Thursday, 9 March 2017

Dated 1841 Linen Shift

I have always been fascinated with antique underwear. Now I'm not entirely sure why, but I think examples like this early Victorian shift explain much. The minute stitches, the lightweight, handkerchief linen and the name and date of the wearer/maker... for a history lover, what's not to admire!?

Early 1840s Shift


The ‘plain sewing’ of this shift is awe inspiring. Tiny, tiny stitches, beautiful gathering/gauging of the fine fabric at the shoulders, the narrowest of seams. The shift is identical pattern wise, front and back. A drawstring casing runs right along the top of the horizontal neckline. Running through this is a very narrow linen tape. There are no side gores, but they are as you would expect, under arm gores. A narrow hem of 7/8″ or 2.1cm.

Details of 1841 Linen Chemise


There is a name and date to the front, ‘Maria E. Brewster’, and under that, ‘April 20 – 1841″.

Measurements – Length from Shoulder to Hem – 44″ or 111cm. Circumference at Hem – 69′ or 175cm.

Name/Date, Underarm Gores, Drawstring and Hem

I somehow managed to purchase my first item of 18th century lace this week, a wonderful 1745-60 lappet. I am so pleased with this twice over as I have been wanting to learn about lace, but oh my what a difficult subject. So to have pieces like that in my hands to study is a real bonus.

Naomi x