I’ve been bad, I know; I haven’t been taking pictures of anything I’ve been making. I mentioned some time ago that I have a brand spankin new set of 18th century underthings. I was going through my camera roll today, and realized that I didn’t take one single picture of the making of any of them! however, I do have one decent (I guess) photo of my stays, so today I’ll talk about those.
and here they are. (I look positively thrilled to be having my picture taken, no?) a few weeks ago, I got all dolled up and went out into the very picturesque, yet hella cold snow to take some pictures. this one was taken in the midst of me getting ready.
I drafted the pattern myself, starting with a basic conical block and adding seams to get the proper look of the mid-18th century stays. I won’t go into detail about the pattern drafting, because I’m no good at explaining it, but Sidney Eileen has an excellent article on how to draft a conical block, which does a much better job explaining the process than I ever could. I do mine basically the same way. I made them strapless just because I didn’t have a pair of strapless stays yet, so why not?
these stays are fully boned with zip ties – my favorite – between two layers of heavy calico (this was, by the way, another stash project, and so I wasn’t much fussed about historical accuracy,) and the fashion layer is an old sheet that I thought was pretty. it has this nice striped pattern with flowers, and so I smacked a big old flower right in the center. pretty, girly – I love it. in this picture, the stays still weren’t lined, but they now have been lined with a soft light blue linen.
the final product is imperfect. the back needs to be higher – I was thinking that since I was omitting straps, I didn’t need to cut it as high, but in fact I do; the back tends to slide itself down under my shoulder blades if I slouch. however, that aside, these stays are crazy comfortable – a lot more so than my other pair, which I think I might retire. the shape of these stays is suited best to early to mid 18th century; very straight, flat, conical. I’d still like to make a pair suited to the later part of the century, with that distinctive thrust shape.
oh, and as for the lacing… well, I had to dress myself, and the only way to accomplish that was to lace the stays loosely, slip them on, and then tighten from the middle, a la corsets of the next century. so you can see the lacings tied around my waist. I know that’s not period proper, but hey, what about this project was?
I’m nearly finished with the Ciel ball gown; just finishing up with some trim tonight. so my next post will be about that!