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HomeArticlesHistorical periods18th centuryHow to Make a Shift of 1730-1750

How to Make a Shift of 1730-1750

Dubarry squareThe shift as we know it emerged in western European fashion by c. 1000 CE. Here, Sharon shows us how to make one to suit early-mid 18th century styles. 

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  Thanks for this article - its very thourough & helpful! And I can't wait for the next one. i do have one question: i was going to start with underthings for the early 18th cent. outfit, but given the neckline fitting, I'm wondering if the gown should be made first? And do you have rcommendations for early-mid century stays? Thanks again!  
answer to your Q   Thank you for the kind words! And you ask a good question. I would make the stays first, since the gown must be fitted to the stays. You could make the stays, and then adjust your shift neckline to suit them, but you're probably safe just choosing a basic shift neckline correct to the decade of the gowns you 'll be wearing it with.
For making the stays, you have so many options, but getting the correct fit and shape is most essential. You want to end up with a stays pattern that has 5 panels on each side, like those on p. 39 of Norah Waugh's Corsets&Crinolines, or the one on p.61 of Baumgarten's Costume Closeup. There's a similar pair in Hunnisett's Period Costume for Stage&Screen. If you're comfortable scaling up diagrams, use these. JPRyan's stays pattern is a good choice, if it fits you. Or you can use the corrugated cardboard method to create a custom stays pattern, and add "style lines" for five panels, using any of the aforementioned diagrams for guidance. I hope this helps!

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