and fiddling. I love it! It felt like a big outlay at first, but now feels like money well spent. So I made up yards of 18mm binding and decided to bind the neck and armholes at the edges of the seam allowances, rather than on the seam line, thus giving 1.5 cm extra width all round. And the binding shows rather than being folded out of sight.  IMG_4859

Seven buttonholes and shell buttons spaced fairly close together finish it off, and at the top of the button stand I have put a tiny press stud and a small button and loop to hold it together neatly.



I’m going to look out for more old linen, pillowcases with embroidery, linen table cloths, maybe even serviettes (clean ones)  that could be turned into serviceable underwear!


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5 responses to “Linen sheet, camisole vest

  1. Too pretty to be underwear, it would look great with jeans if we ever get a warm enough day! So calling an alteration, an alteration means I’m showing my age – maybe I’ll have to add hack in brackets, I had been wondering about this so thanks for clearing it up for me.


  2. Thanks Linda. I’m sure you’re a hacker not an alterer!


  3. This is lovely, I have just cut out something similar from a linen shirt for my next Refashioners project (and got the bias binding maker out) but I can’t see it turning out as beautifully as this!


  4. its is gorgeous – i have been dithering on getting a bias maker- and now really considering it. really beautiful finish


  5. Thank you. The gadget is so simple and so clever, I’m in danger of cutting everything up to make yards of bias just for the hell of it!


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