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Late 18th Century Shift Workshop

January 20 @ 9:00 am - January 21 @ 5:00 pm

Join us for a two day, in-depth historical sewing workshop on 18th-century shifts and accessories at the historical Taylor-Butler House on Saturday, January 20 and Sunday, January 21 from 9 am to 5 pm on both days.

Examine late 18th-century garment construction methods and fabric choices and discuss the style changes of the ‘shift’ from the middle of the century to the end. Participants will be instructed on how to measure for fit, cutting the pattern, hand sewing techniques some of which are still used today, and in the afternoon of the second day, an introduction to additional accessories needed to enhance your 18th-century wardrobe. Only basic sewing skills are required.

This workshop is based on two shifts in our extensive textile collection that date to the last quarter of the 18th century. Learn historical hand-sewing techniques as well as construction methods and examine extant garments. The shift was the most basic but necessary garment for an 18th-century woman. It was her first layer underneath her many layers and doubled as her nightgown. It’s the one garment that she would have owned several.

Tickets for this two-day workshop are $95 for MCHA members and $135 for non-members. Bring your own materials or, if desired, a materials kit may be purchased for $50. Lunch is included both days. Limited to 12 participants. Tickets are available at HERE, or by calling 732-462-1466, ext. 11.

Tours of the house will be available during the weekend for those interested.

If you are buying a kit from us, please place your order by January 9, 2018, in order for us to have it ready for you at the workshop. The kit includes:
  • 3.5 yards of lightweight white linen
  • 1 spool of linen thread
  • 1/2 yard 1/8” white cotton tape for sleeve ties
  • Late 18th-century shift pattern by MCHA
If you are not purchasing a kit through MCHA, please bring:
  • 3.5-4 yards of lightweight (3.5oz or less) WHITE linen (no cotton, please!)
  • Wash your linen in hot water and dry prior to the workshop
  • 1 spool of linen thread, size 60/2, 35/2, or otherwise noted for finer hand sewing
  • 1/2 yard 1/8” white cotton tape for sleeve ties


  • 1 pair of sleeve buttons or 3/8”, Qty 4, bone buttons

Tools List:

  • Wax
  • Your favorite hand sewing needles
  • Scissors – shears and small scissors
  • Marking pencil or pen
  • Pins
  • Measuring tape
  • Optional – Light for extra brightness

If in doubt, please contact us with any questions!


January 20 @ 9:00 am
January 21 @ 5:00 pm
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Taylor-Butler House
127 Kings Highway
Middletown, NJ 07748 United States
+ Google Map
(732) 462-1466 x11

Monmouth County Historical Association