More Progress

Yup. As I predicted the extra linen sewing thread I ordered is a slightly different shade.

Well the shade varies in blue tone a bit. If we’re going to get techincal, blue is one of the harder and more expensive colours to achieve so a little variation there is easily explained away. Also, dyeing is an imperfect science even now! The two colours are close enough that they could simply be the product of two different dye baths. Also, the colour variation will be less noticeable when the thread is sewn in individual lines on the stays. Lots of reasons why this isn’t the nd of the world! I’ve also basically given up hope that this set of stays will be the “perfect” set. It doesn’t mean I’m enjoying the process any less!



Hey look! More progress!!


Green Linen Stays Progress

I’ve stumbled upon a bit of time the past few days so I picked up a project I’ve had ongoing for at least four years now. I’ve been pretty good about keeping all the pieces together and while I have all the pattern pieces, I’m missing the shoulder strap fabric. I’m not sure if I cut them out and have since lost them or if I just never bothered to cut them out at all!

So far I have both back pieces completed and I just started the front. They’re sort of based on the Diderot diagram for stays, but altering them to fit required significantly altering the boning pattern. I’m using reed I ordered for my first pair of stays from the Silly Sisters but this time I’m doubling up the reed in each channel. I’ve never gotten any real wear out of my first pair but even with just the few times I’ve tried them on, I’ve had a bone break in the front, just off to the side a bit. Annoying! I definitely think that to use reed boning I need to fully bone my stays. Once I get the stays to the point where I can try them on I might even consider strategically replacing one or two with something stronger, maybe even baleen?

My method is just one I sort of came up with. I initially sew a seam that acts as a guide for the angle of the bones and then I slip the doubled-up boning in between the layers and push it up alongside this seam. I then stitch along the other side of the bone, continuing to push it firmly against that first initial seam. I usually works well although I did find that the pattern on the two backs are slightly different as a result of the boning pattern growing more or less organically. I’ve since seen evidence for stays boned with baleen where the channels were stitched first and then the bones were pushed into te channels but I haven’t heard anything either way for reed boning (see note).

I’m using some green linen thread I got from my aunt for my birthday many years ago. I was just eyeing my spool and I don’t think I’ll have enough to get through this project. If I was thinking straight I would have started on the front so that I at least had one uniform colour there since the new stuff I ordered is unlikely to match correctly but oh well! I’ve decided not to think too hard about my colour choices since I doubt that linen of the period would dye this dark green of a colour but oh well!

I was thinking I’d try to line it in leftover red spotted cotton I used in my shortgown. Wouldn’t that be cute? I have some white leather to bind the edges as well. I can’t remember how much of the cotton I have left although I don’t have a problem piecing the lining. Piecing is period and I think it makes projects like these so much more interesting! Many of the stays I saw at the Galliera had heavily pieced linings of various cheery cotton or linen prints. Both these things are back home way away across the ocean so that will definitely have to wait.

It feels so good to be sewing again! I haven’t sewn anything historical since last fall!!

Note: There’s a dissertation that was completed a few years ago on a stomacher that was concealed in a wall of a building. They x-rayed it and you could clearly see where fibres of the bone had been bent backwards as the bone was  pushed into the channel. I can get the specific citation if anyone is interested.

As well see: Sorge-English, Lynn. 2005. “‘29 Doz and 11 Best Cutt Bone’: The Trade in Whalebone and Stays in Eighteenth-Century London.” Textile History 36 (1) (May 1): 20-45. doi:10.1179/174329505×37112.×37112.

More Regency Stays

Apparently I am fixated on making myself a functional pair of short regency stays.

I’m in the middle of a third (handsewn!) attempt right now (see attempt one, attempt two). For most costumers this process would be fairly simple but it just hasn’t been for me. My first pair gave me a nice enough shape but the centre front bones were pretty uncomfortable when lounging around on the grass while reenacting. The second pair, the daffodown dilly stays, had pretty much the same problem. The wooden busk, while shorter than the spring steel bones of my first attempt, was still ridiculously uncomfortable while sitting on the ground. I want to be able to MOVE in these things. I’m portraying a working class woman so I don’t believe I should have to sacrifice movement in order to wear a supportive garment. I’ve collected a (very) few images of women on campaign and they all show women bending and lifting in a way I wouldn’t be able to with a long (or even medium) length busk without some serious lack of comfort.


Continue reading “More Regency Stays”

The Daffodown Dilly Stays : Part 1

The Sewing:

So I puchased this pattern awhile ago since it seemed so interesting and this weekend I decided to give them a try. Upon close investigation the pattern revealed itself to be a very cunning piece of corsetry however I had little hope that a commercial pattern, even this one, would fit my frame. Unfortunately I was proven right. And so the butchery began!

Continue reading “The Daffodown Dilly Stays : Part 1”

More corseting

So I managed to put in all the reed into the boning channels yesterday. It took far longer than I like to think to finish that step. Especially considering my growing fears about fit! I’ve my fingers crossed that it will all work out! Today I got all the eyelets done on the back and marked the eyelets for one side of the front. All this hand sewing is starting to get to me. It’s frustrating because I now have all the materials I need to complete this outfit but my fingers won’t sew quickly enough! I also left my camera up at my field school so all I have are crappy phone camera pictures. Oh well!

Oh and I also rediscovered some pictures on my phone that I took of the buckram form I made for my 1860’s bonnet

In this image you can also see my lovely basement 🙂

The finished product!

I really need to finish that essay of mine thats due on Tuesday… Think stock buckles, not sewing!

P.S. I have no idea what I should lace this corset with, anyone have any suggestions?