18th Century Women’s Shifts

  • MFA 43.1244, a heavy linen shift
  • MFA 43.1245, a heavy linen shift
  • Colonial Williamsburg 1984-79, white linen with ruffled neckline and hollie-point neck slit, America; 1700-1750, altered 1790-1820
  • V&A T.26-1969, linen; United Kingdom, 1730-1760; “Shift of fine linen, hand-sewn. With a low round neck and straight-cut sleeves set with a gore beneath. They are elbow-length, gathered and pleated into an arm-band with worked eyelet holes. The shift reaches to below the knees and is flared in the front, and with triangular gores inserted at each side of the back.”
  • V&A T.25-1969, a linen shift made in England 1740-1780; “With wide oval neckline and cut very low in the front. It is mid-calf length and flares from the underarm to the hem. At the back, two triangular gores run from the middle of the armhole to the hem. The sleeves are set in straight with a triangular gore beneath. They are gathered and pleated in the pressing. They are open a short way up from the band and have two worked eyelet holes in the band. The neck is faced with a narrow linen tape. Embroidered at the base of the neck in red cross stitch with '4 / S H'. The chemise is very finely stitched.”
  • Met C.I.41.161.7, linen, French, 3rd quarter of the 18th century
  • Met 2005.369, linen and cotton, American, c. 1780
  • Kyoto AC6289 89-4-6, linen, c. 1780-unknown
  • MRAH, linen, with lace trimming the neckline and sleeves, c. 1750-1800
  • MFA 99.664.26, linen; Lexington, Massachusetts, late 18th to early 19th century
  • Linen shift, United States, c. 1780-1800
  • CHS 1966.64.13, linen, c. 1780-1805
  • Colonial Williamsburg 1983-234, white linen with lace-trimmed scooped neckline and ungathered short sleeves, c. 1780-1810
  • Colonial Williamsburg 1986-207, white linen with drawstring and ungathered sleeves, England or America, c. 1780-1810
  • CHS 1950.93.0, linen, c. 1780-1810
  • CHS 1979.68.789, linen, c. 1780-1810
  • CHS 1966.64.14, linen, c. 1780-1820
  • Colonial Williamsburg 1940-172, white linen with scooped neckline and short sleeves, America, c. 1780-1820
  • CW 1990-5, white linen with scooped neckline, long sleeves, open front (probably for nursing), and under-bust drawstring, New York, c. 1790-1800
  • Met 2009.300.392, linen, American, c. 1790-1810
  • Chemise said to have been worn by Marie Antoinette during her imprisonment
  • V&A T.467:1-1997, a woman's chemise from the early 19th century, linen, Great Britain, 1800-1820; “A woman's shift of linen, with a 3/4 inch band around the neckline and short, ungathered sleeves. The shift is cut in one piece with diagonal shaping at the sides. The sleeves are of a slightly coarser weave than the body. There are three groups of three tiny buttonhole stitches embroidered in pink silk thread at the centre front edge of the neck band.”
  • MFA 49.900, a French linen chemise with cotton embroidery, worn in Boston, Massachusetts about 1821