mcha sewingPHOTO: From MCHA’s collection: Polly Bingham's shift, late 18th century.

MIDDLETOWN – Monmouth County Historical Association is offering an 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. Taylor-Butler House is located at 127 Kings Highway in the Middletown Historic District.

The workshop is based on two shifts in the 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. In this workshop, extant late 18th century garments will be examined to show construction methods of the time period and fabric choices. We will discuss the style changes to 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.

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

Tickets for this two-day workshop is $95 for MCHA members and $135 for 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, or by calling 732-46201466, ext. 11, for further information.