I had started this little camisole last year. I loved the concept, bought all the goods, and even started crocheting the lace edging for it. Never finished it. This piece was the first thing I thought of for my capsule, and I was so glad that one item could be made before June, because I'd have felt like I was cheating since I had already cut it out, and had crocheted about half the lace already. (Ok, I thought I had crocheted ALL the lace already, but I was way, way off on that estimate.) Because of the unusual construction of this camisole, I really had no way of knowing if it would even remotely fit me, so I decided to go ahead and sew it now. This way, if it doesn't fit me, I haven't lost time in June, and I can come up with another top for my capsule. Perfect, right?
Enough of the intro, get to sewing already! This camisole is a handerchief cami. Literally. You take three handkerchiefs and cut them into triangles. You sew insertion lace everywhere imaginable, edge it with lace that you can run a ribbon through, and voila, an amazingly pretty camisole. I found the pattern online when I was researching Edwardian undergarments. I really love the super lacy loveliness of Edwardian camisoles, and I originally wanted to make it as part of a costume for a convention I was scheduled to go to. When the trip was cancelled, I stopped working on the camisole.
It took me a while to figure out what I was supposed to do with all that insertion lace. The diagram isn't terribly clear, and I was getting confused between what was supposed to be insertion lace, and what was supposed to be my edging lace. I decided that the diagram only shows the insertion lace, and it's pretty much everywhere, with the edging lace going on last, and not shown in the diagram. I've never worked with insertion lace before, though the stuff I bought handles more like eyelet than lace, so maybe it still doesn't count.
I am surprised with how pretty it is turning out to be. Since I used rather plain men's handkerchiefs, and I chose a fairly substantial lace insertion, I thought it might miss pretty by a few points, but all that lace really does pay off. It's downright lovely.
The pattern calls for the insertion lace of the front and back diagonals to be cut all in one, but I just could not manage to figure out how long my shoulder straps were going to need to be. So I am going to add them at the end, after the front and back are solid pieces. I would have had to miter the insertion lace at the corner between neckline and shoulder anyway, and it will be easier for me to figure out what the heck is going on with the side seams, and make sure my armpit depth is adequate. So today I added all the lace, to most the edges that call for it. Tomorrow I'll fiddle with those shoulder straps and side seams to see if I can figure out what is going on. Not terribly easy when the garment has as much fullness as it does, and is destined to be gathered by the ribbon lace edging.