I made this shift a while ago and have been meaning to do a post about it ever since. Sorry it has taken me so long!
The shift is the item of clothing that would have been worn underneath all the other layers of the garment. Worn closest to the skin, it protected the rest of the clothing from dirt and sweat.
To make mine I turned to Jean Hunnisett's Period costume for stage and screen:1500-1800: Patterns for Women's Dress, again. Although most shifts would have been made out of linen, I chose to make this one out of muslin. This is because I was finding it really hard to locate the right colour linen and then I came across this muslin in a lovely off white/cream colour which is just what I was looking for. I will also be making the ruff out of this same muslin when it comes to it so thought it would be nice for them to be made out of the same fabric, as the ruff will sit partly on the shift when compleate.
I was in a dilemma for a while about whether the shift Vere would have been wearing would have had a low neckline, the same neckline as that on the bodice, and her chest exposed. However once I looked into it, it became more apparent that the majority of shifts of the time were high neck with a small collar. This also made more sense as I looked at the portrait in more detail. What appears to be the skin on her chest seems to be more pale and even, compared to that on her face, meaning that chances are this is in fact an exposed part of the shift, not bare skin.
As for the making of the shift, it didn't take long, and as you can see from the pictures there is nothing that exciting about it! However it was the first stage in getting dressed as a Jacobean lady, or man, and was an important part of their day to day attire.