Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Shifting Back to Shift Sleeves

Since I am cutting out two shifts today, a fine one to wear as Mrs Skinner, the other, a more utilitarian one, I figured we should take a look at how the lower sorts wore their shift sleeves during the early 1770's.  Since these folks weren't sitting for portraits with Mr Copley, let's look to the period prints for guidance. The examples I will show are from 1770-74, all from the Lewis Walpole collection.

This print of the girl with the candle shows a very similar shift sleeve treatment as Mrs Skinner's -- a small ruffle with the shift sleeve just past the elbow. And if you will humor me and allow me to go off on a tangent for a moment. Check out the pin keeping her handkerchief closed.  Cool detail huh?

Ok, back to shift sleeves. Take a look at the nosegay seller. I love using her as an example of a classic middlin' type. Check out her shift - again same treatment but displayed below a gown cuff.  So let's look at another, "The Enraged Macaroni" - same type of gown, this time no ruffle.

Let's look at one more -"Piety in Pattens" -- Little ruffle peeking out from a gown cuff

So, for my everyday shift, I will opt for the same sleeve treatment as Mrs. Skinner, though with probably not as fine a linen ruffle. But that's another post for another day.

Back to cutting out linen,
Mrs. S.

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