cotton, metal snaps
Most likely homemade, as seen in the addition to the bottom hem, construction of the darts, and the expansion at the bust.
Black cotton side dart chemise with blueish-teal stem stich embroidery decorating hem, yoke, and straps of garment.
Construction: Two rectangular pieces of fabric, each panel at bottom hem is 34 inches with seam allowance, and at top, 22 inches with seam allowance. Side darts are cartridge pleated on bottom edge only, and each dart is 9 inches in length. Metal snap closures at back of garment.
Bust: 38.25 inches
Waist: 38 inches
Shoulders: 9 inches
Strap length: 11 inches
Total length: 42.5 inches
More Information: Known as a side-dart chemise, this style slip was touted as “a wise choice for the large-hip woman,” giving the illusion of slenderness in the cut of the garment. With the era’s emphasis on a youthful “slim silhouette,” it was unfashionable to appear plump, usually associated with matronly or elderly women from the decades prior. Small tricks in the cut, lines, patterns, and embellishments on a dress helped create this optical illusion to conform to fashion standards of the era.
Easily and inexpensively sewn at home, pattern companies included directions for this style of undergarment in step-by-step guides on sewing, altering, and mending clothing. The utilitarian cotton combined with the striking embroidered blue trim illustrates the versatility of the garment: either worn as intended under a sheer dress, providing shape and support to the garment, or worn as a skirt under a tunic blouse, a style popular in 1922-1923. The stem-stitch embroidery transforms an otherwise necessary but plain garment into one of distinction within a wardrobe. With this piece in particular, the care taken in mending the right strap illustrates the economic necessity of not purchasing a new garment, indicating the consumerist and materialistic mentality had not yet resonated with the owner of this garment.