So I went to the fabric store looking for cotton batiste. I love cotton batiste - the weight, the hand, the translucence, the floaty way it moves - it's just lovely stuff, and I never get to use it for anything. I couldn't find it, although I did find a good substitute. It's a cotton/poly blend (I typed "cotton pony blend" there at first, LOL), and it's the same weight, weave, and hand; and while it was a bit stiff in the store, it washed up nice and soft. I'm not about to wear polyester under a bunch of other clothes, but for a nightie, it'll do just fine. Especially since it was 60% off and I got the whole piece for $10. :o)
So, the "pattern" I used, which is actually not a pattern, is the same pattern I've been using for this type of chemise/nightrail since I was 17. It's easy enough to just eyeball without measuring, it's fast, and on fabrics with a 2-way straight grain, you can just rip the pieces instead of cutting, which saves a bunch of prep time. (Note: I'm not claiming period-icity for this pattern at all. It's not researched. It's something someone showed me a million years ago, and it's easy, and I love using it. That's all).
For the body, I use the full width of my fabric - usually a 45" fabric. It's already folded vertically, so I cut down the fold and voila: a front and back. The length is from 2" below my collarbone, to the floor.
For the sleeve, I measure from my collarbone (with arm extended) to the second knuckle of my fingers. Note: in the picture here, the sleeve-rectangle on her arm is shown with the fabric piece folded in half lengthwise (see below).
Next I fold the sleeves in half lengthwise, and then lay them flat over the body pieces, perpendicular to them, and overlapping at the corners. (The overlap can be as deep, or not, as you want. For a drawstrung or elastic neckline, I don't overlap much. For this nightrail project, since I put a flat, stationary neckline band on it, I overlapped a lot to make sure the neckline would hang exactly where I wanted it to).
I cut straight across the angle. The new edges are the seams which will connect the sleeves to the body.
Side seams are next.
I honestly don't know if it was fashionable in period to seam the sides of nightgowns all the way to the hem, or to leave them open at the bottom for a bit of leg (and ease of movement); but I will tell you that I love wearing these so much, I wear them in mundane life as nightgowns (and to bop around the house in when I'm home alone), and *I* like to be able to kick my leg out when I curl up on the couch.
The easiest neckline solution is to hem the entire way around the neckline (careful around the corners) and drawstring (or elastic) the whole thing.
I like to gather the whole raw neck edge, and stitch it to some sort of seam binding - bias tape, a ribbon, or, in this case, a 1" wide flat neckline that I sewed and folded like a large bias tape, folded at the corners for a nice 90º mitred-looking angle.
The finished product looks something like this.
Or, if you prefer...
If you look closely, you'll notice that
a. the sleeve/shoulders aren't gathered - they're sewn into the neckline flat. This was because the overlap on the sleeve/body pieces was pretty deep.
b. This stuff is sheer enough that you can see my sports bra through it. This is after Kress and I played with angle and lighting so that it wouldn't be too sheer for the internet. It's really sheer.
c. I'm grinning like an idiot because Kress was cracking me up while taking the picture.
d. Evie totally photobombed me again.