Wednesday, January 9, 2013
New 18th Century Stays
I finally got around to making up this pair of 18th century stays. I had some white linen lying around, and that seemed like a good thing to use. Then I learned how often I prick myself while hand-sewing bias binding around tabs, and realized that white was probably a terrible idea because there are errant blood spots in more than a few places. Oh well, it's underwear. Nobody will see it. (Except the Internet, clearly.)
These are pretty heavily boned for half-boned stays. I started out doing half bones, but bone placement just became so much easier when I started boning it fully. Initially I was using imitation whalebone, but when I started more heavily boning the sides and back I was concerned about running out, so I alternated the imitation whalebone with cable ties. The cable ties are very similar in size and shape to the whalebone, but just a smidge more flexible.
Next time I think I might just fully bone the stays.
The center backs are white steel, just for bonus lacing support. The grommets are set up for spiral lacing, which I sort of wish I hadn't done, because it's much harder to get myself in and out of this than it is to get myself in and out of a cross-laced corset with bunny ear loops (the big long strings at the waist that you can just pull to take the corset in from both directions).
By the time I finished this, I was thinking about how to fix it. For starters, this one is a tiny bit too big because I somehow lost some weight between the final muslin fitting and finishing. Also, I'd like to get the neckline a bit wider. I thought I had it pretty wide, but my shoulder straps are so wide that they'd show under a particularly open neckline. I thought it might be just a weird feature of my anatomy, but when I saw this set of stays at the Fashioning Fashion exhibit at Les Arts Decoratifs last week, I realized that I could make them much, much narrower.