Elgar shirts make a range of garments based on historical patterns, shirts, nightshirts, chemises and robes in quality natural fabrics: cottons, linens and raw silk.
We make everything ourselves in the UK. We cut and make in twos, and carry stock in sizes ladies XS to men’s XXL. We sell online and also in person at makers markets, re-enactment and steampunk events: basically anywhere we think people with an interest in historical clothes will congregate!
We also make special orders, for people of all shapes and sizes. The service is personal. You can pick from our available fabrics, or you might want your own pet style feature. You are buying from a small business that cares about our customers. We get repeat business, once you love your Elgar shirt, one is not enough.
Catherine makes the shirts and nightshirts in Yorkshire, taking the style from men’s shirts of the 19th and early 20th centuries, so they are generously cut with grandad collars, shirt tails and narrow cuffs. She enjoys the precision of shirt-making: designing, cutting and sewing to match the stripes or checks. She aims to make timeless shirts that are simple and distinctive but also comfortable and well made in quality fabrics.
The nightshirts are available either with a grandad collar or a pyjama neckline. We use the best quality shirting for all our nightshirts, so they should last you a good many years. Like top quality bedding, our nightshirts let your skin breath and help you to sleep well. If it’s hot throw off the bedding and sleep well under the cover of the nightshirt. If you’re abroad the loose sleeves gives you some protection from the mozzies. If it’s cold, the long nightshirt helps retain the heat. A nightshirt is more comfortable and practical than pyjamas, In short, a nightshirt is an investment in good sleep and wellbeing.
Catherine’s sister Jane joined the business recently, bringing her own particular obsession; historical style chemises or shifts for ladies based on 18th century patterns. A chemise, also known as a shift or tunic, was worn next to the skin by ladies for sleeping or under a corset. Most of them were made in the home, out of linens and cottons in a variety of simple patterns. If you love to root through the filmy lace-trimmed garments in vintage shops but find nothing to fit, then have a look at our chemises, pretty yet practical and robust, they are a little piece of wearable history.
Jane also makes traditional long robes in beautiful fabrics that drape, as worn all through the 20th century before central heating became the norm. An elegant long robe in a natural fabric is a little piece of fashion nostalgia suitable for either men or ladies.
We also make an 18th century man’s shirt, Poldark style, in cotton damask, taking the design from original drawings, and adding Dorset thread buttons at neck and cuff. These shirts are dramatic and dressy, so they sell to performers as well as re-enactors and eccentrics.
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