Terminology Stays

My original plan for the 16th HSF challenge – Terminology, (making something from “the-great-historical-fashion-and-textile-glossary“) was to make a regency round gown, but as the deadline approached I found an old UFO in my sewing pile causing me to changed track completely.

The item that now got my sewing nerve tingling was the 18th century half boned stays from Nora Waughs Corset and CrinolinesIMG_0780I’d started the project about a year ago, scaled and printed the pattern, took measurements and altered the pieces . Then I left it in favor for some other, more pressing costuming need. And that’s how I found it.

So I searched “The Glossary” for some useful article and found just the one: Stays.IMG_0782The pieces  already altered for my measurements.

I decided to keep the pieces as they were (one year old measurements and all), and pinned them to the old cotton sheet I use for mock-ups.

I stitched the mock-up together and made some basic boning chanells down the front, sides and back.IMG_0788

Then I put in some boning, and attached my old lacing strip to the back.IMG_0787Not very pretty, but functional.

IMG_0794 IMG_0802
The fit was pretty good, and the only alteration I made was to make the whole thing 5 cm smaller – to get some more flexibility for size in the lacing.

So, on to the fashion fabric.
I used the leftovers from my previous corset en-devour (1900s S-shape).IMG_0892Pinning the strong sateen interlining.

I started by sewing the lining to the back piece.IMG_1614Then I stitched the lacing channels close to the edge, making three spaces for boning and eyelets.

Before getting down on to sewing all the channels, I made sure to mark them with pencil to the interfacing.IMG_1627

As you can see the lines are not exactly perfect.
IMG_1628 IMG_1630
And neither are the sewing lines.
But the pencil markings was just meent as a general guide to keep the left and right sides even.

Then it was on to the eyelets.IMG_1637Marking the spaces.

I used my hole puncher to get the get the grommets through the fabric.
And a hammer to get them to stick.

Then it was time to stitch the pieces together.IMG_1642

And to insert some of the boning.IMG_1644

IMG_1646 IMG_1653
The shape and fit looks really good. The wrinkles at the waist comes from the so far uncut tabs.IMG_1658Please ignore the different color laces – I could’t find any long enough.

After the fitting I inserted the rest of the boning, making sure the sharp edges was cut down and rounded of.IMG_1678

I needed to use some bias tape and hand sewing to get the channels for the horizontal bones in place.IMG_1794

They show a bit from he front, but not enough to be a problem.IMG_1797

I then pinned on the lining, sewing it down to the selvages and basting it round the top and bottom. IMG_1802

Then it was time to cut the tabs, bind the edges.
I put pins, to keep the bones from sliding from their places.

Fortunately I’d made the top edge first, because binding all those tabs were the worst part of the process. And if I hadn’t I’m not sure I wold have pulled through.IMG_1807

I stabbed myself countless times on the pins, and had lots of troubles getting the corners nice and smooth.IMG_1808

But I managed to get it done in time for deadline and photoshoot. IMG_2284The inside of the finished stays. 

The finished Stays:IMG_2267












Sneak a peak of the photoshoot:IMG_2197

Just the facts:

Challenge: nr 16 – Terminology

What: a pair of 18th century half boned stays. Read more about the origin of the word (and what differs Stays from Corsets on: http://thedreamstress.com/2013/08/terminology-whats-the-difference-between-stays-jumps-a-corsets/

Pattern: 1770s Stays pattern from Nora Waughs Corset and Crinolines.

Fabric: 0,5 m of striped cotton, 0,5 m of tightly woven cotton sateen and 0,5 m of white cotton sheets.

Notions: Thread, 13 pairs of gromets, 5 m lacing cord, 4 m of cotton bias tape, 1 m of metal boning and about 30 pieces of plastic cable ties.

How historical accurate: The pattern, material and shape of the stays are correct. But I sewed them on my machine and used metal grommets, plastic boning and modern construction techniques. So maybe 4/10

Time: About 15 hours – binding the tabs took like forever.

Cost: About 200 Sek (32 Usd). But since most of the material came from stash and was leftovers from previous projects I didn’t pay that much. More like 80 Sek.

First worn: For photos yesterday, and hopefully for an upcoming 18th century event n a few weeks.

Final thoughts: I really love the look of these stays, but they are really uncomfortable.
I need to make some alterations to make them fit better, and I’m not sure that will help, since I made them to long in the waist. I wore them for about 1 hour this weekend and the boning poking in to my hips and back was really noticeable.

And on top of fixing the ill fitting part, I accidentally burst one of the side seams of the stays while sneezing during the photoshoot (ups)…

9 thoughts on “Terminology Stays

  1. hello, my name is Maria Björklund , I live in Sweden, and work as a painterm but I love sewing…and I discovered your pages recently, and I want to tell you how much I love them, get inspired and find them so very very good …so thanks for sharing with very best regards Maria in Sweden. Date: Mon, 1 Sep 2014 10:12:15 +0000 To: mariabjorklund@msn.com

  2. I used that patterns for my first pair of stays as well and they were horribly uncomfortable. I have Heard that verdict from other people as well. I Think one of the reasons is because there are so few pattern pieces. In stay with more pieces there is moore room for small changes to make for a better fit just were you need them. Especially at the front, ususally it is a seam were the boning change from vertical to slanting and the side front pattern piece is often curved, which makes for a better fitting front with more support for the breasts.

    1. But, but, they are so pretty…:-(
      Do you know of any good patterns I might try instead?
      I don’t have that much problem with the bust era.The ill fitting is more around the hips (boning digging in), and an ace in the small of the back – which I also seems to get from my 1901s S-bend corset.

      1. We don’t have the same body type,so my favs may not suit you, but my latest stays that I’m most pleased with are heavily influenced by the brown jean stays in Jill Salen’s “Corsets”.

        Sounds like you need to shorten them, yes, if they dig into the hips. Don’t know what to do about the back ache, though. Less boning in the back?

      2. Guess its’s just keep trying different styles until I find just the one.
        I’ve been practicing waring the stays today for about 4 hours, and as long as I don’t lace them to tight I think they will suffice until I get the time to make another pair.

      3. Probably. I think I have made 11 or 12 pair and changed pattern three times and tweaked it all the other ones. 🙂

  3. I’ve just finished my first pair of stays and wore them for a long weekend and I felt so comfortable in them! I think I actually may have gotten overly enthusiastic and laced them a bit tight on the final day after getting used to them, and got some soreness in my upper ribcage. I used the Nehelenia Patterns “Half-Boned Diderot Stays” (http://neheleniapatterns.com/product/halbversteifte-schnuerbrust-np13/?lang=en) and I was very pleased with the pattern and the instructions and how it went together. The sizing suited my measurements perfectly, which is probably just luck, but the finished product is just right in all ways. The pattern only calls for lacing in the back, but I actually made it front- and back-lacing so they would be a bit more adjustable, and so I could put them on by myself. I did not follow the period-correct instructions and just went with modern construction and used my sewing machine for the seams and boning channels, but I did all of the eyelets and binding by hand. It took forever!! If you’re interested, there are pictures of the finished stays at my blog (linked). Thanks for reading!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s