I’ve finished binding the tabs of the bodice of Ninon’s dress.
I used kid leather to bind the tabs. This may not be 100% historically accurate.
There are numerous examples of 18th century stays bound in leather, but I couldn’t find any extent 17th century bodices with leather bindings. However, all the bodices I did find were bound in a different fabric from the main bodice fabric: usually a sort of ribbed tape. I couldn’t find a suitable modern alternative, especially in the right colour, so I decided to go with kid.
I cut apart an old kid glove for my bindings. A few years back I found a bag of mis-matched and soiled gloves at an op shop and I picked them up thinking they might be useful.
Boy am I so glad I did! Binding stays with kid leather is soooooo much easier than any other kind of binding. Because the leather doesn’t fray, you don’t have to fold in the cut edges. The leather folds smoothly over the inner and outer curves of the tabs. The kid is soft enough to easily push a needle through. It’s fantastic.
I’m binding all my stays in kid leather from now on – and I can, because it only took 3 half inch wide strips of kid to do these tabs, and there is enough of the one glove left to do it another 3 or four times. Considering I have a dozen gloves, I have kid for a couple dozen stays! Happiness!
The other cool thing about the kid is that when you run out of a piece you just overlap a new piece and continue sewing.
I’m sure my sewing technique will get better as I do more kid binding, but this first attempt doesn’t look too bad.