This project started after I sold my old elizabethan stays, and then realized that I didn’t have anything to wear under my dresses. So smarts, I is, sometimes…
As a group project, with my costume cronies, I started with the Tudor Tailor’s Effigy Stays pattern, and then changed some stuff. Unlike the Effigy, this one will lace up the front, and also along the side backs, rather than being sewn. My reason for this is that, at the moment, I’m coming off my sitting-on-my-arse-all-winter chubbyness, and want to have more adjustability for what my body gets like, once it’s warm out. (Some may say this is optimistic; I say I’m planning ahead.) The biggest change I made to the actual pattern pieces was to lower the back neckline; and subsequently, relocated the straps. At this point, I’ve sewn all of the chanels, and added all of the boning: This it what it looks like. Notice how a few chanels are lighter? That is where the spring steel is. I decided to add a few steel bones to this one after the legendary Ass-Over-TeaKettle tumble down a hill, in my old, reed-only corset, snapped all of the tabs on one side.
Bleaching fabric to make it better?
I had this creamy butter yellow linen for the stays, but I couldn’t find a color for the binding that was quite right; so after much mucking about, and a total failure to dye a swatch I liked, I tested bleach on a couple of blueish pieces of linen I had in my stash, and what so you know? That was a perfect color! I went with the one marked 1B.
I still need to bind the edges, and sew a small ton of eyelets. I will make some attempt to record my progress, here.
So, I finally got all 78 eyelets finished; and was able to try the silly thing on, only to discover that the waist was riding very high, and that I needed to put in about 20 or so more eyelets, (at the side back openings, and the tops of the slashes,) to bring everything under control about an inch and a half lower in the back… Ack.
After I cried a little bit, I busted out the rest of the eyelets, and tried it again. This time it felt absoultely wonderful, and the waist was low enough to look significantly smaller than it had, previously. As of now, all that’s left is to make some lucet cord in a matching color, and maybe sew over a few of the eyelets, where I was beginning to loose my patience, and skimped a little…. Pictures to follow, soon!
I’m finding that I was really motivated on this project, until I reached the point where I had the fit right, then proptly lost much interest. As such, I still haven’t made yards and yards of matching lucet cord. However, I really wanted to try it on, and get some pictures, so I went to Joann’s to find some form of lacing. I started in the trims, and ribbons, trying to find something that didn’t clash, and that I thought wouldn’t snap when I pulled on it hard. I failed, and took myself over to the home dec section, where I got several yards of some good, old-fashioned, baby/pet-strangling drapery cord. It may not be safe to have dangling in homes with small souls, but it’s insanely strong, and glides through eyelets like little else I’ve ever seen. If one could complain about anything, it is that it can be an absoulte bugger to get it to hold a knot; but I seem to have won that battle, on sheer brute force. It has worked so well, actually, that I am debating on how best to try dying it blue, and calling the job done. I wasn’t paying attention to fibre content, so this could go either way. If it’s nylon, I have a fighting chance.
Yeah… that cord is totally polyester, and it quite determined to stay white; also, I still haven’t gotten around to making a different cord for it, and at this point, I’m not totally sure if I want to bother. The stays have seen a bit of use, and the light weight linen is starting to show it’s age in some places. I may chalk this one up to a long term test garment, and try to make improvenents on the next version.
To see all of the pictures, look HERE.