The Cognitive Shift, or 18th Century SHIFTS,
WHAT I KNOW AND HOW I LEARNED IT
© Sharon Ann Burnston 2005, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2017

Introduction
Choosing Suitable Materials
Cut and Construction
Custom Fitting Your Shift
Shift Neckline Woes
Sewing the Shift
Stroke Gathers
Ruffles
Monogramming A Shift
FAQs
Replica Shift

SHIFT NECKLINE WOES

I have been getting feedback, since I first posted the shifts article, from far too many women who were happy with the shifts they were making from these instructions until they got to the point of cutting out the neck hole. And then too many folks seem to go astray, and cut it too big. I don't understand why this happens, but I'm going to offer a suggestion. My research indicates to me that shifts of different periods throughout the 18th and early 19th centuries have distinctive neckline shapes. Which means that women didn't just cut into their linen and create any old neckline, they were following consistent designs or templates for the shape of their shift necklines, which were evolving stylistically over time.

So here is my suggestion.

Here again is that series of four shift neckline diagrams from the main article; these are roughly dated c 1730, c 1750, c 1775 and c 1790. Each is drawn to scale on a grid for which one square = 2 inches.

c 1730

c 1750

c 1775

c 1790


Click images for larger view.

I suggest that if you wish to make a shift from the templates given here, you choose whichever of these is closest to the time period you wish to portray. Graph it up on gridded paper. If your version doesn't look symmetrical, fold it in half from CF to CB as exactly as you can, and use just one side. Don't forget to add 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch hem allowance, because the templates are for the finished neckline dimensions. (To make that clearer, when you cut the hole, make it smaller than the diagram, so that when it is hemmed, you end up with the size and shape shown.) Then go ahead and just make it up. The worst that can happen is it might be a tiny bit too small. In that case you can always make it a bit larger, which is a much simpler alteration than trying to salvage a shift where you have cut the neckline too large! But I predict that these templates as given will be just right for the vast majority of us.

And please do let me know how they work for you.


Introduction
Choosing Suitable Materials
Cut and Construction
Custom Fitting Your Shift
Shift Neckline Woes
Sewing the Shift
Stroke Gathers
Ruffles
Monogramming A Shift
FAQs
Replica Shift

Home
Home


Website Copyright © 2002 - 2017 by Sharon Ann Burnston
Web site designed by Sandy Cheney