In order to give myself a break from the endless eyelets, I whipped up a shift to go under Ninon’s dress.
Unlike the rest of the dress, I can’t claim historical accuracy with the shift.
I couldn’t find enough resources on 17th century undergarments to feel that I could draft a pattern and construct a shift that would be accurate so I figured why bother with all the handsewing and expensive linen and other nitpicky details that go with accuracy?
So my shift is cotton. (*gasp*)
And almost entirely machine sewn. (*double gasp*)
So, no, it’s not accurate, but I did try my best to do the proper research.
My pattern is a mash of the two 17th c shift/chemise patterns I could find: the 1660s (but very old-fashioned for that date, so more like 1600) Catherine of Braganza shift in Patterns of Fashion 4, and a ca. 1700 shift depicted in Willet and Cunnington’s ‘The History of Underclothes’; as well as the standard 18th century shift pattern.
I used the full sleeves and small undersleeve gore from the Braganza shift, the shallow rounded square neckline & slit front from the ca 1700 shift, and the side triangles and general construction methods of an 18th century shift.
I did make one mistake – I cut my neckline too shallow, and so it sat a full 1 1/2″ above the neckline of my over-bodice. It was easy enough to fix – just cut down another 1 1/2″ and re-bind. All these images show the wrong neckline – I haven’t had time to re-photograph it.
The sleeves aren’t finish. I’ll hem and trim them after I do the sleeves for the bodice and can fit them together. Right now they make me giggle. They are so long and full that they remind me of the white surplices that choir boys wear. I guess that fits in with the angelic theme of the outfit!
With my neckline mistake fixed, it works. It looks like the bits of 17th century shifts that we can see in paintings, particularly in my inspiration image. And now that I know how the general idea works, I can refine it until I make one that is at least plausibly perfectly historical.
I might even do a tutorial on how I did it if anyone is interested.