Awww yeah I have stays

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:

16 done front 17 done back 18 done side

19 done form

Bonus picture on dress form. In real life, I would wear the panniers and petticoat over the stays, not under.

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

Year: 1760s-1770s

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.


This entry was posted in 1770s stays, Corsets, Georgian. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Awww yeah I have stays

  1. Carol Weiss says:

    Looks like there will be some major “shelfing” going on with the corset ??

  2. Joan says:

    This looks awesome!

  3. Katie Lovely says:

    Those look fantastic, and you made them so fast! I am jealous. 🙂 I’m still working on eyelets on mine.

    For dress form woes, I think I’ve seen tutorials out there for actually carving the foam to be a better shape…might be worth a try for better draping base?

    • avantgarbe says:

      Thanks! Although I question how fast they actually were, given that my first post on these was a full month before this one, and my posts are generally a few days behind where I am :p Can’t wait to see how yours turn out!

      You are right, I do need to do some surgery on the form with a knife. Alas doing actual sewing always sounds like more fun than dress-form-surgery, so I keep putting it off (been about 2 years now…)

      • Katie Lovely says:

        I hear you there…I have a form that I was going to pad out to be more squishable for draping over corsets. That was…um, ten years ago, that I got it? Granted, I’ve changed shape a couple times since then, but still! Shame on me. 😛

        My stays are progressing in between stuff for my husband and Real Life things. But they’re getting someplace, just…slowly!

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