I started by hand washing the vintage silk to remove any dust or smell from storage and age or sizing from manufacturing. I hung it to dry then used a warm iron to press the wrinkles. I have cut out the pattern, adding seam allowances where needed, and am ready to assemble the lace yoke of the 1920’s chemise using a technique known as "French Handsewing" or "Heirloom Sewing".
First, I must assemble the lace pieces that will make up the front yoke of the chemise. In order to maintain the shape of the neck line while sewing I traced the pattern to a portion of heavy brown paper.
I have made a minor change in my design at this point and decided to add a row of lace "beading" to the yoke as well, for form, function and embellishment. Running a ribbon through the "beading" will not only be pretty but add stability to the lace and allow me to gather it slightly at the neck as needed so it will lay flat against the body.
I made a running stitch through the top edge of the beading in order to "ease" the lace into the semi-circle shape for the yoke and pinned it with the "right" side down to the brown paper to secure it against slipping while joining the various lace pieces together. In hindsight, I should have basted it to the paper with large stitches as my thread kept getting caught on the pins while joining the lace.
Next, I aligned the trim lace to the top of the beading placing it "right" side down as well and began stitching the pieces together on the "wrong" side with a tiny hem stitch, taking up just the edges of each lace, pulling it taut as I went, but not so much that it causes the lace to gather. Continue stitching along the length of the beading leaving the extra trim lace attached in order to be sewn along the back neckline as a finishing trim later.