Chemise a la Golden Pimpernel



Leah Christlanda


(click images to to enlarge)

Outline the story …

One of my favorite stories is of the Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy. It's action, adventure, intrigue, and most importantly love and romance. And the leading lady of the story experiences it all. Oh to be a woman who would do anything for love is everything I seek in my heroines. Be it love for a husband or brother and even country(which ever that might be), Marguerite Blankley is the real hero in the Scarlet Pimpernel. After reading the contest theme my mind immediately jumped to The Scarlet Pimpernel. I had recently reread it and remember how in love I was with Marguerite and I always wanted to make something inspired by her. In the chapter In the Opera Box, Marguerite and her dress is described that she was the only woman dressed as she was. Surpassing everyone in fashion and grace, surly turning heads where she went "It’s suited her graceful, regal figure to perfection, composed as it was of shimmering stuff which seemed a mass of rich gold embroidery ” I always loved that description and loved the dress I would see even more. Oh to be a goddess among men as she is. I always pictured her as if she was gliding among everyone, almost ethereal. I wanted a light, soft, and romantic gown and choose to go with a chemise l a reine. A simple design, yes, but made in silk and golden embroidery will make like a dream.

Outline the construction…

I knew if I was going to make this dress I wanted to embroider it with golden pimpernels in some fashion. JUST ONE PROBLEM, I didn’t know how to embroider nor do I own a embroidery machine. Well to remedy that I started learning how to embroider in September, practicing every day until I was happy with the work. After learning the skills, I spent two months embroidering and beading. I picked an antique gold silk embroidery thread that had a slight shimmer and golden glass beads for the center. Knowing that a bulk of the time would be dedicated to embroidery, I had decided to simply use a pattern. I went with the LMM Chemise a la Reine pattern and decided I could easily alter it to my idea. Some of the alterations I made were to get rid of all the gathers in the front and in the back. I also turned the long sleeve to a quarter sleeve length. I choose a silk organza and silk habotai for an light and ethereal gown. I found that the gold thread would reflect off the white fabric, almost glowing under light. I ran into a problem of closure because of an alteration during while sewing. I ended up nixing it making the gown pull over head.
I drafted the shift & petticoat from past projects. For the stays I used the Redthreaded front lacing 1780s stays pattern with small changes.




  1. Avatar Diana on March 11, 2021 at 7:29 pm

    You look lovely and did an amazing job! I can’t believe this is your first embroidery project. Wow. Well done and congratulations. I love seeing fellow POC costumers and sewists here as well!

  2. Avatar Retro Claude on March 11, 2021 at 8:16 pm

    What beautiful embroidery! I can’t believe this was your first embroidery project, amazing.

  3. Avatar Sarah on March 11, 2021 at 8:39 pm

    The gold embroidery is amazing!

  4. Avatar Theodore Allegrini on March 11, 2021 at 9:15 pm

    YES! this looks so good!

  5. Avatar TERRI BLEN PARKER on March 11, 2021 at 9:44 pm

    My dear, you ARE a goddess among men in that dress. What care taken to construct this beauty!

  6. Avatar Phanuel Jagna Levinsen on March 11, 2021 at 11:36 pm

    This is beautiful aaaaaaaa <3

  7. Avatar Kylie ~ ePrintDesign on March 12, 2021 at 4:21 am

    seriously WOWZA!

  8. Avatar Miriam Lewis on March 12, 2021 at 6:24 pm

    I adore your dress and how you look in it. What a beautiful job you did! And great story!

  9. Avatar Niamh on March 12, 2021 at 10:35 pm

    You look positively REGAL. Love it!

  10. Avatar Valarie Olafson on March 12, 2021 at 11:46 pm

    You are positively RADIANT in this!

  11. Avatar Jill Garcia on March 13, 2021 at 1:36 am

    Simply stunning! You look like a queen/goddess of the harvest. Your embroidery is fantastic as is the styling of your gown

    • Avatar Serindyanë on March 23, 2021 at 5:58 pm

      This is a really beautiful job, well done!

  12. Avatar Charlie de Jong on March 13, 2021 at 3:46 pm

    Wow that embroidery is stunning!

  13. Avatar Josephine Dykstra on March 13, 2021 at 4:56 pm

    This is incredible! I am amazed at the patience and work that goes into embroidered gowns- it’s beautiful. And the Scarlet Pimpernel is wonderful 🙂

  14. Avatar Amanda on March 19, 2021 at 1:30 am

    Really elegant and pretty!

  15. Avatar Becky C on March 19, 2021 at 12:48 pm

    Stunning job! And a throwback for me a bit because we did The Scarlett Pimpernel one when I was in high school as our annual musical. Warms my heart. Wonderful, wonderful job.

  16. Andrea Painter Andrea Painter on March 20, 2021 at 11:47 pm

    Holy crap!! You don’t start out with small projects, eh??!! You did SUCH an amazing job on this. Wow! What a beautiful gown — I can just imagine you wearing it in a opera house lit with candlebras, the light of the candles dancing across your beautifully embroidered gold flowers and coming to life!
    Thank you for sharing this, I’m seriously impressed by your gown!

  17. Avatar Laura Mims on March 23, 2021 at 2:05 am

    Stunning!!! What a phenomenal project – from start to finish. Very lovely and absolutely beautiful embroidery.

  18. Avatar Laura Wemyss on March 24, 2021 at 1:39 am

    Your embroidery was worth the time invested! Such detailed and delicate work. The entire effect of your outfit is of light and grace. I also love your description of your character and story. I’ve never felt compelled to pick that one up, and am now tempted to give it a try!

  19. Avatar Benigna on March 26, 2021 at 1:27 pm

    This is beautiful! I love the embroidery!

  20. Avatar Stephanie Murison on March 26, 2021 at 1:34 pm

    I can’t believe you only just learnt how to embroider, your work is so beautiful! Those months of practice really paid off, and the white and gold fabric looks like something out of heaven! Well done for all your hard work creating this beauty!

  21. Avatar Maeri Certo on March 27, 2021 at 7:15 pm

    You did incredible work and should be majorly proud! Your gold embroidery is stunning, and just as you intended, the dress is ethereal.

  22. Avatar Rebecca Foust on March 27, 2021 at 8:13 pm

    WOW WOW WOW. All your hard work paid off and it is stunningly beautiful.
    Awesome job. Hope you do well in the contest.

  23. Avatar Angela Bacchi on March 29, 2021 at 4:35 am

    I was looking at these books as well. I love how you interpreted the line into a light delicate touch. Then you made them pimpernels which is a reference to a line she about how all the ladies had gone pimpernel fashion crazy in admiration of the spy.

  24. Avatar Sue (sue-mcfluzen) Assenmacher on March 29, 2021 at 5:45 am

    Absolutely gorgeous.

  25. Avatar Jennifer Bowman on March 29, 2021 at 6:03 am

    Standing ovation!! Stunning and exceptional sewing work! Perfect for a stroll through the gardens in Paris on a lovely spring day. You bring the story to life!

  26. Avatar Kikkii von Fustian on March 29, 2021 at 12:55 pm

    Glowing indeed!! <3 Beautiful work, well done!

  27. Avatar m on March 29, 2021 at 5:58 pm

    AWESOME WORK! I have been embroidering most of my life and it love it. You did stunningly beautiful work especially for a first time embroidery. It shows that you took the time to practice and learn the stitching rhythm of embroidery. I also find it somewhat tedious to keep enthusiasm going when only using the same color thread throughout a project so well done you for staying motivated!!!! The end product is wonderful. Learning embroidery using silk is not the easiest fiber to start with so you set yourself several difficult learning tasks with this project. The end result is a extremely beautiful gown you should wear often especially when you want to feel radiant!

  28. Avatar Peta Pendlebury on March 29, 2021 at 9:24 pm

    Until I read the construction I honestly thought you’d bought the embroidered fabric it was so perfect looking. Phenomenal work – what a challenge and you were certainly up to the task. It looks so floaty and dreamy and you certainly can glide like a goddess in this beautiful creation.

  29. Avatar Nina Martin on March 30, 2021 at 7:36 pm

    This is incredible!! Perfect for Marguerite.

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