18th Century, Sewing

Finished project: the very dreadful silver stays

Well, for better or worse the silver stays of doom are finally done.

For all their evilness, laid flat they rather remind me of angel wings

They continued their inclination to bad luck through the last few steps.  As I was working the eyelets they got sparkling apple juice splashed on them.  Luckily it didn’t stain the linen, but liquid is very bad for kid leather, so I think I’m going to have to replace part of the binding at some point.

And then, after all the fuss about loosing the shoulder straps and having to cut a new pair, once I got all the eyelets worked and was finally able to try the thing, on the shoulder straps just didn’t work very well.  So all that  perfect, painstaking hand stitching got unpicked, the back got cut down just a little and I now have strapless stays.

Bye bye pretty hand-stitched shoulder straps

Without the shoulder straps tying in pretty bows in front, the front has little visual interest, so I felt the need to lace it with fancy ribbon.  Of course, this means I can only unlace it via the back, which means I worked all those extra eyelet holes for nothing!

But the blue front lacing sure is pretty, isn't it?

And I messed up my measurements on the eyelet holes, and didn’t stagger them enough, which means that the top of the stays and bottom of the stays are mis-aligned

Sigh. It doesn't line up. But at least the bow is cute!

And the final insult of the stays is that they are tighter up top than in the waist, which never happens to me.  I’m thick waisted and small busted!  It must be the new boning pattern – it’s amazing what a difference that can make.  But they will fit lots of people very well, and they are quite comfortable, and I really did make them for models to wear, and…at…least…they…are…DONE.

But my next pair of stays is going to be back lacing only, and intentionally strapless, and as easy as possible!

The inside of the stays

Boring shoelace lacing for the back - it works so well I'm happy to ignore the inaccuracy

Evilness or not, they are very elegant on Isabelle

Slightly mis-aligned back lacing - gaping less in the top on Isabelle than it does on me

The sweep of side seams

All in all, the process was dreadful, but they are quite beautiful on Isabelle the dress form, and I think I may be starting to love them.

See the whole portfolio here.


  1. Polly says

    I love the swoop of boning at the side!! delicious. Well done 🙂

  2. Lynne says

    They look very beautiful. Boning pattern most attractive, and I imagine would be supportive of the bust and quite comfortable to wear. Impressive!

  3. Tenshi says

    Stays of Doom or no, they are so very very pretty and delicately elegant. The boning layout is most beautiful! Definitely worth all the hard work you put into them.

  4. BUT they are very pretty indeed! It’s so annoying though, I know, with projects that just won’t cooperate.

  5. I think they are quite lovely! The blue on the inside is my favorite part, I’ll have to say. I hope the hate goes away s

    • Shoot! My stupid phone… As I was saying, I hope your hatred of them mellows a little as time goes on–I know the feeling of a project wanting to go all wrong, and even all the determination in the world can’t even seem to fix it to your image of perfection. That and having to re-do parts. That. Is. So. Annoying. Enjoy the calming and happy feelings of having completed a project!

  6. It’s so frustrating when projects go wrong….and it’s almost worse somehow when it’s a multitude of piddly little things instead of one big oops that can be fixed and you move on! But in the end–these are lovely. I know the little things that aren’t perfect will bother you–because they would bother me!–but I promise no one else notices!

    And shoelaces make the BEST staylaces! They even have a built-in bodkin!

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