Some time ago, I decided I needed another pair of stays, and started on a set. And they’ve been nothing but trouble since then. They are almost making #4 on the list of evil things.
First there was the fabric. I bought a bunch of linen with a gilded finish in a fabric sale, because it was soooo pretty, and I’m a magpie.
Linen is a great fabric for stays, right? And who doesn’t want a pair of gilded stays?
Linen is not a great fabric for stays if it warps. And gilded linen is an even worse choice if the minute you iron it, the gilded finish comes off, leaving you with plain, boring, ecru linen.
But I didn’t even get far enough into the stays to find these things out before it gave me problems, because it turns out that gilded linen is actually really, really hard to match for a lining. So I finally settled for black, because it was really the only thing I had that didn’t look hideous with it.
And, of course, the day after I cut out all the black lining pieces, I was at an op shop and found the perfect tightly woven blue cotton fabric for the lining. And it was only $2, so of course I bought it. And then went home, and glared at my black lining pieces, and then sighed, and re-cut the lining out of the blue.
So now I have an extra black lining cut for stays, and being the sort of person I am I don’t want to just toss it, so now I have to make yet another pair of stays. Out of the same pattern. And I wanted to try a different pattern next time. Grumble-grumble boo.
The pattern, now that I’ve mentioned it, is the same one that I used for my are-they-or-aren’t-they 1750s red cotton and linen stays.
I’m trying a new way of sewing the stays, where I sew the boning channels through the lining and the support fabric (a lovely non-warpy but not pretty-coloured brown linen), and sew the pieces wrong-sides together with the seam allowances facing out, and then put the gilded linen outer pieces over each pattern piece to cover the seam allowances. It’s quite similar to what I did with Ninon’s bodice.
You can see above how the gilded linen pieces are sewn with the seams at one edge, and then will be folded back over their pattern piece, and the edge folded under to cover the raw seam allowances.
I’m sure I read about this as a historically accurate type of stay construction, but these stays have been so evil that now I am convinced that I made it up in some horrible nightmare that convinced my mind I had read it, and now all this effort has been for naught.
Well, mostly naught, because they will still be wearable, if not historical. Sort of. We’ll see.
I’m also trying a new boning layout, also based on a source that I can no longer recall or find. I know I looked at pictures and stays and patterns to draw it, but between drawing out the boning layout and sewing it the pictures and stays and sources have all disappeared.
Typical of these stays.
You can see in the photo above the other ill-thought out, misbegotten, evil thing about these stays. They lace front and back. That means twice as many eyelet holes to do by hand. What was I thinking!
I’ve realised something writing this post. The more evil something is, the more I use italics. Mr Carpenter was right! Italics are evil! Or at least a sign of it.