A quick recap: I’m attempting to sew a full Claire cosplay from the TV show Outlander, with basic sewing experience. Trying to stay optimistic.
Today’s element was the shift. A shift was the bottom-most layer of any outfit in the C18th. Women in this time didn’t wear knickers, and washing garments took time, so the shift would’ve been both underwear and nightshirt, and would’ve been worn a few days in a row before it was washed. Therefore it had to be strong, to withstand tough cleaning methods, whilst also breathable and soft on the bare skin beneath it.
My attempt today did not go well. I decided to use an old piece of thin linen that I had lying around (okay, okay, it was once a sheet), and I measured it and quickly realised that my coffee table was not a suitable surface for laying the material out on but as I have no other flat surface to work with, I spent most of the day shuffling material across it’s surface.
Tip: Just clear furniture out of the way, clean the floor (if you’re like me and need reminding to do so) and just work on the floor. So much easier.
I followed this tutorial to make the actual shift and it should be the most straightforward garment that I make. It’s made up of squares and triangles, yet somehow, I managed to mess it up. For one, the shift has triangular gores on the bottom hems that make the shape slant outwards gradually. I managed to sew these on sideways somehow.
My sewing wasn’t very straight, but it did the job, until it came time to try it on and fix the sleeves. They started out way too long. The shift should have 3/4 length sleeves and mine reached my wrist. I measured and cut them down, without taking into account how the shoulder seams would change after I cut in the neckline. They were now that tiny bit too short.
Then came the pain in the arse that hemming a neckline turned out to be. Especially a neckline that would later be fed through with ribbon. This did not go well, and around the third time that my bobbin messed up, I gave in and called it a day.
This “calling it a day” only lasted a few hours though, because before the night was out I’d decided to hand stitch the neckline and pull the ribbon through. This improved my confidence so much because it looked (sort of) like a proper shift. And it fits its purpose now. Anyway, it won’t be seen underneath everything, so it doesn’t matter THAT much.
I am still thinking though that I may remake it if I have time at the end. Just like the pocket bags. So that’s two items made and two items that I’m likely to remake soon.
Just call them all testers. They’re all just testers.
I’ll get there in the end.