Sunday, 11 February 2018

A quick stay

In the tail end of last year I made a new set of regency stays. I seem to have made a ludicrous number of regency stays but they never quite turned out right. After some adjustments, the last long stays I made became quite good to wear but they definitely had a later silhouette. They’re great for 1830s but the next gown on my list is from 1815 and it needs a rather more abrupt shape with a higher waistline and rounder bust.
1815 and 1824.
I started out with my 1820s-30s long stays pattern (adapted from figure 36 in Corsets and Crinolines). Based on the previous one I made I altered the shape a bit to increase the lacing gap and make more room for my hips. I added a second bust gusset and made the starting point of the bust gussets higher. This had the effect of raising my (empire) waistline by nearly an inch. I also made the gussets rounder rather than completely triangular. The end result is much more the silhouette I was aiming for.
I used the welt method to construct the stays as it halves the required number of seams to sew and keeps the inner and outer layers correctly aligned. I did a little bit of quilting under the bust but mostly left the stays plain. I wanted to finish these pretty quickly so I could get on to making my dress (which I had originally planned to be done in time for Jafa last year. Lol.) I may add some more quilting or cording later if it seems to need some more support.

The stays are made from coutil and drill, with a wooden ruler for a busk and cable ties for boning. I stitched the eyelets by hand. This is the first time I’ve used a proper tailor’s awl to do hand-sewn eyelets. I was able to get much larger eyelets this way so these stays will be a lot easier to lace than my others. The fit of these stays is not exactly right - the lacing gap is smaller at the top than I'd like and there’s still not quite enough room in the hips but I don’t think any of this will cause problems when wearing it.
Old and new.
I did a new mock-up of my ballgown bodice and it fit almost right first go. With my previous stays nothing I did could make the bodice have the right look. These new ones fit the earlier silhouette much better.

So, regency stays were the last thing I made in 2017 and a Regency chemisette in muslin was the first thing I made in 2018. I used view D from the Simplicity 4052 (by Sense and Sensibility). Again I was working at speed, with a view to getting a small project out of the way as soon as possible, so some of my technique was perhaps not the best. Still, it turned out quite well, even the cheat square shoulder adjustment I did while cutting the fabric.

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