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Object Name CHEMISE
Catalog Number 0985.13.01076
Description Child chemise or (infant chemise) fabric is a plain weave, white cotton muslin. The neckline embroidery has 1.25-inch scallops. The scallops are finished with a button hole stitch. Floral blossoms are embroidered at the center of each scallop. The blossoms are seven-eighths of an inch in diameter, round with scalloped edges. The scalloped edges are formed by a button hole stitch. The center of each blossom is hand-made lace web/net. Above each blossom is an arch of seven one-sixteenth-inch holes finished with satin stitches, giving the appearance of tiny blossoms, very similar to the "brodiries anglaises" whitework. (1). The neckline is round and scooped below a natural neckline, with a "V" front opening. The "V" front opening is seven inches long. The right edge has an eighth-inch rolled hem in invisible stitches. The left edge is turned under a half-inch and sewn with invisible stitches. No ribbons or buttons are used to close the neckline, but it does have two three-eighths-inch hand-stitched button holes. The remainder of the neckline is formed by a plain, half-inch band. The lower edge is turned under and slip-stitched. The upper edge is trimmed with a 1.5-inch wide band of cotton embroidery, hand-stitched to the neck band. The sleeves are a short cap variation. The underarm section is formed by a triangular-shaped piece. The seams for this piece are finished in a triple stitch. The sleeve edge is finished in same scalloped embroidery as neckline, except there is a double row of seven-eighths-inch blossoms with the bottom row of blossoms staggered between the upper blossoms. The upper body is gathered tightly at the neckline in front and back. The fabric falls loosely from neckline to hem, widening as it goes down. It has no waistline. The side panels increase in width from an eighth-inch at the upper edge to six inches at the hem. The back panel seam starts at the sleeve center back and has a one-sixteenth rolled seam, overcast stitched. The front panel seam starts at the center underarm and runs to the hem. This seam is triple-stitched. The bottom hem is turned under half-inch and slip-stitched. The inside upper bodice area, front and back, is pierced in two sections at the side seams. One section is triangular-shaped, about 2" X 1.5" and fitted between the sleeve and neckline. Edges of this piece are turned under and slip-stitched. A 5.5" X 1.75" rectangular piece adjoins the bottom of this piece. The rectangular piece adjoins the underarm piece and the side seam. This piece is also attached to the outer fabric from the inside, apparently to reinforce the underarm area. Edges of this piece are turned under and slip-stitched. The side panel construction, pieced from the underarm to hem, is unusual. Normally, the garment is pieced only in the lower portion, giving extra width from about the knees downward. It is possible that this was used as a maternity gown, but further research must be conducted to verify this. "Mollie G." written in ink on front, right side, top center.
Dimensions L-45 inches
Owned Gooch family
Provenance Child's chemise belonging to the Gooch family of Louisa County, Virginia. It probably originally belonged to Susie Lightfoot Gooch (b. 1860); but may have belonged to her Mary Evelina Toler Gooch (b. 1834), or her aunts, Martha "Mattie" F. Gooch Vaughan (b. 1837) or Elizabeth "Bettie" Pollard Gooch (b. 1839).
People Gooch family
Subjects children
girls
babies
infants
Clothing & dress
Underwear