The chemise is worn under all gowns, bodices and skirts. It is like a medieval slip. They wore chemises to absorb the body's soils and leave less wear and tear on the outer garment which was usually made of a more expensive fabric and cost much more to construct at the Taylors. The chemise still does the same job today. Most of ours are made from the same soft cotton muslin used to back baby quilts.