Narrow-sleeved Shift

Patterns used:
– A mix of two different websites: “How to make an 18th century chemise“ website, and “Making an 18th century shift“ website.

Fabrics used:
– White cotton.

Other materials used:
– White store-bought bias binding.
– White 1/4″ twill tape for drawstring.
– White thread.

Hand and machine sewing.

I was never fully pleased with my first shift, and needed something with very close-fitting sleeves for different kinds of garments. While the fuller sleeves of the first shift work fine for wider-sleeved outfits, they would be in the way for closer-fitting sleeves.

I made a mistake on the under-arm squares — I cut them larger than I did last time. I was so nervous that the sleeves would be too tight, that I nervously made those too big to help keep it from being too tight. Fortunately, I think I’ll be able to stuff the bulk into the stays and out of the way, but I know better for next time.

Connecting stitches, like sewing the sleeves on, sewing the first side of the bias binding, and the two sides of the shift are machine sewn. Finishes like the other side of the bias binding and all hems and flat-felled seams are finished by hand.


The narrow sleeve of my new shift. Although I made the square under the arm a little too wide, it will still work better with outfits that have tighter-fitting sleeves.

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