Saturday, June 18, 2016

A Comparison of Two Regency Shifts

My shift took me way longer to finish than it should have. But I finally got it hemmed earlier today and now my new regency undergarments are done. The petticoat I made last year should, I think, still fit and work well.
Completed new shift!

I pulled out my old shift from last year to compare them. While it fit, it was really large and when I wore it I felt like there was too much material stuffed down under the stays. Maybe the choice of fabric - a plain cotton muslin - had something to do with the bulk. But more importantly the neckline of the shift showed under the neckline of my Vernet dress - bad, bad, bad! It wasn't cut wide enough on the shoulders and it wasn't cut deep enough in the back.
Old Shift
The new shift is cut on much more slender lines, just barely bigger than my actual bust measurement at the armpits. This makes the shoulder strap area much more narrow, so the neckline won't show beneath wide necked dresses.

New shift with narrow shoulders

Old shift with a wider body and shoulders
The neckline is much wider in both the front and the back and it is much lower in the back. Now I can wear my Vernet dress without a chemisette, fichu or the spencer jacket over top. Which is good for evening, or for hot days. The sleeves fit tighter to my arm so it fits better beneath the tight sleeves of the Vernet dress. The hem on the old shift is rather wide with side gores cut as one piece. This method of cutting a gore is wasteful of fabric so the new shift has narrower gores that are pieced in the middle.

2 piece gores at the side seams add width the hem

The old shift has 1 piece side gores
There's really nothing particularly wrong with the fit of the old shift. I guess this is a case of different undergarments for different types of dresses. It was interesting for me to see and feel the differences while wearing them. Personally I like the new one much better! The old one may work well for a night dress during a weekend living history event.

New shift! Yay! :D
Old shift
The new shift is recycled from a lovely soft, high quality sheet. The seams are finished by felling or hemming and it does feel so nice to wear.

The laces for the stays finally arrived in the mail! I'll get some pictures soon. Then onto a new dress! I've got a little over six weeks left til I need it. 



  1. What a nice comparison! Is the new one a thinner cotton? I made my Regency chemise from linen, but I've always wanted to make a thinner cotton one. What a great idea to use a nice quality sheet!

    1. Yes, the new one is definitely lighter and thinner. I've always wanted a linen one! Did you use handkerchief weight? My next era to tackle after this is Rev War and I really want to use linen for the shift I make for that.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.


Thank you for your lovely thoughts!