Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A marginal improvement?

So!  I have finally almost finished my new pair of handsewn stays.  I know, it's been a while, although I do have several excuses (involving work, an amazing Wauconda, and an unexplained illness) as to why the binding is wonky and the lining very much not applied.  But I'll save those for later.

On to the trainwreck!
My first two pairs of stays were noticeably much, much too large.  And I'm not one to measure twice before I cut once (or measure at all, really) so I did some considerable pattern alteration and made the natural assumption that it was going to stretch with wear.  (Which it hopefully will, because...)
 You could drive a semi through the back gap.  I blame this mostly on my hip-to-waist ratio.
 Despite the lack of lining, the odd binding and the omnipresent, inescapable bosom crush, I really do like this pair of stays.  It takes about half an hour to lace up in all but it looks very neat and it does give me a nice figure without making me look like a prepubescent lad like my old pair.
Teeny tiny stitches!
Just the facts:

Era: 1770s, presumably

Pattern: J P Ryan's strapless stays, heavily altered

Fabric:  Wool gaberdine outer layer, linen interlining, linen thread treated with beeswax, cotton twill binding (though I want to replace it with doe or kid leather at some point) wooden reeding and a few pieces of flat steel for the back and poly satin ribbon (the cotton tape broke....)

Time:  About three weeks, on and off

Cost:  None!  All from the stash.

Thoughts:   One of the seams is ripping at the bottom because I tried to pull it in over my hips.  That's really all I have to say.  If anybody notices that I am wearing it too high or too low please tell me - I'll wear it a bit and see if it molds to my body and if the gap is still that large I'm going to split it and put in two small panels to help even it out.  But!  Comfortable, and it fits much better.

What I was Watching: Stepford Wives, two seasons of The West Wing, Hannibal, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, listening to WTNV

Edit:  This is the same shirt I wore when I took pictures of my old pair!  I'm not even going to Dartmouth (it is a really comfy shirt though.)


  1. Super cute! I am absolutely in love with that color. And your stitches are (high excited sounding voice) *perfect* :-) I'd say they look about the right height on the bosom, do they not feel short to you? Idk, maybe its the camera angle but it looked a little small. Beautiful work though, and they look comfy. Love 'em!

  2. Thank you! I agree, they look weirdly small overall, but if they were any longer they'd be too long. I think they'll look a little more proportional over a chemise instead of low-rise jeans and a tee.