Scroop Patterns
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The Cassandra Stays Sew-Along: Fitting

What time is it?  Time for the most exciting part of mock-ups: fitting them!  Follow along with me for tips on analysing the fit so you get it perfect for you.

Previously on The Cassandra Stays Sew Along:

It’s totally possible to do a Cassandra Stays fitting on yourself (especially if you’re making View B, the front-lacing version), but it’s much easier to have someone help you.  Even if they don’t know anything about fitting they can at least take photographs of the bits you can’t see yourself.

Read the Fitting Guide that comes with the stays carefully.

Fit your stays over the type of undergarment you intend to wear them over. They will fit very differently over a T-shirt vs. a historical shift, and if you want to wear them over a shift you need to fit them over one!

Put your stays on, and lace them until they are comfortably snug.  You can try them on with seam allowances facing out, but I prefer to do it with seam allowances facing in, as they will have that slight extra bulk on the inside in the finished pair.

Fitting the Scroop Cassandra Stays

(note: my mock-up was made as part of the pattern development process, and has a non-matching top edge that is not there in the final pattern – otherwise it is identical to the Straight Size 40 in the final pattern)

Fitting the Scroop Cassandra Stays

Analyse the fit and comfort of your stays:

  • Is your lacing gap even?
  • Do you like the lacing gap?
  • Are they pinching anywhere?  That means they need to be let out in that area.
  • Do they feel loose anywhere?  They need to be taken in.  I ended up scooping in the long angled edge of Piece B just above the waist on mine, because it felt like it needed to be a little snugger.Fitting the Scroop Cassandra Stays
  • Does your bust sit in them nicely?  It should neither fall down into them with gaping, (small bust adjustment needed) or hanging over in a muffin top (the fitting instructions have multiple large-bust adjustment options).
  • Is the top line sitting at the right point at the bust?   It should not carrying up straight beyond the fullest part of your bust, nor should it sit so low that it doesn’t support your bust.
  • Is the point at the top of the stays sitting as far out from the centre of your chest as it can without cutting in to your arm, or causing chaffing?
  • Are the stays cut low enough under your arms that they won’t chafe?
  • Moving to the back of the stays, does the angle up from under the arm sit far enough back that it doesn’t rub and restrict your arm, but far enough forward that it covers and supports your back muscles?
  • Do the stays make your lower-back ache?  You probably need to flare out the panel pieces more below your waist.
  • Do the stays rub on your hips?  More flare needed!
  • Are the stays too long or too short at centre back?  I have a longer-than average back, so the stays look shorter on me than they do on an average body.  I decided I did not want more length at the top of the stays, as my scoliosis makes a lower-cut back more comfortable. I could have added an inch/2.5cm to match the height the stays are intended to end at.

Fitting the Scroop Cassandra Stays

Here’s Jenni’s final fitting, where you can see how much higher the stays end on her:

Fitting the Scroop Cassandra Stays

Adjusting the Fit

Once you have made an initial assessment, take your stays off.  Adjust anything that’s possible to adjust with this toile.  Let out seams.  Remove bones and take in seams.  Cut down the top edge if needed.  Sometimes you may find its easiest to replace one or two panels in the mock-up.  If things were severely off you may need to make a second mock-up.

Try the adjusted mock-up back on.  Ensure everything fits as you want.

Now here’s the big thing.  When you think the fit looks good and feels good, wear the stays for a good half an hour.  Do stuff in them.  Sew something else.  Do some house-cleaning.  Dance.  Sit in different chairs, and sit on the floor.  Think about what you intend to do in the stays, and test that. Make sure they are comfortable!

And when you’re totally happy with that, transfer all of your adjustments to your pattern pieces.

Fitting the Scroop Cassandra Stays

If you look closely you can see my adjustments: a tiny bit shaved off both pieces B & D at the waist.  A tiny bit shaved off F at the waist.  It’s not much, just what’s needed to make the stays fit me perfectly.

Hope that helps your Cassandra Stays to fit perfectly!


1 Comment

  1. Alice says


    This is an extremely helpful post! I find sew-alongs to be a great aid in my sewing. It’s also a lot easier to understand fitting with pictures of stays on an actual person. Maybe you should do a fitting post for the Augusta stays as well?

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