Sunday, April 21, 2013

18th Century Stays

This weekend I finished up my first pair of stays, well there's a couple eyelets left to sew but ill get to those when I get some free time throughout the week.  I've definitely learned a lot sewing these, and while I like them a lot I'm concerned about the fit. I may need to take them apart somehow and make them smaller if that's possible... or I may just need to make another pair.

I gave it somewhat generous seam allowance and I think in the end just a few centimeters here and there snuck in.  It took a long time, I only remembered to keep track of the time for some part of it but marking all the channels, sewing up all the channels, cutting the cable ties took about 5 or 6 hours. Sewing on the binding took forever also and I have a lot of sore fingers from stabbing myself so many times.  On a side note those erasable pens were great for this project! Marking the channels and everything else and then after I just ironed them right off!

It does fit in a way... but it closes completely in the back and the bust doesn't fit like it should. Im assuming the bust doesn't fit because there isn't enough pressure pulling from the back.  But it also may just be cut too high up, at least it looks like it may be in the side picture. The good thing is I think this pattern is great! It probably just needs to be sized down a little bit. Also, I really love the crispness of the white and blue together. Originally I was going to bind the stays in this light blue but I didn't have enough of it and I really do like this bright blue.

Materials: white cotton outside, tan cotton lining, some stiff white lining found in stash. All fabric material I had on hand so nothing new.  Cable ties from home depot.

Time Spent: 10 + hours

Pattern: drafted from Period Costume for Stage & Screen by Jean Hunnisett. Pg. 135. While this book is meant for stage costumes, it still contains a lot of information that is historically accurate and in places where she says to put elastics such as where the shoulder piece connects to the front, obviously you would just do it without. Her patterns are from real historical pieces though, so I do feel the pattern is pretty accurate.

Time Period: I was aiming for the 1780's... and I think this fits that time? I've been researching stays of different decades so I'm still trying to learn what the difference is between like stays from 1760 and twenty years later in 1780.

Construction Details: I really truly meant to hand sew this thing but I'm actually really glad I didn't now. Since these are my first pair of stays I knew something could go wrong in the fit, so I decided to sew as much as I could by machine figuring once I had a pattern that fits great then I'll put a lot more effort and time into it. There is still a considerable amount of hand sewing in this but all the channels were done by machine.
I did make a long rectangular panel that I placed horizontal ties to go across the front of the stays to give it more shape (though I forgot to take a picture). I stitched this in between the tan cotton lining (unseen) and the white lining.

Change for next time: I found out later that supposedly there are more heavy duty cable ties. When I got mine I just looked for the longest one with the most in the pack, I didn't consider some may be stronger than others.  Take away more seam allowance, size down a bit. Take better in progress shots!

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