If you follow me on Instagram, today's post won't come as a surprise.
Even if you don't follow me on Instagram, you may have already guessed from last week's post that I was intrigued by the idea of the "calchemise." Intrigued, yes, even though I know it's a bit of a solution-looking-for-a-problem type garment. I mean, is keeping your shirt tucked in your pants such a challenge that you need to have your shirt attached to your underwear? Are you that lazy that you need to be able to slip off your long pants at a moment's notice to reveal a chic summer jumpsuit, rather than just carry a change of clothes in your man-bag -- a pair of shorts, perhaps?
All that said, I wanted to try it out for myself, so I did what any of you would have done: I found a favorite shirt pattern (Butterick 4575) and a favorite undershorts pattern (McCalls 3438) and I combined them. Naturally there was a good amount of tweaking involved. The length has to be just right since once you have this garment on, you can't adjust the height of your underwear. Too long and the extra fabric pools over your pants (if you're wearing pants that is), too short and....can you say wedgie?
More muslin shots:
|Wasn't this the summer uniform on "Lost in Space"?|
There also had to be some shaping in back to create a more tailored look; there's no back center seam.
The other issue to resolve was whether or not to create a bottom opening so that, in the event I needed to void my colon (there, I said it), I could do so without having to take everything off. So I experimented. I found an image of the original "calchemise" snap opening (below) and improvised my own versions.
First I tried buttons.
But it seemed like too much work to button them all up after using the toilet. I then found small gripper snaps in my stash which I was going to try, when an Instagram follower suggested snap tape, which was entirely new to me. The tape would also help to reinforce the edges.
But the result (seen above in my first non-muslin version) was...I don't know...inelegant and a little heavy.
Ultimately I decided to remove the snap tape and sew up that bottom seam just as I would a pair of boxers. A lot of garments don't allow easy access to all of one's orifices and maybe that's a good thing. I am especially fortunate that I tend to make only one seated visit to the bathroom per day, usually immediately after my morning coffee, and then I am done. (TMI?) On those rare occasions when I am 1) wearing this outfit and 2) feel the urge, I will do what jumpsuit fans have been doing for decades: disrobe. It's not like I have to slip out of a Batman costume!
Anyway, I am making good progress on my final version, for which I have invented the perfect English name, to be released when I reveal the finished project, and no, it's not shundies (aka shirt + undies), though the name was in the running until I (thankfully) read what it means colloquially -- horrors.
The shirt has a beautiful collar with contrast inside collar and, eventually, mother-of-pearl buttons top to bottom.
|Would you believe I made this with my Janome Hello Kitty? I did.|
I recognize that the "calchemise" is, here in the decidedly less-romantic, more practical-minded USA, a polarizing garment. Much like the jumpsuit, you either love it or hate it. I hope to change a few minds (from hate to love and not the other way around).
Have a great day, everybody!