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.

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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.
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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

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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)…

Regency Stripes

Well, as I haven’t been able to sew all the things I’d liked this month, I will continue to posts about the HSF-challenges finished earlier this year. And as soon as I manadge to find the time to make something new (and to photograph it) I vill share it whit you.


For the HSF challenge nr 6 – Stripes, back in mars I knew that I wanted to make a regency dress. Having recently finished my first attempt at this kind of dress for a customer in december, and was itching to give it an other try.

Here are some of my inspiraion dresses. 1810klein



I already had the pattern since before: Reconstructing History- lady’s regency gown, but I hated it. Everything was wrong with it. The pieces didn’t fit togheter, and the gathering was just ridiculously massive. It gave me a serius head-ake trying too figuring it out the first time.


So I studied the pieces of Arnolds two regency patterns.2013-03-03 18.42.55


Then I re-cutt the pattern to make a lot more sence. I made a mock-up and did some final adjustments to the pattern.

Then I found the perfect fabric super cheap in my new favourite fabric store.

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It is a pistage-green striped really thin cotton weave. I also got a darker green linnen, cream colored lace and a plastic row of pearls for the decoration.

The sewing went fast and easy and after only one day of sewing I could try it on to check the lenght and back closure.

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Then I hemed it, and hand stiched on the lace and beads.

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And finished










IMG_1573Photo: Elin Petersson

Just the facts:

Challenge nr 6 – Stripes

What: A simple mint green Regency dress

Fabric: 3,5 m of soft and thin cotton fabric (almost like voile).

Pattern: “Reconstructing History” nr 838. Not a pattern I would recommend for a beginner. I had to change and alter almost every pattern piece. (I think it would have been both faster and easier to make a new one from scratch).

Year: About 1800 – 1810

Notions: Green contrast fabric, 5 pearl buttons for closure, thread, 2 m of lace and 3m of pearl-ribbon.

How accurate: Mostly made by machine, and with modern pattern reconstruction and sewing method. So except for the silhouette and the “look” of the dress – not accurate at all I’m afraid.

Hours: About 16 (with lots of handstitching on the decor).

Cost: About 30 USD

First worn: On Gods friday when we had the photoshoot.