24 June 2009

Finished strapless stays

Finished strapless stays
Originally uploaded by Catrijn.
So, here they are, the finally finished 18th century strapless stays. Only took about 10 times longer than I expected (granted, that includes many, many months of inactivity on the project). The edges are bound with a wool twill tape. The half-inch width looks just right when folded over and in place, but something slightly wider might have been easier to work with - maybe 5/8", but not more than 3/4", I think.

So, a summary of the project: mid- to late- 18th century strapless stays, in a very lightweight worsted wool twill, with linen interlining (2 layers) and lining, boned with half-oval reed (2 per channel, flat sides together), bound with wool twill tape. Machine sewn with the exception of eyelets, binding, and slipping the lining in. Working with the reed was not as hard as I expected, although my channels were a shade too narrow, and a lot of force was required to insert the reeds (and quite a few were broken in the process). Slightly wider channels might also have reduced the amount of take-up I had, which exacerbated some fitting difficulties. The pattern (J.P. Ryan) was reasonably clear, although more detail on how to do the boning, particularly around the tabs would have been appreciated. One tab in particular ends up being awkwardly small; it might be better not to even shape the tabs until later in the project (e.g., when placing the channels) rather than setting them in the initial pattern pieces. Regarding fit, the pattern seems true to the size chart - which should be a caution flag if your proportions are significantly different; also the pattern is significantly short-waisted, which works out well for me, but less so for other people. I probably won't use this pattern again, but that's largely because I don't think I'll need or want another pair of stays in this particular style.

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