1. The Long Shift in pattern sheet in Letter. PS001
The long shirt
The shift is a timeless garment. The simple cut utilizes the majority of the fabric and not much would have been left over. I have chosen to make the shift ankle-length with reference to the tapestry from Oseberg, though we know little about the length of shifts or dresses in general from archaeological material. I would imagine that the shifts used for working in the summer heat would have been shorter. It would also be extremely impractical to use an ankle-length linen shift in the barn!
From the graves in Birka (Inga Hagg) and from excavations of the Viking town Hedeby in Northern Germany, we have found parts of shifts made from pleated fabric. The pleating is made by tiny folds in the fabric, 2 to 3mm, close together. The fabric is very fine, 20 to 40 threads per cm on the warp. These shifts must have belonged to the absolute upper classes and a lot of fabric and many hours would have gone into producing them. They must have been stunning.