Because of this, I have been working on quite a few projects this summer, and I am very pleased with everything I've been turning out. The first thing I sewed, and what I most desperately needed, was a new set of stays. As you could probably tell from my last post, my old set has become far too worn, the boning has entirely shaped itself to my body, and after losing a bit of weight they're just too big. So, I was ready to make another set!
|Working on my stays while talking to a young visitor (not pictured)|
|My linen cord, leather binding, and the linen thread that I used (thanks to some generous friends for the thread!)|
|The patterned slashed and lengthened|
|All ready to be cut out from the lining|
Stays aren't really difficult to sew, there's just a lot of sewing involved. I sewed all of the pieces together, and then traced the lines for the boning channels onto the lining. That was probably the hardest part of the whole process for me, because by the end of that step it was getting a little difficult to see all of my lines as I was sewing.
|Pieces sewn together...|
|...with the channels marked...|
|...ready to be sewn...|
|...and ready to be filled!|
|The zip ties that I use|
|The left side has boning inserted, the right side still needs boning|
|Fully boned, with a few poking out to show trimmed ends|
I couldn't be more pleased with how they turned out! It took about 55 hours of work from start to finish, and every stitch is hand sewn. I really enjoyed having them as a tool to encourage discussion about stays with visitors, and to be able to inform people that stays, and corsets too, shouldn't be uncomfortable if you're wearing them properly! My new favorite part of my interpretation goes something like this: "If you have a pair of shoes that hurt your feet, how often do you wear them? If you don't wear uncomfortable shoes repeatedly, do you think that anyone would have worn stays or corsets for a few hundred years if they were uncomfortable?" This also works when people ask me if I'm hot in my clothing - yes, I'm a bit warm, but they are too, because the heat index is 109! But there's logic in wearing linens and cottons, and in keeping the sun off!
Anyway, I would highly recommend the JP Ryan Strapless Stays pattern, and I am extremely pleased with my new set of late 18th century stays!