Jane 1970's Shift: Fabric Options

Historically Accurate Fabrics

During the Regency period shifts were made out of white linen. If you want to sew a historically accurate Jane, linen is the only choice you have. Linen is a fabric that could withstand the harsh laundry methods of the past better than silk or wool. Because shifts would be washed more than the clothing that went over them, the way the fabric laundered was a priority. Over time, white linens came to represent cleanliness,and could be easily rid of stains by bleaching.

Additionally, the weave would universally be a plain or tabby weave. What would vary is the weight of linen used. Everyone wore body linen, to not wear it wasn’t permissible.

This meant that poorer people might use a coarser woven linen which was generally cheaper than someone with a lot of money who could afford finer woven linen. Additionally, unbleached linen was cheaper than bleached linen.

In your own making, it can be good to keep in mind that finer linen will often be sheerer and will wear more quickly. If you are making a shift to wear on a regular basis, a slightly heavier weight will last longer. The shift Jane was based on is made out of Irish linen that weighs 180 gsm or 5.3 oz/sq yd. This is a linen on the light side of medium weight.

Non-historic fabrics

A Jane that isn’t historically accurate can be made out of a variety of fabrics. It is drafted for a woven fabric. What fabric that should be largely depends on preference and use. For example if you want to use Jane as a slip or nightgown you could make it in a soft cotton or some slinky silk. In general you want a fairly light weight fabric and if you want to use something heavier, it is smart to add more ease to the pattern. As long as you keep in mind that the pattern was designed for a woven you can use any fabric you want.