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Starting the New Year with Stays

I can’t believe that we are already more than half-way through January. Where did the month go? I started the new year with not one but two colds, considerably slowing my sewing progress. However, with my next deadline looming at the beginning of February, I haven’t been idle. So far in 2013 I’ve finished a new pair of regency stays and a regency petticoat, made significant progress on my grey evening gown, and started a new 18th century jacket. First, let’s talk stays.

My new regency stays are constructed from two layers of cream cotton sateen and are lightly boned with spring and spiral steel and a wooden busk at the center front. My goal was practicality and quick construction so the stays are mostly machine sewn and have very little decoration, only functional cording under the gussets and along the busk pocket. I also added some buttonhole stitches to the base of the gussets for reinforcement. Honestly, this may be the most boring undergarment I’ve ever made but it fits and is relatively comfortable so I’m happy.

I used the 1804 stays pattern from Period Costume for Stage and Screen as a base. The fit was pretty close straight from the book, but I modified it to include the hip gussets in one with the side pattern piece. I’ve found several examples of 1800-20 stays without hip gussets, but I left them out mainly because I was feeling lazy and didn’t want to sew more gussets than I had to. Gussets are annoying little things!

My stays don't look like much on the dressform , but then again Millicent isn’t squishy. On a human, the stays raise my bust line quite significantly and the cording under the bust does a great job of supporting me. The back gap is slightly uneven on me, so if/when I remake the stays I need to take in the bust and widen the hip slightly.
So there you have my first completed project of 2013. Up next, my first blog award. Stay tuned!

Posted: 1/18/2013 11:47:41 AM by Aubry | with comments
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Project Details

1810 Grey Evening Dress
1804 Stays