I was hoping to have these done at the end of February (ok and technically they aren’t lined yet), but I’m calling these DONE (for now…). Cause a robe a la francaise isn’t going to drape itself.
Pictures, with my oh-so-period tank top and pj pants:
This really shows the issues I have with my dress form. These stays lace closed in front easily on me, but it was a strain to get it this closed on the form. The bosom is incredibly low, and squishes in-not-up. Worst part is the shoulders/armscye – these stays are cutting right up into the arm stub, whereas on me the stays come up to a normal place under my arm. When draping, I have to practically go over the sticking-out-arm piece, because ending underneath would end up incredibly low on me (like showing untasteful sideboob low). But sewing new things is always more fun than figuring out what I need to do to fix the form (which would probably involve surgery with knife. On the form, not me.)
And hey, that HSM is happening! I debated entering these as a very late entry for blue, but in my head they have always been a stash item. The vast majority of the stays did come from my stash, but I had to buy boning and leather for binding. I do think it fits in the spirit of destashing, so entering it in that challenge.
The Challenge: HSM #3, Stashbusting
Fabric: ~1 yard aqua linen (from NY Fashion center Fabrics, colorway Parnassus. This linen is so worth the price, it is the softest, non-slubbiest linen I have ever used), 1.5 yards linen canvas for lining (from William Booth Draper)
Pattern: From La Couturière Parisienne stays pattern
Notions: German plastic boning, silk buttonhole twist thread, chamois leather
How historically accurate is it? I never know how to answer this. Here are some factors:
– Construction techniques overall can be found in extant stays (whipping pieces together, covering seams, hand sewn eyelets, tying straps on)
– I decided german plastic boning was the closest substitute for baleen after reading Kendra’s discussion of the matter.
– Linen stays would have likely been sewn with linen thread of varying weights. I used standard polyester for all the channels. I used green silk buttonhole twist for the eyelets because it was the right weight, but the thread color and silk fiber are not correct for linen stays.
– Very few extant examples of 1760s/70s stays lacing front and back, but I value being able to dress myself.
– It was more common for colored stays to be earlier in the period, with a silk outer layer, and fully boned. Half-boned linen stays seem much more likely to be some shade of brown, rather than a color.
– In terms of persona – a lady would never make her own stays. She would have them custom made for her by a stay-maker. So making them myself is perhaps the least accurate part.
Hours to complete: So many. At least 20?
First worn: Not yet! Will be worn under a robe a la francaise in a costume contest in April.
Total cost: Not counting the stashed materials, ~2o dollars for 12.5m of boning (I bought 25m @$40, but estimate I only used half), $7.50 for chamois leather (again, this is half the price and amount of what I bought). Adding the stashed materials, it would be another $20 for a yard of linen, $15 for linen canvas, $8 for silk thread.